“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” William Morris
It’s very easy to think that living minimally is simply about having a minimalist interior design; the two phrases seem to refer to the same or similar things and there is certainly some crossover between the two, but they differ significantly in meaning. An abundance of Tom Faulkner customers have recently been talking to us about wanting to live more minimally and it’s certainly something that is gaining traction across the interior design community. But what does living minimally really mean and how do you do it? And how does a bespoke furniture maker, like ourselves, respond to that?
Living minimally is not about sacrificing luxury and restricting yourself to the bare minimum. It’s broader than that. Living minimally is about improving all layers of your life, making conscious decisions about how you spend your time, what you buy and how you consume. It’s about deciding what it is that will make a difference to your life, your wellbeing and the wider world. This way of living applies to many facets of life including finances, holidays and travel, clothes, consumable products, technology and social media, relationships, experiences, work life and more.
Taking the first step into living minimally and mindfully often starts in the home. It’s an easy place to start; decluttering the things you hold onto just in case you might need them one day or replacing things that are nice additions but not necessities just because you’ve seen something more of the moment. In the home, living minimally means a move away from consumerism and materialism, reducing what you have in your home to fit your lifestyle and only buying what you really need. And when you do need to buy something, making a more mindful investment – looking at pieces that stand the test of time or are more bespoke to what you need; avoiding throw away goods.
Here are some simple steps you can take to live minimally:
• Firstly, review the furniture and accessories in your home. Work out which you use every day and at a minimum, once a month. The likelihood is that you are using less than 50% on a regular basis and that you won’t miss the items that you are using infrequently. Sell or give away those items that you very rarely use and create space. Having less items makes your home more peaceful and tranquil.
• When you are buying furniture and accessories for your home, avoid wasting money by buying quality and the best that you can afford. This means buying well-crafted and -designed pieces that are versatile. Purchase pieces that can be used in different ways and whose design and manufacture will stand the test of time, for example a metal dining table that doubles up as a desk – see our guidance on how to buy a dining table. Give the pieces that you do buy space to breathe and to be seen for their beautiful craftsmanship and design.
• If you do go shopping, review every purchase carefully. Ask yourself if you really need that item, and only buy what you really need. Only buy items that you really want to own long term. There is a lot of truth in William Morris’ well-known quote “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
• When it comes to collections such as books, art, porcelain or items that you have inherited and that you do not use, be objective and examine if you really need them. Do they serve a purpose? If they make you happy then keep them. Living minimally is about finding a happy balance between clutter and the absolute minimum
Living minimally is not about leading an abstinent and ascetic lifestyle. It is about letting go of the things that you don’t love and crafting a purposeful and meaningful life in a home that is beautiful, healthy, welcoming and reflective of you and your lifestyle.
If you want some inspiration before taking the plunge into living minimally, here are a few Instagram feeds to pour over: