Why I Choose Minimalism and What it Means to Me | A Rose in Bloom
lemons in the morning sun

Minimalism. I’ll bet any number of images do a slideshow in your mind when you hear that word. Wardrobes entirely constructed of black and grey materials and sleek lines. Studio apartments decked out entirely in head to toe white. Closets only containing 10 pieces of clothing in the same soft color palette to be mixed in matched with care and ease. The most recent Ikea catalogue. All of these things are associated with minimalism in one way or another for a couple of reasons.

  1. “Minimalism” is trendy and everyone is trying to get on board with some aspect of it (art, personal style, d├ęcor, amount of things you own)
  2. People don’t understand what minimalism really is.

As you may have guessed, today we are investigating number 2.


People don’t know what minimalism really is.

Before we go any further, let's investigate what minimalism isn't, in order to have a better understanding of what it is.

What Minimalism Is Not: Minimalism is not just choosing a neutral color palette. It is not only living in a van or studio apartment with one plate, one bowl, one chair, and a mattress on the floor. It is not just keeping a constant count of how few things you own. There is no magic formula, and no list you can keep to make sure you doing minimalism correctly.

In fact, and this is a side note, I really do not recommend setting a goal for keeping your possessions under a certain number (say 100 for example). I feel like this is a way to set up obsessive tendencies and to over look the enormous benefits of minimalism. Having too many lists creates tension, stress, and feelings of inadequacy, which is the opposite goal you should have! Minimalism should be making your life infinitely less stressful. In fact, that is the ONE thing minimalism truly is, speaking of which…

holding brown eggs



What Minimalism Is:
A way to create a lighter, more peaceful life, minimalism is an individual concept. Maybe for you it is living in the smallest space possible with only a week’s worth of clothes and two pasta bowls for victuals. Maybe you love the aesthetic of clean lines in brightly lit spaces and plenty of room to move. Maybe you just want a clutter free space regardless of any aesthetic leanings. But the fact is, minimalism will be different for everyone, and no one’s definition is necessarily wrong, so long as you are working towards the ultimate goal: simple living, peace of mind, and living a life with minimal excess. What is excess? That’s for you to decide.

You might decide you need 8 little black dresses because you love them and each one brings you joy and a little black dress is your favorite "go to" outfit. That's wonderful. Alternatively, you may end up only owning a few LBDs, because a different dress for each day of the week is not important to you. You might have an awful lot of beautiful mismatched bowls, mugs, and salad plates because the designs make breakfast just that much more enjoyable, or you may be happy with the same white plate over and over. Heck, maybe you even want to keep the same ingredients around and only make 5 dishes that call for the same components to eliminate kitchen cabinet clutter (not me, I need 5000 spices thanks). 

Regardless of your chosen emphasis, my point is that only YOU can decide if you have excess. If you are having a hard time with this, I highly suggest reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because it will change the way to you look at material possessions forever... 

(Think no guilt. No weight attached to “I should wear this more often because it was $100, but it's so itchy...” or "I should use this set of China because it's so nice, but I'm afraid of breaking it." Nope, if they aren't bringing you joy, it's time to send them to a new home.)

how to choose a minimalist lifestyle



What Minimalism IS for me: I may have touched on it above, but I will reiterate. For me, minimalism is all about not having excess in the sense that it brings me dread. Nothing sparks joy for me if it requires extra work, such as dusting knick-knacks. For this reason, most of our art serves as dual purpose. Hats hang on the wall to create a boho aesthetic and shoes are lined by the door. Even my jewelry serves as art in a collage on the wall. The art doesn't get too dusty because it is worn regularly. If it does collect dust, then maybe that item is not as loved as it should be, and therefore needs a new home.  I do a little work that I do not mind (hanging things up, taking the time to arrange my shoes) in order to avoid doing work I hate. This is the epitome of a simple, minimal life.

Everything in my home is either useful or beautiful. 

Regardless of these feelings, I do admit that sometimes I feel like I have excessive clothing. However, when I really look, I realize everything is used in multiple ways and makes me happy, so I try to avoid feeling like I am doing something incorrect. Remember, always, that there is no incorrect. I keep my closet as streamlined as I can while maintaining happiness. Thus, I have come to the following conclusion:

My closet is not minimal compared to some people, but it is minimal for me. Every piece of clothing in my closet is loved. I go through it 1-2 times per year and purge anything that does not spark joy. Nope, as a blogger who loves outfits, I will never have the 30, or even the 40 piece wardrobe coveted by some minimalists, but everything is well loved, well cared for, styled, and curated several different ways. For the first time in my adult life, I feel like I have found me in my clothes. Nothing awkward, nothing out of character. I wear the clothes - they do not wear me. Surely, this contentment is minimalism in itself. I know exactly what I need to feel joyous, and I happen to have it.

Nonetheless, I do without a good many things other people may find necessary. We don't have a dryer, I don't own very many kitchen appliances, and I only have about 5 necklaces. We all use the same bar of soap. I have 3 bottles of perfume, which is honestly still too many for my usage. We no longer own physical media (save roughly 5-10 books and some vinyl records) because it just was not important to us. It's all about what sparks your own joy, and 3 bookshelves collecting dust didn't do that for us. However, jewelry displays on the wall or a neat row of shoes in the bedroom do make me feel pretty darn exquisite. 

Also, I need about 5000 different spices, please and thank you.

Seriously.




Ahem, anyway, you may see me style the same dress multiple times on this blog, or use the same props in photography. I try to keep it fresh but show that everything can still be fresh, even if it has been done a few times. To me, that is part of the point of this blog: to promote a simpler life through expression of personal style, either through clothing or slow living. 

Overall, I think I have found my version of minimalism. I am content with what I have and have culled anything that doesn't make me happy. Life is too short to be surrounded by anything but your favorite.

Do you practice minimalism? If so, how do you do it? What is your version, and how does it differ from what others/you think it should be?

*all pictures taken with an Android phone and can be found on my Instagram.


Stay Beautiful,

XOXO Liz


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10 comments

  1. I never in a million years could be a minimalist. I just like eclectic clutter and collecting random shit too much haha! BUT I love this post oh so much! Minimalism is definitely not an all black and white wardrobe and having under 100 objects in your possession. I always found that ridiculous that people thought that. Although of course I'm sure there are minimalists that do this. I love the you specify that it's individual and unique! :)
    ~Sara

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    Replies
    1. Hey, that's A-ok! Minimalism is definitely not for everyone and that is not a problem at all! I think an important part of minimalism is not expecting everyone to be in on the game. No one likes a militant personality. I am glad you found the post helpful though - it's great to see how others live. :D

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  2. Agreed, minimalism can be what you want it to be, and there's no specific recipe for it. For me, minimalism has happened naturally as I've aged... "monetary" items don't hold the same magic they once did, and I seem to feel happier when I'm spending quiet time with my husband/unencumbered by stuff! xo

    Girl & Closet

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    Replies
    1. Right? I never decided I was going to be minimalist... minimalism chose me!

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  3. What a thoughtful post, I've thought about minimalism but haven't always been sure on how to exactly define it. I do agree with you that it depends on each person, I think it's about living simply and mindfully- minimizing how much you buy, the waste you make, and just being more conscious about how you live your life, at least for me!

    My Lovelier Days

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  4. This was a beautiful post all round, but I agree with other comments I would be a terrible minimalist as I hoard so much :P

    Meme xx

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  5. This was such a great read and I love the photos that accompanied this post. I think you touch on a really important piece of information that most people seem to not pick up on - minimalism is the same for everyone in the sense that it is about making life less complicated, simpler, and more joyful, but is also different because "less complicated, simpler, and more joyful" means different things for different people, and I think it is great that you understand this concept. Yes, compared to someone else, you may have a too many clothes, but for you it is the right amount. I also think approaching what items you do choose to own/keep with the idea of it being either useful or beautiful a really good one.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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  6. I love this post and I agree with everything you said. Minimalism is a very loosely defined concept and if we embrace it, we get to define (within reason) what that means for us. And I also looove Marie Kondo's book! I love her simplicity and straightforwardness. :D

    Minimalist Gal

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