Home Decor

Minimalism and Home Décor

More thoughts from my lovely daughter in law. 

I have found myself at a very transitional phase of life. Nearing mid-thirties and about to have my fourth child, I have opted to pursue a minimalist lifestyle. However, I have also adopted several other interests that I am currently trying to reconcile with my new minimalist mindset. I enjoy woodworking and refinishing furniture, I am also (slowly) decorating my house in a modern farmhouse style that I love. With all the different interests I often find myself torn between wanting to update the décor in my house and not wanting to accumulate anymore things.

My décor style before I adopted modern farmhouse was nonexistent. I was a bargain shopper and would often end up purchasing items simply because the price was right. I paid no mind to how it would fit into a cohesive design nor whether it was needed or even really wanted. Since discovering the beauty of the farmhouse look I have set my mind on how I can really create a unified space.  Since then, I have gotten rid of a lot of items that I was holding onto either for utilitarian purposes or simply because I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. One of the pieces I recently parted with was a rather large ottoman. I really did like this piece of furniture and had moved it to several different places in our home trying to make it work. In the end, I conceded that it just wasn’t useful to us. It ended up being a source of discontentment for me because it always seemed to be in the way. Since getting rid of it, I haven’t missed it. In fact, our living space is much more appealing to me without it and I enjoy being in the space more. As with many descriptions from beginning minimalists, when I finally bring myself to throw things away, it is as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel lighter … despite being 38 weeks along with baby #4!

The balance I have found is between letting things go and consciously deciding what I want to complete my modern farmhouse vision. I now don’t look for bargains, necessarily, but I look for things that I truly love. If something I am interested in costs more than about $30, I wait. I don’t buy things impulsively, but wait until I am in a good spot financially and emotionally to make the purchase. While I wait to purchase an item, I can determine if I really want/need it and often end up not buying it. Without the purchase, I am contributing to my minimalist pursuit. If I do make the purchase, I do so without regret.

The other part that I love is making my own things to fit into the space. I appreciate the beauty of the object and it is more meaningful because it was crafted by my own hands. With 3 kids, I don’t always get everything built that I plan. Nor does it happen as fast as I would like. This again, adds to the minimalism in my home. In my living room, I made the farmhouse clock over the couch using a cable spool I got for free and I made the side tables from some “junk” wood I found in the back of a friend’s truck (that was set to be thrown away). There are stories behind these pieces that make them special to me. They look beautiful, are useful, but also remind me of people that I love.

I am not sure if “minimalist modern farmhouse” is a recognized design style, but I think that is how I would most accurately describe my style. As with the concept of minimalism in general, I have adapted design ideas to suit my own personal desires. I want to create a home that needs little maintenance in the short-term and the long-term. For instance, when looking at a strictly farmhouse style, though I love the look, often the spaces are filled up in every corner. Although they are filled with beautiful pieces, when I see this, all I can think about is having to dust all those items. Another thing I see, is how often a space is redecorated by people. Rather than continually changing the space to keep my interest; I would rather spend time creating a space that my family can enjoy for a long time without putting forth any more effort to change it.

For me, balance is a necessity in my minimalist journey. Balance between bringing in new and getting rid of the old. Balance between wanting to live in a beautiful space with my family and not spending all my time cleaning that space nor all my money decorating that space. I am working to find my balance but am very happy with the results so far.

The Day it Changed

The Day it Changed

 

Modern life is complex, challenging, cluttered. We live with more stimulation and information coming at us than we can handle – and it never stops coming. A few years ago I had an experience that forced me to realize that I wanted a simpler, slower life. At that time, I was working a job with 24-7 responsibility for several departments at the hospital. I rarely enjoyed my time at work, and usually left exhausted and frustrated.  Then, of course, when I wasn’t at work, the phone and email never stopped. Someone always needed something from me. Even the people I love the most felt like one more thing to do sometimes. 

On Labor Day morning 3 years ago, I went out for a long bike ride. It was a beautiful day and the ride was fabulous! I was about a mile from home, cruising at top speed down a steep hill, when I was clipped by a truck going by. Apparently, I did an end over end – I don’t remember any of it to this day. A kind lady driving behind me saw what happened and stopped to help and called 911. I have almost no memory of the ambulance ride or my time in the ER. Suffice it to say – I was “really jacked up” according to the provider who took care of me.

I spent 3 nights in the hospital with multiple injuries including a head injury, a broken collarbone and 6 broken ribs. But I was alive. I have never been more thankful because I could have died that day, and nearly did.

That brush with death or serious disability woke me up to the fact that life is short. Any day could be the one that God calls me home. I began to question if the work I was doing and the way I was spending my time was any to live. I no longer wanted my work to consist of fighting with cranky and ungrateful physicians, nurses and administrators. I wondered if my work shouldn’t matter more to me and to the patients in my care. Yes – I am an RN by the way. Happy Nurse’s Week to all my fellow nurses!

One of the greatest lessons from the bike wreck was that no amount of money was worth the misery that my career had become. My husband and I decided that it was wise for me to go back to bedside nursing where I could take great care of my patients at work, and then go home and be done. Yes, it was a big cut in salary. I have never regretted it for a moment.

What I learned is I was spending huge amounts of my huge salary on stuff in an effort to calm my frantic, exhausted heart. The UPS guy and an Amazon box waiting on the porch were the best part of my day.

In the time since the wreck, I have been practicing simplicity more and more. I knew that it would be necessary to be frugal, spend less and find contentment in people and love instead of in stuff. And what a joyful relief it has been. Where I used to buy toys and stuff for the grandkids, now, I spend time with them. Where I used to race around exhausted, now I have time to read, think, pray, study the Bible and teach others.

Money or joy? I’ll take joy. The old saying money can’t buy happiness is true. The Bible says  “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Heb 13:5”

Contentment with less stuff is easy when you see what life is really all about. It’s simple. Love.