Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Lately, the simplicity of minimalism has been really appealing to me. I think my work already leans towards this ideal, with its often colourful images on simple, plain white backgrounds, but right now I'm talking about minimalism in the home: the alluring idea of living a clutter-free life. There are so many reasons this appeals to me:
1. I struggle hugely with commercialism; I buy and I buy and I buy, and most of the time I don't stop to think about it - it's so easy, but there's always that thought, do I need this? The answer is of course, no, probably not. If you read Matt Haig's Notes on a Nervous Planet, he equates 'want' to something missing: if you want something, it is because you believe, for whatever reason, that you lack it in your life. But do we really lack the things that are so often advertised? I have a safe home, people I love, my freedom, my health, an education behind me - I lack nothing that is not actually important. I also watched an Amazon Prime documentary recently called Generation Wealth. In it, someone who was once rich and had (what we perceive as) everything says 'If you believe that money will solve all of your problems, then you have never had money'. To steal another of Matt Haig's arguments: the point of advertising is to make you fear that you are somehow less without what they are selling. What appeals to me about minimalism is that you have to curate your life. Each object brought into your home is carefully considered. In the words of William Morris:
2. I believe minimalism goes hand in hand with sustainability. The first example that springs to mind also solves the commercialism question. Under my sink I used to have a cleaner for everything: the kitchen, the bathroom, the worktops, the oven, on and on and on. Then, one week, I was watching Kate Arnell on her channel EcoBoost over on Youtube, and she spoke about the fact she only uses one cleaner for everything - and it's homemade. Ever since then I have not been replacing my many, many cleaners when they run out, and I have instead bought one cleaning agent (I haven't yet quite made the jump to homemade) called Bio D. This now cleans almost everything in my home, is harmless to the environment, hypoallergenic and uses far, far less plastic. If making your own cleaning stuff seems like a mammoth task when you're just starting out on a more minimal, zero-waste lifestyle, then I recommend checking out one of the many new, ethical cleaning brands springing up all the time, and using just one spray for everything. It also helped me in the bathroom: I've cut everything down to just the essentials. After going no-poo (which didn't work for me in the long run), I discovered that I could go much longer between hair washes, and if I used just a little bit of argan oil once a week, I could go without conditioner too. Make-up wise I only use mascara now, thanks to minimising my beauty routine, but if you want plastic-free, ethical make-up tips, try the awesome Beauty By Tahira or shop on acalaonline.com. The result of all of it is that, when you look at my side of the shower, I have a stainless steel razor and a box of beauty kubes with no plastic in sight. When you look on my boyfriend's side, he's got 5 different lotions and potions all wrapped in plastic, not including the other 4 he has out on the shelf above the sink. Needless to say, it makes me happy when I look at my side.
3. My last reason is that I am a very anxious person, a worrier of epic proportions, I have nightmares every. single. night. without fail. My brain will not shut off or shut up. It's constant. I no longer watch the news because it makes everything worse, I moved out into the country because London was just so full of noise. Today we get information and distraction from every single corner of our lives. The world is getting busier, more cluttered. Does it make sense then that our homes should be clutter-free? Be beautiful. In the words of Marie Kondo in The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, does it make more sense for our homes to 'spark joy', instead of worry? According to Psychology Today it certainly does, minimalism can reduce anxiety and keep our mental energy levels up. Although, to make it clear, it won't work for everyone. There is certainly no cure-all for mental health issues. However, for me, this may work: I love to be organised, as an artist I love looking at things that I think are beautiful; the idea of curating my home has a strong pull for me and I don't think I can ignore it.
In short, I'm jumping on the minimalism bandwagon for as long as I feel comfortable on it. I shall keep you posted.