Minimalism – how much is enough?
Surviving with just the bare minimum is one of the last great challenges for our consumer-oriented society. This is a fact which is also illustrated by the comedy “100 Dinge” – or by an apartment that has plenty of room for personal development.
“Less is more” – originally, it was the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who coined the now famous phrase, which we are probably all tired of hearing by now. However, when it comes to this topic, there’s no escaping this motto, which the artist originally developed to explain his decision to dispense with ornamentation in favour of a more straightforward architecture. Dieter Rams, the legendary product designer for the Braun brand, was a kindred spirit. His motto was: “Less, but better.” This concept can be taken a step further, as demonstrated by an interpretation from a creative director from Japan, a country well known for appreciating a clear presentation, who simply stated: “Just enough.”
But what does that mean – how much is “just enough”? The best way to find the answer to that question is to first of all focus on cutting out everything, so that you can then concentrate on gradually rediscovering the value thereof. That is also the plot of the film “100 Dinge” with Matthias Schweighöfer and Florian David Fitz. Two friends, who are avid consumers, decide to store all of their possessions and to then reclaim just one piece every day. They experience, in addition to some situational comedy, how this changes the way that they view their own lives and this process ultimately transforms them from careless consumers into mindful minimalists. It’s an interesting process.
Five steps to minimalism
Now it is not necessary to take such drastic measures. But the underlying question here is quite interesting, namely “What do I really need to have a good life?” Those who would like to find out the answer and give minimalism a chance without doing anything drastic, can achieve this in five easy steps.
- Step: Tidying up
Eliminate the chaos, make sure that everything is neat and precisely where it belongs.
- Step: Decluttering
Are there pieces of clothing that you have not worn for the past two years, books you will never get around to reading again, pieces of furniture or decorative items that no longer enjoy, or perhaps even pictures and photos that you no longer pay attention to? Then it’s time to get rid of them – either by giving them to someone else, taking them to a recycling centre or putting them in the old clothes collection.
- Step: Pause
So how does it feel when you all of the sudden have so much room in your closet, on you shelves or even between the furniture? Awkwardly empty or surprisingly airy? Give yourself several days to let your new surroundings really sink in and to truly appreciate how much your own home has changed.
- Step: Creating even more space
So, it’s time for round two. Now all the things that made it through the first round of decluttering due to sentimental reasons will be banned from the apartment. Ultimately, this will be a tremendous relief.
- Step: Redesigning
Now you have the opportunity to create an entirely new atmosphere that has a great deal of space. The most important rules are – select puristically designed furnishings, and leave a lot of space on the floors and the walls.
And in an attempt to dispense with a popular misconception: An apartment that features a minimalist design definitely does not have to be unpleasant. Accents such as nice lighting, warm wall colours and exquisite furniture can create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere, with enough space to focus on pursuing goals such as self-reflection and personal development.