i can never be a minimalist–and that's okay

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


We all want to live in that clean, all-white, perfect, minimalistic dream home with two well-mannered kids and beautiful, Insta-worthy breakfasts in bed with our partner every Sunday morning. We owe this to "dream home" Pinterest boards and ~aesthetic~ Instagram feeds. The "goals" of millennials; wooden drawers, rose gold furnishings, excessive natural light, and a copy of Kinfolk sitting ever so gracefully on a posh, all-white, Ikea-grade coffee table.

When I first moved into my apartment, this idea was etched into my head. My home is going to be well-lit and spotless and look good from every angle, and I'm going to love it. I'll take all the blogger-esque photos I want in it. Just a few hand-selected pieces of decoration, and the rest will be ~clean and minimal~. 

That being said, here I am, in my seventh month of living here, with just two words for you – constant cleaning.

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Hi lifestyle bloggers, I know we're all about inspiring others by staying "true" to our readers, but what's the deal with this standard of keeping everything we own to be Insta-worthy? Our wardrobes, our homes, our outfits, our workspaces. Do we all have to be minimalists?

If that's the case, then I'll just be one of those who fall short.

I'm a tidy person in general; I'm not saying the small messes of my apartment is so unmanageable that it's turned into a shipwreck. I still vacuum regularly, organize my books, and trust me–dry stains by the kitchen sink still make me anxious if I don't wipe them clean. My mother raised me well.

But after months of trying to maintain it, I've come to realize that it's unrealistic to think I can ever turn my home into an Ikea catalog. At least for any longer than an afternoon.

I take full ownership of a study desk cluttered with scrap paper and opened notebooks. Of a chair topped with a pile of clothes too clean for the laundry and too worn for the wardrobe. Of a collage of fruit stickers I've created on the kitchen wall.

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I can't be a minimalist; I hoard memories.

Lifestyle bloggers tend to worship the act of decluttering, but here I am, a meticulous, obsessive little perfectionist, declaring: I don't always hate clutter. Sure, I'd love to keep my apartment free from the stuff I don't need, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I love hoarding Christmas cards and birthday notes. Creating my own tiny bits of "souvenirs" like plane tickets with a faded print, short handwritten letters, or even receipts kept from a memorable day. It forms clutter and messy piles of unevenly sized pieces of paper and cards, some with slightly torn edges, some folded and creased, some with ribbons still taped to them. But I can never have the heart to throw any of these away. So instead, I call it the type of clutter I love to keep.

I can't be a minimalist; I have too many hobbies.

When it comes to hobbies, I'm an incurable jack-of-all-trades. Be it reading, drawing, ukulele-playing, journaling, or eating half a bag of cookies while watching a Gilmore Girls episode, hobbies always translates to how a bedroom is kept. Minimalism sounds exquisite, but the truth is some nights my table resembles a paper explosion and when I wake up only 40 minutes before class starts I surely couldn't find the time to wipe everything clean and achieve a Scandinavian-standard workspace. In the face of doing what I love, tidiness is a very easy thing to sacrifice.

And don't get me started on books. I have eight different notebooks, each serving different purposes and each most compatible with different sets of pens. I have a book which is ghastly red and two Bibles thick. Bloggers nowadays are either really good at collecting books that aesthetically go very well with the rest of their interior design, or have an endless supply of props and switch them around until their novels match their coffee tables. I don't buy it. Posh magazines and architecture books subtly decorating their tabletops, a Penguin book to perfectly complement the nightstand, a copy of Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" in the living room that suits their Persian rug. What gives?

I can't be a minimalist; I'm a design student.

With cutting mats and trimming tools and the different-coloured items I bought just to "experiment with an idea", the volume of mess in my apartment is a clear indication of what phase my project is currently at and how much effort I'm actually putting into it. Overall, being a design student, for me, means that I see every item I obtain as potential art material, purchased or otherwise. A rubber band? Some boring sheets of scrap paper? A nice paper bag? Into the art drawer they go. This behaviour might sound stingy, but having a stash of these items to be reused is infinitely better than spending $20 at Eckersley's every Thursday. Lastly, in my perfectly rational and honest defense, I'm probably saving the planet.

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Room decorating is fun, and yes, I'm just as in love with those Pinterest boards as you are. But hey bloggers, let's give ourselves a little breathing room. Show what our homes actually look like, for a change. We can't all rid our homes of any signs of emotion and warm sentiments, right?

This is a reminder that you don't have to join the minimalist bandwagon if it's not something you can sustain. You can ditch the trend if you like living among stuff. Make clutter your roommate. Let your home exude parts of your personality that you couldn't carry out the door. Let people come in and see your messy corners. Let it unapologetically show a glimpse of who you are.

Isn't that what a home should be?

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Cheers to living alone and being real,











5 comments

  1. Ooh this was such a good read. I love to hoard memories too and I'm completely unapologetic about that haha. I do admire minimalism but I've decided that I'll just incorporate it in certain areas of my life/home. I definitely can't go the whole hog. Great post! xx
    Coco Bella Blog

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  2. This is the best blog post that I've read in the longest time.

    I've tried so hard to be a minimalistic blogger, to have the perfect tidy, aesthetic room. But it's just not feasible. I hoard memories like nobody's business, and I constantly have projects lying about. And honestly, I think that's okay. Thank you for this lovely post, dear. <3

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    1. Grace, your comments are so kind! Thank you for reading and for resonating with what I say. <3

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  3. This post was amazing!!!! I totally related. I wanted to make a video for the past few days but I was ashamed of my non-minimalistic room that all the fancy YouTubers have. Ya know, the white walls, white sheets, fluffy white (or gold) pillows . . . oh and can't forget the fairy lights! But then I was like hey--ya know what, this is me. Why join the bandwagon? My room is bright pink and has been since I was 13. I hate pink, but ya know what: my mom bought all this stuff for me and carefully matched it because she loves me so I should be grateful. And hey, I've totally made the space my own (yes, I collect all the birthday cards and receipts from fun outings with friends and pieces of ribbon from some activity, etc.). And who cares about choosing one thing to do for life. I have so many interests; I wish I could major in all the things at college haha!! Thanks for this. Really spoke to me.

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    1. Yaass own it girl! Hahah I'm so glad this spoke to you, thanks for reading! xx

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