There has been a lot of talk in the interior design world about maximalism being “in” and minimalism being “out.” From what I’ve seen, the maximalism trend harkens back to the décor of the 1990s. It seems to be about mixing patterns – and a lot of them – in one space. Even though this is not my preferred aesthetic, creating a space with lots of visual interest could be fun. So, instead of creating a home environment with less, create one with more. I’m not sure I could do it, but I certainly would like to try.
After 20 years of helping clients declutter, downsize, organize their lives and design their spaces for practical storage and function, I have become more inclined towards minimalism. If you don’t downsize belongings, you have more to organize, and keeping your home organized takes exponentially more effort. As Professional Organizers, our job is to help our clients find their sweet spot – not too much, not too little.
I think part of the struggle is the word minimalism itself. It can indicate unrealistic expectations of living with nothing. And that’s not that much fun. In fact, it’s probably not achievable for most of us, me included. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get rid of almost everything I own. We all want (and need) things that serve a purpose, look beautiful, bring us joy, or all three.
Embracing a minimalist existence can make life easier, less expensive, and most certainly reduce the consumption of resources. When you consider that our purchasing habits contribute to global warming, minimalism can be a good thing. However, our disposal habits also affect the environment. While I am completely in favour of letting go of something old when you buy something new, what you dispose of must go somewhere.
I understand that letting go of stuff isn’t for everyone. I certainly wouldn’t dream of pushing anyone beyond their comfort level unless they asked me to. If a maximalist existence appeals to you, go for it. If you are happy and your home is functional, who am I to say you should change? Keep the things you love and make a place for them so you know where to find them. Maximalism could be right for you if you enjoy sorting, labelling and organizing your belongings.
If having lots of patterns and textures in your home makes you happy, then do it. But do me a favour first. If you have a collection of artwork, please hang it up. Don’t store it in the attic or basement; enjoy it! And if you have collectibles and memorabilia, put them on display. Otherwise, there is no point in keeping all that stuff. Clients often tell me how vital it is to hold on to those items, yet they are shoved away, often getting damaged or completely forgotten. Take care of your things and enjoy them if they are truly important to you.
The constant pressure to live with less can be just as daunting as the pressure to buy more. However, there is a state of equilibrium where everything feels just right, in balance, and manageable. The trick is finding your equilibrium. Ask yourself if everything in your home is there because you want or need it to be there. We each have a different threshold for how much stuff we can successfully manage. Some super-organized people have lots of belongings and like organizing their homes. Others will reduce their possessions to spend more time doing other things. For example, although I love organizing, I also like hanging out with friends, enjoying a good concert, and travelling much more than staying home and organizing my stuff. That’s why I tend towards the minimalist side of the spectrum.
Whether you lean towards minimalism or maximalism, the key is finding an equilibrium that aligns with your values and comfort level. Being intentional about the items you keep in your space will help you find the sweet spot and create a home environment that reflects your individuality. And I’d love to help you get there. Feel free to reach out and book a consultation.