We all like vacation. At least, I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t. Vacation is when we get to relax, unwind and have fun. We get to explore new places and experiences. Even if you stay home for a staycation, it’s nice to simply have the break from the workday.
One of the allures of vacation is empty spaces. Who doesn’t love a hotel room /Airbnb /other accommodation not your own home? Part of the love of hotel rooms come from the fact that they are practically a blank slate. A hotel room has the essentials – a bed, a bath, maybe a coffee maker. The only belongings you have in the hotel room to personalize it are those items that you really need for the length of your stay. That may be a bag of clothing and some toiletry items.
You drop your bag off at your hotel room and go out the door. You are free to explore without being weighed down by your earthly belongings. You feel free. Vacation is very enticing.
Minimalism allows us to create that same allure of vacation at home. You can curate your surroundings and your belongings to ensure that you are only surrounded by what you need and what you love. This is not to say that your walls should be barren and your cupboards empty. I’m just saying that if you get rid of the CLUTTER at home, you can capture that vacation feeling every day.
I say this, but even as a minimalist, I am not perfect. I have my weak spots. For me personally, the area of my home most likely to become cluttered, remain cluttered, and attract clutter quickly is my kitchen counter. They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and mine is command central. It’s always been that way for me.
When I was working on my degrees, the kitchen was where I would do all my schoolwork. It was where I would write my 20-page papers and where I wrote both my masters’ thesis. My kitchen table is where I wrote my first novella and continue working on my second. I often put things on my kitchen counter that are in “transition.” For example, if I plan to make zucchini bread in the morning, I put all the ingredients on the kitchen counter the night before so everything is ready to go the next day.
It seems my kitchen counter is always in use. There is always something on it. It is always cluttered.
Last week I had a plumbing emergency in my kitchen that necessitated me completely emptying my kitchen counter. The experience was mind blowing. It took emptying the kitchen counter for me to realize just how much clutter was on the counter.
Once the plumbing issue was fixed, I did not want to return to the cluttered kitchen counter that had existed before the plumbing emergency. I was much more mindful of what I put back on the kitchen counter.
If it did not need to be on the kitchen counter, I set it aside. I have an entire basket of items that used to be on my kitchen counter that now need to be relocated. I do not want my kitchen counters to reach that level of clutter again.
They say when trying to declutter you should completely empty a space and then only put back what you absolutely need or love. It definitely works. I did not fully realize how absolutely cluttered my kitchen counters were until I completely emptied them.
If you are stuck in a rut on your minimalist journey, I highly recommend completely emptying a space. Only put things back that you need or truly love. All the things that don’t make the cut need to either leave or find a new place within your home.
The allure of vacation is that we get to stay in an uncluttered hotel room. You can capture the vacation feeling at home by reducing your clutter. It does not mean nothing. It means curating your space mindfully.