On Being a Minimalist and Still Enjoying a Cozy Home

by Lynda Houston

I've been reading a lot about minimalism, but as a middle-aged woman, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to connect with the minimalist websites and blogs emerging from a younger generation.

Don't get me wrong - I greatly admire the millennials and younger adults who are asking questions and making a

difference when it comes to environment and the pursuit of stuff. I realize many of them are also enjoying experiences rather than stuff anyway and that's always a good thing.

But for starters, what's with the minimalist photos? They're white. All white...with perhaps a fern leaf tossed in for 

color. It's crisp and clean, but makes me feel a little cold, especially during a wet and dreary Ohio Valley winter....

Three years ago, sudden life changes forced me to quickly downsize to a much smaller home. 

After years of collecting memories (aka stuff) from my three children, I had to purge many items and heavily edit anything possibly entering my little home. 

With less clutter came less stress, but with expanses of empty wall space. 

I love color, and coziness and comfort, regardless of the season, and I struggled with being a minimalist, yet still obtain the warmth I crave.

I think adding color and texture allows both, like this example below, which offers texture, warmth and color without the chaos: 

So, when it comes to enjoying a minimalist lifestyle, I say be bold with colors you love, and be stingy with needless stuff.

Here are some things that have helped add add warmth and coziness to my minimalist home:

*wall art and only the decor that I love (and that lasts)

*quilts and area rugs

*plants

*candles

*bowls 

Now, before I go shopping - especially at the mall - I make a list of exactly the items I need.  This makes the hunt more enjoyable and satisfying - and it's even more fun if I have to buy a gift.

I'll snap a few photos of a room or area of my home and use the photos to make sure a purchase is worth it.

If I feel the urge to buy for myself, I'll look for perhaps a new spice or sauce at the kitchen store, or a candle in a jar so I can reuse the jar.

I have learned though, that I can still be a minimalist while maintaining a cozy, functional home year-round.

What changes have you made to make minimalism work in your life? I'd love to hear your comments and ideas!