Growing up I always loved weekends at antique shops and swap meets; shuffling through the clutter to find something special with my $5.00 budget was soul-warming. When we would visit my grandmother in Oregon I loved to retreat to her tiny shuffled library at the top of the stairs, exploring the old photos and books while voices hummed down below. Today, Sam and I have treasure hunts when we visit his parent's home in Kansas; their upstairs is full of WWII artifacts, old books, family photos, and the entire wardrobe of his very stylish grandmother Margaret. These experiences I treasure more than the actual things that represent them, but the things still matter, they're pieces of history. I'm thankful that the antique seller, my grandmother and Sam's grandparents weren't minimalists. I'm thankful they lived their lives with a few too many things. These things can now be passed on, and will hopefully continue to be passed on as artifacts telling the stories of our history.
Our society places too much emphasis on buying stuff and too little emphasis on not buying stuff. But we can live beautiful lives, lives full of meaningful moments, lives free from anxiety, and still have overflowing bookshelves, too many towels, and a colorful, mismatched wardrobe. It's not the presence of things or the lack of things that brings peace; time spent minimizing what you have isn't life-giving, it's a fleeting emotion similar to the one you feel when you impulsively make a purchase. An organized closet does not guarantee that you'll have more time to clean or more time to take long walks. A well lived life is a life well lived. Our discontentment cannot be cured with minimalism. Keep your tea pot collection or give a few away, embrace the junk drawer(s) or clean them out, plant all the plants you love in your backyard to create that dreamy over-grown secret garden you've always wanted, or don't. Life is messy, and wild, and beautiful. Minimalism, maximalism, modernism, none of these labels can promise joy everlasting. Less is more, less is less, and more is more, but most importantly, God is good.
You may prefer the minimalist spaces to the left, or the more eclectic spaces on the right, or perhaps something in between. We all have our own style and our own idea of what "clutter" feels like and looks like. Some believe that a well organized, minimal space equates freedom. Others feel that too much organization and too little in a space creates a sterile and ironically restrictive environment. Most importantly, your home should be a home, your sanctuary, and representative of you and the stories you live. May you dwell in peace.