I have some exciting news to share with you, friends: we’re downsizing! I mentioned on the blog earlier this year that we had decided to not renew the lease of the unit we have lived in for the last two years, and the time has now come for my husband and I to create a new minimalist sanctuary for ourselves.
When we first moved to our current two-bedroom unit, our biggest priority was price. Our financial situation was not great, so we basically wanted something affordable that we could actually be approved for; size and design were not really on the cards. Minimalism was also not really on my radar at that time. Around the time we moved in here was when my impetus to declutter really kicked off, probably in part because I saw the second bedroom of our unit full of boxes of my stuff, and the sheer quantity of it freaked me out.
Now two years later, things are vastly different. We’re in a more stable situation job-wise, so we have better locations within the city available to us. But most of all, what has changed is that minimalism is now one of the deciding factors – if not the deciding factor – in making our choice for a new place to call home. We decided that we no longer want to live in a large space that we can’t fill with the possessions we don’t have. That’s why we have decided on a wonderful, modern little apartment that is significantly smaller than our current place and will be so much more snug now that we don’t have all those pesky things to store and maintain. I’m overjoyed!
We move out in about a week from now, so in the meantime I thought it might be interesting to share with you four things I’ve learnt so far from the house hunting/moving process (even without having moved anywhere just yet!):
1. Australian housing is not designed for minimalists.
It didn’t take me long to figure this one out. When I started searching online for rental properties in our preferred neighbourhoods, I restricted the search results to one-bedroom properties only and not much came up at all. Just out of curiosity, I tried widening the search to include two bedrooms and found a smorgasbord of options available. Population density in a large city like Brisbane is obviously relatively high, but here the norm is to have lots and lots of living space, so even apartments are designed to accommodate this standard.
2. Built-ins are a minimalist’s ultimate housing dream
Our apartment-to-be is the bomb when it comes to built-ins. The built-in wardrobes in the bedroom (including shelves – excellent for smaller items, hurrah!) mean we can get rid of our bedside table and set of drawers we currently have in our bedroom, and the mirrors on the sliding wardrobe doors mean that we can get rid of our full-length mirror. In the kitchen there’s even a built-in microwave (I didn’t know that was a thing before now), so we’ll be parting with ours before the moving date as well. One thing is for sure: now that I’ve seen the value of built-ins and how helpful they are in maintaining a minimalist living space, I’ll never look back!
3. My minimalist aesthetic has changed lately
The lovely Britt over at Tiny Ambitions recently shared a very interesting podcast on minimalist aesthetics, Against ‘Minimalist’ Design. I couldn’t agree more with Britt that there shouldn’t be a ready-made template for minimalist design, since minimalism is all about what is important to us as individuals rather than following a predetermined path. While pondering minimalist design, I started thinking about what exactly my own design aesthetic is and I realised that it has changed a lot over the last few years. I used to to love living in places with very rustic-looking things like dark wooden floorboards, old furniture and decorative vintage knick-knacks. Now I think I am tending more towards sleek, semi-bare spaces, with natural, light colours – mainly white and light-coloured wood – which I realised when I went to inspect our new apartment for the first time and thought, wow, I can actually see myself living here. As I discussed recently on the blog, it’s ok to let go of who we used to be, so I decided that I would just roll with it and embrace this modernist-style minimalist living space.
4. Moving can create impetus for fresh bouts of decluttering
Until now I hadn’t seen all our stuff packed up into boxes in a big pile for two whole years, and while the pile of boxes is significantly smaller this time around, it’s still, well…a big pile of boxes. Obviously decluttering has its limits – we still need a bed and pillows, a table, chairs, clothes, basic appliances and kitchenware – but it seemed that lots of little things started coming out of the woodwork and all of a sudden seemed very eligible contenders for a new donation pile. I reasoned that if I felt too lazy to pack an item up and haul it all the way it to our new place, I probably wasn’t all that attached to it after all.
What about you? What has moving house contributed to or taught you in your minimalist journey?