Furnishing an apartment as a minimalist

Moving is never easy and can be overwhelming sometimes; especially, when changing regions. My husband and I currently live in a furnished rental apartment with our baby hamster Ella. The few furniture pieces that we own include: Ella’s 43 by 163cm detolf cage, a shoe cabinet, a mirror, a TV, and a clothing stand. It is safe to say that we don’t own much and need to start from scratch.

Before going on a shopping spree though, we decided to list down all the furniture pieces that were essential to the space, such as: a fridge, a washing machine, a stove, an oven, a vacuum cleaner, a dining table set, and a bed.

Other items include: utensils, trash cans, and linens.

We decided not to buy anymore items before having lived in the new apartment in order to properly identify functional pieces that adapted to the space.

Minimalism doesn’t mean discomfort; it simply means being thoughtful about each item and avoiding compulsive shopping. It means being comfortable in an empty space without having the urge to fill it up. It means appreciating every single item that you own.

Your look, your atmosphere

After assessing your space and listing down your essential items; the next thing to do is to define your look. Deciding on a color palette and an interior design style is essential in order to avoid buying the wrong items.

For instance, the feel and look that my husband and I are going for is a mixture of minimal, clean, and Scandinavian. We would like our home to reflect my appreciation for nature and my husband’s desire for a clean and modern look.

With that into account, we decided to integrate wood (bamboo or plywood) and plants into our space and have modern furniture pieces. In addition, all of the items that we’re going to buy will have a neutral color palette, be flexible, and preferably, serve more than one purpose.

The message I’m trying to send is: have a clear idea of what you want first, then shop.

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Experience more by owning less

I looked for happiness in things only to lose my sanity in the process

For my husband and I, 2020 is the year of transition; we spent most of it moving in and out of apartments and are still doing so up to this day. Weighed down by our current circumstances, we questioned our values, identified what was important to us, and realized that downsizing was the only way go.

Fast forward to today, we are minimalists in transition enjoying a rich life with less.

Don’t get the wrong idea though, I’m not trying to paint you a rosy picture where minimalism is the best lifestyle out there. I just want to briefly share how I got into minimalism and why it makes sense to me, in hopes that you may find value in my journey.

To give you more clarity, minimalism is a lifestyle, a movement, or a “tool to freedom” according to the Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. In their own words, they say:

“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom…”

Simply put, I would define minimalism as:

the choice to live life intentionally, without distractions, in order to have more time, energy, money, and space for who/what really matters.

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New leaf 2.0

All they wanted for me was to be mindful and conscious of the present moment. 

I remember the last heart-to-heart conversation I had with my uncle like it was yesterday. It was the three of us: my dad, my uncle, and I; chilling on the dinning table, finishing off dinner. I was listening in while my uncle and dad were reminiscing the good old days, just like two childhood bestfriends. Somehow, the conversation was switched to me. The topic was ambition; my ambition, to be precise. 

Rewinding back time, at that precise moment, I was a single 26 year old engineer with a stable situation in Europe. You can say, somehow, I was considered to be successful back home. However, both, my uncle and dad were shocked by my lack of ambition; they were really curious as to why I didn’t care about climbing the corporate ladder. My uncle was concerned that I was trusting my “self limiting beliefs” to be true. My dad expressed his concern as well. 

I reassured both my dad and uncle by telling them that the problem wasn’t my ambition; but rather, the ambiguity of my next steps. Slightly reassured by my vague reply, the conversation was switched back to the good old days and again, I became the active listener I usually am when my favorite people tell stories. 

Fast-forward two years later, after replaying the conversation several times in my mind, I realized that the key takeaways were mindfulness and that the definition of ambition is different for everyone. 

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