Tag Archives: minimalism

How the Library Changed My Life: Minimalism

Have you been stuck at home, social distancing from people, when you come to realize that your space is crammed with stuff? Is there a lingering feeling that your surroundings are breaching your space? Are you overwhelmed with an abundance of thoughts that leads to a lack of focus? Perhaps you’ve never really paid attention to your living space until now because of time, energy or alternative priorities? Since a lot of us are confined to our homes for the next little while, you might have become more conscious of how many things you own. You might have also noticed how much money you are saving now that most shops are closed! Our self-isolation has a positive side: we have ample time to reconsider our daily lives and the actions that we might not have scrutinized before because of a distracting and consuming world we inhabit. Since life has slowed down considerably, and in perfect time for spring cleaning, now is a good time to explore why I became a minimalist and why you might want to flirt with the idea too.

Minimalism has a long history that entails art, philosophy, and religion, but for our sake, I’m referring to minimalism as the cultural practice of owning less. Minimalism has been in the zeitgeist for a couple of years now: the centripedal force that has drawn in most to this cultural explosion is cleaning guru Marie Kondo. Her best-selling books—that we have on Hoopla and Overdrive—as well as her Netflix show have solidified her presence in many people’s (cleaner) lives. I first started on my minimalist journey in the summer of 2017 when I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up after a patron called the library and ask me to put it on hold for them. I’ve been collecting video games (I had over 500) and books (I had 7 book shelves) for years. However, even in the fleeting ecstasy of obtaining a new game or book, I always had a nagging feeling that I’d never hit the end point of satisfaction: an event horizon that was always buried by the increasingly growing pile of unplayed games and unread books. Her methodology promotes keeping only things that “spark joy” in your life. I devoured her debut book in a day and then that weekend I went through my possessions, in “KonMari” style, and excised two giant bags of recycling (why was I keeping boxes for stuff that I bought?!) and one large bag of clothes for donation. I finally honed my “spark joy” radar! Continue reading

Home in the Time of Quarantine

Remodelista: The Organized Home - Workman PublishingHow does the design of your home make you feel? If you’re typically someone who is rarely home, maybe spending most of your time there asleep, you may not have ever given it much thought. If you’re a homebody and maximize your time there, you’re probably at least unconsciously aware of the effects interior decorating can have on your psyche. There have been plenty of studies on the effects of beauty and aesthetics on the human mind. So since we’re all stuck looking at our own walls 24 hours a day, now is the perfect time to reconsider how our decorating decisions make us feel.  

Ever since Netflix released a televised version of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the push towards minimalism has been unavoidable. Remember all the jokes about “sparking joy”? But the value in minimalism goes beyond trendy platitudes. It goes hand in hand with another very trendy buzzword, mindfulness. Put together, these lifestyles are meant to promote mental clarity and reduce stress. Think about how much better you feel being in a freshly cleaned and decluttered space. It’s not a coincidence! Luckily, since this trend blew up, there are tons of e-resources for checkout on Hoopla and Overdrive, from Kondo’s seminal series to The Minimalist HomeFor very hands-on, practical advice, books like Remodelista are packed full of useful tips, from creative storage solutions and one of my favouritesuper simple but surprisingly ignored ideas: hide your cords! It’s incredible how such a small change can make such a big difference in your home. These e-books usually come with the same photos you’d find in the print versions, and honestly sometimes just looking at photos of beautifully organized homes is enough to get inspired (if you have a Pinterest board related to decorating, you know what I mean). Oh, and since books on minimalism are quite popular and tend to be checked out, a reminder: with your VPL card, you can also access Markham and Richmond Hill’s Overdrive library! Between the three, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for. 

Continue reading