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  • Caitrin McElroy

Minimalism Monday | Decor

Have you ever thought about why you decorate your home?

I really hadn’t until Jonathan and I played the Minimalism Game; he mentioned the idea that people buy decor to represent what kind of person they are. In other words, if a stranger were to walk into your space, they could sum you up (on a surface level) based on the things you have in your home.

I thought the idea was so interesting. Jonathan had—we all have—bought little figurines, antiques, pieces of art, or tchotchkes thinking, “this is a representation of who I am.”

And put like that….I felt so silly for all the money I’d spent on stuff. Jonathan and I don’t really have people over to our place—ever—so I couldn’t help but wonder: what am I trying to prove by having all these knick-knacks? And who am I trying to express myself to?

Of course, we do purchase things that bring us joy, but the majority of my stuff has only brought inconsistent joy at best. For instance: my (now sold) collection of oddities. They were great conversation starters, like my taxidermy otter PB Potter the Otter, but their novelty faded and eventually collected dust. Even showing those things to new people for the first time became a routine, and I no longer found joy in sharing the things that had once made me so happy. “Ohhh yeah. That’s my otter,” I’d exhale, as if the effort of explaining was exhausting to me.

Why is that? How could something that had once excited me so much become a chore? I chock it up now to retail therapy. I saw a thing that I wanted, enjoyed the adrenaline that came with buying it, and relished in the attention my oddities garnered me and my Instagram account. But somewhere deep down, I did find the art of taxidermy very bizarre and very fascinating. What I needed to learn was that owning oddities did not supplement my fascination or interest in the peculiar. I gain more satisfaction from learning about new and strange things than I do having the same old thing sitting around my home.

Maybe you like collecting kitschy coffee mugs, but you like collecting them because you love the comfort of a warm cup of coffee. Maybe you like impulse buys at Target, but you go to Target with your friends and really just enjoy the experience of shopping with them. Whatever your thing is….dig deeper.

This week I urge you: think about the tangible things that come to mind when you think of the things that you love, the things that “define” you. Then take a step back and ask…what is it about this that brings me joy?

And then go do the thing that makes you happy—instead of consuming more of the stuff you think is making you happy.

Life shouldn’t collect dust.

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