Make Your Minimalist Home A Retreat

This is my kitchen in Oklahoma after we moved in. Our home didn't become a retreat until we discussed what we needed most accessible and set those items out.

If you catch the minimalism bug, you’ll find yourself looking at every aspect of your life to make strategic changes.  But one day you might wake up (like I did) and realize the quality of “home” has exited through the back door.  Don’t lose the joy of having your home be a retreat for you and your family.

What happened?  Much of the fault was mine.  I am gifted at activating on ideas or goals, but when I kick things into over-drive I lose sight of assessing how things are going and whether I should shift to a lower gear.  This trait has come in handy many times, but in this case I took off too quickly and had gone past the point of helpfulness.  Our home was tidy but not  a retreat.  It was no longer comfortable.

To give you a real life example, let it be known that I value having clear countertops in my kitchen. When we moved into our most recent home last month, I was content having a simpler setup.  Yet it didn’t feel like a retreat when I came home from work. I also truly value having the appliances our family uses daily easily accessible as well as having a bowl of fruit out for handy snacks.  As a result, I’ve made those additions to our countertops since this photo was taken a few weeks back. Everyone wins, and our home doesn’t wind up feeling more livable.

Here are some ways you can prevent making this mistake:

  • Place items you’re considering giving away in an out of sight location for a week to see whether its absence positively or negatively affects your environment.
  • Am I letting having a tidy home get in the way of relational activities that I value?
  • Ask: When I come home, does the house feel welcoming or empty to me?
  • Ask your family for feedback on the new arrangement after you move items out of sight.  Does it feel relaxing?  What could provide a greater sense of enjoyment for you at home?
  • Process this comparison: Is this space peaceful?  Or is it sparse?  (There’s a big difference.)

An under-decorated room is like a face without eyebrows.  Don’t go so far in cutting clutter that you lose the comfort your home is meant to provide you. Give yourself the time to adjust things until your minimalist home is clutter-free and still a retreat. I don’t believe there’s a formula for knowing if you can declutter more or if things are too sparse, rather it takes some observation and processing.  If you notice that the rooms don’t have life to them, you might take a few steps back.

Have you ever gone so far in creating a minimalist home so much so that it was no longer a retreat?


2 Responses to “Make Your Minimalist Home A Retreat”

  1. Bryan Entzminger (@bdentzy) August 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Great ideas for transitioning to a more minimal lifestyle in a controlled manner. I especially like the idea of moving things that you’re thinking of getting rid of first to see if they really do negatively impact your life.

    • Dana Byers August 29, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks, Bryan! I find I’m too easily caught up in the moment sometimes and tend to overdo change. So choosing to make the adjustment temporarily gives us all the freedom to experience the change without having a permanent decision. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)

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