Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the renowned architect and designer said it best: “Less is More”. Most of you will have heard of “new” minimalist movements, where people live with just the necessities and precious little else. Essentially, living this clutter-free lifestyle is a streamlined way to help you find purpose and be grateful for what you have, whilst giving you room to be creative. I’ll let you into a little secret, this “new” movement, isn’t new at all. In fact, the idea of designing your life, with a goal of simplicity, has been around for a long time.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the greatest architects of the 21st century and also one of the directors of the Bauhaus School in Germany. The Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and in it’s 20 or so years of existence fostered the idea of modernism, which is a cultural movement stemming from the art of design and architecture. Its origins go back as early as the 1880s and designs from Gropius and the Bauhaus were, in their radically simplified form for the functionality and the idea that mass production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit. Innovative and practical designs in commonplace objects. A balance of beauty and purpose, if you will. If it weren’t for my husband, I wouldn’t know where to begin living the lifestyle that we do now. I can’t take any credit for our furniture or the set up of our living space. Every item and every aspect of our daily lives, we ask ourselves, “Will it serve us a purpose?”. He’s the one that introduced me to the Bauhaus movement and living a lifestyle that is clutter-free and purposeful. I have to say that it has been extremely helpful to my anxiety, the way I process and prioritise information and for my creative thinking and I’m much more grateful for what I have. Also, it’s so much easier to clean a house that isn’t full of unnecessary items. The few things we do have, we make sure they’re high quality and will add value over time. The furniture we have is mostly of the Bauhaus designs. If you look around our apartment, you’d notice that the only thing on the walls are 3 identical, beautifully designed white Braun clocks and my make-up mirror. These items serve a specific purpose. In our sitting room there are two identical Wassily Chairs (model B3) designed in 1925 by Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus school. If you look at it, everything about it is very modern and so practical, yet the design is nearly 100 years old. It’s amazing to think about. My husband and I discuss and agree before purchasing anything but overall, since we buy quality over quantity, we save money in the long run and it’s a much more environmentally friendly way to live. Since we don’t have a ton of things, that means it’s much more practical living in a smaller space rather than a massive home which means cheaper living space and cheaper utility bills! We can save money on things that really matter to us like travelling and saving for future expenses. It could help release financial tension that families tend to be caught in nowadays. If I found myself living this lifestyle, anyone can! Start slowly by taking a full day of putting things you don’t use or find a purpose for in a pile. Go from room to room and look through EVERY item. Donate all the items you can to the nearest donation centre or to friends or family you know could use those items. If you hang on to things that you think you’re going to sell and you can’t sell it within two weeks, donate those as well. You’re helping the community while doing this too!! If you really want to change to this kind of lifestyle, this will be your first assignment. If you want freedom in your life, you have to have discipline. If it becomes difficult to let something go, just start saying to yourself, “Less is more.”