As we become more mindful of our possessions and reduce what we have, a natural change occurs within us. The mind becomes still and we begin to reflect. We live with an enhanced sense of purpose.
In the fifteenth century Leonardo Da Vinci famously stated ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ This perspective lends itself well to the concept of a simple home. The beauty of Da Vinci’s words is found in the realization that we already have the resources we need. Perfection is the result of less, but done well.
Why not remove till only quality remains? Consider a room with less furniture and clean walls, giving the eyes a chance to rest. All a bedroom really needs is a bed, perhaps a side table, a reading lamp, and a maybe a couple of stems in a vase. These items define the sole purpose of the room; to relax, and by extension, to sleep.
I also think that reducing man-made items helps in creating a cosy home. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool work to define our comfort in quiet neutral tones of beige, bone, grey, whites, and pale blue. Many an austere bathroom has been transformed by matching linen bath sheets, a simple hand towel, and a bunch of flowers.
This theory extends to the larger features of the home as well. Paired back wood, stone, leather, and natural fabrics tell the story of usage over time, becoming more beautiful with age. If in doubt, turn to nature.
I have found that natural materials are especially pertinent in smaller homes, where choosing wooden scrubbing brushes and brooms over their plastic counterparts means that each possession is beautiful enough to be left out on display when storage is limited.
Over time, getting back to the basics of living begins to influence other areas of our lives. We begin to eat whole foods from farmers markets and buy our pantry staples in glass jars at the bulk store. We turn to natural beauty products. Almond oil for the skin. Epsom salts to bathe and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Essential oils for all manner of ailments.
‘Less, but better’ can equally be applied to one’s work. We can focus on the more meaningful projects that are available to us. The ones with the greatest effect, and that bring the greatest pleasure.
To live a life with less is to live with more stillness, purpose, and in my experience, it is to live closer to nature.
Who knew that simply living with fewer things in the home would enable such an existence?