by Darnysha Nard, Staff Writer

In my quest to put off yet another paper, I recently watched a YouTube video on the minimalist lifestyle. In this video the woman informed viewers how to reorganize home décor in main living spaces. This woman had recently moved and purchased new furniture for her home. Most of her furniture has clean lines and neutral colors – very modern and minimalist. This is a style that I love to look at in magazines for inspiration, but I can never seem to implement it in my own life.

I was intrigued to watch the video. It was only five minutes long, but it was hard to finish. The woman was encouraging neutral colors, reducing clutter, storing things (all things), removing wall art and vibrant patterns. I cringed. I love all of these things. She encouraged viewers to not be afraid of a blank wall. She placed television remotes into storage ottomans; she did everything to make the space not look lived in. In that moment I realized that I am not a minimalist. I like colors. I like patterns. I like television, so I need my remotes to be visible. I do not have many pictures, so the ones I have on display mean a great deal to me. The smiling faces in the pictures, the cozy patterned blankets, the vials of perfumes, the half written-in journals strewn across my room all tell a story. They describe me and some of these things, if stitched together right, are part of the patchwork quilt that defines my life.

I realized that I am definitely not a minimalist. I love clutter. More specifically, I love my clutter. I love that I can tell where I have been and what I have been searching for based on what is thrown and scattered on my bedroom floor. It is all a process. For me, the process has not been an easy one but it has been full. Full of options, which is evident from the line of nail polishes I had to choose from earlier this week. Full of change, as shown through the weather and my having to switch from sandals to blanket scarves in a matter of days. Full of strength, as displayed by an empty coffee mug and a container of ibuprofen that I needed to get through a long day of classes and paper writing.

Though this approach does not work for everyone, it works for me.

I am not a minimalist. I live life fully and allow room for messiness. I am not discouraged by bright colors and bold patterns that do not match, instead I use them to inspire new ways of thinking and being in the world. I can still observe the minimalist design inspired home décor magazines while also recognizing that it is not for me personally – but I can learn from it. I can live in my process, my clutter, and apply some of what I learned from this YouTube video. So, I will continue to cozy up in my warm, patterned blankets, change my nail polish color often and embrace my newfound personality as a woman who loves clutter despite some mild minimalist tendencies.