How would your life change if you had only what you needed and loved in your space? Embracing simplicity is a way of regaining control over habits that don't serve you in a positive way. What it means and how to choose to approach it is a completely up to you.
You love the idea of a bread maker but haven't bought flour in a year
Sure you like the idea of baking warm loaves of bread for your fiancé, but the truth is you know that you're never going to bake that bread, let alone buy the flour to make it. Sometimes we hang onto things because there's a part of us that wishes we were were different...but we know that we're not...and that's Ok!
Often "lifestyle symbols" that we hang onto emotionally can trigger us in small but powerful ways, making us feel guilty, sad or disappointed, even if for a moment, because you're not living some fantasy version of yourself.
Now imagine if there's 10, 20 or 30 items around the house that make you feel that way. Why spend your life wishing you were someone else when you can let go of what's not and focus on being more you.
The takeaway - get rid of the crap you don't need because if it's not clogging up your closets, it's messing with your head.
Listen to what's calling you set your own trends
For some weird reason I find myself googling "how to be absolutely fabulous". Other than a bunch of links to Absolutely Fabulous, I recognize that there is something inside of me attracted to quiet glamour, femininity and fabulousness.
Any hints, interests or attraction that consistently repeat in your life is your inner stylist knocking on your door. If you're in the camp of folks that say "I don't know what my style is" or "I'm so not creative", start to notice what continually interests you. This will serve as a foundation to developing a personal style which will guide you in making solid design choices.
Make a list of words that really resonate with you and then see how you can translate them through design (ie. fabulousness = drama (long silk curtains, a fancy chair, fresh flowers, large scale art, chandeliers etc).
The takeaway - tune in to you, what words, feelings, emotions are you attracted to? What do you google? These words describe your style and your inner style-setter is dying for you to listen.
If the French are snooty, maybe they have good reason to be
While it doesn't always ring true the French have built up quite a reputation for being known for their chic fashion sense & lifestyle. You'd never think Parisian and equate it to someone lounging on the sofa all day in ripped sweatpants, downing a bag of greasy potato chips. And while this post is aimed at connecting you with your values, we can learn from the French by embracing their quality over quantity credo.
Whether that's buying a high quality rug (I learned this lesson the hard way), the sofa that you really love or statement bag, investing in a few well-made pieces and resisting their lessor counterparts is one of the most gratifying elements of living simply. This does not mean that everything has to be high-end - but a lovingly assembled home with some well thought out splurges lends to a home you'll likely be more happy with over time.
There's also an effortlessness that the French exude which makes their style so aspirational - it comes from an authentic place not from one trying to impress or one up the Joneses.
Takeway - Buy better quality pieces but shop less often. Don't try to impress others - it reeks of effort. Don't wear sweatpants (ripped or otherwise).
Simplicity is not about achieving perfection because perfectionism is boring and it doesn't really exist. Embracing simplicity at home and in life frees you up to actually experience more of what brings you joy. And when you follow your vision and connect with your personal style, nothing could be more perfect than that.
The above image is from one of the first design books I bought way back when and I've spent countless occasions pouring over it. At the time I didn't realize that the beauty of simplicity was calling me: The Comforts of Home by Atlanta Bartlett