4 Reasons Why Minimalism And Creativity Go Hand in Hand (Even if You Don’t Come By it Naturally)
By: Olivia Youngs
Simplicity isn’t always second nature for creatives. More often than not, we’ve got a million ideas swimming through our minds, a thousand lists we’re working through, and a treasure trove of unfinished projects cluttering up our workspace. Some of us are organized by nature, but I’ve found that by and large, people who think creatively tend towards disorganization and clutter, not just in their work, but in all of life in general.
But just because something doesn’t come naturally doesn’t mean it isn’t good — useful even — right?
Clutter is (or I should say, “was”) my middle name. I’m a writer, crafter, musician, clothes lover, and now, mom of two toddlers. So to say my life tends towards cleanliness is like saying that coffee puts you to sleep — it’s just not true. Despite my natural affinity towards messiness, I’ve found a love for, or better put, a need for minimalism and simple living to help me stay organized, narrow down the essentials, and reinvigorate my passion for creative living.
Whether you bristle at the word “structure”, or you chose it as your word for the year, there’s an amazing transformation that happens when people choose to intentionally simplify their lives. It allows you to better focus on what you make, write, play, or create, and (I would argue) live life to the fullest while you’re at it.
Here are my top reasons why I believe creatives benefit from minimalism even more than those who come by it naturally.
1. Minimalism teaches you to say no
Whether it’s an invite to a party or a project you’ve been debating on starting, learning how and when to say no can be tricky. Some of us worry about letting other people down, while others simply like the feeling of being busy or having lots of things going on at once.
However, staying busy for the sake of staying busy isn’t healthy or productive.
If you tend to overcommit yourself, minimalism can be the conduit towards simplifying your schedule or to-do list. Learning when to slow down is key for a minimalist — you need to focus on self-care and your responsibilities first and foremost, and anything that will distract you from that can be a “no.”
2. Minimalism creates space for you to excel at what you do
Much like learning to say no, simplifying your life gives you the physical and mental space to pursue your passion. If you’re an artist, simplifying your excess possessions, working to organize your studio, and intentionally giving yourself time to create will make you a better artist. The same is true whether you’re a writer, dancer, musician, hand-letterer or any other type of creative — simplifying each aspect of your life will create more space for you to do what you love.
3. Minimalism is counter cultural
Creatives have a penchant for going against the grain. Whether you use art to give a voice to your convictions or experiences, or just as an outlet to express yourself, creativity encourages a lifestyle where people think for themselves and don’t necessarily “go with the flow”.
Minimalism does the same thing. We live in a culture that pushes people towards a “more mindset”. We’re told we need more, more, more and better, better, better until we’re living in a house packed with clutter, a closet full of clothes we never wear, and a schedule that has no room to breathe. Simplifying your life, on the other hand, goes against the norm by teaching us to question the definition of “essential” and limiting your purchases, activities, and possessions to only those you really love.
4. Minimalism helps you de-clutter your passions and your stuff
On a very practical level, minimalism is extremely helpful for people who tend towards clutter, be it through a capsule wardrobe, or a room by room detox. Limiting your possessions can lead to less stress and less to do (ie. less time spent worrying about your outfit for the day and less clean up time at the end of the day).
Furthermore, minimalism helps the creative to prioritize their time — learning how to “monotask” instead of multitask will help you get abundantly more done. This is especially helpful for creatives who are multi-talented.
Minimalism, like anything worth doing, takes time. It’s a process to work through your belongings and passions, limiting them to the ones that are most necessary or fulfilling. But, after nearly three years of this lifestyle, I’m convinced that it goes hand in hand with living a creative life.
Bio: Olivia is the founder of Simply Liv & Co. , a website for minimalists, creatives, and anyone looking to live simply and intentionally. She’s passionate about “inspiring simplicity”, ethical fashion, de-cluttering, and good coffee. She lives with her husband and two toddlers in a small midwestern town, but her heart belongs in the mountains of Colorado.
Connect more: Instagram: @simplylivandco
Join the Facebook group: Inspiring Simplicity