Cozy Minimalism?



It's funny how our preferred style of decorating changes over time. 

What will not change is my happiness over the sight of a stack of unread books


In The Beginning...

When I started this blog in April 2009 (though of course I lost all the posts from 2009-2013), cozy to me meant every surface covered.

Evolving...

My decor style is constantly evolving.

And now cozy to me means something entirely different. 

It means space between things. 

I have realized that cozy doesn't have to mean every space is covered, and every nook has something in it. 

 
Why was I filling every nook and cranny? 

The Psychology Of Unhappiness...

Perhaps it was because when I started this blog, I lived in another state, and found myself in an entirely different state of mind.

I was unhappily married. And fun to me meant strolling the aisles of stores or thrift shops, and buying things to decorate my home.  

In between crying jags because I felt utterly trapped.

In so doing, I was trying to fill a vast void in my life. It was like throwing everything at a problem and hoping something would stick.

And, I see in retrospect, I was filling the landfill of my life with stuff I didn't need, and over time would not even want.

Moving To This Apartment...

When I moved here, and scaled down to a rented two bedroom house, I had purged and sold so much of what I owned before I crossed the state line. 

But in fact I still had tons of stuff. And I went about filling the little blue house with it. 

And then in April 2014 my permanently injured ankle from the double break in 2012 caused me to move here to this patio apartment. Where there would be no steps to hinder my going in and out and about. 

Purging Again... 

I had purged once again. Probably about 1/3 of my belongings.


Yet I still owned a lot of things. And had to find a place to put them.

I sit here now looking about me and I see things I purchased in the not so distant past, and some of it I still love. 

But much of it, I'm SO over. 

It struck my fancy. And now my fancy is wanting to delete it.  

Cozy Minimalism... 

I stumbled upon this phrase: Cozy Minimalist

And I decided to see if I could define it in my world.
 
Many bloggers choose a new word for the new year.

Mine this year will be a phrase: Cozy minimalism




I don't mean living in a home where rooms are almost bare. Because a room that is all but bare, to me, would be a room that appears to be unloved.

It will be a home, in my case an apartment, where things have been carefully edited to create an environment that gives me a sense of peace.


A Friend Drops By...

Yesterday Israel stopped by. I fixed him a cup of coffee. He was lucky that I was pausing in my rearrangement of the furniture, or the poor man would not have had a place to sit!

The surfaces were covered with things (and many still are) that I must decide what to do with. 

It looked like a wind blew through and there was no longer any order to things. It will take me days to achieve any form of order.

But we sat and chatted for about an hour and he filled me in on his life, which he stops here to do every week or so.

As we chatted, I could feel my eyes drifting about the room. Editing things in my mind. 

The dogs love Israel. And he played and played with them. So he did not notice. 

Hand Israel a hot cup of coffee and he is happy. 

Don't Rush Decisions...

I am not rushing where I put things. The surfaces still look pretty much like they did yesterday.

I am taking time to sit with my temporary decisions. 

Which, I've learned, is a good way to go about such things.



39 comments

  1. "Cozy Minimalism" I love it! And yes, it does not mean you cannot have a few pieces of eye candy around, which is what makes a home cozy. I think many of us are having the same inclinations.

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    1. Well it's something to work toward anyway.

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  2. I have been through all the purging and moving. Several times with being on and off the market. I did well with the furniture part. Not so much with the collections. Then I added to that with the little doll business.. Now way too much inventory. Half of which I want to keep. But I still have my tiny retail space and my etsy shop. But I do get where you have been and where you are. Except for your divorce, and I can't imagine going through that. Happy cozy Christmas.

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    1. This is why I don't want a retail space, etc. I would have a hard time giving things up I think!

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  3. Brenda, check out "A Joyful Cottage" blog. You will like it a lot.

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    1. Thanks, but I already know her. I'm constantly on the hunt for small space living or apartment blogs, of which there seem to be few.

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    1. Good, because when I don't have adequate photos, I use quotes!

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  5. Isn't it funny how we tend to go with 'retail therapy' when we are unhappy? I did the very same when I was married! I definitely need to purge some items in the new year - I have stacks of linens from years and years ago and for some reason I hold onto them....I always think they will be helpful for my daughters someday when they have a home and need curtains, sheets, etc. Sigh...I guess I'll be holding onto them a little longer!

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    1. I've given my youngest daughter lots of things. She has this huge house but doesn't like much in it. I tend to love the antique mall I think because no one bothers me. You go into a store, and of course, as they're told to do, the sales clerks kind of follow you around or ask about what you need.

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  6. Brenda, it is interesting how you keep downsizing yet keep purchasing "stuff". It is like your job is that of an interior decorator. Perhaps if you left your home more often to just go sit in a mall and "people watch" or go to McDonald's for a cup of coffee and sit and contemplate the sights and sounds there, you would be more relaxed and happy with your home decor when you returned. Just saying...trying to help.

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    1. I guess I am caught in the grip of trying to not have so many things, yet I am a decorating blogger, and a decorating blogger decorates. Thus acquires new things! I guess it's kind of like being an alcoholic. You fight the fight every day.

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    2. But I don't think of you as a decorating blogger, but a blogger who blogs about a lot of things and one of them happens to be decorating. And, one of the great things about your decorating style has been the emphasis on frugal, and using many of the same items over and over, like your candle in coffee beans and your candles in the muffin tin. Not that you can't ever buy something new if you want to, but, I don't like to think you feel pressure to buy new things in order to create posts for your readers. Your blog has been so great for people like me who don't have the budget to go out and buy new things all the time, and certainly not expensive things. So, we aren't expecting you to have to spend a lot of money to get things for decorating posts.

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    3. Another thing, I don't like loud places. McDonalds tends to be loud. Kids running around. I love the antique mall because there's rarely kids screaming and no one bothers me.

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  7. Cozy Minimaliasm..interesting...the beauty of both positive and negative space....so important for breathing. :)

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    1. I don't know who coined the phrase "cozy minimalist." I just changed the end.

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  8. I edited my Christmas decor and my husband commented how nice it looks. I'm liking the Cozy Minimalism phrase and living in a small home, that just sounds right to me.
    I think Israel feels at home with you and the pupsters.
    Kathleen in Az

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    1. Israel comes in and pays lots of attention to the dogs before he even acknowledges I'm in the room! But that's good. They don't get much of that except from me.

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  9. I think I was born in the wrong century. I should have been born during the Victorian age. Not because I admire the "style" so much as I have always equated "cozy" with dark wood, lots of books, collections of "precious" objects, fireplaces, rich and luxurious textures like velvets, tapestries and brocades, and deep jewel-tone colors. My grandparents were born near the end of the Victorian Age, and I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents, and loved them dearly, so perhaps that is where it comes from. I still surround myself with many of these things although I did eventually let go of the jewel tones. I loved brass all the while it was "out of fashion." Now it's back again, and I want brushed nickel, LOL. I am now attracted more to some mid-century modern's clean lines and simple smooth surface finishes, natural woods, and some pops of colors. I've always loved black and white, so these days I stick closer to that as a baseline palette. It is hard to let go, though, of many precious possessions accumulated over the years, even though they are not exactly "simple," nor mid-century modern, and I'm sure some would consider my house cluttered because -- how do I get rid of my precious ginormous Oriental styled china hutch that I use as a bookcase and display for my egg and pink elephant collections (a reflection of my Victorian bent, I think); or my gel fuel fireplace. I really don't have the room for it but I got it anyway; or my too large and doesn't match a thing in the house coffee table that weighs nearly as much as my uber-heavy sofa. Or my books, after already repeatedly purging probably close to 1000 pounds already. These days people seem to think all they need is the internet, so they learn nothing, discover nothing, know nothing. And we have seen the results of that, haven't wee, in the state of our world. Sad. So keep your clutter! I revolt against those who say we own too much. Who is anyone else to judge what is "too much," after all? The same people who lust after the Kardashians and think Ivanka Trump is the epitomy of class and elegance? Surround yourself with what makes you happy, Brenda, and to hell with what anyone else says or thinks, or you think they are saying (behind your back) or thinking -- but will never say to your face. Cowards, all of them, who are afraid to live their lives the way they REALLY want to, but proscribe themselves to fit the whims and fancies of "fashion" and "trends." I'm just making sure I leave a very detailed Will and list of instructions of how to dispose of my precious possessions.

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    1. I used to like the clutter. Now it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

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  10. Our friend Tammy has lived by that phrase for years, and it's a good one!

    Life is nothing if not for change. To every thing there is a season...

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    1. That is so true! To everything there most definitely is a season.

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  11. oh my. here I am late to the party and my comment is following my dear friend Doreen's! hi Doreen!

    it's true. I do live by that phrase. I came naturally by it from growing up moving every year during my entire childhood and early teens.
    moving so often was a necessary part of my father's job. and the less you had to pack and move all the time the less painful and tiring it was!
    our belongings were always kept to a minimum. and yet my darling little mother had the 'cozy' part intact. the things she used to make each new place feel like home were very selective and lovely.

    and they became important as the link between each move. not just a house full of endless 'knick knacks.' but things with meaning to us.
    I remember my grandmother's silver... and vases of flowers... and wedding ring quilts on our beds... and simple white cape cod curtains that always seemed to fit... regardless of the windows!
    it all began my love for rustic elegance.

    she could and did make every single new place feel wonderfully like HOME. it was cozy minimalism at its finest.
    it's never about the stuff!
    you will grow happier and happier living this way! can you see the big grin on my face? it's because i'm so happy FOR YOU! XO♥

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    1. Your mother was way ahead of the rest of us!

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  12. Another theory:
    My hubby died in 2006 and I held onto our home and the memories attached for dear life until 2010 when trying to handle everything that broke down constantly,plow the road,take care of a the firewood and woodstove,finally for the sake of my health and sanity I walked away with just the clothes on my back.
    Long story short,I havea different view,its all just stuff!!!!
    It can be replaced or donated...
    As long as your happy that's all that matters.

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    1. Pat, your comment hit me hard. I don't know what I would do had I been in your shoes, but I do feel for you. Thank you for your perspective.

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    2. Good for you, Pat! You sound like a very brave and wise woman.

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  13. My previous home was very cluttered, but it wasn't because I was unhappy - I just love pretty and interesting things! So it was quite difficult for me to purge most all of it when we moved to this little house for retirement. But then I kept only what I truly loved. And I feel so much calmer in this house without all of the clutter. Yet my home still feels quite cozy. It can be done, but I advise you to take it slow and really think it through before parting with your things. Keep only what you truly love.

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    1. Yeah, I tend to toss or give away pretty fast because I just want it DONE!

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  14. Tammy: Your description of your childhood homes conjures up wonderful visions. Sounds wonderful. And Lily, I totally agree, take it slow, it is much easier that way to really determine what is really important and what is not. I often box up stuff and see if I miss it before I get rid of it.

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    1. If I had room, I'd box up stuff and see if I miss it. But I'd be tripping it over it!

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  15. I used to be the same way, Brenda. I wanted a little bit of sumthin'sumthin' just about everywhere-no amount of bare wall space was safe-I had a shelf-or a picture-or a basket for it...then I looked at it one day and it all looked just CRAZY BUSY to me! So, in the last few months and weeks and days I have started to clear out, to rearrange, to go for LESS rather than more...and I feel so good about it. I am no longer OWNED by my stuff- I am the owner of the stuff I love. Let's continue to work together to edit and purge.
    You are right about one thing- a house without books looks bare to me. xo Diana

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    1. That's what happened to me. One day it was fine. And then it was too much all of a sudden.

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  16. LOVE the phrase you coined. "Cozy minimalism" I too am delighted by a stack or two of unread books. They dot my landscape here too.

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    1. I can't say I coined it. I came across cozy minimalist, and just put minimalism instead.

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  17. Hi Brenda, love your new word for the new year , As I go back and look at things I have done as far as changes in decorating I feel that I should not have changed it up in the first place. Does anyone else get that? But what ever you do always looks wonderful. Its all about what ever makes someone happy to be home... Lisa@ Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

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  18. I like that, "cozy minimalist".

    I have been purging for most of 2016 - almost weekly runs to Goodwill and we can see the attic floor now.

    It feels great!

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    1. I hate to think how much stuff I'd accumulate if I had an attic or basement!

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Author Bio

Brenda has been writing since grade school. She majored in professional writing/journalism in college, where she won awards for her feature writing. She loves to decorate, garden, enjoy nature, read and spend time with her Yorkies.
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