Minimalist vs. Maximalist: Which one are you?

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A friend recently made a fascinating observation about me after she saw photos of my living room (don’t worry, that is not my living room pictured above).

She said, “You live like such a minimalist…yet you dress like such a maximalist!”


I had never heard myself described in such a way, yet it made total sense. I’m hyper-aware of my minimalist tendencies when it comes to my home. I’m organized and I do not like clutter- I really leaned into this when I had children because I noticed that my mood was neatly tied to my environment. A simple space had a calming effect on me. When there is a newborn baby rocking your world, calm is a welcomed respite!

What minimalist home life looks like: I donate to Goodwill a LOT (nearly weekly). I sell off old baby things. I pass along hand-me-downs. I don’t keep anything on the off chance that I *might* need it. This is a very freeing notion for me even though it takes a lot of effort. I also approach my home on a micro level- what small change can I make? New carpet in a room? A gallery wall? Basket organizers for a shelf? Often those small changes clean up the aesthetic of a room.

Resources that I found to be of value: The Minimalists documentary, Real Simple (website, cookbook, articles), Marie Kondo, Emily Ley’s declutter challenge, and an assortment of personal reflections (my mood swings, productivity, etc..).

What dressing like a maximalist looks like: I only buy what I need but I wear a lot of layers (I’m always freezing cold). I pass on fast fashion and mostly steer clear of trends. I buy sparingly but pay close attention to high-quality details: is the item made in Italy? Is the fabric enduring? Can I see myself loving it for years? I like big sunglasses, ponchos, hi-tops, loafers, and bright lipstick (I’ve always liked these things but again, having kids took this to another level because wearing these items could mask my sleep-deprivation and also, I needed comfortable flat shoes).


A fun trick I like to do: when I find myself tempted to buy something new, I challenge myself to wear something in my closet in a way that I’ve never done before (it’s like my own bizarre form of Project Runway but I swear it works). I put a button down over a dress; throw on a summer skirt with black tights and a black turtleneck, or search for apparel-specific ideas on Pinterest (try looking up ‘styling a Chambray shirt’).

So what do you think? Are you a minimalist home/ maximalist dresser? The opposite? Minimalist across the board? I’m curious. Let me know!

P.S. For fun, check out this maximalist apartment– absolutely lovely and joyful!

Image via Commercial Interior Design

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