Maximalist Manifesto

This week, my colleague pulled out a book she had on her desk, entitled, “minimalism.” (Note the lack of a capital “m” — how very minimalist).

The cover shows two guys against a brick wall wearing t-shirts and jeans. They aren’t even properly accessorized. I mean, not even a simple chunky watch? The subtitle, “live a meaningful life” somehow implies that minimal=meaningful. I’m no psychologist, but look at the body language. Even I know that arms crossed in front of your chest screams that someone is on the defensive. Hey, I can’t blame them. If simplicity was so great, wouldn’t we all run off and join the Amish?

I am not critiquing the book, but the concept got my colleague and I thinking. What’s so great about not having any stuff? I happen to like stuff. Take our nisse, for example. He makes me (and our children) very happy. I tell stories about his day to the kids when they get home from school. He might even occasionally do something naughty, like dump out the sugar bowl on the kitchen table and write “I love our family” in the mess. To some, he might be window clutter. To us, he’s family.

The simplicity movement has gotten out of hand, and I say, it’s time for a much-needed correction. Anyone ready to join me? I told my colleague we need to write a book called: “The Maximalist Manifesto: Living Large in a Pared Down World.”

 Sure, my family downsized our home, but we did not downsize our lives. Our house is filled with cozy throws, pillows, little table lamps and mementos that matter. More importantly, our house reflects our life, which is full — not empty. We’ve got two boys, careers, extended families, hobbies (well, we used to, anyway), church, PEO, Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, book groups — I mean, come on. This is fun!) I happen to thrive on chaos, complexity and lots of stuff. I am happiest standing in quicksand with my hair on fire. I don’t want a perfect, empty, echoey home, stripped of stuff. That’s not me. I hereby declare myself a maximalist. What about you?

3 Responses to "Maximalist Manifesto"

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  1. Mimi

    November 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I have to say that living in a cramped 1 1/2 bedroom NYC apartment with two teens that have two completely different interests, I am definitely a maximist. My bedroom is essentially a storage unit with a bed in the middle. Somehow, I’d love to strive for being a happy mediumist.

  2. Tiffany L

    November 29, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I don’t consider myself a minimalist, but Tobi said if they had a show called The Opposite of Hoarders, I’d be a candidate. I donate, recycle, or toss pretty much anything and everything not necessary (or what *I* deem necessary). In fact, I’ve been known to donate things and weeks later wish I hadn’t. But I agree with you in principle.

    I have to say somewhere there is a happy medium. I want bookcases full of books, but I want coffee tables cleared of them. I want my kids to do art projects but only if everything’s put away neat and tidy 2.2 seconds after the markers dry.

    I may have issues.

  3. lauratiebert

    November 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Tiffany, I am right there with you. Here’s our marriage in a nutshell: I clear stuff off the table and throw it the garbage, and Andy goes into the garbage and fishes it out. I abhor clutter, but I love my stuff. No issues as far as I am concerned and of course I speak as a 100% certified amateur psychologist.

    Corker, mediumist sounds right on, especially if it comes with psychic abilities.


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