Clean and sparse apartments, white furniture, pale wood surfaces, clothing rails with just enough items for everyday life. Things clearly laid out, neat and precise, desktops in flatlay style, each thing with it’s own purpose, value in every piece. Walk-in closets stacked to the top with neatly organised clothing, overflowing but beautiful, a tapestry of colour and texture. Walls covered with art and shelving, collected pieces and intricate items, trinkets each with their own story to tell. So much to see, but all of it with meaning and significance.
Maximalism seems far away from minimalism, with it’s rich and intense decor and collective style, but perhaps it’s closer to minimalism than we might initially expect. What is minimalism, if not a lifestyle choice designed to take control over the exterior world, while impacting internal experience? Maximalism, then, is much the same: an external reflection of an internal richness of experience.
Still, though, many of us who speak and write about minimalism may not be able to imagine what it is to be a maximalist. If we woke up tomorrow and became maximalists, could we continue to discuss the intersections of self-development, identity, and external space? Would it all still be relevant? Could we still preach about value if our concept of value applied to a more vast and vibrant array of items, possessions, belongings?
Maximalism, though it may not seem it, is as much about self-defining value and taking control over an external space as minimalism is. As discussed previously, maximalism isn’t simply materialism gone mad, nor is it hoarding in action. It’s a specific, value-based lifestyle of rich culture and a wealth of possessions. Perhaps minimalism and maximalism are more like two sides of the same coin, rather than being polar opposites.
Though minimalists and maximalists may never swap sides, there’s definitely the space for a bigger conversation between both angles- perhaps it’s exactly this discussion which can enable both sides to share their own perspectives on value while respecting alternative views of significance.
Are you more of a maximalist or a minimalist?
Featured image: Michael Oxendine via Unsplash.