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Are you a minimalist, and a creative person? If you're on this site, chances are pretty high you're both.
I'm excited to announce this new interview series, Creative Minimalists. Every other week I'll introduce to you a minimalist who is also creative, and we'll talk about how living an intentional life can affect creativity.
This week, I'm talking to my friend Britt of Tiny Ambitions. There's seriously no one better to kick off this series!
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If you'd like to participate in the series, fill out this form.
Britt is the blogger and founder behind the online spaces, Tiny Ambitions and Tiny Bites, where she shares her journey of living a tiny, but wonderful, life. Britt is a minimalist, a simple living advocate and a tiny house enthusiast. She doesn’t think minimalists have to wear all black to fit in or only own one pair of shoes and she is constantly on the hunt for the right Tupperware lid.
Tell us what you do!
I’m passionate about creation and bringing ideas into being. I write, blog, podcast, draw, design and move. Basically, I create - in whatever form makes sense for me that day.
Let's start at the beginning. What got you into minimalism?
Minimalism is one of those things I stumbled upon that made absolute and utter sense as soon as I read about it. My first memory of my minimalist journey was when I was doing my B.A. in 2011. I was surfing Facebook and saw a quote pop up in my feed.
We spend all of our time working jobs we hate, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.
That was my lightbulb moment.
I realized I didn’t need nearly any of the things that I owned, but this was especially true for clothes. I didn’t start to act on my minimalist urges until the last year of my Master’s Degree. I was so overwhelmed with the amount of ‘stuff’ that I owned that it was starting to affect my mental health. I had a perma suffocated feeling every day like I was drowning underneath everything.
How do you explain minimalism to others?
Minimalism for me is a constant every day effort to keep my consumerist tendencies in check to refocus on what is important in my life. I describe minimalism as what exists of your life once you crawl out from underneath all of your stuff. What that looks like for each person is different but I always want people to know that minimalism isn’t about stuff. It’s about everything else.
What are some of your biggest challenges when it comes to being a minimalist?
Given my past as a compulsive online shopper, keeping my shopping urges in check is an almost daily challenge for me. That tendency is a strong part of my personality, thought I don’t like to admit it. That’s why minimalism (and the shopping ban I’m doing this year) are so important to me.
Another big challenge is getting family on board with the minimalist lifestyle. I come from a family where gift-giving is an important part of our relationship - but that’s just not who I am anymore. There is a balance to play between hurting someone’s feelings because you don’t want something they’ve bought for you, and standing your ground and staying true to your minimalist ideals.
How has minimalism affected your life in an unexpected way?
I think the most unexpected way is through all the wonderful people out there in the world who are also on their own minimalist journeys! Before starting Tiny Ambitions, I would never have known how many people are trying to simplify their lives (and are succeeding). Getting to know my readers better and having them share their own struggles with minimalism has been a truly wonderful experience.
How does minimalism affect your life as a creative?
Without minimalism, I’d probably lose half of my creative outlets. Minimalism has allowed me the space to explore my creativity in a way that wouldn’t be possible if I was on the rat race of trying to keep up with the Joneses or living beyond my means. Minimalism helps everything unimportant fall off into the distance (it’s still there, it’s just not screaming for your attention anymore), and allows what is most important to come forward.
Do you think minimalism impedes your creativity in any way?
I think minimalism has impeded my creative process - in one very particular and hilarious way. In order to create, I need to be really freaking bored. I would normally get to that bored place by cleaning my house, and organizing my closet or bookshelf. After five years of being a minimalist, I just have less cleaning and organizing to do so I have less time to cultivate that boredom. Now, I get bored the old fashioned way - by staring out my window at the world.
I think that minimalism can impede people’s creativity if they become attached to the idea that minimalism has to look a certain way. We’ve almost come to equate minimalism with clutter free white walls, monochromatic wardrobes and succulents around every corner. There’s nothing wrong with this if that is truly what you want your life to look like. There are minimalists out there who love that kind of environment. But, if you buy into that and think you need to recreate your own (perfectly awesome) life to mimic what you’ve seen, that’s the death of your creativity.
Where can we find you?
Cover photo via Scott Webb