Listen, having plants brings ton of joy to me, so I wanted to address that off the bat. As a minimalist, you can still have things, and by the way, there are no rules, but as a minimalist, I tend to only have items in my life that bring me joy or are functional. As a minimalist, I make room in my life for plants; let me tell you why.
You may or may not know that plants have tons of benefits, but I will highlight some:
- Plants purify the air in your home. They convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. In fact, according to NASA, plants have been added to the international space station to control air quality.
- They assist your immune system. Having indoor plants reduces your chances of developing a cold, sore throat, or cough, due to their ability to create a higher humidity. I’m not sure about the relation to covid, but I will say that they have made our indoor space much more enjoyable during quarantine.
- They boost productivity in the workplace. This is now essential as many of us are working from home. Environmental psychologists report that having plants leads to an improved emotional state, increase creativity, and task performance. I mean, we could all use that during these crazy covid days, right?
- They are healing. Have you ever asked yourself why we bring hospital patients, or someone who is mourning, plants or flowers? According to Treehugger.com, studies show that plants offer complimentary medicine for people. They have an effect on reducing blood pressure, pain, and even decreasing anxiety.
- For me, plants allow me to enter into a meditative state, especially since meditation is very difficult for me. I have found that when I walk around tending to my plants, I can completely clear my head, focus on the nourishment they need, and that makes me feel better. It allows an hour or so out of my week, to rid myself of all of the minutia and worrying thought patterns.
As a minimalist, I don’t have a lot of “stuff”, or clutter sitting around, except my plants, but I also don’t feel as though my plants fit into that category. I feel better about having plants that bring joy to my life, and even serve as décor for our home, no matter where we live. I do have tendencies to want to purchase more, especially when I venture into a plant nursery, but I am now careful about what I purchase. I ask myself a few questions:
- Does this plant serve a purpose? Perhaps a space in our home lacks plants to purify the air?
- Is the plant unique, and/or something that I will cherish as I care for it?
- Would I be able to easily propagate the plant to share with friends and family as gifts? By the way, giving someone a plant that you have cultivated is one of the best gifts you can give. It comes from your nourishing the original plant and lets someone know you were thinking of them when you propagated it- very similar to personally baking or cooking for someone.
- Will the plant survive in the area in which it will live? Be careful with this one. Some people purchase a plant that looks really cool, only to find out that it will not flourish in that dark corner of your home where you really want a plant.
- Do I already have a species of that plant at home? If so, I need to propagate the one I have to create another one, rather than purchasing more.
I learned in a course taught by Hilton Carter, during quarantine, that plants want to be cut/propagated as it creates better growth of the original, mother plant. The amount of relief that messaging gave me is going to sound ridiculous, as I worried that my plants would suffer if I cut pieces off of them, but I have since learned that Hilton was spot on. Once I began to cut pieces to propagate more plants, the mother plant began to flourish with new, fresh growth.
Also, as a minimalist, I love the experience of walking around a plant nursery. I spent a short time working at a plant nursery a few years ago and learned so much. Not only did I learn about the various species, but truly of how hardy, and yet also sensitive plants can be. I find myself walking around a greenhouse, taking in the colors, the smells, and the feel of each of the plants. I use my hands to float along the tops of plants, and I simply cannot explain the deliciousness of that.
Being a minimalist, again, doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy and/or be passionate about things. In fact, if you just sit in an empty room with nothing to stimulate your senses, what is the point? I am a firm believer that once you cut out all of the excess in your life, the meaningless stuff, you can make room for experiences, and aspects of life that do mean a great deal, and of course, bring you joy.