That elusive minimalist life

Our next door neighbor opened her main door right when I was walking through the corridor, hurrying up for work. I took a peek. No, I deliberately slowed down and even pretended to search through my pockets as if I felt I’ve forgotten something but my eyes were on what was inside my neighbor’s apartment.

The room was spic and span to start with, they have a flat panel TV on the wall with only a single wire dangling off it.

A sofa set, check.

6 sitter dining table with nothing on on but a vase full of lovely flowers on top of a charming table runner.

Some decorative frames on the wall.

Beautiful drapes that matched the color of the sofa.

THAT WAS IT. All of it.

I died a little inside.

You see, I have that dream of being a minimalist. An aching yearn.You know, watch TV in a setting like this?  (complete with that perfect body).

You think being minimalist is boring black and white? Here are some with splashes of color. While I could do away with that animal skin sort of carpet on the floor, I would like to have that poster on the wall.

I love the warm colors here. But where are the wires of the TV?

And the warmer colors here. Though I can totally imagine our little boy bashing all those breakable things on the floor there like bowling pins. Again, where is the TV wire?

But somehow our living room do not look “minimalist” at all. Quite the opposite, for sure. For one, there’s a queen sized gray Ikea matress leaned in one corner (any takers?), Ben’s clothes are in a wooden shelf in the living room because we are too lazy to run to the bedroom when we change his clothes. There’s a basket of diapers on top of the sofas…sometimes our clothes hanger is kept inside, especially when it’s windy and dusty outside. The dining table is filled with papers for homework or folded clothes.

There’s also a bicycle parked, right in the living room. Gah.

We came to Dubai six years ago with only clothes (and my favorite knife and chopping board) and Merries diapers (the only diaper Pristine used and her bums loved).

How did we accumulate all these things I see around me now? We had a smaller apartment before but if we go back there, there’s no way all these things right now can fit!

I dream of a less cluttered, simpler life. To be able to walk around without the fear of stepping on a lego, without all the eye sore I see: pieces of clothes and strands of electrical wires, lots of wires! Seriously, it’s the 21st century, surely there would be appliances invented without wires already?!

Ah ~ so zen.

I so admire people who can live to be real minimalists. Our neighbor – they even have school aged children but no clutter. Someone close to me (whom I signed lifetime contract with) says I have no hope of being a minimalist. I travel with the best intentions not to bring back stuff I don’t need – believe me I have turned my back on the beautiful stuff I see in markets, in great bargain. There are no exotic collections to speak of. I do not have that ‘collector’ tendencies. Think the clutter are toys? We do not buy toys but we have a small box of random stuff given by friends.

So these little wooden blocks, 1,829 colored pens and crayolas, children’s books sometimes sprawled on the floor, baby clothes, a bike, a plasma car, clothes hanger – they will disappear from my living room when the children have grown up and I can finally enjoy a minimalist space, yes? Yes?


  1. I feel for you. Hubby and I only had our clothes when we arrived in UAE. But now, with 2 kids, we got so much toys that got accumulated, clothes we don’t wear, shoes filling out one small cupboard…other than the PC and laptops to entertain us, our flat is full! We had donated maybe 2 big suitcases of clothes and 1 big suitcase of children’s clothes, 1 big bag of shoes some months ago but we are still having so much clutter even when we rarely buy things! Our wardrobe is still full – we are thinking now that it was hoarding the clothes secretly while we were sorting those that were given away! This month we plan to donate again excess clothes, shoes, and hopefully toys too for charity. Crossed fingers the girls will not notice 😀



  2. The TV wires are in the wall. If you have drywall in your house, you can make special holes with plastic covers that go behind the tv and then another near the bottom (or top) of the wall to the electrical circuit.
    This is not usually done in apartments!



  3. Same thing here!! But I try to purge stuff every end of year (old clothes, kitchen items… anything that I have not used for the entire year!!). I donate them or give them to whoever wants them.

    At least less clutter? BTW, the wires go behind the TV panel. Basta I’ve seen it done before. LOL.



  4. I really admire people who can live a minimalistic lifestyle as well. I’m sure my mom does, too, because we talk about it a lot. While we enjoy having material things, those material things can quickly take over your life and leave you feeling suffocated and claustrophobic.

    While I don’t think I could ever be TRULY a minimalist, I’d definitely love a balance between that and the materialistic world.



  5. Maybe when your two kids are already in HS? I like the style in the second photo, I got the books and the couch but no flat tv or even a tv 🙂



  6. I do trust all of the ideas you have presented in your post.

    They are very convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for newbies. Could you please
    extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.



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