The Minimalist Life and Living Simply

Once upon a time in the land down under, I had a mortgage, a car, a full-time corporate job - everything you could expect from a twenty-something, young adult making a life for herself. Fast forward more than 6 years later and my life couldn’t be more different. 

Photo by @zjzade

I’m now self-employed, no mortgage, no car and living on the other side of the world in Canada. Life is simple. From living in Australia owning a 2-bedroom house with a large deck and backyard - into a bachelor apartment rental that is renovated into an old house on the east side of Toronto. During a pandemic and impending “second wave,” in a time of economic struggle, I am grateful more than ever to be living a simple life. 6 years ago having a house to myself in Australia meant that I could hoard more possessions than I needed. Moving to Canada and down-sizing taught me to focus on what I need the most. Few possessions, little debt, and lots of freedom.


Photo by @lbd.imagestudio

Although home ownership and filling a house with things I love is a worthy goal, it is not for me at this time in my life - especially with so much uncertainty in the world. Marie Kondo said it best, "The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life…. Now imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy.”

Photo by @lbd.imagestudio

My art and love for Japanese and Nordic design characteristics is a reflection of how I want to live my life; minimal and simple. Japanese and Nordic design characteristics are similar and both very minimal. Japanese architectural and interior design in particular has thousands of years steeped in tradition. In Japanese interiors, I love the consistent, linear lines of the shoji screen, paired with natural materials of wood and paper.

The idea of minimalism in the western world started in the early 20th century with an architecture movement. German-American architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe was one of the first to advocate principles of minimalist designs who popularized the term “less is more.” It’s a humbling and calming idea when you apply it to not just your interior space but also to your life values.

Photo by @zjzade 

From thousands of years of Traditional Japanese Zen philosophy, to the pioneers of modernist architecture such as Van der Rohe, and the popularity of design consultant  Marie Kondo - it is clear minimalism is a philosophy that is here to stay.

Photo by @lbd.imagestudio

I made a decision years ago to intentionally live with fewer possessions and to ultimately live a “minimalist life.” There can be more joy in pursuing less than the pursuit to constantly seek more. Less commitment, more flexibility and fewer material possessions. As we continue to journey in uncertain times, I hope that the things most valuable to you are made more apparent now more than ever. Double down on what you love and strip back all the noise and clutter in your life that's distracting you from that.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


Ave Abellanosa


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