Have you heard the term Wabi-Sabi before? While I have, I hadn't heard it explained in regard to interiors quite as simply as this before, so felt these thoughts from Pauline of the English Organizer were definitely worth sharing!
One of the surprising perks of running a small business is meeting a wide number of new people and gaining fresh perspectives. I had a perfectly good (British) education, in which I excelled in my chosen subjects, but it may have been just a little narrow and I apparently haven’t worked too hard to broaden it since.
So when talented silk artist Ellen Brook mentioned that she is fascinated with Wabi-Sabi, I found myself scrambling to Google before my ignorance was revealed. Upon discovering the meaning of the Japanese term, I was struck by its applicability to our homes and expectations for how we live. With the world’s eyes turned towards Japan recently, perhaps this is the perfect time to remind ourselves how much we can learn from this incredible culture.
Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that wabi-sabi is sometimes described as beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. The distinction is made between this aesthetic and the Greek values of beauty and perfection, often upheld in the West.
Think for a moment, have you been striving towards the ideals of the ancient Greeks? Would you instead feel more relaxed, more content, more ‘at home’ in your home if you could appreciate the beauty of your imperfect and unfinished surroundings? And would your organizing projects be less daunting if you could view them as a transient work-in-progress, where the perfect solution is only a myth?
It’s true that wabi-sabi appears to favor a natural, minimalist approach, so you cannot simply point to your clutter and declare you have embraced the aesthetic. However, if an organizing dilemma has been troubling you, it’s OK simply to make a start and recognize this is a journey towards improvement, where some rough-edges and irregularity can and should remain.