In my new found minimalism, I have examined the idea that only useful things are necessary. However, the logical end of this statement is that beauty is unnecessary because it isn't useful. I don't believe that. I believe beauty serves a purpose.
I'm a horticulturist, I specialize in pretty plants. I believe that ornamental plants are only pretty if they bring joy to people. I hope my gardens and outdoor areas are appreciated. I feel the same way about my home. If I own something that is beautiful but it isn't enjoyed than it isn't useful. For example, if I own a beautiful bowl but it is stashed in a cupboard and never gets used than it isn't adding beauty, I shouldn't have it.
In our 550 square foot apartment there is limited display area. I had to choose to make the most of it. First I cleared the six cubes of all the junk. Than I put back the things I need to store, such as large books and hanging files. I took all the pretty things I own and spread them out of the floor. Then I put the things I enjoy most back onto the shelves. I arranged them to show off their beauty. I chose things for their story, like the cayman skull we found hiking in Panama; for their color like a yellow glass vase Jeff made when he did glass blowing; and for their form like the set of circling fish Jeff made at an iron pour in South Carolina. The things that couldn't fit nicely on to the shelves have been sorted through and many of them in a pile to be donated.
When I sit at our table in the bay window I can see right into these wooden cubes. I enjoy them. They make me smile. They have value.