Munemi chats minimalism with lifestyle blogger and self-proclaimed “artist of life” Aileen Xu.
Read Time: 3-4 Minutes
I believe in the power of cleaning. I believe in the power of organizing. Not only do I feel better from the outcome, but also the process itself has helped me get through tough times in my life such as breakups. I’ve never been someone with a lot of possessions as I’ve chosen to have experiences rather than buy material things. For these reasons, when I learned about Aileen Xu of Lavendaire last year, and after watching her YouTube videos, I knew I wanted to connect with her.
We recently met in LA and I got to know her better and she has such positive and calm energy that it makes those around her instantly comfortable. After struggling to find herself in college, pursuing music, becoming a spokesperson for the largest Asian food festival in LA, and dabbling in on-screen hosting and acting, Aileen ultimately found herself starting Lavendaire—a blog about personal growth and lifestyle design where she shares knowledge and inspiration on becoming your best self and creating your dream life.
With the season change approaching, spring cleaning comes to mind. What better way to embrace this time of year than by decluttering our physical, digital and mental spaces and making room for a more mindful existence. To help us all along I interviewed Aileen for her expert minimalism tips.
Munemi: You have been talking about minimalism for some time...what inspired you about this concept and what does it mean to you personally?
Aileen: My life was in a state of chaos at the moment—I had just graduated college, was lost in my career path, and everything was a mess. I was first introduced to the idea of minimalism by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, in his book Start Something That Matters. But the book that got me seriously hooked on minimalism was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I was really intrigued by the idea that decluttering my physical space would help me clear out my mind and take control of my life again. Marie Kondo is so passionate about her tidying process that I was sold. I needed a dramatic way to shift my life for the better.
What I love about minimalism is that you get to decide what it means to you. Minimalism is not about having the least amount of material possessions as possible (which a lot of people may mistake it for). It’s about simplifying your life by cutting out the unnecessary clutter and only keeping the things that you truly love and enjoy. It’s shifting to a mindset where you consciously get to choose what to keep and what not to keep in your life. You can declutter not just your physical things but also your relationships, your to-do list, your digital space, and just about every other area of your life you can think of. Minimalism is a powerful tool for living a life you love.
M: It’s almost spring so let’s talk about “spring cleaning” —what advice would you share with people from your own experiences?
A: Start small if you’re not used to cleaning or tidying often. What area of your home feels the messiest or the most frustrating to you? Start with that. Go through each item—literally hold each item in your hands—and ask yourself: “Does this spark joy? Does this add value to my life?” If the answer is yes, then keep it. If no, then put it in a discard pile to donate, recycle, or throw away. After you tackle that one area, you’ll feel so much more refreshed and motivated to keep cleaning.
M: What are your tips for cleaning up beauty products, let’s start with skin care...
A: First go through your items to see if any of them have expired. I’ve been guilty of keeping skincare and makeup products for too long. Then, go through the same method of asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” and sort your items that way. You may find that even if you have a full bottle of product, you don’t even like the product. So if it doesn’t make you happy, give those products to your friends and family because maybe it can bring joy to their lives.
M: How do you approach tidying up makeup?
A: Take this opportunity to give your beauty tools a refresh: Wash your makeup brushes and sponges! I am usually lazy to do this too so it’s a nice reminder to do this every month or so. Also, empty out your makeup bags so you can wipe them down or wash them. Then you can go through each product and decide whether you want to keep it or not. If you have a huge makeup collection, it helps to break it down by categories (ie: lipsticks, eye makeup, face makeup, etc).
M: After the cleanup is done, what are some of your current and/or long term must haves?
M: What’s your biggest takeaway from embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle and what would you suggest to others who would like to start incorporating it into their life?
A: You always have a choice and you always have control over more than you think. Most people stay passive and let life happen to them; they take what they’re given and flow with it. But you can actually play a more active role in your life with every choice you make. I’ve noticed I’m more picky when shopping now because I only buy things that I truly love, rather than buying things out of habit or because they’re on sale. With this awareness, you have more power to shape your life in the way you want.
My biggest advice for people starting out with minimalism is to let go of all judgment and pressure. Minimalism shouldn’t feel stressful or limiting; it should be fun! Take it slow and declutter at your own pace. Your intuition will grow as you continue to practice deciding what you love and what you don’t. Through the process, you’ll learn so much about yourself.
Our Daily Face Essentials set can help you declutter your beauty cabinet and achieve a clear and healthy complexion with three simple steps to satisfy the minimalist in all of us.
Learn more about Aileen’s journey via this video:
Here are some links to Aileen’s content: