If you’ve been following along on our Instagram (or Facebook), you may have noticed we tag most of our photos with #jungleminimalism. You may also have noticed that we recently released a “shop the look”-style segment here on the site under that name. I’ve always known that the style of the shop needed a name and was able to put a hashtag to it relatively early on, but with the release of that segment I feel I am finally able to put the concept fully into words and share its story with all of you!
Growing up, we didn’t have much. My parents did a great job of making sure my two younger brothers and I were happy and engaged, but we also extended leftovers over long periods of time, had lots of hand me downs, and worked very hard. From the time I was 16 years old up until I opened up Urban Sprouts, I always worked more than one job to make ends meet. Due in part to my modest beginnings, I went into adulthood feeling a lot of guilt whenever it came to spending any money (or time) on myself. It always felt frivolous or immature instead of like self-care, even when it came to things like spending more money on a pair of shoes that would last me a long time (which I now highly recommend).
A few years ago - when my husband and I first started dating - his grandfather casually prattled off one of his favorite sayings: “Spend your money where you spend your time.” That really struck a chord with me. It was like... suddenly there was this logical door I could walk through whenever I wanted to spend money and not feel silly or guilty about it! I realized that spending money is just an essential part of caring for yourself and your family and that it’s as important to surround yourself with an environment full of things you love as it is to surround yourself with people that you love.
As I went through that journey, I came more and more to the understanding that the things that I love for myself all have uses. Utility brings a new facet to the joy I experience from the things in my home. I began styling my environments accordingly and came to the minimalism aspect of jungle minimalism, where the beauty lies just as much in the object as it does in the style it presents.
Guess what was still standing on all of my surfaces? My plants!
Plants are one of the only things that serve a purpose no matter what, and I’ve always found happiness in them. I found myself investing in them more and more, and now my home is a “jungle” of fresh air, pleasant scents, endorphin-triggering verdant scenery, and frequently blooming plants.
I still almost always talk myself out of buying a new shirt, but I never feel bad about bringing home a new plant! And that means the world to me.
In summary, Jungle Minimalism is all about allowing yourself to fully indulge in the things that you love (plants), really enjoying the functional things in your spaces (like tools you love to look at and use), and just getting rid of the rest. Happiness and health are too important to compromise on. Urban Sprouts embodies those concepts to the best of my abilities!
Here’s a more in-depth walkthrough on how to achieve the look:
- Identify the important stuff - put away or donate the rest.
In order to prioritize your spaces for the things you actually love (plants, in our case), you need to think about the things that you’ve allowed into your space. I like most of my display areas to be plants in beautiful, functional planters with just a few meaningful and practical things mixed in. Look at the stuff sitting on your shelves and on your counters and decide which things are worth displaying. If that random wooden box you got as a kid that you store memorable trinkets in is important to you, then keep it out - but is that snowglobe from your aunt’s trip to Florida actually meaningful to you?
- Planters, planters, planters.
Love your planters as much as you love your plants! You are much more likely to care for and fully enjoy your plant if you like the look and the functionality of the container it's in. When you buy planters be sure that they’re the right size (which is about 2” wider in diameter than the plant’s past or present container), have drainage, that they’re made of the right material for your plant, and get a water collection tray to go under them if you need one! (If you have more questions about this, please reach out - we’re happy to help.) At home, my shelves are full of simple planters in neutral colors mixed in with pops of color, texture, and quirky things that make me smile.
- Have the right tools.
Tools are an important part of your plant parenthood life. Get yourself a nice watering can, some plant scissors, and a couple good misters. They should be beautiful enough to house on your selves along with your plants - otherwise, you probably won’t use them as much as you should or get as much out of using them when you do.
- Place your plants strategically.
A huge part of Jungle Minimalism is making sure you’re not competing with the things in your space. Things should have a purpose and shouldn’t be stressful. When it comes to plants, it's really important to my personal sanity that the plant I’ve chosen for a space does well there. Don’t try to keep a high-light plant in a basement, it's just a bad idea. If you need help figuring out what plants to put in which spaces, just reach out to us! Luckily, there are so many wonderful and interesting plants that thrive in such a variety of conditions that you can put a plant just about anywhere!
To get the most out of your space for your plants, shelves are absolutely essential! Space that may have once been filled with books or movies can now be filled with beautiful planters and even more beautiful plants. I myself love a good book, but technology has made those readily available to us without the need to take up all that space (if you’re determined to buy physical copies of books, maybe one that has the function of taking care of your plants would fit nicely with your new Jungle Minimalist aesthetic - I’ve published just such a book if you’re interested! I even made sure that it looks good on a coffee table. You can find it here) so now book shelves are a plant lover’s best friend!
Remember that most plants want medium to bright indirect light and want to be protected from drafts, so interior walls across the room from nice windows are ideal spots for plant shelves if you have that option - if you don’t have that kind of natural light, I highly recommend mounting some grow light strips on your shelving units. Backlit plants look fantastic!
Thank you all for the opportunity to share. This is an incredible community and I’m so proud to be a part of it! I hope you’ll browse our shoppable gallery and consider implementing some of our aesthetic into your home. Jungle Minimalism is a beautiful style that goes a long way towards keeping plants healthy, so it’s wonderful to see people taking it on so enthusiastically and to know that it means that they’ll have a lot of success with their plants.
You can see our shoppable gallery here: Jungle Minimalism
Thanks for reading! Stay safe!