On the fringes a decade ago, minimalism is something that more and more people are aware of, even if it’s a movement unlikely to ever become mainstream. After all, many countries are oriented towards consumption and consumerism, and getting societies to slow down, or even harder, to stop and turn around, seems unlikely. But it doesn’t stop minimalism from continuing to attract a lot of interest. There are several reasons why.
What Is Minimalism?
A working definition comes from Joshua Fields Millburn, part of a duo known as The Minimalists: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” Sounds pretty good, right? More and more people have begun to see that life isn’t about accruing objects but rather memories, particularly with those that matter the most to us.
Financial Turmoil + the Pandemic
One way you end up buying less is when you have fewer resources (inflation) or when you’re forced to stay home (lockdowns). These shocks to “life as normal” caused people to evaluate their buying habits and as they economized, they kept those habits even as lockdowns ceased.
The ability of many people who had not previously been allowed to remote work caused a large segment of the workforce to evaluate their life and career trajectories, which fueled the Great Resignation and a wave of relocations that came with that. Relocations come with the trauma of moving and as some came to grips with the sheer amount of stuff they had accrued, the notion of letting a lot of it go became more and more attractive.
Vacation rental has played its own small part in this. As people have gone to STRs and seen a clean and functional setup, they’ve wondered about how they might make their homes a little more functional and a little less cluttered. Minimalist design has also been trending in homes and offices.
Websites, books, podcasts, and documentaries all have contributed to the discussion of what it means to live a meaningful life with less. There’s no “one way” to live as a minimalist, as the needs and desires of a single person will be completely different to those of a young family which will differ from those of a generational household, featuring grandparents and young children.
As people begin to see the ideas in the media played out in the lives and living rooms of their friends, minimalism becomes less of a fringe idea and more something they might experiment with themselves.
An easy way to experiment with minimalism is the 30-Day Minimalism Game. You find someone who is also looking to get rid of some excess stuff and on the first day of the month you both get rid of one thing (that could be set aside for donation or sold or thrown away). The second day, two things, and so on. If you’re successful, by the end of the month you’ll have gotten rid of 500 things and will have built momentum and belief to get rid of more.
So give it a try. You’ve got plenty to lose. In a good way.
This content originally appeared in our monthly Open Calendar Club newsletter.