Is Minimalism a Fad? – Commentary Round Up

11/01/2010

In my last post, I talked about how a comment left by reader Mason sparked in me the need to respond.  I responded because he brought up good points, despite being a bit rude and accusing.

This brought about responses from the Everyday Minimalist, Hasina at Fabulissime, and Charlie over at Charlie’s Blog.  It was great reading all these different responses and made me think even more on whether or not minimalism is a fad.

From reading the various discussions, and my own experience, minimalism is personal.  Everyone’s minimalist journey is different – you don’t even need to call it a minimalist journey – call it the awareness journey, priority journey, whatever you like.  You can have 50 items, you can have 100 items, you can have 500 items – it doesn’t matter.  No one is counting.  What’s important is that you make a conscious choice to keep the things in your life because they add value to your life.

Yes, there are people who take minimalism to the extreme and live with 50 items, or 100 items, and they write an e-book or book about it.  As Everyday Minimalist put it, they live with their backpack and headful of ideas.  Good for them.  If they create a quality product where there is a demand and need for it, it’s smart marketing.  If it can sustain their lifestyle from selling their products, then all the power to them.  They deserve it.  But they are not the only minimalists out there, and not all minimalists need to follow that path.

Sure, we read about minimalists who have quit their day jobs and are living the carefree lifestyle, jet setting or living out of their backpack.  Not everyone can do that.  Not everyone wants to do that.  This way of a minimalist lifestyle that is most feasible for young, single people.  What about the couple who work a little above minimum wage, and are barely making ends meet to feed their family of 5?  Do you think them quitting their day job is going to give them freedom?  Probably not.

There are plenty of people who work 9 – 5 jobs, own a house, own a car, live with more than 100 things, watch tv, sleep on a bed, and they can also be minimalists.  Being a minimalist is having your priorities straight and living in line with your purpose in life.  You spend money and time on things that will bring you value, and cut out the rest.  It can and should be fun :)

For me, living a more minimalist lifestyle has following positive impacts:

  • Spend with a purpose – I really do my research before buying something (i.e., no less impulse shopping)
  • Spend less
  • Save more
  • Be more aware of other aspects of my life, such as the chemicals I use (i.e, shampoo, cleansers, etc.)
  • Be more aware of the food I eat and eat better (i.e., how processed it is, is it local/organic)
  • Give more to charity
  • Reflect and re-evaluate life more
  • Use the library or swap books more
  • Keep my place cleaner and less clutter
  • Help my parents plan for early retirement by understanding how they can downsize their lifestyle and achieve financial freedom

I loved that Everyday Minimalist shared how she is a normal individual with a twist.  That really resonates with how I see myself, as well!

I’m a just a normal woman who is happy with less stuff, and having more meaning in the stuff I keep. I’m not doing this because I am in debt, or because I need to cut back on spending.  I am doing this because it makes me feel lighter, happier, and it gives me financial stability  That’s all :)

A few things about me:

  • I have a 9-5 job as a young professional
  • I drive a car (my parents)
  • I live in a city
  • I wear make up
  • I like fashion and nice clothes
  • I love my bed (it’s got box spring and mattress, and bed frame)
  • I have a tv and basic cable (a Sharp 1995-ish – good quality ;) )
  • I use shampoo on a daily basis, but have tried several times to ween off of it to no avail
  • I eat meat, though I aim to eat less red meat and rarely make it at home
  • I eat out at restaurants and I enjoy it
  • I have watched the following shows religiously at one point or another: The West Wing, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Law and Order, Modern Family, The Wire, Sailormoon, Arthur, 30-Minute Meals, Everyday Italian
  • I love to travel and will happily spend money and my precious 10 days of annual vacation exploring another city, country or continent

Your life is how you make it, and your style of minimalism is how you make it.  Maybe you’ll try it and find it’s not the thing for you, that’s OK.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and as Everyday Minimalist, Charlie and Hasina pointed out, it will probably be a fad for many.  But for those of us who are true minimalists, our values are not altered by the state of economy, and therefore, it’s not a fad. It’s a way that we chose to live.

Thanks for all who have shared their thoughts, and thanks to Mason for bringing this discussion to light.

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9 Responses to “Is Minimalism a Fad? – Commentary Round Up”

  1. eemusings Says:

    I had never thought of myself as being or aspiring to be a minimalist, until, I guess, reading FB’s other blog, and yours.

    But I think in some ways, I am. I love food, travel and concerts, but couldn’t care less about home decor, a fancy car, and don’t give a toss about jewellery or keeping up with fashion. We live in a tiny studio – worth it to live alone – with three bowls, three spoons, three baking pans and no teaspoons (just to give you an idea of how little we have kitchen-wise). To me, it’s just an extension of “prioritising” and self-awareness.

  2. everydayminimalist Says:

    Thank you kindly for putting a link and all those wonderful comments about my blog post in this new one!

    I really appreciate it. I think the discussion was helpful and I want to thank your reader Mason for making us re-examine our minimalist lifestyles!

    I agree with eemusings — priorities and self-awareness is all grouped under “minimalism”, and even though we may not be aware of it at first (I wasn’t), I sure am now!

  3. realityrock Says:

    This is a very interesting post. I see what you’re trying to say, but if you broaden it out too much, then it stops being minimalism. I believe there are certain rules to minimalism. I think that if you’re a true minimalist, you’re going to be living differently than the average person. Your life will look differently and your friends and family will probably notice. No, there isn’t a certain number you have to narrow your possessions down to, but you should get rid of everything that doesn’t lead to your priorities. And those priorities should be narrowed down to a manageable number. Anyways, I guess I’m trying to say that minimalism is not for everybody. You aren’t a minimalist just because you cleared out your drawers or walk everywhere or have a small wardrobe. Minimalism is a mindset.

  4. Mogul Myra Says:

    I think for most people Minimalism will be a fad because it’s starting to get some attention and just like most things that get noticed, there are always the followers who jump on the bandwagon.

    But, just like with most things, once the “fad” is over, the true minimalists will still remain.

    I know for me personally, I will never own 100 things or less or be completely location independent (maybe partially), but I definately want all of the things in my life to have a purpose–now and forever.

    Relocating and moving into a studio apartment is teaching me a thing or two about letting go of possessions.


  5. Eemusings – Funny thing is that I used to call it “student living extended”. I often wondered how it would be like to just continue with my student ways of keeping life simple. It wasn’t until I started reading blogs, such as, Fabulously Broke and Fabulissime that I realized it was called “minimalism”. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. As long as it’s about simplifying your life to only what is important and adding value to your life! Thanks for sharing :)

    Everyday Minimalist – I agree, a huge thanks to reader Mason for shaking things up and helping me re-evaluate the reasons that I am pursuing this lifestyle. PS. I love your blog!

    Reality Rock – That’s a really good point that we can only add so much to our “minimalistic” life before it is no longer such. Again, it comes down to prioritizing for each individual and their attitude towards their lifestyle and how they want to live.

    Mogul Myra – I agree completely. I stumbled upon minimalism by accident, and now I can’t go back to mindless spending and my lack of self awareness. Maybe I will live out of a backpack one day – but today, I just want to enjoy my life simply.

  6. DMSx2 Says:

    I think it’s only a fad for people who are susceptible to fads. It’s whatever you want it to be. It could mean keeping clutter and impulse spending to a reasonable level or maybe it’s living with 500, 100 or 50 possessions.

    I think people who see it as a fad are the ones who are not choosing this way of life, they are being forced into it due to the economical climate.

    Me and my wife have more money now than before the recession but choose not to own things we don’t want or need. When I first read the words in Fight Club ‘advertsing has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy sh*t we don’t need’ something clicked.

    It’s a fad and a trend if you follow fads and trends, for the rest of us it’s a choice.

  7. = Says:

    flip-flop guy here bringing ultra-cool to minimalism. It is all about happiness. Stuff doesn’t make me happy except my flippie-floppies. Enjoying your time that matters. I enjoyed reading your blog and your super-hot.
    I’ve been a minimalist and enjoy my life and don’t let society dictate my happiness cause flip-flop guy is ultra-cool. flipflopguy.blogspot.com

  8. Amy Says:

    Thanks for sharing about yourself. I love to wear makeup too and get done up if I go out. My house is more tradtional in style with “accessories” on tables. It can be messy often enough as I have two children. I am trying to not buy things I don’t need (I have not bought anything other than food for a month)

    • Amy Says:

      ….Already I feel so much better. I’ve been eating healthy and wholesome. I had enough energy to bring my children to play ball today.


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