The Rise of Minimalism in Pop Culture

It seems like everywhere I look lately, I see mention of ways to “declutter,” “simplify,” “minimize,” and “downsize.” It has even come to my attention recently that there are now magazines that are promoting simplifying, but at the same time encouraging its readers to purchase certain products that we will need in order to attain this sense of ease. Which now begs the question:
Has minimalism passed the proverbial threshold to become a thing of pop culture?

I don’t think there is anyone who could say that the goals of minimizing are anything new to the human race. There has always been people who needed to “cut back” and “downsize” for financial and/or personal reasons. I think what has changed is that recent events marked first by the economic downturn has resulted in a “space” opening up for us to talk about our consumption habits.

I think by the sheer fact that we in the U.S. are a consumerist culture, the presence of minimalism has always been there. Yet, in the past it presented itself as something undesirable. If I had told someone ten years ago that I only own two pairs of jeans I’m sure their reaction would have been something between horror and despair. They may have even thought of taking up a collection for me! Two pairs of jeans??? Do I need money?! Flash forward to today and I am still met with those horrified looks, but now they are generally followed by interest as I explain that this lack of denim is a conscious decision. This is not to say that simply talking about the subject does it improve the situation. As I previously said, there are now entire magazines aimed at selling you items that you hope will get you more organized. Isn’t buying things what got us into this mess in the first place?

So where do we go from here?

The fact that we have people coming together and saying, “Yes, this is something that I struggle with. This is something that I’d like to explore” is a great thing. The part that I enjoy the most about this whole process (because yes it is a process) is that it is never quite done and the change takes place not just externally in your environment but also within yourself as well. As you clear things out of your life, you know there are changes occurring internally. How else could you explain your sudden ability to get rid of something that you have been holding on to for over 10 or 20 years? So, yes, minimalism is beginning to be more popular, and it will be even more important going forward that we are smarter about our spending habits as companies decide to jump on this bandwagon and try to make us think we need things we don’t actually need.

Do you think that minimalism is at danger of becoming a mainstream, commercialized trend?

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