Is minimalism just a fad?

Are we all a bunch of posers who are jumping on the minimalism bandwagon?

Aspiring Minimalist wrote in her post  Is Less More?

-Recently I received a comment from a reader, and they wrote the following:

Trendy nonsense.

This is just an attempt to make money by selling a lifestyle.

This is the new real estate scam: selling psychological ‘guilt-free’ living.

10 years from now all these ‘minimalists’ will be back to their old ways, just like the Boomers got square during the Reagan years. Right now, these yuppies are converting their reduced income into a ‘smugness’ account so that they can continue to feel superior to the ‘unenlightened’ down the block.

I AGREE, OUR COLLECTIVE MEMORIES REALLY ARE SHORT-LIVED

Hello? Great Depression era? That was so long ago, all the way back to 1929!

Oh, but wait. That’s only 81 short years ago!

That’s right, the Great Depression that was so awful, was a short 81 years ago. It takes a couple of generations, but in the grand scheme of things, our memories as a society are pretty short-lived.

No one likes to remember the past and we only want to live in the good and shiny fun times.

I am not saying we will forget this current Recession in 10 years, but in 90?100? Maybe.

We might rack right back up to old habits of crazy consumerism spending and forget the old woes of years past. It’s a very real possibility.

Look at the kids we’re producing now, and you can see what they’ll be like. Look at their spending habits, the people they look up to and how they handle their own money, and you will see the future.

BUT COMMITTED MINIMALISTS WON’T GO BACK TO THAT SAME LIFESTYLE

I know I won’t.

I don’t mean a lifestyle of mindless consumerism, but the lifestyle of owning more than what I wanted or needed.

As to the commenter’s point about going back to the way we were, I earn 400% more than I ever did as a regular employee (Link) , and now I spend 75% less 14% less (Thank you Lincoln! = $5000 / $35,000), partly because I’m starting to be more frugal but also because I became a minimalist, and I realized that stuff was not as important to me as experiences such as traveling.

As an example: I spent $35,000 in 2009 on personal living which included travel, and this year I am on track to spend $20,000 for personal expenses including travelling to Europe. That’s a 75% drop. (Business travel not included).

The difference between non-minimalist me, and the minimalist I am now, is that I am not an impulsive consumer any more, but a mindful one, and I really believe in it because I am not doing it to prove a social point, to lord it over others who are not as “enlightened”, or to save money. I actually drink the Kool-Aid.

I feel lighter, more mobile, and happier than I ever did with stuff.

I don’t want to be a minimalist equivalent of a hippie and calling you a cog in the corporate wheel who can’t think for themselves because you watch TV and advertisements, and I’m snubbing you because I don’t own a TV.

Who the eff cares what you watch or don’t watch?

I don’t own a TV but I watch movies and TV shows like Nikita, Top Chef, Bones, Modern Family, The Rachel Zoe Project <— does this sound like a smug, enlightened individual to you? 😛

…and it’s not just because I write a blog on minimalism

I know you may think that I’m just saying that because I write a minimalist blog.

I see myself as a normal individual living in a mainstream lifestyle, but with a little twist — I don’t have a lot of stuff. What’s the big deal?

  • I hold a normal 9-5 job (but as a freelancer, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea).
  • I live in an urban city.
  • I own a car.
  • I buy gas.
  • I eat meat.
  • I wear makeup.
  • I want kids, lots of them.
  • I buy clothes and jewellery because I want it, not because I need it (well, not for 2010 but I generally do)
  • I spend money on traveling and using those nasty polluting airplanes to get to other cities, countries and continents.
  • I watch TV shows that are mindless fluff.
  • I read fiction, especially stuff by women writers like Sophie Kinsella.

…… all the “normal” consumerist things people do, but I’ll never go back to what I used to be.

See, it’s like being in debt.

When I was $60,000 in debt, and I paid it off in 18 months (and blogged on Fabulously Broke in the City).

Will I ever go back into debt again? No. NEVER. Not if I can help it!

But some people go into debt, file for bankruptcy, then go back into debt all over again; they have an endless love-hate relationship with debt.

It’s the same way with minimalism for me. I won’t go back.

SO YEAH, MINIMALISM IS A FAD FOR SOME

I am sure there are people out there who claim to be avid, fervent minimalists, only to revert right back to their old lifestyle once their money woes are over, or the minimalism bandwagon gets too tough.

I’ve done something similar myself — I went vegetarian/vegan/raw for a bit, but I didn’t find it enough to make me commit 100%.

That being said, that experience has made me more conscious of what I eat, and now I eat less meat than I would’ve before I went on that little experiment.

I also enjoy more raw vegetables and raw meals, and I love the new textures, tastes and flavours being introduced into my diet.

I’ve found new foods that I love (white miso paste!) where I can mix it with some hot water and dried seaweed to have a very fulfilling breakfast soup in the morning, and I go meatless 2-3 times a week, which is a big step above my super meat eating ways.

I also eat less meat overall, cutting back on my consumption and supplementing with more vegetables and other animal-friendly items.

So even if minimalism is a fad, I think it’s cool that people tried it out and understand what it means, even if they don’t accept it in the end.

Any experience, good or bad, is a change.

You can choose to focus on the positive or the negative of your experiences, but you choose.

BY THE WAY, I AM NOT SELLING “MINIMALISM” EITHER

I don’t want to live with just a backpack, and my ideas in my head, on an island, making money off what the reader says is a guilt-free lifestyle scam of sorts.

I don’t talk about minimalism for the money — I can make it by with just my day job, thanks — so I don’t need try to get you to buy anything, follow my lifestyle or give me money to fund my minimalist lifestyle.

I don’t have any e-books, no regular books, no appearances, no paid content, no “give up everything and go live on an island” mentality here.

I’m just blogging about my life, as an alternative to what I used to be: an impulsive, crazy consumer.

You can only live your own life the way you want.

EXTRA READING

  • Hasina of Fabulissime also wrote a post about this: “Is minimalism a fad?”
  • Charlie of his own namesake blog wrote a post about it too!
  • Fat Stupid American wrote about it here.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.