Minimalism vs Consumerism

by Kate on November 21, 2010

in Live Well

It’s no longer cool to consume. Lavish displays of wealth are nothing short of vulgar, it’s official. We don’t even want to see Wills and Kate go over the top when they marry next year. Just a few vol au vonts, and a mobile disco will do thank you, we’re in a recession after all. So, if we’re no longer interested in faddy disposable fashions or hoarding things that we don’t need, what are we interested in? Well, there is a growing network of influential pioneers, who are leading the way with a new way of living. The movement they have created is Minimalism.

What is Minimalism?

You would be forgiven for thinking that minimalist lifestyles were about stark white interiors and bourgeois poetry. This isn’t the case however, the new minimalism, is the polar opposite of consumerism. Whilst consumers are conditioned to buy shit they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like, minimalists are discovering fulfilment through stripping their lives to the bare essentials and filling them with meaningful relationships.

The king of minimal living is without a doubt Leo Babauta. Leo talks about minimalism as being “an extension of simplicity — not only do you take things from complex to simple, but you try to get rid of anything that’s unnecessary. All but the essential.”

Everet Bogue, a leader in minimalist lifestyles, says of Minimalism Physical materials are out, information is in.”

The Everyday Minimalist explains the joys of minimalism thus “The less you have and do, the more you will feel free”

What is fuelling minimalism?

The tide has changed. There are large swathes of people like us, who have fallen out of love with the vacuous glitz of consumerism. We are educated in unethical production techniques, and are able to make sure our baskets get filled only with fair trade produce. Our concern for our planet is leading to the adoption of less impactful lifestyles. Rather than buy new, we up-cycle. Instead of taking the car, we ride the bike. To avoid supermarkets, we order veg boxes from our local organic green grocers. We have realised that we don’t need to be tree loving, hemp wearing hippies to make a difference to the planet, and that green doesn’t necessarily mean low tech.

For a growing number of people, it’s not so difficult to take the next step towards minimalism. Do you need a car at all? Do you need so many clothes? Could you grow your own veg? Would you be any less happy if you sold all the possessions that you haven’t used in the last 6 months? Minimalists have realised that they will be happier with a lighter ‘load'; less bills + less clutter = freedom. If the idea of owning less than 100 possessions, or buying nothing new for one year, interests you, then maybe you’re ready to embrace minimalism yourself.

Curb Your Consumerism on Minimalism

I’m totally up for cutting down on clutter, and realising that you don’t need ‘stuff’ to make you happy. CYC is about opening your eyes and realising that the whole world is set up to take your money. Have a plan that allows you to live the life you want, rather than the one that is being dictated to you by society and your peers. We can learn a lot from minimalists, they teach us that we don’t need half of what we are conditioned to rely on. Wouldn’t you be happier with a stripped back lifestyle, and time to focus on the passions that drive you?

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