the unwise side of minimalism

bitsy letters button

It is not a financial solve-all, especially for the incredible number of people who are working full-time and still living in debt and poverty because they can’t afford necessities. It is ignorant to assume that all of these people are spending frivolously. It is hard to save when rent and heat and healthcare and food costs go up and your income does not.

~simply fully

minimalism is here for some years now. it became a trend. and, as every trend, it has its lovers and its haters.

i started as a lover. “less is more” i claimed with all my lungs.

but the beauty of hearing the other side is: you ask different questions.

at first, i started to realize that the general approach to minimalism is as another luxury style. well designed places, with a lot of white space, and really expensive stuff.

{note: from now on, every time i refer to minimalism i’ll be addressing that kind of approach and not the general idea of minimalism. i am aware that there are many ways to address this lifestyle and that it is as personal as the individual living it.}

as i read blog post after blog post about capsule wardrobes, and how to declutter, and the marie kondo way, i started my journey for less.

because having less meant to not use as many resources to reach the same goal. or even to reach bigger goals with less stuff.

but it also meant that we have too many stuff already. and, instead of using or re-purposing that stuff: we’re putting out of our homes.

putting out of sight doesn’t mean that we are no longer responsible for the stuff we no longer have. putting out of our homes, is actually kind of the same of putting them out of our sight and out of our minds.

that stuff we had will still have an impact on this world, and in us.

when i was put in a position of “every dollar counts”, i realized the importance of using what you have. rather than just having less.

i couldn’t afford to ask the question:

this brings me joy right now? // does this have a purpose on my life right now? // what is its value?

instead, the questions i needed to make are:

how this will bring me joy? // how i can find a purpose for this in my life right now? // how can i use this in a way that will give me value?

i need to store today, so i can survive tomorrow.

that’s why minimalism is aimed to white rich people. no matter how preconceived this may sound.

also, i realized that minimalism doesn’t go along with my values of:

} zero waste: which includes the maximization of resources // doing more with what we have;

} focus on spiritual growth: rather than the amount of material things we have;

} diversity: minimalism shares an homogeneous way of living, like a lot of white space, no much use of color, with very straight lines.

you know what? minimalism reminds me of an oppressive and controlling way of ruling our lives.

minimalism is fascist.

everything is neat and organized and blended. and homogeneous.

every minimalist house // coffee shop // hotel room looks more or less the same. there’s no creativity.  read more about gentrification on the verge: welcome to airspace.

and, com’on. a house is to be lived. a home will never look like this:

minimalist office
does anyone live here? {via thecozyspace}

this negative approach to minimalism made us count how many stuff we have, to compare ourselves, to enter in unhealthy competitions.

minimalism at its core is to maximize our resources. it is to have a mentality of abundance: we have more than enough.

but the approach we’re taking is heading us in another direction, the scarcity mentality: the less i own, the superior better i am.

the guardian has an excellent article on this, much more elaborated and with many points worth to consider. it’s called minimalism: another boring product wealthy people can buy.

minimalism is a a way to reach perfection, through asceticism {a false one}. when we really didn’t have a choice because we no longer have the money to buy the american dream.

so the dream had to change.

this is incredibly genius, isn’t it? the capitalist society, or let’s say brands and the government, created a magnificent cell where you think you’re free, and that you made a choice. while it continues to be prosperous, and it continues to control our actions and desires.

you buy less, but some of you buy more expensive stuff {and that doesn’t mean it has more quality or that is cruelty free}.

you buy less, but some of you still want to live by the status quo. you won’t deprive yourself to look chic, in fashion, or wealthy.

when we consider minimalism, we take it in a selfish way: do this add value to MY life? will this bring ME joy?

but there are other aspects to consider:

is this product cruelty free?

did it hurt any animals? was the environment protected or abused of? were the people involved living in good conditions, well payed and treated fairly?

was it sustainable built?

were the resources maximized? does it have a long life cycle? can we give it other purposes than the original one? can it be re-used? will it damage the environment once it goes to waste?

what will be its impact on the community?

does it help the community to grow, to be more educated and self-sustainable? did it give fair jobs? will it help the children to have more opportunities? will it give more time to people to be with their families and enjoy their life?

do you know that advice that tells you: if you buy one thing, discard one you already have?

pause for a second and think about that.

is that sustainable? don’t think so.

and do you know that other advice that tells you to take all of your clothes and put them into piles and be only with a selected few?

sustainable? hmm… no…

it’s not that i hate minimalism. hate isn’t on my vocabulary.

i just don’t agree with the perspective most people are taking on it.

they seem to forget there are poor people that can’t afford their way. i’m in dismal when i hear: instead of buying x clothes in one month, buy just one. then you can spend three times more in only one clothe.

hello-o-o! do you really think i can afford to buy one piece of cloth every month? maybe once a year, if i’m lucky.

and if we look at our wardrobes, probably we don’t need to buy anything for a couple of years. just like cait flanders did. much better than decluttering, don’t you think?

that’s why i prefer to connect myself to the simple living movement. as its connotation is more positive.

a simple life means to stop worrying about the superficial stuff and to go deep in activities that brings our souls to life. it’s about being mindful. to love yourself and everything around you. to listen to your inner-voice and be guided by it. it is to live accordingly to your values.

people who lived in great depression and other economical crises, or that were poor all their lives: they are the perfect folks to get advice from. because they know how to make the best of what they have: they were obliged to be creative and to use things in new ways.

rich, privileged people chose to live with less, but they don’t have to. they don’t need to choose where to spend their last dollars: do i pay the water bill or the electricity one? no, they buy fewer things but more expensive ones. their minimalism is a luxury statement.

i’ll also change the kind of blogs i follow. and restructure the list i was making about simple living // minimalism experts. {that’s where this post originally came from} i’ll search for people who really use their stuff in more than one way, and make their best to reduce their waste and their negative impact on the world.

so: creative, frugal, kind people. i will stalk you!

«-,- { keep writing, } -‘-»

vector of a venetian mask

#themaskwriter

<<<333

if you are a simple living fan, share your favorite resources + tips on the comments!

~~~~

p. s. did you know that i love manifestos? eyes open because i’ll create my own. (;

Advertisements

5 Replies to “the unwise side of minimalism”

  1. These are some great points! Especially the comment on how a lived in house doesn’t look like an instagram picture! Even though I’m working on becoming a minimalist, I take into account that I don’t need to have very specific items and instead I work with what I have. I still think that minimalism is a positive way of life, but some of the more “pop culture” aspects of minimalism aren’t all that healthy. Thanks for the love on my blog by the way!

    Like

    1. thank you for your lovely comment. yes, minimalism is positive if taken on its essential message. sadly it isn’t what we see advertised, because, well, minimalism isn’t very productive economically, is it? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: #themaskwriter

share your vision!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s