Today’s society uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources for its current use. The gleefully destructive character in Steve Cutts animation illustrates where we are heading.
However many of us don’t want it to be this way, and for environmental, ethical and, or financial reasons, we choose to consume less and consume better. In this scenario, the experience is more valuable than the tangible things. The more mindful consumerism trend – known as minimalism – has been sweeping across media with testimonials praising slower and more responsible spending.
Looking towards a minimal lifestyle just makes sense as the planet runs short on vital resources. Additionally the resounding cry for ‘less’ makes a refreshing change from ‘more, more, more’, where the treadmill of work just keeps getting faster as we aspire to shinier, newer things. Afterwards we wonder why we don’t have time for the things we truly love. McGagh recognized the empowering potential of minimalism and realised it really was in her control to cut spending and enjoy a more disposable income. By “paying off a large chunk of the mortgage has made me realise that I don’t have to stay indebted to the bank for another 25 years”.
Here’s how you can invite a touch of minimalism into your house and wardrobe:
Buy Less and Choose Better
Maslow’s pyramid of needs, which includes the human requirements for self-actualization, belonging, and safety, has a fashion equivalent. And it doesn’t include buying lots.
Borrow: Rent the Runway, Girl Meets Dress, Chich by Choice. Swap: clothes swapping events. Thrift: Vide Dressing, Vestiaire Collective, Vinted. Make: ideas & lessons from Tasia Pona and Tilly Buttons. Buy: Amberoot.
“I never feel stressed when I'm getting ready in the morning because I love and can see everything in my wardrobe,” says Claire from the Love Your Clothes blog. By buying less she can afford better quality clothing and invest more in caring for them. “I shop more thoughtfully, so I often end up buying from brands or shops that are more ethical because I have more time to really research my purchases,” says Claire. Indeed transparency, authenticity and sustainability are among today’s consumers top demands to which new shops such as ours are willing to cater to.
Make it Last
Moreover sustainability doesn’t stop at choosing more mindful possessions, taking good care of them and making them last is just as important. More brands are offering product lifetime warranties with free repairs (Elvis and Kresse, Nude jeans). Moreover, people seem to be taking sustainability into their own hands. Repair cafes are springing up globally as part of a movement towards proactive sustainable living. In these nifty hubs, individuals share skills and wisdom to avoid throwing things away. Furthermore Sweden showed some encouragement and support for this practice when they recently decided to offer tax breaks on repairs. Let’s hope other countries will follow!
One thing we look forward to when whiling away the long hours at work is, of course, holidays. How do sunny weekend getaways and mountainside retreats fit into a low-cost lifestyle? Part of the minimalists alter their living spaces to include off-the-grid houses that offer more mobility and simplicity than traditional accommodation. Architects, designers, and engineers have been rising to the environmental and financial challenges of shaping micro spaces for our minimal lifestyles:
- Designs in greater harmony with nature (natural materials used, lots of light).
Studio Granda Garður Landhouse/
- Off-grid & minimal footprint (solar panels, electricity-storing batteries, water filtering systems, etc.)
- Easily movable houses, which overcome some restricting land use concerns (e.g. tiny opportunity to re-locate to one of nature’s wild gems) and perhaps more importantly enabling travelling/living/working to exist in harmony whether on road or on water.
- Usually quite easy to assemble.
- Usually cheaper than conventional housing (starting from around £20,000.). - Usually smaller in size (hence the need for less stuff). Tiny designs have also played a key role in trying to protect vulnerable people, such as these plans for reclaimed LA houses for the homeless and this tiny village house in Oregon.
The key to minimalism is the desire to lead a freer and more contented lifestyle, not burdened by so many material concerns. Even taking just a step away from the unending splurge cycle can instil a more mindful approach benefiting you and the planet. Hence we always need less than we think!
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