As a simple living author, I get asked about minimalism’s relevancy almost every single day.
Some people think in our messy, busy modern lives, minimalism is more relevant than ever. Others think it’s had its day and ask if it’s out of touch with the realities that many people face.
Even Google seems to think minimalism is passé. Type “minimalism is…” into its search engine and you’ll get:
Minimalism is dead
Minimalism is for the rich
Minimalism is bad
As someone who spends their life advocating simplicity – of which minimalism is a big part – I say – baloney.
Minimalism isn’t dead and it’s not irrelevant. It’s never been a fad – the concept has been around for centuries, from the Japanese Zen movement to Henry David Thoreau in his cabin. In fact, it’s a way out of the mess we find ourselves in right now, with our busy schedules, hard-to-please bosses, debt, and keeping up with the Jones (both in real life and online).
This is how minimalism helps with some of the biggest challenges we are all due to face in 2023.
Minimalism stems the spending
Consumer spending is up and rises year on year. Inflation is part of that but so is our desire to buy stuff. The average American spends around $18,000 a year on non-essential goods and services. Clothes that are never worn, gym memberships that are never used, cable TV that is never watched.
Minimalism stems the superfluous spending. It invites people to purchase with intentionality and consider every line on the bank statement. As the cost of living continues to rise in 2023, spending with intentionality is more important than ever.
Minimalism helps us reclaim our time online
During 2022, the average person spent nearly seven hours a day on the internet, over two hours of which is spent on social media (up from 2021).
As the digital juggernaut continues to steam through all our lives, digital minimalism has become more relevant than ever. More and more people are discovering how reducing time online can help them with their focus, memory, self-esteem, and the ability to be present in real life.
Even though I write online I’ve practiced my own version of digital minimalism for years, including:
– Deleting as many unused apps as possible from my phone
– Posting intentionally – and less frequently – on social media
– Leaving the phone at home when I go for dinner with my husband.
– Coming off Facebook and Tiktok entirely.
Digital minimalism is the taming of that little supercomputer you have in your pocket and is essential as the online world continues to encroach on the physical world in 2023.
Minimalism contributes to the fight against climate change
Most of us appreciate the challenge climate change presents us. In 2023, it’s expected that climate change will expedite humanitarian crises across the world.
Whilst it sometimes feels that we as individuals can’t offer much relief to the planet, we can.
One big tenet of minimalism is living with less stuff. If the average US household owns 300,000 items, can we live with 200,000? 50,000? Less?
Yes, there’s an initial declutter where items will inevitably end up in a landfill (the more you can donate or recycle, the better). But once that initial purge is done – and you become more intentional with what you buy moving forward – your environmental footprint is going to drastically reduce.
Minimalism buys you time
Let’s face it – life is busy. For some of us, extremely so. The average American works 38 hours a week, rising to 40-45 hours for highly-paid executive-style jobs. Throw in childcare, commuting, and chores and we can all feel overwhelmed. And no one is expecting that busyness to reduce in 2023.
Except, it could.
It’s a truism done to death. Minimalism buys you time because if you need less, you can work less.
Friends of mine with the big house, fancy cars, private schooling for their kids, and stuff are under far more pressure to put in extra hours at work than my friends who prioritize their time over stuff. Those whose houses cost less, whose cars are less flashy, who don’t spend weekends at Walmart.
And that’s as relevant in 2023 as it ever has been.
Is minimalism still relevant in 2023?
I think you can guess my thoughts here – of course it is.
For as long as we have a consumerist-driven society, minimalism will always be relevant. That is just as true in 2023 as it was in 1983.
It’s an antidote to the stresses of modern life and for that, I’m forever grateful it exists.
About the Author: Charlie is a writer and the owner of Simple and Straightforward, a publication that champions simplicity, sustainability, and intention in a complex modern world.