What if owning less meant living better? In any case, that is the approach, philosophy even, that is emerging today. Press articles, blogs and TV programmes…everything encourages us to unload and de-clutter our homes and our lives in order to find serenity and quality of life. Is the bell tolling for the end of our consumer society?
“Only keep it if it makes you really happy”.
This is how Marie Kondo suggests we sort our belongings. For several years this Japanese woman has been everywhere: books, television programmes and now an on-line shop. The high priestess of organising is invited into homes with the same catchphrase: de-clutter to live happier. More than just an approach, it is a way of life which goes beyond making more room. Ownership was long-perceived as important; accumulation is now being brought into question.
Minimalism is taking over homes.
If you need any more convincing, just flick through the home décor magazines: furniture, colours, layout…the fashion is clearly minimalist. After the Danish “hygge”, move over for “lagom”. A lifestyle based on balance and simplicity. Here, too, we de-clutter. That’s where the secret lies: emptying our interiors will enable us to empty our minds and focus on the essential, to see more clearly and to free up the mental burden which has become heavier over the years. Less furniture, less items hanging about, means less upkeep, and less time spent looking for this or that item…so, more time for you.
Have you heard of the frugalists?
Time is at the heart of the frugalist movement. For its followers the idea is to stop working as early as possible (ideally around 40 years old) and have a planned retirement while maintaining financial independence. Their motto is FIRE: Financial Independence, Retire Early. The practice is increasingly popular in the USA and Canada.
The process is twofold: quickly build assets that can grow (property investments, shares, etc…) and live economically on a daily basis. Some families have no compunction in getting rid of their belongings and moving to smaller houses. Is this the end of our consumer society as we know it? No doubt, but another one is just waiting to be invented. With goods that are more long-lasting, repairable and whose use value will take precedence over purchase price.
The Main Think
DE growth, de-consumption, frugality…the ideas are gaining popularity across the world and can be summed up in one single concept: minimalism, whose motto could be – own less, but own better.
Crédits photos : LA POSTE / REPAIR