An image of an open closet unit with monochrome clothing on hangers.


We rattle through websites and videos full of wooden laminate flooring and monochrome colour schemes. We read through the essentials of how to be this, how to be that. How to be something else. We think that minimalism is something to be created via the ironically self-fulfilling task of sorting through our own possessions and choosing to keep those which represent an idealised version of our most valuable and useful life.

When did minimalism become a colourless quest into a world of numbered items? When did it cease to be about internal reflection on our own values and needs?

Perhaps we simply adapt so heavily to minimalist hegemony that a life of five grey t-shirts becomes our ideal. Perhaps we long for simplicity and we believe that, if only we had a wardrobe consisting of grey t-shirts, then we would somehow become something different than our current imperfect and complex self. To believe that those numbered grey t-shirts will change our life is to believe that material objects are a part of us.

When did minimalism start looking so much like materialism?

We have created this horrible irony for ourselves, we have designed and curated aesthetics and concepts which are centred around materialism, when we are looking for something immaterial. We are seeking some vast change in ourselves, yet we centre this vast change on the removal of objects.

Look towards the approaching dusk, even when the sunset is bleak and cold, when the flowers have no scent in the frosted air. On the horizon line is no number of objects which can render a human complete, or incomplete. The night skies will swallow up the day and the clock will tick on into the stillness of midnight whether you own four t-shirts or forty four.

To resist the single click which takes the mind from it’s rattling, lonely state, into a sea of simple numbers and monochrome colours is a challenge which tests even the most adept of our human brains. We are designed to flock together, to choose the things which become most normalised within our tribes. To seek nourishment is what has kept us alive. So we seek it, we seek out the things which make us feel that we will once again evolve further. We seek it in the wrong places, in the numbered items and aesthetic furniture. We forget that our minds, too, are spaces to be worked on.

When we take that time, to dematerialise the minimal worldview, and instead to internalise it, to apply it to our mind, that is when minimalism stops looking like materialism, and starts looking like progress.

How will you maintain a minimal mindset?

Featured image: Roberto Nixon via Unsplash.


  1. This is a very interesting point you’ve raised here about the irony of minimalism often focusing on materialism (just fewer things and making sure they’re all colour coded!) I couldn’t agree more that too much focus on this stuff still takes us away from focusing our energy on things that touch our souls like creative thought (reading, writing, idea formation), being outdoors in nature, spending money on hobbies or experiences rather than stuff to clutter our homes. Perhaps rather than spending an hour researching sexy new laptops we don’t need we could play with our kids, or instead of taking two hours to re-arrange our books so they’re in height order we could go into our local park and pick litter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you relate! Freeing up our time for creative thought and important experiences- and being in the present- is definitely a benefit of minimalism which we should all focus on. Great to hear your thoughts.


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