In 2014, Marie Kondo published her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in the United States and subsequently started a movement of people who became interested in organizing their surroundings and reducing clutter in their lives. Released in 2019, Kondo's Netflix series "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" drew even more attention to her innovative yet straightforward KonMari method, which involves gathering your belongings, category by category, and then keeping only the items that "spark joy".
Kondo is inspired by Shintoism, a Japanese religion that values cleaning and organizing all your material items. She says, "Treasuring what you have; treating the objects you own as disposable, but valuable, no matter their actual monetary worth; and creating displays so you can value each individual object are all essentially Shinto ways of living." (Source)
Overall, more people today are pursuing minimalism and discovering that getting rid of things is actually an excellent way to attract more abundance into your life. When you free yourself of things and no longer feel an attachment to material goods, then you have more time to be creative, enjoy moments with your loved ones, and pursue your hobbies and passions. You will become rich with what truly matters in life.
We live in uncertain times, and even the most financially secure people are seeking ways to reduce their expenses and save more money for the future. Minimalism can enable financial responsibility, since it forces a person to examine all material possessions and then decide which of those items have become more burdensome than they are valuable. Upon reevaluating all belongings, a person may consider selling some items or cutting back on subscriptions to things like streaming services, meal delivery services, and even expensive gym memberships. After performing this assessment, a person will also have a clear plan for how to make future purchases and be able to set hard rules about what should and shouldn't enter the home.
In addition, many people are embracing minimalism today out of a concern for the environment. They realize that when we consume more, we use up more of the planet's natural resources. Furthermore, the manufacturing and transportation of goods contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. When people are picky about what they do and don't buy, then they are more likely to choose sustainable goods that are made to last rather than buy cheap, throwaway items.
Our constantly-on world can inspire a lot of anxiety, and most people are looking for new ways to bring calm and peace into their lives. When you embrace minimalism, you release the burden of ownership and reduce the amount of clutter in your personal space. In fact, scientists from Princeton University found that (Source) clutter in an environment reduces a person's ability to focus. If you often feel scattered or unproductive, then you may want to start freeing up more space in your home and ultimately in your mind.
Children and Minimalism
Now more than ever, children need to learn and embrace the concept of minimalism. Today's children are overwhelmed by mental and visual stimulation: many of them always have access to an iPad or other tech device, and they're constantly being encouraged to do more activities to distinguish themselves from their peers. Children need a safe haven with "less" - both to do and experience.
Blogger and mom of four Allie Casazza practices a minimalist lifestyle at home and recently wrote about the effects of minimalism on her children (Source). Thanks to minimalism, she has seen a huge shift in her family, and the effects include lack of entitlement, an increased sense of gratitude, a boost in playfulness and imagination, improved social skills, stronger familial relationships, enhanced creativity, and much more.
Some parents are convinced that practicing minimalism with children is simply out of the question, but many influential mom and dad bloggers have proven that it's possible - and worth the effort. Are you interested in trying out a minimalist lifestyle? Heather Levin, a writer for Money Crashers (Source), recently shared some helpful tips for getting started. First, you'll need to declutter and downsize your home and get your children involved in the process. In addition, you'll want to shift your focus from spending money to spending quality time. You'll definitely want to reduce screen time and set rules for incoming "stuff".
One way to shift the expectation around gift-giving in your household so that it's more in line with minimalism is to encourage everyone in your family to give gifts that won't take up a lot of space. Who wants more junky toys, broken dolls, unused gift cards, or missing Lego pieces stuffed in drawers and underfoot? For example, you can give an experience like a trip to a theme park or a food item like freshly-baked cupcakes; neither of those things will take up physical space, but they'll help create beautiful memories.
If you'd still like to give a special keepsake item, then you can consider gifting an Add-A-Pearl starter necklace, which will not only be a memorable and sentimental jewelry gift, but it will also teach a child responsibility; we recently wrote about this topic for the MomEnvy Blog. The Add-A-Pearl necklace is something your daughter can wear now and 50 years from now. In addition, it's a perpetual gift, since you can continue adding pearls to it without cluttering a jewelry box.
Millennials and Minimalism
In general, the minimalist lifestyle seems to be trending, especially among millennials, who currently make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population. Not only did this generation grow up in a recession, but they also entered the job market when the economy was falling apart; in addition, many of them are currently struggling to pay off their student debt. As a result, they're very careful about how they spend their money and feel anxiety about being surrounded by things.
That attitude definitely extends to how they purchase clothing and accessories, with many millennials opting for a capsule wardrobe instead of making impulsive, trend-based clothing purchases. To curate a capsule wardrobe, they purge their closet of things they don't often wear and invest in high-quality, sustainable, and versatile pieces that aren't driven by fads and will last them for many years to come.
One of the best gifts to give a millennial is a gift that will grow in value over time, is sustainable, and can even be regifted again in the future. Do you know a millennial who will be having a birthday soon or who will be reaching an important milestone like marriage or achieving an accomplishment like graduation or entrepreneurship? The Add-A-Pearl personalized pearl necklace is ideal because it's something she can wear everyday and incorporate into her capsule wardrobe. In addition, pearls never go out of style. One of the best things about the starter necklace is that you can add to it over time; instead of giving your millennial loved one a new gift for every celebration, you can save on clutter and simply buy her a new pearl, which she can add to her existing necklace.
For people of any generation, the trend towards meaningful gifting is strong and in alignment with the shift toward minimalism. Few people want to stop giving gifts altogether. In fact, gift giving is part of the human heritage, according to an article from the LA Times (Source). Instead, people are seeking gifts that are highly personalized, sustainable, and long-lasting. Their gifting mentality has shifted to one from decades past, when people gave gifts they believed could be gifted again and again, like a family quilt or heirloom piece of jewelry that would serve as an "identity marker" or something that would "carry messages of identification with those who have gone before".
A meaningful jewelry gift, Add-A-Pearl is an attractive option that satisfies all the requirements of living a minimalist lifestyle, since it can be given once and then enhanced over time without adding clutter to the home or mind. It's not driven by trends, so it can easily become part of a capsule wardrobe. Furthermore, it carries deep meaning, so it should "spark joy", as Marie Kondo would say. As an object, it has purpose as an "identity marker", so it has more value than say, a paper shredder or a candle holder. Furthermore, it's sustainable, since the owner can eventually re-gift it to a daughter or granddaughter, in turn teaching the child the principles of responsibility and minimalism.
Minimalism may seem stark and boring, especially to someone who has never tried embracing it or has viewed photos of minimalist homes, which are often tiny and decorated in neutral colors. In addition, minimalism may seem uncomfortable, since you have to ask yourself important questions about the objects you own and then face your own emotional attachments to them. However, you can make minimalism your own. Living a minimalist lifestyle doesn't mean ditching color or never giving another gift. It simply means being honest with yourself about what's truly important and then doing everything you can to keep connecting to your priorities, even when you're tempted to fill your life with more, more, more.