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Has simplicity gone “mainstream”?

Recently, a reader told me via email that “simplicity has gone mainstream,” so there is no need to discuss the topic. I don’t agree with that assertion. Sure, the topic of downsizing and stuff is addressed in the media. But that message is usually viewed as “extreme” and typically flanked by commercials prompting you to buy more stuff.

The majority of people, corporations, and the government aren’t proponents of “simple living.” All you have to do is look at our economic model to see that isn’t the case. At the policy level, we’re more obsessed with growth, rather than well-being. Put another way, our culture is so focused on “more” we never ask: “what is enough?”

And that’s why it’s important to keep talking about stuff. For the sake of our health and the future of our planet, we’ve got to rethink our model of “more is better.”

Let’s examine two problem areas, advertising and waste:

Advertising is part of our cultural identity. In Branded Nation, James Twitchell says, “Much of our shared knowledge about ourselves and our culture comes to us through a commercial process of storytelling called branding.”

Advertising has bombarded people with so many messages about products that “ten percent of a two-year-old’s nouns are brand names.” No wonder so many Americans are depressed and in debt. From an early age, we’re taught that stuff will make us happy. But happiness research shows us that’s not the case. Our human needs for community and strong personal relationships can’t be bought.

Richard Layard, an economist, talks about this issue in his book, Happiness. He says, “The current pursuit of self-realization will not work. If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful, too lonely – you are set up to fail.” He goes onto say that it is “a deep fallacy of many economists to think of human interaction as mainly a means to an end, rather than also an end in itself.”

Second, analyzing consumption and waste at both the individual and societal level is important because our landfills are overflowing with consumer waste, leaching toxins into the landbase.

Dumping Garbage in Landfill Operation on Jamaica Bay Increased Water Pollution as Well as Serious Ecological Damage Is Feared 05/1973

Let’s take a look at a few statistics, from The Story of Stuff.

  • Industries (like steel, glass, concrete, food processing, textiles, plastics, chemical manufacturing, and water treatment, etc.) waste prolifically. These industries generate between 7.6 to 13 billion tons of waste per year.
  • Each day in the United States, we use more than 150 million single-use containers for beverages, plus another 320 million takeout cups.
  • About 400 million electronic products are chucked in the United States each year. In 2005, it amounted to 4 billion pounds of e-waste . . . And rather than segregating and handling it carefully and responsibly, we still dump 85 percent of our e-waste in landfills.
  • The Basel Action Network revealed that about 80 percent of e-waste is exported overseas to developing countries, where much is simply dumped.

These statistics show the urgent need for real policy solutions, particularly, when it comes to the extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of stuff. And as Layard argues, we need to consider the issue of well-being and community building, not just the constant accumulation of stuff. The U.S. is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. We have enough, yet we aren’t happy because we still want more.

One of my favorite writers, Derrick Jensen, says that writing alone won’t change the world. And he’s right on target. Writing is one way to shift perspectives. But any type of long-term change must be paired with activism and that’s a good thing because helping others makes people happy. However, becoming active requires getting off couch and disconnecting from screens.

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Micro-actions: If you’re overwhelmed by stuff, read the following books and watch a few films:

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Note: Statistics are from The Story of Stuff

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jane February 2, 2011, 8:07 am

    I really hope the 150 billion is a typo and you meant million!

    • Tammy February 2, 2011, 8:22 am

      @Jane & Nikki – Thanks for the catch. It was a typo. Should be fixed now. It’s a 150 million containers.

      @Nikki – Thanks for delurking and leaving a comment. 🙂 Have an awesome day!

      • Jane February 2, 2011, 8:28 am

        Oh, phew. 150 m is bad but 150 b would have made me cry!

        • Logan February 2, 2011, 11:14 am

          4.5 Billion single-use beverage containers per 30-day month though. That number is still too big to comprehend. Tammy and I have a 50 gallon public trash can by a bus stop in front of our home and it is filled over the brim daily with single use plastic and paper cups predominately from the local Starbucks. 🙁

  • Nikki February 2, 2011, 8:10 am

    Thanks for the reminder…the state of things can be sobering. A good little bump to carry my own mug & water bottle I’m slurping hot ginger tea right now from my awesome non-spillable mug (and gazing forlornly at the thermometer reading -10.) I remember packing for backpacking trips and trying to only take things I’d use everyday…my mug would definitely get to go. Not to nitpick though, but if we were using 150 billion containers a day, wouldn’t that be like 400 per person or something?
    I’ve been lurking for awhile and am encouraged & uplifted by your posts – thanks for doing what you do.

  • Kate February 2, 2011, 8:38 am

    I’m sort of appalled at the concept that we don’t need to talk about minimalism because it’s hypothetically become mainstream — I think that attitude shows a real disconnect with what’s actually going on in the world. Which is a whole lot of excess and consumerism and a distinct lack of anything approaching minimalism.

    Yes, it’s starting to show up on the news and such. That’s awesome! That doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly time to move on to the next big thing. Minimalism is too ‘popular’ to be ‘cool’? Oh well. It’s still needed.

    (I may possibly be a little cranky on the topic.)

    Thanks for this post Tammy.

  • Kristy Powell February 2, 2011, 8:57 am

    I’m glad you chimed in on this topic of mainstream minimalism. I think that until we actually reverse what we’ve done to our planet that there is a use for this conversation AND practice. The concept of something being mainstream is so “other oriented,” often meaning that it has been picked up by the media. And so everyone in their brother could become minimalists and it wont matter until we actively reverse the damage we’ve done to ourselves, each other and our place. So let’s keep the conversation going because we are FAR from that.

    I mean seriously, we’re not indie-rock teens who are totally put-out because less fringe peers are listening to “our music.” We aren’t on a search for cool or otherness, we are on a path of necessary intentional living.

    • Tammy February 2, 2011, 9:28 am

      @Kristy – You rock! Your comments are always so thoughtful.

      I loved your point about “othering” It’s such a big issue in our culture and it prevents thoughtful dialogue and debate.

      Have you seen, The Age of Stupid? It brought a lot of these points home: http://www.spannerfilms.net/films/ageofstupid

      • Kristy Powell February 2, 2011, 9:42 am

        Thanks for the suggestion, Tammy. I have not. I’ll be watching that very soon.

    • Karen February 2, 2011, 10:55 pm

      Amen, Kristy. Just because the media has picked up on an idea doesn’t mean the world has changed. In fact, it seems that once the media starts talking about something it attains “fad” status, which means it’s on the way out. I’ve read one blogger who recently claimed that minimalism has become old news, and I sure hope he’s wrong! We have such a long way to go to repair our values, priorities, relationships, spirits, and the earth. Let’s keep the conversation going, indeed!

  • Cristhyano February 2, 2011, 9:42 am

    Well, here in Brazil it’s not. But it is mainstream everywhere around the internet. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if people look at the right place, but some blogs are using this to promove themselves and their products. They’re using the “boom” to sell books and stuff saying that they will solve your issues, make you happier and give you freedom.
    I don’t buy it because 99% of the content of the books can be found on blogs and internet, minimalism and simplicity is not such a complex issue that it requires a 200 pages book to start.
    I think a lot of minimalism, simplicity and self called zen blogs are deturping buddhism and making it become a “self help product”, but this will pass like any other things and i hope only the real ones will survive.

  • Maria Almaguer February 2, 2011, 9:57 am

    I’m with you, Tammy. I don’t believe it either. When friends & family find out how minimal I’m making my life now by ridding myself of possessions, they are either alarmed (what’s wrong?!) or ask me, “Now why would you want to do that?” When I explain they get quiet, nod, and I can see the wheels turning in their heads as they think of all their “stuff.” But the big secret is that it is addictive and feels wonderful!

  • Gord Morrow February 2, 2011, 10:48 am

    I do not think we need to worry about minimalism becoming too mainstream. As you pointed out Tammy, all the governments of the world are concerned about one thing and one thing only “growth”. I love a quote from Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer “analyst might tell us the economy is failing if it is not continuously growing, but we can realize that excessive growth, like cancer, will ultimately destroy us”. Yet our governments continue to listen to the analyst and focus on growth as the measure of how successful we are as a country. I just heard some figures that US consumers went on a spending spree in December of 2010. So lets keep supporting and promoting minimalism, there are a lot of people who still have not got the message.

  • James Schipper February 2, 2011, 10:51 am

    Go stand on a corner in Times Square and ask people all day if they’ve even heard of minimalism, and you’ll know if it’s “mainstream” by the numbers. It’s nonsense.

    But all that stuff you said too 😀

  • Joël de Bruijn February 2, 2011, 11:43 am

    Thanks, for this post,
    I’m not a pro in trend-watching, bit IF it really has gone mainstream, I think ‘simplicity’ is just going to the top of the ‘peak-of-inflated-expectations’. How so?
    Just look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle
    Don’t know if this is usefull, but stopping to discus it would be a logical at the ultimate fase: ‘Plateau of Productivity’. Not earlier. Untill then, blogs like this actually help moving this trend through the hype-cycle. And we’re not there anytime soon I think…

    But Tammy, what do you think?
    Are there any indicators, which could determine after analysing, in which fase ‘simplicity’ is?

    Regards, Joël

  • Amelia February 2, 2011, 11:59 am

    Tammy, I want you to keep talking about simplicity, even if it goes mainstream. Since when is something “going mainstream” means for stopping talking about it? I mean, people spend TONS of time talking about Brad and Jen and Angelina, so why not continue to talk about simplicity, even if it is popular?

  • Mary Jaksch | Goodlife ZEN February 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I’ve been reading quite a few articles recently that say minimalism is dead. I think it depends on what the driver is that created the movement in the first place. If the driver was the world-wide recession, then we can expect people to lose interest as the economic conditions improve.

    What’s your sense of the driver behind the minimalist movement, Tammy?

    • Tammy February 2, 2011, 4:25 pm

      @Mary and @Joël . . .

      Simplicity, downsizing, minimalism, or whatever you want to label it is not dead. Thoreau discussed simplicity in the 1800s and I don’t think the ideas are going to disappear anytime soon. Especially, with climate change on our heals. In the long-run destroying the natural world, won’t make anyone happy. So I don’t think this is about “hype.”

      But to answer your question . . .

      The main driver behind the movement is about happiness. People are looking for ways to get off the work-spend treadmill. Typically, a lifestyle of buying more and more doesn’t make people happy and simple living offers folks a way to break-up with materialism, which is a very good idea.

      I was just reading a report from the New Economics Foundation and the authors stated: “The scientific evidence for the negative impacts of materialism is overwhelming; they range from poorer personal relationships through fewer good moods and lower self-esteem, to increased prevalence of psychological symptoms. In short, people whose main aspiration is to be wealthy are inclined to be less satisfied with their lives in general than those who focus their energies elsewhere.”

      People are hungry for a sense of connection and community. And you can’t buy that at the mall.

      And one last thing . . .

      Chris Guillebeau said in his wonderful book, The Art of Non-Conformity: “I adhere to a guru-free philosophy, I don’t claim to have all the answers.”

      I’m on the same page as Chris. I’m not a simplicity guru and I don’t have all the answers. I might have more experience with simplicity, but my life isn’t perfect and I’m still learning. That’s why these kinds of discussions are so important. 🙂

      Thanks for your support and reading!

  • Mollie February 2, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I think it’s great that simpler living is going mainstream I’m amazed by the sheer number of blogs devoted to the topic. I’m also very impressed that so many people have realized that more stuff isn’t the answer.

    However, some minimalists sound very preachy, and when someone starts to sound preachy, I think they are trying to convince themselves and not others.

    I hope it continues to go mainstream. Every little bit helps.

  • It’s not mainsteam where I live…I’d say I’m in the minority..

    • Caroline February 3, 2011, 10:57 am

      Same where I live, Jo! But in the much crunchier town where we used to live, living simply was a much more common goal. Maybe there’s some regional specificity to it?

  • Caroline February 2, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Kristy summed it up beautifully, I think – the participants in the Voluntary Simplicity and sustainability movements aren’t doing it, or writing about it, for some sort of hipster street cred. Also, it’s worth noting that “sustainability” gathered steam, and attention, until recycling was “mainstream”…and so was greenwashing. Media attention doesn’t necessarily convey that a movement has fulfilled its aims. As with “sustainability,” “simplicity” is a sometimes ambiguous, always moving target. Until we achieve meaningful, widespread social commitments to both, I think they’re quite worthy of discussion!

  • Marnie February 2, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Just because many people are becoming aware of a problem (i.e. over-consumption) doesn’t mean we should no longer talk about how to solve it. We need to keep the conversation alive!

  • Cat C. February 2, 2011, 4:11 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    Hope all is well! I e-mailed you awhile ago just to say hi and that I enjoy your blog, and you sent the nicest note back, so thanks!

    I don’t want to threadjack, but I don’t want to fill up your inbox with e-mail either. So… hope this is OK to post here.

    I’ve been thinking about my own “stuff” as I try to continue to downsize, and I’m finding that a decent number of things that I own are really useful for one season, and then not so useful (or not at all useful) during the rest of the year. I’m thinking like beach gear, winter gear, stuff like that. I’m curious as to how your local weather affects your choices of / number of items with your X number of personal things? I live in New England, and there is a lot of seasonal variation, so I own everything from shorts to lined winter coveralls for work in the wintertime. Everything is useful in it’s time – but not so useful the other 50-75% of the year! I’m curious as to any thoughts you have on seasonally-useful items, and if you have any thoughts / successes with making stuff more multi-purpose, that doesn’t end in heat stroke or frostbite 🙂

    Hope that made a little bit of sense at least!

    Thanks!
    Cat

  • Timaree (freebird) February 2, 2011, 5:47 pm

    When it hits mainstream it becomes distorted too often. I picked up the magazine “Simple” at my sister’s house once and looked through it. It was a countdown to Christmas issue and they had so much going on and so much stuff for you to buy and do that I had never done in my entire life. I could not believe how un-simple it was. I guess if following a month-long to-do list made up by the magazine so you could show off on Christmas day is what you consider simple living then it’s right up your alley but it’s not up mine and I don’t think anyone’s who is really, truly trying to live minimally. That kind of thing too often, is what mainstreaming does to a good idea so keep up the posts because someone has to keep people on track who think mainstreet is “getting it”.

    • Karen February 2, 2011, 11:08 pm

      I agree: “Simple” is packed with advertising and is just another way to make money from people’s desire for a more sane way of living. I think the magazine got its start in the wake of the last “simplicity cycle,” when Elaine St. James’ books were so popular back in the late 90s. So Tammy is right that these ideas keep coming back. That’s because they speak to the inner core of what really makes people happy — not stuff, not consumption, but loving relationships and having just enough to meet needs.

  • Maia Duerr / The Liberated Life Project February 3, 2011, 8:47 am

    A while back I came across a quote from Zen Buddhist teacher Robert Aitken Roshi: “Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away.”

    I bet that 90% of our battle with our consumerist and hoarding tendencies could be won if we could really live from that truth. We are subject to manipulation from advertising because we are using ‘things’ as a hedge against something else… perhaps fear that our life would be meaningless otherwise.

    Thanks, Tammy, for being dedicated to a meaningful life and sharing your experiences on simplicity here.

  • Amanda February 3, 2011, 9:02 am

    Great article, I completely agree with you. I especially liked this statement:
    “At the policy level, we’re more obsessed with growth, rather than well-being. Put another way, our culture is so focused on “more” we never ask: “what is enough?”” I really think that this is a big problem, so many people think we have to keep growing and keep acquiring more, it’s unrealistic. Because of fear so many people are afraid they’ll run out of stuff or won’t have enough. We need to stop being so afraid that we need more stuff and start realizing when enough is enough.

  • Hollister February 3, 2011, 11:39 am

    Love all of your writings! I agree with all of y’all- not quite mainstream. Tougher economic times always spawn downsizing and simplicity. The true test for me comes when I have some disposable income…I have the impulse to go buy, but I’ve retrained my habits to refrain from it! No always easy in this culture.
    QUESTION
    does anyone onw know of any good childrens’ books which address the issues of too much stuff or landfills and consumer waste? Children ages 3-8.

    Thanks!!!

    • Karen February 3, 2011, 8:58 pm

      I don’t know of a children’s book that specifically addresses waste and landfills, but a picture book I love that tells a story about remaking and reusing something over and over, while allowing the excess to be put to use by someone else, is “Something From Nothing” by Phoebe Gilman. “Pelle’s New Suit” (sorry I can’t remember the author; a librarian might be able to help you) is an old, old picture book about the natural process of raising sheep to get wool to spin into yarn to weave into cloth to make a new jacket. You can’t have too much stuff if your stuff has to go through such an intense process to even exist! Of course, stuff today goes through an incredibly complex process, with resource extraction, factories (with low-paid workers), excessive packaging, shipping, and marketing to make its way to us. So when we have excessive stuff, this process is multiplied alarmingly. Unfortunately, since we don’t see the process, we don’t think about the true cost of the stuff we buy. Two picture books by Virginia Lee Burton also have messages about reusing something rather than trashing it: “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” and “The Little House.” Hope these ideas are useful to you.

  • Lisa February 3, 2011, 11:57 am

    I don’t believe that simplicity has gone mainstream especially in the U.S. The part of your post about 2 year olds recognition of brand names should prove that. I’m old enough to remember when “branding” was something that was done to cattle as a means of signifying their owner. (Though I disagree with that practice.) Now it seems that “brands” own us.

  • al February 3, 2011, 12:51 pm

    I don’t think simplicity has truly gone mainstream but it does seem to be becoming trendy. Words like “recessionista” and “downsizing” are commonly used phrases. It’s kind of like dieting. People SAY how great it is to eat organic, low-carb, non-processed, whatever. But deep down all they really want a big mac and an ice cream sundae. I think most people are living more simply because of necessity and they jump on the downsizing-recessionista-bandwagon so they don’t feel bad about it. But if they were given the opportunity they would go back to their mcmansion/3 car household etc buying up every hot new item. Not as many people would choose to live simply in a time of prosperity. I joined the bandwagon for similar reasons. We don’t make a ton of money, probably never will and I have to come to terms with that. So all these websites like rowdykittens and zenhabits actually make me feel better about my situation. They have helped me to see I can live life to the fullest without having to make 6 figures. And I can be proud of the material things I have or don’t have. JMHO 🙂

  • John Herberich February 3, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Tammy,

    I just read about you in USA and I am saying, “Right on!” Somebody opened the window and the fresh air came into our stuffy room and blew all the STUFF off the table. (I won’t miss it). Living with only 100 possessions sounds like freedom to a man with lots of stuff. I laughed when it said you go to friend’s house that are big and they mostly congregate in one or two rooms.

    My neighbor Mike says we spend a lot of time just managing our stuff. I started camping in the Smokies this summer, and I was surprised that, with only a few things (air mattress please!) I could enjoy myself alone, by the river at Elkmont. Hey, it gets dark- you go to bed, and then, naturally you get up early.

    Nature is relaxing- hiking, building a fire, swatting mosquitos, etc. You lose a lot of weight after a few days because the Frig is so far away. And TV. Oh, the high cost of camping. But it’s so simple, and cheap!

    So I take 4 candles in the tent and read Thoreau, which seems appropriate when in nature. He has some choice words about possessions. He also says wise things about ‘The News.’ I ate Wed night with friends who have a heavy diet of ‘News.’ How much do I need to know? It takes a lot of time ‘to keep up with things.’ Unless its going to be on the test, do I need to keep glued to the Tube?

    Tammy, thanks for the encouragement. I sometimes think I must be wrong because I can’t find many who think that just maybe the consumer lifestyle is not the good life.

    Thanks – John

    • Tammy February 3, 2011, 8:30 pm

      @John – Thanks for stopping by and sharing part of your story. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the USA Today article.

      I love camping and hiking too. We’re actually going bike camping this weekend and I can’t wait.

      Best of luck to you! And remember you’re not alone. 🙂

  • Luinae February 3, 2011, 7:57 pm

    “From an early age, we’re taught that stuff will make us happy”

    When I started to become a minimalist, this was the hardest thing to deal with. I was so SURE that stuff would make me happy. That lip gloss would make me a happier person. Breaking out of that cultural norm and realizing (and then deciding to live that way) that stuff did not make me happier was incredibly difficult.

  • stayathomemummy February 4, 2011, 4:14 am

    A great post. I am trying to find my way along the simple living path and away from materialism. I am always overwhelmed by the process and have the feeling of where to start…I have decided to try and declutter 11 things a day for 11 days, to try and at least start this process how I mean to go on. I am blogging about my progress as a way of making sure I do it each day.
    I hope that simplicity does go mainstream but I fear that simplicity itself is viewed as in fashion during these tough economic times and yet in a couple of years when things get better it will be old news and a new fashion will take its place.
    Stacey x

  • Sarah February 4, 2011, 9:15 am

    If by mainstream they mean lots of people are talking about it, sure. But I can promise you that consumerism is still RAMPANT – all the people at the mall, in this dying rust-belt city with HIGH unemployment, despite the recession, is proof enough for me.

  • Brenda February 4, 2011, 10:18 am

    Simplicity has definitely not gone main stream. Also its one thing to talk about something and another thing to follow through with it. People can talk about downsizing and simplifying until they are blue in the face, but actions speak louder than words.

    -Have a great weekend Tammy,
    Brenda

  • Dan Blakely February 5, 2011, 6:33 am

    The word may be used in mainstream culture but the practice of it is not. People like to talk about it to make themselves feel better but in reality they are still over-consuming, over-using and over-committing their time. I see it everyday… and quite frankly, it would be fantastic if true simplicity went mainstream. How great would that be for our quality of life, the earth’s resources, our communities, etc… It would be welcome but unfortunately we are not anywhere near this point yet.

    Thanks to a lot of people who are taking real steps to simple living – the current course of actions in the US is not sustainable in the long run and changes will need to be made. I am making them for my sake and the sake of my children in hopes that they can enjoy this pale blue dot just as I have.

    Great post Tammy!

  • Dustin February 5, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Tammy! You are amazing! You have inspired my wife and I. Your list of 72 things was totally eye opening. We probably have at least 72 shoes between the two of us. Sad! We have already had one garage sale and the next one will be MUCH bigger. We’re going through the process of down-sizing and we are happier already. Where you are, in relation to your stuff…I want to go to there. 🙂

  • Holly February 8, 2011, 9:25 pm

    I don’t think living simply has “gone mainstream,” but it is heading definitely heading in that direction. Well I’m speaking of people roughly in my age group… 20 to 35 years old. (I’m 28.) Most people I know are “so over stuff” and tend to rid themselves of as much stuff as possible… and not by just throwing it in the dumpster either. That doesn’t mean we don’t still have more stuff than we need, but the whole concept of collecting “stuff” just isn’t “cool” anymore. Being simple and streamlined is considered modern and more the “way of the future.” It’s kind of like how smoking isn’t cool anymore among the younger age group, but older people still speak of it like it is. However, I very much disagree with the person who emailed you if she was saying there’s “no need to talk about it.” Just because living simply is something people are more conscious of than they used to be doesn’t mean we’ve reached some kind of stopping point for improvement. Far from it.

  • Holly February 8, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I would also like to add that I feel there are varying degrees of simplification for different people. Many people drastically simplify their lives and begin to use less and recycle more, but they may not be willing to do something as drastic as give up having a car or a refrigerator. For some people… living in certain areas… these really would be completely absurd (un-doable) requests that would render a person unable to function in society. That could be because of weather in the region, unreasonable distances between destinations, jobs that require you to arrive at the office looking “Prada-good”… and numerous other things. The reason I bring up this issue is because I don’t think enough credit is given to people who make a SERIOUS effort to downsize and simplify, but may not be ready or able to go to the greater extremes that some others do. I think that all steps in the right direction should be commended, and smugness should be avoided at every turn. Just my .02. With that said, I love the blog.

  • Terez Williamson February 9, 2011, 2:36 am

    What a great treatise on how the core tenets of minimalism is not just a passing fad. Being a relationship blogger, I see many of us who are too distracted by our lifestyle of material accumulation. When our focus is on “keeping up with the Joneses,” our marriages and relationships can easily fall into neglect. Living more simply also helps us refocus on what truly makes us wealthy, our relationships. Thanks for all of your insights and inspiration Tammy!

  • Joanna Laine February 10, 2011, 12:33 pm

    Even though people know about the concept of minimalism, and many profess to wanting to practice it, we still need to keep talking about it in order to make it REALLY happen. Only by repeating messages of the importance of minimalism can we counteract the effects of societal pressures to consume more.

    I am, unfortunately, an example of how knowing about minimalism doesn’t necessarily LEAD to minimalism. I discovered RowdyKittens over the summer and since then have been really interested in trying to incorporate minimalism into my life. However, it’s been really difficult for me – my home is full of clutter and i’m a self-described internet addict. I’m making small steps towards simplicity every day, but it’s going to take time and effort to really get there. And talking about minimalism and reading blogs like yours help a lot.

    • Tammy February 10, 2011, 12:47 pm

      @Joanna – thanks for reading and sharing part of your story. 🙂

      It took us about five years to get small. Downsizing and decluttering didn’t happen overnight (at least for us). So remember to take those small steps everyday and don’t give up! Difficult life changes are usually worth it in the end. 🙂

      Have a great week!

  • bernie February 10, 2011, 9:50 pm

    I don’t believe it has gone main stream – I only hope it does!

    Every day I see people buying things they do not need. This creates a lot more stress because there are more items to manage. I spent a weekend at a friends house and noticed that ALL of his walls in All of his rooms are lined with stuff! I couldn’t believe it! He kept stating that he needs a bigger house!

    Bernie

  • Tess The Bold Life February 18, 2011, 6:39 am

    Hi Tammy,
    Hmmm, I’m sure there are tons of people invested in the status quo. After all their business depends on it. Activism and personal change will eventually win out. It has too or we’ll all die a slow suicide.

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