I’m a minimalist and I like this lifestyle. But I’m not here to defend minimalism. In fact, I believe that minimalism is an almost stupid, at least very basic and definitely not intellectually challenging topic. Not only do I think this article will offend people, I hope it does. Because I am so sick and tired of all those boring minimalism influencers doing nothing but nice-girl-next-door content. And in no way am I even interested in participating in that cult, nor do I care about people who like that kind of empty aesthetic.
1. There are no experts on minimalism
Firstly: There are no friggin minimalism experts. There are only minimalists. Furthermore, there are also no decluttering experts. Only people who throw out and arrange stuff differently. That’s not being an expert. Being a neurosurgeon is being an expert. Being a quantum optics specialist is being an expert. Helping others declutter their crap is nice, but it’s not professional aka higher-education-level expert knowledge.
Anyone can do that. Living in a minimalist apartment? Again: nice. But common sense. You don’t need to acquire any high-level skills through an education system to do that. Not an expert. Otherwise, the word expert is just not worth sh*t anymore. When I hear »minimalism expert«, I cringe so hard. It’s just f*cking ridiculous.
Minimalism is trivial and anyone can be a minimalist
You don’t need an expertise on minimalism, because it is a trivial concept. I don’t believe that there are any true experts on it. Just like there are no experts on wiping your butt or scratching your scrotum. And even if there were, wiping your butt is so trivial, that by reading one article about it, anyone can become an expert on it (LOL, just imagine that for a second, holy f*ck).
Furthermore, it would be 100% silly to call yourself a butt-wiping & sack-scratching expert and you’d be rightfully shamed for such bullsh_t. Nobody cares whether or not they scratch their crotch the »right« way. (Do me a favor and google it, and share your insights—if there are any—in the comments!)
Anyway, it’s just the same with minimalism »experts«. They create a solution for a non-existing problem. Making people believe they need books and blogs and whole friggin movies on minimalism just to toss out their clutter. Maybe these people really do think they know something that you don’t. But all in all it is just a big fat bubble of common sense, blown out of proportion. Trust me, I am one of these »experts«. All I can do for you is a little bit of motivation, inspiration and maybe put things together in a certain way. But there’s nothing here that you can’t find out for free, I promise!
»Minimalism experts« just want to sell you something that is as free as open source software
So all those people want, is to sell you something that is essentially already free. There are so many YouTube channels, free ebooks and online communities about minimalism, giving valuable advice. I am 100% sure that everything you can possibly learn about minimalism is already out there.
But most importantly, minimalism is nothing but a journey on which you have to embark all by yourself. Nobody can do it for you. It is about your own experiences and not about learning from some dumb self-proclaimed online guru.
2. Minimalism as a trend is just another form of materialism
A problematic development that I see associated with minimalism is its commercialization. Especially when it comes to designer products. The more fancy items become available to the average consumer, the more fancy items are purchased, and the more old but still good items are replaced, for the sole reason to be out of fashion.
This is not minimalism, it’s a »minimalist design trend«. It has nothing to do with needing less, but everything with consuming things just because they look good, and not because you actually need them.
Just take a look at bars, interior design magazines and basically Instagram. Minimalism as a trend is everywhere. And it’s helping nobody. True minimalism would be to stay away from all these new shiny and simplistic accessories that target people who love simple design but don’t have the budget to afford quality products that last a lifetime.
3. Extreme minimalism to the point of being ridiculous
The next example of how stupid minimalism can be is extreme minimalism, and it’s an example from my own life. Now, your mileage may vary, and maybe you would really enjoy and embrace that lifestyle. I have certainly learned a lot during this time.
But I would be lying if I’d say it was all still practical. It was not. I had one fork, one knife and two spoons. All my guest would have to bring their own cutlery, because I could not be bothered to offer them some. Which lead to many of them bringing single-use plastic forks and knives. Awesome…
Another thing was that I didn’t have furniture or a washing machine, and in one of my apartments, I didn’t want a stove or a fridge. I would lie if I’d say living without a fridge was nice. I liked it, but not because it was doable. It was, sure. But it was still very much annoying.
Because I had so few things, they could all fit into one backpack, I was not equipped for many everyday problems, like most repairs you have to do in your home. Things can break. If you don’t have any tools, you have to pay for someone to do the repairs for you. Same goes for food. Now, sure, thanks to my minimalism, I had a lot of money left to eat out all the time. But it’s still kind of dumb. Making my own food would have saved me even more money than minimalism ever did.
I think, it’s just important to acknowledge these kinds of things. Because if you take it to far, minimalism becomes very stupid. And you become dependent of all the people who aren’t minimalists, and that’s just silly.
4. Most minimalism content is repetitive AF
But isn’t minimalism overall still a good cause? Yes. I absolutely think so. I believe, if you stick to a practical form of minimalism, neither extreme asceticism nor absurd status-symbol-driven materialism, it can bring much improvement to your life.
But that is the practice of minimalism. That is something you do all by yourself and that’s very individual. I’ve been there and it was fun, and now I film videos about it. But something I really struggle with is how boring minimalism actually can be.
I like talking about it, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t stand most minimalism content and I don’t even watch my own. I get bored out of my mind looking at other people clean their steril Bauhaus apartments. I prefer comedy, commentary and controvery. Minimalism content is way too nice and also too predictable for me.
Most minimalism blogs and YouTube channels have nothing to offer but their bullet point style lists of how to improve something that you could easily figure out by yourself, if you’d just sit down and do it. And then they stylize all this common sense into a big blob of bla bla. Naw… I’m actually working hard on getting away from this kind of style. I want to be myself, and not some gray mouse that shows you a bunch of merino sweaters and slow-motion b-roll from they Sunday walk through the museum of modern art. Ugh. (Or do I…?)
5. Minimalist content creators are boring and have no personality
But why is it that mimalism content all seems the same? I mean, just look at those channels. They all have the same video topics, offering advice on how to build a capsule wardrobe, how to declutter and how to save time and money with minimalism.
They either wear black and white, gray or earthy colors, many are vegan or vegetarian, and of course they have all made the marvellous feminist experience of growing out their butt hair or what not…
I don’t know. I think all of this is so predictable and boring and stupid. Back in the day, we called those people »normcore«. Normal has never been an ideal of mine, never something I wanted to achieve. I want color and weird and absurdly long nights involving silly experiences that defeat the fact that I am a grown up. I don’t want normal. And I don’t want to look at others showing nothing but how f_cking normal they are. Yawn.
But more than that, which is clearly just a preference (I just like quirky indie girls and boys), more than that I am annoyed by how “non-edgy” many minimalism creators are. How much they avoid conflict and never go for anything out of their comfort zone.
They don’t get political, they don’t have an opinion on anything there are unpopular opinions on, and if they do, you can bet your ass, it’s the popular opinion they pick.
Minimalist content creators avoid debates and hot topics like the plague and consistently go for non-controversial people-pleaser content. And that, that’s something I find just extremely unattractive in a person. I like it when people have their own opinions, even if they are strong and differ a lot from my own. I love having a good debate. But that is something you can search forever in the minimalism content bubble. I haven’t found it yet. They’re all utterly nice, cute and woke as f_ck.
6. People want minimalism without sustainability
But okay, all of this is still my personal taste. I just like it when people show off their personality online. Something that is truly problematic and that I see a lot in the context of my own work is how little the minimalism community actually overlaps with the eco community. And that’s just sad.
There is the zero waste / low waste movement, fair fashion and DIY / upcycling community on one side. And there is the minimalism bubble on the other side, floating around in space, without touching any of this stuff.
I mean, sure, there are minimalists that are also into sustainable living. But I’d say it’s more often the case that people get into sustainability and then discover that they need less than what they have and slowly dab into minimalism. Not so much the other way around.
Because when you are coming from the minimalism side, you’re more likely to just be in it for the looks. You want a clean and clutter-free apartment, you want to sort out your life. You haven’t worried about going plastic-free or avoiding fast fashion so much yet. And that’s such a shame. Because this has never been easier and mor accessible than now. And I really think that everyone who looks into minimalism should also check out sustainability, in whatever aspect that might be…
7. Minimalism is a privileged people trend
As mentioned before, minimalism often doesn’t really go hand in hand with sustainability. Oftentimes it is quite the opposite. But the point where this kind of minimalism lifestyle gets really stupid and ridiculous is when people start replacing things they already own for more fancy looking design items.
Not only do I find this totally uninspired, it’s also harmful to the environment. And it’s not minimalistic. The truly minimal approach would be to use everything until it falls apart. This practice of replacing things for no other reason than a visual upgrade makes it so superficial and dull.
But moreover, this kind of minimalism speaks to privileged people only. The true minimalism would be the one that actually helps you financially. And that’s the opposite of what is promoted by most people in the minimalism bubble. People who constantly show off their high fashion wardrobe, fancy hygge apartments and shiny Apple products. I personally don’t want to cater to that crowd and it is one aspect of minimalism that just makes me disappointed in humanity.
8. Minimalism is some next level hipster sh_t
And then we have the hipsters. Before everyone else, probably guys like Matt D’Avella. But I think he is pretty aware of his hipsterness. I just kind of don’t buy into hipsters joking about being hipsters. Because you can’t be a hipster ironically. That’s absurd. Be a proud hipster of f*ck off.
But the amount of hipster bars and coffee places adopting that minimalist look… I just have mixed feelings about that. First of all, most design trends do at some point end up being harmful to the environment. Trends are by default not something positive. Population scale impact kind of mindset shifts are. Movements are. Not trends
I personally really love this style though. After being a minimalist for almost two decades, and always having been a fan of Scandinavian design and simple minimalist interior… Yeah, I embrace this. I’m the biggest hipster myself. It is just that inflationary occurrence of these things that makes me cringe. The phenomenon that something you have always adored is all of a sudden hip to others. And then it becomes so popular over night that you kind of become fed up with it… Yeah. That’s why I think minimalism as a trend is somewhat stupid and superficial. And I just hope that more people embrace it as a life-changing practice rather than a way to set up their space.
9. Historical and cultural awareness in the minimalism bubble is practically non-existent
Finally, I am always baffled by the ignorance most people who call themselves minimalism have towards the roots of this movement.
Minimalism influencers are in my humble opinion often ignorant as f*ck. They have never heard about minimalism in architecture or music. They can’t name a single person who has added to what has become this lifestyle today. And that’s just sad.
That kind of thing is precisely what makes minimalism stupid and superficial and nothing more than another random trend which will soon be replaced by another useless hype. It’s like veganism as a trend. Nope. You actually don’t want people to become vegans for no reason. Because that will mean that most of these people will probably not stick to it. It does not help »the movement«.
I admire when people seek a deeper understanding of something, even if it is a superficial and easy topic like minimalism. Because maybe then we will actually get to the point where it isn’t anymore. I personally love learning about architecture and art. Not only with regard to minimalism. These are general fields of interest of mine. I just enjoy taking what I like to the educated level rather than wallowing in superficial beauty.
10. Minimalism is not a philosophy, it’s a lifestyle
Minimalism—as it is pursued as a niche by most YouTubers—is not at all an intellectual topic. And the more I see video creators and bloggers (especially designers with no intellectual background that actually gives their message a plot, and not just a pretty format) make pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-philosophical and housewife-psychology content about it, the more I don’t want anything to do with this.
I see so many creators make content around minimalism, just because it clicks well. And then make minimalism into this cult-like philosophy. Into this genre of its own. But it is not that. It is just a lifestyle. And there is nothing wrong with that. Style de vie or livstil or Lebensstil are not bad words in other languages. After all they all contain »style«. Not something to be looked down on per se. But just because a topic is nice and interesting, it does not make it complex and deep.
Minimalism is a lifestyle and a lifestyle is not a philosophy. A philosophy is a fundamental theory. Minimalism is at best a mindful practice. It can be part of something bigger. But to me, it is a very small part. It is an outlet, a form of clearing your head. But I don’ve ever want to stylize it into this almost religious high standard. It itches me to see people do that. And to make nothing but content around it. Yuk.
This really got me thinking. Why do I actually think that minimalism is almost a little bit stupid? Don’t I stand by what I preach? Do I preach though? I hope not…
I almost despise all these totally zen but pseudo-intellectual minimalism vloggers. On the other side of the spectrum then the lifestyle girls with their 110 capsule wardrobe show-offs in an off-white clothes on orange skin tones Instagram aesthetic… Oh boy. All of this is just triggering massive »I don’t want to become that« monologues inside my head, I gotta say.
11. The fact that you clicked on this article is proof that minimalism is stupid
The fact that I can make money from people wanting to read a trivial piece of text about how and why minimalism is dumb… Yeah, that kind of sums it up for me.
Anyway, fellas, this was all in good fun. I hope for you that you got a sense of humor. I certainly enjoy living my best minimalist life. Not having a lot of stuff is amazing. I have a whole page of downloads and also an etsy shop, where I sell you pure minimalism snake oil.
I think, what the minimalism bubble really needs is people taking this whole lifestyle less seriously. Being silly about it, joking about it, and being honest. I don’t judge you if you think you need books and blogs and movies for motivation. But no, I don’t think that you actually do. I think that anyone can become a minimalist basically over night. It’s not rocket science. And in its essence, minimalism should be about consuming less. That includes redundant and needless minimalism content. Including mine.
Anyway, if you liked this article despite it being the longest rant on minimalism I have ever written, please let me know, leave a comment, buy me a coffee or just share it with someone you want to piss of 🙂
CFebruary 17, 2022 at 10:58 am
Thanks for another good fun rant! Pretty much the only minimalism content I follow anymore are the humorous ones like A Small Wardrobe or the religious/spiritual/philosophical ones that tend to be just one-offs about monks in caves😉 or offer a nice person doing extreme “unprofessionally” (eg, Sagelife Minimalism, the Matcha Kimono guy). Usually just setting up a camera in front of a cat or dog teaches you more about minimalism than the grey-shirt wardrobe guys or 333 people.
Undine AlmaniFebruary 18, 2022 at 7:30 am
I think I know who you mean by the Matcha guy XD The internet is so small after all! I feel like it’s just time for a change and time to stop trying to not offend anybody. It costs me too much energy and it’s no fun! Thanks for commenting and have a nice weekend 🙂
LisaMay 15, 2022 at 4:20 am
Haha, good rant! I can recommend Ana Goldberg, Victoria Terekhina and Anja’s Artworld on Youtube I feel they are a bit different and real.
Undine AlmaniMay 18, 2022 at 6:25 am
Hi! Thanks for the recommendations. I actually follow a bunch of them. I’ll check out Ana too. There are certainly cool accounts out there. I hope minimalism will be a bit less polished in the future.
ale e.August 15, 2022 at 11:19 am
Cool and unapologetic as usual. Very hipster too, but proudly hipster! And definetly i think minimalism is a watered down version of hardcore views of aesthetics (as a philosophical study field), enviromental problems, buddhism, and a lot of more interesting shi out there. Even Judd had a ton of books and hated the term, but well… it is what it is
Undine AlmaniSeptember 14, 2022 at 4:28 am
Thanks! Yeah, there’s nothing you can do other than change and create your own thing, hope that others change too and it all gets back to cool. But then also: people just don’t click on that, and on YouTube that matters. That’s the most annoying part about it. That you might want to talk about this topic but not use “minimalism” as a buzzword all the time… hm…
klaingcreativeFebruary 26, 2023 at 9:05 am
When I saw the title I knew it was going to be entertaining and humorous. I was not disappointed. Thank you!
Undine AlmaniFebruary 26, 2023 at 10:28 am
How did I not see this comment until now?! 😀 Thanks! Appreciate it ^^