The objects slowly creep in, interiors change and transform, mindsets change in fragments, trends die out. Once monochrome interiors become full of things, the cutlery drawer increases in mass, the wardrobe spills over. Minimalism may, for many, fall away in favour of other practices- but is it dying out overall? Is the end of minimalism here?
In Matt D’Avella’s recent video, he asks this same question. One of the most influential minimalist creators, Matt is at the foundation of minimalism as a whole. His direction of the documentary, MINIMALISM, and his subsequent YouTube success has defined the way minimalism looks for a wide audience of eager minimal-wannabes. Many minimal bloggers, writers, and influencers follow his style and mimic the pan shots across interiors and simple, direct speech pattern. So, when he asks the question, ‘is this the end of minimalism?’, we might be inclined to take his word as gospel- but, is it?
One thing which Matt misses in his video is his specifically american take on the minimalist ‘trend’. He points out cultural factors leading to ultimate engagement with minimalism- from marketing, to recession, to digital media. He neglects to point out that minimalism has been a key piece of many cultures and practices across the world long before it found it’s way into the american consciousness. He considers charts of digital trends of interest in minimalism, with the peak in 2016- at the height of MINIMALISM documentary fame. However, he doesn’t consider the many minimalists who engage with the practice in a non-digital way, who take their self-development off screen and into their everyday experience.
Of course, though, these trends are a useful way to measure a rough average of interest. And Matt is right, widespread interest in minimalism is no longer at a peak, but rather at a slowly falling end. However, this isn’t necessarily the end of minimalism. See, with minimalism, once we learn the key factors and practices which help us to implement it in our lives, there’s no need for us to continue searching for more content on the topic. Many of us who began our minimal journeys back in 2016 no longer need to watch decluttering videos or read through tips on how best to minimise our kitchen. We already have the skills, and can implement them daily.
Then there’s the pandemic, another factor left unconsidered by Matt’s otherwise solid analysis. The pandemic left many of us wondering, ‘what if…’; what if we can’t get access to everything we need, what if we have to spend our days inside- and we have nothing to cocoon us, what if we’re alone. Of course, this is where the minimal mindset becomes essential, but for many of us it was simply an impossibility to maintain a semblance of normality, and holding onto something tangible can feel grounding.
So, perhaps, as Matt also says- minimalism isn’t at an end. It’s at a fork in the road, and it will always be there, as it was before the 2016 trend, to captivate those of us looking for a simpler life. It will be there to help make us at home with ourselves, at home with less. And, in the wake of the past two years, it will be there to remind us that even if we hold onto everything, we cannot control the future any more than we can change the past- and that’s okay. Minimalism is there to bring us into the present, with ourselves, scary, and confronting, and joyful.
Where are you in your minimalist journey? Do you feel that this is the end of minimalism?
Featured image: Remy Loz via Unsplash.