Minimalism is the New Luxury

There's a new saying sweeping the nation, “Not Owning Stuff is the New Owning Stuff". Sounds ironic, doesn’t it? But yes, apparently it’s true; minimalism is now considered the new luxury. Minimalism has always been an idea touted by anti-consumerists, but more recently your average person has joined in as well. From people selling most of their belongings and moving into tiny homes to people not buying homes at all, the idea of ownership is becoming something less and less desirable. In particular, among Millennials, the pay-as-you-live lifestyle is gaining a lot of traction which is seen by the popping up of companies like Netflix, Zipcar and Rent the Runway which allow you to rent movies, cars and even dresses whenever the need arises. People are realizing that we really don’t need all the stuff we want, and it’s actually more enjoyable to live a lighter lifestyle. Especially after the Great Recession when many people had to give up their homes, cars, and some, their entire lifestyles, the advantage of having “less to lose” is obvious.

It’s still funny though to hear minimalism being referred to as a type of luxury. But it immediately brought to mind a study we did in which we explored the different dimensions of “Luxury”. When we first prompted respondents with the word, the first thing that came to mind was the idea of money. On the surface, luxury is defined as richness, opulence, and owning plenty of material things. However, after using eCollage, it became clear that there was another, deeper dimension of the word. One strong emergent theme was that of opportunity, showing that luxury can also be defined as the freedom to do what you want, when you want. In reality, something that is considered luxurious does not have to be insanely expensive, rather it can be something free. What does matter though is that it is not something that can be easily obtained.

With this new understanding of the word, it suddenly becomes clear how minimalism can be considered a luxury. Most would admit that it was very hard to give up their material possessions at first. However, once they dove into the lifestyle, many experienced a freeing feeling of not being tied down to “stuff” which goes hand-in-hand with the deeper definition of luxury we found. So, how about you? Are you ready to try out this new lifestyle trend of minimalism?

For more information on our Exploring Luxury study, click here.