“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
We purchase twice as much now as we did in 2000. But, are these purchases making us happier? A study from 2000, found that life satisfaction measures barely respond to increases in a person’s GDP, beyond $15,000. In other words, is that new computer or car really going to make us a happier person? Probably not.
This is where the minimalism trend was born, from the genuine fear that we are drowning in our own belongings. Encouraging us all to declutter, dispose and downsize their over- complicated lives. As Maria Kondo says, if it doesn’t spark joy, get it out of your life.
While we may get a lot of hate from commercial stores about it, we as millennials are increasingly following this path, choosing to spend our hard-earned cash on experiences rather than material goods. Furthermore, we make up roughly a quarter of the consumer population, and we haven’t come into our peak buying years. Businesses need to recognise this shift. Products are out and experiences are in (Tilford, 2018).
A day spent surfing at the beach, a road trip with friends camping along the way, mountain biking and then brunch in a local park; these are the activities that millennials are increasingly choosing to spend their money on.
This is the reason Shimmy a Brisbane based start- up was born, with the mission of allowing it users to borrow items from others in their area, providing us all with a community worth of goods, without the excessive consumption that usually comes with it.
Now we can rent that surfboard, camping equipment or bike, choosing only to buy what we use regularly, and avoid cluttering up our homes with underutilised items. Shimmy provides access to limitless experiences regardless of whether you’re on a budget, have limited storage space or simply want to try something new.
And storage is important! According to recent findings, more and more people are saying no to mansions and choosing to live in smaller, more compact spaces. From cities where space is a commodity in high demand to more rural areas where many are making the decision to live on a smaller scale, whether it be in a shipping container or a micro home. Minimalism goes hand in hand with the small space living trend, both promoting similar lifestyle changes.
Fast fashion, sale chasing and compulsive buying behaviour; we are all guilty of buying cheap, trendy items that we will only wear for one season or going on a shopping spree at Kmart to redecorate our homes on a budget. A study has shown that household consumption is responsible for 60- 80 percent of negative impacts on the environment (Ivanova, 2016). Yes, believe it or not that is worse than plastic straws, in fact it’s worse than fuel emissions!
While, we could blame manufacturers for tempting our spending habit with constant promotions and eye catching advertisements, we as consumers must take further responsibility for what we choose to purchase.
Minimalism is not only beneficial to your mental clarity but is also guaranteed to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. The act of purging our unnecessary possessions is shown to have positive effects on anxiety as well as your bank account. A win win for me! When you have less stuff tying you down you have more freedom to travel, embrace spontaneity and focus on what really matters to you.
Imagine being able to pack all of your belongings into the back of your car and drive anywhere you want to go. This is the freedom that a minimalist lifestyle can grant you. And it frees up some funds while you’re at it.
Sharing economy-based companies such as Shimmy allow you to access anything you could ever want or need without imposing on your space, finances or the environment.
Need a dress for a black-tie event? A tent for your annual camping trip? A barbeque and outdoor seating for a Summer party? It’s no wonder that sharing economies are being driven by millennials; because let’s face it, if we don’t start it, who will?