The problematic aspect of the minimalist movement

I love that minimalism has won as much ground as it has these days. Questioning the whole buy-and-throw-out mentality, that is endemic to our society, can only be interpreted as something good.

However, most of the minimalists you see talking about the subject on the web, are neglecting a crucial part of the conversation. They love to talk about throwing out most of what they own, only to forget the fact that they’ll soon need to buy some stuff again because they just trashed a lot of useful items.

I have been through this whole cycle myself. Me and my wife went through a long period, where we threw out most of our stuff as a fun weekend-activity. Getting rid of stuff had a cleansing feeling to it. It was liberating, and I can understand how people get hooked on the whole throwing-stuff-out fascination.

While you are in the middle of getting rid of most of your possessions, you get the sense that there is real gold at the end of some rainbow – that throwing out stuff will actually make you happy.

…. and I’m sorry to announce: it obviously won’t.

It does feel liberating to have more space in your apartment, once you have less clutter in there, and it does give you a certain high to think about how little you need to thrive in everyday life. You’ll learn a lot about this.

But like many other things; the high you get is very temporary, and it won’t result in long-term happiness.

What does bring long-term happiness is an ever-increasing feeling of freedom – at least for me – and throwing out stuff won’t in and of itself result in freedom.

So if you really want to contradict the buy-and-throw paradigm; stop buying and stop throwing out things just for the sake of it. What really matters is paying attention to what you actually need to be happy, and what you can be perfectly satisfied without. Then you stop buying the things you don’t need, and then freedom begins 🙂

Have a nice day.

Understand what most people does, so you can do the opposite

In any kind of society, it will always be difficult to be different from the majority. A lot of social pressure mechanisms is usually put in place, to make us feel bad if we choose not to conform to the cultural norms around us.

However, once we realize this, and start asking ourselves what is most important to us – theirs or our own vision for our lives’ trajectory – we may be able to look passed these external expectations and think for ourselves.

As a concrete example, I can tell you about the immense social pressure me and my wife feel these days, to have kids, as we are currently in the perfect stage, according to the convention, to start our own family. We have no desire to do this at the moment, and whenever we aren’t bothered by family members, who can’t shut up about our “soon to arrive fictional kids”, we see the tremendous freedom and carelessness it wins us to go against the current.

Most of my friends are having kids these days, and I am not saying that they are making bad choices. I am just saying, that I am happy for me and my wife, that we are not making the same choice right now.

It is not always beneficial to do the opposite of the mainstream. But sometimes it is, and it is worth thinking about when this might be, so you can experience the life equivalent of a blue ocean strategy.

Think about this:

Most people move to the city.

And this influences housing prices. For a lot of people, it would pay them well to consider moving to the countryside, as the cost of living is usually 5 times lower there. It is mind boggling to think about, how the poor population of every society is usually concentrated where housing prices are highest – in the inner cities.


Most people eat meat with every meal.

I am not advocating veganism, I just want to point out how almost everyone I know, can’t imagine eating a single meal without meat included. This makes meat very expensive compared to other good sources of protein. Try mixing it up!


Most people watch TV every day.

And this makes the general public’s knowledge very homogenous. Everyone knows about the latest football match, scandal or terrorist attack. Let them be the experts on these subjects, and you can then learn about something completely different.

This will make your personal knowledge very much specialized and unique, whereas every averagely smart person you meet, will have a lot to teach you, in case you are curious to know what’s in the news these days.


Most people accumulate stuff.

Therefore, they have to work very hard, day after day, in order to afford and be able to store all of their stuff. Once you jump off this bandwagon, you can immediately stop yourself in your tracks, and ask what it is you really would like to do in life?


Most people are incredibly busy with their career.

In this category, I personally feel incredible social pressure from my peers, as everyone is constantly comparing themselves to each other. This makes it very important for everybody to compete on salary and status, and nobody can ever relax and enjoy anything. Busyness becomes endemic, and actually enjoying life gets postponed until retirement (if that ever comes).

My life has become ten times more relaxed, ever since I quit this race.

In some cases, going against the current may hurt you, whereas it might pay off in others if you can muster the courage.

It is up to you to decide, what is true for you in all of life’s larger decisions.

A minimalist drinks coffee

According to what I have observed, the average, modern minimalist/hipster type is a serious coffee snob.

You may, as an example, have seen The Minimalists promote the coffee house they co-own in Florida, or noticed how all minimalist community meetings are held in coffee houses that serves a top-of-the-line Americano.

But I actually think that this whole coffee fascination fits badly into the simple living ideology.
I get the feeling that many simplicity advocates, take all the money they save from living frugally and reallocates them into a new espresso machine, that can apply the perfect amount of pressure to the coffee-making process.

Thereafter comes the reoccurring extra expenses from supplying oneself with single-estate organic coffee from Kenya, that is so sour that only the supreme connoisseur can enjoy it.

This is not to say, that I am against coffee as a hobby. I just see it used as a tool for signaling that you are part of the group way too often.

And as with everything else, the danger of becoming a connoisseur is that you loose the ability to enjoy an average tasting/feeling/looking product. You loose the ability to see how privileged you are, when you drink an average cup of coffee, compared to what options people had available 100 years ago.

The author, Ryan Holiday, explains it so nicely when he says that he refuses to fly first class because he knows how that soon will be the new norm for him.

The bottom line is, I personally try not to get too heavily into the coffee universe, even though I love coffee. I have tried it, but I have also noticed how much self-deception and placebo effect is involved – just like with wine.


How I do

I have even experimented a lot with my own brewing techniques, and found that the way they do it on Bali is the best and simplest one.

The Balinese people simply grinds the beans into an extremely fine texture, put about 1.5 teaspoons of the grounds in a cup, dump boiling water on it and stir.

After a few minutes, the grounds falls to the bottom of the cup, and you are ready to drink – just make sure you stop drinking a little earlier than you normally would, to avoid eating the grounds.

There are 3 reasons why I love making coffee this way:

  1. The coffee is unfiltered, which means you keep the precious coffee oils, that both taste good and have some cool effects on your health.
  2. The method is very efficient, in terms how many beans it requires.
  3. The coffee can be made without any equipment, which means you can make your coffee on the road, and you won’t have to buy any kind of machine for it.

This is, by my standards, the best way to drink coffee as a minimalist.

Ads on a Minimalist Website?

So I recently decided to put up ads on my various blogs, including this one, to increase the passive income they generate.

I had a difficult time deciding whether or not to defile my clean and simple website like this, especially when you take in to account the frugal and non-materialistic lifestyle I am promoting. Ads just don’t seem to fit in around here.

But then again, I also see a lot of positives in doing it. So here is my argument against any objections I might receive from the minimalist police:


It doesn’t cost you time or money to support my work

My favorite way of making income with this blog is by writing about products I personally enjoy and use Amazon affiliate links to promote them. That way, I am only selling something I believe in, and that is relevant to the blog.

However, you have to buy it from Amazon, before I have any benefit from it.

With a classic Google Adsense ad, you don’t have to spend a dime to support my blog – you can just read my posts.


Gives me a better incentive to write

If I only where to use the affiliate links, I would subconsciously be more prone to write content about products, and thereby basically try to sell you something every time I wrote.

Now, after installing the Google ads, I always have a financial incentive to write about whatever I find most important and interesting.


This is an experiment

As I wrote about in a recent blog post, I would really love to not have to work a full-time job later in my life. This is why I am promoting a minimalist and frugal lifestyle – I want to quit the rat race as fast possible.

And one of the ways I am trying to quit this race, is by creating a profitable blog that can support me.

So the Google ads are kind of an experiment in this journey, and I will tell you about my results later on, so you might be able replicate them.


Install an ad-blocker extension in your web browser

I even wrote about this in an earlier post . I believe, anyone who wants to escape materialism/consumerism should protect themselves against exposure to advertisements/commercials – they simply affect us too much.

This is why I advise you to install an ad-blocker in your browser, even though I have ads on my website.


So that is that! Please let know what you think underneath.

Is it OK to have ads on a website that promotes minimalism?

Minimalism, Step 5 – Limit Exposure

In this series about minimalism, we are exploring some of the fundamental tools, you can utilize in order to make minimalism an easier way of life. This will then allow you to live a cheaper, less stressful and more fulfilling life.

One of the things we have learned so far, is to cultivate a gratitude practice, and how that can train your brain to understand, the truly important things in life aren’t things.

The next step in the process, is now to realize, that we aren’t impervious to marketing, social pressure and other external factors, that can ruin our goal of becoming a minimalist, which is why we must find ways to protect ourselves.

Læs mere Minimalism, Step 5 – Limit Exposure

Minimalism, Step 4 – Few Many Things

So far, in this mini series about minimalism, we have learned how to see products for what they really are, and thereafter plan for what we really need (1,2,3).

When practicing minimalism, we should strive to own only what is necessary, in order to avoid the stress of having too many things that slows us down and add weight to our lives.

Læs mere Minimalism, Step 4 – Few Many Things

Minimalism, Step 3 – The List

Thank you dear reader for checking out this third post in my mini series about minimalism.

In the first post, we talked about how you should be mindful about the functionalities you spend money on, so you avoid buying something you “already own”. In the next post, we discovered how you can tame your need to buy new stuff, by implementing a regular gratitude practice. These are both tools that can be utilized to make the transition into a minimalistic lifestyle easier.

Today, I will give you another great tool, that is going to help you be even more mindful about the stuff you buy. I call it “The List”.

Læs mere Minimalism, Step 3 – The List

Minimalism, Step 1 – Functionality

Welcome to the first post in my mini series about Minimalism.

I have decided to write about it in depth, as it has come to affect my life in a great way recently. Minimalism has enhanced everything that I do, so I therefore thought I would pass on some of the love and tips I have discovered within it.

Læs mere Minimalism, Step 1 – Functionality