Is Minimalism a Fad?

I've been reading about and “practicing” minimalism in my life off and on for over a decade. Sometimes it feels like a natural part of who I am. Other times it feels like a product of my privilege. And other times it feels like a fad that will eventually fade away and give way to some other lifestyle.

So, is minimalism a fad? Will it go away? I've seen posts running the spectrum, from those saying minimalism is simply a higher form of humanity, to those who say minimalism is just a passing phase in the evolution of our society. The short answer is that I have no idea.

My gut tells me that as we careen toward a global climate disaster, overcrowding, overflowing landfills, and waste and pollution on epic proportions, we will eventually be forced into some facet of minimalism or another. While the white-walled zen simplicity might not have a place in this potential future, we may all be forced to live with less as resources become scarce. But again, who really knows? Nobody can see into the future.

My gut also tells me that some aspects of minimalism have done wonders for me and my life. It's lightened the load of physical objects in my life. It's helped me reduce debt. It's helped me focus on what's truly important instead of running the rat race to get a bigger house, a fancier car, and more and more stuff that I don't really need. It's helped me prioritize certain parts of my life. It's helped my anxiety.

I will agree that there are parts of minimalism that are totally a fad. The “sage on the stage” type minimalist bloggers/speakers will fade out of popularity eventually. Used book stores and thrift shops will have extra stock of their books. Social media will eventually forget their pseudo-wisdom. We'll all donate the “merch” we bought to help support their YouTube channels. Eventually that minimalist wallet you bought on Kickstarter will break and you won't replace it with the same brand. Yes, as with many lifestyle fads, this part of minimalism will meet the fate of obscurity.

But at its core is something I think everyone strives for: a deep focus on purpose and true desires, a lightness and freedom to move about the earth, an intentional and simple way of life. That's all very philosophical, but it's ingrained into many of the world's religions, philosophies, and cultures. And those aspects of minimalism (or whatever it's called in 20 or 50 years) are human nature and I think they aren't a passing fad and won't go out of style. But who really knows for sure, right?