How will this crisis affect minimalism?

I haven’t written too many posts related to the current situation. I wrote about finding focus during a pandemic and challenges that make staying home easier. And like everybody else on Twitter, I learned how to bake bread.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m incredibly fortunate:

“I can comfortably work from home and neither my corporate job nor my salary will suffer due to that change. The local grocery store isn’t suffering any shortages (beyond the initial toilet paper shortage, of course, but even that has been solved) and so when I go shopping once a week, I am able to replenish everything my household needs on a regular basis. Hell, my local veggie stand is still operational and I can get fresh produce whenever I want.”

And since I work from home, I gained back the two hours I wasted every day on commuting. I use them to write more things and declutter more areas of my house.

And I use them to ask myself weird, deep questions like:

How will this crisis affect the minimalist movement?

There are many people out there right now. Some are like me: already into minimalism, now using this time to fine-tune their lifestyles.

But other people might find themselves forced into this lifestyle by job loss, or being forced to take unpaid sick leave.

Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist pointed out in his blog post:

Being forced into minimalism causes many people to adopt a disaster-focused mentality. Think of the generation that emerged from the Great Depression and their learned behavior to keep everything just in case they would need it someday.”

I know it’s true with my own mother who is reluctant to throw anything out because we might need it for something.

Personally, I’m afraid that a lot of people after months of tightening the belts and saving every penny during the crisis, will go wild and start spending without thought. After all, I did.

Once I started earning my own money, I started spending them senselessly. Having stuff felt good, especially when I was painfully aware of how much it sucked to not have stuff. It took me a long while to calm down and reassess my priorities.

But maybe it will go the other way around. Maybe people will become more intentional about going back to “normal” (or whatever the redefined state the “new normal” will be). Maybe they will realize that if they were able to live 3 months without something, that they don’t really need it.

If people are already reassessing their budgets and finances, maybe they will stick with those new, slimmer spending plans once their country “re-opens” and gatherings of more than 10 people don’t require a mask.

My life will change

Of that I am sure. Once the pandemic hit, I started doing all the shopping. I would wake up early on Saturday and go to the bakery and to the grocery store and to the veggie stand – getting everything my family needs for the entire week. I didn’t want my mom to go out, so I took that responsibility on.

And I have to say: I really like it. I don’t sleep in on the weekend anymore and I found I have much more energy than normal.

As a result of my once-a-week shopping trips, we also became more intentional about our food, going as far as meal planning, to make sure we don’t run out of ingredients.

I think we will continue to meal plan and I will continue going shopping every Saturday morning.

As while I have that opportunity, I will continue to use my extra two hours in the day to declutter and better align myself with the lifestyle that I chose.

I don’t think the crisis will end any time soon and I think we still have months before anything considered “normal” re-enters our lives. But when that happens I hope Joshua’s sentiment comes true.

I hope “many of us are going to become intentional and reassess what we desire to bring back into our lives. What commitments do we want back? What hobbies do we want to continue? And what purchases do I want to continue making going forward?”

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