A Response To Matt D’Avella’s “Is Minimalism Dead?”

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Matt D’Avella is a YouTuber who also directed the Minimalist’s first documentary. He recently posted a video I watched titled “Is Minimalism Dead?” I wanted to share my thoughts on the video.

Minimalism As a Trend and Buzzword

Matt comments on how the idea of Minimalism became a trending buzzword. Perhaps around the time, the documentary came out. He further discusses the life cycle of trends. Matt quotes Malcolm Gladwell how trends start and stop. Discussing the rules of trends, Matt ties in how Minimalism came into the trending life cycle.

Matt concludes the video with his thoughts on Minimalism being a long-term trend that will eventually come back and sustain itself. How living an intentional life will be a trend, with rampant consumerism and everyone looking to live happier and more fulfilled lives. 

Am I a Minimalist? Is My Partner?

I identify with many labels. Minimalist is one of the many. I have been always looking to downsize and get rid of the extra. Living in a smaller space than most, owning a few things is a calming strategy. I don’t own a couch, and although I own a microwave, I haven’t used it in months. 

My partner stresses over the fact that she may not embrace the level of minimalism that I do. Not many people do. However, this isn’t detrimental to our relationship. I’m more concerned with her understanding of the power between values-based spending and intentional living. We all have some sort of collection or excessive things we enjoy. The idea of being to let things go that can easily be replaced, should we change our minds about an item is more important. 

As we grow, things change. What brings joy or serves purpose changes. I’m finding myself more willing to buy more luxurious and higher-end items, that are high-quality and long-lasting

Niches Where Minimalism Is Secondary

FIRE & Personal Finance

There are a few niches that I know of or identify with that incorporate minimalism. The most notable, to me, being the Financial Independence Retire Early niche. This is the niche I most identify with and that got me started on both my personal finance and minimalism journeys. 

Full Time Travel

A small subset niche, but also its own niche entirely, is the camper van/RV full-time travel niche. Minimalism is often mentioned in this niche due to size and space limitations. Many FIRE bloggers love to travel and have made a switch to full-time travel while blogging or reaching Financial Independence. With limited space, high-quality, multi-use items are a must. 

Another full-time travel niche that utilizes minimalism for travel is the backpacking/travel abroad community. I mention the Pack Hacker YouTube channel multiple times in my posts. The wealth of information for digital nomads, full-time travelers, minimalists, and for those who just want to simplify is simply unbeaten. 

Homesteading/Sustainability

Homesteading and sustainable living are other niches where minimalism often thrives. Living off the land and rejecting excessive consumption not just for financial reasons. Sustainable living and homesteading often cross over into FIRE as well. Check out my friend Angela at Tread Lightly Retire Early if sustainable living is something you’re interested in. 

Does This Mean FIRE Is Dead As Well?

As a trending buzzword, probably. FIRE, like minimalism, has been slowly dying off. But it is still alive and thriving in the community itself. Every day on Twitter I see new bloggers and accounts detailing the start (or current position) in their FIRE journey. 

I still see subsets of the FIRE movement going strong. The Lean Fire crowd plans less than $40K spending in retirement. The Pay Off Debt crowd who are still plowing away at massive amounts of debt. The Freelance/Entrepreneur/Digital Nomad/Expat crowds who are working remotely on their own terms. The FIRE still burns bright for those who are still working towards it. Just like minimalism is still working for those who are living more intentionally.

So are FIRE and Minimalism dead? Well yes, but no.