written by: Susan Lacke
Minimalism doesn’t have to be a one-day transformation involving dumpsters and Deseret Industry trucks. In fact, those who practice minimalism suggest small steps toward the lifestyle. In addition to removing the shock of “going without,” a gradual transition can help you reflect on each item in your home to help you determine what’s truly necessary (and what’s not). Small minimalist challenges to try:
- Donate your “just in case” clothing – pants that are too small, dresses you haven’t worn for years, and those impulse-buy shoes collecting dust in the corner. If you haven’t worn them in two years, you likely won’t wear them again.
- Pick a single space, like a junk drawer, underneath a sink or a shelf in the basement, to declutter. You may be surprised by the number of items you never use and it helps to choose a project you know you can finish in a reasonable time.
- Follow the buy one, donate one rule: For every new item you buy, you must donate a similar item. Purchasing a new pair of shoes becomes a more mindful process when you consider whether you like them more than the pair you already have.
- Don’t forget SLC’s Neighborhood Pickup program. Every neighborhood in the city has a designated day when you can get rid of bulky unwanted items—bedsprings, old furniture, tree limbs. For dates, details and rules, go to slcgreen.com
It’d be easy to dismiss minimalism as a passing fad of coastal elites, but a demand for a simpler lifestyle is very much alive in Utah, says Stephen Goldsmith, Associate Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah: “Ours is not a mono-culture, as convenient as it is for some people to think. We are seeing a terrific evolution of consciousness, and it is very encouraging. The old view of a homogenous culture is just that, a vestige of times past. While there will always be that segment of our community wanting their F-150 truck and three-car garage, the trend toward this lifestyle is destiny.”
“Utah is changing,” says Cody Derrick of City Home Collective. “It isn’t all big families in builder-grade homes. It is a mixture of everything from New York bachelors to L.A. families with one or two kids. We have people from all walks of life.” The shifting demographics of Utah are reflected in the housing preferences of the state; Derrick says more and more of his real estate clients are shying away from purchasing large houses, instead opting for smaller, simpler homes and condos. Such homes free up time and income for experiences, not things.
In Utah, the minimalist movement takes many forms—from co-housing to tiny housing to no housing at all—but the common theme prevails: happiness is no longer tied to square footage and stuff.
See more inside our 2017 July/August Issue.