Today I would like to talk about how minimalism is, in my opinion, cultural.
I think a lot of people who turn to minimalism in the US and elsewhere probably grew up in households where clutter was ever-present (myself included). I remember dreaming of owning a picture-perfect, magazine-like empty loft with nothing but a computer on the coffee table. That way I could always get up and go without thinking about hauling my whole life worth of belongings.
That being said, when I compare the American lifestyle and the European lifestyle, I realize values are inherently different. For example, American houses are dubbed "micro-houses" under 1000 sq.ft. That is HUGE according to European standards, especially if you live in a town or city apartment (I don't know about houses, I have always lived in apartments).
In America, if you don't have a bagillion boxes of cereal to choose from in the morning, something is wrong, isn't it? In Europe, most people have maybe 2 or 3 boxes (say your usual plus one extra in case you run out, and the latest new thing you wanted to try from the store).
In America, paper towels, paper plates and red cups are ever-present items in a house (at least the people I know), while in Europe, sponges, cloths, and regular plates and glasses are the norm. Actually, while I am on that topic, we don't have a single paper towel, paper plate or plastic silverware in the house, and we don't even miss those items. In Europe, by the way, paper plates and plastic cups and silverware are traditionally used when you go on a picnic or have an occasional party with plenty of people (like the end-of-school fair etc), so people don't always have that at home.
So that made me think, all those blogs I read about minimalism and how to improve your life and live with less seem to teach you a lot of things about going green, reusing, etc as well as reducing any type of clutter (including trash for instance); but isn't that what we already do? In my family for example, paper towels were only used in case of bad spillage that would be too nasty to clean afterwards, so I never really grew up using anything but sponges and such.
I am sure we all apply some principles of minimalism in our lives to some extent... So in other words, aren't we all minimalists somehow?
Let me know what you think!