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Victorians lived in houses that were overflowing with artsy items and other kinds of things. So clutter is not entirely an American notion, but modern Americans cultivate its presence in ways that set them apart.
Yes, past generations used to accumulate a lot of material things, but the process would take over a lifetime and they would value it.
It happened between the 1880s and the 1920s. Before that, most belongings were either made at home or bought from local craftspeople or general stores.
American manufacturing and transportation took off around the turn of the 20th century, so the economy of items began to centralize.
Psychologists found that people cling to material stuff as a response to a form of anxiety (about loss, financial instability, even body image) and that clutter itself is often a source of stress.
Clutter tends to accumulate in the homes those working people for whom the hope of financial stability and the lurking possibility of ruination are always present.
Tossing everything that isn’t just right in the moment is its own kind of privilege.
Living light may have its benefits, but it’s not a strategy that’s really adaptable to unexpected unemployment or overburdened supply chains. Searching for domestic perfection should be done only by those who don’t have to worry about what unforeseen wants or needs might lie ahead.
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In part, the new minimalism is a kind of cultural aftershock of the 2008 housing crisis and banking collapse. At the same time, minimalism has become an increasingly aspirational and deluxe way ...
Many people have minimalism forced upon them by circumstance. Poverty and trauma can make frivolous possessions seem like a lifeline instead of a burden.
Although many of today's gurus insist that minimalism is useful regardless of income, they target the affluent. The focus on self-improvement is more about accumulation.
True minimalism is not about throwing things out, but about challenging your beliefs in an attempt to engage with ideas as they are, to not shy away from reality or its lack of answers.
Underneath the vision of “less” is a mode of living that heightens the miracle of human presence.