Minimalism - a trend with far-reaching benefits

Minimalism - a trend with far-reaching benefits


At Mokosh we talk a lot about adopting a minimalist skin care routine (read more here). It delights us to hear that many of our customers have replaced their skin care clutter with a handful of Mokosh products, while experiencing the healthiest skin of their lives. This concept of choosing a few high quality, long-lasting items over a larger number of poor quality ones can be applied to many areas - and it has a range of far-reaching benefits. 

Defined by some as a lifestyle characterised by few possessions and mindful acquisition, minimalism is a lifestyle choice for those who have the resources to consume but choose not to. Some divide minimalists into two types: aesthetic minimalists who enjoy the sparse, space-filled aesthetic, and eco-minimalists who are motivated by environmental concerns (1). We believe it’s possible to achieve the benefits of the minimalist lifestyle (see below) while also minimising waste and carbon emissions, with only a little extra thought and consideration.

Benefits of a minimalist lifestyle


There is evidence that living without household clutter reduces stress levels, a result of eliminating the challenges that come with storing and managing possessions.

In a survey of over 1000 people, minimalists were found to have higher levels of wellbeing, enhanced flourishing (life satisfaction) and lower levels of depression compared to the general population.  Another found that minimalists identified as happier and calmer, with more spare time, and less time spent shopping, cleaning, and repairing (summarised in 1). 


It has been calculated that households generate around 65% of global carbon emissions - 20% from fuel and electricity consumption, and 45% from food and consumer products. Wealthy people consume more - the 10% highest earners are responsible for half the planet’s emissions (summarised in 1).

Although it might be assumed that getting rid of possessions and simplifying one’s life would mean reduced carbon emissions, it is not necessarily so. It may be tempting to replace discarded items with new ones, resulting in a continuous buy and discard cycle. Similarly, although possessions may be few, they may be regularly discarded and replaced with items considered more attractive, generating more waste. It's also possible that the extra funds accumulated from a minimalist lifestyle might be used to travel internationally, resulting in generation of additional carbon emissions.

A recent study looked at how different lifestyle models could affect carbon emissions (summarised in 1). They found that emissions could be reduced by increasing the lifespan of clothes, reducing the size of living spaces, using less media and internet, and sharing and repairing appliances. Another study looking at the carbon footprint of members of ecovillages and food co-ops found an overall 16% drop in carbon emissions compared to nonmembers. 

How to be an environmental minimalist while enjoying the aesthetic benefits

There are many definitions of minimalism. I liked this one by minimalist Joshua Becker:

‘Minimalism is intentionally living only with the things I really need—those items that support my purpose. I am removing the distraction of excess possessions so I can focus more on those things that matter most.’ (2)

The Marie Kondo book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ can be a good place to begin - to get you thinking about your ‘stuff’, help you work out what to keep and what to discard, and consider more carefully what you really need in the way of possessions.

Below are some ideas on how to go eco-minimalist, gleaned from a range of sources. 

  • Consider all purchases carefully, do not impulse buy.
  • Where possible, repair rather than replace. Take good care of your possessions so they last well and look their best.
  • When purchasing, choose quality and longevity over price, and consider end-of-life disposal (will it decompose? can it be recycled/upcycled?).
  • Buy used goods rather than new where possible, and upcycle where you can.
  • Choose natural materials over synthetic.
  • Minimise your living area to reduce energy consumption, and consider downsizing to a smaller living space if practical.
  • Minimise packaged food purchases: grow some of your food, or join a community garden or food co-op. 
  • Choose fresh food ingredients over pre-prepared and processed food.
  • Use public transport, cycle or walk instead of driving where possible. Some minimalists no longer own a car.
  • If you own a car, consider making the transition to an electric vehicle if you have the means to charge with renewable energy.
  • Reduce or rationalise air travel, and offset carbon emissions when travelling by air.
  • Reduce the number of apps on your phone to those you regularly use.
  • Turn off push notifications.
  • Cut down or eliminate social media use.
  • Unplug from celebrity culture.
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer want.
  • Keep your inbox trimmed - this also minimises carbon emissions from data storage.
  • Streamline what you store on the cloud to minimise carbon emissions, especially photos and videos.
  • Restrict video streaming, the biggest digital carbon emission generator. Downloaded videos are less energy intensive.
  • Restrict phone and computer use to designated times.

We hope these ideas offer some inspiration. If so, we hope they bring you an abundance of free time to do something you love, a peaceful mind, a beautiful living space and a renewed appreciation of this amazing planet. 





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