Toxic Minimalism

One of my favorite tags on Pinterest for a very long time was the “simplicity” tag. It was filled with useful monthly decluttering challenges, stark Scandinavian interiors, and sweet quotes. Recently, while scouring the tag for inspiration for last week’s post, I realized the tag has become cluttered with angry quotes, “stuff shaming” articles, and “brutally honest” callout posts.

There are a ton of niche communities online, covering everything from slime to buying houses. In all of these little communities, at a certain point, they become big enough to have drama, to create “standards” and gateways to entry that prevent newer members to break into the culture. It doesn’t matter what the community is, toxicity moves in.

Toxicity comes in many forms. It can be drama, it can be standards. The kind that I have seen come into the minimalist community has been pressure to do more and beat out all the others.

Get rid of more things.

Make your walls more barren.

Declutter until you have only the absolute essentials, and then cull that list down.

Remove everything that is sentimental from your life.

Shame others who don’t embrace the “movement”.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. When you find a lifestyle choice, it’s like getting a new haircut; you want everyone to notice, and you want to tell anyone who doesn’t notice about it. You want to tell everyone about the hairdresser who did your hair. You want to take new pictures of yourself with the hair and change all of your social medias to match it.

Okay, it’s a convoluted analogy. But it’s the best way that I can explain what the effect of all consuming minimalism looks like. It looks like a tag all filled with negativity. It looks like minimalism becoming unwelcoming.

Let’s face it, while internet drama is ridiculous, it actually consumes some peoples’ lives. It’s more than just words on a screen, it changes the way people live. There are users who follow the minimalist tag through all of the phases and forms, and this kind of toxicity makes it hard for them to keep up.