Minimalism in a Pandemic

There have been several articles declaring that COVID-19 will bring about the end of the minimalist movement. As we settle into our homes to shelter in place, we want comfort. In order to work from home, we need flexibility. A degree of clutter will inevitably set in as we spend more time occupying a finite amount of space. Minimalism in a pandemic is impossible, they say. What hogwash.

Minimalism is getting rid of what you don’t need to make more space for what you do. When needs are in conflict, prioritize. Full stop.

“As our dining room tables become filled with laptops, chargers, and other…” No. Have you considered just organizing that stuff? You need a workspace more than you need a dining room table right now. Go eat in front of the television like an American.

“As the pizza boxes pile up…” Stop. Have you considered not living like a pig? You do know you’re allowed to take the trash out during quarantine, right? Don’t be gross.

“The age of bare walls and concrete floors…” Are you just out of school and living in your first apartment? Nothing about minimalism says you can’t have a nice rug and some art on the walls. It’s about picking pieces that you connect with. Quality over quantity.

“People want the comfort of books and decorations…” I’m not a huge Marie Kondo fan, but she never said you can only have 30 books. Minimalism isn’t monastic ascesticism. Just, like, think about what you have, and why you have it. And keep it organized.

Also, design aesthetics aren’t the same thing as lifestyle choices.

Minimalism in a Pandemic

Minimalism is how I’m coasting through this. I’m already used to living and working in a smaller space. It’s optimized for both efficiency and comfort. Because I don’t spend money on things I don’t absolutely need, I’m not as worried about paying the bills. Grouping errands together to make as few trips out as possible is already standard operating procedure. Owning less stuff means more space to store flour, rice, and other essential non-perishables.

Again, there are people worried that when this is all over we won’t go back to spending money. We’ll realize what actually makes us happy, and it isn’t stuff. There will be a new awareness of how little we really need to get by. Things are going to change, and that scares the crap out of people more worries about the economy than human health and safety.

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