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Cutting down: What being a minimalist is all about

Looks like minimalist culture is getting a bit bigger.

Let’s start with the Bowman family, who has become so minimalist that they don’t even have anything at all when it comes to furnishing their home. The Bowman family — made up of a husband, wife and two children — don’t have any furniture, according to a story by Life Edited.

“Their premise — one we’ve touched on when writing about using standing desks — is pretty straightforward: the human body and physiology did not evolve to sit on its (behind) nine hours a day,” wrote David Friedlander of Life Edited. “We are a species, like most, designed to be on the go more often than not.”

Katy Bowman explained this a little bit more in an interview done by Slow Mama, a blog about family and family projects.

“Having furniture isn’t an option for us, in the same way a cupboard full of junk food isn’t an option for many others,” Bowman said to Slow Mama. “Furniture creates a development-crippling environment in that the stuff literally shapes our body, both in the now and in the future.”

The Bowmans are just a recent example of what seems to be an on-going cultural shift where people are limiting how much they carry with them.

For example, ZDNet had a story about what minimalists might want to take with them when they travel.

And minimalist homes – where rooms are close together and there’s not a lot of space — are all the rage in Tijuana, mainly as a way to escape violence, The New York Times reported.

There have even been shoes that were championed by minimalists, though those faced their own issues in recent months after ankle and foot injuries were linked to the shoes, according to NPR.

Becoming a minimalist is all about getting rid of clutter and cutting down. Rachel Swick Mavity of The Cape Gazette declared her decision to be a minimalist in a June 6 column, saying it’s going to free up a lot of her time. And it’ll give her new ways to spend money.

“Getting rid of the clutter can really make you feel lighter,” Mavity wrote. “So far, I’ve gotten rid of a bunch of our stuff and I really do feel better. And, there are many online places (through Facebook or eBay) to sell your old items and actually make a bit of money. It’s not a lot of money, but $5 buys Mommy a couple nice lattes!”

For Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, being a minimalist is all about changing things up as the trends of the day change, too.

In an article for Slate, the two shared their thoughts about how people can best be minimalists as society continues to push possessions. Millburn, specifically, wrote asked if certain items add value to his life before making a decision to keep them or not.

“I ask it too in regard to relationships, Internet consumption, food and more,” he wrote. “I constantly ask because circumstances constantly change. Just because something adds value today, that doesn't mean it will necessarily add value tomorrow. So I keep asking, and I adjust accordingly.”

Michael De Groote’s piece for Deseret News National on April 28 looked at ways to de-clutter the home. And Anthony P. Gaesch, an assistant professor at Connecticut College, told De Groote that having clutter and a messy house is somewhat of a new thing.

"We've never been here before as humans in general," he said to De Groote. "It's fascinating. It is going to have some pretty dire consequences, but there is no touchstone of tradition by which we can look back for practices. There is no model for dealing with the mess we've gotten ourselves into now. There is none of that. So we are left with trying to think up ways to invent new traditions."

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner