Is minimalism here to stay, or is downsizing just another fad? Chris Schulz cleans out his closet to find out.
Is minimalism here to stay, or is downsizing just another fad? Chris Schulz goes into his closet and finds out
JUST do it,” says Alana Puschmann. The Auckland-based team manager used to own an entire room full of collectibles, including a prized set of Gwen Stefani Harajuku dolls.
But she sold them, and cleared out 80 per cent of her stuff, after watching a popular Netflix documentary. “I got rid of everything I didn’t need,” she declares. “It’s freeing.”
Puschmann might not realise it, but she’s joined a growing underground cult, one that feels like a wonky religion supercharged by celebrities.
Just like Scientology, minimalism has celebrity converts. Kiwi comic Dai Henwood’s one. He outed himself during a recent episode of 7 Days, telling his fellow comedians he’s been “on that minimalism buzz ... getting stuff out”.
Henwood tells Canvas he’s an absolute believer in its power, comparing minimalism to meditation, another hobby of his. He started by getting rid of surplus tables, general household items, and electrical cords, then donated an unused Xbox to a needy friend.
“I thought, ‘Shit, what if I just got rid of everything and started from scratch?”’ he says. So he took it a step further, throwing out a lifetime’s worth of joke books. The cull had unexpected consequences.
“It got rid of the mental clutter I had comedy-wise, and gags I’d been holding on to,” he says.
Henwood’s new hobby didn’t go down well with his buddies on 7 Days, who started to mock him — on- and off-air. “They’re completely the opposite,” he says. “Jeremy Corbett describes himself as a ‘maximalist’.”
Henwood still feels he has his minimalist “L” plates on. He’s ready to take it further. “I’m barely a few steps down the path ... it makes me want to practise it deeper.”
Should I take Puschmann and Henwood’s advice? Was minimalism for me?
Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn