MAXIMISING MIN­I­MAL­ISM

Is min­i­mal­ism here to stay, or is down­siz­ing just an­other fad? Chris Schulz cleans out his closet to find out.

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

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

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