Here at OPUMO we're great believers in minimalism, as you probably already know. In the past few months alone we've curated a number articles around minimalism - including 'How To Create A Minimalist Family Home in 5 Steps' and '5 Minimal Menu Homeware That Everyone Should Have'. There's something impressive about something designed to be the essentials, but in such a way that it possesses more value than something designed to have everything all at once. Nobody believes in minimalism more than Alberto Negro and Carl Barenbrug of Minimalism Life, a 'site that advocates the minimalist lifestyle from all angles. We caught up with Alberto and Carl to discuss why we should all incorporate a minimalist approach into our lifestyles and how we can begin.
Please introduce yourselves?
We’re Alberto Negro and Carl Barenbrug and together with The Minimalists we run Minimalism Life, an online community with the aim of promoting the minimalism movement. Respectively, we’re also the founders of 5 STYLE and Minimalissimo, and back in 2016 we wanted to combine our strengths in digital media and passion for minimalism to create a well-curated platform that would inspire people to live simpler lives.
What do you do?
We work with a small team of experienced writers to publish essays on a weekly basis direct to our subscribers’ inbox as part of our newly launched Inside Minimalism series. Here we write about minimalism as a tool to help you to be more focused and feel more fulfilled, specialising in topics like clutter, creativity, curation, travel, quiet living and productivity, among others.
We also publish a weekly journal, which is a way for our community to share their own personal experiences with minimalism, regardless of background, profession, age or gender. We simply want to share with our readers different areas and perspectives of minimalism that can inspire others to lead a more fulfilling, healthier, and most importantly, meaningful life.
Why is there so much stuff in 2020?
As the world grows, so does the technology and the tools that allow us to create more things more easily than we could in the past. It’s never been simpler for people to manufacture new objects, launch new services, and get projects and ideas crowdfunded. The world is full of beautiful creations - and a lot of badly designed ones too - and every day there is something new available. It’s important to be selective and really just buy things we need, not just things we want. With Minimalism Life we try to inspire people to live more with less. We focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, and more freedom.
In a time when many brands are engaging in a race to the bottom, reducing quality in favour of price. Why should we refuse that?
Because the true cost of a thing goes well beyond the price on the price tag. Consider the cost of maintaining the thing, cleaning the thing, charging the thing, fixing the thing, sorting the thing, thinking about the thing, worrying about it, protecting it, and replacing it. Is the value really down to its low price? The most likely answer to that is ‘no.’ When you add it all up, the actual cost of owning a thing is nearly immeasurable. So, we better choose carefully the things that we bring into our lives.
When did you begin to follow the philosophy of minimalism?
We’ve appreciated minimalism as an aesthetic for many years, however, we only began applying it to other areas of our lives after we encountered our partners, The Minimalists back in 2014. They inspired us a lot with their essays, books, documentary and podcasts. Joshua and Ryan have offered us some invaluable guidance and support, particularly when we first got Minimalism Life off the ground.
How can we begin to 'minimalise' our lives?
Finding the reasons that a life with less will benefit you is the best place to start. The ‘how’ then follows. You don’t need to do anything radical because minimalism is far from a radical lifestyle. You can start small, step-by-step. For instance, it’s important to identify the most cluttered and problematic areas of your life. That could be material items such as your wardrobe, or it could be your financial situation. Jettison one thing at a time–so long as that thing no longer adds value to your life–and regain control. If you don’t need it donate it, recycle it, or sell it. What you’ll find is that letting go gets easier by the day.
We do, however, understand that everyone is different and so there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to minimalism. This is why we have started Inside Minimalism, where we work with experienced writers who offer varying perspectives of minimalism, focusing on different areas of everyday life.
Which designers do you follow who are also advocates of minimalism?
There’s an increasing number of brands today who are a lot more conscious of the environmental impact that minimalism and a “less, but better” approach can have on our lives. When it comes to fashion, we’re great admirers of small independent brands like håndværk, QWSTION, and Modern Essentials. They are producing high-quality clothing with sustainability as a core consideration. When it comes to interiors, we appreciate the minimalist design of Scandinavian brands such as MENU and Muuto.