Various books influenced by the minimal life are being published and displayed at Kyobo Book Store.
./Photograph by Han Ji-eun
In recent days, a new lifestyle called ‘Minimal Life’ is growing in popularity. Minimal life is a new life trend where people take away the things that are not valuable. Even a TV program show called “Kim Saeng-min’s Receipt,” is reflecting minimal life style. Until one to two years ago, due to the booming of life trend “Yolo”, people discovered the happiness in their tough lives by spending money on whatever they want to do. In another way, there is a growing number of people who try to pursue the minimal life. The society is changing in order to keep up with this life. In addition, as society is changing, various books related to the minimal life are being published and it is easy to find them in lists of bestsellers such as "Minimal life from today" and "55 Minimal life idea."
Background of how minimal life has been started
The meaning of minimal life is that people can find happiness in their lives with only necessary objects through moderation. The concept of “Minimalism” is rooted in culture and art that pursue simplicity by removing unneeded things. Minimal life was created from the concept of “Minimalism” in 2010 in the United States. All over the world, people who seek the minimal life participate in minimalism which means that they must throw away a certain amount of things according to dates. People who pursue this life style are called “Minimalists”.
In recent years this life style has been introduced in Korea. The main background is related to current economic status and enjoying life only with a small number of belongings. Suh Yong-gu, the Professor of Marketing of Sookmyung Women’s University, explained how the minimal life was introduced, saying, “The domestic consumer market became stagnant since 2012. Then, in 2016, the number of prime consumers who were the most important in the market started to decrease due to low fertility and the aging society. Thus, people were losing the consumption competence and the disposable income was stagnant.” Consequently, because of losing the consumption competence, the stagnation of disposable income, consumers started to prefer the minimal life style. In addition, the arrival of a new normal period which is a previously unfamiliar situation that has become standard also made consumers pursue the minimal life. Eventually, minimal life has a connection to cost-effectiveness. Thus, many consumers aim for consumption focusing on the object’s essential value and quality. Moreover, some of them try to share something that they do not need and sell the secondhand goods. In this way, they can get closer to the minimal life.
Minimal life changes our lives from home to relationship
Even though the original way of minimal life was to organize or take away stuff that Minimalists do not need, the meaning has expanded. For example, the way of practicing it is applied to cosmetics, furniture, and even in relationships between human beings. Many Minimalists try to find suitable methods for themselves. Some people focus on throwing away objects, while others attempt to use the concept of minimal life in relationships.
As the meaning of minimalism has changed, Minimalists started to buy simple things and miniaturized home appliances. It does not mean that they get just “small” appliances. In spite of miniaturization, the appliances have the functions in need. According to the inquiry of the usage of small domestic appliances from Trend Monitor, which is a specialized institution of customer analysis, the usage rate was increased by 15 percent from 2014 to 61.8 percent in 2016. Beside appliances, some Minimalists also have started the cosmetic diet. The cosmetic diet is to use few cosmetics like the concept of minimal life. Besides appliances, there are all-in-one cosmetic products that have efficiency. With all-in-one cosmetic products, people do not need to use all cosmetics since it has necessary performances. Furthermore, there are people who start cosmetic diet. They apply few cosmetics to avoid using excessively unlike using all-in-one cosmetic.
Graudally, the subjects of minimalism are expanded from only stuff to the relationship. There has also been an increase in the number of people who are willing to do a relationship diet, which means reducing personal connections by removing unnecessary acquaintances. According to a survey, which was conducted by Trend Monitor, about the experience of trying to do a relationship diet, 46 percent of the 2540 people said, “Yes.” Kim Su-hyun (22) also did this diet recently. She said, “I removed the people’s contacts who did not keep in touch with me within a year. Since I had to keep the relationships with others, I could not look back at my life and focus on my life. At first, I was afraid of losing people, however, after doing a relationship diet, I am able to be happy with my precious people deeply now.”
More and more people practice minimal life in their lives
Thanks to minimal life, people can save money and time as their consumption decreases. Since people buy things that they need, they can increase the amount of their savings. People can also improve efficiency through cosmetic and relationship diet and save time. Eventually, they can focus more on precious things. Moon Ji-min (26) started the minimal life about a year ago mentioned, “Since I spent too much money and did impulse buying no matter whether I need something or not, I decided to pursue the minimal life trend. Nowadays, whenever I buy something, I started to ask myself that I really need this. In addition, I began to look for cost-effectiveness when buying something.”
Furthermore, minimalists can gain clarity of mind and happiness while having simple and necessary things. By simplifying one’s possessions, people can use the time on themselves and they can find the true meaning of life. Kim Bok-young (31), who is a Minimalist since three years ago, said, “After I started the minimal life style, I became very relaxed. I also get the austere happiness in my daily life. Before I changed my life style to minimal life, I was bound to my busy life. Now I can find things whatever I want.”
Influence of minimal life is widened gradually in our lives
While having the minimal life, people's continuous greed of wanting other things can be resolved as they put more time on themselves and valuable people. Additionally, Minimalists try not to compare something with other people. Jo Dong-gi, the professor of the Department of Sociology, said, “The range of participants and consumption fields has been expanded in modern minimal life. This trend is a reaction to materialism.” As different kinds of practicing minimal life have been formed, more people start to apply one of them in their lives. Eventually, since the meaning of the minimal life has been expanded, its values and the influences have also become wider.
Han Ji-eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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