3 to 5 years back, or so, there was peak interest in “minimalism”.

Not only is “minimalism” dead but it seems to have been replaced by “maximalism“! Amusingly, it also died before – in 1986! In fact, it seems to have first taken hold in the 1950s and 1960s, but took off as almost an Internet meme in the past decade, coinciding with cable TV shows about “hoarders”.

For some, minimalism meant shrinking their possessions to what they thought was the minimum necessary. Having just a few kitchen dishes, just a few sets of clothing – and wearing the same clothes every few days. Some adhered to rules such as “We should not own more than 100 items“.

For others, minimalism was never about eliminating everything – but about decluttering their lives and getting rid of excess stuff. Decluttering still exists!

Last night, I ran across a Youtube video from a minimalism proponent (her entire channel, for years, is about living a minimalistic life style). Surprisingly, she concluded that minimalism has died and peaked a few years ago.

She pointed to online search data showing that searches for “minimalism” (and related) had plummeted from their peak.

I then did a Youtube search and found many, many videos on Youtube from former minimalism practitioners saying they too had given up.

Why? For some, it was a realization that the life style was not practical. As one said, they had two sets of dishes. If someone visited, they could not serve them!

Some of the content creators said there was also no money to be made promoting minimalism! There’s nothing to sell! Even if they had no intention of making money, their videos were watched less and less as The Algorithm began steering viewers away from “minimalism” videos since they were not good for ad revenue!

An online search finds numerous online posts about the end of minimalism, many of these from the past few months.

Some say the pandemic killed off minimalism. How so? Being stuck at home (wherever you lived) for months with a small set of things became boring. Oddly, some of the minimalists ate out often – and didn’t cook. Stuck at home, they learned to cook, and realized they wanted more kitchenware to make the foods they wanted to eat. (Silly me, but eating out often seems at odds with minimalism but whatever!)

The pandemic also put a halt to “Experiences”. Not just eating out, but travel too. Some of the minimalists, interestingly enough, are extensive travelers, often living in other countries, which seems kinda contrary to the environmental aspect that some minimalists promote.

They too found their lives had become boring. Now, they needed to live their life – today – inside their home or yard. Having nothing no longer made sense within this world.

Indeed, we are now on to “cluttercore” – as the opposite, I guess of “cottagecore”[1]

(Of course, there still some practicing and promoting minimalism. It will likely never be dead. However, many past adherents have moved on.)


If you have not heard of cottagecore, just search for it. It’s a trend where if IG or YT are a guide – young, highly attractive, almost always white, exclusively women, always very long hair – present a portrayal of a magical ’50’ish life style wearing skirts, their hair often in braids, with flowers attached, in a somewhat minimal “cottage” in the woods that is decorated with antiques, and mimics an hypothesized English country life style that probably never really existed.

While touting the benefits of a quiet, non-technology based life style, they record their activities on high end 4K video cameras, edit them on high end Mac notebook computers, upload to Internet-based cloud services like Youtube and Instagram (relying on these services for their livelihood), over high-speed Internet connections – all the while pretending that technology is sort of evil 🙂 Usually photographed with backlight scenes and plenty of soft focus.

Cottage Core — the word “core” basically means enthusiasm — is a daydream of Generation Z, who have lived much of their lives online. This is the contradiction it holds: it promotes dreams of a technology-free world using only technology


A while back, I ran across a fake cottagecore purveyor – she actually lived in a tract home in Texas but owned a cabin in Colorado. When she visited the cabin, she shot a season of photos and convinced her followers she lived full time in quaint mountain cabin. Hah hah. Basically a parody. Needless to say, I found cottagecore amusing whereas I could see practicality to minimalism, and a lot of benefit to decluttering.

Cottagecore is a trendy fad that will may last as long as hardcore minimalism. As a social media meme, it exploded during the pandemic – who would not want to dream of an idyllic country lifestyle while locked down, at home, in an urban jungle?

I am sure to have pissed off some adherents here but that is what it looks like to outsiders. It is not my fault it looks that way.

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