The concept of “less is more” seems to be a hot topic nowadays. The term “minimalism” can now be applied to products, lifestyles, and even philosophy. But what does minimalism truly mean? Let’s dive into the history of how the idea of “having less” started to how it evolved over the years.

Modern minimalism started in the 20th century, but the root of the philosophy dates to about 2,500 years back. Diogenes of Sinope is believed as the original nonconformist of living a normal life. A man who traveled from Turkey to Athens, Greece, he has nothing in possession except for three things: a cloak, a walking stick, and a leather pouch (what was inside was unknown, given he has no money). Instead of staying inside an actual shelter with walls and roofs, Diogenes took a rain barrel as his home. 3rd century BC came and the Hellenistic philosophy of Stoicism became known. This philosophy explains the “endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complain.” This simply means minimalism is living a simple life equates to happiness. The book “Outer Order, Inner Calm” corresponds to this philosophy. According to the author of the book, Gretchen Rubin, a simple act can make a person’s day start right. One of the people she interviewed even said, “I finally cleaned out my fridge – now I know I can change my career too.”

So what is minimalism? Is it a philosophy British artist Michael Landy believes that destroying material things can save our planet? Or is it the art of organizing created by Marie Kondo that determines which method “sparks joy” or not? Despite the differences in concept, nearly all of them have one factor in common: contentment. How about you? What does minimalism mean to you?