To simplify daily life, people are shedding their excess “stuff,” seeking pared-down experiences and even ways to unclutter their digital identities.
About This Trend:
You may have noticed the steady rise in a cottage industry of organizational “experts.” Most famous among them is Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of the bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (who we wrote about in the 2017 edition of this book). Kondo advises people to only keep those items that “spark joy,” and get rid of the rest. Similarly, Swedish author Margareta Magnusson offers a more unusual take on the importance of decluttering. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, she builds on the Swedish principle of döstädning (dö meaning “death,” and städning meaning “cleaning”)—the act of cleaning or uncluttering as you become old in order to unburden your heirs of this task when you eventually die.
The trend toward simplifying our lives has morphed over the years, starting with the desire to declutter our excess stuff. As people become more conscious and aware of the things they want around them, they are developing an overwhelming sense of clutter in their daily lives, which is driving them to reduce the amount of stuff in their lives, live more mindfully, reduce life’s distractions, and rid themselves of relationships that do not serve them.
Stories & Examples
- According to the 2018 Zagat National Dining Trends Survey, the top complaint reported by diners is the level of noise at restaurants.
- Apps like iHEARu and SoundPrint measure and rate the ambient noise levels of restaurants in real time, then publish the findings online for the public to evaluate when deciding where to dine.
- Yondr’s mobile phone “pouches” lock devices and prevent their owners from using them during live performances and classes at schools.
- New features for Google’s latest Android mobile phones include an “app timer” that sets limits on how long a user can spend on a specific app, and the “Shush” gesture, which switches the phone into “do not disturb” mode when a user puts the phone facedown.
- Popular home-goods maker Brandless, founded by entrepreneurs Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler, makes low-priced, un-branded food, beauty, and personal care products that all sell for around $3 in their online store.