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towards a theory of minimalism and wellbeing: lloyd & pennington, 2020

Is minimalism for you? And if it is, then what impact might your minimalism have on your wellbeing? My lovely MSc colleague, Kasey Lloyd, pictured here wanted to investigate just that and has recently published her research in the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology.

A bit of an itinerant, Kasey’s spent many years travelling and studying with very few possessions. She was interested by the fact that it didn’t bother her; if anything, it made her life easier. Looking at existing research she discovered that the connection between wellbeing and minimalism hadn’t been investigated, so she used a methodology of grounded theory. She interviewed ten people, all of whom identify as minimalists. Here’s a quote from one of them:

I think the process of minimalism and decluttering…brings me closer to my authentic self because it gives me that confidence of knowing what I want and what I don’t want…I’ve got so much more of an idea of what I want for myself and what is going to make me happy.

Describing their lives before adopting minimalism, Kasey’s participants use words like ‘trapped’, ‘tied down’ or ‘burdened’. It’s not unusual to hear my clients describing similar feelings leading them to contact a professional organiser. And that doesn’t mean that minimalism is the answer for everyone. There’s a difference between minimalism and decluttering – this televised discussion I took part in might help explain that more.

Describing their lives before adopting minimalism, Kasey’s participants use words like ‘trapped’, ‘tied down’ or ‘burdened’. It’s not unusual to hear my clients describing similar feelings when they first contact me. And that doesn’t mean that minimalism is the answer for everyone. There’s a difference between minimalism and decluttering – this televised discussion I took part in might help explain that more.

What’s interesting about Kasey’s study is that her participants demonstrate more than just life satisfaction since becoming minimalist. They talk about all the elements that make up wellbeing – being happier, feeling more engaged and autonomous, having more meaning in life and savouring the good things.

Disclaimer (!) I’m not shamelessly plugging this research because Kasey is a dear friend and we had so many fascinating conversations while she was doing it. William Pennington, Kasey’s fellow author and supervisor is a wonderful lecturer and deserves a plug too. However, I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if I didn’t think it worth reading.

“Caroline gave me courage to say goodbye to bricks ‘n’ mortar plus mountains of stuff – and get organised. I think that the sensitive but extremely practical way that Caroline worked with me and my adult family was crucial.”

– jane, london

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