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Today’s question – Can we reverse the Diderot Effect with a minimalist mindset?

I wasn’t very familiar with Diderot until I started becoming better acquainted with the minimalist approach to material possessions.

Diderot was like so many of us, a flawed human — except he was from an ancient time, many moons ago. He came into a large sum of money through a series of events which led him to make one purchase and then another — and then another, because each time he bought something new he needed something to go with it.

Photo by Caio on

In modern times, most of us have succumbed to the Diderot effect at one point or another. We’ve bought the perfect accessory after buying a new outfit, which of course meant we needed new shoes. We’ve bought one thing for a new hobby, only to decide that we needed one more color or another tool — and then, we suddenly ended up with a pile of things for a new hobby that wasn’t a hobby a year later.

Instead of shaking our heads at the accumulation of unnecessary things, can we use the same effect in reverse?

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

What if we were to declutter, streamline and make one area in our homes completely functional, minimal and beautifully serene? Would that make us feel that other areas in our homes needed to go through the same process? Could decluttering one pile of stuff lead to the continual declutter of more piles of stuff?

I’m not entirely sure a reverse domino effect is always possible, because, well, inertia. However, if we begin with a clear vision of a streamlined, beautiful and functional dwelling, perhaps we can become better at choosing what we accumulate.

Photo by Tim Gouw on

Do you find that you accumulate less if you’ve spent the time to declutter and simplify?


18 thoughts on “Today’s question – Can we reverse the Diderot Effect with a minimalist mindset?

  1. Hi! I spent a few great months getting rid of 80% of our stuff, blogging about it and now have little interest in buying more than what I need. Minimimalizing was freeing not only physically and mentally, it was freeing spiritually too, for me! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard of Diderot before, this has happened many times to me before with one purchase leading to several others. I still accumulate stuff but am definitely becoming more mindful and long term about purchases. It is free-ing getting rid of stuff. I especially love putting stuff on Freecycle and seeing the happy face of the person who collects my unwanted stuff and can’t believe their luck that it’s free! But I think I’m the real winner living in my less cluttered house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Freecycle is great for getting rid of stuff in a responsible way..agree, you’re definitely winning with less clutter :)..I’m trying to be long term about purchases as well. It just feels better. Hope you’re having a good weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t accumulated much since I move frequently and the less stuff the easier. I also often have had roommates so typically outside my bedroom the places are furnished/functional without me need to add anything. I’m also a clean/tidy freak so more stuff is just more to move to dust/clean/put away.

    Although I’m pretty sure the tale of Diderot is my dad’s life story. Ha. Maybe that also plays into a bit of my desire not to buy a bunch of stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I try to keep my furniture surfaces clear. Countertops etc. Often fail, but try. But when I can succeed in having a clear surface, it tends to stay clear because it pains me to mess it up with stuff. But once the first thing is piled on, then I find that it’s easier just to dump…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to remind myself of the Diderot effect, it can be quite easy to get caught up :)..Backwards decluttering is a good way to phrase reversing the effect! I like that. Thanks for stopping by – have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

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