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.
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?
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 decreasing stuff lead to the continual declutter of more stuff?
I’m not entirely sure a reverse domino effect is always possible, because, well, inertia — however, if we start with the aim of achieving and sustaining a streamlined, beautiful and functional dwelling, maybe we can become better at choosing what to accumulate.
Do you find that you accumulate less if you’ve spent the time to declutter and simplify?