Does minimalism hurt the economy

Minimalism What makes you happy is allowed to stay

A sack of shoes, one full of clothes, one with towels and bed linen. Two large-format pictures, flower pots, vases. What others throw out every year during spring cleaning, Vanessa Nepe mucks up within a few days. Nepe estimates that around 30 large blue bags have come together since the end of 2016 and parted with them. The 23-year-old from Senden is gradually reducing her household items - and feels more liberated with every piece.

Nepe would not yet describe herself as a minimalist (see message on the right). “But I'm on the right track,” she says. For them, minimalism is simply a move away from material abundance. You can see that in her apartment in Senden. It is very simply furnished, white furniture and a few decorative pieces make the room seem larger than it is. Nevertheless, there are some photos and handicrafts from daughter Joleen on the walls, there are house plants and a small Christmas tree. Nepe is not finished yet. “I still feel a bit overwhelmed here, that's far from what it's supposed to be,” she says.

Nepe, who works as a data collector for a Neu-Ulm company, started mucking out at the end of 2016 after a difficult relationship. But sorting out was preceded by another, a mental process. The trigger was a lecture by psychologist and author Robert Betz. “That prompted me to ask: Am I living what I really want? Am I friends with the people who do me good? ”The answer: no.

With the change in their attitude towards life, the sorting out started, out of an inner need. “It was as if the rattle had grabbed me. I threw out so much. ”But immediately afterwards, like a relapse, I also went shopping again. Then Nepe delved deeper into the topic, watched videos by minimalists on YouTube, and bought the audio book from tidying specialist Marie Kondo (see right). She followed the tip to start with clothes: “That hurts the least.” Nepe threw things out of her bedroom in sacks, followed by decorations and books. The 23-year-old has often found things that she didn't even know she owned. Today she only buys clothes used, and much less often. "I am shocked when I see how much money I used to spend on it."

When she separates herself from things, a feeling of liberation follows: "It feels really light, as if I had lost ten kilograms." She has never missed anything about any of this. Basically, with every object she asks whether the book, the candlestick or the picture makes her happy. "Most of the time, the first thing that comes to mind is no."

Almost nothing of the rejected goes into the garbage: Nepe goes to the flea market, clothes end up at the Red Cross; She sells books, decorations and toys free of charge via Facebook groups, and sells valuable items on Ebay. Her five-year-old daughter Joleen also sometimes joins in, then deliberately separates from a toy. But that only works because she knows that the Barbie will then be donated, for example, explains Nepe. "And when the things are gone, she doesn't ask for them anymore."

Nepe still has a hard time parting with papers and mementos. There are two boxes for these things, one for Nepe herself and one for her daughter, in the living room. Inside you'll find handicrafts by Joleen, a model of Nepes' first car that her grandpa made, and photos of her father, who died when she was little. "Giving that away would break more than I win."

By sorting out, Nepe creates more clarity in her life, she says. “You have more perspective when you have less.” For Nepe, the company of her family and friends stands above all material things. “That's what counts in life.” This also applies to Christmas. Nepes family is weighted - everyone only gives presents to someone else, there are no exceptions. For her birthday, the 23-year-old doesn't want her material gifts to be given, rather a meal or a voucher for a wellness weekend. "That's a lot more fun."