Limited, considered and sustainable consumption: The (non)consumption practices of UK minimalists

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27 Citations (Scopus)
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Minimalism is an increasingly popular lifestyle movement in western economies (predominantly in the USA, Japan and Europe) that involves voluntarily reducing consumption and limiting one’s possessions to a bare minimum. This is with the intention of making space for the ‘important’ (potentially immaterial) things that are seen to add meaning and value to one’s life. Drawing on interviews with minimalists in the UK, this article reveals that minimalists practice sustainable (non)consumption via limiting their consumption. This is achieved by actively buying less, using up and maintaining what is owned, and, when objects are acquired, only practising highly intentional, considered and (sometimes) ethical consumption. For some, such practices are predominantly based on strong ethical and environmental motivations or are seen as a positive ‘by-product’ of their minimalist lifestyles. Whilst for others, their motivations are primarily aligned to personal well-being. The article subsequently argues that the limited and considered practices of minimalist consumption can be seen as sustainable practices in outcome, if not always in intent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1031
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number4
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


  • minimalism
  • limited consumption
  • considered consumption
  • sustainable consumption
  • voluntary simplicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing
  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science


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