The end of owning things

All my life I have seen myself as a very materialistic person. I loved to buy and own things. Lately I have discovered a shift in my behaviour, and I have started to see that I am only one person in a bigger movement towards the minimalistic and teched-up society.

What are the signs of this?
In Sweden where I reside there is an obsession with vintage and upcycling. It is cool to ride old bikes and wear your dad’s jacket from the 70’s. A woman who rents out vintage wedding dresses is insanely popular here, and I see new services popping up like Le Tote where you rent clothes and return the ones you are tired of. It’s like Netflix for your closet, they claim on their website.
Speaking of Netflix, the behaviour has already changed among us. The age of wanting to cram your apartment with DVD’s is long gone (who has the space anyway?). If it can be streamed by a subscription service we will likely do it. This applies to music (Spotify), movies (Netflix), audiobooks, magazines, well, everything you don’t want to carry. Some things we don’t even buy anymore since they are almost entirely digitalised such as cookbooks, dictionaries, newspapers and travel guides.
Everything we used to fill up our apartments with, carry in our bags, now fit in our pockets in a device.

What factors drive this?
Globalization is the idea of people and goods moving freely across borders. When we got used to moving around, we also realized what is no longer convenient to us and start to rethink how we want things to work for us. We still want to read books when we travel, but we might not want to carry heavy stacks of them with us.

Are we consuming less?
Probably not, but it is easy to get rid of things that now longer serve us. Services like Craigslist and eBay help us sell quick and easy with our phones. With a market where we are constantly buying, there is a need for selling your old stuff. And with technology creating virtual spaces for our things, why should we own physical objects?

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