Celebrities Who Downsize and Embrace Minimalism


Future coasters or landfill? Photo via Flickr: They Speak a Different Language

"CDs create clutter," says Foo Fighters' bassist Nate Mendel, who buys music digitally. "And I abhor clutter." The Police drummer Stewart Copeland says he's happy with just one house and one vehicle. Mitt Romney is dumping half of his homes. Jamie Lee Curtis owns one pair of jeans. Describing how those with plenty to spare, choose a more spare lifestyle, Erin Doland, editor of Unclutterer, highlights ways that living with less offers more.

A previous packrat, Doland relates tips on clearing out closets and organizing workspaces, showing the advantages to keeping it simple. From small spaces to the big picture, Minimalism Monday to Unitasker Wednesday, Unclutterer commits to quality over consumption, believing that a home (and garage) is more than a place to store stuff.

While his opponent John McCain couldn't count his number of residences, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is dumping half his property portfolio. According the Salt Lake Tribune last month, the ex-Massachusetts governor put his 9,500-square-foot Utah ski villa and Massachusetts house on the market. "They are simplifying and downsizing," a spokesperson explained. "Mitt and [his wife] Ann have more space than they need."

Is this the result of empty nest syndrome, economic constraints, or is it a conscientious lifestyle choice? "This can hardly be considered simple living," says Doland. "But it's a first step."

Down on stuff

Among the celebrities who chose not to live large, Unclutterer salutes Stewart Copeland, who says his family makes him happy, not fancy cars:

I discovered in life that I have the same joy in divestment as I once got as a young man in acquisition. I have the perfect house. I might trade my Jeep in for some environment-friendly vehicle of some kind. My watch is a Casio. I live very simply, and I've discovered that half of the so-called luxuries that people strive for do not provide happiness.

With more than enough but knowing less is more, Jamie Lee Curtis told an AARP interviewer that she likes to emulate the look of mid-century architecture:

My style is a distillation. I've etched out who I am through myriad haircut attempts, outfit attempts, beauty attempts, diet attempts. It's been an evolution. I've let my hair go gray. I wear only black and white. Every year I buy three or four black dresses that I just keep in rotation. I own one pair of blue jeans. I've given away all my jewelry, because I don't wear it. [It's] Function over frivolity. Clean living. Clean lines.

Perhaps the expression should be: Keep it simple, smartie.

More on simple living:
Book Review: The Power of Less
Living with Less: First, Hide the Bed
Spring Cleaning: "100 Reasons to Get Rid of It"
Less is the New More: Making the Most of Small Spaces
Green Glossary: Voluntary Simplicity

Tags: Celebrities | Conspicuous Consumption | Consumerism | Dematerialization | Living With Less | Music

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