Consuming less: inspired by nowners and minimalists

“Nowners” (shortened from non-owners) and minimalists push the limit. They believe in owning as little as possible. So what’s the motivations behind this attitude? Do we follow? And, if so, how?

Do you have to be poor or stingy in order to become a nowner?

We’re screwed; we have too much stuff. This was the finding of Anouck (article in French, presentation of the nowners here), a Parisian student who has been part of the nowners movement for several years. She donated almost everything she owned to charity. She lives with the bare necessities and isn’t going to change her mind anytime soon.

A somewhat boho lifestyle (meaning, more bohemian than bourgeois)? Something for only the poor or stingy? Not at all. One of the main drivers of this movement right now is related to environmental concerns. There’s not much separating raising awareness on climate change and different consumption, or between the quest for zero waste and the logic of zero items.

We see it: wasting and consuming left, right and centre is going to back us up against a wall. It’s one reason why nowners are becoming increasingly popular.  Some go as far as choosing only to own no more than 100 items maximum (sometimes just 15!). They have the name “minimalists” for a reason.

Clearing out your closets would do you some good!

Environmental motivation is surely a major factor in the minimalist’s decision to consume and own less. Besides this, another motivation is becoming more and more relevant: people who want to de-clutter their home. It seems as though living with fewer items results in more well-being.

Sources of inspiration can be found everywhere in the de-cluttering industry. Sometimes Japanese, from the country of zen, with women like Marie Kondo (author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“) and Fumio Sasaki (who wrote “Goodbye Things”). Or Chinese, like fengshui, which focuses on harmonizing the energy in your interior space.

Our friends in Asia advocate for getting rid of objects and airing out their living space as ways to achieve well-being. According to Kondo, tidying up your interior could improve or even change your life. Sound great! And to really bring this concept home, we can start with simple things… like borrowing the above books from the library instead of buying them.

Giving a life or extra lives to your items: more space around your home

Did you know? Just counting electronic equipment alone, one person owns an average of 99 items (according to a French study). Some are never used or, at most, once per year (and then, when this forgotten item is finally needed, it might not even work from lack of use).

We’re surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of items. Yet we continue to regularly purchase more. Meanwhile, minimalists are able to live with less. Why not try to bring about some order (and then not buy as much)? If doing so makes both us and the planet better, the motivation is twofold.

Whatever the case, if you do decide to de-clutter, there are ways to reduce your mountain of stuff. To clear out, all you have to do is donate your belongings. There are beneficiaries all around you: public social welfare centres (CPAS), the Scouts, Petits Riens, maternity homes, schools, nurseries… and Usitoo.

If you, like many people, find the de-cluttering process too difficult to tackle alone, you can call in an organization professional. Yes, they actually exist! And they’re ready to help you take on your spring cleaning… year-round. Eli Puerta, a Marie Kondo follower, wants to help you find well-being by tidying (Well Being Organized). Nathalie Crahay (Range ta vie) shares her tips and tricks, available as video modules, to de-clutter and save you time… for yourself.

Changing consumption doesn’t destroy the economy

Spending less money? Sign us up! Consuming less… well, that requires a bit more effort. Critics (and wasters?) will tell you that, if we stop consuming, we’ll ruin the economy. According to them, the decline in consumption would lead to shutting down production facilities, bankruptcies and unemployment.

But what they forget is that there’s an entire alternative economy founded on consuming differently. New industries (recycling, repairs, workshops, waste disposal centres, donation centres, etc.) and new jobs are being created. Companies and jobs that are close to home: we reuse and repair locally, not in China.

It’s a real economy; we’re talking the circular economy, collaborative economy, co-ops, etc. And other economies, less so based on monetary value, but which have also appeared: exchange systems for items or services, rentals of all kinds. There are so many initiatives that require manpower, generate employment and circulate resources (location rentals, participation in events, sales, purchasing, training and more).

The circular economy alone is thriving and will create almost 100,000 jobs! Still think it’s destroying the economy?

Owning fewer items by renting more, the right step

Convinced by the concept of nowners, plus all the new space you’ll have made around your home? All you have to do is rent anything that you only occasionally use. Less spending and more space: what’s not to love?

There are plenty of rental options available in your town. Whether for short- or long-term use, you can rent a bike and DIY, gardening, or party equipment (dishes, clothes, furniture). Even a small car or grooming tools for your dog.

Non-ownership of items: Usitoo is in favour.  We believe in an item’s use value, not its acquisition value. Plus you can rent (almost) everything from Usitoo. The catalogue ranges from toys and tools to furniture and bikes, from home appliance to large car accessories. For baby or for grandma. No deposit and close to home, everything you need under one roof.

Want to donate an item? Need an item? Join the Usitoo community and rent to your heart’s desire! Reach out to us by phone at +32470324513, by sending us an email to, or via our Usitoo chat (at the bottom right of the website).

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