Making Space: The Geographies of Minimalist Practices and Sustainable Consumption

Making Space: The Geographies of Minimalist Practices and Sustainable Consumption


Royal Geograhical Society – Small Research Grant




Dr Amber Martin-Woodhead


24 months from October 2018

Project Objectives

The purpose of the study is to explore the motivations and practices of self-defined minimalists (or those who associate themselves with minimalist practice) and to explore minimalism’s potential link to sustainable consumption practices. The four main objectives of the project are:

  1. To chart the rise in popularity of minimalism in contemporary western culture to empirically contextualise the project.
  2. To explore the (non)consumption practices of, and motivations behind, minimalists to find out if such practices can be seen as more sustainable.
  3. To critically examine how the geographies of the home are intertwined with minimalist practice (with regards to decluttering, discarding and the creation of ‘minimalist home spaces’).
  4. To question if minimalism is indeed a lifestyle ‘choice’, or an inevitable outcome of a decrease in the size of contemporary living spaces/ or ‘micro-living’ in London.


The project sets the agenda for the study of minimalism within the geographical discipline. First it uncovers the ways in which minimalism has the capacity to encourage sustainable consumption practices and thus contributing to imperative public concerns surrounding over-consumption and waste in a time of ‘peak stuff’. Second, via a critical exploration of the ‘geographical detoxing’ of spaces of the home via decluttering and (non)consumption practices -uncovering the cultural economies of everyday minimalist living in the space of the home.

Minimalism: Motivation and non-consumption practices of UK minimalists infographics

Local World: In this interview Amber Martin-Woodhead talks about how minimalists choose to live with a bare minimum of objects and how this lifestyle movement is becoming increasingly popular and environmentally relevant. 

The Changing Room Podcast Episode 4: Why are people giving up their personal possessions?

The Conversation: I spoke to ‘minimalists’ to find out why they are giving up their personal possessions

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

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University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021