How A Minimalist Lifestyle Can Transform And Simplify Your Life

what is minimalist living


Living a minimalist lifestyle is a different road for everyone. I believe that becoming a minimalist should always focus on intentionally adding value to your life, no matter which routines, revamps, or habits you use to make that happen.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

When I first started practicing a minimalist lifestyle, I expected the effects to be small. I was genuinely shocked when I realized the huge, positive impacts minimalist living was bringing me. I’d never go back now!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is Minimalism?

minimalism defined

Minimalism is a lifestyle that focuses on living with fewer possessions, adding quality, and value back into your life. Minimalism focuses on cutting out the things in your life that no longer serve you, and filling your life back up with the things that do.

Minimalist Meaning

At its core, minimalism pulls from a few different schools of thought, primarily stoicism and essentialism. The meaning of minimalism — at its core — is not about depriving yourself of things you truly love. It’s about cutting out all the excess so your life is made up only of the things that bring you happiness, add value to your days, make you better, and reflect your intentions.

simple minimalist lifestyleThe philosophies that guide minimalists encourage you to be intentional with habits like spending, consumption, and indulgence of any kind. A minimalist lifestyle is a lifestyle that has a lot of stoic origins.

Minimalism is about letting what comes, come, and letting what goes, go. The philosophy applies to so many facets of life, including things you own, money and spending habits, your relationship to time, your social relationships, creating a minimalist home, or your mental state.

What Is A Minimalist?

A minimalist is anyone who chooses to subscribe to these ideals in their own daily life, living with less without losing any value. Like I said before, minimalism looks different in the life of every single person, because we all have different daily lives and experiences.

For me, minimalism comes out most readily in the way I manage my stuff with a regular decluttering regimen, and in the way I manage my money with cautious intentionality. I have many friends who apply minimalism most strictly to their shopping habits, their clothes or their aesthetic, the way they decorate their homes, or learning to say no to social obligations.

Minimalist ideals aren’t actionable in and of themselves. Instead, minimalism is simply a lens through which to view the world through. Actionable habits and minimalist rules are created from this lens based on the specific areas of your life you hope to apply minimalism to.

types of minimalism

Minimalist Lifestyle: What Minimalism IS

what minimalism is

When people initially think about the minimalist lifestyle, their mind often immediately goes to decluttering and getting rid of stuff. While decluttering is a huge fact of the minimalist life, there are a multitude of ways to integrate minimalism in your life that go beyond getting rid stuff.

how to become a minimalist

The Minimalist Lifestyle Means Owning Less Stuff

The Minimalist Lifestyle Means Owning Less Stuff

Decluttering your home is a non-negotiable when it comes to becoming a minimalist. Not only does decluttering help you clean your space, but keeping your environment as minimal as possible will ensure a less cluttered mind.

As I’ve taken the time to declutter my own home, I’ve noticed that I tend to focus better in a clean space. Even when I’m not working, I feel more calm and less distracted in a minimalist environment.

When I am in a cluttered or crowded environment, I tend to feel much more anxious and unproductive. When you don’t have a lot of clutter, your mind is freed up to think about other, more important things.

declutter challenge

Minimalism Is A Lifestyle That Goes Beyond What You Own

Minimalism Is A Lifestyle That Goes Beyond What You Own

However, there is a lot more to minimalism and the minimalist lifestyle than just decluttering. There are many ways to structure your life to be more minimalist friendly.

minimalist morning routineFor me, this looks like taking a more minimal approach to the way I structure the desktop on my computer, the way I plan my days, and even the foods that I eat. With less clutter on my desktop, I can look at my computer and focus on what I need to do, instead of getting distracted by photos and documents that are scattered around.

At the end of the day, what is minimalism if not just living more simply? With a simpler diet, my body functions at a more optimum level, and I have to think less about what I’m going to eat that day.

Life becomes more simple, easier, and much more intentional. I truly make an effort to let minimalism into every micro facet of my daily experience.

Living A Simple Life Is About Mindfulness

Living A Simple Life Is About Mindfulness

Not only is the minimalist lifestyle about decluttering and reworking various aspects of your life, but a huge part of the lifestyle is a mere mental game. I have found that over the last decade of integrating minimalism into my life, the practices have had a wonderful effect on my mind overall.

Living a less cluttered life allows me to focus more and bring intentionality into everything I do. Instead of living reactively, I have the opportunity to think specifically about what I want to do with my day, and focus completely on that. This gives me an inexplicable peace of mind.

ways to declutter your mind

A Minimalist Lifestyle Nurtures Quality Relationships

A Minimalist Lifestyle Nurtures Quality Relationships

It might sound initially daunting to consider applying a practice like minimalism to your social life, but I promise I’m not encouraging you to cut people off! Applying minimalism to the relationships in my own life has allowed me to create even stronger friendships and relationships than I had before.

When I think minimally in my social life, I spend my time in a more intentional way and am able to connect with people on a deeper level. Instead of just “hanging out,” I only spend time with people who inspire and motivate me. Living this way has brought great value and irreplaceable richness to my life.

minimalist dating

Minimalism Offers Financial Benefits

Minimalism Offers Financial Benefits

The minimalist lifestyle can also improve your finances substantially. Oftentimes when people think of minimalism and money, they imagine a life where they are monetarily restricted and no longer able to spend on the things they need, want, or love. This could not be further from what it means to manage your finances minimally.

Ever since I began to apply minimalist thinking to my spending habits, I feel less restricted and genuinely freer. Thinking through lenses like, “Do I truly need this right now?” or, “Should I buy this if I won’t use it again for another year?” has given me more funds to save for the things I truly need and love, like amazing vacations or quality clothing that will last me years down the line.

minimalist budgeting

Minimalism Is Surprisingly Freeing

Minimalism Is Surprisingly Freeing

Overall, the biggest thing I have gained from living a minimalist lifestyle has been a newfound sense of complete and utter freedom. It’s a level of freedom that I will forever be grateful for.

are minimalists happierBefore I took the journey to minimalism, I was working in a 9-to-5 job that did not provide me with this kind of freedom. I was making a salary, but I still was required to be there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., whether I had already finished my work for the day or not. It started to feel like I wasn’t in control of my life anymore. I was looking for meaning in a career, but I found meaning in minimalism instead.

I have reworked my whole life to match these core minimalist ideals. I only make time for the things that truly serve me. As I slowly cut out things in my life that drained me, albeit with some scary risks, the reward has superseded all of my expectations. It has truly helped me to live a simpler life.

I’ve been able to create a life in which I feel completely free in all areas of my life. I’m free to spend my time how I’d like, I’m free to pursue passions that I want to explore, and I’m even free to go to a cafe in the middle of the day on a Tuesday if the desire strikes.

Minimalist Lifestyle: What Minimalism IS NOT

what minimalism is not

Now that I’ve talked about what minimalism is, I wanted to dive into to what minimalism isn’t. There are lots of misconceptions out there when it comes to defining minimalism. So, I wanted to set the record straight and clarify that minimalism isn’t just for some elite demographic, but is a popular practice made for everyone.

why is minimalism so popular

Minimalism Is Not An Overnight Fix

Minimalism Is Not An Overnight Fix

You won’t ever hear me saying that minimalism is the key to being able to do whatever you want in life. I still spend a ton of time in my remote office doing hard, strenuous work. I still have to pay bills, put food on the table, and pay my taxes like anyone else.

minimalism requires workHowever, thinking minimally has given me the control, freedom, and say-so to do those draining have-tos in a way that works best for me, on my own time and in my own way. Remember when I said minimalism is simply a lens through which to see the world in a new way? When you begin looking through it, you’ll quickly realize that you have more power over your life than you once thought.

After taking the time to apply minimalist ideals to my work life, my social life, my money, my relationships, and my time, I feel freer and more invincible than I ever have. Minimalism isn’t an overnight fix, and it comes with its own challenges. For me, though, this freedom is worth it.

Minimalism Isn’t About Deprivation

Minimalism Isnt About Deprivation

A common misconception about the minimalist life is that it encourages participants to cut everything out of their lives — even the things they value most. This could not be further from the truth. Minimalism is not about letting go of every little thing. It is, instead, about being strategic and intentional with the things you cut out of your life.

minimalism is not about depriving yourselfIf trying out minimalist habits feels restrictive, limiting, or forced, I encourage you to take a look at which habits you are trying. Ask yourself if the ways you’ve chosen to incorporate minimalism into your life are actually helpful to you, or if you’re just trying to shove yourself into a box that isn’t natural for you.

If you get joy out of collecting sentimental treasures, maybe an extreme decluttering regimen isn’t the best place for you to start. If you have a highly curated wardrobe that shows off your personality, maybe don’t go straight for a personal uniform. Instead, create your own plan for becoming a minimalist that complements the life you are already living.

Minimalism Is Not About Perfection

Minimalism Is Not About Perfection

One of my favorite quotes that I try to remember any time I want to implement new habits into my life is to “not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” What this means is to hold yourself to realistic standards and refrain from beating yourself up or giving up when things go awry.

Minimalism is not built around being perfect. I think it’s easy sometimes to look at the perfect minimalist aesthetic homes or minimalist influencer pages and think, “If my life doesn’t look like that, I must not be a real minimalist.” To me, that’s absurd, because minimalism isn’t about aesthetics at its core.

By trying any minimalist habit or applying minimalist thinking to even just one area of your life, you ARE a minimalist, full stop. Don’t let yourself get so hung up on doing everything perfectly right that you give up on habits that could truly improve your life.

How To Become A Minimalist: Where To Start

Where to start to become a minimalist

The minimalist lifestyle is defined by the idea of living a simple life instead of a chaotic, complicated one. Living a minimalist lifestyle should always make your life easier, not harder.

I’ve listed lots of different ways to become a minimalist below and tips to start applying them to your life. Hopefully you can find a habit that makes sense and helps you start living a simpler life.

Implement A Minimalist Lifestyle By

how to start minimalist lifestyle

Is The Minimalist Lifestyle For You?

Is The Minimalist Lifestyle For You

I truly believe that the minimalist lifestyle can be for anyone, regardless of what your life looks like right now. People often get too caught up on the specifics of a perfect minimalist life, instead of tailoring it to fit their own needs.

Minimalist living has changed my life and helped me accomplish so many goals. I’m now focused on actually living instead of just keeping up with the Joneses. It has realigned the way I think and live, and has made me a better person in countless ways.

the minimalist lifestyle can be for anyone

Your Turn!

  • What kind of minimalist do you want to be?
  • How can minimalism improve your own life?
  1. Amanda,

    Some great points here. Seems we get to a stage in life, that after a while you don’t own things…they own you.

  2. I think as you get older, or more mature, some people really start to reframe what’s important, or what their long-term goals are. I used to be so sure of things and my plan and what I wanted to accomplish 25 years ago. Things totally changed for me, especially as we spent several years going through the Great Recession. Bankruptcy, deed in lieu of foreclosure, career annihilated, cancer, tearing up roots and relocating 1000 miles trying to restart everything – the only thing we came out with on the other side was each other (which actually I am very proud of). Now we live in 450 sq ft and wish we could stop paying for the two storage containers that are still back in our home state, because after 4 years we obviously don’t need all those things we couldn’t give up. We don’t want to recreate our old life. We’re trying to be better. And we already know we’re not going to be able to afford to retire in the USA, even if it is 20 years away. I am looking way forward, and everything else is just temporary. I am going to learn Spanish so I can move to South America, where they have affordable health care and clean air.

  3. Simplicity. The necessary items for daily living. To live life to your fullest. Riches to me are defined as the ones I love, not my bank. Stuff is just that, stuff!

  4. We just came back from my 50th class reunion. Possessions don’t matter. Relationships and experiences do. You can empty the storage lockers by making one trip back. Or just stop paying and they will auction off the stuff. My son cleared out his uncle’s storage unit. I get rid of stuff all the time.

  5. Living simple life has always been part of my life. There are great points here stating not to deprive oneself of everything in life. I practice living full life with meaningful things that makes me happy. There are some areas in my life I am still making improvements.

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