Extreme Minimalism – Maximizing Benefits of Living with Less

You’ve heard about minimalist lifestyles and focusing on “less is more,” but I’m going to go way beyond that today.  Extreme minimalism is the furthest degree of minimalism you can pursue, and it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Extreme minimalism focuses on owning and using only the absolute essentials.  Benefits include more free time, saved money, no debt, and less stress.  Characteristics include passion and freedom, and checklists and tips can assist in maintaining the lifestyle.  

Have you ever wondered how you might be able to lessen your carbon footprint and help the planet?  Are you looking for a way to declutter, focus on essentials, and free up as much space as possible? From diet to travel, several categories of extreme minimalism are discussed.

 What Is Extreme Minimalism?

To begin, minimalism is practicing the principle of “less is more” with one or all aspects of life.  Extreme minimalism focuses purely on the essentials in daily life.  It’s also owning very few items and nothing beyond the absolute essentials. 

Extreme minimalism takes the principles of minimalism to an even further and more rigorous level. It is an approach where individuals deliberately and drastically reduce their possessions, commitments, and living spaces to the bare essentials, often leaving only the absolute necessities.

A Minimalist Room - Extreme Minimalism - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Room

Benefits of Extreme Minimalism

Extreme minimalism is a lifestyle choice, as the focus is more on relationships and experiences, not stuff.  It’s about anti-consumerism, carbon footprint, sustainability, and just happiness.  Although it may be considered extreme, extreme minimalism has several benefits.

  1. More free time
  2. Lower bills
  3. Saves money
  4. No debt
  5. More environmentally conscious
  6. Less cleaning
  7. Less organizing
  8. No clutter
  9. Less stress
  10. Less belongings
  11. More space

Characteristics of Extreme Minimalism

Minimalist life is characterized by passion and freedom, as described by author Ylva Uggla, but let’s look at some methods of extreme minimalism. 

Extreme minimalism decluttering means selling, donating, or discarding some additional items and paring them down to only the essentials.

Extreme Minimalism Checklist

If you’re thinking about pursuing this lifestyle, an extreme minimalism checklist can help you get started.  This will help identify the things you absolutely need, the things to consider doing without, and of course, the things to get rid of.  Using a checklist can make it much easier to stay on track and pare down in a way that works for you.

Extreme Minimalism Tips

It’s not an easy lifestyle to switch to, but there are some tips to help you get started.  Consider using multi-purpose items like bar shampoo that can also be used for the body and hands, doing away with contact lenses and solutions and sticking with glasses, using sustainable products rather than disposable plastic and paper, reading digital books rather than hard copies, and don’t buy things you won’t use!

Reading a Digital Book - Extreme Minimalism - Gone Minimal
Reading a Digital Book

Extreme Minimalism Decluttering

Our living spaces are usually stocked with décor, accessories, extra items, and even furniture we don’t use.  Extreme minimalism decluttering means selling, donating, or discarding some additional items and paring them down to only the essentials. 

 Extreme Minimalism; Everything I Own

If you’re interested in getting rid of all the stuff and living extreme, consider paring down to 50 items or less.  Picture living in a tiny home or on the road and keeping only those things you need and use daily.  Get rid of all the excesses, and not only could you help out a family in need, but you could also spend some time traveling the world with all your belongings!

Examples of Extreme Minimalism

You probably pictured a near-empty home and wardrobe first, but extreme minimalism goes far beyond what’s in the living space.  Let’s talk about the extreme minimalism lifestyle.

With extreme minimalism clothes, the capsule wardrobe is often used, which means just a few essential pieces that coordinate with each other and cover all your clothing needs but with much less.

Extreme Minimalism Travel

When you own only the essential clothing, you can save time and experience much less stress when preparing for travel.  All of your clothing coordinates, and you have much less to choose from for packing. 

Extreme Digital Minimalism

Did you know you really don’t need 75 apps on your phone, a tv, sound system, or an expensive camera?  With extreme digital minimalism, you pare down electronics and apps to only the essentials.  This means getting rid of those unused apps on your phone and using your laptop for multiple functions like streaming your favorite shows and checking email.

A Minimalist Computer - Extreme Minimalism - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Computer

Extreme Minimalism Diet

Anita Guerrini of the University of Chicago Press found the earliest minimalist diet was described by Luigi Cornaro in 1558 as consuming light-colored foods and avoiding foods that age.  However, the extreme minimalist diet focuses on eating only essential and healthy foods and only when hungry.  There are no fast food trips, no big stock-ups, no junk food, and nothing you can’t pronounce in the ingredient list.  Fresh and healthy, local and sustainable.

Extreme Minimalism Living

Extreme minimalism living is thinking about your carbon footprint.  Zero-waste, nothing disposable, reuse and repurpose with everything you do daily.  Focus on natural ingredients, multi-purpose items, no extras, and sometimes even no furniture.

Extreme Minimalism Family

When you’re not living alone, everyone has a role in maintaining the lifestyle in an extreme minimalism family.  Everyone has fewer possessions and clothing, contributing to sustainability and minimal or zero waste.

A Mother and Daughter in a Minimalist Room - Extreme Minimalism - Gone Minimal
A Mother and Daughter in a Minimalist Room

Extreme Minimalism Wardrobe

The wardrobe is one of the first places people usually go to begin decluttering, and why not?  There are always items and accessories you don’t wear anymore that don’t fit or aren’t your style.  You can pare down your wardrobe quickly and easily, but then there’s the extreme minimalism wardrobe for next-level essentials.

Extreme Minimalism Clothes

Fewer possessions include having minimal items in the wardrobe too!  With extreme minimalism clothes, the capsule wardrobe is often used, which means just a few essential pieces that coordinate with each other and cover all your clothing needs but with much less.

Extreme Minimalism Living Spaces

Extreme Minimalism Kitchen

Think about the silverware, dishes, glasses, and appliances you don’t use regularly.  With an extreme minimalist kitchen, all of that is gone.  Only the essential dishware, appliances, and cookware are available to prepare and eat safely and efficiently.  There’s a great deal of space saved!

Extreme Minimalism Bedroom

In the extreme minimalism bedroom, there’s only a bed for sleeping and storage for clothing.  In some cases, there’s no furniture and maybe a mattress or a hammock.

A Minimalist Bedroom - Extreme Minimalism - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Bedroom

Extreme Minimalism House

There are several options for the extreme minimalism house ranging from a standard-sized home to a tiny home.  In these cases, there’s little to no décor or accessories, essential furniture, or sometimes, no furniture, and simply no clutter. 

Extreme Minimalism Apartment

For the extreme minimalism apartment, you’ll find essential furniture only, no clutter, little or no décor, and essentials for daily life.  It’s nothing fancy-it’s purely shelter and rest.

Extreme Minimalism Woman

Extreme minimalism for a woman doesn’t have to do without everything, but there are many things she can do without.  Paring down the clothing to the essentials, keeping only a couple of cosmetics, and only owning two pairs of shoes are just a few examples of the extreme minimalist woman.  There’s no need to keep all the stuff or try to live as you see on social media — it won’t make you happy!  But extreme minimalism for women can be much happier.

In this video, learn tips for becoming a minimalist and making your life simple and healthier.

Related Insights

Is minimalism toxic?

Some consider minimalism toxic because of the persistent thoughts regarding “do I need this” and “is this better for the environment.”  These thoughts can become overwhelming for some, which may not be the best lifestyle choice.  Minimalism can be a very positive lifestyle change if done in a way that you can maintain.

What would happen if everyone was a minimalist?

The world could become much better if everyone were a minimalist!  There wouldn’t be quite so much focus on consumerism, there would be more respect for the environment, and you probably wouldn’t see shopping malls and supercenters popping up everywhere anymore.

How can I live Minimalistically?

In order to live minimalistically, you’ve got to make some choices.  How minimal do you want to go?  Do you want to focus on one category or change your whole lifestyle?  Pick a method that works for you and can maintain happily, and go for it!  Remember to focus on the things that matter to YOU.

Where Real People Would Like to Try Extreme Minimalism  Most

I asked friends and family to list three areas they would like to try extreme minimalism most. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll.

AreaTimes Selected
Tiny home7%
Phone apps13%
Living room6%
Where Real People Want to Try Extreme Minimalism

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

Extreme minimalism isn’t for everyone, but there are many benefits to the lifestyle.  Extreme minimalism can add a great deal to your life, from paring down to only the absolute essentials to living out of a backpack.  Getting rid of all the clutter really can add to your happiness!  Would you consider this lifestyle?

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