Minimalist Life – Benefits and Choices for Simple Happiness

The minimalist life may be a simple life, but it is so much more meaningful than the conventional route.  It may be challenging to start, but minimalist life is so much easier in the long run and is life with more purpose.  We’re going to talk about how to live a minimalist life.

A minimalist life is one lived with more purpose in experiences and people rather than stuff.  This life can be experienced by decluttering, pursuing what brings you joy, and choosing what works best for you.  Whether it’s clothing or living in a van, minimalist life can work for just about anyone.

Are you looking for a way out of the conventional consumer-based lifestyle, but not sure if minimalist life is for you?  Are you ready to learn more about how to live a minimalist life?

What is a Minimalist Life?

A minimalist life is one that focuses on the things that really matter.  It is based on the principle of “less is more” that is central to minimalism.  However there is not one single pathway to a minimalist life, nor are there any rules regarding how to live a minimalist life.

A minimalist life is a lifestyle and approach to living that emphasizes simplicity, intentionality, and getting rid of excess physical and mental clutter. It involves consciously choosing to live with only the things that add value and joy to one’s life while eliminating unnecessary possessions, commitments, and distractions. Minimalism extends beyond material possessions and can be used in other aspects of life, including relationships, work, and personal well-being.

A simple cup of coffee with a napkin - Minimalist Life - Gone Minimal
A simple cup of coffee with a napkin

How to Live a Minimalist Life

Minimalism is a lifestyle choice, triggered by social media, advertising, and environment according to Novia Hamidah Yulianti of Ahmad Dahlan University.  There may not be rules on how to live a minimalist life, but there are many hacks and tips to help one decide to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle.  Let’s take a look at a few of these to get you started.

Minimalist Life Hacks

One way to get started on the minimalist life pathway is to stop buying things you just don’t need.  Don’t purchase items because they’re on sale, you “might” use them, or for convenience.  This is what gets people stuck in clutter.  Use multi-purpose items to save space.  Don’t buy multiples of things (other than produce and other healthy food items) and don’t be swayed by coupons or clearance sales-unless it’s for things you actually need! 

A minimalist life is one lived with more purpose in experiences and people rather than stuff.

When I look at items on the shelf, I always think to myself, “How will I use this?  Will it be good for more than one use?  Is this a need or a want?”  Focus on the people and experiences that bring you joy, rather than the items.  Think about the environment, sustainability, and saving money to hack the minimalist life.  These thoughts will help with saving space, reusing and repurposing, and spending more time with the people who make you happy.

Minimalist Life Decluttering Tips

Decluttering doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you have an open mind.  Be open to getting rid of the things you don’t need.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help-we all need a little assistance from time to time, especially when it comes to getting rid of some items.  If you haven’t used an item or thought about it in six months or more, you really don’t need it! 

Clothes hanging on a white rack - Minimalist Life - Gone Minimal
Clothes hanging on a white rack

With seasonal items and decorations, if you haven’t used them in a year then you can probably also get rid of it.  Declutter the duplicates, the things you saved for “just in case”, the things that are just taking up space.  Use organizing systems so everything has a home, and reassess every six months or so.  Decluttering can be really fun when you see how much space you can free up and how much time it will save you in the future!  A decluttered home takes much less time to clean!

 Approach to Minimalist Life

There are many approaches to minimalist life, there’s not just one way.  There are those who have made the choice, sold or donated most of their belongings, and traveled the world in a van as minimalists.  Then there are those who simply scale back their spending on unnecessary items. 

We sometimes even need to reassess our lives every six months to a year to see if we’re happy with any changes we’ve made, and if we’re not then we can take a different approach.  You could choose to minimize your wardrobe, your home, your décor, even your furniture-or you could minimize all of the above.  The approach to minimalist life is up to you-how minimal do you want to go?

A minimalist living room - Minimalist Life - Gone Minimal
A minimalist living room

Ways to Live a Minimalist Life

When asked how minimalists paved their paths to this lifestyle change, they all bring up discontent with workload, stress, and stuff that felt like it was taking over, according to sociology professor Ylva Uggla of Orebro University in Sweden. There are even several different ways to live a minimalist life, giving you even more freedom and opportunity to consider pursuing this lifestyle.  Let’s review a few here.

 Japanese Minimalist Life

Japanese minimalist life is a focus on natural materials, natural light, being grounded and close to nature, and “micro-living”.  It’s about maximizing the space you have, focusing on only essential furniture and belongings, and organic flow with the environment. 

Japanese minimalist life focuses on Buddhist practices and Zen, which is all about energy flow and connection with the Earth.  There’s peace within their homes, peace in their hearts, and a strong connection with nature in everything they do.  It’s a truly simple life, and a happy life.

Japanese minimalist furniture - Minimalist Life - Gone Minimal
Japanese minimalist furniture

Minimalist Life Clothing

Minimalist life clothing is about utilizing the essentials.  It’s the opposite of “fast fashion” and consists of key wardrobe pieces that coordinate with all other pieces, made of quality materials that are durable, and includes weather-appropriate additions when needed.  Minimalist life clothing is about having just what you need for work, exercise, casual, and sleep on hand without any of the extras that are rarely worn.  This saves space in your closet and saves money in your bank account!

 Living With Less

Living with less can mean many things-with minimalism it can be less décor, less belongings, less clothing, even less everything.  Look around your home-what could you do with less of?  Do you have more décor than you know what to do with?  Sell or donate.  Do your kids have too many toys they just don’t play with?  Sell or donate.  Are you sitting on clothing that “just might fit again”?  Sell or donate. 

There are even several different ways to live a minimalist life, giving you even more freedom and opportunity to consider pursuing this lifestyle.

There’s really no need for all that clothing, toys, some furniture pieces, multiples of some items, and all of the things that just take up space.  Living with less can give you more time, more space, more money, and more freedom.

Minimalist Van Life

It’s not for everyone, but minimalist van life is one of the most extreme forms of minimalism.  It takes dedication to purge just about everything you own, but minimalist van life can actually be quite comfortable.  Vans (and even school buses!) can be customized to your wants and needs, it just takes some creativity.  Multi-purpose items, capsule wardrobes, compact appliances, and a bit of ingenuity can help just about anyone live in a van.  Just think-no property taxes, fewer utility bills, and everywhere in the world to travel!

Living in a minimalist van - Minimalist Life - Gone Minimal
Living in a minimalist van

Benefits of a Minimalist Life

If you’re not yet sold on pursuing a minimalist life, let’s look at some of the benefits of this lifestyle.

  1. More open space
  2. Less cleaning
  3. More free time
  4. Saves money
  5. Less clutter
  6. More environmentally friendly
  7. Less stress
  8. More fun

And more!  Doesn’t that sound great?

In this video, learn 25 tips to inspire your minimalist journey.

Related Insights

How do you convert to minimalism?

To convert to minimalism, it starts with choosing a simpler lifestyle.  Decluttering your home and buying less is a good second step.  Focusing on the people and experiences that really matter is a good way to also find genuine joy-because it’s not the stuff that makes you happy.  Minimalism is also about spending time with nature as well as yourself-so start taking the time to appreciate both!

What is a minimalist person?

A minimalist person is one who doesn’t like or participate in consumerism, will do without “things”, focuses on the meaningful things, and easily discriminates between what are needs vs. wants.  They are organized, they don’t live with clutter, and they care more about people and experiences than belongings.

Are minimalist people happy?

Minimalist people tend to be happy because they’re focused on the things that actually matter.  They know what they need, they choose to do without stuff, and they find joy in little things rather than stuff.

How Real People Would Like To Live a Minimalist Life

I asked friends and family to describe or list ways they would like to live a minimalist life. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll, and the percentages of their responses.

Ways to Live a Minimalist LifeTimes Selected
Get rid of stuff22%
Declutter and organize11%
Move to a smaller place17%
Tiny house5%
Grow produce11%
Ways that real people would like to live a minimalist life

Other Resources:

Minimalist life is a big change from the conventional lifestyle that most of us live in, but anyone can do it and benefit from it.  There are no rules to minimalism, only approaches.  Whether you pursue it in one aspect of your life or from every aspect, there are so many benefits from money saved to increased happiness.  Would you give minimalist life a try?

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