Years ago, when I was about to get married, a friend gave me her best marriage advice. Spend your money on experiences, not things, she told me. Your couch won’t last forever, but you’ll always have your memories.
She wouldn’t have called herself a minimalist at the time, but her philosophy is one many of us would embrace.
Do you ever feel a little unsure about that word, “minimalist?” No one wants to live a minimal life, a life of emptiness, a life of always being without. But that’s not what minimalism means.
Maybe, like my friend, you aren’t attracted to an all-white design sensibility, or aren’t ready to part with half your closet. Can you still call yourself a minimalist?
I think you can.
Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of things. Minimalism is about eliminating the unnecessary so we can focus on what matters most.
It’s not about less for the sake of less, it’s about less for the sake of more: more time, more energy, and more freedom. It is about living with intention, choosing with care, and living as simply as possible to free up your resources for lasting purposes.
There’s no one right way to be a minimalist. Your journey is your own. If you’re not sure whether the minimalism umbrella covers you, or if you just want to get more precise, maybe one of these terms will resonate.
Types of Minimalism
Here are five flavors of minimalism we’ve seen:
1. The Essentialist.
The essentialist ascribes to a philosophy of “fewer, but better.” Do fewer things, but do them well. Own fewer things, but choose things that will last. Wear fewer hats, but wear them wholeheartedly. Essentialism is a minimalism that focuses on quality, not quantity.
2. The Experientialist.
Instead of embracing materialism, experientalism is about collecting experiences. The experientialist will invest in memories and free up resources for activities instead of things. My friend’s marriage advice came straight out of this philosophy.
3. The Enoughist.
Enoughism describes minimalism in terms of having enough, not having it all. The enoughist finds peace in voluntarily using enough — and no more — in any category: food, clothing, home size, storage space, flashing links in your sidebar. Enough looks different from person to person.
4. The Eco-Minimalist.
The eco-minimalist pursues a life of less consumption in order to reduce their impact on the earth. The focus is less on the benefits to the individual household, and more on the bigger environmental picture.
5. The Soul Minimalist.
The soul minimalist cherishes stillness of soul, and works to keep mental and spiritual clutter to a minimum. Practices of quiet, mindfulness, stillness, and listening are all important here.
Your style of simple living doesn’t have to look exactly like anyone else’s. What matters is that you are intentionally eliminating what you don’t need to make room for what’s most important. You’re being mindful of the impact your choices have on your relationships, your finances and the wider world.
You are more than a label, and you’re investing in what matters. You’re living your own story. You can design the life you want to live.
Design a Simple Life
You can design a simple life, a life of purpose. Removing the clutter you don’t need is a tool to help you get there.
If you want to pursue a simple life, we have created a 30-day email course that will inspire + encourage you.