What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is defined as a design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. Minimalism had its origins in the arts—with the artwork featuring simple lines, only a few colors, and careful placement of those lines and colors. More recently, it has become representative of a lifestyle that aims to remove clutter from all facets of life. 

Minimalism is all about owning only what adds value and meaning to your life (as well as the lives of the people you care about) and removing the rest. It’s about removing the clutter and using your time and energy for the things that remain. We only have a certain amount of energy, time, and space in our lives. In order to make the most of it, we must be intentional about how we’re living each day.

There are many different approaches to minimalism, but it’s really just a tool to help you prioritize what’s important in your life.

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist offers this definition: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that bring you joy and the removal of those that do not.” It might be called simple living, tiny living, intentional living, and a myriad of other things—but there is at least one common thread: the idea of curating the things we own to best reflect our priorities and vision for our lives.

If the idea of minimalism sounds intimidating to you or if you’ve seen some images and thought, “that’s a nice idea, but I’d never want to live like that,” don’t worry. You can benefit from applying minimalism in your life whether you live in a tiny home, suburban house, or a mansion. You can use minimalism as a guiding philosophy and customize based on what works best for you.

Common Misconceptions of Minimalism

Contrary to what some people think, there aren’t any actual rules to minimalism. There’s no official board of minimalism to determine whether or not you’re doing minimalism right. Minimalism truly looks different for everyone.

You don’t have to own below a certain number of items. You can still have nice things, and no, you don’t need to get rid of your favorite collection—whether it’s books, shoes, or music. Minimalism doesn’t have to look like white-walled, modern and sparse homes you’ve probably seen in magazines and videos, a common minimalism mistake. Minimalism is also not a one and done project. It is a a continual practice to ensure everything in our lives is working for us in our vision, not against us. Its used over the years to make substantial changes in our careers, home, lifestyle, buying behaviors, etc.

Everyone can benefit from applying the principles of minimalism to their lives. It’s a process of removing distractions and things that no longer add value to our lives.

Why Minimalism Is An Effective Tool For Living An Intentional Life?

In the end, minimalism is less about owning fewer items and more about actively making choices on what kind of things truly matter to you.

We exist in a society that creates false value on owning more stuff and having no time to use them much. The constant pursuit of bigger and better is an endless cycle. There will always be a nicer car to buy, a bigger boat, a larger home, and or a faster private jet. Did you know that there’s a website for billionaires to shop? Yeah. It never ends.

It may seem like an overwhelming challenge at first, but as you untangle the life you built around owning more things, you’ll find the stress disappearing and the world starting to slow down. Those choices you make will begin to build a muscle that will fundamentally change the way you live your life.