Living a life focused on ‘less’ is the common thread that binds all forms of minimalism together. Minimalism is a way of looking at life and defining your priorities so you can live intentionally, in a way that’s aligned with your values. The different types of minimalism that have formed from this philosophy all reflect this in some way.
While there are many types of minimalism, and you may be more drawn to one or the other based on your values, you don’t need to box yourself into just one form. Value, freedom, and joy can be found in each type of minimalism, and there are many small ways to adopt the principles of each type into your life.
You’ll see that all forms of minimalism support each other to help you lead a more fulfilling life focused on what matters most. Today, I want to talk about the different types of minimalism, as well as simple ways you can incorporate them into your life.
This form of minimalism is the only one NOT focused on lifestyle. Aesthetic minimalism is more focused on how your environment looks.
When you conjure up a picture of minimalism in your mind, the all-white everything, clean lines, and single house plant of the minimalist aesthetic is a common visualization. While this aesthetic is beautiful, it may not be reasonable (or sustainable) to throw out all your stuff and purchase all-white, minimal-style furniture. Luckily, you can find value in this branch of minimalism without redecorating your entire house.
At its core, aesthetic minimalism is about the visual appeal of less. By reducing visual clutter and adopting a neutral color scheme, you can create an environment that feels calming and embraces the attitude of ‘less is more’.
Simple Ways to Practice Aesthetic Minimalism:
Reduce Visual Clutter – Removing excess knick-knacks, pictures, or tech from your walls, shelves, and counters makes the pieces you keep up more meaningful.
I have many crystals, books, and trinkets that I love to display around my space however, I’ve recently adopted the concept of less is more in terms of home decor, and I find that putting many of the items away has allowed me to enjoy the ones that I leave out much more.
Wear Simple Outfits – Another way to practice aesthetic minimalism is with your clothes. Outfits with simple silhouettes and neutral colors are a great way to embrace the minimal look and simplify your wardrobe.
Redecorate with Minimalist Art – If you want to update your decor, check out my Etsy shop, Olivia Kind Co. for some unique, minimalist printable wall art.
Essential minimalism is all about deciphering what you want versus what you need. On the extreme side, this sector of minimalism is hallmarked by owning only the bare essentials. It emphasizes paring down to the basics and valuing quality over quantity in what you do own.
But, you don’t need to own only 1 spoon, 2 socks, and a t-shirt to benefit from the essentialist philosophy. Being more aware of your needs and focusing on purchasing higher quality items when you do need something is a simple way to bring essential minimalism into your life.
Simple Ways to Practice Essential Minimalism
Shop Like an Essentialist – How many things do you purchase every month you don’t really need? Whether it’s over-buying food that ends up getting thrown away or purchasing trinkets that never get used – evaluate everything you buy before you bring it home.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity – Another good question to ask is ‘How long will this last?’ Unfortunately, many items are not built to survive more than a year or so of use before needing to be replaced. Focus on buying products that have been made to last like, well-made household items and furniture, timeless clothing, and high-quality technology.
The focus of sustainable minimalism is reducing waste and adopting more sustainable methods of living wherever possible as a way to protect the environment. Sometimes referred to as ‘eco’ minimalism, this philosophy emphasizes buying less overall and purchasing products focused on sustainable production methods when you do need to buy something.
The zero-waste movement is something that could be classified as sustainable minimalism. It takes time to adopt the lifestyle changes necessary to live a low-waste lifestyle but, there are many ways you can begin being eco-friendly today.
Simple Ways to Practice Sustainable Minimalism
Shop Your Local Farmer’s Market – Farmer’s markets are a great way to buy local. Local foods have less impact on the environment since they don’t need to be shipped around meaning they use fewer resources overall. An added benefit is locally harvested fruit and veggies usually taste better since they can be ripened fully on the vine.
Make Your Own Bath/Beauty/Cleaning Products – The packaging that many of these household items come in is often made of one-time-use plastic and not very good for the environment.
Making things like all-purpose cleaner, laundry soap, conditioner, lotion, soap, etc. is actually very simple. You can make it in large batches that will last you the whole year while using much less packaging and money than you would have had you purchased all the items at the store.
Diynatural.com is a great resource for all-natural recipies for everything from bug-repellent to bath bombs.
Find a Zero Waste Store Near You – These stores are popping up all over. You can bring your own reusable bags or jars and stock up on things like soap, flour, rice, beans, quinoa, cooking oil and other goods, packaging-free. If you don’t have a zero-waste store in your area, try to buy in bulk for things you know that you’ll use, as this saves a lot of packaging and money as well.
Frugality means being economical in your consumption of consumable resources. By spending and consuming less, you can bring less into your home and save money for the things that matter most.
While frugality and minimalism seem to be similar ideas, they can also conflict. Frugality can bring about the hoarding of possessions you don’t really need in the guise of using them in the future, while minimalism can sometimes mean over-purging your items, leaving you to re-purchase things you already had.
Striking a balance between frugality and minimalism means carefully evaluating your needs and wants. It means being realistic about how and when you will actually use the items you already own, as well as the items you will buy in the future.
Simple Ways to Practice Frugal Minimalism
Evaluate Your Spending – Start evaluating everything you buy, from clothing to food to technology to accessories. Being conscious of how you spend your money helps you buy only the things that will add value to your life for years to come.
Reuse and Repurpose What You Already Own – Whenever you feel like you need to buy something, try to find something you already own that will serve the purpose. DIY’ing and reinventing your old things can help you save money and give items that would have otherwise been thrown away new value.
Experiential minimalism focuses on valuing experiences rather than things. Often referred to as ‘backpack’ minimalists for their ability to fit all their belongings in a suitcase or backpack (making it easier to move around or travel) this type of minimalism often results from a desire to live a somewhat nomadic lifestyle.
Even if the nomad life isn’t for you, you can still practice experiential minimalism. Living out of a suitcase definitely affords a sense of freedom in terms of location but, you can create meaningful experiences wherever you are and no matter what you own.
Simple Ways to Practice Experiential Minimalism
Try a Hobby – Many hobbies can bring fulfillment and joy to your free time. Find slow living hobby inspiration (and why they’ll change your life) here.
Spend Time Outdoors – Connecting with nature is a simple way to have a beautiful experience in your day-to-day life. Just breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sights of nature brings feelings of peace and enjoyment.
Mindful minimalism is about decluttering your mind by turning inward and being more aware of what takes up space there. Through this awareness, you can create a more peaceful inner world and get in touch with what you truly need.
To discover more about mindfulness, check out Mindful.org.
Simple Ways to Practice Mindful Minimalism
Meditate – Meditating is a great way to allow the mind to relax and create a sense of space and contentment.
Slow Down – So much of life passes by unnoticed. Taking the time to slow down allows more space to be mindful of the world around you. Begin your slow living journey and discover how it can change your life here.
While the different types of minimalism can seem extreme to people outside of it, there are many ways to practice it. Don’t feel that you need to change everything about yourself or go to extremes to benefit from applying minimalist principles (or any philosophy for that matter) to your life.
No matter how you decide to use the different types of minimalism in your life, they cann help you find freedom, contentment, and joy.
Thank you for being here,
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