Part of minimalism is the deliberate alternative and counter to consumerism.

Consumerism has become increasingly stitched into the way we live our lives. We go to work, we earn our money, we might save a little and we spend the rest. What we spend our money on will vary from person to person, but generally we buy stuff. Clothes, shoes, gadgets, books, games, cars, and whatever else we might want or think we need.

The risk with this way of life is lifestyle creep. Lifestyle creep is what happens when our purchasing keeps up with our increase in wage. When we’re paid more, that extra income doesn’t go into our savings or into a property, stocks or other investments, it fuels our spending.

In an age where we’re bombarded with messages to eat more, do more, spend more, own more, get new things, buy the new phone, car, house, clothes and everything in between, there is a more modest philosophy of living that flies in the face of traditional modern materialism. That philosophy is minimalism. The act of reducing the things we own, rather than expanding them.

What is a minimalist?

If minimalism is the reduction in the things we own the a minimalist is simply someone that makes an effort to reduce what they have, and they do this for a number of different reasons.

The minimalist is one who makes a deliberate effort to reduce one’s scope of life to include only what is most essential. All fat and excess is cut away from life, the frills consciously severed, leaving only that which is necessary for living well.

The limits a minimalist places on themselves will be defined by what they personally deep essential. Some might need to care for children or elderly parents, meaning that their essentials will be different to someone else. Another may decide that books or music are irreplaceable as a source of happiness, meaning that their boundaries of minimalism will include these things while others may not.

However they all have one thing in common – unlike most of the general population, the minimalist has a clearly defined line at which their minimalism ends and excess begins.

Everything to the clutter in the house to the complexity of the wardrobe, the busyness of day to day life, volume of food, need for a car, production of waste and even the content of pockets is a target of the philosophy and it can all come together to provide some surprisingly profound benefits on our wellbeing, our focus and the environment.

How to Be A Minimalist:

Define your values

The first step towards minimalism is deciding what is essential for you and what is not. This will largely depend on you as an individual and what values you have.

A photographer will need their camera, a boxer will need their gear, an artist will need their brushes etc.

Minimalism isn’t about living in an empty room, it’s about deciding the least possible number of things you can live with and eliminating the rest. It’s up to you to define what those things are and what you can live without.

Shift your mindset

After your values are defined you’ll need to make the philosophy a part of your decision making in everyday life. This means asking yourself “do I really need this?” whenever you’re thinking about buying something or spending your money.


In addition to shifting your mindset towards minimalism you’ll also have to take care of the environment you already have, and the things you already own.

It’s not a small job to go through your house and your life thinking about whether of not you need that mug, or if you have too many pairs of shoes, but we have to start somewhere.

Define your wardrobe

Similar the house, there’s a good chance the wardrobe will need a declutter. We all have clothes that lie in the bottom of a drawer and never get worn. In reality we really don’t need that much in the way of clothing and a decluttered wardrobe not only saves space but it also cuts down the complexity of deciding what to wear.

Protect your time

It’s not just things that need our attention, time can also get cluttered. A lot of us waste hours of our day on things like social media, procrastinating, and commuting. Spend some time thinking about what activities that waste time can be stopped, and what activities that need to be done (like commuting) can be used more efficiently.

The Benefits of Minimalism:

Minimalism is growing as a way of life and it’s doing so for good reason. There’s a lot that we can benefit from when we narrow the scope of what we own:

1. Spend Less.

Minimalism limits the risk of lifestyle creep. If we keep our lifestyle stable and our expenses stay the same then any additional income we get from a pay rise, a promotion or a bonus will become an asset. The more we reduce the complexity of our life the less we’re at risk of lifestyle creep and the more we can save for what really matters to us.

2. Less Stress.

A decluttered house and environment is a less stressful environment. There’s less to think about, less to clean, less to maintain, less to move and less to worry about breaking or replacing. In minimising the things around us we limit the impact those things can have on our peace of mind.

Not only that but we often become attached to our possessions, so the less we have the less attachment we have and the less stress we experience when something goes missing, breaks, or gets stolen.

3. Easier to Clean.

The less we have, the less we have to take care of, meaning that the more time we have to spend on other things. A house with fewer things isn’t only easier to navigate, it’s also easier to maintain.

4. More Freedom.

Our sense of freedom is often influenced by what we feel attached to and what we feel tied to. Fewer belongings will naturally reduce the influence that our things have over our feelings of attachement and this, in turn, will help is feel more free and independent of our belongings.

5. Good for the Environment.

I think we can all agree that consumption is not always good for the environment. Our use of raw materials has become a damaging thing to the planet, and much of what we have we don’t really need. Through a conscious reduction in the things we buy we have a knock on effect of lessening our impact on the plant and our environment.

Similar Posts