Minimalism is more fluid than people think. It takes a number of different forms according to one’s goals and passions. You’re bound to go about minimalism differently than the next person. Minimalist guidelines can be applied to any aspect of your life to “clear the noise” around you and approach matters simply and effectively.
Different values, aspirations, circumstances, and needs cause approaches to minimalism to differ. There are some common reasons that people transition to a minimalist lifestyle—consequently, there are some common types of minimalists. Browse these different methods of minimalism and consider what areas of your life could use some minimizing!
Types of Minimalism
Our devices are dear to us. They serve many functions that make our lives easier and more entertaining. When we’re bored we turn the PlayStation on. When we don’t know what to eat, we Google which restaurants are close to us. Want to see what your baby is doing at 2:30 a.m.? Just grab your iPad and open the app connected to the nanny cam in their room. Need help managing your money? There’s an app for that too.
But at what point are these handheld bundles of conveniences subtracting from our lives? Our attachment to our electronics decreases our interaction with the people, places and things around us, makes us reliant on them for the simplest of tasks, and they’re huge distractions. Electronic minimalists live with little to no electronic devices. They prefer interacting with the world directly instead of through a screen.
Electronic minimalists limit their exposure to all the clutter and activity in their phones by only engaging with their electronics for productivity purposes. Some electronic minimalists even choose to go without T.V.s, settling for a laptop only if it’s necessary for work. Even if you’re just watching the news, stories concentrated on violence and misfortune are constantly filling headlines and filling us with stress, anxiety, and fear.
Electronic minimalists prefer to fill the time we’d usually spend on our devices with getting healthier, expanding their minds, exploring their spirituality, and chasing new goals.
Everybody seems to have their own say on how to raise children, even people without children! If you go looking for parenting advice, on the internet or in person, you’re bound to find it. Too much of it. A lot of it is conflicting. Most of it is paranoia-inducing.
Minimalist parenting isn’t just about buying less, it’s about “parenting” less. Minimalist parents insist that a lot of what modern day parents consider “parenting” is actually smothering. The more you hover over your child, determine their activities, and tend to their every want, the less room you give your child to expand mentally and socially.
Minimalist parents prioritize establishing an appropriate level of trust with their children and instilling a sense of responsibility to themselves and the people around them so that they can more confidently be left to their own devices. Minimalists’ approach parenting with these principles in mind:
- They encourage their child’s curiosity, experimentation, and exploration.
- They don’t try to keep their children entertained every day. It’s totally okay for your kids to get bored. Boredom begets creativity just as necessity begets invention.
- They don’t give their kids all the answers. Let them flex those problem-solving muscles and figure it out. Then next time they won’t need your help!
- They don’t referee. If you have multiple children, especially small children, there’s bound to be some altercation. Learning to reconcile disputes is a skill that’ll serve them in every stage of life. Keep watch, but let them settle it themselves.
- They don’t shower kids with the latest devices and toys. This goes back to the core of minimalism: teaching your children to value good people and experiences over items.
- They don’t pack kids’ schedules with extracurriculars and play dates. Kids need time to decompress and relax their busy minds just like adults do.
Aesthetic minimalists are all about the vision. Their homes, clothing choices, even tattoos are simple and clean. When you walk into an aesthetic minimalist’s house/apartment, you’ll get that sleek, Pinterest-esque dwelling with little to see and much to admire. However, these minimalists aren’t minimizing their homes for the same reason others might be. Their designer rug might’ve cost a pretty penny, but it’s clean and unassuming. They probably haven’t sorted through their possessions to achieve this look either—their junk is just stowed away out of sight. Their greatest concern is pulling off the look.
These are the minimalists you’re most likely to see on social media posting pictures of their visually satisfying apartment decor and style. Their wardrobe is usually full of monotone and earth tone pieces. No frills, sparkles, or graphics. Neat and effective.
We’ve all received the notice that Mother Nature is in danger. Global warming is eating away at the homes of Arctic animals; natural habitats are constantly being destroyed; and sea animals are choking on plastic and pollution. Needless to say, humanity’s impact on the environment hasn’t been positive (that’s another way of saying it’s been terrible). Environmental minimalists minimize their lives in ways that’ll help revive the environment and save the Earth.
These minimalists are replacing their cars with bikes or public transportation. They’re being conscious of what they bring into their homes, refusing products that have been tested on animals and that leave behind non-recyclable waste. They’re choosing reusable glass bottles instead of purchasing a 24-pack of plastic water bottles. Talk about minimizing for a great cause!
An extreme minimalist is a rare sight in today’s world. These people can give you a comprehensive list of their possessions in about 30 seconds. For these minimalists, if they don’t absolutely need(!) it then they don’t have it. If you enter an extreme minimalist’s home you’ll make some uncanny discoveries, like that they possess only one fork, only one pair of shoes, only one pillow. A common theme among extreme minimalists is their pride in their ability to fit all of their possessions into a single suitcase!
Extreme minimalists seek to completely untether themselves from the material world. They rarely, if ever, introduce any new items into their homes. They won’t even bother with buying bath towels if they’d prefer to air dry. They find the ultimate comfort in simplicity to the highest degree, and despise clutter and chaos.
A DIY minimalist makes their life as simple as possible by making everything themselves! They emphasize limiting their conveniences, and prefer to live in complete sovereignty of their survival and health. These minimalists are more in tune with the Amish way of life. They’ll build their own homes if capable, possibly have livestock, and cook over a fire. These minimalists rarely make trips to the store.
For more domestic DIY minimalists, they take pride in being self-sufficient any way they can. They can be found making/mending their own clothes and eating from their own gardens. They find purpose in maintaining the way of life that was prevalent way back when everything was simpler, and people actually had to put their hands and hearts towards building a great life.
It’s definitely worth looking more into DIY if you’re thinking about going minimalist in your first apartment.
Blink and you might miss them because these minimalists are always on the go! That could be because they’re constantly fulfilling some great wanderlust within themselves, or because they relocate a lot for work. Traveling minimalists own less and experience more. They aren’t interested in objects, they’re interested in making memories and completely immersing themselves in moments. Living minimally also affords them the ability to travel often by cutting down on their living expenses.
Traveling minimalists have to be ready to pack up and go when the time calls. For this purpose, they limit their possessions as much as possible. This makes filling suitcases or totally uprooting much smoother. As long as they’re able to travel, they never truly settle down in one place.
Conscious minimalists are all about the vibes. Conscious minimalists are identified as spiritually aware (“woke”) people who acknowledge that all people and things are energy, and insist on filling their space (and lives) with only things that exude positive energy. Whatever you see in a conscious minimalist’s house is there because it makes them feel good! They might not have the least number of possessions on this list but they are very mindful of what they bring into their home. They won’t permit items that they associate with guilt, shame, regression, stagnancy, sadness, or anger to enter or stay in their space.
Conscious minimalists prefer to ask themselves, “Does it make me happy and grateful?” rather than, “Do I need it?”. The most important thing to these minimalists is creating an environment that will maximize their peace and happiness, and increase energy flow. They’re optimists who find that joy is the key to a productive and healthy life.
These minimalists are geniuses when it comes to saving a buck. Financial minimalists, sometimes referred to as frugal minimalists, reduce their expenses and liabilities so as to make the cost of living as inexpensive as possible. Their primary goal is to save money.
When they do have to restock on necessities, you can find them at thrift stores or at the sales rack. These minimalists don’t care for name brands or glamor. It’s vital for them to keep their finances in order so that they can give attention and appreciation to other things.
Financial minimalists not only want to know, “Do I need it?”, but also, “How much does it cost?”. They might cut down on any number of different things to stay within budget. They might use a reusable glass water bottle, but only because they don’t want to spend the money to purchase packs of plastic water bottles.
Before an essential minimalist makes a purchase, they have to know what the thing does. They categorize items as essential by their functionality and practicality. Essential minimalists acquire everything with a purpose—which they deem an “essential”. They don’t give as much thought as to whether it looks nice as long as it gets the job done. With that ideology, they have no problem ditching the big bed frame for a mattress on the floor.
Essential minimalists look for quality—the longer it lasts, the better. Since everything in their home serves a specific purpose, the essential minimalist takes pride in their possessions and is diligent in making sure each is in proper working order. They appreciate everything they own and its contribution to their daily lives.
When most people start their minimalist journey, they think they can only live on the bare essentials. However, as this list shows, there are different types of minimalists – the sustainable minimalist, the thrifty minimalist, the rebel minimalist and much more.
What kind of minimalism aligns most with your aspirations? If you already are a minimalist, what kind are you? This, by no means, is an exhaustive list. People take minimalist principles and apply them to any aspect of their life they feel like is a little jumbled and not working well.
That’s why there’s no particular way to practice it. So be honest about your goals and your wants, and organize a minimalism plan that works for you.