What is Minimalism?

by Nov 2, 20212 comments

What is Minimalism?

Yesterday on day 1 of the challenge, I provided an overview of minimalism and a bit of an outline of this challenge. Today, I’ll explore a little more about minimalism as a lifestyle.  While it’s true that each person defines the ideal for themselves, there are some basic components that can give some insight to choosing to take a minimalist approach in your life. This post will help you discover more about minimalism and how you can adopt it as a guiding philosophy.

Defining Minimalism

Minimalism focuses on the desire to live of life of intention, which means applying your priorities and values to your decision making. The goal is to remove what distracts you from your purpose and intention. Anything that is unnecessary or that serves as a distraction can be eliminated. Deciding what to remove from your life is deeply personal and needs to be evaluated according to your own goals and principles. Minimalism should bring you freedom and happiness by helping you to simplify your life as you gain more control of your money, possessions, and time.  Following are a few definitions from popular bloggers who talk about minimalism.


Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom….Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
, theminimalists.com

Minimalist living is simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

Leo Babauta, zenhabits.net

What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life.

Colin Wright
, exilelifestyle.com

Choosing How to Integrate Minimalism

How you decide to approach minimalism is entirely up to you. There are a variety of levels or approaches to minimalism. You get to choose the way you wish to intentionally live.  Some minimalists strive to live with only the essentials. Others are seeking mainly to declutter their environment. Still others choose to live with few possessions because they are constantly on the move and place more value on lived experiences than on material possessions. Others choose minimalism as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and live in a more frugal and sustainable manner. There are also those who embrace the minimalist lifestyle because it brings them peace of mind to let go of all but what is most necessary and valued.

All of these motivations and more can drive the decision to move towards a more minimal lifestyle.  You can create an application that suits your lifestyle and priorities, now and into the future.


What Minimalism Is Not

No matter what path of minimalism you choose, there are definitely some misconceptions about minimalism. This lifestyle isn’t about giving up everything or depriving yourself. You don’t have to be “cheap” to embrace a minimal lifestyle. Often, investing in something of greater financial value is the better choice over mindlessly buying numerous less expensive goods. You don’t have to give up your possessions. You definitely don’t have to live with a stark white aesthetic in order to furnish your environment with intention.
There is no one size fits all approach to minimalism. It’s a lifestyle that promotes prioritizing your personal values with regard to material possessions, time, experiences, relationships, diet, and more.

Tomorrow, more about finding your ideal form of minimalism.

Challenge Questions for Day 2

Do you consider yourself to be a minimalist?  If so, what motivates your decision to take that approach?
If not, is it something that appeals to you?  Why or why not?


Declutter Challenge for Day 2

Continue decluttering in the kitchen.  Spend 15 minutes clearing the fridge.

Banner image created by M.E. O’Toole in Canva

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


  1. April

    Oh how I LOVE me some minimalism. However, I get caught in the middle of the mess and my chronic illness sets in. Then I’m surrounded by piles and piles and no energy to complete it. Thank you for these little bite sized daily steps. It’s a great reminder!

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks for your comment, April. I am sorry to hear about your challenges. It definitely can take energy. I hope that 15 minute declutters will help you overcome those piles and create the space you hope to achieve.

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