The minimalist lifestyle is one that helps people question what things in their life bring them value. It's about living with less and making room for more of what matters. Everyone has their own ideal version of minimalism but each person's version fits into one type or another.
Before I started my minimalist journey, I never considered the variety of different types of minimalists, from aesthetic minimalist, eco minimalist, spiritual minimalist, and intentional minimalist to homesteading minimalist. But all the different types of minimalism have one thing in common: simple living and intentional life.
In this post, we'll go over the seven most common types. This info will help you learn more about your type of minimalism and assist you in continuing to live your lifestyle to the fullest.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism is an artistic and philosophical movement that emphasizes minimalistic approaches to living and creating. It is focused on reducing materialism, streamlining possessions and processes, and simplifying life to focus on what is truly important.
Minimalism originated as an extreme form of an abstract art movement in the late 1950s, with an emphasis on using simple geometric shapes such as the square and the rectangle. Minimalist art has also been popularized in fashion, home design, and photography.
Today, minimalism is more than just a trend—it’s a way of life, focused on minimal material possessions, intentional living, and living in the present moment. Ultimately, minimalism is about finding freedom from the excess that weighs us down, and embracing a life of more simplicity and joy.
Minimalism has several different approaches, each with their own focus.
What are the different types of minimalism?
Minimalism is a lifestyle that is vastly personal. What works for one person might not work for another, and that's okay. The important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it. Minimalism, in itself, is a lifestyle of intent and simplicity. Minimalists remove those things which complicate life in order to enjoy life more.
There are, however, different types, and it can be helpful to understand the differences between them. While some factors will be shared between multiple types, others are distinct to each one. The goal here is to help you determine which type you most relate to in order to help you fully embrace your lifestyle. In order to do this, understanding each type is important.
1. Practical Minimalism
Practical minimalism is the approach of living with less while still being able to enjoy life without feeling unnecessarily deprived. It is an approach that involves being mindful of how and what we consume, while still being able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. The main focus of practical minimalism is to find a balance between living with less and being practical. The goals of practical minimalism are to reduce clutter, decrease distraction, and improve the quality of life.
Practical minimalism differs from other types of minimalism in that it is not as extreme as other forms. Practical minimalists may still own more than one pair of shoes, for example, but they will only own what they need and use on a regular basis. Practical minimalism is a good choice for those who want to declutter their lives but are not ready to make a radical change. It is also a good choice for those who want to live more simply but still enjoy more of the comforts of life.
2. Aesthetic Minimalism
Aesthetic minimalism is a type of minimalism focused on creating a simplistic, visually appealing and practical living space. Its objective is to reduce visual clutter and create a calm atmosphere, often achieved by using monochrome colour schemes, soft textures and neutral tones.
The minimalist aesthetic is popular on social media platforms, where it's often characterized by white walls, sleek furniture and one or two plants for a splash of colour.
Aesthetic minimalism is distinct from other forms of minimalism in that it's more concerned with the visual appeal of a space than the number of possessions. It values simplicity and design, and seeks to create a minimal yet stylish environment.
3. Spiritual Minimalism
Spiritual minimalism is an approach to life that focuses on cultivating inner peace by reducing material possessions, clearing away mental and spiritual clutter, and embracing minimalism. It is distinct from other types of minimalism as it emphasizes spiritual enlightenment and inner fulﬁllment over aesthetics, financial savings, or environmentalism.
Unlike essentialism, which focuses on “fewer, but better” and practical minimalism, which is about using enough, spiritual minimalism is about allowing space for the mindful person to find purpose and joy in the present moment. It involves actively curating one’s environment to create an atmosphere of serenity and peace – be it through decluttering, meditating, or reading motivational books. It is also connected to the idea of conscious consumption, where individuals are mindful of the emotional and environmental impacts of their choices.
4. Intentional Minimalism
This is a lifestyle choice that involves reducing clutter and distractions from your life. It’s about creating a space of intentionality and simplicity in order to focus on the things that truly matter. Intentional minimalism differs from other types of minimalism in that it is based on the idea of quality over quantity.
Rather than trying to acquire more and more material items, intentional minimalists strive to own only what they need and invest in quality that will last. This can be done through reducing consumption, decluttering, and living more intentionally.
Intentional minimalists also choose to focus on experiences over possessions, which emphasizes quality time spent with loved ones and experiences over acquiring material items.
5. Homesteading Minimalism
Minimalism in homesteading is a lifestyle focused on living simply, self-sufficiency, and being self-reliant. It emphasizes reducing one's reliance on technology, consumerism, and mass-produced goods.
Homesteading minimalism also involves cultivating one's own food, growing gardens, and raising animals like chickens. It may also involve living in an off-grid environment and furthering one's self-reliance. To do this, homesteading minimalists may need to accumulate some belongings, such as gardening tools, food preservation equipment, and mason jars.
Sustainable minimalism is a branch of homesteading minimalism where the focus is on reducing one's dependence on, consumption of, and harm to the environment. This brand of minimalism emphasizes making do with the resources one has and using reclaimed materials.
6. Greener Minimalism or Eco-Minimalism
Greener (Eco) minimalism is a lifestyle choice that applies the principles of minimalism to reduce the environmental impact of an individual or family. It involves reducing the amount of physical possessions one has and using sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives. Unlike other types of minimalism, it emphasizes the use of recycling, repurposing, and reuse to reduce waste and conserve resources.
Eco minimalism is a lifestyle centered around environmental impact and sustainability.
The key difference between green minimalism and other types is the emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness. Green minimalism seeks to reduce one's carbon footprint through conscious consumption and lifestyle choices. It is based on the idea that minimalism goals can be beneficial for the environment.
What sets eco minimalism apart from other minimalism styles is that it is driven by a desire to reduce the negative impact humans have on the planet. Resource conservation is a key factor in eco minimalism, and the focus is on making ethical choices when it comes to the materials and products used. As well, eco minimalists strive for a zero-waste lifestyle and may repurpose items before donating or getting rid of them.
7. Slow-Living Minimalism
Slow-living minimalism is an approach to life that emphasizes slowing down and savoring all of the meaningful moments, rather than being constantly wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life. It is a type of minimalism that encourages a person to take ownership over their own timeline and prioritize the things that bring them joy, rather than filling up their schedule with obligations or unnecessary activities. It encourages saying “no” to things that don’t align with your values or bring you joy.
This type of minimalism also encourages more deliberate shopping, by taking the time to evaluate how items will provide value in your life and how they were manufactured.
Slow-living minimalism differs from other types of minimalism, such as simple living minimalism, in that it focuses more on taking ownership over one's time, rather than paring down one's possessions.
Different but the same
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things in their life bring them joy, and then get rid of the rest. It's about living with less stuff, but it's also about living with less stress, less debt, and more freedom.
The type of minimalism you choose has to fit with your values and priorities but all types have many of the same underlying principles.
All types of minimalism encourage living more intentionally, valuing experiences over stuff, and creating more space in your life – whether that’s physical, mental, or emotional space.
So, whether you’re a slow-living minimalist or a eco minimalist (or something in between), there are many ways to simplify your life and declutter your mind and space. What’s important is that you find what works for you and helps you to live a life that feels good to you.
Ultimately, minimalism as a whole is a lifestyle choice that encourages individuals to live with intention, purpose, and minimal distractions.
How to tell which type of minimalism you are?
Are you interested in minimalism but not sure which type is right for you? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you determine what type of minimalist you are.
- Understand the different types of minimalists and identify which one(s) you identify with. The information above will help you determine this. Identifying which type of minimalism will help you reach your goals starts with taking a closer look at your values and long-term objectives.
- Think about the reasons why you want to participate in minimalism. Ask yourself what motivates you to pursue minimalism and what you value most. It brings numerous benefits that contribute to both physical and mental well-being. Which benefits are most important to you?
- Determine your goals and aspirations. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish through minimalism. Ask yourself questions to help define your objectives, such as why you want to participate in minimalism, what motivates you, and what you value most. This will give you a better idea of the bigger picture and ensure that you are on the right track to reaching your goals.
- Consider your lifestyle and habits. It is important to consider what you are hoping to achieve with your minimalist lifestyle. Consider what aspects of your life you want to expand and what you want to eliminate. Reflect on how you live and the type of lifestyle that suits you best.
- Remember that you don’t have to fit neatly into one type of minimalism and you can combine different elements from different types to create a unique and personalized approach. There is no single way of living a minimalist lifestyle, so find the best fit for you and your family and make minimalism work for you.
Next, make a plan for yourself. Once you have figured out the type of minimalist that best fits you, create a minimalism plan that works for you. This plan should take into account the areas of your life that need the most focus and change.
By following these steps, you will be able to determine what type of minimalist you are and start to create a plan that works for you. Minimalism is a personal journey and it is important to find a style that suits you best.
Stay motivated and stay committed to your minimalist lifestyle
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle requires commitment and motivation to stick with it. It can be difficult to figure out which type of minimalism resonates with you the most when you are just starting out. But if you stay motivated and committed to your minimalist lifestyle, it can help you narrow down which type of minimalism works for you.
For example, if you are focused on having a zero-waste lifestyle, then you may be an eco/green minimalist. If you want to give your life a new start, then you may be more of an intentional minimalist. Staying motivated and committed to your minimalist lifestyle will help you gradually learn more about yourself and modify your minimalist lifestyle according to your needs. In the end, you will be able to figure out what type of minimalism works best for you.
Ask for support from friends and family members if needed
If you're still unsure of what type of minimalism you want to pursue, it can be helpful to get support and guidance from friends and family members.
Talk to your friends and family about your goals. Explain your motivations and desired outcomes to them, and ask for their feedback and advice. They can offer emotional support, advice, and help with the actual process.
With the right support and guidance, you’ll be able to find the type of minimalism that works best for you and achieve your desired outcomes.
Benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle
There are immense benefits to be gained from minimalism, no matter what your motivations are. Your health and well-being are a the forefront of the benefits.
In addition to the personal benefits, minimalism can also have a positive impact on the world around you. When you consume less, there is less of a demand for the resources that are used to produce and ship goods. This can lead to a reduction in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a decrease in the overall consumption of resources.
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can help reduce stress and anxiety by eliminating clutter and distractions from your life. Studies have shown that people who have more cluttered spaces have heightened levels of anxiety, so by choosing to live more minimally, it creates a more relaxed environment.
Additionally, living with less stuff means less effort to keep your house picked up and less difficult to move, which can help ease stress. It's important to be intentional when attempting to live minimally, as it requires you to evaluate which items and activities are a distraction from what matters most to you.
By following practical tips such as decluttering your home, living with intention, organizing your life, and changing your thought patterns, you can successfully maintain a minimalist lifestyle that reduces stress and anxiety.
2. Increased mental clarity and focus
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can increase mental clarity and focus by reducing the amount of clutter and distractions in one's life. Decluttering your home, living with intention, and organizing your life, as well as letting go of mental baggage, can help create a more relaxed environment that can lead to better concentration.
Monotasking, or focusing on one task at a time, can also help increase focus and purpose. Finally, engaging in mental minimalism, or intentional self-reflection and self-love, can help to clear the mind and reduce the number of distractions. Overall, decluttering and creating a purposeful and meaningful life can lead to increased focus and clarity.
3. Increased happiness and well-being
How does adopting a minimalist lifestyle increase happiness and well-being?
Not only does it free up time and energy, but it allows for more meaningful connections with family and friends and a greater focus on personal growth.
The reduction of physical clutter can have an immediate impact on overall happiness. With fewer things to take care of and clean up, there is less stress and more time to enjoy the moment. This can mean more time for meaningful activities, such as reading, hobbies, and meaningful conversations with family and friends.
Minimalism also encourages more intentional living, which is key for happiness and well-being. When living intentionally, people are more likely to focus on what’s important to them, and make decisions and purchases based on their values and goals. As a result, they can be more satisfied with their life and have a greater sense of purpose.
Furthermore, minimalism encourages mindful living, which has been scientifically proven to improve one’s overall well-being. Mindful living allows people to be more conscious of their thoughts, feelings and emotions, allowing them to take control of their reactions and improve their mental and emotional state.
All in all, adopting a minimalist lifestyle can lead to greater happiness and well-being. It encourages intentional and mindful living, which in turn, can lead to a greater sense of purpose, satisfaction and improved physical and mental health.
5. Increased productivity
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has been shown to increase productivity in a variety of ways. By eliminating physical clutter, minimalists are able to better focus on important matters in life, such as family time, entrepreneurial endeavors, or achieving joy.
Additionally, minimalists are able to avoid distractions and focus more on their goals and priorities. When they're more relaxed and less distracted, minimalists are able to focus at the task at hand and be more productive.
6. Increased sense of self-reliance
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can increase a person's sense of self-reliance by freeing them from the burden of owning too many possessions. By reducing the amount of material goods that one owns, minimalists can save money and build wealth and those with an adventurous mindset can experience the world without the burden of material possessions tying them down.
Not having to worry about an excess of things also reduces stress and anxiety, as studies have shown that cluttered spaces can lead to heightened levels of anxiety. This decrease in stress and anxiety, in turn, can help an individual to focus on themselves and their goals, leading to a greater sense of self-reliance.
7. Improved relationships
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can improve relationships by reducing stress and allowing people to focus on their goals and priorities.
By decluttering their home, living with intention, and organizing their life, people can create a more relaxed environment and have less distractions. This can provide more time and energy to foster positive relationships and prioritize meaningful connections with family and friends.
Furthermore, having less clutter can lead to clarity and better communication between people, allowing them to grow closer and strengthen their bond.
8. Reduced material possessions
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has many benefits, including decluttering your home, saving money, investing in quality items that last longer, reducing stress, and reducing one's environmental footprint.
Many minimalists focus on owning things that bring real value and joy to their lives, and prioritize multi-purpose items. Minimalists prefer living space over storage space, so they are very intentional about the belongings in their homes. Having a more open home reduces stress and improves overall well-being.
9. Reduced environmental impact
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can have a positive effect on the environment. Many minimalists strive to reduce their consumption and their dependence on products that are harmful to the environment. This can be accomplished by replacing cars with bikes or public transportation, refusing products that have been tested on animals, and choosing reusable glass bottles instead of purchasing plastic water bottles.
Additionally, many minimalists strive to reduce the amount of waste they generate by living with a zero-waste lifestyle, living off the grid, and growing their own food. By reducing the amount of products they consume, minimalists help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Ultimately, minimalism encourages individuals to become more mindful of their impact on the earth and make conscious choices that can help to reduce environmental damage.
10. Increased freedom
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle increases freedom in a variety of ways.
First, by owning less material items, one is no longer tied down to a house and is able to move wherever they want. This allows the opportunity to go on amazing adventures and experience the world.
Additionally, a minimalist lifestyle allows one to focus more on their goals and priorities than on the excess stuff in life. By having fewer possessions, some can reach Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) faster and enjoy a simpler life.
Overall, living minimally allows one to experience freedom, make their own decisions, and pursue something that gives them more purpose.
We're all different
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to minimalism. The best way to figure out what type of minimalist lifestyle is right for you is to experiment with different approaches and see what works best for you. The goal is to find a balance that allows you to live a happy and fulfilling life with less stuff.
Minimalists often report feeling more in control of their lives, as they have fewer belongings to manage. Minimalism gives them the freedom to take charge of their finances, as they can save more money and make more responsible choices. They tend to be more mindful of their day-to-day decisions and of their environment.
By living with intention and involving themselves in meaningful activities, minimalists can prioritize their personal values and create greater purpose in their lives. Minimalism can also help reduce stress and clutter, allowing a greater sense of clarity and peace. All of this is why minimalism is so appealing for many people who want to lead a simpler, more fulfilling life.
Once you've found a style of minimalism that suits you, stick with it and enjoy the benefits it brings to your life!