Minimalism is a phenomenon that’s changed the world. The minimalist mindset began as an art movement in the 1960s but has only picked up steam in recent years. Millions around the world are ditching their unnecessary items, simplifying their to-do lists, and unplugging from their digital devices for the sake of a quieter minimalist life.
In this post, we’ll cover the five key ways you can apply the lessons of a minimalist lifestyle to all areas of your life. This includes embracing simplicity with what you own, minimizing your digital distractions, committing to a routine, and finding joy and clarity in the little things.
The Definition of Minimalism and Minimalist Living
Minimalism is a philosophy that encourages living with the essentials and nothing more. That doesn’t mean throwing away your toothbrush and using your finger; it doesn’t mean eating every meal off of the same paper plate. It’s not that extreme.
Instead, minimalists proactively find ways to declutter and simplify. That clutter can be both tangible and intangible, and it comes in many forms.
Eliminating the “Noise”
Minimalists believe in simple living in every aspect of their lives. That includes simplicity in all of the following areas:
Minimalists aim to use their phones, computers, and other digital devices as tools, not addictive dopamine generators. The minimalist movement views technology with equal potential for good and evil.
Your tech might be essential for your work or your hobbies. However, it can also distract you with constant notifications and steal your precious free time. Minimalists try to get the good out of technology without being affected by the bad.
Minimalists donate unnecessary belongings to thrift stores, sell their excess stuff on the internet, and give the things they don’t need to friends and family members. As a result, they’re left with only the essentials.
They retrain everything they need for happy and fulfilled lives. The list of essential possessions looks different for everyone, but every minimalist agrees that your home should be clutter-free.
Minimalism isn’t just about what you own. It’s also a philosophy that affects the way you relate to the people around you. A minimalist seeks friendships and relationships in pursuit of quality, not quantity.
That means treasuring the people in your life. You make time to intentionally build your relationships with them for the long run. In contrast, minimalists often avoid building massive online friend lists in favor of intimate, face-to-face connections with a few special people.
Minimalists typically steer clear of the hyper-processed junk food, the fad diets, and the copious amounts of caffeine in favor of a simpler approach to eating and fitness. A minimalist takes a truly unique approach to health.
They truly practice moderation in that they know that forbidding indulgences is too black and white of thinking. Food is for nourishment and pleasure; exercise is for a healthier mind and body. It’s as simple as that.
Intentional Promotion of the Things
All of these key aspects of the minimalist lifestyle are radically different from the typical viewpoints found in Western culture, and minimalists are okay with that. Going against the grain has always been an integral part of minimalism, and it probably always will be.
If you’re content with seeking fulfillment in less rather than more and want something with more depth than a materialistic life, minimalism just might be for you.
Let’s take a look at five lessons you can learn from the minimalist lifestyle.
Lesson One: Love the Capsule Wardrobe
Minimalism is all about quantity over quantity in your purchases, including when it comes to what you wear. The average minimalist man prefers a few well-made essentials over closets packed with fast-fashion t-shirts and 30 different jackets. Rather, the tenets of minimalism tell you to find the clothes you love and stick with them.
We believe in buying and wearing clothes that you love that are kind to the environment—and other humans. One important practice of minimalism is to remember that the items you own were made by someone. If that someone wasn’t treated well during the manufacturing process, you don’t want to perpetuate their mistreatment by supporting an unethical company.
With Olivers, you can always count on the quality, ethics, and sustainability of your clothes. Not only will you feel good about what you wear, but you’ll feel great about how your clothes were made.
We always prioritize environmental sustainability, a safe environment and fair wages for workers, and quality over quantity with our clothes. That’s something any minimalist (and any human, for that matter) can appreciate.
Lesson Two: You’re Not Superman (And You Don’t Need To Be)
The mindset of “the hustle” is everywhere, and it’s turning men and women into machines obsessed with productivity. While society tells you to work as much as possible so you can consume as much as possible, minimalism says the opposite. The minimalist philosophy encourages you to ditch the hustle in favor of a life with more depth and substance.
While working hard and pursuing your passions are always worthwhile, you don’t need to work for 70 hours each week to have a meaningful or successful life. One valuable thing that minimalism teaches is that you aren’t a superhero, and you don’t need to be one.
Instead of trying to accomplish everything, try focusing on what you value the most and give your time to it. You’ll end up with a life that builds you up instead of wearing you down, which is far better than the hustle.
Lesson Three: Less Stuff = Less Stress
The average American home contains hundreds of thousands of items. You read that right: hundreds of thousands. That’s more things than anyone needs. For most people, those things are primarily clothing, cookware, office supplies, and old unused stuff. If you have a hobby that requires lots of specialized “gear,” add in a few hundred more items to that list. That’s a lot of stuff.
According to minimalism, all of that clutter in our drawers, garage, and storage sheds aren't good for us. It steals our attention, making it harder to focus on the things that we really value. In addition, more items don’t equal satisfaction. In fact, the more you own, the more you want, all thanks to the hamster wheel of consumerism.
Thanks to the minimalist philosophy, we know that more items don’t translate to happiness. Sometimes, the opposite is true. That doesn’t mean you need to sell everything you own, but it does say something about where true happiness is found – not in what you own.
Lesson Four: Followers ≠ Friends
We’re living in the age of social media, and it’s harder than ever to log off and focus on real life. The constant barrage of notifications coming from various apps provides constant distraction and instant gratification, a recipe for an addiction that’s tough to break.
Getting hooked on social media puts you in a mindset that equates followers to friends and likes to popularity. While those followers and likes might give you a little burst of the feel-good chemical dopamine, they don’t provide you with true fulfillment and intimacy.
Some minimalists use social media apps like Instagram and Twitter, but adherents take a very different approach to interacting with these apps to study the benefits of minimalism.
Whether they use social media or not, minimalists aim to be fully present in the world around them and prioritize real-world relationships over digital affirmation from virtual friends. That’s one lesson any man can appreciate: Forget about the followers and focus on your real friends.
Lesson Five: You Aren’t What You Own
Ads, TV shows, and social media posts all invite you to worry and compare yourself to other people based on image. It’s easy to look at your favorite celebrity and their expensive clothes and cars and think of yourself as less successful or less fulfilled than them.
For the minimalist, that rapper’s fancy clothes and nice rides in duplicates have nothing to do with his value as a human being for one simple reason: You aren’t what you own.
Possessions can be useful, and minimalists don’t discourage owning things. They do, however, encourage a different outlook on what possessions mean. Society might tell you that you’re only worth as much money as you have or how nice your car is. Yet, minimalists argue that none of these things have anything to do with your worth.
That’s a far more compassionate way to view people and possessions and a worthwhile lesson from minimalism.
Minimalism is an innovative philosophy that encourages men and women to look at life a bit differently. Instead of chasing after more, minimalists pursue life with less, arguing that true fulfillment doesn’t come from what you own—it’s about who you are.