COLUMN : are you a minimalist ?

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COLUMN, ETC, HOME, MINIMALISM

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one of the things i appreciate about minimalism is that it’s a non-exclusive term. it’s not dogmatic. there are no leaders to meet. no manifestos you need to read, or groups you need to join. feel free to call yourself a minimalist if you want – no one will mind.

i believe that one of the reasons that this movement is so including and open is because of its diversity. there are as many minimalisms as there are minimalists. the term can basically be used to describe anyone striving for simplicity or spareness.

if you’re new to the concept and want it laid out a bit clearer, we could always try to categorise a few different types of minimalisms just to demonstrate. oh, and this is just my own humble attempt to organise the term, based on nothing else than my own thoughts.

aesthetic minimalism : appreciating simplicity in fashion, interior design, and other art forms. preferring cleanness over busy patterns. enjoying light, spare, open spaces over dark, colourful coziness. finding inner peace by resting the eyes on a calm surrounding.

consumption minimalism : the decision to only buy either what you need to make life easier, or only what you want very much to make life more enjoyable. a will to step out of today’s consumerism, where shopping is considered a road to happiness. never filling an emotional void with stuff or money.

ownership minimalism : a will to own as little as possible to be happy, healthy, and content. the sense of feeling more free the less things you own. giving away or throwing out everything you don’t need in order to free up time, money, and energy to do other things. feeling mobile and light by not owning things that weigh you down.

environmental minimalism : using as few of nature’s resources as possible to live well. choosing natural materials as clean, organic and unprocessed as possible, to stay clear of toxicity and unnatural elements. eating as low on the food chain as possible, usually choosing a more or less vegan lifestyle.

simplicity minimalism : striving to find the simplest possible way of life in general and everyday tasks in particular. not complicating things. getting high quality results with as little energy used as possible. finding beauty and value in simplicity.

lifestyle minimalism : asking yourself what you want your life to look like, and taking steps towards that life, removing all distractions. focussing on what really matters to you and letting go of the rest. a will to not work only for money, but for love of the job itself.

most minimalists probably recognise themselves in more than one of these categories, and some in all of them. either way, i would say there are a few common denominators for most minimalists – feeling drawn to simplicity, being pleased by visual cleanness, not wanting to buy unnecessary stuff, feeling held back by owning too much, believing that money and stuff can’t cause happiness.

so based on my definition of the term – what do you think, are you a minimalist ?

i definitively am.

love // jenny

58 Comments

  1. I’d said I’m a consumption minimalist, if any. Sure, I can go out and see things I like, that I want but I won’t immediately buy it for the sake of buying it. I have to thing, “Do I absolutely need this?” “Will it make my life easier in any way or will it just create clutter?”

    • jennymustard

      thanks for sharing that gabi, i’m the same way :))
      // jenny

    • and then my next question is “Where will I put this item in my home?” Sometimes I see a really sweet piece of home decor stuff, like for example a small side table, I would love to buy; but then step back and imagine your home, like – I can’t put it left of sofa, there’s that planter. I can’t put it right of sofa, there’s the wall. I can’t put it in front of it, because I will stumble upon it. So there’s no right space for this item in my habitat! Same can be applied to clothes and shoes too, if you think about it and realize there is no way to combine the items. So – no, thanks! :)

    • The fact that I’m the same type of minimalist, see things the same way as you and that we have the same name makes me feel some way

  2. that’s so interesting, i’ve never thought about it, but I’m definitely following the lifestyle minimalism and environmental minimalism. Thanks for sharing that!

    • jennymustard

      i’m glad to hear you got something out of it :))
      thanks !

  3. Radianwings

    As far as where I am, I feel like true minimalism is quite far away from me. But it’s so inspiring to see people doing it so well. I want to get myself to a more carefree position in life and slowly bit by bit I’ll get all the clutter out of my bedroom… Minimalism doesn’t seem like holding yourself back at all. It is gathering the most you can from your experiences and life because you’ve kept yourself easy to manage. Thank you for running such a wonderful blog Jenny!

    • jennymustard

      really well said !
      thanks for reading and sharing, and i wish you best of luck finding that carefree, easy to manage lifestyle.
      all the best,
      // j

  4. I’ve recently been reading about minimalism and found a book on Essentialism that really inspired me and changed my perspective. It explained how important it is to prioritize what is important and to focus on that which is only and truly ESSENTIAL. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but am recently feeling a true affinity to your ideals and thoughts. I’m sincerely looking forward to hearing more of your take on minimalism!

    • jennymustard

      wow that sounds really interesting ! thanks for the tip :) and for reading !! i’m happy my thoughts resonate with you too !
      (and btw i got your email, just have been soooo swamped with work over here so haven’t gotten the time to reply. i will asap !)
      <3

  5. I am having trouble with finding a job for many reasons: I am easily overstimulated to the point of panic attacks. My only expertise is in caregiving, yet I find it very difficult to interact with people constantly. I am stressed out by organizing all of the applications and emails.

    Can you help with with some advice? Jobs for minimalists, people who must be to stay sane. And maybe an app or program or email service that you use to stay organized and calm?

    Thanks very much! Found your style from lookbook but this website is way better!

    • hi there !
      i’m sorry to hear that. what kind of job would suit you is difficult for me to know… i guess the best thing is to give yourself enough time to really think about it – what you think you could be relaxed and happy doing.
      for me, it’s being self-employed. it works really well for someone with my temperament, but it doesn’t suit everyone. but i’m sure you’ll figure it out with some time and patience :)
      this is a blog i like : http://zenhabits.net/
      it’s usually quite calming and motivational.

      i wish you best of luck !!
      // j

    • I think the best way to know these things is to first heal one’s self and align our lifestyle. The healthier we are, the more likely we will see clearly our path and the more likely we will have courage to walk our path.

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  7. This reminded me when I snapped one day and took all my cloths, sorted out the ones that I really wear every day and threw every thing else in trash… I was left with 2 pair of pants… 8 shirts(6 of them are identical white shirts)… 2 long sleeve shirts and 3 pairs of shorts… its bean two years now and I am still having almost the same amount of clothes(I tend to get something new only when I have to trow something away because it got old or destroyed…), I felt so free when I did this…

  8. yes we think about it around here, me and my friend,
    he says: snooth to lessen and i say:: life at it least

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  10. Simone Prins

    Dear Jenny,
    I am so inspired by your writing about minimalism. I recognize myself in all caregories! The challenge now for me is to ‘Focus on what realy matters and let go of the rest’, when it comes to my job. I am open to discover my passion and do what i love, but now i work in a context of ‘i have to, to make a living’, whilst life seems to direct me in some other way and my work area does not resonate at all with my higher self. Your pictures and sharing are very inspirational to me, thanx so much. Thanx for living a cruelty free life and inspiring others to do so as well.

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  13. I don’t think I’m a minimalist because I own too much kitchen stuff, mugs, plates, devices for making food, and I have rescue animals so I have all of their stuff, leashes, cages for birds, aquariums for turtles etc. Unless I was pet free I don’t think I could consider myself ever a minimalist.

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  17. Wow! Det här är verkligen det jag har försökt uppnå utan att riktigt förstå vad det var. Nu vet jag :) Tack!

    • jennymustard

      åh vad roligt !!
      jag hade också precis en sån är aha-upplevelse :) så härligt eller hur !
      <3

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  22. I love colorful coziness, but am really a lifestyle minimalist, or transitioning to becoming one. However, I do love clean simple lines, like Ikea style, rather than all just black and white. I find that too sparse, even boring for me. I am v. fussy about my clothes. They must be exactly the right, material, shape and fit for my body. I love feng shui, I see the golden ratio in everything I believe. :O)

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  24. First, sorry for my english, I’m french.
    So very interesting post. I read it carefully. Just like you I like this way of life. there’s no categorization about minimalim person who we are. Everyone makes their own choices and considers minimalist or not.
    Personally I found myself in “aesthetic minimalism”, “environmental minimalism” and “lifestyle minimalism”. I’m this cool combo :P
    It is relative. You have to know what is important for you to live simply and appreciate the love that surrounds us.

    Thank you Jenny and stay our cute vegan minimalist girl !

  25. Very succinct categorization of minimalism. Thank you! I’ve always been a minimalist at some level. At 56 I’ve fit each of these categories depending on the stage in life I’m in. It’s important for me to remain malleable.

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  28. OK… some help here…
    I define my self as minimalist… yet I have a lot of stuff….
    The funny thing is…. I have it because it is convenient … I don t care for it… like if it was all gone tomorrow I would be as happy as today….
    I have totally lost the feeling of “must have” or “preciousness” or “gift I got from X” or some of all the other weird feelings…. its like – stuff… I don’t give a f*ck if its there or not…
    Same when people come show me their new “toy” (car, airplane, phone ect. ) I can say the words: I’m happy for you it must be so nice to have X… but honestly … I don’t give a …..
    It simply don’t interest me … I mean I’m happy that they are happy, but Im sad that a thing had to do it for them…
    Personally .. like my stuff the stuff that I feel defines me ( memorabilia, clothes EDC ect… it could all fit in a single box… all the rest is just junk I have and occasionally use..
    Now the question is:
    Am I the only one that feel like that… or is that a normal minimalist feeling ?
    Do I have to throw away, all the stuff I don’t have feelings for to classify as minimalist…
    In my world being minimalist is a feeling… or rather a detachment of feelings from stuff ..
    Its very weird when I tell people about my lag of feelings for stuff.. they almost don’t believe me.. is it just me or ?

    • hey kristian. i do not believe that this makes you weird. you are correct. minimalism is a mindset.. i don’t believe that any of these rules are set in stone… it’s the perception that you have on it is what will categorize what kind of minimalist that you are.

      if you think you are a minimalist, the chances are that you most likely are one. jenny brings up plenty of different kinds of minimalists but the list is endless. we are human beings- debatable the most unique animals on earth.

      relating to you, i also have that bittersweet feeling when a friend of mine shows off a new possession of theirs. in fact, my brother just bought a new surround sound system for his house. sounded great but the only thought i had was what a waste of money this is. and what is the point of it? there is a couch in front of the tv, there really is no need for multiple speakers behind and to the sides of the couch… i got anxiety looking at it actually. all i could think about were the wires that they had to hide.

      i’m crazy… but so are all of us. we’re humans.

      mike.

  29. I feel I’m a minimalist with everything but clothes and fashion, I love to have heaps of options in my wardrobe and keep up with fashion trends

  30. I am definitely an ownership minimalist, I am constantly throwing things away. It makes me happy when I can fill up a box and donate it or put it in the garbage bin. The less things there are in my home, the cleaner it looks and the less I have to do to maintain it that way. I am definitely also a consumerism minimalist. It’s not a great deal if you don’t even need it; I always go by that when passing by a sale. I am def a penny pincher. :)

  31. Japhia Renfrow

    I am a prepper. I save stuff, collect stuff, upcycle stuff, organize stuff, repair stuff. Everything has a potential use. And WTSHTF I will be ready to take care of my family and dear friends and help out my community. I haunt eBay, Craigslist, thrift stores, and yard sales for tools that can be used without power. Most importantly, I am constantly teaching myself to sew, repair, can, grow food, process animal food, build, and make. I do every type of hand work. I can cook anything. I even went back and to a medical assistant course so I can be helpful in healthcare and accidents. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
    Good luck with your white, empty, pretentious lifestyles. We shall see where you go when you cannot take care of yourselves

    • I must say that you have quite a bit of sense to your comment. I enjoy meditative spaces, and often enjoy the emptiness of a space with no clutter, but when I actually consider the possibility of this sort of minimalist lifestyle, I find it unrealistic for myself. This is simply because when I sit down to write an “essentials” list, I start thinking of all the things I’d like to be able to do, and soon there’s a huge list of tools I’d need in order to be able to do all of those things.

  32. I have much to consider. I’m one who despises decisions. But I love clean lines and simple peaceful spaces. Same with wardrobe. But I love brights and colors. You have inspired me to discern and take action. Time to make decisions and clear out so I can define my space and my style. I babe lived a life of too much for long enough!! Thanks for sharing of yourself! Blessings.

  33. I recently came across the term ‘minimalist’, so I wouldn’t call myself one.
    However I am really drawn to it for various reasons. One of them -perhaps the most important one, the peace and clearness it brings with. I am still doing some research about the concept, but the more I read about it, the more I can see myself doing it. I guess it’s time for me to start transitioning towards a minimalistic lifestyle.

  34. I’m definitely a Lifestyle and Simplicity Minimalist! I like the aesthetics as well, but I also love colour and I think that a nice, calm colour scheme is as good as a dark cozy room or a once, bright one. Also I’m moving towards both Consumption and Ownership Minimalism, and also in some ways towards Environmental Minimalism, although that takes a lot of time.

    Having been a total maximalist with lots and lots of stuff and a will to shop a lot I feel like I’m on a new path, and your channel+blog helps me a lot, together with some other youtubers. Thank you for an awesome blog!

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  38. Yes, I guess I am…but I have been living this way for years and it feels a bit strange to all of a sudden put a label on it! But I guess sometimes the best life changes/choices sneak up on you slowly and you only realise that you ‘are something’ after you’ve been doing it unconsciously for a while. Like when you look in your wardrobe and suddenly realise you don’t own many clothes anymore as you’ve given most of them away, and the ones you have are all black, white or grey!

  39. I found your youtube chanel and I really really like it. It seems I’ve always been a minimalist at heart. Although I love colors and crazy patterns, I never buy things if I don’t need them and also like to get rid of things by giving the, away (always in a good state) to make more space, not necessarily for new stuff to come in, but to feel the space. Since 2009 I decided to have my hair really short for the sake of not having to deal with it every morning, and to even simplify my makeup….just a few examples that now that I think of them have always been a reflection of the minimalist in me.

    By the way, I love your blog!
    I send you love and prosperity

  40. I just found this blog/youtube channel, and I’m impressed!!! Congratulations! You’re doing for a long time, prety much what I’d like to be doing myself.
    For this post purpose I’d say I’m a mix of simplicity minimalist/lifestyle minimalist to be….
    I’ve been searching more and more about this, and there’s a light bulb always on on the top of my head… This is it! This is what I want to be living like for the rest of my life! The slow movement is also something I’m very keen on, specially the slow food movement.
    I’m from Portugal, and this is such a beatiful country to enjoy life! I just need to adjust several aspects of my life and follow what I believe in! Thanks for the inspiration!

  41. Really great, eye-opening article! Love everything that you do.
    P.S. I think you should translate your recipe book into English, I’m sure lots of your fans would really appreciate that :)

  42. Catarina Roleta

    So clear (simple!) this post!
    I never thought I was an minimalist, but I am! Thank you for clear my mind about this concept.

    Catarina

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