If you’ve been reading my other articles, you know I have recently stumbled upon the counter-culture of Minimalism and in doing so I feel I have found my people, my tribe. Many people outside of the Minimal world seem to categorize Minimalists into a nutshell when actually Minimalism is a very personal experience. No Minimalist rule book exists…and if it does, I’d find no value in reading it. Many outside the culture assume embracing Minimalism will leave them feeling empty, deprived and lonely, but ask a Minimalist and you will hear the opposite rings true. With the help of my Minimalist friends, I thought it would be fun to create a list of some of the “types” we would define ourselves as so as to further illustrate the vastness and fullness that is living a Minimalist life.
The specific number of how many items they own matter to these Minimalists. Typically a more logic-inclined person overall, these Minimalists appreciate numbers, discipline and self-sacrifice. They enjoy extremes.
The Beginner sees the benefits of Minimalism- the beauty, the joy, the freedom the culture allows, but is still struggling to get the ball rolling on their personal journey.
The Joy Seeker
Typically the Joy Seeker is a Minimalist inspired by Marie Kondo’s best seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The number of items these persons own is not important to them, but rather it is more important that they are carefully culturing and curating a home that surrounds them with only items that make them happy or that are purposeful. These Minimalists may prefer to be labeled as Intentionalists.
Intentionalists are people concerned with awareness of the details of their daily lives. These people typically do not want to be wasteful by making too much trash, wasteful with their time or to surround themselves with clutter that exists without purpose. They may find it easy to turn away from impulse buys in a store or easily say, “No,” when they see their schedule becoming too hectic. Intentionalists appreciate ease and practicality.
The Big Picture
The Big Picture Minimalists are similar to environmentalists, animal lovers or activists, in a way. They are typically Minimalists by default rather than intent due to their creating and following a strict moral code in their daily lives. They usually identify as vegan, may drive a hybrid or fuel conserving vehicle, are conscious about wastefulness and recycling and will choose to purchase items at a higher cost to ensure it is a moral choice that results in the best for all involved in the transaction. They concern themselves with the workers, the animals that may be involved or the effects on the environment. They would rather own less and contribute more to the world with their time and through “voting” with their dollars by very intentionally choosing what to purchase.
Quality Over Quantity
Snooty? Maybe. But there is something to be said for a person who knows what they like and feels like they are deserving and worthy of the best. These individuals choose to own less items so that they can own better items. In a world where many items are created as cheaply and as quickly as possible, I like that concept. These people may also enjoy supporting local artisans and businesses.
Keep It Clean
These individuals probably do not enjoy the work that goes in to cleaning, but do appreciate residing in a neat and tidy space so they have evaluated their priorities. The best advice I read when I began my direction towards a Minimalistic life applies to this grouping. “Clear surfaces are so quick to swipe with a cloth!” There is no magic product one can buy to effectively organize too much stuff. It is bound to bog you down and get in your way. This group knows you MUST de-clutter to find peace. Most mothers identify as this type of Minimalist.
The Nostalgic Minimalist
These people, be they young or more advanced in age, cling to the nostalgic notion that the world was a better, more satisfying place back when things were slower and a little quieter.
The Mental Health Motivated
I would definitely dare to say that all Minimalists are defined by this grouping in one way or another. Some realize it beforehand and use their mental needs as a motivation for a more Minimal lifestyle while others begin under different terms and only realize the health benefits after being submerged in Minimalism for a time. Either way, all agree that Minimalism provides much needed and appreciated mental clarity and rest for weary minds. Another great side affect is increased productivity due to fewer distractions.
Maybe they’ve lost a lover, lost a close family member or suffered a similar life-changing event. In the same way a woman will usually drastically change her hairstyle in such a case, these people feel a need to start over and wipe the slate clean of the memories and the stress. These individuals are recreating themselves.
The Unchained Minimalist
These people appreciate being free to roam without burden of responsibility. Often these individuals find themselves living in a moving home such as a tiny house or camper and traveling about as they get the urge. These individuals may or may not actually want a Minimalist life, but are forced to live this way by their small living arrangements (see: College dorm room). Eventually, many in this category will find themselves returning to mainstream cultural practices once (if) they give up the gypsy lifestyle. Then again, a few may begin to mentally embrace their new lifestyle and keep pursuing Minimalism.
These people do not know anything about Minimalism when they begin. They only know that they are fed up, frustrated and ready to change. De-cluttering is easy for this group because they have passionate pissed off motivation, but maintaining their living quarters may not be as easy for them once the area is cleared and the motivation begins to die down. I would encourage anyone identifying with this type (ahem- the Moms) to seek out other like-minded people to build encouragement and inspire each other to have endurance for the Minimalist journey. De-cluttering your space may bring you joy for a season in life, but changing your habits and lifestyle can truly free you.
Inspired By A Hoarder
The name speaks for itself here. These individuals have either suffered through living with an individual experiencing a hoarding mental illness, or they have witnessed second-hand the effects of such a situation.
There is also simply an Aesthetic Minimalist. These individuals just like the look of Minimalist decor, furniture and living. They find it beautiful and while they may not embrace the mental, digital or relationship sides of Minimalism they do like the way the style looks to the eye.