11 Experts Explain the Minimalist Principles That Help You Maximize Life
We've all heard the phrases "live life to the fullest" and "livin' large." While those statements conjure up images of a lavish life filled with all things you need and even more of the things you don't, there's a new mindset embracing that's gaining popularity all throughout the U.S. and beyond: "Less is more."
As more and more embrace this defining principle of minimalism, people are beginning to realize that minimalist principles can make their lives feel more full than ever before, despite the fact that they're being asked to toss unnecessary items and purge outdated ideas.
Listed below is advice from 11 experts on minimalist principles and living a full life with less.
1. Find the fun
Myrna, from Soulfully Minimal explains the joy that comes with the less is more minimalist principle by saying, "Minimalism can be fun, it can feel good if you stick to keeping the things you absolutely love and let everything else go."
2. Focus on what's important
Colin Wright, a writer, podcast producer and speaker from Exile Lifestyle says, "Minimalism is about focusing on what's most vital to you and spending more of your time, energy and resources on those most important things."
He urges people to, "Translate that philosophy into your space and you'll tend to find a lot of otherwise tricky decisions and tradeoffs become a lot simpler and the outcomes tend to be more tailored for your preferences and ideals."
3. Never shove
"I have been all over the minimalism spectrum, from striving to have as little as possible to embracing lots of colorful art and comfort items, as long as they were joyful additions to my home," explains Caitlin Liz Fisher, an author and life coach.
They go on to explain, "I'm willing to hold onto extras — but only if they fit in a designated space. My minimalist rule is 'no shoving.' If I have to shove and push things around to fit something into a shelf, bin or drawer, something else has to go to make room."
"As long as everything has a designated place, my clutter stress is reduced and my home looks and feels happier!"
4. Be intentional
“In my experience and the experience of my clients, living with less leads to more comfort! After clearing the clutter, they are surrounded only by items that they truly love. The stresses and anxieties of managing excess things are replaced by more joy, peace and calm in their home," explains The Minimal-ish Mama.
She notes that, “The physical space they've created also translates to internal space. This means they can be more present with their loved ones and make time to pursue hobbies and activities they enjoy."
“As a minimalist, I try to shop intentionally, making sure that everything I bring into my home is of high quality, beautiful and built to last. While the colors in my home are simple, I focus on textures, plants and vintage pieces that tell a story to make it feel cozy and comfortable."
5. Make room for the meaningful things
Erin Tannehill, a modern homemaker, homesteader and declutterer says, "When decorating a smaller space, use pieces that mean something to you or show off your personality. Swap out the cheap lamp you don't really like for a family heirloom or invest in one that fits your style."
"By decorating your space with meaningful pieces, you'll find you don't need as much to have a beautiful and cozy home."
6. Free yourself from furniture
"Recently, we decided to give furniture-free living a try. Along with the health benefits that come with hanging out on the floor, the lack of furniture has also made our apartment more inviting."
She acknowledges that "Ditching the couch and dining room table isn't for everyone."
She does encourage people to, "See if you can reduce the amount of furniture in your home to create more space. You'll find the result remarkably soothing."
7. Simplify your space
Anastasia Millwood from the appropriately named home organization company Tidy in Five makes the simple suggestion that "Every space in your home should never be more than five minutes from tidy. Minimalism is not about the perfectly tidied home."
At the end of the day, "It is about having an easily tidied home."
8. Make use of every inch
Karen Trefzger, a minimalist, writer and manager of the Maximum Gratitude, Minimal Stuff website, says, "Smaller homes require more versatility, more communication and more awareness of each other's needs."
She goes on to explain that, "Fewer belongings can still provide all of the comfort and utility we need to live happily in that smaller space."
"A kitchen table can be used for meals, as a desk and as a gathering place for family conversation or game night. A sofa might offer seating and an extra bed. A trunk could become a coffee table while providing storage for extra blankets, hobby supplies or out-of-season clothing."
9. Messes happen
Erica Lucas, a minimalist and decluttering expert went into great detail to explain her four-part approach to embracing a more minimalist lifestyle:
- Declutter one day at a time. Living comfortably with less takes time and practice. Start with a junk drawer, one category of your wardrobe or one basket of toys. Motivation to declutter is hard to find if you're overwhelmed, but building momentum day after day can lead to a happy life with less stuff.
- Embrace open space in your home. Design your home with key furniture pieces and allow light and love to fill the open spaces instead of stuff. Open space makes my home easier to keep clean and feels less stressful than our home felt before minimalism.
- Consider items to keep rather than considering what to donate. Changing your perspective while facing your wardrobe or a kitchen drawer can help you live with less. My mantra for the first year of decluttering was: “Decide what to keep. Ask why. Let go of the rest."
- Embrace that clutter happens. I keep an “outbox" near my front door for items to take to the donation center, library, post office or a friend's house. Living with less over time makes it easier to recognize clutter in your home. I've learned to recognize clutter as a choice I need to make rather than judging myself for having clutter.
10. Negative space, positive vibes
Deb Shepherd, the minimalist mother and content creator behind Clothed in Abundance tells people to, "Be OK with negative space because it can add balance to any room. There isn't always a need to fill everything up."
11. It's all about conscious curation
Our final and most cerebral tip comes from Jo Bennett, a life coach at Solomojo Coaching.
She approaches minimalism with the mentality that, "Having a minimalist mindset means consciously curating what you want and need."
The key is to "Determine what you value and then only occupy the home with objects that are used often, work well and feel good."
"Create a consumption criterion that focuses on satisfaction, yet prevents overspending, clutter and garbage. Prioritize arranging spaces with mental health in mind, such as limiting technology and clearing window obstructions to observe nature."
Define your own minimalist principles
Minimalism is a principle of design, a state of mind or a goal you're striving toward each day. Regardless of which camp you fall into, minimalism can streamline your space, simplify your mind and redefine the way you approach each day. Follow any or all of the expert tips listed above and start seeing the world in a whole new light today.