The fact that I consider myself a minimalist has come up in my personal conversations more and more lately. I can’t hide the fact that I am one – I run a blog and Instagram page devoted to it. It’s become a way of life that I enjoy and enjoy sharing with others. That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all minimalist. In fact, there are many different types of minimalists. When you ask people what they think of when they hear the word “minimalist” they will probably tell you it’s someone who doesn’t own anything and stares at blank walls all day. While this can be true (ha!) minimalism is a lot more nuanced than that and here are a few varieties most fit into below.
6 Types of Minimalists
1.) Aesthetic Minimalist
The first is, as I alluded to above, the most commonly known minimalist: the purely aesthetic one. You’ve seen the photos. White walls. a single green plant. Sparse furniture.
This, however, is not a lifestyle. This type of minimalism is strictly a style yet I feel I had to address it because most people box minimalists into this very small (and white) one. On the contrary, I love color. And wallpaper! If my husband would let me I would have plastered every inch of my house with wallpaper by now. (Unfortunately, he’s put a stop to my wallpaper obsession.)
I also love white walls but they have to be accompanied by colorful furniture or plants then. Now, are their lifestyle minimalists who still love all white and bare walls? Absolutely. I follow a few on Instagram. But that is certainly not true of all minimalists who define our lifestyle by the amount of “stuff” we keep in our homes and not the color of paint on our walls.
2.) The Budget Minimalist
Many people pursue minimalism because they love the frugal aspect. I am one of them, although that is still only one part of the lifestyle for me. Minimalism can indeed help you save money though. Budget minimalists are not swayed by what’s trendy, instead, they only buy what they really need and love. We try to limit ourselves to unnecessary ads and marketing. And many of us love second-hand items better than new ones. They focus on being content with what they already have instead of the latest and greatest.
And together, all these viewpoints and habits help save a lot of money. And that alone is a great reason to pursue minimalism.
3.) The Sustainable Minimalist
The thing about minimalism is if you keep pursuing it eventually you come to learn more and more about sustainability and wasting less. When you own less you appreciate more of what you have and a lot of culture’s overabundance (in eating, clothes, shopping, technology) begins to appear excessive and wasteful. I myself have been pursuing more sustainable ways of living this past year including composting, buying less plastic, and using greener cleaner methods. Not all minimalists are sustainable and not all sustainable folks are minimalists. But oftentimes the two will intersect as both lifestyles pursue a “life of less.”
If you’d like to learn more about this, check out “Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art Of Self-Reliant Living.”
4.) The Tiny House of Extreme Minimalist
Tiny House Nation is one of my favorite shows to watch. I just love how creative they get with space! However, I have no desire to live in a tiny house; I’m pretty sure I’d go crazy if I did! Even our 1200 sq house is starting to feel small with two kids now.
But many people take minimalism to the extreme and love the freedom it gives them. Freedom to travel. Freedom to live debt-free. Freedom to explore the outdoors more. And I can only admire that. If anything, it shows us we can make a small space work for our lives, if that’s what we choose to do.
5.) The Simple Living Minimalist
Ahh – here I am! While I see myself in some of the other minimalist types, the simple living minimalist describes me the best. I desire to pursue a simple life. A life where I am not running from one activity to the next. I desire a life where clutter doesn’t take over my home. A life where I have time to garden and can grow my own produce (no matter how little that turns out to be!) I desire a slower-paced, clutter-free, and yet, very content life. Maybe you can relate to this type of minimalist too.
You declutter your home because you realize all that “stuff” ties you down. And you stop buying as much because you realize it can’t make you happy. But family, friends, sunshine, outdoors, laughter – this is the kind of stuff you want more of. You might not be the most sustainable (I still throw out way too much trash every week!) You might still buy things – even new expensive things! And you might live in a large house. All these things are still compatible with a simple living minimalist lifestyle. The key is slowing down enough to enjoy life. For more inspiration, grab “The Art of Simple Living: Practical Steps to Slowing Down, Finding Peace, and Enjoying a Wholesome Life.”
6.) The Messy, Work-in-Progress Minimalist
The last type of minimalist makes me smile because most of the time they don’t even know they’re minimalists. They think their home is too messy to be a true minimalist. Or they’re just learning about minimalism so don’t claim to be one yet even though they are moving in that direction. But guess what? They (yes, even you!) can still be considered minimalists. It’s about the desire to live with less. And it’s about what you are pursuing, not what the state of your life looks like right now.
And guess what else? Minimalists’ homes still get messy! Mine certainly does. But owning less allows me to tidy my home quicker instead of constantly sitting in that mess. The more you pursue minimalism the better you get at deciphering what you really need and want and the easier it becomes to live with less.
If this is you, you’ve got to grab one of my favorite books, “Messy Minimalism: Realistic Strategies for the Rest of Us.”
Lastly, don’t forget to grab my guide “Minimalism for Beginners” if you’re ready to create and maintain a clutter-free home for good!