Maximum Minimalism for 2024

I’ve shared bits of my minimalmism experiences over the last year or so. Occasionally, I get some confirmation or a good suggestion from other minimalists. More often though, I get a comment from someone whose interest in minimalism is piqued.

As I enjoyed some quiet time with coffee on New Year’s Day morning, I decided maybe I should share more on this topic, but in a longer form.

So that’s the plan for 2024: Regular posts offering a deeper dive into what minimalism is to me and how it impacts my life. The hope here is that others are inspired enough to dip a toe into the minimalism waters. Or even maybe they take the full plunge.

What minimalism is

Depending on who you ask, minimalism could mean many different things:

  • Owning as few material possessions as possible. Like few enough to travel the world with just a backpack.
  • Focusing your actions and surroundings on very specific things such as your family, your passions or your style.
  • A simple life that provides you more free time from many everyday challenges.
  • The ability to become detached from “things” and even people that don’t add positivity to your life.
  • A closet with a handful of the exact same outfits.
  • Sitting barefoot on the floor of a room with no furniture.
Steve Jobs sitting on the floor of his home

To me, there’s some truth or validation in all of these examples. But there’s no fundamental universal truth that defines minimalism. Like many spiritual or religious paths, minimalism is a personal journey.

As such, each individual should define their own path on thier minimalism journey.

I think this means you can adopt any, all or even none of the popular concepts that define minimalism. The definition and the effort you put forth are really up to you.

What minimalism is to me: An example

Having been on my own minimalism journey since late 2019, my own definitions and approaches have evolved over time.

I started out by de-cluttering, which is a fairly common first step. It doesn’t have to be, of course. However, it’s a relatively good starting point because you can immediately see tangible benefits. In my case, I ended up donating roughly a dozen large garbage bags full of clothing. (And that was just in the first pass!)

I immediately felt more relaxed when walking into the closet to select an outfit. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by rows of hanging clothes. Instead, I had more space to just “be” and carefully think about what I wanted to wear.

Shirts and jeans in my closet

Eventually, I further thinned my clothing inventory to even fewer choices. And in doing so, I changed from buying some “fast fashion” outfits and items that looked good in the store but I never wore but a few times. Instead, I was more intentional in my choies, opting for higher quality, longer-lasting items.

It may sound counterintuitive but I know I’ve saved money with this approach. Rather than buy junky clothing items that didn’t hold up and needed replacing within a year, I now have clothing items that are well over three years old. They still look good and I still enjoy wearing them.

The point here is that I’ve reduced the number of clothing options I have but I love every one of those options. I don’t ever stress out when it’s time to pick an outfit. Almost everything in my closet goes with everything else, so I save time.

In turn, I don’t waste any brain cycles on selecting what to wear. Instead, I can use those cycles to focus on other, more important parts of my day. And that hits upon several of the themes I attribute to my personal minimalism lifestyle.

Simplicity, intentionality, mindfulness, a focus on what’s really important, deep relationships, happiness and satisfaction are a few of my core minimalism values and benefits.

It’s a process of steps

Don’t think that I simply cleaned out my closet, bought some new clothes and called it a day, though. Continuing the example, you’ll find there are more steps if you choose to take them. Again, it depends on what you want out of your lifestyle.

Occasionally, I do see some new article of clothing that catches my eye. The next step for me consists of several intentional (there’s that word again!) decisions:

  • Is this something I really need or simply want? I did add a few nice T-shirts to my closet last year, for example. The ones I had weren’t ideal for a Utah vacation where we planned to hike all week. So I chose to add three technical shirts to the closet.
  • Will this item last a very long time? No more investing in purchases with a short life-span if I can help it.
  • Am I replacing something or am I adding to the wardrobe? More often than not, I follow the rule of “when a new ‘thing’ comes in to the house, an old ‘thing’ it replaces goes out of the house.”

After that Utah vacation, I kept the three new shirts but sent the three older cotton T-shirts to a donation bin.

If you don’t follow this type of rule, you’ll just end up with more clutter and things you just don’t need all over again.

This is just one example

Rather than pushing forward with thousands of words tackling other minimalism topics, I think I’ll call it here. To be honest, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t addressed the many other points and approaches that you may find some benefit in.

Some of those include:

  • Assessing the affordability of your lifestyle choices (and the two parts to that equation)
  • Choosing who and what to spend your time on or with
  • A healthy digital life
  • A framework for making decisions that support your definition of minimalism
  • Finding inspiration and your passion(s)
  • The value of experiences vs things
  • Living in house where others aren’t minimalists
  • Knowing when to say no and that its OK to do so

Stay tuned for more on these and other related topics. I don’t want to commit (yet) to future updates on a regularly scheduled basis; see the last bullet item above. 😉 I’m still planning out my priorities both short- and long-term for 2024 and I need to see where this fits in.

Some resources to get started

📺 Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

💻 The Minimalists website

📔 Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Digital World (affiliate link)

📼 Matt D’Avella’s YouTube Channel

📼 Kalle Flodin’s YouTube Channel