The Top Ten Benefits of Being a Minimalist

A lot of people think being a minimalist is akin to being a monk—living a sort of ascetic lifestyle in which you deprive yourself of “wordly” things simply for the sake of it.

Others regard minimalists with polite curiosity (why ever would you WANT to have an empty house?), or write us off as a bit quirky (since when is it quirky to count how many socks you have? ;-) ).

What gets lost in most considerations of minimalism is the true joy that can be found in the lifestyle. I think that’s the number one reason most of us adopt it: to make ourselves happy.

To this end, I’ve decided to wax philosophical today on the top ten benefits of being a minimalist.

1. Less stuff = less stress. The fewer possessions you have, the less you need to worry about maintaining, repairing, insuring, protecting, and paying for them.

2. Less stuff = more freedom. Possessions are like anchors, tethering us to our houses (to store them), and our jobs (to pay for them). When you don’t have a houseful of stuff, you’re much more mobile and able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

3. Less stuff = more time. It takes time to plan for, research, and acquire a purchase (from driving around to stores, to surfing the web for consumer reviews). And it takes time to clean, maintain, and keep stuff in order once you own it. The less stuff you buy, the more time you have for other (more pleasurable) pursuits.

4. Less stuff = more money. The less you buy, the more you save. And who wouldn’t be happier with a little more money in their bank account?

5. Less stuff = less pressure to keep up with the Joneses. When people know you’re a minimalist, they don’t expect you to have the latest and greatest toys and status symbols. In fact, they don’t expect you to have anything at all. (Actually, I’d love to see the Joneses become minimalist, and the competitive non-consumption that results.) :-)

6. Less stuff = less to clean. I prefer not to spend my weekends dusting around tchotchkes, and corralling wayward items into drawers, bins, and closets (and I suspect I’m not the only one!) What’s more: when you’re a minimalist, your house is more likely to look halfway decent when someone drops by unexpectedly.

7. Less stuff = more opportunity to be creative and resourceful. I love the challenge of meeting a need, or completing a task, without purchasing something “extra.”

8. Less stuff = a greener planet. The fewer things you buy, the better for the environment. Rampant consumption is a terrible waste of the Earth’s natural resources.

9. Less stuff for me = more for others. The resources of our planet are finite. When we over-consume, we take more than our fair share—leaving less for others, and future generations. A minimalist lifestyle helps restore the balance.

10. Less stuff = more joy. The fewer possessions you have to fuss over, the more time you have for friends, family, flowers, sunsets, and the beautiful things in life. And that—more than any consumer item—is the source of true happiness.

34 comments to The Top Ten Benefits of Being a Minimalist

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by wirligig: Benefit 1: Less Stress. I’ve read in peace w/white tea 2 accompany me RT @missminimalist Benefits of a Minimalist #fb…

  • Henri

    Hi Rachel… Enjoyed your post… I became accidentally minimalist as a result of losing everything I owned twice (two divorces). Now I love it. I would not have it any other way. I am even considering whether extended stay hotels are the way to go, with a PO Box for mail. When you add the cost of rent & utilities in many parts of the country you’re better off. And you have a maid. And if you pick up and go there is no double cost. The trick is keeping everything to two airline shippable containers/trunks, I guess. Is there some sort of minimalist society around? Henri

  • miss minimalist

    Henri, I agree–I lived in hotels for six weeks this past summer, and loved it. The freedom to pick up and go at any time is exhilarating. Unfortunately, in our present location, it’s prohibitively expensive (about triple the monthly rent on our flat). However, I’m sure there are areas where the expenses would work out more favorably.

    I’m not aware of any minimalist societies…but I’ll certainly blog about them if I discover any!

  • I giggled at the mention of counting socks (I’m proud to be quirkly!). It’s difficult to get so excited about minimalism, but not be able to tell anyone about it.

    Just started reading your blog, great reads. One of my reasons for my own minimalist lifestyle is for travel, so I’m drooling about your overseas move. Bon Voyage!

  • miss minimalist

    Thanks, Sunny–it’s great to have you as a reader, and I hope you’ll share more about your own minimalist lifestyle! :-)

  • Heather

    The reason I started this whole minimalist voyage for myself was 1. To save money and pay down debt. 2. We have moved 9 times in 5 years–easier to move with less stuff and make the disruption easier to handle. 3. I like a clean, organized space- for my sanity. 4. We put a lot of time into our family, work and college. It’s nice to come home and really relax and not worry that someone is going to ring the doorbell and we would have to scramble. I’ve never cared about the Jone’s..they seemed annoying to me. ; )

  • miss minimalist

    Heather, those are all great reasons to become a minimalist. It makes life easier in so many ways!

  • Fuji

    Poor societies are minimalist societies. I’ve often wondered if minimalism is a first world concept. After travelling in Sri Lanka and spending time with the lovely people there I realized that there are many many people in the world who don’t spend time thinking about what to own, what not to own or if they own too much. Once a country has a stable middle class issues arise regarding materialism. Surplus funds to needs = middle class. What to do with the “extra” money – buy stuff!

    • miss minimalist

      Fuji, I think you’re absolutely right. Only after basic needs are met, and some degree of affluence reached, does the concept of minimalism make sense. We have the luxury to *choose* it, rather than live it by necessity. I’d like to explore this concept further on my blog.

      Thanks for the comment — great food for thought!

  • I just have to say that I love reading things like this. It is very inspiring, and I makes me look forward to our huge yard sale at the end of this month. I can’t wait to purge all the meaningless stuff I have. :D

  • S

    I LOVE this post, all great reasons for being a minimalist. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one that counts how many pairs of socks I own=)

  • […] for adopting a minimalist lifestyle in the first place, we’ve likely discovered some of its myriad benefits – like less stress, more freedom, and more time to spend with friends and family rather than […]

  • […]  I am learning that I can live a different brand of minimalism than this, and still reap the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle–less stress, less clutter, more time, more energy, more money, and so […]

  • Hi, Francine. Your post was right on about why I want to be a minimalist! I think in addition to less pressure to keep up with the Joneses, you can also find out who your true friends are. Some friends are there because you are just like them, but once you change they start pulling away.

  • Less stuff = more room for breathing and for engery to flow freely, less time wasted in finding things, more organized life
    Love your blog. Good writing and contents. Thanks.

  • Catherine

    Less is so much more when it comes to personal freedom! I’m a mother of 2 and just managed to do a 3 week holiday in 3 different climates taking a total of 18kg in aggage. Less stuff at this stage of my life means less complications! Love your post! C

  • […] mean that, practically, I will need to get rid of a lot of stuff. I’ve been reading into the benefits of minimalism for a while, so part of the reason I’m choosing to live in different places over the week is […]

  • August

    My favorite part is freedom. I feel free from all of the societal pressures and temporary joy that possessions often place on people. If all of my focus were on obtaining things then I’d spend much less time working on myself and I wouldn’t like that. The funny thing is that I’ve always been a minimalist, even as a child, I did not care for Christmas and I never knew it had a name. I just never really wanted to have a lot of things. When I have too many things it makes me feel claustrophobic. I also hate to have things that I don’t use frequently. I often give away so much of what I own because I just don’t need it. Operative word is need. Yeah, I may want many things but I don’t need many things and if something doesn’t seem necessary enough, it gets tossed or given away. Many friends, especially my female friends, do not understand this about me. I don’t like shopping and I extremely decisive because I know what I need and I know what I don’t need.

  • […] Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist has listed 21 benefits while Miss Minimalist has listed the top 10 for being a minimalist. has mentioned the top 8 benefits for living a minimalist […]

  • Tinka

    It’s warming my heart to to find that I am not the only one who finds visible displays of piles and rows of stuff, overwhelming, intimidating, and distracting.

    All I want to do is disappear from these warehouses as I cannot function there or can’t internalize what there is. If I see a lot of things, my brain blocks the details and I see a blob of colour instead, even if it has a few of my own things in the mix.

    I’ve been sharing a house with two messy people who like to collect the weirdest items such as empty plastic yoghurt containers. I have no interest in entering the kitchen because of how disorganized it is with some items being out of date (one jar of spice I found was 15 years out of date). As a result I’ve lost weight.

    Anyway, I look forward to moving to my own place as soon as I get the chance. Enjoy your freedom folks!

  • GregH

    I was forced into minimalism due to unforseen circumstances. I moved onto my small houseboat and had to give everything away. As the years rolled on, I realised I was soo much happier not having the crap I thought I needed. As I only have a small area, I cant have anything. As long as I have somewhere to sleep, my laptop, car, surfboard and the necessary clothes. Im ahead of the game. Cant believe I worked all my life to accumulate crap I never needed. Im now happy with no stress. Waves are free and so is the Sun.

  • […] for longer than most and was the first like-minded person I found when reading about owning less. Here are her top ten reasons to pursue […]

  • […]  Did a Google search and loved that I found her blog and website.      She has a post on the Top 10 Benefits of Being a Minimalist and I have to say – she sums up exactly how I’ve felt the last few weeks having less […]

  • Tina

    When I need something, there is only one place it can be. I have gotten rid of so much I don’t need and there is more I don’t buy in the first place.

  • I’m a new fan of minimalism, especially because of the easy avenue for travel it provides. I’m slowly purging what I don’t need, and keeping what I need. Great post to keep me on track!

  • Tina

    Minimalism means my home is always presentable. The cupboards are never full. There is always room for people to come over.

  • Tina

    My son says he is staying at my house while I am out of town. I said, fine you will have to bring a heavy blanket, you know where everything else is. It is January in Chicago and while I have several sheets, a pillow and light blankets, we don’t have extra heavy blankets, and we never turn on the heat. Being a minimalist means you can always say yes to company.

  • […] Joy, in her blog and book, The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide, talks about the joys of minimalism and I do […]

  • […] of the first blog posts I found during my research phase was The Top Ten Benefits of Being a Minimalist.  All of the items appealed to me: lower stress, less debt, less cleaning and maintaining. […]

  • I am always giving things away. People give me what they think I should have– more dishes, for example, and I keep a few and pass the rest on. I only have a few towels, and my SIL was explaining that I needed a lot more hand towels to decorate my guest bathroom. I just looked at her. I have lots of house plants and I give away cuttings all the time so my house doesn’t look like a jungle.

  • Tina

    I am giving away at least 60 plants and some bowls I got second hand at the library. Every year they have demonstrations of cheap gifts and crafts people can make for the holidays. I find bowls in china, glass, and plastic for about a quarter each, buy potting soil, and grow plant cuttings. This year they are succulents. Once, years ago, I gave away a hundred plants as luncheon favors. I grow snake plants, pothos, Swedish ivy and several others from almost dead plants at restaurants and doctors’ offices.

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