The Powerful Benefits of Minimalism and Living With Less: 11 Experts Speak Out

Living With Less - Dude on Swing

The benefits of minimalism and living with less are many, but everyone likes living with less for different reasons. That’s why I decided to go out and ask minimalism experts one question: If you had to decide on the biggest benefit of minimalism in your own life, what would it be?

In my life it has definitely been freedom. I am able to live anywhere, and do work that I love. If I were burdened with stuff, and big expenses, I’d have a much harder time.

But enough about me… Below you’ll find each contribution, and a link to the contributors blog and their products.

With all that said, enjoy!

#1: The Essential (from Leo Babauta)

Minimalism hasn’t been about living with as little as possible, at least in my life. It’s been about removing the extraneous, so that the essential things have space to live.

The best thing about minimalism is that I now have room for my family, my writing, for reading,  for getting active, for life.

To learn more about Leo, check out his blog Zen Habits, where he writes about productivity, simplicity, and life.

#2: Clarity (from Karol Gajda)

The biggest benefit of minimalism in my own life has definitely been clarity. Like most people, I used to be unfocused and “ADD.”

I would jump from project to project, thing to thing. I didn’t focus well and it was detrimental to all aspects of my life. Minimalism has resulted in clarity in my thoughts, my health, my relationships, and my work.

You can check out Karol Gajda at his blog. He writes about almost anything, but often sticks to topics around freedom, health, travel, and life.

#3: Freedom & Focus (from Tammy Strobel)

Minimalism has given me the freedom and focus to pursue projects I’m passionate about which makes a huge difference in the  quality of work I’m producing.

Being happy and motivated comes through in my work and has contributed to a greater success in my business. In addition, I have the time to focus on building strong relationships. And that is critically important to living a happy, healthy life.

To learn more about Tammy, check out her blog: Rowdy Kittens. I love reading her blog because of its simplicity.

#4: Time (from Charley Forness)

The greatest benefit of Minimalism in my life is that it has freed up my time and resources to work my passion and to spend more time with my baby triplets, so I could watch them develop from tiny two-pound babies into beautiful little toddlers…and beyond!

Participate in your children’s lives, what a novel concept! :D

My first forays into minimalism taught me to question the status quo and to assess everything. It started with my personal possessions, then with how I spend my time and money, then to what I put in my mouth and my mind.  That mindfulness now carries over into every area of my life.

I took back control of my life, which I didn’t even know I’d given up. The sense that we are in charge of our lives is one of the greatest gifts we have available to us. We don’t have to live by anyone else’s standards.

All this from making one simple decision, on a rainy Saturday afternoon a year ago, to assess and donate my music collection to the local library.

#5: Agility (from Adam Baker)

Adam BakerThe biggest benefit of minimalism for my family has been agility. Flexibility. The ability to quickly adapt. God knows, we aren’t perfect… far from it!  But we are so much lighter and more free to pursue our passions and our purpose. And that’s an awesome feeling.

Going back two years ago, our debt and our clutter had suffocated us.  We weren’t an extraordinarily extreme case, however, we were living an unsustainable life that was clogging up our goals and weighing down our potential.

After shedding $18,000 of consumer debt and truckloads of crap, we thought we would be left vulnerable…  naked in some ways.

But the truth was the exact opposite.  Rather than feeling like something was missing, we felt like so much was gained.  Our confidence to troubleshoot problems soared.  We weren’t instantly rich or famous… all the problems in our life didn’t disappear…  but we were more free to concentrate our time, energy, and limited money on those things we loved!

These days, we just try to stay on our toes.  We want to stay on the offensive.  We have a little more now than what we carried around in our two backpacks a year ago, but far, far, less than how much our previous clogged life contained.  We try our darndest to stay conscious in our spending and in the stuff we bring into our life.

So far… so good!  :-)

You can find Adam writing about how to pay your debt and do what you love over at Man Vs. Debt.

#6: Freedom (from Everett Bogue)

The most powerful benefit of minimalism for me is the freedom to do what I want with my time. When I used to work a day job, and spend all of my money on stuff, it was really hard to dedicate my time to important projects.

Since I’ve embraced minimalism, it’s really opened up a world of time which I can dedicate to changing the world.

#7: Creating Space (from Sam Spurlin)

The biggest benefit of minimalism in my own life has been the space I have created by getting rid of excess.

By minimizing my possessions, and more importantly my wants, I can support myself doing what I love (writing) while having enough time to volunteer.

If I didn’t learn how to minimize my desires, I’d still be in the endless rat race of  consumption. That cycle has no end and I’m glad I figured it out before it got too ugly.

#8: Focus (from Brett Oblack)

My personal favorite reason to be a minimalist is to use it as a way to conquer mediocrity.

Through the benefits of minimalism, I can maintain a laser-focus on my passions and clear obstacles to my success instead of letting my attention, creativity and energy become split in many different ways.

We’ve all heard of the “10,000 hour rule.” If you truly want to master something you need to spend that much time practicing and honing your skills in that field. Maybe it is possible to accomplish that without being a minimalist, but it sure makes it a whole lot easier when your life isn’t filled with unimportant drains on your time, money and energy.

Because I’ve used minimalism to ruthlessly limit my focus and goals, I’ve been able to accomplish things that I never thought possible, like write an e-book, run multiple marathons and prepare for an ultra-marathon.

#9: Passion (from Joshua Becker)

The single greatest benefit of minimalism is that you are freed up to pursue your passions.

Consumerism costs money, time, energy, and effort. As a result, slowly but surely, the culture of consumption robs us of our freedom and passion.

Our lives become defined by desires that have been molded by the culture and the advertisements that bombard us each day. As a result, we find no consistency. No unity. Our desires are manipulated as fast as the culture and we quickly swept off our feet by the newest fashion, the most recent technology, or the latest diet fad.

Minimalism, on the other hand, rejects consumerism. It finds more money, time, energy, and focus to pursue the values and passions we hold most true in our hearts.

Because of minimalism, Leo Babauta gets to quit his day job and become a full-time blogger, Adam Baker and Tammy Strobel pay off debt, Everett Bogue works from anywhere, Karol Gajda and Colin Wright get to travel the world. And I get to spend more time with my family and inspire others to do the same.

All of our passions differ. But minimalism has allowed each of us to accomplish extraordinary things by freeing us up to pursue our passions.  Consumerism has been rejected… passions have been embraced… and the invitation is available to all!

For more about Joshua, his work, and articles on minimalist living, check out his blog Becoming Minimalist.

#10: Eliminate Excess (from Annie Brewer)

AnnieHmm, let’s see, the biggest benefit of minimalism in my life?

Hands-down, it’s the fact that minimalism has allowed me to eliminate the excess, enabling me to do the one thing I had despaired of ever being able to do: be a full-time mother to my daughter, despite the fact that I am the sole breadwinner in this household.

I can be there for my kid, clean the house, pay my bills and chase my dreams, and I credit it all to the peace and freedom that minimalism brings.

To learn more about Annie, check out her blog: Annienygma, where she blogs about life, and minimalism.

#11: Clarity (from Meg Wolfe)

Meg WolfeMinimalism has provided a freshness and clarity to every aspect of my life. It affects the way I look at my space, my work, my relationships, and my intentions.

By paring away everything unessential, the important things become clearer, keener, and more satisfying.

Minimalism is a path, a practice as opposed to dogma. If something becomes cluttered, whether it is a closet or my schedule, it’s not a transgression, but something to re-evaluate and comfortably adjust for a better balance.

Priorities have become simplified, and values have become clearer; I find myself laughing at things more and worrying a lot less.

To learn more about Meg, check out Minimalist Woman.

What About You?

If you’ve started simplifying your life, what’s the biggest benefit you’ve seen?

Like I said above, the without a doubt biggest for me is the amount of freedom that I now have. I’ve never owned a car, or anything else like that, and it keeps my expenses low, which allows me to travel, do cool stuff, and do work that I love.

[Update: Things have changed since I wrote this post. I’m now a father. We have a house. And we have a car, but it’s a fully paid for car. It was manufactured in 2000, and we love it.]

Image by Seth

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Comments

  1. Great post, Henri – thanks! Looking forward to some valuable insights.

  2. Wow. Killer post, man. The Cloud has come a long way over the past few months, Henri!

    I’m a minimalist in theory but am not quite there yet, partly because I’m not in control of my possessions yet. However, I do my best to focus on the essential, get rid of everything that I don’t need, and do what needs to get done. Living as a minimalist worker is better than nothing, eh?

    • Thanks, Brett!

      Oh, yes. A lot of epiphanies have been had, and as a result, a lot of changes have been made.

      You’re doing your best, and that’s what counts, right? Focus on the essential is what it’s all about anyway.

  3. Thanks for the post! I think my main goals in pursuing a minimalist lifestyle are focus and freedom. Of course there’s other benefits too, like having less stuff to worry about!

  4. Ireti Paul says:

    My main reason for going after a minimalist lifestyle is to be able to focus on the things that really matter in my life like: freedom to play with my loved ones, ability to focus on my core strength & business, time to pursue community development projects and time to develop intimate relationship with my creator.

    Big thanks for putting this post together.

    Cheers

  5. I just this week wrote my thoughts about the minimalist lifestyle that I’ve been creating for myself. I have seen so many benefits its unbelievable. Instead of spending time going shopping for more stuff (and dusting all my stuff) I am having a ball starting my own blog. I’m 52 and I do believe someone is never too old to learn and change for the better. Reading your blog Henri has given me food for thought about my life and what life should really be about. By making things simple in my life and not having so much to take care of, my focus is now more on my son and my relationships. This week I was thinking about refinancing my small mortgage so I could get it paid off even faster and the thought crossed my mind to borrow more and expand the 2nd bath and put on a deck. But I started having second thoughts about what that would really mean. I am beginning to get it! Maybe the term “less is more” really is true.

    • Nice one on the refinancing! I personally love not having to take care of a lot of stuff, but in the future, you never know how things will change. All I can do is what feels right.

      Rock on, Norman!

  6. Alright, I will leave you alone after this quick comment. You basically managed to get quite a powerhouse of bloggers to answer one question for you. I am wondering. What would your advice be for contacting and starting dialogue with superstar bloggers?

    • I knew some of these bloggers, while I had never talked to others. I simply contacted them with a brief e-mail, let them know what I was doing, and was very specific about my request. The simple answer: be nice. just ask :)

  7. Archan Mehta says:

    Henri,

    I am a minimalist, but my goal in life is to embrace “voluntary poverty” just like Mahatma Gandhi suggested.

    I know I am not there yet. In fact, I have a long way to go. However, I am happy to report that I have made progress.

    I have donated most of my stuff to charity or I have sold it off. I own little now. And I want to own even less. Just the bare essentials will suffice., thank you, that’s self-talk more than reality.

    I used to chase after materialism, but that only added to the clutter in my life. Minimalism makes me happy. I feel calmer and I have more time for things more important.

    In the end, what are your priorities? Sort it out. For me, I want to reach a stage when whatever I own by way of earthly possessions I should be able to carry on my back in a ruck-sack.

    I have not reached that stage yet, but wise men have been cajoling me to see the error of my ways. I have entered a new phase of my life and I feel like a caterpillar right now. If I persist, however, I am sure to turn into a butterfly. And then I will feel like I have finally arrived. Cheers.

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