When I was a young(er) woman I never would have dreamed that I would become a self proclaimed minimalist.
In fact, I’m sure plenty of people would have said I was just the opposite of a minimalist. Some people might still question if I’m “REALLY” a minimalist.
But guess what? There are many different types of minimalism and they don’t all look the same. These different types of minimalism aren’t even all motivated by the same things!
The diversity of the minimalist lifestyle is wonderful! Why? Because, among all the types of minimalism, there is probably one that fits you!
Of all the types of minimalists out there one of them might be the type of minimalist you will become!
Minimalist at Heart
Like I said before, I didn’t used to be a minimalist. I used to be a collector. I loved gathering every memento of joyful times I could and displaying them in my room as a child. As a teen I did the teen thing. I tried to shout my identity with the things I owned and wore. But then as an adult my true personality started to shine through.
You see, all my life, when I closed my eyes I pictured myself either traveling or reading. I never pictured living in a big house or having fancy things. Instead my dreams were of a simple life. A book, a beach, my family, and a dog.
And when I think back on it I was always easily contented. When my parents talked about moving to a different home I couldn’t understand why our 3 bedroom 1 bath tract home wasn’t enough. And even when we bought a new couch set I wondered what in the world was wrong with the old one.
I guess I was always a minimalist at heart. I was just tempted into accumulation by the consumer society around me.
What about you? Are you a minimalist at heart? Keep reading! Learn about all the different types of minimalism and see what might fit you!
Types of Minimalism that Embrace Style:
The first types of minimalism we will discuss are the ones you usually think of when you hear the word minimalist. When you think of white walls, high end clothing, and one chair in a massive room you are thinking of these types of minimalism.
1: The Aesthetic Minimalist
Minimalism is not just a lifestyle. It is also an art movement. People who ascribe to the minimalist aesthetic appreciate white walls, sleek modern furniture, and neutral clothing.
The minimalism art style covers interior design, clothing design, architecture, jewelry, paintings, and sculptures.
The Aesthetic minimalist may or may not live a minimalist lifestyle. They simply appreciate clean lines.
2: The Fancy Minimalist
When you watch TV or scroll through Pinterest you will probably see a lot of fancy minimalists. These types of minimalists preach quality over quantity.
According to the fancy minimalist, it’s better to have one luxury item than 5 normal things. They buy very high end clothing and put together those monochrome capsule wardrobes we have all come to love (or hate).
A fancy minimalist lives a minimalist lifestyle in a maximalist way. They enjoy treating themselves with very very nice things, but not too often or too much.
Types of Minimalists That Are Hard Core
Now we move into the types of minimalism you may think of next. The people that own under 100 items and use the same towel to do dishes, wash their face, and mop the floor…(I’m going to withhold my opinion on that.)
3: The Extreme Minimalists
Ok, you are definitely an extreme minimalist if you have just one towel for everything. You are also an extreme minimalist if you have almost no furniture, under 100 total items, or are just really really strict about what you allow yourself to own.
Extreme or “essentialist” minimalists are on a never ending journey to finding out how much they can live without. They may have come from the other end of the spectrum, a world of lavish consumerism complete with luxury cars, full closets, and storage sheds.
On the other hand some extreme minimalists grew up with a simple way of living and believe in keeping it that way so they can focus on other things like helping people who are in need.
4: The Nomadic Minimalist
Unlike the “extreme minimalists” who are pretty rare, one of the very popular kinds of minimalism right now is nomadic minimalism. These types of minimalist embrace owning less so they can travel more.
Instagram influencers are living the van life, people are traveling the world with nothing but a backpack and traveling nurses are buying tiny homes and RVs. Nomadic minimalists are everywhere having amazing experiences!
You will find that many millennials especially feel the need to enjoy a nomadic lifestyle full of travel and experiences instead of junk.
The nomadic minimalist generally lives within the boundaries of their particular housing or traveling situation.
They aren’t as strict as the extreme minimalists and often keep hobby items like bikes, guitars, books, and kayaks. For the nomadic minimalist, life is meant to be lived to the full. They aren’t going to restrict the things that bring them joy (too much).
Types of Minimalism That Are Based on Ideals
It’s hard to believe that there are soooo many different types of minimalism but now we reach a new category.
These are the types of minimalism that people fall into accidentally to some extent. The types of minimalism discussed below are often found by people who are seeking specific ideals that don’t strictly mean having less but often lead to it.
For these types of minimalists the reason they are living the way they are is much more important than how much they do or do not own.
5: The Eco Minimalists
Eco minimalism is one of the types of minimalism that is based on a specific ideal. Eco minimalists see how minimalism can help you live more sustainably and they embrace it in order to get away from the throw away habits of our culture.
Eco minimalists aren’t necessarily too concerned about how much or how little they own but trying to reduce their footprint often leads them to living a simpler life.
They are very concerned with how their products are made, what they are made of, and who made them.
Eco minimalists want to make sure that their way of life is kind to the earth and all the people who live on it so they are interested in reusing products, buying products that are ethically and sustainably made, and wasting as little as possible.
If you want to be an eco minimalist you might start with buying your clothes second hand or from ethical and sustainable companies. You will probably also want to buy more organic products and foods. And you will probably also start to buy a lot less random junk that is going to end up in landfills.
6: The Boho Minimalists
I would like to say that boho minimalists and eco-minimalists are the same but I don’t think they are.
Boho minimalists do tend to be a little more concerned with the health of the earth and the world community but not quite to the extent that an eco-minimalist does.
Boho minimalists are more concerned with art and culture. They intersect with nomadic minimalists because they are often motivated to simplify their life because of a desire to travel.
As ever, anyone described as bohemian is very artistic so a Boho Minimalist is interested in owning less but keeping things that serve their art or expand their minds towards different ways of thinking.
A boho minimalist will love to talk to and observe people, dress with fantastic flair, and spend lots of time enjoying nature! They may have some stuff but their life is not about stuff. It’s about IDEAS.
7: Homesteading Minimalists
What about homesteading minimalists? These are the people who truly want to get away from the modern consumer rat race.
This is one of the types of minimalism that people accidentally fall into because if you are trying to get away from consumerism, life is naturally going to get a lot simpler.
Homesteading minimalists are all about living off the land, returning to the simpler past ways of doing things, and getting away from the fast paced rat race.
If you are a homesteading minimalist you are definitely going to have all the stuff you need to plant a garden, get electricity from the sun, and make your own cheese!
You will offset the ownership of all that stuff with the fact that you aren’t buying random shirts at TJ Maxx or making “Target runs” every two seconds.
If you long for a simpler way of life you can start tasting the homesteading lifestyle by learning how to garden or make your own bread, wine, and cheese. (Not going to lie, I do all that. And I make kombucha under the sink too.)
8: The Joy Based Minimalist
Now we arrive at the Japanese type of minimalism made famous by Marie Kondo. She encouraged people to look at and hold every single item they own and let go of anything that does not spark joy.
This is definitely a more graceful entrance into the minimalist lifestyle.
Although the initial declutter can feel like a lot the idea of letting go and thanking things that no longer serves us helps us get into the minimalist mindset.
The minimalist that takes this joy based approach may still have a lot of attachments to some of their things at first. This could lead them to keep more than they really need but minimalism is a journey. The next time they declutter they may let go of more.
The joy based minimalist will definitely keep more than the extreme or nomadic types of minimalists but that’s just fine! They are learning how to keep what they love and remove the rest.
The joy based minimalist will also learn how to create order and peace in their life.
Types of Minimalists That Save Money
Minimalism can be motivated by a lot of things including the need for less stress, less burden, and more joy in your life. But there are also types of minimalism that are mainly motivated by financial necessity.
Let’s learn about the types of minimalism that save money now.
9: The Frugal Minimalists
Frugal minimalists are focused on saving money in any way they can. They may be trying to pay off debt or save for a specific goal. Or they might just want to be frugal because it is generally a wise move.
The frugal minimalist will focus on buying less and getting great deals when they do buy something. They will want to make their living arrangement as simple and energy efficient as possible.
A frugal minimalist will be minimalist in areas of their life that don’t have to do with physical items. For example they will often cut out going out to eat, going to the movies, and shopping for extraneous items of any sort.
Frugal minimalism may be a way of life or it may be lived for a short while to achieve a specific goal.
No matter who you are, a touch of frugal minimalism is beneficial because we all need to reset our spending habits from time to time!
10: The Everyday Broke Minimalists
And here we are. At the intersection of minimalism and normal people.
There are tons of hard working people (myself included) who are not buying “less but better” or getting into minimalism for the environment, or even the pure joy and freedom of it.
There are tons of normal people who are minimalists by necessity.
The normal everyday broke minimalist may live in a studio apartment in the city or a single wide in a small town. They may be living with family because sometimes we just have to help each other out.
And all of that is just fine!
Necessity is the mother of all invention and I’m convinced that minimalism was invented by hardworking people who just needed to, had to, live with less.
That’s how my husband and I became accidental minimalists.
The best part of deciding that the simple life is better is that it gives you dignity. It helps you make the best of it even when life isn’t what you wish.
And minimalism will also help all of us every day minimalists pay off debt, save up money, and achieve the goals we thought we were dreams!
Types of Minimalism That Make Life Easier
So far, some of the types of minimalism we have discussed may sound REALLY HARD or just unrealistic. I get it! That’s actually why I shied away from the word minimalism when I started this blog.
But as time passed I realized that minimalism is the only word you can really use for choosing to avoid consumerism and live more simply.
That means the word minimalism can embrace all types of minimalists!
And that is great news because we all have different situations, motivations, and desires for our lives.
Some of us just want minimalism to make life a little bit easier. Let’s talk about a few types of minimalism that do just that!
11: Moderate Minimalists
The moderate minimalist might not even know they are a minimalist at all. They just don’t really feel the need to buy lots of stuff and they have a good habit of letting go of stuff when they are done with it.
If you are a moderate minimalist you might be like I was. You might shy away from the word minimalist and use terms like “simple living”.
That’s okay but also know that you are welcome in my minimalist club any day.
The moderate minimalist is using minimalism to make their lives easier because they understand that everything that you own, owns you right back!
They don’t care about having a certain number of items, a capsule wardrobe, or a certain look.
But the moderate minimalist is still a minimalist because they are moving away from consumerism and the mad cycle of buying buying and then buying more junk you don’t need!
12: Rebel Minimalists
What about minimalists who know they are minimalists but just won’t follow the rules?
These are the type of people who like to keep life simple but will never even consider labeling it.
The rebel minimalist may keep their homes super streamlined but then madly collect comic books or vintage clothes or art!
They are a lot like the boho minimalist except that the things they do collect could be as random as coffee cups.
If you are a rebel minimalist you probably also don’t care about keeping your home particularly tidy or even trying to look perfect! A rebel minimalist has decluttered their life to avoid stress and overwhelm and start living life on their terms.
13: The Cozy Minimalists
Have you heard of the Danish art of Hygge?
It’s marvelous! It’s all about candles, blankets, and pastries! Actually it’s all about friends, family, and making beautiful memories! It’s all of that and it’s also very Scandinavian like Ikea!
The cozy minimalist enjoys all the Scandi style and lots of cozy moments. A cozy minimalist will embrace natural light and natural wood much like the aesthetic minimalist. However, they are not about to give up their fluffy blankets, pillows, or candles for the minimalist aesthetic.
If you are a cozy minimalist your focus is on making beautiful simple moments for your family and friends.
That means you are going to have to simplify your life and home so you actually have time and space to be with the people you love! But you know it will be TOTALLY worth it!
14: Colorful Minimalists
We are almost out of types of minimalism to discuss but the last two are my special favorites. (Maybe I even made them up!)
What is colorful minimalism? A colorful minimalist is a person who highly values the simple life but is not about to do it in black and white, or grey and tan.
A colorful minimalist loves to decorate with color and wear color!
This is the trick though. Having lots of bright beautiful colors in your wardrobe or home is not quite as versatile as having everything neutral. And less versatility means you have to have more clothes to mix and match and more decorations right?
The colorful minimalist has learned how to be a mixologist of color in their home and wardrobe! They know what their favorite colors to wear are and how to pair them in beautiful, classy, fun, and sometimes surprising combinations.
The colorful minimalist also knows how to decorate with 2 or 3 complimentary colors in a room while keeping things simple and fresh!
If you are a minimalist but you think you can’t be a “real minimalist” because you love color drop that idea RIGHT NOW and join my club of colorful minimalists!
15: The Combination Minimalist
Last but not least in our list of the types of minimalism is the combination minimalist.
This may be the most important type of minimalist because it’s really the type we all are. The combination minimalist may be any mix of the above mentioned types of minimalism.
I would honestly say that I got into minimalism as the broke everyday minimalist, I became a bit of an eco minimalist when I started to understand the importance of sustainable and ethical fashion, and I’ve ALWAYS been a bit bohemian and dreamed of being a bit nomadic! I am a colorful rebel minimalist who is moderate in the way I view my limits and I am also in love with cozy hygge moments!
What kind of minimalist are you? Do any of the above types of minimalism describe your motivation and desires for a simple life? Maybe you are like me and lots of the types of minimalism speak to parts of your heart.
About the Author: Jessalynn Jones writes her blog Doable Simplicity to help you make minimalism a part of your life that helps you achieve your goals. Her helpful tips are all about making life easier so you can enjoy it more!