Minimalism is a word that has gained popularity in recent times. While not strictly a new concept the uptake and outlook on t has gained popularity. Proponents of the minimalist life will tell you that it can change your whole life. Wherever you stand on the concept of minimalism there are certainly things we can learn from it. So what is minimalism? What are its benefits? What are the drawbacks and how do we go about this minimalism stuff?


Minimalism is a way of thinking and consequently an approach to life that encourages people to occupy their minds and environments with only that which is necessary. Minimalism can be seen in many expressions including home decor where it has found great popularity. In minimalist home decor, the idea is to only occupy the space with a few things which is contrary to the idea of cluttering space with as much as possible without regard for form or function. There is a misnomer that associates minimalism with relieving one’s self of luxuries and only having the bare essentials. While this is certainly an expression of minimalism it doesn’t capture the essence of it.

Minimalism is about reducing the investment in things that do not serve additional purpose or function and instead focusing the resources available, be it money, space or time on things that add functionality to people’s lives. So clearly there is an element of personal needs to the mindset of minimalism. The idea is credited as having found its place in popular culture through an art movement in America in the 1950s. Now minimalist design can be found in homes, technology, graphics and more.  How does focusing our resources improve our productivity, performance and success?

Benefits of minimalism

Minimalism is credited with improving finances, productivity and even performance. Let’s see what these benefits mean in real life.

Spend less

By reducing our investment to those things that are essential we have more money left over from the things we did not invest in in the process.

Less stress

In just about every aspect of life, the more you have, the more you have to take care of. By having less to take care of we experience less of the stress that is associated with taking care of things.


The reduced stress and responsibility result in a person that has more freedom to accommodate other things.

Better value for money

With more money available to invest in the things that matter we open ourselves to more and almost always better choices for what we want to put our money into.


With less of our energy spent on maintaining things that do not serve us and more resources available to direct at those things that do matter we have everything, we need to be more productive.

Drawbacks of minimalism

As with all things in life, nothing is all positive and there are some concessions that the mentality of minimalism forces us to make. These can lead to the following drawbacks;

Teething pains

The world as we know it is mostly about accumulation and minimalism is juxtaposed to that. There will be a lot of pain involved in unlearning what you know.


Minimalism would not be a good idea where it is opposed to fulfilling your responsibilities. For example, moving into a smaller living space may not work if you have a family.


I mentioned earlier that there is a personal choice in minimalism and this means not everyone will understand or accept your expression of minimalism.

No room for growth

Growth, in its various expressions, is not catered for in minimalist thinking. A choice you make today may not accommodate opportunities that open up to you tomorrow.

How to get started

If you’re sold on the idea of minimalism and want to know how to get started there are 4 things you must do;


Maybe you’re already a minimalist without thinking about it. Maybe you need everything you have or do. The only way to get clear about this is to audit your life. This includes tracking how you spend your money and time and identifying areas that may not be adding value while gobbling resources.

Know your needs

Always know your needs before you start, buy or enter something you must be clear about what your needs are in that situation. This sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised how often people walk into situations without clarity on their needs.

Prepare to let go

It cannot be understated how much transitioning to minimalism is a psychological game. Letting go of your TV sounds great until you realise just how much you love watching TV. Understand that the change will come with emotions and these are what you need to prepare for.

Address the real issues

Life is complex and so are our minds. Look at people who hoard things or clutter their houses as an example. They could do this to feel safe, wealthy or to make up for something from their past. Make sure you drill down to the real issues and address them.

The minimalist life can unlock potential you didn’t know you had. Sometimes the money, time or another resource you are waiting for to start that business idea or change your life is hidden in the things you hold on to that do not add value to your life.