Minimalist Living Manifesto

Stuff ties us down. It weighs on the mind. It gives us back pain when we carry it around. It gets stolen, broken, or obsolete, then pollutes the world as it breaks down in a landfill.

Omnipresent Advertising tells us that stuff will make us happy, and we want to believe that purchasing can solve our problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. But beyond food, clothing and shelter, stuff is not the answer to the most pressing issues in our lives. Worse yet, in a very complicated world, it isn’t just physical clutter that raises our anxiety level. There are too many choices: where to eat, what job to take, where to live, what to read, and so on.

We feel moments of clear thought when we’ve stripped away the peripheral things that weigh us down. We live in a small dorm room, go on vacation with a single backpack, or spend a weekend at a retreat in the woods. Our minds feel clearer, and our bodies healthier. We resolve to keep that feeling back when we return to our everyday hectic world, but it slips away in mere days.
Minimalist living starts with believing that everything we bring into our lives has a cost to our soul. Every choice we allow ourselves to ponder extracts its pound of flesh. Every dollar spent costs the time it took to earn that dollar. Whatever we do or accumulate has a high bar to make up for these problems.

We write about minimizing:

STUFF: We pretty much always overestimate how happy a new purchase will make us, and vastly underestimate what a drag it will be to maintain, store, and discard. Advertising successfully manipulates us to make sure the anticipation/reality gap is as large as possible.

TIME: We can waste most of our lives procrastinating and dealing with useless crap. Stop. Focus on the critical, and stay organized and on track. Spend more time with family and friends. Or just with yourself in quiet solitude.

MONEY: Minimal is not poor. Spending hours managing coupons is not minimalist. A cheap computer will cost you hours of troubleshooting. Save up your money and spend on the things that you have wanted for a long time. Minimalist living is about not giving in to impulse purchases. You have very little or no debt. You pay cash-no credit cards. You Buy quality. But buy less, and spend wisely.

HEALTH: Taking care of yourself means a minimum of doctor visits later. Without your health, you don’t have anything. Don’t be fooled by magic cures – being healthy is hard work, but often requires more knowledge and willpower than stuff. If it comes in a can, box or container it probably is garbage. Garbage in, garbage out. Veggies, fruit, lean protein. Walk. Then walk some more. Repeat.

STRESS: Stress that causes growth and excitement is good – without stress, life is boring. Make sure you’re stressing about the things that matter, and clear the mind of all the mental clutter.

Please share this post and please comment on this minimalist living manifesto.

Live simply.


9 thoughts on “Minimalist Lifestyle Manifesto

  1. Omnipresent Advertising . . .that would make a brillant name for an actual advertising company. . . if there isn’t one already called that.
    I do agree though especially about how expectations are raised and then so often it just seems a big let down

  2. Great post and so relevant. These past few weeks, I’ve been going through the stressful task of moving my mother to an assisted care facility. At 91, she has collected a considerable amount of “stuff”. Faced with the task of paring down her possessions to the essentials, I no longer see the stuff as treasures — just time and money that could have been put to better use. Do we really need 35 t-shirts? 23 pairs of shoes? Knick-knacks and what-nots to collect dust? There are a few of these things in my home I could not part with; that bring a smile to my face just having them near. Reminders of my childhood, or my children. It all comes down to the “need vs want” equation. Most of what we’ve been convinced we “need” is just stuff that we want.

  3. All excellent points – I would like to add on to the doctor thing and I’ve found preventative medicine and seeing a good doctor or naturopath (if that’s your preference) is just as important. My grandparents shocked the day lights out of me when they told me they alternate between a regular MD and a naturopath so they are seeing at least one of them every 6 months! which is great if you can afford it, for now I’m just seeing my regular doctor who is amazing. The important thing about routine visits is that you will have a baseline for your health so your dr can keep an eye on you and make sure nothing is deviating too much and if it is the two of you can catch it early enough hopefully to take action without even needing to resort to pills – which is why it is also important to seek out a dr who you trust and who is willing to work with you. I was very pleased that I’ve been doing this for years already back in 2009 when we found some abnormal cells during a routine exam, we followed up with a few more tests and concluded that they were the type that would eventually become precancerous and then of course what is the next logical step? Left unchecked that had a lot of very bad potential but since I go in for regular exams with a dr I trust who works with me I was able to get a day surgery booked very soon and the cells were removed two stages before they became cancerous and I am still fine to this day, and I still go for my check ups – and still encourage everyone else to as well. I’d rather catch something simple before it develops than do damage control after it’s had time to do some work. This year I started doing that with the dentist.. that expensive place (of course some have payment plants and there is always the dental colleges if you live in a bigger city!) your health is so important!

  4. “Minimalist living starts with believing that everything we bring into our lives has a cost to our soul.” My dear, you buried the lead!!
    I will most definitely share this post with others. I’m sending the link to my attorney daughter right now.

  5. Great post. I have been working on decluttering my home and only keeping things that I use a lot or are very important to me. I have saved up to get a high quality road bike, but am really working on not buying things on impulse. I have seen some positive results in my back account as a result. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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  7. I just skimming your blog until I hit the stress part of this post. I think, beyond everything else, it’s the “mind clutter” that holds everyone back, and I think that is the most important part of your manifesto. Thanks for this. 🙂

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