Simplicity versus Minimalism

Maybe “versus” isn’t the right word. In reality, simplicity and minimalism go hand-in-hand. Many of my readers have asked about the differences between the two, so here’s a quick spotter’s guide:

Simplicity is the larger umbrella, under which minimalism lives. Simplicity is mostly in the mind. People who embrace simplicity are conscious of how their possessions, money, and time commitments affect them, and they make every effort to weed out the mental and physical clutter that weighs them down. Advocates of simplicity don’t have a problem owning/spending/doing more than absolutely necessary, but they are not enslaved to those things.

Minimalism is a subset of simplicity. Minimalists embrace only what is absolutely necessary, and are on a never-ending quest to live on less. Minimalists generally only allow the healthiest, smallest, and most functional processes and possessions into their lives.

So which are you? Do your definitions differ from these?


12 thoughts on “Simplicity versus Minimalism

  1. Interesting distinction! I agree with your definitions. I would picture an inte I suppose I am living somewhere in the middle right now. I am a hardcore minimalist at heart, but find that simple living is easier to strive for while raising young children.

    • Sorry, my touch pad on my laptop is insane and we can’t find any way to deactivate it! It is nearly impossible to type on my keyboard. I was saying, for example, that I could picture an intentional/simple living advocate enjoying a browse through a free trade shop, but a minimalist seeing no “use” for more stuff like that, even if it is ethically/sustainably produced. Simple living results in benefits outside our own lives (the environment, reducing suffering, etc.), but minimalism is taking it a further step for personal/spiritual growth, conviction, or simply comfort or practical reasons. That’s my take on it anyway (though labels generally make me uncomfortable)! Good food for thought.

  2. Hmm… that’s a tough one. I definitely don’t think I’ve achieved full minimalist status as I am still only a few months into my conscious decision to live simply, but I definitely relate to the “never-ending quest” as I still feel like I have more than I need.

  3. I’m definitely more of a Simplicity lady by your definitions. But the never ending quest hits home to my soul. Perhaps on my happiest days I’m a minimalist, and others Simplicity rules!!x

  4. I’m a simple minimalist. Or is it minimally simple? Either way, I’m a bare bones type of creature, with very little attachment to objects except those I love. šŸ™‚

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