Ways to enjoy more with less in life

An exploration of the simplicity in the minimalistic lifestyle

Harsh Jain and Kelsey Lu

Defined as the art of simplicity, minimalism sets one free from the unnecessary objects in life. In today’s society, many view abundance as a means to happiness, but minimalism challenges this popular belief.  Rather than emphasizing grandness, minimalism focuses on the concept that less is more.

Many misunderstand the term minimalism and believe that it is solely concerned with having a wardrobe of black, gray and white, because those colors are predominantly used for aesthetic purposes in art and fashion. In reality, minimalism is the art of less. With fewer details and fewer objects in the artwork itself, the meaning of the work is enhanced as a whole; thus, a minimalist lifestyle entails only the bare minimum. For example, instead of owning 20 shirts, a minimalist would only have eight; one for each day of the week plus one extra. The point of having limited options is to keep only what will be used and to remove all excess. Many consumers tend to have more than needed, and minimalism preaches removing what is unnecessary.

The minimalist lifestyle was founded by Joshua Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who had both previously lived cluttered lives but later discovered the benefits of converting to a more minimalist lifestyle. Once they acquired jobs in large businesses, Milburn and Nicodemus became overstressed and swamped with their lives, but through minimalist life choices, they were able to rid themselves of excess items and declutter their lives.

Due to the ambiguous nature of the practice, minimalists can come in many forms. Followers of these beliefs, for example, may engage in environmentalistic minimalism, which focuses on cutting down on car transportation, waste and other potentially environmentally- harmful actions, or in a more money-based minimalism, in which practitioners avoid spending large sums on material items and instead buy only the bare minimum, among others.

“I think that living a minimalist lifestyle could be interesting,” said senior Ryan Sun. “It could be a good way to declutter and really get organized before going to college.”

Studies have shown that Americans possess thousands of objects, not all of which may be necessary; according to the LA Times, an average American household consists of 30 thousand objects ranging from paper clips to decor pillows. In a study conducted by Cornell University, professors of psychology Travis J. Carter and Thomas Gilovich that analyzed the correlation between spending, possession and happiness, results showed that people received happiness from spending money and purchasing goods, not in possessing them. This illustrates that many household items are often byproducts of urges to buy objects, regardless of a purpose.


Disorganization constantly bombards one’s brain with stimuli, informing it that something is not finished,” said Dellie Lillard, the founder of Space to Spare, a professional organization service that helps clients find order by working to help free themselves from the clutter in their life.

There are also many other benefits that come with living a simple lifestyle. In addition to improved concentration, individuals also experience a decrease in stress levels, since owning fewer items means that there is less to worry about.

“When someone fully commits to a minimalist lifestyle, which I hope to obtain, I think it strengthens the relationships in someone’s life as well as strengthens other mental aspects,” said sophomore Riti Mital.

Many believe that materialistic goods symbolize a certain level of happiness or success. Though buying more and more may bring momentary happiness, it typically lasts for a brief period of time. According to a study conducted in the 1970’s by Philip Brickman, a professor at Northwestern University, those who had won the lottery were no more happier than those who were only able to meet their basic financial needs.

Minimalism is a lifestyle meant to declutter and free an individual from the materialistic world. By ridding oneself of unused objects, people may see the benefits of minimalism.