The Difference Between Minimalism and Simple Living

If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile, you’ve noticed that I have a few eBooks for sale on the right side of this site about minimalist living and simplicity. If you’ve read my About page, you’ve also noticed that this blog is a collision of 3 things that I’m most interested in – one of them being simple living.

I am not a minimalist though it is very appealing to me. I do strive to live simply.

What’s the difference? That’s a good question. If you google “difference between minimalism and simple living” you’ll find some good blog posts about it.

I’ve already done some of the work for you. You’ll see it at the end of this post.

The difference between minimalism and simple living are subjective. There are various definitions out there. Simply put (pun intended), I would define them like this:

  • Simple living is frugal (but not cheap), thoughtful, and uninhibited by commercialism.
  • Minimalism is extreme simple living where only absolute necessities are required.

Maybe this will help:

A “simplist” buys a good used Toyota even though they can afford a new Lexus.
A minimalist rides public transportation or a bike.

A simplist buys a push lawn mower instead of a self-propelled mower.
A minimalist doesn’t have a yard.

A simplist has one set of china instead of an everyday set and a set of fine china.
A minimalist has one plate, one fork, one spoon, one knife, one glass, and one bowl.

A simplist has a house full of family heirlooms and hand-me-downs instead of the latest furniture styles from Havertys.
A minimalist has one chair.

A simplist doesn’t have to buy clothes from the trendiest store at the mall.
A minimalist buys clothes from Goodwill.

A simplist has a small house compared to the rest of the community.
A minimalist has an extremely small house – if at all. (See my friend Tammy’s new house.)

A simplist doesn’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses.
A minimalist doesn’t either.

Here are links to some articles about the difference between minimalism and simple living:

Confusing Minimalism with Frugality

On Minimalism

Simple Living vs Minimalism

Minimalism vs Simplicity

Musings on Minimalism

You may also be interested in A Guy Named Dave: The 100 Things Challenge

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6 Responses to “The Difference Between Minimalism and Simple Living”

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  2. Rachel says:

    I love this, especially,

    “A simplist has a house full of family heirlooms and hand-me-downs instead of the latest furniture styles from Havertys.
    A minimalist has one chair.”

    I live a simple life, but can’t relate to the minimalist ideal of having very few things. I’m not buying stuff, but do I also need to get rid of all the stuff I already have? You’ve expressed of how I feel about it very well.

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  1. [...] One of the things I like to read and write about it is typically categorized as simple living. Simple living, simplicity, or the more extreme movement called minimalism, is the idea of not allowing material things to bind us or slow us down. (See this post about the difference between minimalism and simple living.) [...]

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