10 Reasons Why Minimalism is Growing


“Do you want to change the world? Then change yourself first.” – Sri Chinmoy

I’m around the topic everyday. I blog about minimalism and read blogs about minimalism. I tweet about it and follow others who tweet about it. I have a tumblr blog dedicated to the topic. And I publish a newsletter every other week for influencers desiring to promote simple living. I am very much in-tune with the simplicity/minimalism movement. And the movement is growing… almost everyday.

Luckily, I am not alone in my assessment. Others are also making the same observations (Meet Generation M, The Rising Trend of Minimalist Marketing). New blogs are popping up almost everyday. New books are being written at a furious pace. And more and more people are being attracted to the lifestyle and adopting minimalist principles.

To understand why, consider these 10 Reasons Why Minimalism is Growing:

1. Worldwide Financial Turmoil – Rising unemployment, stagnant wages, and falling stock prices have forced families and individuals to reevaluate their purchases. Many have begun living on tighter budgets. As a result, many consumers are choosing to identify the difference between essential and nonessential purchases.

2. Environmental Concern – Many people are choosing to live a minimalist life out of concern for the environment. They understand that less consumption equals less use of the earth’s natural resources. And they are choosing to make a difference rather than stand idly by on the sidelines.

3. High Levels of Personal Debt – After years and years of living beyond our means, people are beginning to get the picture. Many are wisely choosing to get out from under the crushing weight of debt. The wide-spread popularity of Dave Ramsey and Adam Baker is proof of that growing trend. And as a means to reach that end, people are choosing to buy less and save more. It is a trend that hopefully continues.

4. Increased Global Social Awareness – Injustice, poverty, and malnutrition have always existed. But as new technology has made the world smaller by making global images/news more accessible, our awareness of the disparity has increased. Some are responding to the call and using their finances to make a difference on a global scale by feeding the hungry, providing clean drinking water, fighting back epidemics, and speaking up for the voiceless wherever it is needed.

5. Minimalist Art / Modern Aesthetics – Good art enters the soul and makes new ideas plausible. The term “minimalist art” (first used in 1929) experienced its major growth during the 1960’s and 1970’s when stripping art down to its fundamental features began showing up in painting/sculpting/music. Soon, it transcended into design and architecture and began to define the term: modern design. As a result, it has entered our soul and made the idea of minimalist principles plausible as a lifestyle as well.

6. Personal Computing Advances – Personal computing advances have made minimalism far easier than ever before. Today, computers replace the need for cd’s, dvd’s, paper files, photo albums, calendars, calculator, books, phone books, notebooks, newspapers, etc. The inherent necessity of keeping these physical items in our home is a thing of the past. Thank goodness.

7. The Benefits are Desired Today More than Ever – As our world continues to grow in complexity, there is far greater personal demand for many of the benefits that minimalism offers. Minimalism offers a life with less stress, less distraction, more freedom, and more time. All things that people today are desperately searching for more than ever.

8. More Online Presence – Proponents of the minimalist lifestyle are making it more accessible and attractive to others by writing about their experiences online. Bloggers such as Leo Babauta, Dave Bruno, Colin Wright and Tammy Strobel are making it easier than ever to find advice, encouragement, and inspiration for the minimalist lifestyle.

9. New Lifestyles Are Available Like Never Before – The Internet is making new lifestyles possible. No longer do people have to be tied down to a typical 9-5 job. Darren Rowse makes his living helping others become profitable bloggers. Chris Guillebeau will teach anyone to start their own small business. Countless others are choosing to make their living online. And many of them are choosing minimalism to make these lifestyle choices more accessible. After all, traveling the world becomes much easier when all of your belongings fit into a backpack.

10. The Realization There’s More to Life Than Possessions – Consumerism is alive and well. Advertisers continue to tell us that our next purchase will bring us satisfaction and people continue to believe it. But there is a growing trend of thoughtful people who are beginning to see through the falsehood and challenge this claim. They have tried finding happiness through possessions during the world’s latest economic boom… and have been left unfulfilled. As a result, they are beginning to seek happiness and fulfillment in other places: relationships, social causes, and significance.

In case you are still on the fence concerning the power of living a minimalist life, it may be helpful for you to consider these reasons why minimalism is growing as 10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Minimalist. After all, it only takes one…

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    All of these have crossed my mind at one point or another and the reaction they evoked in me was fear. I would much rather sell my home and rent, and pay down my debt, than to have it taken from me if something were to befall me that would disturb the fragile waters of my paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

    So all of your points in combination with sheer fear have forced me to make some serious changes that will no doubt benefit me in both the short and long term. Luckily, I am 28 with no sigO or kids (well, one furkid) to be responsible for so I am able to implement these changes quickly and without discussion.

    You are absolutely right. People are forced to think of new solutions when they are faced with uncertainty and unrealistic lifestyles with no sustainability. Personally, I think the best solutions are born when we are trapped up against a wall and have to find a way out. Let’s hope we can do it both individually and collectively.

  2. says

    Joshua — Many, many thanks for mentioning The New Pursuit! I am extremely honored. It’s through the inspiration that you and so many others are giving that has allowed me — and so many people — to begin these journeys. Thanks again. Be well!

  3. says

    I hope number 7 is the one that’s driving the uprise of true minimalism right now, and will continue to in the future.

    I wonder sometimes how many people getting into the minimalist movement are doing it out of necessity because of numbers 1 and 3, and as soon as that’s over, will go back to non-simple ways of life…

    • says

      I agree Luke. Some of the reasons listed above have more staying power than others. On the bright side, I do think the minimalist lifestyle has inherent value in itself. And no matter what reason people enter it, they may continue to stay because of the benefits they have experienced even then their income level changes.

  4. says

    These are all great reasons to become minimalist (my reasons were listed too :).

    However, what I love most about the reasons listed and your finding that minimalism is growing at an awesome pace is what it tells about today’s attitudes: minimalism has a lot to do with understanding that there is more to life than stuff and pursuing meaning. So, the fact that minimalism is growing fast tells me that there is still hope for this world: more people are taking life and their part in it more seriously and deciding to live according to what they believe in. And if this is true for all of / a big part of Gen Y, like that first link proposes, it’s awesome.

    On a side note, I just finished reading your book, and I must say I loved it. Like you probably remember from our earlier discussion on RowdyKittens, I had my doubts about what “rational minimalism” means, but (in addition to the discussion) the book changed my mind. Rational minimalism like you describe it has nothing to do with faking it, and everything to do with making minimalism work. Great stuff!

  5. says

    I’ve always liked the idea of minimalism, but struggle with my packrat-ism. My wife is a natural minimalist and helps guide me away from the p-rat.
    This is a great list of reasons, any which by itself would be sufficient to try minimalism. Together, how could one not be interested?

  6. says

    I’m missing one reason and that is the growing need for information management in your personal and professional life. The internet has created an overload of information which is wreaking havoc with the concentration of a lot of people. I am one of them. As a student good concentration equals good grades. I got my concentration back with minimalism by creating an environment with as little distraction as possible. It was only later that I embraced it as a lifestyle.

    • says

      Good point Martijn. I originally had “the need for more focus” as one of my original points, but just decided to fold it into #7. It now reads two words long: less distraction.

  7. says

    Thanks for this. All of those points matter, but for me, it really boils down to removing the clutter and distractions to achieve an inner peace.

    The cool thing is, this is different for everyone…

  8. says

    I’ve struggled with whether to label myself a minimalist — it seems silly when so much of my life is still out of control — but I’m liking the label more everyday.

    Eliminating distractions. That’s what it’s all about for me.

    Gip Plaster
    So Much More

  9. says

    The minimalism movement is really growing at a fast pace! Already crossed the barriers of language. Now there are a few minimalist blogs (like mine) in spanish. Thanks for spreading the power of living a minimalist life.

  10. says

    It’s true, the minimalist movement in the blogosphere has influenced me a great deal, and continues to do so. My interest in living more eco-consciously resonates well with this movement. Minimalist bloggers have definitely planted a seed within me, and for that I am very grateful to the blogosphere. Thank you for your awesome posts.

  11. says

    Thanks for the post Joshua!

    Thanks to bloggers like you, Everett, and Leo, each day I making steps towards a more minimal lifestyle.

    Thank you for sharing your journey!

  12. says

    I agree, that minimalism is good and gaining widespread media. However I think somewhere along the line, minimalism has become a race or competition which I think is wrong and wrote about in my blog.

    Simplicity of minimalism has lost its true message somewhere along the media hype. Just my 2 cents.

  13. says

    This is an excellent list, my number one driving force is the underlying freedom that I hope to gain from exercising the “stuff” demons from my life. I have two kids (10 & 12) and already see the attitudes of obsessive acquiring filter down from parents to kids at this age. 12 year olds who are now on to their 3rd cell phone, 10 year olds with arms full of silly bands. I’m trying to lead by example and show my kids that without the obsessive desire to get more stuff, you have the freedom to live creatively. Anyone want to buy my dvd collection???

  14. Gil says

    Josh..I have a myriad of reasons for adopting the minimalist lifestyle.

    However, from a moral and personal standpoint, shedding things has definitely made me much more aware of the needs of others and in turn, has transformed me into a person with a spirit of giving.

    I am also cognizant how my consumption affects the environment and the effect that said consumption has on my footprint. In reality, it’s not about “me” any longer.

  15. says

    This is a great list! I’m a 15 year old who has recently decided to go simple and minimal. I was greatly inspired by blogs such as yours. If you guys had never started these sites than I would have heard of this thing called “minimalism.” I started my own personal developement/simplicity site to share and document my journey along the way. It’d be awesome if you’d check it out at radicalturtle.com. I’m now getting rid of so much of my stuff that has accumulated over the course of my life and it’s been soothing to say the least.

  16. says

    Great post. I’ve just hit the point where I’m taking minimalism seriously. I’d been following Zenhabits for a while but only recently have I felt the push to finally get rid of my excessive crap! I’m glad I stumbled upon this blog, I’m looovin your writing topics. Good stuff! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  17. peaceseeker says

    I recently took an interest in minimalism and began searching the web. It is a lifestyle I am excited to journey. For one thing, I have recently opened a business, and wanted to be able to spend more quality time with my family, as well as doing things that interested me. I was finding that when i wasn’t working, i was completely stressed about the “stuff” that was flooding my life. It seemed that cleaning was sucking all the fun out of life. I found myself using everybit of spare time, moving “stuff”, cleaning “stuff”, buying “stuff”,
    Needing “stuff”, did i mention Cleaning, cleaning, and stressing abut cleaning. Slowely I am using my spare time to eliminate the “stuff”. It’s been a real eye opening experience, as i feel a sense of freedom i never felt. My hope is not to be an extreme mininimalist (ie. 100 item), but to elimate all clutter, and keep only what i need. To live without distraction. I only wish i did this sooner.

  18. Jan VD M says

    You inspire me to do the same!
    I am on the path of a minimalistic lifesttyle since 2010.
    But, right know I want that more and more.

    I do also write in my own language.
    And it just frees yourself of every bull crap that is on our society.

    Since I follow you on FB, I see the truth in minimalism!

    Thank you very much.
    And may the Lord Bless you and keep you in His presence.


    • Nancy McFall says

      Jan, I’m just writing to let you know that after sitting at my computer and reading all the comments that your’s is the FIRST mention I have seen of our Lord. I was beginning to be concerned. I hope thoughts aren’t removing Him from our mind and life. Please say a little prayer for this concern i’m having. God bless.

  19. Jan VDM says

    Today I gave a bag with fake flowers and plants to my mother.

    I threw a lot of crap away and my parents said, ‘but Jan that is crazy, so I gave my clutter to them, right know I am becoming a real minimalist.
    Also with the helpt of this site!
    I like it!

    I even think about selling my scooter!
    Because I drive like a maniac.
    Had some accidents by falling.

    But the idea by only having my koga trekking bike.
    Just makes me glad.’

  20. says

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic,
    as well as the content!

  21. says

    I agree with all of your points and might add my own. I think when we are able to love ourselves, we realize we don’t need to surround ourselves with STUFF! Clean out the inner baggage and then it’s much easier to clean up the outside. Love your blog.

  22. says

    I completely agree with all the above.

    I might add also the increased Eastern influence (ie Buddhism). My journey into this world has gone hand in hand with my increased minimalism.


  23. Pat says

    I have been a minimalist now for a couple years for most all of the reasons listed above. The bottom line, I have never been more happy. My life is simple, peaceful, serene. I have very little stress and I have the time to do the things I want to do. I am no longer tied to a job. I live well on less than $1000 per month. Instead of constantly working to pay for “stuff”, I have a life. Long story short, I traded my Corvette, Boat, and large house (all with large payments) for an old toyota, a bicycle, a kayak, and a small rv.
    I have bee following Becoming Minimalist and Zenhabits now for sometime now, and i so appreciate the insight and inspiration. It has truly changed my life.

  24. Kathleen says

    I wonder if I may make a slight change to the title of your post — the word “should” is burdensome to those who hear it; perhaps substituting “want” is more motivating; i.e., Ten Reasons You Will Want to Adopt the Lifestyle. The founder of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) Albert Ellis often taught his students not to “should” on themselves, and it is a very effective strategy for behavior change.

  25. says

    I read your book, along with others and felt the necessity to ‘pare it down’. It’s a process, one that needs to be willfully worked on every single day. We sold our home, moved to another (larger) community and are now renting. We are debt free and this Friday is my retirement day. I no longer HAVE to work. I have accepted a part time position where I will be working 5 hrs. a day, four days a week for a nonprofit. For me, becoming minimalist is a process. It helps me ‘breathe’ a cleansing, fresh breath. It isn’t easy. Every thing in our society screams, “more, more!” at us but it does not fulfill our hearts and souls. Thank you for your words and life style.

  26. Dianne M Parker says

    Alas, the Spiritual Aspect is what initially convicted-and, coincidentally-freed me to choose Living Minimalist…I have a long way to go and am still working it into my life, but it does provide a great feeling of freedom, where before there was bondage.

  27. flashwahoo says

    I desperately want to live this lifestyle, but how can I when I have 3 children living at home who are all about stuff? I’m almost 40, and I’m so mentally tired. I feel like all I do is work, even when I’m not at work, I’m working because my husband & I home-school. I wish we could just move out to the woods and live in a tent sometimes. My family won’t go for that as there would be no video games. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated :-)

  28. says

    It took me years to de-clutter—simplify—give away—even throw out—-call it what you want all I know is I feel like the elephant is off my chest—-wasn’t as easy as I thought throw out 1 thing buy 2 more—-it surely is a process—–I can now say my house has truly downsized, no more clutter, no more stuff, and I am currently packing another plastic bin right now…..with no regrets…if I haven’t used it in 1yr. I’m not going to use!!!actually I have changed that rule….not used in 6 months you’re going…I can breathe again :):). Not to mention the money NOT spent….loving your site keeps reminding me to keep it simple

    • Nancy McFall says

      Donna, Getting rid of the things that were a burden to you is a good thing! May I suggest to you that the things you throw away would be gladly accepted at a thrift store. Most of these have a small charge for their customers so they aren’t giving away items which in and of itself can be a problem. I volunteer at a thrift store and I see a real need for this, many people are unable to find employment and being able to purchase clothing, books, etc. for their children and grandchildren at low prices is a tremendous help. God bless you.

  29. 2pts says

    I have been getting into”minimalism” since about 2008 but I didn’t know the word was used to describe it as many bloggers do.

    What forced me to downsize was my parents’ house getting foreclosed during the real estate crisis of 2007-2010. I grew up & lived in this house since 1995. Of course I accumulated a lot of stuff, which 90% was simply loitering in closets and basement.

    When the date was given for us to move out, I really had to get cracking. I ended giving away (recycle and throw in the trash) CDs, DVDs, sports jerseys, books, childhood mementos, …those listed items don’t seem like much but I had an exhaustive collections of those items. My room was small and seemed even smaller because of the shelves were full barely gave room for any1 to walk inside my room.

    When I was done, I was left with 3 suitcases of clothes, 18 books, my 20 favorite movies (20 DVDs), and 7 music CDs. And the thing is I am trying to chip away at this remaining stuff. Losing our house via foreclosure was the best blessing in disguise thus far in my life.

  30. says

    I decided to be a minimalist 11 months ago.
    Your blog is one of a constant reminder for me (I follow your fb).

    You may want to read what minimalism has done to my life in my humble blog..

  31. drucillav@bellsouth vettiner says

    For me the draw has been much more of a spiritual one…As I learned to meditate years ago I found that my time and relationship with Christ was being blocked by my relationship with my possessions. ..When I discovered your blog I found so much information that has helped me take control of my stuff rather than have it control me! Your posts have been invaluable to my ability to turn my life around….several months ago I was able to give a testimony in church as to this lifestyle and mindset change. .I have embraced your desire to equip influencers to change the lives of others….I am preparing a compilation of many of the things I have learned in this regard into a 4 week Bible study entitled…Learning to live with just enough in the land of too much…Thank you for the empowerment to influence others!

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