The minimalist lifestyle movement has gone mainstream. And millennials seem to be the ones who are most attracted to this simpler way of life.

While most people could never imagine living on a deserted island with the barest of necessities—and would not want to, minimalists eschew the acquisition of lots of things. They believe simplicity — not possessions — is the ticket that leads to happiness.

Trading “Stuff” for Simplicity

minimalist room

Minimalists are more interested in experiences than possessions. They aren’t tempted to “keep up with the Joneses” and believe they can do more with less. As a result, minimalists often find tiny home designs extremely appealing. Before they decide to buy an item and allow it to take up prime real estate inside their home, they first determine if it can pass their smell, or value, test. They may ask questions such as: Is it beautiful? Is it essential? Is it functional?

At the other end of the spectrum are those in the “buy it and keep it forever” camp. When they run out of space for their things, they store them. This mindset has fueled the rise of self-storage units with more than 13.5 million households renting storage space, painting a picture of how much stuff Americans accumulate. According to Statista, the U.S. self-storage industry has an annual revenue of $39.5 billion. Clearly, these individuals do not fit the minimalist definition.

The Incredible Shrinking Lifestyle

tiny house snow

Comparing these two lifestyles may entice some homeowners to jump onto the minimalist bandwagon, as it seems like a decision that would promote well-being. Mental health studies indicate that living in a cluttered home elevates anxiety. Clutter screams disarray and dysfunction, while tidy, organized rooms whisper serenity. Procrastination is a beast, and the temptation to leave the chaos alone until a later date often wins. Minimalists can usually wrestle this temptation into submission as there’s not as much stuff that needs a home within a tiny home. Consequently, they have the freedom to invest their time, energy, and attention on things that matter most to them.  

Peace of Mind Over Matter

Making the minimalist transition takes far more than a robust spring cleaning; it’s a complete lifestyle transformation and you need to prepare to live in a tiny home. So what are the benefits, other than ridding your home of things that are only collecting dust? Let’s examine some pros and cons to help you determine if you can make the switch.

  1. Advantages of the Minimalist LifestyleCleaning is a breeze. You have fewer dust-collecting surfaces that demand your attention. What may have consumed an entire Saturday may now only take 10-15 minutes.
  2. Tidy tiny home. The minimalist-designed home is much easier to maintain, with much less clutter, giving you a sense of inner tranquility.
  3. Eco-friendly. You can derive great satisfaction in reducing your carbon footprint. And less square footage translates into lower utility bills.
  4. Affordably priced. Living with less puts less strain on the digital wallet. You can reallocate money not spent on the home, or steep property taxes, to traveling the world.
  5. Minimal home upkeep. Tiny homes have fewer features and fixtures that need repair or have tiny yards that don’t take long to maintain.
  6. Utopian hideaway. You’ll be energized by living simpler and have all the “me time” you need to fuel your creativity. 

Disadvantages of the Minimalist Lifestyle

  1. Fear of missing out. If you are accustomed to enjoying a vibrant social life, this adaptation may be too much of a radical move. A tiny home may not be conducive for entertaining or hosting a holiday feast.
  2. Restriction on house guests. When you downsize to a tiny home with 500-600 square feet, some people may feel uncomfortable visiting you. Thus, the lack of space could limit your personal interactions.
  3. Tough on families. Children may not be fans of this lifestyle. Consider how a tiny home could impact a birthday or slumber party. Also, children tend to be attached to toys and may be unwilling to part with them.
  4. It’s not yet socially acceptable. History reminds us that society frowns on countercultural movements; people who prefer the traditional lifestyle think you should too. Be prepared to hear a chorus of disapproving voices.
  5. Social isolation. If your network of friends clings to the traditional lifestyle, these relationships could dissolve. Most people enjoy having something in common with those they associate with.
  6. Restrictive, cramped home workouts. If you have been accustomed to strength training with bulky home gym equipment, you’ll need to make other arrangements to stay fit.
  7. Harder to receive your mail. One thing tiny homeowners often forget is how they are going to receive mail at their tiny house, this is something to consider before taking the plunge.

The minimalist lifestyle isn’t a magic bullet that delivers instant utopia. But if you’re looking to make a change in how you live, it’s a mindset that could lead to deeper life experiences.

The 19th-century poet and essayist Henry David Thoreau tested the minimalist waters when he built a tiny cabin from recycled materials on property owned by his friend and fellow poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Walden, Thoreau’s home for the next 26 months, is the refuge where he wrote some of his most memorable works. The contributions he made may not have occurred without that temporary transformation. Homeowners leaning toward the minimalist lifestyle may think they must make a hard choice between an eco-friendly home or one that sizzles with style. The truth is you can have both. Browse through the Tiny Home blogs on NewHomeSource and explore the multitude of options available.

About the Author, Kathy Pierce

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