8 Minimalist Lifestyles That People Are Living Right Now

When you think of a minimalist what do you think of? You might think of a log cabin in the woods, or you might equally think of a simple life in an apartment, with ample space and minimum possessions. What you probably imagine, is your idealized impression of what minimalism is; perhaps an image of yourself if you were to take your minimalist tendencies to the extreme.

There is no one true image of minimalism. The man in the wood cabin, and the man in the apartment, are both living a minimalist life relative to their situation and perceived life needs.

It is also not too clever to try to pin yourself into a specific category, and to call yourself a certain “type” of minimalist. We are all just people, right?

As a thought experiment, and for entertainment purposes, I tried to think of as many types of minimalism lifestyles that I could. The aim of this is to demonstrate that there is no set image, or set lifestyle, or set way to be a minimalist. There are many ways, and it is up to you to find your own.

Here are some examples of some potential minimalist lifestyles. Which one would suit you best? It’s like a game of top trumps!

1. Life In A Tent

I can start with an example from my own life; perhaps a little extreme for a full time lifestyle. I lived in a small tent for months at a time. I cooked outside with food that I bought, and carried very little other than warmth and survival with me. I spent a lot of time in nature, and not a lot of time with complications and attachments.

Cost: <$5 per day.

Simplicity score: 9/10

Long term likelihood: 3/10

Winter comfort: 1/10

2. The Tiny House Approach

A new minimalism movement has been spreading across the US, known as the tiny house movement. These little living quarters can be conveniently pitched on someone else’s lawn, a small bit of land, and are also mobile. They use a loop-hole in the law, and require no planning permission, no mortgage, and barely any overheads. It is possible to have electricity and hot water installed too. The drawback; well, it’s a tiny house, but if you can live with that it’s a really great possibility for the minimalist, or the person who can’t find their feet on the ever inflating house market. Naturally, the tiny house lends itself to minimalism; you live with less space, and less stuff.

Cost: Often <$10,000 to have them professionally made, much less to build yourself.

Simplicity score: 7/10

Long term likelihood: 8/10 (might be tough with kids.)

Winter comfort: 9/10

3. The Intentional Homeless

This is a real lifestyle and I have met plenty of people myself who are doing it. And yes, they generally seem relatively happy. Free of attachment, and with only bed and board to think about, the intentional homeless can carry out their life in a number of ways, ranging from super-tramp, to hostel hanger, to business man. Take Andrew Hyde for example, who is intentionally homeless and owns only 15 items, but works in New York as a consultant.

Cost: <$1 per day, to <$50 a day

Simplicity score: 6/10

Long term likelihood: 5/10

Winter Comfort: 1-9/10

4. The Digital Nomad Minimalist

A term to describe someone who travels with the aid of online work, the age of the digital nomad is ever growing, and many people take a minimalist approach to it. All you need is some clothes, a sleeping back, your laptop, and your passport.

Cost: <income

Simplicity: 6/10

Long term likelihood: 9/10

Winter comfort: 10/10 (warm countries are never that far away)

5. The Unintentional Minimalist

Some people don’t even try to be minimalists. They have never even considered it. Then one day they hear the concept, and it reminds them of how they already live their lives. Their values already told them that they should live in simplicity, and try to want less.

Cost: Varies

Simplicity: 8/10

Long term likelihood: 9/10

Winter Comfort: Varies

6. The City Flat Minimalist

Huge cities with dense populations are finding more and more ways to fit people into a smaller space, with unique architecture designed to blend room functions, and maximize the space. Some people choose to live in these tiny flats over a bigger home; perhaps for the cheaper overheads, the ability to buy or rent in a desirable area, or because they enjoy simple spaces. Some of the flats are even quite luxurious, despite the fact that the sofa is the bedroom.

Cost: $700 a month for 90 sq ft in Manhattan- average apartment rent $2,500

Simplicity: 5/10

Long term likelihood: 5/10

Winter Comfort: 9/10

7. Smallholdings

Eco-communities and similar projects do still exist, and their aims are very much in line with minimalism. There are also many families who manage to escape to the country. All in all, they want to live in simplicity, farming the land for only what they need, and not asking for much else. Living in this way, eating food straight from the garden and working hard for basic comforts, is a very quick way to  realize the joys of minimalism. It is not always a comfortable life, but it is very simple.

Cost: Can be free, can be overheads of less than $20 a week for basics

Simplicity: 9/10

Long term likelihood: 9/10

Winter comfort: 3/10

8. The Everyday Minimalist

Anyone and everyone can be a minimalist. All that it takes is for you to make healthy reductions to the excess in your life, to find what is real and what is important to you, so that you can live in simplicity. You can still get on with your normal life in the process.

Cost: Less and less everyday.

Simplicity: As simple as life should be

Long term likelihood: 9/10

Winter comfort: 9/10