New Minimalism's 11 Principles

Make-up free, slightly sweaty shot of Kyle (L) + me (R) in my living room.  Photo: Ryan.  Triptych: Cam.

Make-up free, slightly sweaty shot of Kyle (L) + me (R) in my living room.  Photo: Ryan.  Triptych: Cam.

What defines the New Minimalism lifestyle?

It’s not a number of things, nor a living situation.  It’s not about how often you practice yoga or how infrequently you need to empty your waste bin (though those things are often correlated).

It’s a mind set.  A way of being.  

New Minimalism believes that our external space reflects our internal state and vice versa. 

We choose to surround ourselves with things that inspire and delight us, to err on the side of donating, to choose lightness, freedom, focus, and experience over stuff.

So who are our followers?

Some live in tiny studios, others are preparing three bedroom homes for a second child. 

Some quit their day jobs and rent out their homes to travel the world .  Others find new energy to recommit to their current work, to dive deeper into their lives. 

And while each person is unique, they all honor the same principles. 

We recently clarified this list of principles and wanted to share it with you (because we are so grateful you're here and we have a feeling you might be/becoming one yourself), below:

New Minimalism's 11 Principles

  1. Be present.  You allow your current situation (home size, body size, income, location, etc.) to dictate your items.  You trust that you’ll continue to have what you need when you need it.
  2. Choose mastery.  You prefer to hone your skills rather than spread yourself too thin.  You know when to outsource.
  3. You have the power over your stuff.  While you respect your things, you are the one in control.  
  4. Embrace open space and blank walls.  Redefine your definition of “full”. 
  5. Our things are not our experiences/relationships.  A memory and an object are two separate things.  Letting go of one doesn’t mean you’ll lose the other.
  6. Allow one to stand for many.  You value quality over quantity.  You know, for example, that one beautiful photo can represent your love of travel. 
  7. Move past the myth of choice.  Excessive choices can leave us paralyzed or dissatisfied.  You understand that creativity flourishes within constraint.
  8. End the cycle of busy.  You take control of your to-do list.  
  9. Have extremely high standards.  Specifically about what is allowed past the threshold of your house.  No more “Oh, this is kinda neat!” or “I can always use another tank top.”  You are supremely selective, a connoisseur of your belongings.
  10. Exercise gratitude. You know that your basic needs are taken care of and you are eternally grateful for that.  
  11. Honor the planet.  You know that we live in a closed-loop system.  Our actions have a ripple effect in our communities and environment, and you use your powers for good. 

Are you a New Minimalist in the making?

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might notice that you already live by several of these principles.  Or, if you’re just getting started, try adopting just one of the principles, perhaps the one that feels the most prickly and challenging to you.  

Even Kyle and I don't have all this down perfectly.  

But perfect isn't the point.  It's about continual movement in the direction that feels best.