Essentialism vs Minimalism

Is a shark onesie minimalist? No.
Is it essential? Totally!

There are many ways to live, and for us, we love to keep it simple. Micah and I try to be essentialists. This means we do not own anything that we do not need. Everything has a specific purpose. Nothing in our closets, bags or storage areas is there because “we may need it at some point”.

We only have few possessions. All our clothes, for example, fit inside one backpack, a useful skill acquired from years of continous travel. We are not minimalists, though. We do not downsize just for the sake of downsizing.

Because just like how collecting possessions without sense or reason is ultimately surrendering control over your life to an unconscious reflex, so is minimizing everything just because. This is our subjective experience with it at least.

Our kitchen is a good example. We cook all our meals, mostly plant-based, and we take joy in doing it right. Sometimes this means having several kitchen equipment going like a food processor, crepe maker, panini press, blender, milk wand, and so on. The small appliances in our kitchen alone will not cut it as minimalist but it is sure essentialist. Everything has a specific purpose. And we use our stuff all the time.

So far, trying to set up our lives like this has served us well. Simple, functional, and effective. It certainly helps with making our lives feel spacious and comfortable, despite only having a very limited number of worldly possessions – or perhaps because of it?

The essentialist approach allows us to focus on what matters to us. There is no waste or distraction. No feelings of limitations either. We have all we need and it feels good. After all, a meaningful life is not about having more but finding out what we can do without. It is all about adding value, not having less.

Published by Markus + Micah

We are Markus + Micah. We live in a tiny house by the sea, grow our plants, cook plant-based food, travel, and design wellness retreats and mindful programs so we can all live meaningful lives.

36 thoughts on “Essentialism vs Minimalism

  1. I really appreciate this post. My family and I have been downsizing as we clean out our home and a few times we struggle with why we justify keeping certain things. It’s really been a time of acknowledging why we feel the need to hold on to certain things. Thanks so much for sharing this, I appreciate it!!

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    1. Hello, Bri. Thank you for visiting us. It is good to know you are downsizing. I am sure if you are avle to identify and keep the essentials, all will be well. What kind of stuff are you usually having time letting go?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Like the way you approach the things with so much care, I’am loving your essentialist approach!Informative blog ๐Ÿ’and a lot to learn for me๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ˜„

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    1. Thank you for visiting us. Yes, we find that living with intention helps us to enjoy life more and have more space for each other and the things that matter to us personally. We can all benefit from that, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Yeah ๐Ÿ‘Absolutely ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’forwarding you lots of good wishes, stay safe, stay healthy ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

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  3. Markus + Micah, I really like your essentialist philosophy and find that it really works well for us, too. After traveling the world for years we realized how very little we really needed. And like you we cook most of our meals, so we may have a few specialized kitchen tools. But I must admit we have fun trying to figure out how some tools can do double duty. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for explaining essentialism. All the best, Terri

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  4. I try to buy second-hand or local and natural based alternatives (fibres) to reduce plastic consumption. I usually ask myself if I just want something, or if I NEED it to decide on a purchase. Occasionally Iโ€™ll give in to my wants though, but only if its been something Ive wanted a long time that will improve my life.

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      1. The cheapest isnโ€™t usually the best value either if itโ€™s not going to last. Unfortunately natural fibre clothes like wool are generally much more expensive and harder to find, much like healthy food.

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        1. Agree with natural fibers. Healthy food, not so much, as we found healthy food is actually simpler and more affordable. This is our experience though. Why do you say healthy food is expensive and hard to find?

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          1. Mainly refering to takeaway when out and about. It also can be a challenge avoiding sugar which is often loaded in foods promoted as healthy options.

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            1. Ah yes, eating out in general is more expensive. And I cannot agree more with the extra sugar – if we do not pay attention we end up loading our body with sugar unconsciously, like with plant-based milk or yogurt and so on.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this! I should learn so much from your lifestyle. I try to consume less and less each day, buying only what I need and getting rid of what I don’t. But I’m not there yet. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Lindifique

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    1. Thank you. Buying less is as easy buying more, isnโ€™t it? It is also cleaner inside the house. I am positive you will reach your goals as you have awareness over your habits already. Well done.

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  6. I am not aware of essentialism so reading this made me think. I’m loving this idea!!! In today’s world, it’s so easy to get swayed of wanting to have things that we really don’t need and will just end up on our storage.

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    1. Yes, true! The whole idea is not to get rid of stuff just for the sake of getting rid of it, but to make a conscious decision every time and take responsibility for our choice – whether the choice is to get, keep or remove something.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve made progress, but still have a ways to go, especially with sentimental items that belonged to my parents. You inspire me to continue letting go!

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    1. I understand, but if keeping things that belonged to your parents adds value to you, like you remember them or feel comforted by them, then they are essential. Again, you define what is valuable to you and not chuck things just because you want less stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. love these two lines: “After all, a meaningful life is not about having more but finding out what we can do without. It is all about adding value, not having less.”

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    1. Thank you. It is true, isn’t it? Having more, without thought, leaves us distracted or inundated. Having less, without thought, has us restricted or wanting. But we are okay with the essentials. Our needs are covered. And really, most times, we have more than we think!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the onesie! I like minimalism only in visual aesthetics. But as a lifestyle it feels more like removing stuff instead of adding to it. This essentialist approach makes more sense to me ๐Ÿ’—

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    1. I like minimalist design, too! But you are right, without thought, downsizing can be challenging. Focusing on value though will always work, especially when we are focused and consistent with our values.

      Liked by 1 person

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