minimalist essentials

Minimalist Essentials – It’s Not What You May Expect

You might be thinking, “Oh, minimalist essentials? 

Must be another article telling me to toss out half my wardrobe and live with just five T-shirts!” 

Well, not so fast…Minimalism isn’t just about ditching items; it’s about enriching our lives in unexpected ways and not only your physical spaces. 

In this article, I will dive into “Minimalist Essentials” and unveil that it’s not all about owning fewer shoes but perhaps about dancing more in the ones you’ve got.

I will discuss…

  • What are minimalist essentials?
  • 18 Types of Minimalist Essentials
  • No cookie-cutter minimalist essentials list
  • Instead: a strategy to find the minimalist essentials you need


What Are Minimalist Essentials?

Did you expect to get a list of a hundred or more essential items you need as a minimalist?

I will come to that, but it’s just one tiny part of minimalist essentials. 

It doesn’t make much sense to give you another list with more clutter when it’s not tailored to your situation.

So what, then, are minimalist essentials?

When we talk about “Minimalist Essentials,” we’re essentially diving into different spheres of our lives where minimalist principles can be applied. 

And this is much more than just the physical world with cluttered spaces.

Here’s a more comprehensive breakdown of 18 types of minimalist essentials…


18 Types of Minimalist Essentials

1) Physical Essentials

Basics First: A focus on only what’s necessary for day-to-day living, from clothing to kitchenware.

Quality Over Quantity: Choosing durable, timeless items rather than disposable and fleeting ones.

Functional Items: If it doesn’t serve a purpose in your life now, it doesn’t belong.


2) Digital Essentials

Streamlined Devices: Keeping only necessary apps, organizing files, and regular digital detoxes.

Limiting Distractions: Tools and techniques to maintain focus in an age of constant notifications.


3) Emotional & Social Essentials

Quality Relationships: Prioritizing meaningful, positive relationships over a wide circle of acquaintances or even toxic ones.

Mindful Commitments: Engaging in activities and commitments that genuinely resonate with your values and interests.


4) Financial Essentials

Mindful Consumption: Reflecting before purchasing. Does it add value? Is it necessary?

Simplified Finances: Streamlining accounts, focusing on savings, and avoiding unnecessary expenditures.


5) Work and Productivity Essentials

Focused Tasks: Zeroing in on tasks that align with goals, trimming the excess.

Organized Workspaces: Maintaining a clutter-free space for optimal focus and efficiency.


6) Lifestyle & Leisure Essentials:

Intentional Activities: Choosing hobbies and pastimes that genuinely bring joy and fulfillment.

Sustainable Choices: Aligning purchases and habits with environmental consciousness.


7) Design & Aesthetic Essentials

Less is More: Minimal decor, neutral palettes, and functional design elements in homes and other spaces.

Space and Harmony: Emphasizing open spaces, harmony, and balance in personal and public areas.


8) Physical Fitness & Health

Essential Workouts: Focusing on exercises that deliver the most benefit for overall health and fitness.

Nutrition: Prioritizing whole foods and eliminating unnecessary dietary excesses or fads.


9) Business Essentials

Streamlined Operations: Optimizing processes and getting rid of redundant tasks or systems.

Focused Goals: Setting clear, concise business objectives without spreading resources thin.


10) Travel Essentials

Light Packing: Taking only what’s needed and opting for versatile items.

Meaningful Destinations: Prioritizing experiences and places that offer deeper connections over touristy, checklist spots or that Instagrammable spot in Bali that you can rent just to take your flex photos.


11) Mindset & Spirituality

Mindfulness Practices: Meditation, journaling, or any practice that fosters a clear mind and present-moment awareness.

Clear Intentions: Living life with purpose and a clear understanding of personal values.


12) Aging & Life Phases

Simple Routines: Establishing easy-to-follow routines for health and wellness that suit each life phase.

Intentional Reflection: Embracing each stage of life with gratitude and understanding.


13) Cuisine & Diet

Whole Foods: Prioritizing natural, unprocessed foods.

Simplified Meals: Recipes with fewer ingredients that are nutritious and tasty.


14) Educational Essentials

Focused Learning: Prioritizing subjects or skills of genuine interest or relevance.

Clutter-free Study: Creating a distraction-free environment for optimal learning.


15) Entertainment Essentials

Selective Media Consumption: Choosing quality over quantity in movies, books, music, games, and other media.

Mindful Gaming: Prioritizing games or apps that stimulate the mind or offer genuine relaxation.


16) Personal Growth & Development Essentials

Goal Prioritization: Setting a few meaningful minimalist goals rather than a list of resolutions.

Continuous Reflection: Regularly checking in with oneself to ensure alignment with core values.


17) Spiritual Practices

Simplified Rituals: Engaging in meaningful spiritual practices without elaborate rituals.

Intentional Worship: Focusing on the core of one’s spiritual beliefs and practices.


18) Parenting Essentials

Essential Play: Encouraging kids to value and use a limited set of toys to foster creativity.

Focused Activities: Engaging in meaningful activities with kids, emphasizing quality time.


No Cookie-Cutter Minimalist Essentials List…

As you can see above, minimalist essentials are spread across multiple live areas, and physical essentials, as often written in articles, are just a tiny part.

Why is it now the wrong approach to give you, for instance, a longer list of minimalist essentials for your physical spaces (e.g., your living room, kitchen, etc.)?

As I said at the beginning, it’s highly individual, and I don’t know your unique life situation.

The next best approach would be to assume a particular live situation.

What’s that?

For instance, I assume you own a house, have two kids, a car, a dog, and a day job.

Based on that, I would prepare a list of minimalist essentials focused on physical essentials.

Then, everybody else who rents has only one kid, has a cat, and is an independent contractor would be excluded from all the other thousands of combinations, not even factoring in all the other live areas outside physical spaces.


Instead: A Strategie to Find the Minimalist Essentials You Need

minimalist essentials

I prefer to give you a strategy you can apply to your situation, which considers more life areas than just physical spaces.

But how do you find out which minimalist essentials you need?

I think it’s not the best way to approach by wondering, “Where could I benefit from minimalism principles in my life?”.

While this is not a wrong question, you could also approach this with a 180° perspective from a maximalism point of view.


Applying minimalism can especially help when you suffer in some way or form from the harmful effects of Maximalism.

So, you just need to search for areas where Maximalism affects you negatively.

Helping you with that, I prepared a list of approaches and questions you can ask yourself to identify these live areas.

1) Physical Spaces

  • Maximalism Trap: Overflowing closets, overstocked kitchens, and endless gadgets.
  • Approach: Basics first, focusing on functionality and durability.
  • Question: Do I use this often enough to warrant its space in my life?


2) Digital Spaces

  • Maximalism Trap: 1000+ unread emails, countless apps, toxic social media, and never-ending notifications.
  • Approach: Digital decluttering and managing distractions.
  • Question: Does this digital item/tool improve my life, consume my time, and make me feel bad?


3) Emotional & Social Life

  • Maximalism Trap: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), toxic relationships, and overwhelming social obligations.
  • Approach: Quality over quantity in relationships and commitments.
  • Question: Does this relationship or commitment uplift me or drain me?


4) Financials

  • Maximalism Trap: Impulse buying and complex financial webs.
  • Approach: Mindful spending and financial simplicity.
  • Question: Will this purchase bring lasting value to my life?


5) Work and Productivity 

  • Maximalism Trap: Endless to-do lists and a desk buried under paperwork.
  • Approach: Streamlining tasks and maintaining organized workspaces.
  • Question: Is this task/work environment promoting my highest productivity?


6) Lifestyle & Leisure 

  • Maximalism Trap: Overbooked weekends and unsustainable consumption habits.
  • Approach: Choosing intentional activities.
  • Question: Does this activity align with my true interests and values?


7) Design & Aesthetics

  • Maximalism Trap: Overdecorated spaces that feel claustrophobic.
  • Approach: Embracing less is more and focusing on harmonious designs.
  • Question: Does this design or item in my space bring peace or chaos?


8) Physical Fitness & Health

  • Maximalism Trap: Fitness fads, overcomplicated diets, overtraining, and/or feeling fatigued all the time.
  • Approach: Simplified, effective workouts and whole food nutrition.
  • Question: Is this health routine sustainable and beneficial in the long run?


9) Business 

  • Maximalism Trap: Trying to be everywhere and do everything in business.
  • Approach: Streamlined operations and targeted business goals (e.g., minimalist goal setting).
  • Question: Is this business strategy/task driving me towards my main objectives?


10) Travel  

  • Maximalism Trap: Overpacked suitcases and overly ambitious itineraries.
  • Approach: Packing essentials and focusing on meaningful destinations.
  • Question: Will this enhance my travel experience or complicate it?


11) Mindset & Spirituality

  • Maximalism Trap: Jumping between multiple mindset trends without depth.
  • Approach: Consistent mindfulness practices and living with clear intentions.
  • Question: Does this practice/belief genuinely resonate with my core?


12) Aging & Life Phases

  • Maximalism Trap: Clinging to past routines or fearing future life phases.
  • Approach: Adaptable routines and embracing each life stage.
  • Question: Is this habit/routine serving my current life phase?


13) Cuisine & Diet

  • Maximalism Trap: Overstuffed pantries and overcomplicated meals.
  • Approach: Prioritizing whole foods and simple recipes.
  • Question: Is this food nourishing me or just pleasing my palate momentarily?


14) Education 

  • Maximalism Trap: Enrolling in countless courses or hoarding books without reading them.
  • Approach: Focused learning and optimal study environments.
  • Question: Am I genuinely interested in this, or just trying to fill a void?


15) Entertainment

  • Maximalism Trap: Endless binge-watching or gaming marathons without satisfaction.
  • Approach: Selective media consumption and meaningful gaming.
  • Question: Does this entertainment genuinely enrich or relax me?


16) Personal Growth & Development

  • Maximalism Trap: Overwhelming self-improvement plans with no follow-through.
  • Approach: Prioritized goals and regular self-reflection (see also minimalist goal setting 
  • Question: Is this goal aligned with my core values and current life situation?


17) Parenting

  • Maximalism Trap: Overwhelming kids with toys and activities.
  • Approach: Valuing essential play and quality time.
  • Question: Does this foster creativity and bonding in my child?



This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.