The Best Books, Apps, and Websites On How To Live A More Minimal Life – The Manual

Whether it’s in the form of Marie Kondo joy-ifying your home, aesthetic-oriented Scandinavian austerity, or selling the majority of your possessions to live tiny and have a lesser impact on the environment, minimalist living is finding a foothold throughout all strata of society. For some, it’s a question of space and decluttering. For some, it’s about the vibe and appearance. And for others, it’s about drastically restructuring your life to extract yourself from the capitalist model, buying way, way less and, in so doing, having a smaller carbon footprint. Living minimally is about living with less, but in so doing, having a more fulfilling, impactful life. 

But if you are considering a switch to minimalism, it can be difficult to know how to start or what to do. These resources can help you get started on your minimalist journey, with advice on everything from decluttering and getting rid of unwanted stuff in your life to how to mentally incorporate minimalism into your shopping, daily routine, and life goals. 

With a documentary, blog, significant social media following, podcast, books, and more, The Minimalists are at the forefront of the minimalism movement here in the States, promoting and bringing attention to the lifestyle and ideology since 2010. After spending their twenties building successful careers and achieving all the lifestyle trappings of such careers, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus realized it didn’t bring them the joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment they thought it would. So they walked away from it all to launch The Minimalist empire, which now has an audience of 20 million. While their books and podcast have plenty of practical tips for downsizing and minimizing, it’s their teachings on the mental and emotional benefits of minimalism that show how to truly embrace the lifestyle. “Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. We focus on making room for more: More time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom … Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things — which aren’t things at all,” they say on their website. Check out the site, The Minimalists, to read their blog articles and learn more. 

Americans love to shop. Heck, most people in the world love to shop. And one of the things we shop for the most? New clothing. Even if we don’t actually need new clothes, we’re all guilty of falling in love with items of clothing that we simply can’t live without. In 2013, Americans bought roughly 63 new items of clothing a year each. And much of this is not fueled by necessity, but by availability, trends, and the low prices of the fast-fashion market. So if you’re trying to go minimal, one area of spending that definitely needs reigning in is clothes shopping.

That’s where Project 333 comes in. This book by Courtney Carver gives readers a minimalist fashion challenge: use only 33 items of clothing in your closet for three months. Over the course of the three months, you’ll see just how versatile and inventive you can be with a limited number of garments at your disposal, and the lessons you learn about investing in a few, high-quality staples that can be used again and again for all kinds of occasions will carry over into your future shopping habits. This book is also part of Carver’s larger Be More With Less minimalism website. The Project 333 book is available for purchase online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and local booksellers; you can also listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. 

You don’t have to look hard or do a deep dive into the world of minimalism to see that most of the influencers occupying that sphere are white. But minimalism is a lifestyle that anyone and everyone can adopt, as the Black Minimalists want to show. Founded by Yolanda Acree, Kenya Cummings, Farai Harreld, and Anekia Nicole, the Black Minimalists offers a blog, podcast, book, and social media pages to share stories about Black people living the minimalist life, as well as a range of tips and advice on how to go minimal yourself. They’ve also launched an e-course if you want to embark on your minimalism journey with a bit more support and feedback. Empowering and educational, the Black Minimalists are a breath of fresh air for the minimalist movement. You can check out their website or social media pages. 

Founded by Joshua Becker, this popular minimalism blog — which sparked several books related to clutter-free living, such as how to outfit a minimalist home and how to live minimal with kids — contains concrete advice on what to physically eliminate from your life and home, but also tips on adopting a minimalist mindset. Living with less is largely a mind-over-matter endeavor, so Becker’s mental health and mindset blog articles talk about ways to train your mind in the ways of minimalism, like decluttering your mental space with less screen time and negative thoughts, and more effectively managing your schedule and commitments. Becoming Minimalist has also launched a course, Uncluttered, that offers 12 weeks of instruction on “owning less and living more,” as well as Clutterfree, a Smartphone app geared toward minimalist home design.

We can’t talk about modern minimalism without talking about Marie Kondo and her signature KonMari method of helping people physically declutter their lives and get organized. Starting with her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which was adapted into a Netflix series, Marie taught readers and viewers how to eliminate unwanted and unneeded items from their homes by asking if the items in question spark joy; if they don’t, get rid of them. While Marie’s particular form of decluttering and organization is grounded in and inspired by her Shinto beliefs, many of her lessons effectively carry over into the realm of minimalism, teaching you how to get rid of unnecessary stuff and have more value and appreciation for the items you choose to keep. So if you’re looking to physically minimize your home and possessions, the KonMari method is a great place to start. 

Featuring stories, narratives, and statements to inspire, educate, and empower you about the minimalist lifestyle, this app is less about steps and guides than it is about contemplating the nature of minimalism through meditative texts and videos. Created by Leo Babauta, the app has different sections of articles and videos that discuss questions central to the idea of living minimally, like, “What are your life requirements?” and how you can let go of unnecessary requirements. Babauta’s minimalist ideology is also rooted in Zen practices and habits, like learning to let go and finding purpose, which connects the concept of minimalism to larger life goals, mental health, and growth. The app is available for free download for both Android and Apple devices. 

If your interest in minimalism is also rooted in achieving a certain look for your home, be sure to check out this design and inspiration resource. Created by The Minimalists, Minimalissimo, and 5 Style, Minimalism Life consists of a popular Instagram account and website that publishes essays geared toward the minimalist lifestyle and mindset. Their essays are available via a free weekly newsletter, discussing topics related to “minimalism as a tool to help you live a simpler life.” This covers everything from Zen home design to mediation practices. And the design and layout of the Instagram and website are pretty soothing as well: The Instagram grid is a neat patchwork of sharp, clean, and uncluttered images and text that is very “in” right now. With the weekly essays encouraging thought and reflection on your minimalism journey, Minimalism Life straddles the divide between the chic, hip attractiveness of minimalism and its real-life mental benefits. 

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