Minimalism vs. Simplicity

Minimal: an adjective

  • “Barely adequate or the least possible.”

Minimalism: a noun

  • “A trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.”
  • “An avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases that change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.”


Simple: an adjective

  • “Easy to understand, deal with and use.”
  • “Not elaborate or artificial, plain.”
  • “Not ornate or luxurious, unadorned.”
  • “Unaffected, unassuming, modest.”
  • “Not complicated, complex or compound.”

Simplicity: a noun

  • “The state or quality of being simple.”
  • “A thing that is plain, natural or easy to understand.”
  • “The absence of luxury, pretentiousness or ornaments; plainness.”


In our culture many people use the terms simplicity and minimalism interchangeably.  By looking at the definitions of these words, this is not accurate.  Leading a minimal life (barely adequate, least possible) doesn’t sound like much fun…or very easy…it sounds a bit like living in a refugee situation.

What I desire is a simple life.  A life that is not controlled by stuff and the pursuit of more, but a life that enjoys what I’ve been blessed with and holds all things loosely.  A life of generosity with my possessions but also with my time and my emotions.  I don’t want to feel so busy taking care of my things that I don’t have time for relationships or for enjoying the things that I do have.  I want to use the things I do have to enhance relationships.  I want to feel like I have the time to make an impromptu stop at a park for an hour of play, to say “yes” to a playing baseball in the yard, and to read an extra chapter or book (or three!).

To have the time and freedom to do these things, I need to have my routines and systems in place that make my life easier and simpler.  When something is a part of a routine or system, the less I have to think about it and the more quickly and easily it gets done.  The house is always clean (enough) for drop-in guests; I always have enough food on hand for last minute hospitality; there is always a clean pair of socks and underwear each morning.

Developing systems and routines to make your life easier takes some thought…what works for me may not work for you…and what works for one person in blogland may not work for me.  But by looking at the systems and routines of others, I gain ideas and am able to better think through solutions that will work for me.

What is one area of life that you desire to make more simple?

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