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#1 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 04:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there a difference between the two words? I have been thinking about this as my family have been on a simplicity pathway for the last two/three years and I wonder if for me, personally,  I'm moving towards minimalism in the way I would like to live. So that got me thinking about the terms 'simplicity' and 'minimalism' and wondering if they were different or the same thing!


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#2 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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I don't know but I sure wish I could achieve one or the other! :)  Progress progress.


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#3 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Yes, I could argue there is a difference. This is my entirely personal and subjective impression, so I'm sure that others will disagree. I think minimalism focuses on the fundamentals and suggests eliminating to bare essentials. I don't think simple living suggests the same degree of almost ascetic living, foregoing comfort and pleasure in favour of austerity.

 

For example, in the extreme minimal kitchen, there would be one or two knives instead of a full set and a food processor and a blender and mini-chopper. To me, simplicity has an element of easiness and casual living that would make room for the blender.

 

I honestly don't think it matters much though.  There is a big overlap between minimalism and simplicity. I don't think it would be confusing to use them as synonyms.

 

 

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Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

I don't know but I sure wish I could achieve one or the other! :)  Progress progress.


Thank you, you made me laugh (after a difficult afternoon!)
 

 


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#5 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Yes, I could argue there is a difference. This is my entirely personal and subjective impression, so I'm sure that others will disagree. I think minimalism focuses on the fundamentals and suggests eliminating to bare essentials. I don't think simple living suggests the same degree of almost ascetic living, foregoing comfort and pleasure in favour of austerity.

 

For example, in the extreme minimal kitchen, there would be one or two knives instead of a full set and a food processor and a blender and mini-chopper. To me, simplicity has an element of easiness and casual living that would make room for the blender.

 

I honestly don't think it matters much though.  There is a big overlap between minimalism and simplicity. I don't think it would be confusing to use them as synonyms.

 

 



Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I think I might be moving more towards minimalism then, as I am getting the home back to real, super basics (eg the mini chopper, egg cooker, etc are going and we are having a bowl/plate/cup/knife/fork per person) I agree,it doesn't really matter...my MIL kept calling me a 'minimalist' & I kept thinking, am I? LOL

 


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#6 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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I was thinking about this recently, as I have read "Organized Simplicity" and "Miss Minimalist" again over the past month.

 

I think ollyoxenfree said it best with the example about one knife vs. a whole set of knives, paring down vs. asceticism -- I was wondering if I was a minimalist, but then I decided I am not.  I have more than one set of sheets per bed, for example, but I do keep them all in one spot in the house and organized by color and size, and I "declutter" the linens if I realize I have too many more than I actually need.

 

I think there is a difference, and once you decide that you don't want to be surrounded by out-of-control stuff, you sort of decide which road you're going down:  simplicity vs. minimalism.  I think one can choose simplicity without being a minimalist, but I suppose that if one is a minimalist, it's automatically simplicity as well.  ;)


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#7 of 23 Old 09-08-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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I think, there is a difference as well, but my opinion is different from  those previously stated.

 

I usually think of minimalism as a "style" - coming from the modernist tradition of Mies Van der Rohe, the Bauhaus, etc., maybe also informed by what people may call a "Zen aesthetic"  Lots of empty space and everything put away in cupboards. So, in my mind, a "minimalist" house or look is quite bare, but not necessarily *simple*. For example, a minimalist house may have all of the curtains and lights and HVAC controlled via elaborate electronics and automata. A minimalist may buy and throw out lots of things, keeping what is in their possession at a given time pared down (or looking pared down), but with a lot of flow-through.

 

To me,  simplicity is more of a philosophical approach or even religious approach - trying not to be wasteful, not acquiring for the sake of acquiring, but also not holding onto things too much either.It's the approach that acknowledges that possessions are burdens and balancing that with a joy and appreciation of creation.   To me it encompasses eating simply, dressing simply, celebrating simply. It is trying to live not elaborately, not seeking luxury, high style, or the latest "it" thing.

 

It's not a position of disdain, but of just thinking that beyond supplying for our basic needs, caring too much about food & drink and clothes, etc, is just rather  trivial. But then I laugh at myself and remember a line from a Georgette Heyer novel where the heroine is told another woman believes that there are far more important things to think about than dresses and she answers "Yes, of course, but not when you are dressing for dinner".

 

So about cooking knives - I have about 6 and use them regularly for different procedures - the chopper I use for dismembering a chicken is not useful for slicing bread. The bread-knife is not so good for peeling fruit, etc.  However, I don't have an electric mixer, because all the mixing I need to do, or beating egg whites, can be done by hand  - I don't need it. If I did a lot of cooking that required mixing and egg white or  cream beating, then it might be a "simple" choice to acquire one to avoid repetitive stress injury (and then maybe throw away the whisk).

 

Then beyond general "simplicity" is asceticism  - living like a monk or a nun, or a Shaker.

 

But, all of the above may be just a justification of my own prejudices and beliefs.

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Originally Posted by skreader View Post

I think, there is a difference as well, but my opinion is different from  those previously stated.

 

I usually think of minimalism as a "style" - coming from the modernist tradition of Mies Van der Rohe, the Bauhaus, etc., maybe also informed by what people may call a "Zen aesthetic"  Lots of empty space and everything put away in cupboards. So, in my mind, a "minimalist" house or look is quite bare, but not necessarily *simple*. For example, a minimalist house may have all of the curtains and lights and HVAC controlled via elaborate electronics and automata. A minimalist may buy and throw out lots of things, keeping what is in their possession at a given time pared down (or looking pared down), but with a lot of flow-through.

 

To me,  simplicity is more of a philosophical approach or even religious approach - trying not to be wasteful, not acquiring for the sake of acquiring, but also not holding onto things too much either.It's the approach that acknowledges that possessions are burdens and balancing that with a joy and appreciation of creation.   To me it encompasses eating simply, dressing simply, celebrating simply. It is trying to live not elaborately, not seeking luxury, high style, or the latest "it" thing.

 

It's not a position of disdain, but of just thinking that beyond supplying for our basic needs, caring too much about food & drink and clothes, etc, is just rather  trivial. But then I laugh at myself and remember a line from a Georgette Heyer novel where the heroine is told another woman believes that there are far more important things to think about than dresses and she answers "Yes, of course, but not when you are dressing for dinner".

 

So about cooking knives - I have about 6 and use them regularly for different procedures - the chopper I use for dismembering a chicken is not useful for slicing bread. The bread-knife is not so good for peeling fruit, etc.  However, I don't have an electric mixer, because all the mixing I need to do, or beating egg whites, can be done by hand  - I don't need it. If I did a lot of cooking that required mixing and egg white or  cream beating, then it might be a "simple" choice to acquire one to avoid repetitive stress injury (and then maybe throw away the whisk).

 

Then beyond general "simplicity" is asceticism  - living like a monk or a nun, or a Shaker.

 

But, all of the above may be just a justification of my own prejudices and beliefs.


Thank you for taking the time to think this through, I am finding all these answers so interesting! And thank you for explaining what 'asceticism' meant - I was too embarrassed to ask! In your eyes I think I would be a mix of both, as simplicity is a way of life for me (I don't 'shop' anymore until something is worn out or really actually 'needed', I actually don't like to shop, it stresses me out now) and also I like the 'pared down' look in my home, clean, clear surfaces and the things we do own away in cupboards (And I have been decluttering those cupboards since January, I keep peeling away the layers slowly!)
 

 


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#9 of 23 Old 09-09-2011, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post

I was thinking about this recently, as I have read "Organized Simplicity" and "Miss Minimalist" again over the past month.

 

I think ollyoxenfree said it best with the example about one knife vs. a whole set of knives, paring down vs. asceticism -- I was wondering if I was a minimalist, but then I decided I am not.  I have more than one set of sheets per bed, for example, but I do keep them all in one spot in the house and organized by color and size, and I "declutter" the linens if I realize I have too many more than I actually need.

 

I think there is a difference, and once you decide that you don't want to be surrounded by out-of-control stuff, you sort of decide which road you're going down:  simplicity vs. minimalism.  I think one can choose simplicity without being a minimalist, but I suppose that if one is a minimalist, it's automatically simplicity as well.  ;)


I love your last sentence, so well said! Thank you!
 

 


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#10 of 23 Old 09-09-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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Simplicity to me means easy living, relaxing, and going with the flow.

IMO, Minimalism to me is more of a to do list. Must get rid of this, must get rid of that, how does this look, how does this fit into my life? Must have only one, can't get that, too much color, must be beige, must be wooden, must be all natural. (I'm exaggerating). lol.gif

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#11 of 23 Old 09-09-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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I have the minimal amount of things I need to live simply. :)

 

Minimalism conjures up thoughts of a particular style of a home/trendy lifestyle, or living without for the sake of being minimalistic, in a deprived state.

Simplicity makes me think of feeling satisfied, cozy, worn in/worn out, loved, appreciated.

 

Although, I do tend towards being minimalistic in terms of "stuff", my values line up with living simply.

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#12 of 23 Old 09-09-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Yes! nod.gif My two favorite words are simplicity and cozy.

[quote name="MonkeyPrincess" url=
Simplicity makes me think of feeling satisfied, cozy, worn in/worn out, loved, appreciated.

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#13 of 23 Old 09-13-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I agree completely with some of the previous posters...simplicity, I know many people who I do a lot of things in a rather simple way however I am no longer a minimalist.  Back when it was just my dh and I in this house I would most definitely say that people would have said off the bad that our lifestyle was rather/extremely minimalist...however, now that I have a houseful of kids...well no matter how little stuff I have it doesn't seem 'minimalist' anymore.  

 

And, sure I'm pretty simple with stuff too...no 'baby furniture', crunchy, etc.  Just adding a houseful of kids (and soon to be a relative) I think has taken away the feeling of minimalism.

 

And, hey...maybe the whole aspect of having a lot of kids makes things not so simple anymore either....hmmm...there's another thread somewhere in this post lol.

 


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Simplicity to me means easy living, relaxing, and going with the flow.

IMO, Minimalism to me is more of a to do list. Must get rid of this, must get rid of that, how does this look, how does this fit into my life? Must have only one, can't get that, too much color, must be beige, must be wooden, must be all natural. (I'm exaggerating). lol.gif

Nah, actually I don't think you're exaggerating much... you kind of described us and we consider ourselves minimalists.  Simple colors:  earth tones. All natural (real) wood (not veneers).  It's not necessarily a to-do list, though.  We simply don't bring things in that are not necessary, so there is no "getting rid" to be done.  "Can't get that" really, for me is "Don't want that, don't need that".  (I hate shopping, though.)  Still, we are very relaxed in our home and things like couches and chairs and beds are all very comfy and inviting.  I also like low light and have a lot of candles, so it's really very cozy in our home in spite of being minimalist.  Even in its worst condition, we're never more than about 30 minutes to an hour from being completely clean and company ready.  Most of the time, we're either in that condition or just minutes from that.  Minimalism means it doesn't take much to put things where they belong because there is a place to put everything away. 

 

But we live simply, too.  We are frugal, try to be good stewards of the earth, garden, make our own soap, seek local sources of food, can, preserve in other ways, repurpose things in our home, reduce redundancy, and don't overschedule ourselves.  I think people's lives are so hectic that they end up taking shortcuts (like getting drive-thru instead of cooking) or that their lives get overwhelming (what to wear... because I have 20 different dresses that all look almost identical) and that is the antithesis of simplicity, IMO.
 

 

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This is the best part of minimalism.

[quote name="velochic" url="/I also like low light and have a lot of candles, so it's really very cozy in our home in spite of being minimalist.  Even in its worst condition, we're never more than about 30 minutes to an hour from being completely clean and company ready.  Most of the time, we're either in that condition or just minutes from that. 

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#16 of 23 Old 09-14-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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 We simply don't bring things in that are not necessary, so there is no "getting rid" to be done. 

 

 


 

This is the part that I truly do not get.

 

Because we all grow and change, esp. the kids but even the adults, there are things that are necessary (or at least very wanted) at one point but not again later. With our kids with is esp. true with everything from clothes, to toys, to books. They are teens now and have gone through a lot of stuff. Some of it we've bought, but a lot we haven't. They MAKE tons of stuff. They are given stuff. Stuff just flows to them without me ever entering a store. The amount of hand made pottery in our house is amazing.

 

My DH and I change interests over the years. We just did a massive book decluttering of books that really meant a lot to us at one point, but no longer do. His job moves us around, and we recently decluttered a bunch of stuff for a completely different climate than where we live now (and plan to be for at least the next 5 years).

 

So I just don't get it.

 

I don't understand the minimalism thing while raising children. There have been times we NEEDED all the extra towels because there was a crises.There have been days I didn't feel well so the dishes piled up. I can't image how much more difficult it would have been without several dishes per person. It's one thing if you have 2 adults, but with children?

 

I just don't get it.

 

(but I think your home sound lovely!)

 

Our home has tidy closets and clean flat surfaces.  But I have to keep getting rid of things to keep it that way.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#17 of 23 Old 09-14-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Well, of course there are things related to children that come in to a home and go out when they outgrow them.  We know that those are here for a temporary amount of time, but they will be replaced by new things.  Everything should have a place, though, and you simply replace them... not buy new for the sake of having something new.  Just like when our clothes get worn out, we replace them. Toys get replaced as they grow.  Craft hobbies get replaced.  The key is replacing them, though.   I'm talking about not buying unnecessary extras... those things that come into a home with people thinking they are going to be used and end up in a corner unused for ages and then finally "gotten rid of".  Like too many clothes or shoes.  Like small appliances.  Tools.  The point is that there is a place for everything and when you need to REPLACE an item, it's truly replaced and the old item is not retained.  The new item takes its place and you don't suddenly have an extra item wondering where there is a place for it. 

 

But of course there will be things that enter the home that are necessary for a short amount of time.  My mother lives with us and was needing a walker for a while.  We knew it would be for a short period of time so we borrowed because we knew it was temporary.  However she is now in need of an adult bedside commode.  That will be permanent until she passes on.  We are buying that.  But it is necessary... not something bought on a whim that we wonder where we might put it.  And we will certainly "get rid" of it when we no longer need it.

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#18 of 23 Old 09-14-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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I've done better on this at times, and worse at other times. Part of the problem for me has been the frequent moves -- because sometimes NOTHING has a space!  Once I get a home truly organized, I can keep it that way fairly easily (though it does take on-going effort for me in a way that does not feel natural to me).

 

One thing I've noticed in my ebbing and flowing with this issue is that I naturally feel less to desire to purchase things when everything is organized and decluttered. When things are a bit of a mess and I am out I can see something and think it's cute, my child would like it, blah blah blah, and then buy it. When my home is already together, my mind immediately goes to where the item will be stored, how it fits in with other things (or not), it is replacing something, whether or not it is needed.  Having my home together shifts my thinking about new things. I don't want anything to enter my home that will mess up my hard won organization! I also look at things in stores, and wonder how long my family would enjoy them before they ended up being donated somewhere.

 

I think some people are more naturally organized, and I think that for a lot of people, how they were raised plays a role. My mother never gets rid of anything. I do, but it feels unnatural to me.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#19 of 23 Old 09-15-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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My sister is a minimalist, bare essentials, just what you need and no clutter. She likes what she likes and is happy to let you know that the item you gave her is now donated to a better cause. It is just who she is.


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#20 of 23 Old 09-27-2011, 07:10 PM
 
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It's kind of sad to see the minimalist lifestyle so misunderstood here.  It's not at all about deprivation and bareness and blah, and it's not necessarily the same word you think of in interior design magazines.. minimalist decor is not necessarily minimalist lifestyle, and vice versa.  There are some amazing folks out there living minimalist lives who share via blogs, and I'll list a few, including their posts about what minimalism means to them and how it is misunderstood.   It's not just getting down to the bare essentials just for the sake of it or for looks.  It totally transforms your life.  There is no one definition for it either- it is paring down for what makes sense for you- only keeping what you truly love and need and strip all else away to allow time and space for clarity and enjoyment of what's important in your life, whether it be family, travel, etc.  So sure, it may mean one kitchen knife for someone, but a minimalist whose passion is cooking may very well have a full set of knives- because they are loved and used and bring joy- but none of the knives will be duplicates or unused; they will be well taken care of and will have a reserved space in your home. I think to be minimalist is to practice simplicity- cutting back on spending, commitments, simpler/smaller cooking, wardrobes, etc and allowing time to focus on what's important in your life, but practicing simplicity doesn't necesarily include the paring down and questioning of your possessions of minimalism.

 

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2011/02/19/addressing-minimalisms-misconceptions/ 

 

www.mnmlist.com/minimalist-faqs

 

http://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/

 

http://www.theminimalists.com/stuff/ 

 

other great blogs:

 

www.missminimalist.com

www.minimalistpackrat.com

www.zenhabits.com

www.minimalistmom.com

 

 

 

 


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#21 of 23 Old 09-27-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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We recently moved into a new house and I am taking the opportunity to try to reduce as much as I con the amount of stuff we bring in! We still have storage in a few different places of stuff- most of which I am going to sell/ give away.

IT feels refreshing to be in a place with much less stuff- because ultimately I see it like this:

 

Whatever I have I have to clean/ tend. So better to have less stuff! We still have plenty, but there is also nice empty space. I clean a lot every day anyway-- lately I am finding that if I want to live in a clean fresh space, I have to accept a fair amount of cleaning every day.

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#22 of 23 Old 09-28-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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I do a bit of both but both DH and I say we live quite simply. I have started thread about this before plus discussion. For us, simple living is about owning your stuff and not it owning you. We last year had a very bad storm causing our entire neighborhood to get flooded basements with sewage water. Turns out, the pumping station down the street was turned off for whatever reason. Neighbors who lived here 40 yrs had never had water blah blah blah.

 

for us, it was basically throwing out some toys and a few other items. Then taking everything out, clean basement and its contents and put it back. I looked at it as a forced declutter and the kids learned about cleaning up after themselves. When it happened, they cried about their toys but I stated how we were safe, they were safe and that was all that important. Of course it could have been worse- the water could have destroyed our furnace, freezer, w/d etc but it didnt thankfully. If we didnt have a working sump pump, it could have been worse. That was us.

 

Our neighbor who had been here 40 years had 40 years worth of crap in their basement that sat on their front lawn for the garbage pick up. Basically 3 living rooms worth of furniture from the 60s and 70s, a metal cash register circa 1969, typewriters, a 386 pc (remember that one velochic? ) plus other stuff. They were saving it for,.....seriously what were they saving it for????

 

Now they have a huge basement they can again fill up with more crap or use it for living space.


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#23 of 23 Old 10-08-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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Again, these are my own definition as they apply to me.

 

I started down the simplicity path, as a way to declutter my life on the not doing so much and only doing what I love plane. This meant simplifying meal and prep/cook time, simplifying the colors and style of my clothing, choosing to simplify my calendar...etc...y'all get the point right.

 

Minimalism, for me, is about the actual amount of things I have but not in a competative or counting way, and only living with the beautiful in my life. The wardrobe- downsized to well worn and loved classic pieces- makes it easier to get dressed and I feel good about myself, meals become works of art, with homegrown herbs and a glass of wine, served on a simple white plate- which fills my tummy, feeds my soul and makes me happy. I minimalized my artwork to what I love, re-painting my frames in all black and now I have a beautiful wall of pics and things I love that represents me and my life and makes me smile everytime I walk by. Is this making any sense? It's not about a number persay, just having what I love and works for me. I like color and I like having some style to my things, some cohesivness.

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