The Four Stages of Minimalism

There seems to be kind of an evolution that takes place, once someone begins their journey to minimalism.  In fact, everybody seems to go through the same four stages. 

What stage are you in right now?

1.  Testing the waters.  This stage involves lots of fluctuating.  You’re intrigued by minimalism, but you’re not sure you can do it. People in this stage get defensive about their possessions, then try getting rid of a few of them.  In this stage, “minimalism” means living like a monk, with little to no possessions.  It’s lower-stress, but you’re not entirely sure it’s for you.

2.  Dogmatic minimalism.  This is where you try to have 100 possessions, or meet some other criteria.  You’re unsure of whether you actually qualify as a member of the group, so you definitely don’t want to be called a minimalist…yet…

3.  The “OK, what next?” stage.  You’ve been decluttering for awhile, and you are getting sick of having it as your only hobby.  At this point, you either bail, or start to pursue your passions.  Which you now have time to do, since you don’t have so much stuff.

4.  Time to do something crazy.  This is really the sum of everything.  By embracing minimalism, you have begun the process of questioning society.  If we don’t have all the possessions that we’re told we need, then how much else, that we’re told, simply isn’t true?  This is the stage where people fully embrace their passions.  Perhaps you’ll move into a tiny house with a homestead?  Or maybe a one-room apartment in the city?  Maybe you’ll start a hobby farmand produce all of your own food, or finally realize your dream of quitting your day job.  Or maybe living nomadically is more your style.  This is the stage where you ultimately claim your life as your own–and I hope to enter it soon!


Wherever you are in your minimalist journey, I hope it is a rewarding experience of growth and learning!

Beautiful single pink rose flower isolated on the white...

15 thoughts on “The Four Stages of Minimalism

  1. Bethany, I would have to say I am somewhere between stages 2 and 4. Yes, I made the move to the tiny apartment in town, yes I got rid of a lot of things, and found more hobbies to be passionate about, then I look around my apartment and realize I still could live without some of the things I still have. I think it’s always an evolving process.

  2. I’m standing on the brink of #4. My partner and I sold everything except what would fit into a tiny towable trailer and moved 2200 miles from the CO mountains to the FL coast last summer. We trying to grow our own food this year or only buy local but even with all that, I still feel that there’s something much crazier that I have yet to do.

  3. Definitely stuck at stage 3 but could at some point approach stage 4 . I know I’ve come a long way and will stay true to this mindset and lifestyle. Good luck with your plans, Bethany – very exciting to hear xo

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