Right now there are two major trends silently sweeping a nation that is otherwise centered around consumerism and productivity. Those movements are slow living and minimalism. While minimalism has been catching on over the last decade, slow living is a newer trend that is rapidly catching on. On the surface, these two ways of life can sound relatively separate from one another. After all, minimalism focuses on minimal possessions and slow living is centered more around slowing down your lifestyle and reducing your workload. The ties that bind these two together may not seem obvious at first glance, but let’s break down the beliefs that tie them together. You may be surprised to find that beginning one movement may just catapult you into the next.
What’s the difference between minimalism and slow living?
Before we dive into the similarities of minimalism and slow living, let’s first acknowledge the differences.
Minimalism focuses heavily on reducing the amount of possessions a person owns. People who practice a minimalist lifestyle find ways to create simplicity through living with less. This can make things like cleaning the house or choosing an outfit much simpler tasks to undertake.
The slow living movement originally started as a way to get back to the old ways of doing things like making your own bread, gardening and other forms of sustainable living. Now, slow living has taken on a wider spectrum and is now seen as a term for intentionally slowing down.
In the midst of a fast-past, achievement oriented world, there is a desperate need for slow down, and the slow living movement has made that possible.
Can you do minimalism and slow living at the same time?
One thing you’ll often find is that people who are practicing slow living are also practicing minimalism. This is part of why it can be difficult to tell the two apart. This is because they will often overlap with one another due to their many similarities.
If you have ever wondered who you can simultaneously work to combine the two, check out the eBook, The Gentle Art of Letting Sh*t Go. It is a great bridge between the two lifestyles and teaches you to both declutter and slow down at the same time.
The common thread between minimalism and slow living is that both lifestyles require you to be more intentional about your lifestyle. It is not uncommon for the majority of humanity to simply follow where life leads.
We graduate high school, attend college, and strive to find a job in our field while working up the ranks.
Without considering it much, we stay up to date with the latest vehicle, phone, TV, and home decor.
What opting for one of these lifestyles requires us to do is intentionally opt out of the standard way of living.
Through minimalism people intentionally choose to live with less, to consume less, and to find more contentment in the things that stuff cannot provide. For people partaking in the slow living movement it can mean being more intentional about how they spend their time.
Values over obligations
Whenever we choose to live a more intentional, slowed down life, we will naturally begin aligning ourselves with a life that is more aligned with our values.
Perhaps you want to spend more time with your family, or focus on having more life experiences before your time is up. Both minimalism and slow living can allow you to align with these values in ways that often overlap.
Through slowing purchasing and being more purposeful about what you own, minimalism allows you to focus on the bigger things in life, and can often take a huge burden off of your pocketbook. When you’re not constantly worked up about staying up to date with the latest trends, you naturally free up financing for more options. Perhaps this means more vacation, time off, and experiences outside of the house.
This is where the option for slow living can come into play. If you have more money available to you, but you have no desire to spend that money on inanimate objects, you create endless possibilities for slowing down. Think long leisurely vacations, more time off, or even simply a slowed down nervous system. (Financial stress can do so much damage to our health.)
On the flip side, if you begin being more intentional with your time, slowing down, and prioritizing the way you spend your days, there is a good chance you’ll slow down your impulses, therefore making smarter purchasing decisions.
Simplify, simplify, simplify
As you may have noticed by now, both of these lifestyles, minimalism and slow living are greatly centered around the idea of simplifying our lives.
There is no more denying, burnout is on the rise, especially in women and people under 30. What minimalism and slow living can provide is a way to slow down, get back to our roots and put our focus on the things we value the most.
Many women, especially those in charge of a household, are choosing to practice minimalism in their lives in hopes of simply making housework easier to manage. When there are so many other areas of life to be focused on, we don’t want to be drowning in clutter in our homes.
Now, more than ever, a lot of us are craving the slow living lifestyles that we may have seen our grandparents live. Gardening, cooking, and taking time to appreciate the finer things in life. We crave easy, we crave getting back to basics. We crave simple.
Experiences > Things
Most people who begin practicing slow living often do so in order to get back to some part of life that they felt they were missing out on. They realize their time is limited and precious and want to spend it connecting with what matters most. This goes hand in hand with most minimalists idea of choosing experiences over things.
Even though we handle our things every day, there are studies proving that experiences repeatedly offer more true happiness in our lives. Both minimalism and slow living allow you to take advantage of this kind of long-lasting happiness.
Just like minimalism focuses on owning fewer items, thereby reducing ones waste output, slow living often focusing on building a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing your carbon footprint. Sustainability with slow living may look like growing food, buying locally, and all around practicing a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
For individuals who recognize and acknowledge that global warming is real and want to prevent accelerating the process, both minimalism and slow living can aid in doing this.
Creating time for self reflection and purpose
In both cases, whether you practice minimalism, slow living or a combination of the two (which is often the case), you allow yourself time and space for self reflection and finding more purpose in life. When you are no longer concerned with keeping up, you create both freedom of time and freedom from things previously viewed as obligations.
If you are someone who loves the idea of building a life with deeper meaning and more purpose, The Gentle Art of Letting Sh*t Go is a great jump-start guide to clearing clutter and creating space in your life.