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14 Quotes To Inspire a Minimalist Lifestyle

The concept of minimalism has been around, in one form or another, for a long time, albeit under various names — frugality, thriftiness, a spartan lifestyle — and to different extremes. As far back as 450 BCE, Socrates was extolling the simple life, saying, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Centuries later, after World War II, an entire artistic movement embraced minimalism, particularly in the visual arts, as a reaction against abstract expressionism and modernism.

More recently, a new interest in minimalism has emerged, one that focuses directly on the way we live. Proponents such as Marie Kondo, Joshua Fields Millburn, and Joshua Becker have written bestselling books and created popular websites focused on helping people live a more pared-down lifestyle, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life, reducing stress, and being happier overall.

Decluttering the home is a large part of the new minimalist process — no surprise, as recent research suggests the average home contains a whopping 300,000 items. But clutter is only one element. A minimalist lifestyle also has environmental and financial benefits, as well as time savings: It means less time buying, less time consuming, less time tidying the house, and less time looking for car keys or the TV remote. (The average American spends 2.5 days a year looking for misplaced items, according to one study.)

A minimalist lifestyle, therefore, can offer many advantages, both practical and emotional. But if you’re still not sure about throwing away half the stuff in your home, here are some quotes from minimalist advocates both past and present.

Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.
Henry David Thoreau

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It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.
Bertrand Russell

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Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
Edwin Way Teale

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We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.
Anna Brackett

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Owning less is better than organizing more.
Joshua Becker

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If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris

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Minimalism is asking why before you buy.
Francine Jay

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The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
Elise Boulding

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Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.
Marie Kondo

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Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important — so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

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Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.
Leo Babauta

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Minimalism is really about reassessment of priorities, so you can remove unnecessary things from your life; get rid of things like possessions, activities, and relationships that do not improve or bring value to your life
Jane Andrews

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Buy less, choose well, make it last.
Vivienne Westwood

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More was never the answer. The answer, it turned out, was always less.
Cait Flanders

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Featured image credit: Amy Sussman via Getty Images

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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