Minimalist Lifestyle or Minimalist Aesthetic? Which one is better?

I went for minimalism because I had a certain standard on how clean and tidy I wanted my home to be, and when my home was full of stuff, it was more than I could manage to maintain my standard of cleanliness.

I didn’t enjoy cleaning the house.

But I wanted a clean house.

Getting rid of all the extra stuff made cleaning it easier and faster.

That’s it. 

I’m not in it for the aesthetic.

Do I like the minimalist aesthetic? Yes, but not if it’s sterile or monochrome. 

When I think of a minimalist aesthetic that is appealing to me, I think of a nice hotel room. The basic things are there, the surfaces are clear, but there is also contrast in color, patterns, and textures to give it a cozy feel.

I’ve witnessed some very toxic forms of minimalism, where people declutter things all for the sake of “being a minimalist,” and they’ve gotten rid of things that were important to them.

I’ve seen people try to have minimalism present in every area of their lives by changing their name to something one syllable or having a meltdown when their partner brings things home that doesn’t fit the preconceived “mold.”

And I’ve been judged for the things I have. When I posted on my blog that I had an ice cream maker, someone commented that I’m not a minimalist if I’m willing to have something as frivolous as an ice cream maker.

And I have six kids – THAT’S not minimalist at all.

This is funny to me because at the core of the minimalist lifestyle is getting rid of all the things that distract us, so we can enjoy the things that bring us joy. 

If we want a lot of kids, having less stuff to manage makes it so much easier to deal with household chores.

If you’re going to the minimalist aesthetic, though, it will still help you get rid of a considerable amount of stuff.

We can have storage, and we can build cabinets that hide it all, but the truth is, we live in our homes. And even if we’re a bare-bones minimalist, things will be visible – books will sit on the end table, craft projects will occupy a space, and blankets will get left out on the couch.

So the less you have, the easier it will be to maintain the style of home you want.

When thinking of your journey, please remember a minimalist home looks different for everyone, and it NEEDS to be different for everyone.

There is no right or wrong or perfect amount of things to keep. But what we keep should help us in the things we enjoy.

If you enjoy playing games as a family – have a bunch of board games!

Get rid of the things you don’t use or enjoy so you have more room for board games.

If you hate board games but love reading – get rid of the board games so you have more room to store the books that are meaningful to you.

My kids collect things.

I can see how their room would stay cleaner if they didn’t, but I also have spent time sorting and making decisions, and they have kept the things they really want. The nice thing is that they keep things they want to display, not just random things to shove in the closet. So their room doesn’t feel clean, tidy, and minimal, but I would say it still is because they don’t have many things hidden away.

Is our family still minimalist, even though my kids have all sorts of collections? Yes. It’s our form of minimalism. 

We reduced excess from all over the house and kept the things we wanted.

I’d love to hear in the comments what your thoughts are, were you drawn to minimalism because of the aesthetic or more for the functionality?

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Fawn DeMurl Pender on 04/19/2023 at 5:54 pm

    I’m not a minimalist. On the contrary, I collect many things and love a home full of things. What drew me to you was needing to find my decluttering muscles and learning to let go of the stuff that wasn’t serving me well. I started this journey with you in 2018, and am still working on my stuff. You help me stay grounded and focused. Thank you.

  2. M on 08/16/2023 at 9:19 am

    I’m minimalism because I don’t like to live with (or clean around) lots of clutter, and buying and caring for excess stuff harms the planet, too. Minimalism and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand.
    TBH, the minimalist aesthetic isn’t my thing at all! It feels cold, empty, and sterile, and I like lots of bright colors and a warm, welcoming feel. You can be minimalist (have only what you need) and still have brightly colored walls, furniture, decorations, and generally have a home that feels lived-in.

  3. Rebecca Annette on 02/18/2024 at 12:18 am

    I love it… “It’s our form of minimalism.” Well said. 🥰

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