The Minimalist Revolution: It’s Here and How You Can Join It

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. – Malcolm X

Minimalism and simple living has always been more than just a passing curiosity. It’s almost as if those folks who have never thought about reducing their excess stuff view minimalists or those who live a very simple life as an anomaly. Not necessarily as freakish, though some do think it’s a pretty crazy and “radical” lifestyle.

What I tell them is that consumerism is crazy and unsustainable. Over time, it will do more harm than good.

And we’re trying to combat the harm. The harm we inflict upon ourselves when we hoard that which can be lost, stolen, broken or destroyed. The harm we inflict upon our family when we pass away, leaving hundreds of stale, dusty boxes for them to sift through, oftentimes too much of a burden that they leave it alone, thereby continuing the vicious cycle. The harm we inflict upon our earth. With the excess things we own, this means we shop and buy things we really do not need, things that do not make us happy. Such things go through a cumbersome process of having to be made. Innumerable resources go into such materials, resources such as trees, time, labor, money, space, machinery.

What you have been reading on this blog and perhaps several other minimalist and simple living bloggers, such as:

… is that minimalism is not only a way of life for us, the writer behind the blog. It is a way of life we would love for others to join in.

I’m not here to forcefully “convert” you to minimalism, as if this was some sort of religious way of life. No, far from it. What my hope is, through reading this blog, is that it will somehow inspire you for change. Change for the better. Change from the old ways of thinking to the new ways. And don’t get me wrong, change is hard. Very hard.

As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Progress is a nice word but change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.”

How the Minimalist Revolution Begun

We often love to stand in the way of change, knowingly or not. We make excuses to ourselves as to why we cannot change rather than find ways we can. We wave off change as a non-issue and something that we just don’t have time to deal with now. What we know is what is working for us now.

But how do we know this is the best way to do things? The best way to live our lives, to save our planet, to save each other?

We don’t, unless we try things out. We open our minds to change. We take risks. We take a bold stand for what we believe in. And those who agree, those who want change in their lives, they will join us for the fight.

This is how the minimalist revolution begun. Starting with just a few key individuals, ranging from Lao Tzu (in the early B.C.) to Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) to Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). From there, the revolution picked up speed, adopted by younger, newer generations with better, faster ways of spreading the news.

The news is this:

The minimalist revolution is here. You can either join us or get out of the way.

We are not looking for idle, passive people. We are not looking for those who just say or do things to please others, to not cause a ruckus, to stay in between the lines of conformity. We are simply not looking for such folks.

What we are looking for are change-makers. World changers. Those who fear not the risks or challenges that is associated with standing for something you believe in. We want those with passion and drive to put the principles into action.

The Motivator Behind the Minimalist Revolution

The key motivator behind the minimalist revolution is freedom. And freedom comes in many forms and means a different thing for each person.

Freedom can mean freedom of speech. The right to freely vote. Freedom can mean the choice of which job you take, which company or organization you work for. Freedom can mean who you choose to spend your life with. Freedom can mean not being limited to how many children you can have (such as the one-child policy in China). Freedom can mean an elimination of physical and emotional clutter so that we can focus on what makes us happy and fulfilled. Freedom can be as simple as doing what you will with your house, putting up a fence if you want it, or building a tree house for your child in your backyard.

Freedom is a powerful word and one that is not to be taken lightly.

Minimalist Freedom

I will have a powerful new manifesto launching next month that will cover exactly what I’ve been talking about here. It will be free because this message needs to be heard, far and wide. I do not want money to be a barrier to an invaluable and timeless message.

I’ve freed myself from bondage to things. From bondage to a job I disliked in an area which brings me no joy or fulfillment. I’ve freed myself and I know what it feels. It’s something I wish others can experience. To take freedom by the reins and do something with it.

But alas, most people look at it with nothing more than a passing glance, then casually walk on by. “It’s not for me,” they say.

And as for others? They want it. Badly. They want to be free. And if you want something bad enough and are willing to work hard for it, to take a stand for what you believe in, freedom will indeed be yours.

  • Zack Woolwine

    It really does all come down to FREEDOM. You are right on!

  • Cat’sMeow

    Well, my family is certainly on board. We have a child so I don’t think it would be fair to her to have a completely spartan home, though we probably do in many people’s eyes! I’ve given away and sold so many redundant vases, pieces of furniture not being used, all my cd’s, most of my books and clothes and all knick knacks. We get rid of all baby stuff as it is not needed anymore.nI have under 100 personal possessions (and I’m a woman living in four-season climate), so I guess I’m a radical minimalist. (And radical in other ways too..)nI blog at

  • Lisa Fine – lisasfoods

    I’m totally interested in joining this movement, and feel like I’ve been making small steps towards it for a long time. (Funny though – for two years of my life I lived quite miminally, living out of a backpack, traveling a lot, and working short-term jobs that I loved.) Now I’m on a quest to get back to that passion and more simple lifestyle, so I’ve been doing a lot of throwing/giving away old stuff and pondering what I want out of life. Thank you for all you do.

  • Matt Madeiro

    I can’t wait to read that manifesto.nnThank you for including me in the list, Nina! And thank you for standing strong as a champion of minimalism (and martial arts!). :) I can’t wait to see you kick consumerist ass in the future, haha.

  • Freedom | Rethinking the Dream

    Well said! Minimalism is all about freedom. We’re just getting started in our journey towards minimalism, and we feel lighter and more free with each room we purge of useless items. We’re joining the revolution!

  • Ida

    Love the idea of letting go of stuff.

  • The Living Space

    Consumerism is ineffective. Why do some people own so much stuff?

  • Nina Yau

    That’s wonderful to hear, Lisa. Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves and wake up one day to find that we’re buried in the mundane routine of things, doing what is expected of us, and what is supposed to be normal and conventional.nnWhat we ought to do — and which is inevitably more challenging and unconventional — is to listen to our heart, find what stirs us, what excites us, what makes us come alive, and then do it. Through and through. When one follows their heart, their life calling, they find balance. When one doesn’t, all they experience is inner turmoil and a lack of peace.

  • Nina Yau

    That’s great to hear! More and more families are now adopting a minimalist or simple lifestyle. It IS possible, and your family is just one of the examples. Thank you. :)

  • Steve Griffin

    Well said, Nina. My family and I have been trimming down our stuff and changing the way we live as well. As usual, your post is an inspiration to continue down the path towards freedom. nnCan’t wait to read the manifesto.

  • experience Experience is Nothing

    [...] Becoming a radical minimalist requires only one thing: buy less of what you can live [...]

  • Chase Night

    Awesome post. I love how this movement is growing in momentum. I used to think it was all up to who I voted for to change the world, but now I see it’s really just up to us. We’re the only one who can change things.rnrnI can’t wait for your manifesto!

  • Paige of Redefining Wealth

    “What I tell them is that consumerism is crazy and unsustainable. Over time, it will do more harm than good.”nnI so agree with the above statement. Hopefully more and more people are beginning to look at excessive consumerism as a cancer that will eat us if we are not careful. nnMy beautiful 91 year old grandmother passed away this summer. Over the last twenty years or so she had considerably downsized her possessions so she could enjoy life more and so her things wouldn’t be a burden to family when she passed. She will always be my minimalist inspiration. And I can’t tell you how much it helped everyone out to not have to spend months cleaning out her stuff when she transitioned out of this world. It took my mom and uncle a little under two hours. What a great gift to give your kids huh?nnCan’t wait for your manifesto Nina! I know it will be great!n

  • Anonymous

    Fucking brilliant. nnYou’ve got incredible talent in the way you communicate a message, Nina. nn

  • Nina Yau

    *muah* You’re awesome, Ash. Love you!!!

  • Nina Yau

    Amazing. What your grandmother left behind is not merely stuff. But it’s those precious memories, the relationship she had with you and your family, the wonderful laughs and good times you all shared together. This is what’s important. This is what matters. This is what life’s all about.nnYou’re wonderful, Paige. :) Keep up the great work you’re doing at Redefining Wealth!

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