Gift shopping for a minimalist. It sounds like the start to a good joke. But, the question still remains—how do you shop for someone who supposedly shuns material goods?
Understanding the Movement
Contrary to popular belief, minimalism does not necessarily mean that one must shun all material goods. Instead, the minimalism movement seeks to reduce and can (ironically) be practiced in different ways.
“Less is more” is the minimalist’s motto. Minimalists will carefully curate areas of their material or spiritual life down to its essence. The payoff will vary, but often it is a gain of time, happiness, freedom, and beauty, combined with better relationships and better experiences that lead the minimalist to an overall higher quality of life.
Shopping for Your Minimalist
When buying for minimalists, it’s important to know where they want to reduce for the net gain of more. To understand your minimalist’s initiatives, ask where are they clearing “clutter” to find peace. Do they need a lighter load for their daily commute? Do they need a better-organized closet? Or maybe your minimalist is looking to cut back on modern conveniences to afford greater life experiences. Knowing how your loved one is trying to reduce will help you to purchase an appropriate gift that will actually enhance their life.
Be mindful. Be thoughtful. And gift accordingly. After all, as a minimalist, your loved one is a mindful and thoughtful person.
Understanding Your Minimalist
The Aesthetic Minimalist
Aesthetic Minimalists are pretty easy to spot. They seek minimalism through design. You may hear them talk about “clean” design, and you may notice they tend to stick to a single muted color pallet. If you ever visit their home, take note of the Aesthetic Minimalist’s meticulously clean walls and bare counters. Having their homes and styles organized through this clean aesthetic brings a sense of peacefulness to practitioners.
When trying to figure out what type of minimalist gift idea will suit your loved one’s personal style, take note of your Aesthetic Minimalist’s je ne sais quoi. Once you’ve honed in on those qualities, you’ll be able to purchase an aesthetically appropriate gift.
If you already know your loved one has an affinity for aesthetically minimalist garb, you may want to consider Grip6—a company that has created the ultimate minimalist belt with a flawless, flat lay design. They even offer a variety of belt buckle colors and finishes; although, the aesthetic minimalist may most appreciate the muted black and grey hues of the Ninja, Gunmetal, and Granite belts.
If you’re unsure of your loved one’s exact tastes, a great place to start looking for unique gifts is on Etsy using the term “minimalist” to guide your search. This will lead you to an abundant source of ideas. Shops like ruggedminimalist offer elegant, handmade leather goods, while other shops like MINImalist2015 and Minimalist Style carry selections of home goods and jewelry respectively. Etsy offers a wide variety of products sure to suit your loved one’s aesthetic.
The Lifestyle Minimalist
Lifestyle Minimalists are generally concerned with living a life that seeks to reduce clutter and increase experience. Some Lifestyle Minimalists may live in a micro home in order to reduce environmental waste, while other Lifestyle Minimalists are concerned with the subtraction of consumer goods with the purpose of investing their time and money into more interesting life experiences and creative endeavors.
You can spot Lifestyle Minimalists based on their extracurriculars. They may spend their spare time restoring a classic car, brewing their own craft beer, or growing a fruitful garden rather than maintaining an immaculate 4,000 square foot home. Or you may notice Lifestyle Minimalists by their incredible work ethic. You have to work hard to play hard, so Lifestyle Minimalists are willing to put in the extra hours in order to afford that adventure the rest of us only dream about.
At the end of the day, Lifestyle Minimalists don’t want more stuff. They want highly curated gifts with purpose. Your minimalist gift idea should help them get where they’re going—whether they’re off to save the planet or explore it. A wonderfully thoughtful gift could be a responsibly sourced travel bag.
PAKT has designed just this, and it makes a great minimalist gift idea because it’s not necessarily something your loved one would splurge on for him or herself. And, as a bonus, PAKT is a fledgling company with an origin story any Lifestyle Minimalist can get behind!
Helping to fund a Lifestyle Minimalist’s aspirations can get a little pricey, but you can support them along the way on a smaller budget too. Just remember that Lifestyle Minimalists like gifts with purpose—gifts that minimize clutter and maximize experience.
With that in mind, giving Lifestyle Minimalists a journal, like Field Notes’ Memo Book, where they can document all their adventures is a wonderful idea! Once the pages are filled, the notebook will be a greatly treasured piece of memorabilia. You can also literally help your loved ones get on their way by keeping them (and their keys) organized and locatable with the KeySmart Pro. Cutting back on time wasted trying to locate keys is an area of minimalism everyone can get behind.
Another practical minimalist gift idea you may consider buying is a travel-friendly water bottle. Every minimalist has to stay hydrated after all! Nomader makes a collapsible water bottle that is easy to carry and helps keep plastic out of landfills. As a bonus, your minimalist will be able to carry hot and cold liquids with this!
The Everyday Carry Minimalist
The Everyday Carry Minimalist is a specialized category. This type of minimalist seeks to be prepared with whatever tools necessary to get through any situation.
Being prepared for any situation sounds like it would require a lot of tools, right? Thus defeating the entire concept of minimalism. So how do the always-prepared reconcile themselves to minimalism? By embracing minimalism through lifestyle, design, and multitools.
To shop for an Everyday Carry Minimalist, it’s important to identify what type of situation your loved one is trying to prepare for. Maybe your Everyday Carry Minimalist is a fixer who would appreciate the woodgrain hammer by Cathy’s Concepts. Is your loved one fashion-conscious? Try the Survival Belt 2.0 by SlideBelt. There’s a world of multitools out there suited for every type of minimalist.
At Lever Gear, Everyday Carry Minimalism drives business. Lever Gear designs and curates items that minimalists can easily carry. From wallets and money clips to knives and cell phone cases, Lever Gear has led the way for Everyday Carry Minimalists. And it’s no surprise given that Lever Gear founder Mike Scully self-identifies as a Lifestyle Minimalist, Everyday Carry Minimalist, and a generally thoughtful shopper.
When asked about his personal minimalist aesthetics, Scully said, “To me, being a minimalist doesn’t mean not owning stuff. It simply means owning fewer things that do their job better and bring you joy instead of frustration. It means owning stuff that makes your life more efficient, not cluttered.” And that was the very concept that led Scully to the creation of his own product—The Toolcard Pro.
The Minimalist End
At the end of the day, minimalists seek to clear their lives of excess in order to lift something else to a higher priority. The secret for successful gift giving lies in discovering that thing your minimalist is trying to prioritize. Maybe it’s travel; maybe it’s preparedness; maybe it’s environmental awareness or political action; or maybe your minimalist just wants something as simple as more family time.
Whatever it may be, once you discover your minimalist’s priority, you will be able to find them an appropriate, thoughtful gift. And you may even find time to reflect on your own priorities, making sure—in the spirit of minimalism—you own your possessions and your possessions do not own you.
We hope to have empowered and inspired you to shop successfully for your minimalist this holiday season. To see a collection of the minimalist goods we’ve personally designed and curated here at Lever Gear, click the Shop Minimal button below.