Minimalists can live in big cities too

A reader asked me a very interesting question the other day about how you can be a minimalist whilst living in a big city. It started when he asked me about why I chose my blog to be called “Walking in the Fast Lane”. I explained that I lived in London and my blog is mainly centred around my minimalism journey. He responded saying that he lives in New York and that living as a minimalist is impossible there. His response then went on to provide a list of reasons including the high cost of living, long hours and the fact that everyone’s in the rat race in cities before finally ending his point with “didn’t Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists quit their jobs and corporate lifestyles in order to become minimalists?”

Well a lot of his points do show the challenges of being a minimalist in such environments and Josh/Ryan if you’re reading this it would be interesting to get your thoughts. However here are 3 reasons why you can live in a city such as London or New York and still have a minimalist lifestyle.

1) Passions don’t change if you live in the city. It may make it easier to work on them but where you live shouldn’t ever change your passions, values or intentions. Some of my friends have a passion for skiing and go for long weekends to various mountains around Europe, a couple have even gone out for a year to teach at ski schools. However the passion is still there whilst they live in London.

2) Travelling into work can take time but it’s what you make of the time that matters. I spend around an hour commuting to work but most of that time is on a train where I write blog posts, read or plan out my day. To me this is valuable time where I can focus without any distractions on tasks I would usually need to plan into my day.

3) City living is expensive. This is true but I do often question whether it’s more expensive than living elsewhere. You do get less space for your money in the city but is that a bad thing? Less space means less clutter and makes you think twice about purchasing items. You’re also more likely to spend time outdoors as there’s usually more going on in a city.

If you live in a city (or lived in one previously), what are your thoughts? Do you feel limitations to the life you want to lead by living in a city?

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22 thoughts on “Minimalists can live in big cities too

  1. I’ve lived in a few big cities, and I loved the fast pace and excitement, but having grown up in a small rural town I always yearn for the feeling of freedom and the fresh country air.

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  2. I can’t imagine living in a big city, it’s way too busy and crowded for me. I would think it might actually support a minimalist lifestyle bc there isn’t much room to do much!

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  3. I never thought about how less space means more clutter. Such a great point. I always rant about needing a lot of space.

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  4. I wouldn’t want to live IN a city due to the cost–but I like being by a city for things to do. And I won’t lie, the shopping and food choices.

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  5. This is very true. My husband and myself consider ourselves to be minimalist, but we live in Denver. We love the city, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t live here because we’re minimalist.

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  6. I live in London and this place is expensive to live in. I love my minimalistic life so far however I cannot give up my car. Transport in London is not the best!

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  7. I’ve never lived in a city before, always a suburb. I honestly don’t like I could handle it, mainly for the lack of space and having too many people around.

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  8. I live in a big cities and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However I grew up in a rural town so I always enjoyed the fast paced life. xx

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  9. I agree that less space is less clutter therefore makes one a minimalist. Less space forces you to prioritize what is important and will force you to buy less or at the very least, to avoid impulse buy.

    Kudos on being able to blog when on a train. I have motion sickness so i can’t really get anything done while on a moving thing.

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  10. I don’t know that I agree that that you would be outdoors more in a city. I know that there are a ton of things going on, but most of them are indoors somewhere. I think being outside is more likely to happen when you are living further away from the city.

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  11. I live and work in a city and the stress is quite overwhelming. The cost of living is high and it’s crowded. I have to work to earn so enduring these has always been a part of me. But once I settle down, I’ll make sure that my family will have a nice house in a small hometown where my kids can grow up away from all the hassle of a big city.

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  12. City living is SO expensive so you have to be more minimalist with the tiny apartments. I love living just outside the city so you get a little more room but still close enough to all the good places.

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  13. Honestly, I thought living in the city will make you more of a minimalist because of the little space that you are given compared to living in, let’s say, the suburbs. I think it’s more possible to live like that.

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  14. This is so very true. I am chaotic being and living a simplistic life is important to me. Keeps the anxiety levels down. I am incredibly drawn to minimalism

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