Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

20 Quotes to Inspire Less

Sometimes the path of less can be a lonely one. All around us, we are barraged with messages of more: Buy more, have more, do more. Yet the way of less is path trodden by some of the best minds throughout history.

If you’re living–or trying to live–a life of “less, but better” (Dieter Rams), here are twenty quotes from notables to urge you down the road. The quotes are by the usual suspects (Thoreau, Mother Teresa) and not-so-usual (Mike Tyson, Tom Ford). If you have more quotes to add, please post in our comments section below.

      1. I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. –Blaise Pascal
      2. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. –John Maeda
      3. If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough. –Vicki Robin
      4. Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. –Henry David Thoreau
      5. But as an adult working in the fashion industry, I struggle with materialism. And I’m one of the least materialistic people that exist, because material possessions don’t mean much to me. They’re beautiful, I enjoy them, they can enhance your life to a certain degree, but they’re ultimately not important. –Tom Ford
      6. One can furnish a room very luxuriously by taking out furniture rather than putting it in. –Francis Jourdain
      7. Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris
      8. Art is the elimination of the unnecessary. –Pablo Picasso
      9. There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little. –Jackie French Koller
      10. Less is more. –Mies Van Der Rohe
      11. Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants. –Epictetus
      12. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. –Leonardo da Vinci
      13. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. –E.F. Schumacker
      14. In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East–especially in India–I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening wihtout a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving — it is not in the result of loving. –Mother Teresa
      15. We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. –Dave Ramsey
      16. The system of consumerism may seem like an immovable fact of modern life. But it is not. That the system was manufactured suggests that we can reshape those forces to create healthier, more sustainable system with a more fulfilling goal than “more stuff”. –Rachel Botsman
      17. Be content with what you have;/rejoice in the way things are./When you realize there is nothing lacking,/the whole world belongs to you.”–Lao Tzu
      18. Real freedom is having nothing. I was freer when I didn’t have a cent. –Mike Tyson
      19. Stuff is not passive. Stuff wants your time, attention, allegiance. But you know it as well as I do, life is more important than the things we accumulate. –Dave Bruno
      20. It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential. –Bruce Lee

This post originally appeared on May 30, 2013

More or Less Image via Shutterstock

  • Margaret

    Small rooms and dwellings set the mind on the right path, large ones cause it to go astray. Leonardo DaVinci

  • Margaret

    Words to Live By
    “Work less, wear less, eat less and we shall be a great deal wiser,
    healthier and wealthier people.” Brigham Young

  • Tor

    “There is nothing like a good editor.” – Tor

  • Lennart Meijer

    Great words. I have none to add, but we shouldn’t want to have too many.

  • Aitch

    Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get
    – H. Jackson Brown

  • A. Kingsley Bishop

    Great article. I particularly liked #8 by Picasso and # 12 by da Vinci. I was one of those who had two or more of everything so that a 6,000 sf house was not enough and now I’m delighting in going with simplicity because now I don’t have to clean, store, insure lots of stuff and I can travel or just sit under a tree.

    A. Kingsley Bishop

  • Nat

    Omnia mea mecum porto, All that is mine I carry with me.

    • WithheldName

      Best one ever.

  • Fred Astaire’s advice choreography: “Get it till it’s perfect, then cut two minutes.

  • Pingback: Minimalism 101 | Team Sitz()

  • ccsummer

    I need to read these quotes every day. Trying hard for a simpler life in all ways.

  • Maggie

    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness. John Ruskin

  • Sandra Nickel

    Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose. Janis Joplin

    • WithheldName

      Kris Kristofferson

  • Scott

    It seems that perfection is attained, not when there is nothing more
    to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • Eleanor

    I admit that I don’t recognize all the names on here, so forgive me if I’ve neglected to speak against another person who deserves it. but including the words of a convicted rapist (mike tyson) is in poor taste. not interested in hearing words of wisdom from human garbage.

  • KC

    Free your mind and heart from worry by expecting less; giving more and living simply