Minimalism, my way, is making a conscious decision to live without excess... to identify those things that mean the most and then consciously shaping my life and home in a way that helps us work toward those goals. Minimalism is about freedom and focus - freedom from the constraints of "excess" = too much stuff, too much work, too many bills, and from society's "gimme more" consumer philosphy. Instead, I move into ever greater focus on those things that are MOST important to my family. The things that LIFE is all about.
Aesthetically, this often translates in a home that has more open spaces and less clutter that detracts from the main purposes of the space and, above all, requires us to give more of our time to care for and clean!! Minimalism is sooo much about time! Having less means not only do you have less to care for and concern your self with in the physical sense in your home, but it means you devote less time to the pursuit of "more stuff" which will then just become more more thing you have to be a caretaker of! To be a minimalist means to stop being a caretaker to meaningless items and start being a caretaker to ourselves and our families! I teach my children this phrase: "You should only own as much as you are able or willing to care for!" (this works so well with toys left strewn about... if it's left out if must mean they do not want or are unable to care for it, which means it has no place in our home!)
So, minimalism will be different to each person. You have to decide what is important to you and identify the ways that you can structure your life to better reach that goal. Also, it isn't only about "less stuff"; its often about a clearer schedule and less commitments (if too many of them keep you feeling overwhelmed!) It's about less stress and trying to handle interpersonal relationships in a more upfront way and with less "drama" for lack of a better word... all of this! We structure our homes and our lives around what's MOST important and minimalize those things that, in the grand scheme of things, really aren't! So, at the end of your life, you can look back and feel like you lived it the way that was truely important to you.
What does minmalism mean to you?
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived....I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it.” (Thoreau from Walden)