What Are the Best Minimalist Hobbies?

Some hobbies require a lot of equipment. Think quilting or music production. So, which pastimes can you enjoy as a minimalist, without cluttering up your home?

But even if you prefer an equipment-rich hobby, there are still ways to make that work. You just need to become a bit more creative.

Learn what the best minimalist hobbies are, what equipment you’ll need, and how you can minimize excess.

Let’s get started!

Content Creation

Content creation is a great minimalist pastime. In most cases, you can use what you already have — your computer and your smartphone.

Even better, by consistently creating content for others, you will build an audience. You could then turn this into your side hustle and eventually escape your 9 to 5.


Writing is an extremely versatile minimalist hobby, as there are so many genres. You could be writing detective stories, murder mysteries, romance, fantasy, highbrow literature, etc.

You could also be writing nonfiction like cooking books, books on personal development, books about pets, etc. The possibilities are endless.

All you need is your laptop, text-processing software like Word, and a quiet place to write. It doesn’t get much more minimalist than this.


Journaling is a bit different from the other items in this category, as the content you create is not meant for publication.

Instead, you focus on what is going on in your life. You reflect on your thoughts, what you currently struggle with, and the general trajectory of your life.

This is extremely valuable, exactly because you are keeping these musings to yourself. It allows for a level of honesty that we rarely display when we are talking to others.

Speaking these truths to yourself will help you grow. For that reason, I cannot recommend journaling enough.

With journaling, many people prefer using a notebook and a pen. It makes for a more tactile, intimate setting, which helps with opening up. And it is even more minimalist and portable than using a computer.


There are two ways you can go about blogging. You can either start a niche site, where you focus on a specific topic like “How to grow bonsai trees” or “Fitness tips for men over 40.”

Alternatively, you can position yourself as a personal brand. This allows for a wider array of topics, like the things that interest you, what is going on in your life, your values and beliefs, etc.

Niche sites are generally easier to get traffic for and monetize. Also, there’s a huge community online that you can join. Twitter is a great starting place to find these people.

With personal brands, it takes longer to get traction, but they are more fun. If you want to learn more, check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos on personal branding.


Videorecording used to be an equipment-intense hobby. But this changed with the arrival of smartphones. Now you pretty much have a professional recording studio in your pants pocket.

To be fair, you might need some extra equipment like clip-on microphones or a tripod. If you are filming yourself while surfing or mountain biking, you might want to get a GoPro.

On the software side of things, you will need a video production suite. There are several free options like iMovie or CapCut for your phone, and they are more than fine to get you started.

Finally, you will want to upload your videos to YouTube to share them with friends and family or even build an audience.

Video recording is a great example of how the digital revolution took something that was complex and made it accessible and portable. It’s a minimalist’s dream.


Podcasting is another example of a hobby that used to be complex and that is now minimalist-friendly.

The most important thing you need besides your laptop is a microphone. A professional-grade USB mic is usually the easiest option.

You also need a good pair of monitoring headphones. But many people own that already for listening to music.

On the software side, you need a program to edit your podcasts. Audacity is the go-to solution, and it’s free.

With this kind of simple type of setup, podcasting is a great minimalist hobby.

Artistic Endeavors

Artistic hobbies tend to be on the equipment-heavy side of things. However, there are ways to make these pastimes more minimalist-friendly.


With playing music, it really comes down to what instrument you choose. As a drummer or a percussionist, it is more difficult to come up with a minimalist setup. An e-drum set would probably be your best option.

On the other hand, playing the flute or the ukulele work great with minimalism. You can take your instrument anywhere, even on an airplane. Obviously, vocalists take the crown.

The problem is that most instrumentalists are gearheads. During my guitar hero days, I would look at guitar magazines for hours, fantasizing about which “axe,” amp, or pedal I would buy next.

But that is a cope out. Instead of practicing your instrument, you engage in consumerism. But that quick high doesn’t compare to the deep satisfaction you get from composing a song or mastering a solo.

So, pick one high-quality instrument, and then direct your energies to mastering it.


Photography is similar to music — it’s gearhead central.

But it doesn’t have to be.

First, smartphones now rival professional cameras. Just use what you already have, and focus on getting better at your craft.

Second, even if can’t do without a professional camera, you can keep it simple. Get one excellent camera, a handful of lenses, and maybe a tripod. Done.

Fine Arts

This category includes painting, sketching, sculpting, clay art, etc.

With fine art, it’s hard to limit yourself too much. For example, if you are a painter, you will at least need several brushes, numerous paints, a palette for color mixing, several palette knives, an easel, and a canvas.

But one thing you can do to minimize your fine-arts hobby is to not hoard your finished artworks. If you can, sell them. If you cannot, gift them.

Worst-case scenario, destroy them.

I know this sounds extreme. But if no one else wants them, they were probably not that great in the first place. By getting rid of them, you create space for new, better art — not just in your physical environment, but also inside yourself.

Another interesting route to take is miniature art. Look into ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals). Here, you create art restricted to a certain card size, which you can then trade for cards by other artists.

Digital Art

This category includes creating digital graphics, video art, and digital animations.

An interesting recent development in digital art is NFTs. Using the blockchain, you can now prove you are the originator behind a certain work of digital art.

This opens up exciting new possibilities for trading digital art. Galleries, auction houses — the whole pompous art establishment will soon become obsolete. You, the artist, will directly sell to the market.

Digital art is very minimalist-friendly. All you need is your computer and your creativity.

All of this makes digital art one of the most interesting minimalist hobbies to engage in.

Collecting Stuff

Collecting things like stamps or comic books used to be a very anti-minimalist activity.

But with the introduction of NFTs, this has changed. You can now own thousands of unique digital assets, e.g., trading cards, without them taking up any space in your physical environment.

In my opinion, that still doesn’t make collectibles the ideal minimalist activity. The minimalist mindset doesn’t just apply to the physical world. Digital collections still create complexity.

But if you enjoy collecting stuff while keeping it relatively minimalist, collecting NFTs is the way to go.

Playing Sports

Let’s look at various sports to see how well they work as minimalist hobbies.


What you typically need:

  • A bike
  • Specific attire; e.g., if you are into road racing, you need racing attire
  • A helmet
  • Tools and repair materials

Minimalism score: 5/10

Biking is not the most minimalist sport out there, but it’s also not the worst. There is a limited number of things you need. Once you got your setup in place, you can enjoy the activity. It’s not super portable, though, unless you have a bike rack for your car.

If you enjoy biking as an occasional outing or during vacations, you could just rent. If you are more of a competitive biker but still want to minimize further, consider sharing a high-quality bike with someone in your neighborhood.

Martial Arts

What you typically need:

  • Some type of uniform, like a BJJ gi or a karate uniform
  • Protective gear like gloves or a mouthguard
  • Partners to train with
  • A gym

Minimalism score: 7/10

Equipment-wise, martial arts tend to be very minimalist hobbies. I have been training in BJJ and MMA for many years and even while traveling, I can fit all the equipment needed in my backpack, along with my other stuff.

However, you do need a gym to train at and partners to train with. In that sense, martial arts are not a self-sufficient hobby.

Equipment-wise, it’s hard to minimize martial arts further, as they are fairly minimalist to start with. But you can tweak some details. For example, I switched to an ultra-light BJJ uniform, which saved me about two pounds in weight while traveling.

I also recommend getting high-quality gear as it holds up much longer. It will pay for it itself over time.

Surfing/Windsurfing/Wakeboarding/Kite Surfing

What you typically need:

  • A board
  • Possibly a wetsuit
  • The ocean

Minimalism score: 4/10

Surfing and similar sports come with a limited amount of items, but those are rather bulky. Also, you need to be close to the ocean.

However, if you are at a suitable beach, you can almost always rent gear. And depending on the weather, you won’t need a wetsuit. So, if you’re renting, surfing and similar sports can be alright minimalist hobbies.


What you typically need:

  • Skis and sticks/a snowboard
  • Boots
  • Ski clothing
  • Protective glasses
  • A helmet
  • A slope

Minimalism score: 5/10

As with surfing, you need to be in a certain environment (the mountains) to engage in this hobby. I rate skiing and snowboarding a little bit lower than surfing, though. This is due to the higher number of items needed. Again, renting is an easy way to minimize.


What you typically need:

  • A kayak
  • A paddle
  • If you do wild-water kayaking, a helmet and a wetsuit
  • A river, a lake, or the ocean

Minimalism score: 3/10

Fewer items are needed than for skiing, but those are much bulkier/heavier. Once more, the solution is renting. If you do so, kayaking becomes an okay minimalist hobby, but you still need to be close to the water.


What you typically need:

  • A sailing boat
  • A lake/the ocean

Minimalism score: 2/10

Sailing, at first glance, is one of the least minimalist hobbies there is. The problem with sports like sailing, car racing, or horseback riding is that they are not really sports. They don’t utilize your own body. Instead, they focus on an external object — a vehicle or an animal.

This is great for less athletic or older people. They can still play and even competitively. But the downside is that the hobby itself becomes unwieldy.

Fortunately, you can rent sailboats in coastal and lakefront towns all over the planet. When you do so, sailing becomes a nice minimalist hobby. But unless you happen to live next to the water, you will still have to travel there first.

Horseback Riding

What you typically need:

  • A horse, obviously
  • Saddle
  • Saddle pad
  • Saddle girth
  • Bridle, reins, and bit
  • Stirrup leathers and irons
  • Grooming tools
  • Horse blanket
  • Riding boots
  • Riding pants
  • Riding gloves
  • Helmet
  • Switch
  • Stable
  • Pasture
  • Riding ground
  • Horse food
  • Upkeep tools (pitchfork, broom, dunghill, etc.)
  • If you need to move your horse around, a horse box transporter

Minimalism score: 1/10

Horseback riding is one of the least minimalist-friendly hobbies out there. It forces you to take care of another living being with gigantic needs. A horse needs much space, large quantities of food, and can’t just use a bathroom.

As a minimalist, you should think twice if you want to take up horseback riding as a hobby. This is not just hearsay — I grew up around horses and horseback riders. It is a life-consuming activity.

If your heart is set on horseback riding, though, your best bet is “horse sharing.” Here, you pay someone for the privilege to ride their horse on certain dates. Usually, you also have to perform some horse-related duties, like grooming and cleaning.


What you typically need:

  • Hiking boots, if you want to scale uneven terrain
  • Rain-proof hiking wear
  • A backpack, if you are going for longer hikes

Minimalism score: 7/10

If you just hike for leisure, you really do not need any of the above-mentioned items. Check the weather report, put on your most comfortable pair of shoes, and off you go.

Many hikers tend to be gearheads, though. There is a large industry catering to hobbyist hikers, and it has come up with hundreds of items that you supposedly need.

It triggers something primal in us. We like to be prepared for whatever we could encounter in the “wild.”

Don’t fall for that. Be a minimalist hiker and make do with as few items as possible. That is even more primal.


What you typically need:

  • Running shoes
  • Running wear for bad-weather conditions
  • A headlamp, if you prefer to run at night

Minimalism score: 8/10

While I’m not a fan of jogging — too many people get caught up in doing chronic cardio — it’s a great minimalist hobby. If you have a pair of trainers, you are good to go. And unlike other outdoor sports, it doesn’t require too much traveling. You can always find a park nearby.


What you typically need:

  • Swimming trunks/a swimsuit
  • Goggles (optional)
  • A pool, a lake, or an ocean

Minimalism score: 7/10

Like running, swimming is a pretty minimalist sport. You really only need a pair of swimming trunks or a swimsuit. However, you also need to get to a pool, which is more inconvenient than in the case of running. That’s why I would rank swimming as slightly less minimalist than running.


What you typically need:

  • A rod
  • Hooks
  • Lines
  • Sinkers
  • Bait
  • Gaffs
  • Reels
  • A lake/the sea

Minimalism score: 6/10

Despite the relatively high number of items you need, fishing is a fairly minimalist hobby. That’s because all these items are rather compact; most anglers can carry their gear around on their body. The only real challenge is that you need to be somewhere with a pond or the sea close by.


What you typically need:

  • A racket
  • Tennis balls
  • Tennis shoes
  • Athletic wear
  • A tennis court to play at

Minimalism score: 6/10

Tennis is a decent minimalist hobby. It doesn’t require much equipment and that equipment is somewhat easy to carry around. You need to find a court to play at, though. But there are usually a few options close by, both public and paid courts.

Snorkeling/Scuba Diving

What you typically need:

  • A snorkeling mask and snorkel
  • Diving fins
  • A sea or a lake to go snorkeling in

For scuba diving, you will also need:

  • A regulator
  • A wetsuit or a drysuit
  • A buoyancy control device (BCD)
  • Dry box

Minimalism score: 7/10 (for snorkeling), 3/10 (for scuba diving)

Even though snorkeling and scuba diving are related sports, they score quite differently on the minimalism scale. Snorkeling is very minimalist, scuba diving not so much. You need a lot of stuff, and that stuff is bulky and heavy.

The obvious solution with scuba diving is to rent your gear, as you can easily do at many dive sites. If you go with that option, scuba diving, too, becomes fairly minimalist.

Another interesting option is freediving. By learning how to hold your breath for extended periods of time, you can experience the benefits of scuba diving with the minimalist equipment of snorkeling. It also comes with a sense of risk and adventure, which might appeal to you.

Team Sports (Basketball, Softball, Soccer, Volleyball, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee, etc.)

What you typically need:

  • Sportswear
  • Trainers
  • Sport-specific equipment ( a softball bat, a soccer ball, a frisbee, etc.)
  • A playing field
  • Other players

Minimalism score: 5/10

In terms of individual equipment, team sports tend to be minimalist-friendly. In many cases, like soccer or volleyball, you really just need sportswear and someone to bring a ball.

When it comes to playing fields, it gets trickier. Some of these sports you can play in your local park, but for others, you’ll have to travel further.

The main challenge is players, though. To get a game started, you’ll need to bring at least a handful of people together in the same place at the same time. In that respect, team sports are less minimalist-friendly.


What you typically need:

  • Sportswear
  • Trainers
  • A towel
  • Training gloves
  • A gym to train at

Minimalism score: 8/10

When it comes to minimalist hobbies, fitness and bodybuilding score high.

If you train at a gym, you don’t need to own any of the workout equipment. You are also not dependent on other people to show up like you would with team sports. Also, many gyms are open 24/7, which adds to your flexibility.

The only real downside is that you still need to travel to a certain place in order to pursue your hobby.

Bodyweight Training

What you typically need:

  • A pull-up bar or a TRX for the pulling part of your workout

Minimalism score: 9/10

In terms of minimalism, bodyweight training goes one better than bodybuilding. You don’t need machines or barbells — just your own body and gravity will do. For pulling exercises, though, a pull-up bar or a TRX can be helpful.

But even that can be circumvented. Use the upper edge of an open door to pull yourself up. Or take a towel and throw it over the branch of a tree.

Unlike bodybuilding, you can do all of your exercises at home. But you are also free to work out outside, e.g., in your yard or at a local park. It doesn’t get much more flexible than that.


What you typically need:

  • Dancing shoes (optional)
  • A partner to dance with (unless you practice a solo style)
  • A place to dance at, usually a dance studio or another venue

Minimalism score: 7/10

Dancing is similar to martial arts. You need relatively little equipment, but you need other people and a venue to practice at. That makes it a good, but not a great minimalist hobby.


What you typically need:

  • A set of clubs
  • Golfing clothes
  • Golfing shoes
  • A caddie (optional)
  • Other players (optional)
  • A golf course to play at

Minimalism score: 5/10

Golf is not the most minimalist sport in the world. Like sailing or horseback riding, it focuses on external objects over using your own body. That means more bulky stuff to carry around.

There are ways to minimize golf, though. Instead of the standard 14 clubs, you could carry as little as three clubs. You could also play at public golf courses where wearing the “right” attire is not a must.

Finally, you could learn to enjoy playing by yourself and carrying your own bag, which would make you less reliant on other people.


What you typically need for bouldering:

  • Climbing shoes
  • Non-restrictive climbing wear
  • A bouldering hall

For traditional climbing, you will also need:

  • Climbing helmet
  • Climbing harness
  • Chalk
  • Carabiners
  • Belay device
  • Climbing ropes
  • A climbing partner

Minimalism score: 7/10 (for bouldering); 4/10 (for climbing)

Bouldering is the more minimalist option of the two. If you are bouldering indoors, shoes are really all you need. Outdoors, you’ll also need a crash pad. In comparison, rock climbing is much more equipment-intensive.

Another big difference is that you can do bouldering solo, while you need a safety partner for climbing. This makes traditional rock climbing an okay but not a great minimalist option.


What you typically need:

  • A yoga mat
  • For Pilates, you might also need a studio with various Pilates machines

Minimalism score: 9/10 (for non-machine training)

Yoga and Pilates are similar to bodyweight fitness — they require virtually nothing in terms of equipment. Even a yoga mat is optional when you train outside on the grass. Alternatively, you could just use a large towel.

And while some people prefer to train in a group, you are not dependent on anybody else. That makes yoga and Pilates two of the ultimate minimalist hobbies out there.


Handiwork, arts and crafts, building things — whatever you want to call it, there are lots of different options to go with:

  • Sewing
  • Stitching
  • Embroidering
  • Patchworking/quilting
  • Crocheting
  • Knitting
  • Macramé
  • Quilling
  • Origami
  • Calligraphy
  • Jewelry making
  • Knot tying
  • Leatherworking
  • Woodworking

While there are some minimalist options here, like origami and calligraphy, most of these tend to be on the equipment-heavy side of things. You usually need various tools to come up with the final product. For example, for patchworking/quilting, you would at least need:

  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rule
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Starch
  • Scissors
  • Fabric and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Threads
  • Pins

Having an avid patchworker in my family, I can tell you that all the material needed can easily take up the space of a large bedroom.

So, arts and crafts are not ideal minimalist hobbies. But, if you wish to, you can make them more minimalist.

The first step is to keep your tools to a minimum. Stick with the basics. Also, focus on one particular project at a time. Buy the materials needed for your current project, but only for that. Then complete it, before you buy anything else.

An even more minimalist approach is to get involved in a “maker’s space.” For a small fee, you can use a public studio with all the supplies and tools that you could wish for. A bonus is that you get to hang out with other people who share your passion.

Finally, think about what you’ll do with your finished projects. Instead of letting them collect dust at home, consider gifting them. Or you could turn your handiwork passion into a side hustle by selling your finished projects on Etsy.

Activities Around Your Home

There are some great hobbies to engage in at home, for example:

  • Gardening
  • Arranging flowers/Ikebana
  • Cooking
  • Homebrewing
  • Mixology

But as with the arts and crafts category, these are not necessarily the best minimalist options. It comes down to one problem — sedentariness leads to the accumulation of stuff.

This is how we went from being minimalist to consumerist in the first place — by quitting our mobile lifestyles as hunters and gatherers and settling down in one place. Up until that point, every human in history was an extreme minimalist.

So, when you choose a hobby centered around your home, you will reinforce that departure from minimalism. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but it’s a dilemma.

You can mitigate that, though. For example, if you are into gardening, why not go for a minimalist, Zen-inspired garden?

Or, if you are into bartending, focus on one type of drink at a time. For a few weeks, only work on perfecting a few rum drinks, before you move on to whiskey cocktails.

Also, make a point to only buy tools that have multiple uses. For example, if you are into cooking, a high-quality Santoku will allow you to perfect multiple knife skills. On the other end of the spectrum, an avocado slicer is really just good for, well, slicing avocados.

Passive Entertainment

Passive entertainment hobbies like reading, watching movies, listening to music, or playing computer games used to be very non-minimalist. Over time, you would amass hundreds if not thousands of books, records, and DVDs.

That has completely changed in recent years. Now, all these different types of media fit onto your laptop, your convenient tablet, or an even smaller smartphone. In terms of physical space, passive entertainment has become an uber-minimalist hobby.

There are other aspects to consider, though.

The minimalist mindset is all about making conscious choices about what you want to do with your life. It favors unique experiences over mindless distractions.

Passive entertainment hobbies tend to be such mindless distractions, with maybe the exception of reading.

But even here, it depends on what your read. If you choose books that make you think, reading can indeed be an experience. But if you only read romance novels or murder mysteries, that’s just amusing yourself (which can be fun, too, occasionally).


I shudder a bit at including spirituality as a “hobby” here. But that is how most people treat it.

This belittlement aside, spiritual activities like meditation or breathing exercises are some of the most minimalist activities around.

You need nothing in terms of physical equipment. You can practice anywhere as long as it’s quiet. And you are not dependent on other people.

To be fair, there are some exceptions.

If you are into Japanese tea ceremonies, you will need at least a tea set and maybe even a room designated for the ceremony. Here, spirituality is overlapping with the around-your-house category, so it’s getting more equipment-heavy.

Another example would be kyūdō, the Zen-inspired art of archery. You’ll need a bow and arrows, a traditional Kyudo uniform, a shooting range, and a teacher to guide you. Here, there is an overlap with the sports category, and that, too, involves more stuff.

Hobbies for Tinkerers

These hobbies appeal to the tinkerer in us. Some options include:

  • Amateur radio, also known as ham radio. Here, you exchange messages with other operators over the radio frequency spectrum. It’s a fun hobby — you get to talk to people from all over the world, while also learning Morse code.
  • Computers. Computers can be used for much more than work and social media. You can write your own programs, design the perfect gaming PC, or come up with Raspberry PI projects.
  • Modelmaking. Modelmaking comes in many forms. Model trains are the most well-known option. Or you might enjoy assembling miniature fighter aircraft. My favorite is radio-controlled airplanes. Drone racing is the more current version of this hobby.
  • Miniatures. Painting miniatures, especially for games like Warhammer, is another great, nerdy pastime. Some people come up with custom miniatures by sewing existing miniatures apart and recombining them.

I love all of the activities mentioned, but none of them are particularly minimalist-friendly. There is a reason why tinkerers live in basements — there are so many tools and materials to store.

Try to make the best of it.

Focus on quality over quantity. Instead of owning ten mediocre model airplanes and three half-decent radio controllers, just get one high-quality item of each.

Also, focus on one project at a time. Instead of painting a whole army of miniatures simultaneously, do one miniature at a time.

Being Outside

Spending time outside, especially in the form of walking, is a great minimalist activity. You need nothing in terms of equipment, except weather-appropriate clothes.

Also, it clears your head like nothing else. All the chaos we experience every day — stress at work, digital overwhelm — a good walk will remedy that.

If you want to make walking a bit more interesting, you can combine it with any of the following activities:

You could learn about the trees that you see during your walks, what they are called, and how they serve your local ecosystem.

You could forage for food. Maybe you start collecting edible mushrooms during your walks. Picking wild berries is another delicious option.

Birdwatching is a great thing to do during your walks. You can learn the name of the different birds you see, what they sound like, and where they migrate to during the winter.

If you are city-bound, learn about the local history. What is that building over there? When was it erected? Why is German Village called German Village? What did your hometown look like before the European settlers arrived?

You can even gamify your walks via geocaching. It’s like a treasure hunt for adults. Someone hides an item in a public place, usually a logbook in a waterproof container. The geographic coordinates of the “cache” are then made public. Once you find it, you sign the log.


Having a pet like a cat or a dog is not a very minimalist hobby.

First, pets require quite a bit of stuff — toys, litter boxes, leashes, etc.

Second, your mobility suffers. Traveling becomes way more difficult.

On the other hand, pets are a source of warmth and affection. A pet is always there for you. That makes you less dependent on other people. It sounds strange when you put it like this but that is what pets effectively do for many of their owners.

Science and Knowledge

Science-and-knowledge hobbies used to require a lot of physical items, especially books. You would also have to travel to lecture halls all over the country to hear the brightest minds speak.

That has completely changed in recent years. You can now fit all the philosophy or astronomy books you could wish for on one compact e-book reader.

Similarly, you could watch lectures by world-class astronomers online on your laptop, in the comfort of your home.

And don’t even get me started on podcasts — they might be the most convenient way to acquire new knowledge there is now.

Podcasts are easy to access, there is a large selection to choose from, and they are free. All you need is your smartphone and a pair of headphones.

Being Social

Socializing comes in many different forms.

For example, certain sports are really just excuses to get together. Bowling, darts, and playing pool all come to mind.

From an equipment point of view, these are very minimalist activities. Most of the time, you rent whatever you need.

Often, you will just get together without some official reason. It feels nice to shoot the breeze.

However, you have to take other people’s schedules into account. That requires some coordination.

Another downside is that socializing often goes hand-in-hand with drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food.

Being overly social can also function as a cope out. For example, you might distract yourself from your mind-numbing 9 to 5 by living it up on the weekends.

Of course, we all need people around us, at least occasionally. But if socializing is your only hobby, it’s time to examine your why.


Volunteering can be a great alternative to just socializing. You get to spend time with other people, e.g., with other volunteers at a soup kitchen, while also doing some good.

Occasionally, some equipment is required. For example, if you want to build an insect hotel, you’ll need various materials and tools.

But you could also zoom in on activities that require little equipment. Going from door to door and asking for donations is an example. Helping the elderly with chores is another one. You just need to show up.


It might seem weird to think of dating as a minimalist hobby. But that’s how many people treat it. It is a fun activity to add excitement to your life.

It’s also fairly minimalist. For online dating, you will just need a smartphone. For getting to know people at a bar, you won’t even need that.

During the later stages though, dating can get more complex. You need to invest in clothes, haircuts, or makeup, and also come up with different venues to meet at.

But dating, too, can be minimized.

Have a couple of dating “uniforms,” two or three outfits that look good on you and that you just wear to dates. No more fretting over clothes.

Have a couple of standard venues to go to, places that you know will be fun. This will reduce planning time.


Magic is a nice, nerdy hobby and comes in many different flavors:

  • Street magic, e.g., the cup-and-ball game
  • Mentalism, e.g., guessing someone’s thoughts
  • Card tricks, e.g., guessing the right card
  • Levitation, e.g., making a chair fly
  • Escapology, e.g., freeing yourself from chains

Some of these can be very minimalist, especially mentalism and card tricks. In contrast, escapology tends to be equipment-heavy. So, research your brand of magic first.


Juggling, too, comes in many variations. Disciplines include:

  • Balls
  • Rings
  • Clubs
  • Diabolo
  • Devil sticks

To make juggling minimalist, focus on one of these. Not only will you need less equipment, but you will also get better much faster by focusing on just one skill set.

Balance and Dexterity Hobbies

Here, you either balance your own body weight or balance objects with your hands. Some examples:

  • Slacklining
  • Stilt walking
  • Spinning and twirling
  • Fidget toys

Dexterity hobbies are mostly minimalist-friendly. They are portable, you don’t need other people, and you can practice in whatever environment you are in (with the exception of slacklining).


Many people spend their free time on beauty-related activities. They go shopping for fashion, create new looks, try out different hairstyles, and get their nails done.

Some of these activities are quite anti-minimalist, though, especially buying more clothes.

But you can go about these activities in a more mindful, minimalist way. For example, you could focus on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe, i.e., a wardrobe that consists of only a handful of harmonized items.

Also, getting any kind of treatment just requires you to show up at a certain place. So that is a very minimalist activity.


This category includes activities like:

  • Crosswords
  • Cracking codes
  • Logic games
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Sudokus
  • Wooden box puzzles
  • Rubik’s cubes
  • Lock picking
  • Detective games
  • Escape rooms

These are all great fun, but they do require some equipment, namely an object that poses as a puzzle. This could be a Sudoku magazine or a Rubik’s cube. Fortunately, these puzzles tend to be rather small in size. The problem is more with the number. Typically, you don’t just own one puzzle, but many.

One great solution is to connect with other puzzle fans in your town. Share your favorite puzzles with each other. That offers everybody the chance to work on fun, new challenges, without cluttering up their homes.

Board Games

Board games, wargames, and pen-and-paper role-playing games are all great pastimes. They compare well against more passive types of entertainment, like watching a movie or playing a video game. You are getting together with friends, and having a good time.

In terms of equipment, though, they are somewhat problematic. Gamers tend to have not just one game, but many games. So, it’s not exactly a minimalist-friendly hobby.

The solution is to connect with people who are also into gaming and then share resources among you.

For example, if you like Dungeons and Dragons, it’s not necessary that everybody has the same sourcebooks. Get person A to buy the Dungeon Master’s guidebook, while person B gets the Player’s Handbook, and person C is responsible for getting the adventure guides. This way, you keep clutter for each of you to a minimum.

4 thoughts on “What Are the Best Minimalist Hobbies?”

  1. This is a great post, not minimalistic at all as you went into so many examples and offered many details. My hobby at the moment is learning about programming/coding. Out of your list I used to love martial arts.. (kyokushin karate).

    • Hey Radu,

      I mentioned programming in the DIY category (“Computers”), but it needs expanding. It’s a great minimalist hobby to have. I played around with HTML/CSS as a student, and while it’s technically not a programming language, I imagine it was a similar experience. I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe you’ll get back into Kyokushin, once you master programming? It might be nice to counterbalance something very cerebral with something very physical.

      • You are totally right saying that I should counterbalance what I’m doing atm, and I would probably choose BJJ.. If that times comes and I will start training 😀 I will let you know. Thanks Niels for your reply.


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