52 Minimalist Hobbies to Benefit and Enrich Your Life

Everyone benefits from a hobby or two.  Hobbies

  • reduce stress by letting you spend time on something you enjoy
  • provide scope for creativity and imagination
  • make you more knowledgeable and interesting
  • help you develop patience and skills
  • improve your sense of accomplishment and self-esteem
  • promote mindfulness and concentration
  • can create a social life and let you bond with others who share your interests
  • can allow you to stay active and physically healthy

I've known people with entire rooms dedicated to their hobby – studios for painting and pottery, sewing rooms, woodworking sheds, and basements filled with wine-making apparatus or a model train setup.

But even if you live in a small space, like my husband and I do, or you want to pursue hobbies that require less equipment and expense, you're in luck.  Many hobbies take a lot of space and tools, but many do not, and you can probably find one of those that you'll enjoy.

There are some tricks to making a hobby work in a small space, however, and I want to share those before getting to my list of minimalist hobbies.

model trains

7 ways to pursue your hobby in a small space

1.  Stay organized.

An overflowing and messy work area won't fit into a minimalist lifestyle or a small space.  Use one bin to store hobby supplies when they're not in use – this will also make it easy to set up and clean up your activities.

2.  Consider the fate of your finished product.

When choosing a hobby, think first about what you'll do with finished projects.  If you build models or paint large canvasses, it may be hard to display or store everything you make, and you'll find fewer places to donate as well.  And if you set up an online shop, that may require more of your time, space, and energy than you want to give.

That's why my list of minimalist hobbies can come in handy.  Most of them either produce no tangible items, or what is created can be easily used up, given as gifts, recycled, or donated.

Related article:  Keep Free Time Free

3.  Be a hobbyist, not a collector.

Collecting supplies for a hobby is fun and easy.  (I'm a scrapbooker, so I know.)  Investing time to acquire the skills and create at the level you desire is much harder.  So be honest... is it the "goodies" you're drawn to or the hobby itself?  If you won't put in the time and energy required, donate or sell the items you've collected.  Someone else may do great things with them.

When you're ready to try a new hobby, look for used tools and materials.  If you find your commitment and skills growing, you can upgrade your supplies.

4.  Don't keep leftovers.

When you finish a project, don't hang on to leftover supplies.  Donate or trade them, if you can.  You don't have room to store more than what you need for your current project, and besides, most of us forget about all of our extra little bits when we move on to our next idea.

5.  Work on one project (and maybe one hobby) at a time.

It's common in our culture to nurture a mentality that says "I'm bored – let's move on to the next source of entertainment."  And so we practice model building, home brewing, golf, and gardening.

Depending on your storage capacity and time constraints, it makes sense to focus your efforts.  If you actually want to finish the quilt you started, spend your hobby time working at it until it's done.  Same goes for the book you're writing, that 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, or the wooden cradle for your grandchild.

Some hobbies are much more self-contained, and it may be easier to pursue more than one at a time if your interests include reading, crosswords, crocheting for charity, and singing in a choir.

6.  Scale your hobby to your space.

Perhaps you've enjoyed playing a grand piano for many years, but now you're moving to a smaller space.  Can a spinet piano or even an electronic keyboard provide the same pleasure?  Maybe you've had a shop for woodworking.  Would learning to carve and whittle give you similar satisfaction on a smaller scale?  If you love to paint, but don't have room for an easel, large canvases, and other supplies, could you use some of the same skills to draw or do watercolors instead?

7.  Go outside.

This could just mean "leave your house."  You could indulge your love for model trains by visiting or joining a local model railroad club or train museum.  Or maybe you don't have room for a home gym.  Why not use the facilities at your local park to get a good workout?  

There are many outdoor hobbies that don't require a lot of expensive equipment – more than a dozen are included below.


52 minimalist and small space hobbies

As promised, here's a list of fun pastimes that are (or can be) low-cost, use few materials, and either produce no tangible items or create things that can be used up, given as gifts, recycled, or donated.

Creative hobbies

1.  gardening (can be in containers on a patio, balcony, or windowsill – or consider bonsai)
2.  sewing (work on one project at a time)
3.  crocheting
4.  knitting
5.  embroidery/cross stitch
6.  cooking
7.  baking
8.  cake decorating
9.  soap making
10.  candle making
11.  beading/jewelry making
12.  wood carving 
13.  photography
14.  drawing
15.  watercolor
16.  calligraphy
17.  scrapbooking (limit tools and supplies to one bin)
18.  origami
19.  floral arranging

Games and puzzles

20.  board and card games
21.  chess
22.  video games/online games  
23.  jigsaw puzzles (donate the set once you complete the puzzle)
24.  crossword puzzles
25.  Sudoku
26.  computer coding

Alone-time hobbies

27.  reading
28.  blogging/journaling
29.  letter writing
30.  yoga
31.  meditation

Social hobbies

32.  ballroom and square dancing
33.  singing
34.  acting
35.  playing an instrument
36.  Zumba or other fitness classes
37.  volunteering


Sports/outdoor hobbies (the following require minimal equipment)

38.  walking/hiking
39.  running
40.  skateboarding
41.  geocaching
42.  tennis
43.  swimming
44.  fly tying and fishing (keep equipment basic)
45.  basketball (use the hoops in your public park)
46.  soccer
47.  softball
48.  volleyball
49.  birdwatching

Other hobbies

51.  start a YouTube channel or podcast
52.  learn a foreign language

Which hobbies do you enjoy practicing?

Related articles:  6 Reasons to Make Things Yourself and What is Minimalist Fun? 


  1. Some libraries have puzzles or board game to borrow, and outdoor equipment, like fishing poles. That can be a great way to give things a try without committing to the gear, or if you've got friends or family visiting, a way to have spares, without having to store them. I've seen 'maker spaces' becoming popular where the space hold the equipment for a hobby, and charges a fee to cover the space rental and incidental supplies. This can be ideal for hobbies with larger equipment, and perhaps a way to downsize hobby supplies, without losing access to them.

  2. We travel with a card pack: 2 decks of cards, 6 dice, small pad of paper, golf pencil, and a keychain-sized cribbage board. This all fits in a quart zip-top bag folded in half and can provides hours of amusement. We've had people on trains and cruise ships ask to join in our fun.
    Linda Sand

  3. I love that many of these suggestions are low cost and don’t take up much space. My hobbies are blogging, singing, reading, and walking outdoors—all of which can be done without spending a lot of money.


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