The basic idea behind minimalism is to spend your time pursuing things of greater value than more material possessions. You simplify your life by decluttering your things, schedule, activities, etc. Extreme minimalists weed things down to around 100 possessions or less and tend to travel more than most people. They downsize where they live, have very few items of furniture, etc. They are different from the Compact in that they don't focus on buying used and recycling as much as they focus on having much less than the average person.
I think there is some merit to this way of life, although I don't see us being like the extreme minimalists. I think it is good to get rid of the things that you don't really need. I also think it is good to have more control over your life instead of being controlled by things. For example, going on a walk on a beautiful day is much more satisfying than shopping for new clothes at the mall. Minimalists don't put as much value in what you have, but what you are. Since they have fewer needs, they can get by with earning less money if they want or retiring earlier because they don't need as much money to retire.
Minimalists have more freedom than many people. Freedom is one thing that I have found that I value a lot. I am grateful I can be a stay at home mom and have the freedom that I do. It does come at a cost, but it is worth it. We cut back and spend less, we buy used at times, and I limit the amount we spend on food and cook most of our meals from scratch. By doing this, I have the time to exercise, read, serve others, and pursue things I want to do. We made sacrifices for my husband to get his education, and he loves teaching at the university in our town.
As the new year approaches, I have spent some time thinking about what I really want to accomplish this next year and the changes I want to make so it can happen. Minimalism may be something that appeals to you, or at least in part. To read more about minimalism, check out this blog. She has several posts you might like.