The philosophy of creating a minimalist web design is similar to how we design a simple life. Also check out Principles of Clean Web Design by Corina Ciripitca via Design Modo.
It’s important to research and understand the purpose of your website before removing any elements. With this in mind it will be easier to evaluate the importance of certain features. To help decide what to remove just stick to the basic fundamental features of your website. -Neeru Pallen