I installed Lmde2-cinnamon 64bit recently and then turned around and installed a windows manager called openbox and a taskbar called tint2 to it. After some tweaking it was using all of 151mbs-ram, it goes without saying the 32bit Mint version(s) would've been even lighter on system resources and would/could be blazing on lower spec systems. Personally it doesn't matter 64 or 32bit, high or low-spec hardware, I always have and always will tweak anything gnu/Linux I have installed. Simply doesn't make sense to me to run a resource hogging OS period.
Estimated tweak time taken, probably an hour or less. Depends upon you and your skill level obviously. Tweaks applied, the one's I've found which are easiest and provide the most gratification ? On Sysv init systems, in the Mint control settings, disable unwanted/needed startup daemons and services. Also install bum and disable some others which aren't available to do so via the Control center's settings. If you like learn the ways to use stuff like cli to further find/disable anything else which survives the former two.
On systemd, again in the control center disable bloat startup services, then use the "systemctl" command to find and disable others that you don't want/use leeching off system resources. There's a gui frontend for systemd called systemd-ui though haven't really used it and can't endorse it. Brief dorking around with and it seems kinda buggy, so use cli.
All such disabled daemons and services can be started via run dialogue or terminal when/as needed and then killed off when they're not. They don't need to automatically start everytime your Minty goodness boots-up and are just adding bloat and overhead when running and not doing anything useful.
At some point lower the default swappiness on the OS. Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file with gksudo or root priv's and add this line to the bottom of the sucker.
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# Adjust swappiness to a more reasonable level vm.swappiness=10
Disable features and unwanted visual effects in your Desktop of choice or better imo as mentioned install a windows manager instead and at some point if you like remove the packages on the system related to the desktop too. Though do be aware it WILL remove plenty of packages that you'll have to turn around and re-install during the process. To keep a good and working system.
Though you can also keep your desktop if you so prefer and logout/in to whatever others you have installed using mdm = The display manager Mint is currently using.
The last thing and this is ABSOLUTELY necessary once you've trimmed down, lightened and tweaked your Mint OS. Which is PROFIT and ENJOY !