In this post, we’ll be going over some of the common minimalist misconceptions!
There is so much said about minimalism in this day and age. Much of it is positive. However, minimalism is clearly not something that everyone is into.
Many simply dismiss this lifestyle because they don’t fully understand what it’s about. Minimalism is often widely misunderstood and isn’t necessarily one specific way of life. There are many different versions.
Most people, (including myself) associate minimalism with extreme minimalism and having next to nothing when it comes to possessions.
For some people, this is their lifestyle. But for most of us out there practicing minimalism, this isn’t practical or even possible.
Don’t get me wrong, one can still live a very minimalist life while having kids and a family but it’s just very rare and probably very hard. At least for the extreme type of minimalism.
From what I gather from watching videos and reading on the internet, many people and families have adopted a minimalist lifestyle suited to their needs and have made a positive change in their lives after doing so.
I also enjoy the benefits of this lifestyle and love to share how it has made my life easier. However, in this post, I’ll first clear up some common minimalist misconceptions about this lifestyle!
Why Minimalist Misconceptions Matter
Minimalism means a variety of different things to different people. This means that minimalism doesn’t fall into one category. Some people may be interested in giving this lifestyle a try but be put off by some common misconceptions. These minimalist misconceptions may drive someone away that may have otherwise given this lifestyle a try and received its amazing benefits.
Plus it’s good to clear out any incorrect notions about this lifestyle in general. Even when I hear the word minimalism, I think of empty rooms and scarcity haha. I’d rather use the term “simple living” but minimalism is the popular term to use nowadays…
Enjoy these minimalist misconceptions and think of any we may have missed!
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1. You Have to Get Rid of All Your “Stuff”
This is one of the biggest things that I first think of when minimalism comes to mind. And partly, it is true in a way.
But hear me out…
You don’t need to get rid of “everything!” Yes, you get rid of a majority of your belongings, but depending on your minimalist lifestyle (yes there is more than one), you can have more personal items than you really think.
Most people who are embracing a minimalist lifestyle are looking for a new way to live life to bring more happiness and purpose.
Thus, the idea is to keep the items that we value and need but also keep the items that give us purpose.
With this in mind, someone who lives like this may buy items for pleasure from time to time if they want but will do this with intention instead of impulse.
Ultimately minimalism is about simplifying your life and finding what lifestyle works best for you and what brings YOU the most happiness and satisfaction.
2. Minimalists Own “Nothing”
Aside from thinking someone gets rid of everything, the next assumption is that minimalists own next to nothing when it comes to personal possessions.
This is also very incorrect because the truth is some people living this lifestyle may actually own many “things”. The difference is that these items bring value and purpose to this person’s life.
I think the biggest thing about this is that most of the items minimalists do have are very high quality. The major difference is the quantity of these items.
3. Minimalism means no Shopping
Naturally, this notion comes from the fact that one is only living with what they “need”. Which for the most part is true, however, this doesn’t mean that someone following a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t buy things that they want on occasion.
Another principle that many minimalists follow when shopping is replacing old items with new items. For instance, buying a new camera and selling the old one.
This way you “replace” the item and are not adding any more extra clutter to your life.
Furthermore, your desired minimalist lifestyle isn’t set in stone. There are a variety of lifestyles to choose from and these can change as you change as a person.
If you live a nomadic minimalist lifestyle then yes shopping will be difficult for you, but if you’re somewhere in the middle and want to keep the clutter away, it’s still possible to shop and be a minimalist, but just less frequent and with more intention.
4. Minimalists Don’t Own “Nice” Things
This minimalist misconception is a big one for me.
Again people may think that minimalism is about only the bare minimum. “How can you have nice things if you only have what you need?” They may say…
But this is also very far from the truth. In fact, at least for me, all of my stuff is nice or high quality for my standards at least. This is most evident in the way that I’ve downsized my wardrobe.
Now I only own my favorite items to wear. I can’t fathom having clothes that I would never wear laying in my closet anymore. I used to have clothes that I kinda liked but most likely never worn at all. Now everything in my closet is something I would want to wear every day.
Trust me, it’s much better to have a wardrobe like this.
5. Minimalism is only about “possessions”
Along with downsizing your possessions, minimalism also involves a mindset. This mindset isn’t necessarily the same for every person but it’s essentially the mindset applied to possession but also used in other aspects of your life like your finances, family, and personal life.
For example, in finance, this mindset manifests as saving money and limiting unnecessary spending. In family life and personal life, it means putting what’s most important to you first.
This can be time spent with friends or family for positive experiences rather than obsessing over your belongings.
Sometimes the build-up of clutter blocks you from your happiness and these positive experiences.
In personal life, this also pertains to food as well. Trying your best to eat quality foods and in moderation (I’m prone to junk and binge eating from time to time lol).
This can be tough for most of us but the mindset is still the starting point to keep positive eating habits in the door and negative eating habits out the door.
Overall, this mindset ultimately revolves around finding peace and happiness for yourself. It’s about valuing your experiences over personal possessions that you don’t necessarily “need”.
6. You Have to Live Like a “Monk” (only extreme)
When we first hear the word minimalism, we may picture an empty room and so on and so forth. Thus, the lifestyle seems very similar to that of a monk.
This is not true because by thinking one is living like a monk, you are saying that all minimalism is extreme. And as mentioned above, there are many different minimalist lifestyles.
These lifestyles do vary from extremes like living out of a carry-on and traveling full-time, to owning a home with a family and having a reasonable amount of possessions.
The point is that a minimalist lifestyle looks different depending on the way you choose to live. There is no set rule as to how a minimalist may live their life.
7. It’s Miserable/Boring
Now for someone who doesn’t understand this lifestyle, it may appear very boring, but this simply is not the case. This may not be one of the most common minimalist misconceptions but it is definitely something that may come to mind.
The whole point of this lifestyle (at least for me) was to find more satisfaction in life and find a better way to live than I was currently.
When you walk into someone’s room or living space that doesn’t own many “things” it may look boring or dull. But the difference is that what’s seemingly unsatisfactory on the outside is the opposite on the inside of that person.
Let me explain…
Someone who may have a lot of stuff may feel small joys/ excitement from these things, but over time this feeling wears off, and eventually, they may have to buy more things to keep this feeling alive.
We know what this looks like in our consumer society…
But with minimalism or simple living, you become content with what you already have and this brings you peace of mind.
This peace of mind is what makes this lifestyle worth it. And to the individual living in it, they feel more joy than if they had everything in the world because they are valuing their time and experiences rather than owning tons of “stuff”.
8. It Will Solve All of Your Problems in Life
This final minimalist misconception is added here to put this whole simple living thing into perspective.
Just because you have now changed a small portion of your life for the better, it doesn’t mean that all of your problems will now suddenly disappear.
If you are still in debt or unhappy with your current living situation, this is not going to automatically make anything better. It’s the same principle for having tons of money…
If you are feeling sad or have certain personal issues you are dealing with in life, living in a large mansion and having a yacht aren’t really going to fix these things.
You’ll still be that same person just with a mansion and a yacht.
Think about yourself even now. If you have a car or have owned one, think about how great it was to finally get this car and the freedom it would bring.
But now after years have gone by it’s just kinda “there” and you only go to use it when you need it. It’s not necessarily bringing you the same joy that you experienced when you first purchased it.
This principle applies to the minimalist lifestyle as well, just because you are getting rid of a lot of clutter, doesn’t mean that certain problems in life are not going to be there.
However, I will mention that minimalism and simple living can provide some great benefits and can improve some areas of your life. Check out this post: 10 Simple Ways Minimalism can Stop Depression and Anxiety.
I think it’s important to make this point because minimalism and simple living can do a lot for you and can even help you feel more at peace and happy with life, but just remember that it can’t solve “everything”.
Now that you’re at the end of this post, I hope you now understand some of the more common minimalist misconceptions out there today!
Minimalism definitely is a life-changing lifestyle that will give you tons of benefits and will help you to change the way that you view your current lifestyle.
Just remember that minimalism isn’t just one way of living and there aren’t any “rules” that you need to follow.
These minimalist misconceptions are meant to show you that it isn’t as hard to live this lifestyle as you may think.
The thing that you need to follow is what’s in your heart and what you feel is right for yourself or for your family if you have one of your own.
I would just say that minimalism and simple living come in a variety of different lifestyles and I would encourage anyone to give it a try and see how much better your life can be.
Simply do some research and find a minimalist lifestyle that suits you best. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a minimalist lifestyle, you could just declutter your house or wardrobe and reap the amazing benefits of those two endeavors.
Just live the way that brings YOU peace and happiness.