Minimalism myths: the truth about minimalist living


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Everyone has their own definition of minimalism. It’s a very personal journey and each person can get specific benefits from it, depending on their lifestyle. However, I think there are a lot of myths about minimalism and I want to write about what I think that minimalism is not.

In this blog post, I am sharing with you the truth about minimalist living and 8 common minimalism myths that people have about this lifestyle. 

8 minimalism myths: The truth about minimalist living

Myth #1 : It’s only about physical things

I think that this misconception is one of the most common minimalism myths out there!

Minimalism helps us declutter our lives and get rid of unnecessary belongings. But I think it goes a lot further than material things.

It can be applied in every aspect of your life. In your relationships, your career, how you spend your time, what hobbies you have, the way you eat, which media you are consuming…

There are many other categories where minimalism can add value!

Applying it to physical things is maybe one of the easiest and the most obvious one. It can be a great way to start your minimalism journey.

But to get the full benefits of minimalism, I highly recommend that you start implementing some minimalist principles in other parts of your life. 

Read more:

Myth #2 : As a minimalist, you cannot own X

For me, minimalism is a lifestyle in which we only keep the things we need and cherish, and get rid of the excess.

It is not the lack of something, but the perfect amount of something. In a minimalist life, you only have what brings true value to you.

So, I don’t think people should tell you what you can own and what you can’t have to be a minimalist.

There is no specific list of things that we cannot have to call ourselves minimalists.

As long as your belongings bring you joy and are functional to you, you can call yourself a minimalist.

For instance, you may have a collection of DVDs or books. Whether you have ten or hundreds, you can still be a minimalist if you have curated this collection.

People may say that collecting things is not minimalistic. This is a minimalism myth!

I think that as long as you love and use these items, you can legitimately call yourself a minimalist.

Don’t give up on certain hobbies just to be more minimalist. Minimalism should add to your life and not subtract from it.

Myth #3 : Minimalists are missing out in life

I see many people thinking that practicing minimalism deprives you and makes you feel miserable by not having a lot of things. I think that this is one of the most inaccurate minimalism myths!

Western societies are often so focused on consumerism that people don’t realize that stuff doesn’t bring happiness. When you buy something, you can feel happy and excited for a few moments.

However, I genuinely believe that the most important and fulfilling things in life aren’t things.

They are experiences and time spent with people we love.

The simple joys of life.

I want to share with you a quote that I truly believe in, by the Minimalists: “Love people. Use things. The opposite never works.”

Physical belongings won’t add to your happiness levels over the long term.

Experiences, on the other hand, will help you grow, learn, and create memories you will cherish your whole life.

Minimalism simplifies our lives in a way that we focus more on experiences rather than on stuff. So, I don’t think that minimalists are missing out in life.

The only things they are missing out on in life are the things they purposefully choose to avoid.

They make more intentional choices that help them live a more fulfilled and happier life

"Minimalists are missing out in life" is one of the most common minimalism myths.

Myth #4 : Your home has to look a certain way

I love scrolling through Pinterest and looking for minimalist homes and designs. It can inspire you when it comes to decorating your home.

But the issue is that minimalist homes tend to look a specific way on social media. We can think of pristine white furniture and walls, no bright colors, neutral wardrobes, with little home decor.

As a result, people might think that if their home doesn’t look like these pictures, they cannot be minimalists. I think this isn’t true.

Minimalism isn’t about looks. You can have bright colors in your home or your wardrobe.

Same thing with lots of home decor, as long as you truly love it. Plants don’t have to be your only decor items. And you don’t have to have white walls in your house if you don’t want to.

There is no specific look to minimalism, give it your own touches and style.

Read more: 20 brilliant minimalist bedroom decor ideas you’ll adore

Myth #5 : You can’t be a minimalist if your family isn’t minimalist

I think this misconception cannot be true because, as a human being, you have your own personal things.

If you live with other people, like your spouse, children, or parents, you won’t have any power on their belongings. But you can declutter your own and be a minimalist.

Of course, it gets harder when you live with other people because their stuff may seem excessive to you. But I don’t recommend getting rid of things that don’t belong to you.

For the things you have in common with other people, try to show them that you don’t need these items. You have to make a compromise somewhere.

Tell them that it is important for you to simplify your home, and they may decide to help you minimize.

When they see how minimalism adds value to your life, chances are they will feel inspired to declutter too.

But if your family members aren’t minimalist, it doesn’t mean that you can’t live a minimalist lifestyle and declutter your own things.

Myth #6 : As a minimalist, you shouldn’t go shopping

I don’t think that minimalists mindlessly buy things. If that is something you’re struggling with, stopping impulse shopping will highly simplify your life and will help you live more intentionally.

If you want to live a minimal and simple life, you can’t go shopping for new things every day. And you should avoid impulse buying.

But I do believe that minimalists can still go shopping every once in a while.

Minimalism helps them want less, shop more intentionally and choose things that they will use and love in the long term.

Minimalists tend to have different shopping patterns compared to non-minimalists because they think about the purchase on a deeper level.

They ask themselves questions to make sure that the purchase is well-thought and that they truly want the item. But that doesn’t mean they can’t go shopping.

Many minimalists often declutter items after they’ve been shopping so that they don’t add too many belongings to their home. 

"Minimalists can't go shopping" is one of the most common minimalism myths.

Myth #7 : You should own a certain number of items

To be a minimalist, certain people say that you cannot have more than 30 clothes or more than 10 books.

I regularly see this misconception on social media. I think it is a shame that they think this way because they perceive minimalism as a restrictive lifestyle, whereas it is not!

You have the right to own as many items as you want and you make the rules about how you want to apply minimalism.

Don’t feel restricted by numbers made up by people who aren’t living the same way as you are. Do what works best for you.

Keep the number of things that you are comfortable with and that adds value to you.

The thing is, you don’t even have to count the number of items you own. This is a common minimalism myth!

Myth #8 : You shouldn’t have a lot of sentimental items

Some people assume that, as minimalists, we shouldn’t own many sentimental things. I think that this is one of the most frequent minimalism myths.

Sentimental items are the most difficult category of things to declutter. Going through sentimental items can bring along many emotions and memories.

It can be very hard to decide whether or not you want to hold on to something.

I struggle with it at times because I don’t want to feel ungrateful for the memories attached to those things. And I think that many minimalists find it difficult to declutter sentimental things too.

We are not heartless people, and we may not feel ready to let go of these things.

If you’re struggling during this process, know that this is normal. Don’t feel pushed to make a decision right away.

You may not be ready to part ways with them just yet. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you are not a minimalist. You have these items because they are important to you and they bring you memories.

This directly aligns with the values of minimalism, so you can still have sentimental items without feeling guilty.

I hope you find this blog post insightful and that it made you think a little bit about minimalism myths and the truth about minimalist living!

Many people have misconceptions about this lifestyle which I think are often exaggerated simplifications.

They are usually false and give people, that are on their minimalist journey, restrictive expectations. I think you should define your own version of minimalism.

You should not feel overwhelmed when you don’t fit in a certain box that other people created. Do what you want and how you want to do it.

What are some minimalism myths you find people have about this lifestyle?

Let us know in the comments!

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  • Mango&papaya

    Hi !
    I really appreciate your content and just can agree with you!
    I try to be minimalist and consider myself as one of them..
    But seeing pictures on pinterest / insta or comments on youtube about minimalist person just accentuate the feeling that I was doing wrong and felt guilty.
    So I did more research and found that being minimalist is not only being like Marie Kondo, it’s also how to appropriate this way of life to mine and doing my best.

    Your article just convinced me that I’m not doing wrong, it’s just this idealist idea of this concept we have, that is wrong !

    Thank you so much 😚

    • Eva

      Thank you for your comment !
      Yes totally ! We really need to adapt minimalism to what works best for us and our lifestyles. Looking at pictures of minimalist homes are a great inspiration but we shouldn’t think that every minimalist home has to look like that. If your home has lots of colors or if you’re not minimalist in one area, it doesn’t mean you’re not a minimalist.
      You are a minimalist if you have the right mindset and you decide to call yourself minimalist 😉 !

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