Minimalism Myths - common misconceptions

There seems to be a lot of confusion on what minimalism is....and isn't. This article will clarify some common misconceptions and myths about minimalists.

Here are the most common misconceptions I've heard about minimalists...

  • Minimalists obsess about having as few items in their life as possible. They count everything and want to live with 100 items or fewer.

Minimalism is about stripping away excess so you can focus on living a fulfilling life with less anxiety and stress. This means that you can have as much or as little as you and your life require. Personally, I have never counted my possessions. I live with family and I'm sure my possessions are well above a 1000.

I would love to have only as many possessions that fit in my suitcase, but its not realistic for my current lifestyle (except when I travel, lol!).

  • Minimalists live in a (tiny) home stripped of all comfort.

Most minimalists live a life designed for their and their families' comfort. This comfort might seem sparce for some and over the top for others. They might live in tiny homes or large homes depending on their personal, family and cultural needs. I live in a one bedroom flat with one other person - that's the norm in Mumbai and fits our needs right now.

Either way, you can tell a person is striving to be a minimalist by the fact that they are always trying to assess the need of each item in their home. - mnmlgrl
  • Minimalists are not sentimental and do not have any sentimental items.

Minimalists avoid cluttering their life with meaningless items. But we do enjoy things that provide comfort and have value beyond the material or financial. I cannot imagine a space that feels like home without my brass heirlooms. They aren't essential to my life, but provide a warmth, belonging, a sense of history & shared stories that cannot be replicated in a space without them.

  • Minimalists do not have nice or new things.

Minimalists have nice things, we are just very particular about what they are. I won't buy a pretty necklace just because its on sale, but I cherish and use my Grandmother's necklaces. I also bought a cutesy breakfast nook for the kitchen to replace the bulky dining table.

  • Minimalists do not spend money.

We are just careful about what our money gets us. We prefer our money to buy us experiences, or buy us something of beauty or fulfill a need. We don't mind spending more if it brings us more value but I don't remember the last time I bought something dinky just because it was on sale.

  • Minimalists spend too much money on things you could get on sale/cheaper.

We are not spendthrifts. We are also not allergic to a good bargain. I buy whatever I deem necessary whenever it is needed. But I won't indulge in a sale just because there is a sale. I believe that its 100% free when you don't buy something you don't need. Personally, I prefer buying local or Indian-made goods instead of cheap/expensive imported goods. Having said that, most of my electronics are cheap/imported remnants (in great working-condition) of my pre-minimalism past.

Its 100% free when you don't buy something you don't need. - mnmlgrl
  • Minimalists only wear black or other 'depressing' colors.

Minimalists wear color. We are just more deliberate about which colors and how much of it seeps into our closet simply because it is tougher to mix and match with the few things we have. I have a few capsule wardrobes that can be mixed and matched to fit my needs - work, casual, travel, special occasion etc.

  • Minimalists home has to have modern, minimal looking furniture/appliances.

Replacing the décor or changing the interior design of your home to a more modern, clean, minimal look is not minimalism. I have retained the clunky, old (but still working) appliances and furniture. I may replace them with fresh things if they break or I sell them at a reasonable price. (Un) Fortunately a lot of my old items were of great quality and have refused to breakdown on me despite years of use.

  • Minimalists are environmentalists.

Minimal lifestyle and choices intersect with environmentally friendly options by accident, not by design. I prefer to make eco-friendly choices whenever I can but I don't always have the option - for instance I do not have the option to buy plastic-free earphones made in my country.

What are some other misconceptions you've heard about minimalists and minimalism?

-mnmlgrl publishes a new article every Friday.

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