Minimalists come in all sizes, genders, ages, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions. If you’re thinking of delving into minimalism, you should know that there are no hard and fast rules to being a minimalist. A growing movement, Minimalism continues to invite others to define their lives in greater ways than by the things they own. I think of Minimalism as a recipe. It gives me the ingredients I need to let go of all the things that are cluttering my life and make room for what matters most.
Despite its recent growth, minimalism is misunderstood by a lot of people. A few of these misconceptions I will address from my own personal experience.
Minimalism is an all or nothing movement
When I first started reading about minimalism I thought crap, I’m going to have to get rid of every single thing like, yesterday. This made me anxious. I was anxious at the thought of letting go of all the things that gave me anxiety in the first place. Ridiculous, I know. As I further researched the movement, I realised that minimalism is a personal process that should be experienced at your own pace. If you begin with letting go of just one thing at a time, it will give you the momentum you need to let go of more.
Minimalists don’t own nice things and look poor
Actually, what most people don’t realise is that one of the benefits of living a minimalist life is the opportunity to purchase quality possessions. Owning fewer things means you can spend more money on quality items. In the age of capitalism and consumerism, we get bogged down in thinking that wealth is determined by the number of possessions we have. Unnecessary trips to Westfields or Kmart are now a thing of the past for me. When you commit to buying fewer things, our lives are opened to the opportunity of owning nicer things. I choose quality over quantity.
Minimalists wear the same clothes every day – black t-shirts and jeans
I remember telling my boss that I was going to watch The Minimalists live and he looks me up and down and goes “but you don’t look like a minimalist?” He shares the common misconception of many that minimalists should only wear black t-shirts and jeans. This is certainly not the case for me. One of the first things I did when I began my minimalism journey was go through my wardrobe and remove everything that I hadn’t worn in the past year. I’ve managed to cut this down to pieces I haven’t worn in the past 6 months. Now, my every day approach to clothes is to ensure that every piece of clothing I own serves a purpose and brings joy to my life. By “joy”, I mean comfort and by “purpose” – you know what I mean.
Minimalists live a boring life
My life is in no way boring, even if I do say so myself. Life is a lot more exciting now because I choose to focus on the things that make me happy. In fact, minimalism removes many of the mundane tasks that rob me of my daily joy and excitement. Tasks like chores, organising and clearing clutter. I would include laundry in the list too, but I actually enjoy it. When unnecessary possessions are removed, minimalists are free to choose what will define their lives. I choose to focus on myself and my family, try new experiences, travel the world and attempt the impossible. I’d decided to become a minimalist partly due frustrations with the amount of time, money and energy I was focusing on stuff in my life rather than experiences and relationships. With minimalism, I have found more opportunity to live out my greatest values.
Minimalist homes are plain and boring
Since beginning my journey, a project that I continue to work on daily is the act of going through our home and removing anything that isn’t meaningful, beautiful or doesn’t add value and joy to our lives. By the end of this, I want every decoration in my home to be of significance to us. I want our guests to walk into our home and immediately realise what’s important in our lives. Our walls will not be plain or boring but will be filled with life and love.
Minimalists come in all sizes, genders, ages, ethnicities, nationalities and religions. If you’re looking to join the movement and become a minimalist, remember that minimalism is a highly personal journey that is measured by the added value in YOUR life. Because of that, it will always be practiced differently by each individual and the outcome is defined by you. Through identifying what is valuable to you and defining your life in greater ways than by the things you own, a sense of freedom is inevitable.