Ever since Minimalism started gaining traction with public attention given to the likes of Marie Kondo and The Minimalists, there have been misconceptions and myths about minimalism and what it actually is (or isn’t).
If you are new to the concept of Minimalism, I would suggest you have a look at this post where I have explained who actually is a Minimalist.
What is Minimalism?
Before we look at the myths about Minimalism (what Minimalism isn’t), I just wanted to give you this definition of Minimalism from Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist.
It’s the best definition I’ve come across so far…
‘Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.’
Now let's dive right into the myths for which you are reading this post.
1. Minimalism is about physical items
Do you also relate the word Minimalism to decluttering.....of things? Well, I used to till the time I got to realize how misunderstood I am.
Minimalism is about decluttering - of things, relationships, stress, and everything that you don't love, don't care, and don't value.
Remember Joshua Becker's definition? It is all about the removal of things that distract us from being intentional.
There are two types of spaces - physical spaces, and mental spaces.
We can always point out a physical cluttered space, but mentally cluttered spaces are difficult to figure out. Minimalism promotes mental clarity the most. Getting rid of the things or responsibilities that add nothing but stress to your life is what it is all about.
2. Minimalism is about quantity
Living life out of a suitcase, living life out of X number of things, these portrayals put an impression in people's minds that to live a minimalist lifestyle, you need to have a certain number of belongings.
Again getting back to Joshua Becker's definition - Minimalism is about keeping things that add value to your life. It is more about quality and not quantity.
If you own hundreds of books and want to live a minimalist lifestyle, no one is asking you to get rid of all your books. Keep them if they add some value to your life, if they provide you happiness.
Minimalism is about quality.
Having a few good pieces of clothing that you actually like is much better than having a wardrobe full of clothes that you have no intention to wear in the future.
3. Minimalism is boring
Actually, just like other things, it is what you make out of it. If you are switching to a minimalist lifestyle just because your partner is a minimalist, this will not work.
Try to figure out the 'why' behind this switch.
Minimalism helps you make time and save energy for the things that actually matter in your life. As per my understanding, this will eventually make your life more interesting rather than making it boring.
You can make more time for your friends and family by skipping one of the boring parties that you have to be and don't want to be a part of.
4. Minimalism is a destination
This is the most common myth I have come across in my research for this topic.
Decluttering your wardrobe every six months does not make you a minimalist if you are again going to accumulate the same things in it.
Minimalism is a journey. It is about the small decisions you make while shopping or in your life in general. It is a lifetime process and cannot be a destination.
Keep in mind, this will change over time. What minimalism looks to you today might be different from what it'll look in the coming years. But the basics should be clear like what is the intention behind living a minimalist lifestyle.
The coming years will make you make more intentional decisions in your life. Eventually, this is your life, live it the way you want to, make no rules, or break all of them, do what you want, but do it intentionally.