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Six things we are getting wrong about minimalism

Readers Lounge By Esther Muchene
Minimalism is about owning just what you need (Photo: Shutterstock)

Minimalism is an art and lifestyle. It operates on the basis of ‘less is more’ when it comes to possessions.

Minimalists generally own fewer things than the average person. This lifestyle is generally about having less stuff: less furniture, fewer clothes and shoes, etc.

Most people consider this way of life to be mysterious because it can be hard to understand what it’s about when you’re not playing in that circle.

These points will debunk some of the myths and misconceptions you may have about a minimalist lifestyle.

1. It’s all about getting rid of stuff

Wrong. It’s not all about putting everything you love in a box and throwing it away. The deeper meaning of this is the art of detaching oneself and one’s happiness from objects. The world we live in today bases people’s value according to what they own and that’s what minimalism is trying to avoid. This detachment will draw your attention to more important things in life like relationships with others, experiences, self-awareness and compassion for others.

2. You can’t possibly be happy with less

It’s true that possessions make you happy and excited. But further studies have shown that most of these things only bring about temporary happiness. Once you buy an item, you enjoy it for a short while and then you look for something else. The cycle of wanting more never ends. And, there’s a lot of truth to that. As soon as I get the pair of heels I’ve been eyeing, my focus shifts to another pair that I want to get and so on.

With minimalism however, you get to save a lot of money because you own less now. So your house is a lot cleaner and you can keep track of everything easily and hoarding becomes a thing of the past. You can even use the money you’ve saved to travel the world and experience new things.

3. It’s easy to transition to minimalism

Deciding to be a minimalist and following up with the process are two different things. The assumption is that it is easy to get rid of stuff and begin living with fewer possessions. In reality, the process can be quite difficult. You can’t just wake up one day and do a whole 360 because there are so many what-ifs. ‘What if I throw or give out something I’ll need in future?’ ‘What if I never get this jacket (which I haven’t worn in over a year) again?’

The best way around it is to take things slow and transition gradually. And be ready to be judged by your family and friends for the drastic lifestyle change.

One benefit of having fewer possessions is cleaner, neater spaces (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Minimalists don’t buy new things

Minimalists buy new things the only difference is, they buy them with intention. They don’t go on shopping sprees often or go crazy over every sale sign that pops up. Before they buy something, they really ask themselves if they really need it. And if the answer is an honest no, they probably won’t buy it. In minimalism, the focus is on need rather than want.

5. You must be vegan or vegetarian

Minimalism is not about what you eat or what you don’t eat. Not all minimalists are vegan or vegetarian. Diet is a personal choice and minimalism doesn’t infringe on that freedom.

6. Minimalists are boring

You’ll be surprised at how many people actually buy into this lie. Due to lack of proper awareness and education, minimalism has been misrepresented a lot. The images we see around are mostly of plain houses that are painted black, white or grey and people with a bland sense of style that have no creativity. Minimalism is not a one size fits all kind of thing. You can still be colorful, stylish and creative while being a minimalist at the same time. It doesn’t limit your sense of self identity or self-expression.

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