My husband and I are both minimalists, but you might not guess that if you didn’t know us very well. Our fridge is completely covered with photos, I will gladly accept free t-shirts, and my husband has at least 20 different towels that he uses to clean his car.
These things don’t exactly scream “minimalism”.
Many people have a misconception about what minimalism is. They think minimalists get rid of 90% of their stuff, move into tiny homes, and retire in their 30’s. SOME minimalists do that, but we’re not all alike.
Here’s how I define minimalism: keeping only what you find useful or beautiful and getting rid of the rest. It’s about eliminating what doesn’t matter so you can focus on the things that do.
I find the photos on my fridge beautiful, free t-shirts are useful to me (I wear them to the gym), and somehow (I’m a bit baffled by this one), my husband thinks his 20+ car towels are useful too.
Here are four myths about minimalism that you need to stop believing.
Minimalism is For the Rich
Many say that minimalism is only for the wealthy because rich people can afford to get rid of stuff – they’ll just replace it later on if needed. This argument assumes that all minimalists get rid of 90% of their stuff, which is not true.
Minimalists don’t need to eliminate a set percentage of their belongings. Minimalism is about keeping only what you find useful. Your definition of “useful” might be very different from mine.
I’ll get rid of the DVD’s I haven’t watched in years (I prefer Netflix), but I’m not getting rid of the Halloween costume I wear once a year or the desk fan I only use for two months out of the year in Minnesota. I don’t have to use something every single day to deem it useful.
I’d rather store my Halloween costume in a closet instead of paying $40 next year for a new one, and that doesn’t make me any less of a minimalist.
Minimalists Live in Tiny Homes or RV’s
Some minimalists go all out and live in tiny homes or RV’s. That’s awesome for them, but it’s not the life I want.
I’m a little claustrophobic and the idea of living a nomadic existence sounds awful to me (personally). I’m a homebody and I’ve lived in the same state for my entire life.
Again, this doesn’t mean I’m not a minimalist.
Minimalists Don’t Decorate
Many people think minimalists live in bare, sparsely decorated homes that appear cold and uninviting.
I can understand why people would be turned off by this. I love to decorate! I simply prefer to only have home décor that I love or find useful. I don’t want a house stuffed full of useless crap that I don’t even like that much. What’s the point of that?
I know several minimalists, and none of them live in cold, creepy homes. My most minimalist friend, Heather, lives in a 740 square foot home. I LOVE the way her home is decorated.
She decorated intentionally and everything in the home is meaningful to her. There’s just enough stuff to make it feel warm and inviting without having ANY clutter at all.
I’m a bit of an organization freak and I HATE clutter. Minimalism is a great way to stop clutter before it starts. I personally feel more relaxed and peaceful when I’m in an organized, uncluttered environment.
Related: Minimalism Isn’t as Bad as You Think
Minimalists Only Wear Neutrals
Some minimalists have capsule wardrobes – a small number of staple pieces (typically neutral colors) that they wear often.
I will never do this. I like neutrals, but I also love patterns and bright colors.
To each their own!
Minimalism is a List of Rules
Many people seem to think that if you’re a minimalist you have to get rid of 90% of your possessions, move to a tiny home, and only wear black.
This is not true! You don’t have to follow a list of rules in order to be a “real” minimalist.
Minimalism is about getting rid of what doesn’t matter so you can focus on the things that do.
How you interpret that is up to you.