Minimalism has become trendy, even though it’s a concept that has been around for centuries.
It’s all over mainstream media and it’s used across various industries, including fashion, design, food, technology, beauty, housing, and more.
But when the hype settles, what is a minimalist lifestyle?
A minimalist lifestyle is the process of identifying what is essential in your life and having the courage to eliminate the rest. When you remove the unnecessary, you free up your time and capacity to focus on the things that truly matter in your life.
Less is more.
Our modern lives are far from minimalist—perhaps maximalist or mediumist?
With so many distractions around us, we often find it challenging to create time and space to enjoy the simple things in life, like spending time with our loved ones, exercising, getting creative, cooking, or just doing nothing.
We’re too busy being overwhelmed by physical, digital, and mental clutter, leading to increased anxiety and an overall sense of dissatisfaction.
The life-changing benefits of having a minimalist mind set (including some examples)
“More” is what we’re up against as a society. This constant desire for more is something we call “The More Virus”.
We often associate more with status, security, comfort and control. But the more you externally desire, the further you get away from yourself, and the more you have to lose.
Instead of thinking more will make you feel better, minimalism helps you to go small instead.
When you’re small, you can go deep with what you already have. When you’re small, you’re more nimble, agile and responsive to change. When you’re small, you have fewer responsibilities and commitments, which frees you up to have richer experiences with less pressure. When you’re small, you’re limited by constraints, creating opportunities to innovate and have breakthroughs. When you’re small, you can take more risks. Small is beautiful.
When you’re big, on the other hand, you have dead weight and can’t move as quickly as you would like. When you’re big, you have to make more decisions. When you’re big, you have less opportunity to change. When you’re big, you have more to lose.
Being small and staying small is an art. It involves fighting social pressures and advertising to maintain your liberty. It means being content with less. It also means being confident in what you already have. This is the minimalist mindset.
Some people believe minimalism is a weird religious cult, while others think it’s too extreme.
We therefore take a look at some of the misunderstandings that some people have.
1. Minimalism means throwing everything out
Nothing is gained by throwing everything out.
Minimalism is more about learning what matters to you than just chucking your life into the trash. It’s about rediscovering your favourite hobbies and interests and engaging with people who uplift you. It’s about letting go of things that bring you stress.
Minimalists don’t throw everything out. That would be impractical. It’s also not environmentally friendly to generate so much waste. Do you know what we can throw into the bin? This myth.
2. Minimalists don’t buy new things
If you are a minimalist, you CAN still buy new things. But what makes this process different for minimalists is that they are generally replacing, not adding stuff they already own.
And you know what? Sometimes they do buy new things that makes them happy. What they don’t do is buy impulsively without careful consideration.
3. Minimalism happens overnight…or must take time
Minimalism occurs differently for everyone. No two people will approach it the same way, so it’s silly to say “it’s going to happen overnight” or “don’t shock your system—take it slow.” We’re all different. We need to forge our path to a minimalist lifestyle. We also need time to adjust to a new way of life, and that period may be longer or shorter depending on your situation.
4. Minimalism is a number
Perhaps you’ve noticed extreme minimalists who own less than 50 things. This trend has contributed to the idea that minimalism is about a number. The person who owns the least amount of items wins. It’s a competition within the community. In some cases, people are made to feel shame for owning too many things. This needs to stop. Minimalism isn’t about numbers. It’s about what makes you feel productive and happy. If you own more than 100 things, so what?
5. Minimalists are emotionless robots
From the outside looking in, it can seem a little cold how easily minimalists can discard things that were once sentimental in their lives. It’s for this reason that minimalists are perceived to be detached or unemotional. Treasuring a memory doesn’t mean we need to keep the material things that give us that memory. Those emotions live within us, and that’s something that the loss of an item can’t take from us.
6. A minimalist lifestyle is unsustainable
Some people believe minimalism is temporary and unsustainable. Like it’s just some phase that we’ll eventually get over. Minimalism is a mind set, not a hack. If you treat it like a hack, it won’t mean enough to keep going. However, if you feel minimalism’s benefits, it won’t matter who you live with, your work environment, becoming a parent, moving cities; the principles will carry on with you.
7. Minimalists have no style
Culturally we often associate style with having more options, being more extravagant and flamboyant. If these things matter to you, there’s no need to give that up as a minimalist.
While it’s true that the minimalist aesthetic is focused on simplicity, it doesn’t mean that’s how everyone should be. As long as everything you possess has a clear purpose, go nuts. When someone says that minimalists have no style, what they’re really saying is that they do not see a style they recognise and can immediately relate to.