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6 Common Myths of Minimalism You Should Know

Having switched home over 10 times in the last decade, sometimes across the country, sometimes continents, I never kept too much stuff. Also, growing up in a big family I was taught the value of what was necessary and what brought me joy at a very young age. There wasn’t room for much else, to be honest.
Things for me are just it: things. I try not to get attached to them so I have a clean and functional home. I must confess that with 2 sons, being a minimalist is really a blessing!
I never called myself a minimalist or any other term. It’s just who I am. Only after minimalism became a trend I realized there are so many misconceptions and half-truths about what is it all about. The word minimalism has been thrown around a lot in the past decade. I believe that minimalism is not an inventory of my possessions but instead, it’s a philosophy for learning to live with less, so I decided to share a list and my opinion on some of the main misconceptions out there:

1. You have to Throw it All Away

No, you don’t have to get rid of all your material possessions to be minimalist. Far from it. In fact, minimalism aims to realize the things you have the most in your life that are consuming your time and well-being. Once you have done this analysis, which can take up to several months, you can then throw away, sell or donate what you realize is of no value to your life. Minimalism is not about focusing on stuff or focusing on not-having stuff, it’s about focusing on what makes you happy.

2. It’s Anti Technology and Anti Progress

Digital MinimalismAlthough there are those who choose to live without a car, without mobile phones or technology in general, again, this does not mean that it is the norm. Quite the contrary, it is the exception. Technology allows us to be more efficient, to work smarter and to be interconnected. I love tech and the internet and I believe giving up on all our progress is a step back.
Digital minimalism isn’t about throwing out all your technology, deleting your Facebook account or half the apps on your phone (unless they are leading you to exhaustion, then go ahead!). Digital minimalism is about reclaiming your control and power over what you do let into your life. It’s about optimizing the tools you use. It’s about using technology and don’t let technology use. Ultimately, it’s about becoming more intentional, more empowered and more productive, rediscovering the non-technology-powered activities and behaviors you enjoy doing.

3. You Can’t Buy New Things

Minimalists, or people who choose to live on less, are not against consumption. Minimalists only promote another type of consumption: the conscious. What makes the real difference in the consumption is that minimalists are replacing (not adding) things they already own. And yes, sometimes we also buy things just because they make us happy.  Because “making me happy” is an intention. The key, as in everything, is balance and purpose.

4. You Can’t Have More Than 100 Items

There are, in fact, some international minimalist gurus who live on less than 100 things. That does not mean that this is a requirement to become minimalist. Minimalism is not a number. One of the advantages of the movement is that there are no rules. Everybody is different and the process of analyzing what we have, or not, in our lives is too personal and deep to put into a number.

5. Minimalists are Detached Robots

Minimalism Are Detached People?

Being detached from material possessions doesn’t mean that minimalists are insensitive or unemotional. It might look cold to others if you throw away that drawing your son did the other day in school, but the truth is that we can not keep everything.

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 possession – or loss – of a material thing can’t take from us. Most minimalists I know are sentimental but we just keep memories alive through photos and journal entries rather than souvenirs. I make my own photo albums (old style!) so I have physical memories that I can share one day with my boys (and I will not lose them in case my smartphone or memory disk stops working).

6. It’s Only for “Fancy People”

The idea that minimalism is only practiced by people on the fringes of society could not be more wrong. In fact, more and more people are joining the movement and recognizing its numerous advantages. Minimalists come in all genders, races, nationalities, social classes, and religions. 

Much has been said that minimalism is only for the rich and wealthy because they can afford to buy whatever they need whenever necessary, but, even though the wealthy have that advantage, that doesn’t mean that you can not be a minimalist if your income is below average. First of all, because minimalism is not about buying or not buying. Secondly, because minimalism is not about a number or about a style. It’s about keeping with you whatever makes you happy which includes, of course, what is useful and necessary to your life and well being.

Also, you do not have to follow any specific decorating style. Keep your own style, whatever that is.

In conclusion, minimalism is not an extreme way of living. Its foundations are simple philosophies designed to free us from the burdens of excess. Also, do not focus on stuff and do not focus on decluttering either (that’s another way to be focused on stuff). Rather, focus on whatever brings you joy and health and spend your time doing that. Let the minimalist philosophies provoke thought and inspire you to set yourself free.

Now that you learned a bit more about the real meaning of minimalism, I want to invite you to follow me on any platform you are more active on: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram.

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