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Ever since minimalism started to gain 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).
From the extreme ‘you must throw everything out’ through to the ‘you’re only allowed to have x number of items’ the myths about minimalism come in many shapes and forms.
Minimalism is different for everyone, each person has their own idea of what minimalism means for them. But here are some of the most common myths about minimalism that you can forget right now:
1 – You Have To Throw Out Everything That Doesn’t ‘Spark Joy’
Thanks to Marie Kondo there’s an explanation of what sparks joy – aka the things in our life that make us happy, but as with most things, the idea of sparking joy has kind of taken on a mind of its own.
The idea is that you should keep the things that are practical or that make you happy, and if something doesn’t make you happy then it doesn’t have a place in your home.
But really, you don’t have to throw out all things that don’t spark joy in order to be a minimalist. There are plenty of things you should keep for purposes other than joy, it’s just a guideline to help you choose what to keep and what to declutter if you’re having difficulties deciding.
2 – Your Home Is Empty
Just because you live a minimalist life, doesn’t mean your entire home is stark white and empty. Sure, it probably means it isn’t cluttered and overcrowded, but no one likes clutter anyway!
As a minimalist, the idea is that everything has a place and everything is in its place. Clean and simple, not stark and empty.
3 – You Can’t Buy Anything
While minimalists do generally have fewer items, it doesn’t mean that they can’t buy things they like when they see them. Rather than quantitative rules, minimalism is more about a mindset. Less mindless spending, more purchasing items that make you happy and that you love.
Just because you choose to live a minimalist life doesn’t mean you can’t update your wardrobe or add new decor items to your home. Your minimalism is your choice.
4 – You Wear The Same Thing Every Day
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are both known for wearing the same style of clothes every single day in an attempt to reduce the number of decisions they need to make each day and bring more simplicity to their lives. Just because it worked for them, that doesn’t mean that it is a ‘rule’ of minimalism you have to follow.
Simplifying your life, creating routines and reducing the number of decisions you need to make each day are all great ways to include minimalism in your life, but they aren’t the only way.
5 – Minimalism Is Just About Physical Items
Like stated before, minimalism is less about the things you have and more about the mindset you create around what you allow into your life. This goes for your friendships, your relationships, your activities, everything.
You can simplify and declutter your life in your processes by reducing the number of friends you have (removing those that don’t make you happy) and even by removing yourself from social media channels or spending more time doing what you love.
6 – You Can’t Keep (Insert Item Here)
Again, there are no set rules of minimalism and therefore you can create your minimalist life in anyway you want. It is a complete myth that you have to remove certain items from your life. While some may say that you should only have x number of items of clothing, if wearing a different outfit every day for a month makes you happy, then go for it.
7 – You Have To Follow The Rules Of Minimalism
This has been made fairly clear, but to reiterate – there are no rules of minimalism for you to follow. The only ‘rule’ is that you decide what minimalism will look like for you and then you create a life that supports this.
Keep in mind, this will change over time. What minimalism looks like for you today might be different to what it looks like for you in years to come. You may progress in your minimalism efforts and gradually remove more things from your life or create even more simple processes, or you could even modify things and add a little more in to make you happy.
This is your minimalist life. Forget the idea of any ‘rules’, ignore all of the myths about minimalism, and create a simple and happy life that you love.