At first glance, creating a minimalism lifestyle can seem daunting.
What's the first thing you think of? White walls, empty rooms, black and white clothes... It's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you think you need to get rid of or replace. It's hard when you think you have to meet a certain standard.
But being a minimalist doesn't mean you have to let go of your personality.
Minimalism isn't black and white.
There are a lot of ideas of what it means to be a minimalist, and a lot of those are myths. Minimalism doesn’t have set standards or rules you have to follow. It looks different for everyone.
You don't have to have a certain number of possessions or live out of a car to be a minimalist. It's not about having nothing. It's about not having more than you need.
It can be really easy to lose track of those truths. Especially when we compare ourselves to others. I struggled with that a lot when I first started pursuing minimalism.
I read so many blogs and looked at dozens of pictures of other peoples' minimalist homes, and all I could do was compare myself to them. The comparison game doesn't get us anywhere.
Myth #1: Minimalism means everything you own has to be black or white
We’ve all seen the pictures of minimalist homes, all gorgeous and white open spaces. If you haven’t seen them, you should look them up right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Your home does not have to look like that to be a minimalist. You do not have to remove all color from your home or from your wardrobe.
My home has a lot of neutral colors, but lots of grey and reds and pinks. Sometimes blue. And green. I love color. And that shows in my home and wardrobe.
Your home should be a reflection of who you are. Even though you're removing the excess, you're not removing your personality. If you love colors, wear them! Decorate your home with whatever colors you want.
You don’t have to stop being who you are to be a minimalist. That's part of the point of minimalism. When you remove the excess and create space, you're giving yourself the opportunity to be exactly who you are.
Keep your colors. Keep you quirks. Be who you are.
Myth #2: Minimalism means you can only have X amount of items
I know what you’re probably thinking. Yes, yes, decluttering is a huge part of the minimalist journey. The goal is to have less.
But there is no right or wrong amount of things to own.
The goal in decluttering is to remove what you don’t need. It is to get rid of anything that’s standing between you and the life you want to live.
And that is going to be different for everyone.
The decluttering process can also take as long as you need it to. I'm still working on getting rid of things I don't need. And I started decluttering two years ago!
What you keep is also going to depend on your family. They might not be totally on board with downsizing. And that’s ok. They don’t need to be minimalists for you to be one.
Or maybe you're not comfortable in a totally empty house. It's ok to keep things cozy.
Keep what you need to be comfortable. I'm not comfortable in an empty home. I enjoy decorating. But I don't keep more than I need in the house.
Myth #3: Minimalism means you have to live in a tiny house
Really, this myth is kinda ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong, tiny houses are beautiful. And I would love to live in one.
But it’s not practical. There's not enough room for my family. I need a certain amount of space (away from everyone and out of earshot of the TV) to not lose my sanity.
Tiny houses don't work for everyone.
Sometimes having your own space is nice. That doesn’t always happen in a tiny house. It’s also not super practical to say “hey, you’re a minimalist now…. sell your house and buy a new one.”
Do what is right for you and your family. Minimalism looks different for everyone.
There's nothing wrong with living in a larger house. Just don't get caught up in trying to fill it up.
Myth #4: Minimalism means you can’t spend money
It’s true, minimalists aren’t out shopping and buying new things all the time.
But that doesn't mean you can’t spend money at all. Part of the minimalist journey is learning to change your mindset and really think about your purchases.
The goal is to be intentional about how you're spending your money and time.
Does that mean you can’t update the living room and get a new rug? No. Get that rug. But think about it first. Make sure it’s really worth it, and something you really love.
I have a set of questions that I ask myself before every purchase to make sure it's something that's really worth my money.
Minimalism isn't about the stuff. It's not about possessions or where you live or how much money you have. Minimalism is a lifestyle. It is a mindset that we helps us eliminate whatever is keeping us from living the life we want.
We remove excess so that we can focus on what is really important.