The Real Truth About Being a Minimalist

March 2020
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Our family ditched most of our things about 3 years ago and never looked back. Do I miss some things? Occasionally yes. Do I miss the time and hassle of having too much stuff? Heck No! For us the decision was sparked by traveling more and ultimately only owning what we could fit into four suitcases became the new ideal. I know it sounds a little crazy, but I have never been happier than I am now with so few possessions.

The things I thought I needed it turned out that I really didn’t. And a bonus that I didn’t even realize at the time is that downsizing has made me a better steward for the planet as well. If I can get rid of some things I thought I needed, I can definitely cut plastic bags and straws out of my life. Cutting out unnecessary things from my life has become second nature.

What I wasn’t expecting by becoming minimalists is what other people would think and sometimes their very wrong assumptions so let’s take a minute to clear those up with a little game of Myth or Truth? Here are the most frequent myths and truths that I hear:

Being a minimalist means you pretty much own nothing. MYTH.

While it can improve your overall well-being and happiness, being a minimalist can also be damaging if taken too far. Not everyone can handle owning only 100 items that are strictly for utilitarian purposes. As our now well-known Japanese friend says “keep things that spark joy” this applies even to minimalists. Keep things that make you happy. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you can’t have art on your walls or trinkets in a cabinet. It just means that those things don’t complicate or clutter your life.

(You can still have hobbies like my little Storm Trooper friend here)

Most non-extreme minimalists still have plants, art and other non- utilitarian objects that bring joy and happiness to their home. You don’t have to live in a sterile environment (very few human beings would want to) and you can still have hobbies and pastimes that require certain products or things. Bottom line? Owning nothing is not what minimalism is about. It’s about simplifying your life and creating more time for the things that really matter.

Once I declutter my home it will stay that way. Myth.

This is a common myth. Once I get rid of all my junk I’ll be set! I equate organizing, downsizing and general clearing of clutter to like when you lose 20 pounds. While the endeavor of that task is monumental and noteworthy the real trick comes afterward when you have to keep the weight or clutter at bay. It’s so easy to slip back into old habits and Amazon is way too easy to order from. To make sure you stay decluttered is the real feat and it takes constant discipline.

Being a minimalist will mean my house is always clean. MYTH. 

Haha! I wish! I don’t know how it is for single people that become minimalist, but for someone like myself with kids and a husband, our space can still get messy. In the end, stuff is stuff and kids are kids. One “little” craft project as my daughter calls it, and tiny pieces of paper are everywhere. So what’s the difference you’re wondering? What’s the upside? Those tiny pieces of paper can easily be vacuumed or swept up and I don’t have to worry about other toys or objects on the floor. Projects and toys don’t keep overlapping.

I remember before we changed our lifestyle I would see toys under more toys knowing that my kids hadn’t played with them in days. Project after project would get left behind and just pile up into a bigger mess. Now if something needs to be cleaned up its typically just one item. While I hate how messy LEGO’s can get when it’s time to clean them up that is the only thing my kids have to clean up.

(No Superman powers needed to clean up our messes)

I couldn’t stand the pile of dirty dishes before our life shift. Dishes are dirty? That’s okay just grab another one out of the cabinet and add it to the pile. While we will still have dirty dishes, we only have one item per person now so if you want to use a bowl then you need to wash a bowl.  We have no extras of anything so you wash what you use and then use it again.

Being a minimalist will give me more time in my day. TRUTH.

While you will still have to clean and declutter… yes, even minimalists have to declutter; you will free up so much more time in your day. I can’t even count how much time I used to spend “trying to find something”. Kids and occasionally husbands aren’t the best at spotting lost items anyway, but throw those items in with a bunch of clutter and it becomes very difficult and time consuming.

Now we only have so many items and there are only so many places that “said item” can be. On the other hand, if you have mom brain like I occasionally do, you could end up spending 10 minutes looking for your bra only to realize you’re wearing it. This actually happened last week and I thought I was losing my MIND!

Being a minimalist or even decluttering doesn’t happen overnight. TRUTH. 

It’s a process and that’s putting it lightly. It’s no easy feat and everyone has their limit. While some families would benefit from just having a small part of the kitchen counter always cleared and clean, some really just want to ditch the junk drawer. Clean and de-cluttered means different things for different people. First step is really to slowly start donating and recycling those things that clutter your life and who knows maybe one day you will be a minimalist too. 

What are your thoughts on minimalism? Is it something you would like to try? Why or why not? Let us know on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


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