Why Minimalism Isn’t “One Size Fits All”

 

If you’re someone who has been considering living more minimally, you’ve probably heard some blatant lies and assumptions about this lifestyle like:

“I heard those people only wear neutral-colored clothes.”

“You’re going to live in a tiny home?”

“Are you only going to own 30 things?!?”

“But you can’t have makeup/jewelry/anything non-essential…”

“Well your home isn’t ‘minimal’ like *insert person here*”

“You have WAY too many clothes to be a minimalist.”

Let’s set the record straight for anyone who is confused. Minimalism isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a one-size-fits-all concept.

There, I said it.

While I love that people are jumping on the bandwagon of simplifying their lives and pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle, there are some problems that come with popularity of a trend or lifestyle in general.

Personally, I don’t feel comfortable identifying as a minimalist because people assume I live in a tiny home, only own 30 items of clothing, only have black, white or grey furniture/clothes/anything a person can own, etc. The things you see on Instagram and Pinterest when you type in “Minimalism” isn’t the only version of how a minimalist can live. There are minimalists who also live in a house. There are minimalist who have an extensive wardrobe or makeup collection. There are minimalists who don’t wear black or white.

Like all other roles in life, identifying as a minimalist can place you in a box that people unnecessarily place you in, which is not only wrong but it also gives people the wrong interpretation of what minimalism is.

Like everything else, minimalism is dependent on the person and their lifestyle. 

A mother of three who identifies as a minimalist will not have the same lifestyle, or home as a 18-year-old student who identifies as a minimalist. There are no set boundaries or rules that “The Book of Minimalism” shares with its most dedicated followers. (If you couldn’t tell by my sarcasm, that book isn’t real.) But rather, it’s about understanding the key concept of minimalism and how you can appropriately apply that concept to your life. And what is that concept, you ask?

Discovering what’s essential and non-essential, and being able to focus on the essential while removing the non-essential. 

If you realize that condensing your wardrobe from 400 pieces to 200 pieces is minimalist enough for you, that’s great. If you’re getting rid of your TV because you simply don’t watch it, awesome. If you’re in love with cooking, and can’t part with your cookware because you use it every day, keep it! The point of minimalism is to find what’s important to you and find what you truly love and need in your life. Minimalism is also about being able to remove all of the things you don’t love and don’t need in your life. It’s a process and a journey, but it is definitely worth it.

Minimalism is a wonderful thing. But with social media, people are under the impression that there is only one way to live a minimalist lifestyle; and I’m here calling shedding some light on that myth. Minimalism can change to fit the needs of your lifestyle and your home. The way you view minimalism can be completely different than how other person views it. It’s all still minimalism.

What does minimalism look life to you based on your life? I would love to read all the different responses based on your lifestyles, so make sure to share in the comments below!

 

Ki Signature

 

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  • I haven’t actually started with the minimal lifestyle yet. But I am very interested, so I’m mostly reading about it on blogs. This also means that I don’t know yet how to implement it into my own life. It will definitely not be the ‘stereotypical’ style in a tiny house and with 3 items of clothing. I’m just looking for a way to declutter first, then I think I will take more steps and see what’s right for me.

    • Decluttering is a great step! You’ll definitely see how much you DON’T need. It’s therapeutic to get rid of things.

  • I couldn’t agree more! I’ve always believed that minimalism will only work if you find the right balance for you.

    • Yes! I love that you said this because I completely agree. Balance is an important word when talking about this lifestyle.

  • I love that you brought this up because I feel like minimalists can definitely have a tendency to be…judgey. Everyone is different, and minimalism should be flexible enough that you can make certain areas of your life more minimal than others.

    For example, I LOVE trying new coffee and tea flavors. I’m probs never going to be a minimalist in that regard. But in terms of keeping my clothes and shoes only the necessary stuff? I definitely can.

    Love this post girl!

    • Thank you, Katherine! I appreciate that so much. I am right there with you on the unnecessary judgement. It’s perfectly okay that some people are minimal in one respect and not minimal in another.

  • Just like the pursuit to acquire things can be a “competition” to keep up, minimalism can feel like a competition too. I use minimalism as a tool to simplify my life, not as a final destination.

  • I love this post! I’m in the process of discovering what minimalism is to me in my life. While I enjoy things like nice clothes and bags, I really don’t need those things to be happy in my life. Thank you for reminding us that it’s all about finding what is important in your life.

    • Of course, Shannon! And you’re so welcome! I know that every person is different and has a different interpretation of what is important and not important in their life.

  • So true! I definitely couldn’t live my life as a hardcore minimalist, but am happy with what works for me!

    • I feel the same way, Rachel! Finding out what works best for you is ESSENTIAL!

  • Okay, I LOVED this article. I’ll admit, I had several of those misconceptions about minimalism, which is why I haven’t tried to be one. I don’t want to get rid of my makeup or clothes! But, as we decorate our new home, I’m finding myself getting rid of more and more “Stuff” and just focusing on a more simple and clean/minimalistic look. I am LOVING that!

    • I’m so glad that you’re reconsidering minimalism altogether, Chelsie. Because yes, you CAN pursue minimalism and still have a pretty good wardrobe and makeup collection. But you might be minimal in other areas.

  • Ro

    Thank you for writing this! I’ve wrestled with starting a minimalistic lifestyle because I’ve always thought that it meant capsule wardrobes, etc. I think there’s nothing wrong with being a minimalist and having more than 30 items of clothing and I believe you touched on this nicely in this post. Thank you!

    • I’m so happy that this post helped you! Believe me when I say I have downsized my wardrobe significantly, but I don’t only have 30 items of clothing to my name. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

  • Loved this! I believe that minimalism is what you make it to be in order to fit your life. Like you said if you go from 400 pieces and get it down to 200 that’s awesome. I find that minimalism is helping me declutter things in my house.

    • That’s great, Mistle! Decluttering is an awesome way to start the process. I will admit that it can become addicting once you begin decluttering different areas of your home.

  • Being minimalist to me means owning items that serve a purpose in your home. Whether it’s a lot or few, everything contributes somehow to your life or brings you joy. As someone who likes to have extras and in every color, that’s not me, but I can see the appeal.

    • Yes! For me, I am careful about what I bring into my home whether it’s a handbag, appliance, or piece of decor. If it’s not useful or it doesn’t bring me joy–there’s no point to bring it to my home.

  • Reeni Geiser

    Great post! I totally agree!

  • This! I see it more as being purposeful with the way you do things. I know a lot of people I talk to think it’s just about clothes but there’s so much more it can be!

    • Thanks for your comment, girl! I’m glad you understand where I was coming from with this post. Minimalism is a very large topic and there are so many goals someone can have with this lifestyle–decluttering is only one!

  • I LOVE this! I think that’s why so many people are afraid of minimalism. They think there’s one “right” way to do it, and that it involves getting rid of all your stuff and being a little boring. 😉 But that’s not it at all! I love how you say it’s about identifying the essential and nonessential parts of life. I totally agree!

  • Lauren Kunin

    Ok. I really love this post. There’s not only one correct way to be a “minimalist.” Thank you !

    • You’re welcome! You’re right, there is no one way or right way!

  • Corey Wheeland

    This is great! I think I’m a minimalist, but I also like to surround myself with things that make me happy and that make my house feel like a home!

    • That’s wonderful! As long as those items serve a purpose or they bring joy–there’s nothing wrong with owning those things in your home.

  • Robin

    I loved this section in particular: “If you realize that condensing your wardrobe from 400 pieces to 200 pieces is minimalist enough for you, that’s great. If you’re getting rid of your TV because you simply don’t watch it, awesome. If you’re in love with cooking, and can’t part with your cookware because you use it every day, keep it! The point of minimalism is to find what’s important to you and find what you truly love and need in your life.” This is why there’s a difference between trendy, design-driven minimalism, and the centuries-old philosophy of minimalism. This was great food for thought and backed up what my intuition has been saying – thanks!

    • Thank you so much Robin! I’m glad this post was helpful for you. I’m happy to know there are other people out there who agree!

  • Oh i love this! I totally agree, I think people have a lot of judgments/constructs they’ve identified for minimalists and it’s hard to get them to understand. I can’t say how it looks in my life thought because I am so not one. But it would mean simplifying. Maybe I’m a minimalist with relationships. IF it doesn’t bring me joy I dont waste my time on it haha

    • Thanks for your comment, Rachel! And yes, you can DEFINITELY can be a minimalist regarding the relationships in your life. (And everyone should be this way and be mindful about the relationships they have in their lives.) If someone only brings you sadness and negativity, it’s not good to spend your time on that relationship.

  • I loved this post. I think so many people have this idea of what minimalism is but don’t make it fit their own lifestyle. For me we have really downsized and simplified, but we’re not total minimalists with our stuff and still have things that are essential

    • I completely agree! And yes, downsizing and simplifying your life and stuff you own in general is definitely part of that process. What I want people to know is however they want minimalism to play a role in their life is perfectly okay.

  • Jordyn Upchurch

    I think this is a great post. So many times we judge people because they don’t fit our definition of what they’re supposed to be, but life doesn’t have to be that way-for any person who lives any lifestyle!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, what this comes down to is that no one should be judged on how they decide to pursue a particular lifestyle–any lifestyle for that matter 🙂