When I and others speak about minimalism, we mostly focus on the benefits and positive outcomes as a direct result of this new approach to life. Despite this, there are a few struggles I personally face having this lifestyle and others may agree or relate on some level.
HARD TO BUY THINGS
I feel like I can never make a nonchalant purchase – whether it clothes, a new pen or never-seen-before vegetarian food in my local supermarket, I give everything that comes into my space a lot of thought, sometimes too much.
On occasion, I become guilty about large purposes, such as the iMac I write this piece on. I was very anxious about the investment, despite knowing the fantastic opportunities I would have to work on creative projects with the software. I don’t regret the purchase in the slightest – in fact, it revolutionised my productivity as I was no longer slouching in bed using an old laptop that screamed if pushed too far.
EASY TO DISCARD ITEMS
On the opposite end of the spectrum is how easy it feels to remove things from my life. You might be wondering why this is an issue? It comes when I go slightly overboard with decluttering. For example, I painted some walls grey, but instead of keeping the leftover paint, I was impetuous and threw it away.
Since that, I have needed to make touch ups to my paint, with no knowing which shade or even brand of paint I used. Regrets.
Having the conversation with friends and family about gifts can be difficult. Thankfully, most of my friends didn’t need this as they understood and often say ‘she hates clutter’ so they’ve been mindful of gift giving for many years now. My family, however, struggled more with this. To them, Christmas without a pile of gifts isn’t Christmas. After many tips and suggestions for alternatives, they have begun to adjust and offer me experiences or food treats as presents rather than things I don’t need.
I am eternally grateful for the support my friends and family have given me in my attempts to consume less.
Minimalism is everywhere at the moment. Which is fantastic, especially seeing some friends take this lifestyle into account and decluttering their own spaces.
Nonetheless, minimalism can become almost obsessive. Seeing Youtube videos and blog posts of living with X amount of items can sometimes influence others to attain such a goal. This content almost felt like a game to me at the beginning, mindlessly throwing things away so I could proclaim how many items I got rid of that day.
That isn’t minimalism, and is no longer how I practice this way of life thankfully.
When I first began researching minimalism, all I could focus on was the shiny white empty surfaces and very simple furniture and clothing. This ‘look’ was everywhere – it felt like the right way to be minimalist.
Here’s the truth. There is no right way. I’ll never get rid of my gaudy vintage jumpers because they make me smile and I value possessing them. You don’t need a certain number of books, shoes, accessories, etc to call yourself a minimalist.
This ‘ideal’ is toxic. Everyone is different. I myself don’t feel the need for a bookshelf full of reading material. Others do, which is absolutely fine. My huge collection is of records that I don’t plan on stopping adding to, since they bring me joy every single day when I lower that stylus.
Minimalism is extremely individual and everyone with value things differently to the next. Minimalism is simply a tool to help people to live more mindfully and reduce clutter. This does not mean having no decorations. Buy your plants and your trinkets and continue to do you.
Also, can we get away from minimalism being a personality trait? Please?
Those are the top negatives of minimalism that spring to mind. Let me know whether you share the same issues or have any other negative impacts you’ve found or discovered through this journey.