Minimalism fails if you don’t want to become one for the right reasons.
It can be easy to dismiss becoming a minimalist, or a psuedo-minimalist (which I think I probably fall into the category of being), because you are not mentally prepared to do it for the right reasons.
Here are some misguided reasons people want to embrace minimalism.
REASON #1: YOU WANT TO BE MORE ORGANIZED
You don’t need to turn into a minimalist to be organized and to get rid of clutter.
What you need to do, is declutter, which means to toss away items, and to stop trying to organize them in different ways.
Now if you want to have less stuff, minimalism can help with that, but it isn’t going to be the reason you became more organized and got your house in order over night.
You can’t organize clutter, you need to eliminate it completely.
Just get rid of what you have.
Consider what you use, what you don’t, and get rid of what you don’t use or don’t need.
REASON #2: YOU WANT TO FIND MEANING IN YOUR LIFE
If you think turning into a minimalist is the be-all and catch-all that will help you find peace and zen inside yourself, then you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Changing your mindset on how you see things in your life, and detaching yourself from your things has nothing to do with finding meaning in your life.
Find out what it is you want to really live for and why you do what you do.
Sure, minimalism can be a small part of it, but it is not the answer to what is inside of you.
You need to figure that part out on your own without minimalism as the crutch.
It won’t turn you into a zen master over night.
Heck, it might even stress you out living with just a teacup and a mat because you trashed everything without thinking.
REASON #3: YOU WANT TO SPEND LESS MONEY
Again, minimalism can help and be part of that, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will spend less money if you are a minimalist.
In fact, you may spend more. Or the same amount. Who knows?
What you’re really looking for is personal finance help, that is is to say…learning how to be frugal with your money, investing in wisely, and budgeting it carefully by spending it well.
(You are in the right spot for that by the way, here are all my Money posts.)
REASON #4: YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD FOR A YEAR
Again, being a minimalist helps because you don’t have a ton of stuff and you won’t need to put it in storage, sell it or otherwise get rid of it to travel extensively, however you do not need to become a minimalist to travel the world.
Want to travel more and work less?
Then plan for it.
Save up your money, be frugal with your travel plans and take the plunge to do it.
Or travel in small chunks. I traveled full-time for a year and found it exhausting near to the end of it.
I would have actually preferred traveling in smaller chunks so that I would appreciate the time I was taking off in between work.
REASON #5: IT IS THE TRENDY THING TO DO THESE DAYS
Do I really need to tell you how silly this is? What you find interesting is not what I would necessarily find interesting, and that is OK.
So you don’t want to be a minimalist, then fine! It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a great, well-rounded, super fun and smart person to know.
It just means…. you don’t want to be a minimalist.
Maybe you’re the opposite, you’re a maximalist.
I find that interesting too because you can learn a lot about someone by the things they do keep, just as much as you can learn about someone by what they discard.
So what is minimalism then?
Simply put, it is living only with what you truly want and need and getting rid of the excess.
All of it for me, has added up to mental sanity and health. I don’t see things I don’t need or want, and that cuts down on the guilt that those dust-covered items used to bring.
Without all that junk, it gives me more mental and physical breathing room because it is not visually cluttering my mind or my home.