The Downside of Minimalism
The more I read from practicing minimalists, the more I think that there must be another side to the joyful version of uncluttering, downsizing & minimizing.
Is minimalism all it’s cracked up to be, or is there a downside?
How you approach any lifestyle change will dictate the outcome. With minimalism, I think there a few good examples of upside/downside.
- Upside: Kill your TV and free up several hours a day. Downside: Spend all your new free time on Hulu, Netflix or Facebook.
- Upside: Count your stuff as a tool to declutter. Downside: Become obsessed with counting your stuff.
- Upside: Spend time online developing your Minimalist Business Downside: Forget to unplug.
- Upside: More virtual connections Downside: Loneliness.
- Upside: Confidence in living with less. Downside: Arrogance in living with less.
Advice From the Experts – Part Three
What is the downside of minimalism?
- People might think you’re weird at first. It takes time to educate your friends and family about why you’re doing things this way, and it takes a little courage to be different. It’s totally worth it. Leo Babauta of mnmlist.com
- There are certain pernicious aspects at the fringe of any important movement, and minimalism is no different. If you obsess over counting your things or about getting rid of all of your stuff or about living an extreme nomadic lifestyle, then you’re missing the point of minimalism altogether. Not that it’s wrong to count your stuff or to travel the world, it’s just that minimalism isn’t about that stuff, it’s not about counting or “leaving it all behind,” and it’s certainly not about obsession. Minimalism is simply a tool to get of life’s excess so you can focus on life’s important things, things like relationships and pursuing your passions and personal growth and contributing to others in a meaningful way. Joshua from The Minimalists
- As far as I can see, no, there isn’t, but I am pretty new to this! Maybe the inevitable fact some people don’t understand this path and the related choices, but this is not so tragic. Laura of minimoblog.it
- I think people can get too caught up in counting numbers of items, paring down below what’s their comfort point, and they lose site of why they started the minimalist journey in the first place. Balance is key! Robyn Devine of Minimalist Knitter
- There are few if any downsides to minimalism, but sometimes it’s difficult to explain it to people who have closed minds. Sometimes people just don’t want to understand minimalism, they see what we’re doing and they just want to argue or dismiss it as a fad. Most of those people are very attached to their things, and they are afraid to stop consuming because they associate a certain meaningfulness with their consumption, they are too attached to an ideology that their stuff brings them happiness. Thankfully, over time, minimalism reveals all of its advantages on its own. So if you’re patient with those people, their minds will open, and they will understand eventually. Ryan from The Minimalists
- That same freedom. You realize, deep in the throes of simpler, stronger living, that there’s no going back now. You can’t settle for a normal life with normal goals, normal stuff, etc. The decision to streamline and focus on what counts has made the entire world open to you, but also closed you off from so many aspects of conventional living. Is that a downside? I’m not sure. Matthew Madeiro of Three New Leaves
- This took me a second to think about. Then, it hit me. Explaining why I am a minimalist and what a minimalist is followed by trying to rationalize this decision with non-minimalists who are offended by my lifestyle choice also known as freedom. David Damron of Life Excursion
- It’s a very self-revealing process and lifestyle. Once we begin to remove the distraction and clutter from our life, our minds are clear to dig deeper into our own heart and soul. It can be difficult at first as we are forced to consider our motives for collecting all this stuff in the first place, but it is a good process to good through. It makes us better people in the end. Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist
- Sometimes you will have to face a lot of questions from the people you love. Minimalism can be a very threatening thing to some people. It basically rejects a lot of what many people hold to be most important in the world. Sam Spurlin of The Simpler Life
- Because there are no distractions you’ll start to have to face yourself. You can’t go through life mindlessly any more, hiding from life busying yourself with all sorts of useless things. You are going to investigate yourself and you might not like everything you see. It’s not pretty, but necessary and you’ll come out stronger and at peace with your life. It’s very confronting though. Christiaan of Mind the Beginner
- It has been challenging to talk to family and friends about our choice to own fewer things. Often people feel that our different lifestyle choice is a direct comment on their own. To keep conversations light, I always say this works for us but it’s not for everyone. The truth is that I feel that some degree of minimalism, downsizing and rejecting consumerism is beneficial for everyone. Rachel Jonat of Minimalist Mom
- What I’ve found difficult is that many people react positively — “Minimalism sounds great! I should do that.” — but then they stay stuck in stuff. There’s a bit of burden, championing a cause you know will improve people’s lives, if only they would just join in. Of course, this is a hope-filled downside. Anyone can start at any time. And people do! That’s one motivation that keeps me sharing a life of simple living with others. Dave Bruno from A Guy Named Dave
- The only downside for me is the people who don’t get it. No matter how many times I explain how beneficial getting rid of your TV is, I still have to keep saying it, because they just don’t understand. My family definitely don’t get it, and not having my family’s support in a counterculture lifestyle can be difficult. Dusti Arab of Minimalist Adventures
- I’ll just say this, you’ll feel like Neo from the Matrix. Once you swallow the red pill of simplicity and see the hedonic treadmill at work, you’ll never want to go back. Eric LaForest of Elevated Simplicity
- None! I honestly can’t think of anything. Meg Wolfe of Minimalist Woman
I think the most important thing to remember is… who we are is more important than what we call ourselves. Minimalists and hoarders alike, let the focus be on how you treat people, and live your life, instead of how much stuff you have or don’t have.
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