The Downsides of Being a Minimalist

Minimalism is a tool for me to create a better and more suitable space for me, around me. The second part of the sentence is a key. It is to make it work for me.  It sounds simple and clear but since minimalism as a lifestyle choice has grown in popularity there are a few reoccurring trends that I have noticed.  

Who is the real minimalist here?

I treat minimalism as something that is for and about me, so it always makes me wonder why people feel the need to compare.

‘Are you sure you are a minimalist if you have 13 pens? I think real minimalism allows only one.’

‘Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Because X has it and she is a genuine minimalist.’

‘Could you pack all of your belongings into a backpack? No? You cannot be a minimalist then.’

I heard and read on social media things like this quite a few times. Sometimes it feels like some people have this idea of ‘only one, right way’ approach to minimalism, and that I am also expected to follow it and when I do not I am out and forbidden from calling myself a minimalist.

Downsizing for the sake of it

This can be quite a dangerous idea to play with as the race to fit all of your belongings into a boot of a car, one backpack, or suitcase is fierce  can turn the minimalistic lifestyle into an unhealthy competition. For some reason some people reserve the right to judge and criticise others for not having a specific number of clothes or owning a capsule wardrobe as a ‘real minimalist ought to’ in their opinion.

Over the years I had an appartment full of my things, I was left with only one suitcase and started again, and now I am somewhere in between. The most important thing is whatever the number of items I have, it feels right for me. I do not feel the need for obsessive counting or limiting myself to a magic number that is supposed to make me a better minimalist.

Sophisticated Consumptionism 

This is an intriguing one. How minimalistic is buying less but more expensive things? This is another trap that I was guilty of in the past.

I do not need three polyester jumpers but I definitely should buy a cashmere throw now.
For me this is counterproductive because the process of accumulating things is slower due to required higher financial resources needed. It lacks for me in one of the most important processes, the time to distinguish between need versus want. The cashmere throw was just a want and hence under the sophisticated consumptionism I lacked smart compromise.  

What would you say are your traps of minimalism?
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  1. "Sophisticated consumptionism" is a great term for it Iga! Of course it's natural to want nice things, but I find a lot of bloggers who receive free luxury goods and then try to present themselves as luxury minimalists to be putting out a lifestyle that is both a. fake. and b. inaccessible to most people. Thus propogating consumerism whilst having their cake and eating it if that makes sense. I do believe some things are worth investing in (if you can afford to) but there is a definite elitist attitude attached to this aspect of minimalist ideology in my opinion. You can definitely be minimalist in your own way, having only one of everything seems a bit extreme to me! ;-) xx

    1. Hello Steff! So nice to hear from you! I must agree that there is definitely an elitist attitude that can be very extreme. It's quite an opposite to what minimalism is in its true nature but then again there is an discussion about what its true nature is.