Why Minimalism Isn’t Working For you, And How to Fix That
Thanks to the likes of Marie Kondo, the Minimalists, and a ton of other influencers the Minimalism movement is experiencing an all-time high in popularity. But, many who are Marie Kondoing half their homes away are finding that the idea no longer sparks joy for them. In fact, Minimalism as a trend is kind of on the decline. But, I want you to know that if Minimalism isn’t working for you…that’s ok. It really is. There are a few reasons why it might not be working for you. I want to go through those reasons and offer up solutions that don’t include you returning to your overcluttered Maximalist ways.
Why Minimalism Isn’t Working for You
You Need Stuff
Maybe in your decluttering excitement, you got rid of things that you actually needed or you’ve gone from a cluttered house to one that doesn’t even feel lived in. Whichever the case is you’re feeling like you need stuff. This was especially common right at the start of lockdown when everyone was at home all the time and they realized that there was nothing in their home. Having nothing in your home when you don’t spend all day every day in it is a whole lot different to the boredom and monotony that can come from a home devoid of things.
First, buy anything that you find yourself needing. This should not be a lifestyle of deprivation unless you decide that is what you want. Don’t think that you have to own less than 100 items to be a minimalist like Youheum from Heal Your Living. She practices minimalism in an extreme way that doesn’t work for most people. But even if you haven’t gone as far as Youheum you might still find yourself unhappy with minimalism.
The whole idea of minimalism is finding what works for you. For some people, the all white, never-lived-in apartment is exactly what they need. For others, it might be farmhouse-style décor. What works for you is something you need to find out through trial and error. Find what works for you.
Think of minimalism as one end of a spectrum of owning things. On one extreme end, you’ve got hoarders with piles of things filling their houses beyond what is safe. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got extreme minimalists and digital nomads who own only what they can fit in their backpack. Most people fall somewhere in the middle and no two minimalism journeys are going to look the same.
Minimalism is Hard
In the world of one-click shopping and next-day delivery minimalism honestly is difficult. It’s hard not to give in to temptation when you are constantly having ads thrown at you everywhere you are. How many times have you bought something on a whim only to use it once or possibly not at all? We’ve all done it more times than any of us would like to admit.
Minimalism is hard, but it actually gets easier the more you practice it. Start by deleting apps for your favorite stores and unsubscribing from emails from them too. These are all just ads with one mission, get you to buy something you didn’t need. Next, I recommend an ad blocker.
But, as someone who runs ads on her site, I do want to make an appeal. Ads are how I get paid for the content I write. This is true for almost everyone on the internet. So, if you enjoy the articles you read or the videos you watch don’t block ads on their sites. Personally, I block ads on websites where the money isn’t going to the person creating content. These are sites like social media where the ad money is going straight to the company who runs the site like Acebook and Twitorb.
After you’ve made your space reasonably ad-free, it’s time to use restraint. If you see something you want but don’t need then set yourself a timer for 2 weeks from that day. If in 2 weeks you still want that item, go ahead and buy it! But, chances are the extreme lust you were feeling in the moment will be dulled with time and you will decide you don’t want that Mario Bros piranha plant lamp after all. Yes, I am speaking from experience. This is something I’ve practiced for years now and it has drastically helped me break away from impulse buying.
You Got Into Minimalism for the Wrong Reason
Sometimes an idea looks amazing, sounds amazing, and then when you actually start doing it you discover that it isn’t for you. In my early 20s, I loved the idea of living the digital nomad life. I dreamed of selling everything and packing my bags to travel the world. But in reality, when I go on vacation I’m happy for about a week before I’m ready to go home. I could never cut it as a digital nomad. But, I saw people online doing it and talking about how they were living their best life and I fell into that trap in my head. Thankfully I recognized my own realities before I ever took that leap, but that isn’t always the case for everyone.
Did you decide to give minimalism a try because of a book you read or a documentary on Netflix? Did you forget to stop and consider the reality of what minimalism is? I love watching Youheum’s videos on extreme minimalism, but I know her version of minimalism isn’t for me. Why do I know this? I’ve actually spent time thinking about it and imagining myself in her life. When I imagine it I can’t see myself being happy. I’m glad that she has found what works for her, but what works for her doesn’t work for me.
Take some time to consider why you became interested in minimalism to begin with. Which parts of it appeal to you and now that you’ve given it a try, what doesn’t work for you. Make a version of minimalism that fits in with your life goals. Have a capsule wardrobe, find a style in your home that feels comfortable without being cluttered. Live your best life, whatever that means to you.