Minimalism: What is it really all about?



What is it really all about?

By Tayla Powell

Ah minimalism. The movement that is overtaking everyone’s Instagram and YouTube feeds at the minute. The beautiful clean images of almost unbelievably tidy spaces, inspiring you to run home and throw away half of your possessions. My interest piqued when those with the minimalist mindset raved over the benefits of their lifestyle. It got me thinking, is this something that myself and the everyday woman can realistically implement? I dig deeper.

I used to joke about being a hoarder until I got older and the realisation hit – “Hold on, I AM a hoarder”: I love collecting things, I gain a ‘sentimental value’ with something way too easily and absolutely despise throwing anything away. The idea makes me break out in a nervous sweat. And it’s always the most useless things. Product packaging, I’m looking at you.

So, with the above being said, I thought I was the absolute last candidate for minimalism. I’d never be able to part with all my things. I’d never be content with a smaller clothes collection. I’d never be able to resist buying unnecessary things. But I definitely do not intend my future to be on Hoarding: Buried Alive, so my journey into researching minimalism begins.

Once you research, you realise how many misconceptions there are around the topic.

Misconceptions of Minimalism:

#1: It’s all about doing clean outs. No, one wardrobe de-clutter unfortunately does not equal a minimalist.

#2: Minimalists only own a handful of possessions. Probably the most commonly held misconception and the one that really put me off the idea previously.

#3: Minimalists hate spending money. Nope not true, they just ensure that they are very intentional with what they spend it on. Sign me up.

#4: It’s about whitewashing everything. I honestly thought minimalists hated colour because clothes, walls and home decor always seem to be all stark white on social media.

So, what is minimalism all about then?

Intentionally focusing on all the things that you value most and removing the things that distract us from that.

That is simplified of course. The definition goes on quite a lot longer. With so many different views on what it really is no wonder we’re all getting confused. Turns out it’s so much more than those beautiful sparse home spaces and ten item wardrobes.

It’s simplifying, making life improvements, finding fulfilment, reassessing priorities and ridding yourself of “The More Virus”.

The minimalism advocates state how freeing it is to not be tied down to the constant need to buy more and consume more. Money gets spent on the things that matter and how more time is poured into important relationships.

With it sounding too good to be true, are there any downsides to minimalism?

Many believe that the constant pressure to be perfectly tidy and own less is unsustainable for the average person: those with kids or busy lives. Unfortunately, they may have misunderstood that it isn’t all about tidy spaces. It’s a mindset. From an actual minimalist’s POV, they state that it can be hard explaining their lifestyle to others but struggle to think of many other downsides.

Whether you agree with the criticism or not, at the heart of minimalism is a great message for everyone: find purpose or joy in everything you own and focus on the experiences and relationships you value most.

I think that’s an inspiring mindset we could all practice more often. And so I will be. Documenting my journey along the way of course. Believe me, if this shopaholic hoarder can embrace the new lifestyle then it’s certainly achievable for everyone.

Tayla Powell