Minimalist Remorse is a very real thing. You see the posts about the people who really took minimalism to heart. Maybe they got rid of 1 thing a day. Put a number on how many items they could keep. Traded in their large house for a smaller one. Somehow along the way, they start to feel the opposite of what they thought they would. Remorse sets in and they instantly regret everything they’ve done.
The possibility of minimalist remorse is a scary one. We don’t all have tons of money to go out and replace everything we wish we still had. So for some, they see the horror stories and shy away from the idea all together. While I commend people for sharing their story, a lot of times these stories are from people who simply didn’t curate their own version of minimalism.
There’s a lot of posts, articles, and guides on how to be a minimalist. If you fall into the wrong rabbit hole, you could be tricked into thinking there is a very specific way you need to live in order to make minimalism a part of your life. For anyone that got a little off message or had the wrong guide, I want to give you a few things to consider to avoid minimalist remorse.
AVOIDING MINIMALIST REMORSE
YOU’RE NOT REQUIRED TO LIVE IN A BLANK BOX TINY HOME
The list for what minimalism is NOT is probably longer than what minimalism actually is. There are a lot of minimalists who have sold all their stuff and committed to living out of a tiny home. Some take it a step further and live out of one bag. That is great for them! It definitely puts the idea of possessions into perspective, but that’s only one way to be a minimalist.
Personally, I identify as a minimalist and I still have some useless trinkets around my house, which has more than 200 square feet. I simply took the time to get rid of the build up of stuff that I acquired over the years. I shifted my mindset to not need the latest and greatest. It did wonders for my budget and honestly cleared up more room for Target splurges (because even as a minimalist, I’m still “allowed” to go to Target). So if you feel like you’re backed into a white walled, tiny home corner, take some time to breathe! Minimalism can happen in any space with any amount of stuff. The main point of minimalism is to shift your mindset from trendy and new tosustainable and valuable.
ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT STAYS AND WHAT GOES
I’ve seen the lists. The ones that say, “Here’s how to live with 100 things or less.” Or, “Here’s the absolute necessities and anyone who has more than this isn’t a real minimalist.” It’s BS. A single person who loves to travel will need different stuff than a family of 5 homebodies. Or a fashionista, or baking enthusiast, etc. etc. you get it.
No one can tell you that you don’t need those mini chalkboards if you love hosting parties. No one can tell you that 20 pairs of shoes is too many if you absolutely love wearing a different pair everyday. Only you know what makes you happy. Sure, you’re encouraged to live with only things that bring you joy or that you find useful, but you are the only one who knows what that is. When you’re taking your time to declutter don’t ask, “What would a minimalist keep?” Instead think, “Is this useful to me or do I love it?”
IT’S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Anyone that tells you there is a right and wrong way to be a minimalist is not getting the point. The thing about minimalism is, everyone has their own version. If you really think about it, minimalism is really just a term that means, “Living your most fulfilling life.” We are all living different lives so we all need different stuff. More than that, we all feel joy from different things. What I need to remove from my life may not be what you need to remove from yours.
The reality is, consumerism has become a bit of a cancer on society. We are all fed this idea that we need a bunch of stuff to be prepared for anything. In a way, it’s our instinct to gather resources to protect ourselves (even though these days protecting ourselves means having the newest phone). All minimalism is trying to help you do is take a step back and be realistic about what makes you happy.
So whether you’re experiencing a bit of minimalist remorse or just starting your journey, consider these things. It can make the whole process a lot more inviting when you realize you control the outcome, not a random person on the internet.
Photo by Sarah Dorweiler