Mistake #1: Keeping up with the minimalists.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the phrase “Keeping Up with the Joneses.”
We all know what that means, right?
If your neighbors get a new car, then you feel like you should have a new car.
If they go on an exotic vacation, then you feel like you and your family need to go on an exotic vacation.
And, often times, that line of thinking is what leads us to live beyond our means and get into financial trouble.
The opposite can be true if you are on a minimalism journey.
Now it becomes a competition of who can get rid of the most amount of stuff in the least amount of time.
The problem with this line of thinking is that we are still defining ourselves by what we own, or how little we own.
We are defining ourselves with possessions, with things.
And this is still a faulty line of thinking.
Each of our situations is different—our family dynamics are different, so I cannot compare my minimalism journey to your minimalism journey.
I’m married, I have three children. It’s not feasible for me to live out of a backpack.
But if I were in college, or a college student, recently graduated from college, that might work for me.
Do what works for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all definition for minimalism.
Minimalism Mistake #2: Getting rid of stuff… in order to buy more stuff.
I watch a lot of minimalism channels, and I’ve heard other people mention this mistake before as well.
The purge/re-purchase cycle.
You feel the desire to purge and get rid of things that you have, and you might make the mistake of getting rid of too much stuff too quickly.
Then you feel overwhelmed by the empty vastness of the space that you now have available in your closet or in your home.
Then the urge to fill it back up again overpowers you.
It is better to gradually get rid of things and then see how you feel, see how you adjust to your new environment.
Recently, I was watching a YouTube video on minimalism, and this particular young lady was downsizing her wardrobe, and she said, ‘Well, I’m getting rid of all this stuff so I can go out and purchase a more minimalist wardrobe.’
And in my mind, I was like, ‘What exactly does that mean?’
You’re getting rid of a closet full of stuff in order to go out and buy a new wardrobe that ‘looks’ more minimalist?
So, she went out and purchased items that were black, grey, and white, because that was her idea of minimalism.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that is your particular aesthetic and you like to be black and white and grey, that’s perfectly fine.
But as a new minimalist, don’t feel as if you have to go fit perfectly into a particular aesthetic.
Don’t feel as if you have to get rid of the things that you already own in order to purchase things that appear more ‘minimalist.’
Mistake #3: Thinking that minimalism will make you happy.
If you have bought jewelry and shoes and clothes and fancy trips in an effort to make yourself happy, only to find out…you still weren’t happy, then by default, you might think, ‘Well, if I just get rid of all this stuff, then I’ll be happy.’
It doesn’t really work like that.
Stuff doesn’t make you happy, a lack of stuff doesn’t make you happy.
If you’re not happy with yourself on the inside, if you’re not happy with yourself as a person, if you have issues with self-esteem, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have. You will never be happy with yourself.
Minimalism should not be about pursuing happiness.
But not happiness or joy.
Happiness and joy come from the inside, and if you’re a Christian like me, you believe that joy comes from a place that you can never fill with things or a lack of things. I think if you’re pursuing minimalism in an effort to be happy, then you’ll be disappointed, and then you’ll be on to the next trend or the next big thing to fill that void.
Minimalism Mistake #4: Thinking that being a consumer is innately evil.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a consumer.
We all consume something at some point in our lives. Being a person that consumes less does not necessarily make you a better person or make you altruistic by nature.
You are who you are, right?
The better question is, What kind of consumer are you?
Are you a responsible consumer?
Are you a conscious consumer?
Are you spending money that you don’t have and getting further into debt?
Are you buying things to fill a void or to impress other people?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you might want to reconsider some of your spending habits.
Do the inner work and figure out what kind of consumer you want to be.
Mistake #5: Avoiding purchasing things that you actually need.
You’re at risk for making this mistake particularly if you are a beginning minimalist.
All of a sudden, if you have to go out and purchase some conditioner, or purchase some shampoo or new socks, you feel as if you’ve done something wrong.
Or you have feelings of guilt associated with your purchases.
It’s your money, so spend it in whatever way you see fit.
And then remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you purchasing things that you need.
And, shall I venture to say, there’s also nothing wrong with purchasing things that you want.
If you are into makeup (like myself), then continue to buy yourself some make up here and there.
Continue to take trips.
Continue to invest in a nice piece of artwork, if that’s what you’re into.
The more important thing is to make sure that you’re purchasing things for the right reason.
And you’re purchasing things because YOU actually need them, or because YOU want them.
Not because somebody else is telling you that you should want those things, not because an advertiser or a media campaign or a commercial on TV or people on YouTube are telling you that you need to have this new thing in order to feel better or in order to feel good about yourself.
I hope you enjoyed these tips!
Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section below, it’s all about having a conversation. And I am of the mindset that there are no rules when it comes to minimalism, so do whatever works for you.
What minimalism ‘mistakes’ have you made?
Until next time live well and be blessed.
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