5 Things that Minimalism is Not

You can be minimal without being a minimalist. When people think of minimalists, their minds automatically go to the extreme ends of minimalism. How “minimalist” you are can vary, and everyone can benefit from adopting a minimal mindset in at least one area of their life. We are going to take a look at the stereotypes of minimalism and what minimalism is not. My hope is that you might let go of your desire for material things and find happiness in the small moments of life.  

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Minimalism is not a home that is perfectly clean and spotless at all times.

While it does appear that way behind the screen of your device, it is not like that in real life. Yes, I’m sure an extreme minimalist has a pretty clean home, most of the time, but it just isn’t realistic for most people. Being minimalistic and having fewer things does lead towards a cleaner home.

However, life gets messy and sometimes there isn’t much we can do about it. While I consider myself to be more minimal than most, we do not have a 100% minimalist home. My toddler is definitely not a minimalist. While I’m cleaning up the house, she is behind me creating another mess; and that is okay! Since I have cleared a lot of my clutter from the house, it makes it easier to deal with hers.

Minimalism is not a house with all white and simple decor.

Just having all plain and light colors in your home, does not make you a minimalist. It is very popular right now to have your home styled as if you are a minimalist. I do not think there is anything wrong with that at all. I actually think minimalist-looking homes are very beautiful. However, you do not need to have a light gray couch, white decor, and house plants to be a minimalist. The opposite is true as well. Just because a person has a simple color pallet and succulents, does not mean they are a minimalist.

Minimalism is not having a black and white wardrobe of only 36 pieces.

A capsule wardrobe is very popular among those who consider themselves minimalist and many of them do wear black and white. However, this is not a requirement to be more minimal.

My closet is actually where I first started becoming more minimal. I have probably gotten rid of half of my clothing, and I still have plenty to spare and pieces I know I could get rid of. I now enjoy my closet so much more! I know when I look in there, I am not going to think, “I have nothing to wear.” The clothes in my closet are exactly what I want to wear. I have more than 36 pieces and I have a variety of colors. If you are looking for a way to start minimizing, I recommend starting with your wardrobe.

Minimalism is not getting rid of all of your possessions.

Minimalism is getting rid of the things you are not using and do not bring you joy. I can not give you a rundown of all of the things we have gotten rid of in the last year because the list is so long. This does not mean we have nothing left in our house and that the clutter is all gone. Trust me, the clutter is, by no means, gone. I don’t even want to imagine what the house would be like if I had never gotten rid of anything. So yes, you do get rid of things when you start living a minimalistic lifestyle, but not everything. Minimalism is a never-ending process. Once you start, you will begin to see the benefit of having less, and you will want to continue with the process.

Minimalism is not living in a tiny home.

You can be a minimalist and live in any size house. Living in a tiny home or a loft apartment does force you to be more minimalistic because you don’t have room for your things. Plus, there are minimalists who have traded in their large homes for a tiny home. But any average person can be more minimal, in any sized house.

Minimalism comes in all shapes and sizes. While it can be treated as a fad and some see it as a type of religion, with a crazy set of rules, I do not see it that way. For me, I started out small, saw the benefit in having less material possessions, and now I can’t stop clearing out the clutter. I want my house to be clean, and it’s easier to actually clean when there is less clutter to clean up. I also know and realize more and more, that my treasure is not here on Earth. I want my treasure to be laid up in Heaven.

Like the idea of becoming more minimal, but don’t know where to start? I recommend starting with your closet or your kitchen. Read my post on Organizing Your Kitchen to get some motivation! If you are looking for more personal support, then join my Facebook Group! Be sure to let me know that this blog post sent you. Can’t wait to see you there!

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  1. Lane

    April 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    This was wonderful! Thank you. It was everything I have been feeling the past 6 months. We recently had our first child and when it came to buying and getting things ready for her; I just kept thinking “surely, all of this is not necessary”. That process has just continued into EVERY aspect of life. It is so addicting! Thank you for this post.

    1. KatiesKottage

      April 15, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      You are very welcome! And yes it does become addicting. Plus, babies don’t need as much as consumerism tells us the do. Thanks for reading!

  2. anne | onedeterminedlife

    March 11, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I am glad you pointed some of these out. It’s so true that so many people are legalistic about what minimalism is like. I try to just live a life that is not cluttered with things I don’t like.

  3. Kalyn

    March 10, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I think this is such an important piece. Die-hard minimalists can be too legalistic with it, but minimalism really isn’t one size fits all. Especially when you have a toddler! But I do try to keep her toys to a minimum, so that helps a lot – her mess can only get so big!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 10, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Yes, the toddler toys can really put a damper on “minimalism.” I was just thinking today, bout how I need to go through my daughters toys again. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  4. Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    March 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    What a great post! I like the idea of what minimalism is NOT. I think having what you need and living in an environment that isn’t cluttered and packed to the gills is a good thing!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much!

  5. Holly

    March 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve been debating a more minimalist lifestyle for awhile now and your article gave me some great ideas. I don’t need to go completely minimalist all at once – I can start slowly with my closet, my kitchen , my books, etc. Thanks for pointing out a lot of the misconceptions, it made me lean more towards embracing this than I have ever been before!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad I could be of some help! I don’t consider myself a minimalist… just minimal. 🙂 It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    March 9, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing these. I do think that people often have misconceptions about minimalism.


    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  7. Erin Haugerud

    March 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Great Kat! A lot of Misconceptions

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Yep! Thanks for reading!

  8. Liz Chapman

    March 9, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I love a more simplistic and clean look without all the clutter!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Me too! After de-cluttering my kitchen I was able to put things from the counter into the cabinets and I LOVE the extra open space on my counter. 🙂

  9. Kat

    March 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    When I first heard about minimalism, I saw a lot of pictures of sparse-looking homes with lots of crisp white everywhere. I didn’t think there was any way I could be a minimalist with 4 kids. However, we spent about a month decluttering last year, and it felt SO GOOD. I love all of these tips.

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks Kat! I’m glad you found ways for the ideas to work for you and your family. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  10. Misadventures with Megan

    March 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I admit I’ve thought a lot of these things about minimalism before! I’m trying to be a bit more minimalist lately, but its sometimes a struggle!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Just take it one step at a time and remember you don’t have to go all out! Just work on small areas of your life that need it the most. 🙂

  11. Laura | The Yellow Birdhouse

    March 9, 2018 at 10:30 am

    These are great points! I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but I’ve been actively trying to purge out all the access stuff in my life. My cluttered house is causing me stress and I need a change! I’m a big believer in colour though, so I will never have a sparce white home!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Same here! I think white gets dirty so easily and with kids and dogs… I just can’t do that! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Vanessa

    March 9, 2018 at 8:57 am

    yes! so true! When I tell people that we are working to declutter and live a more minimalist lifestyle I get asked all the time if we’re going to move into a tiny house. Not what we’re going for. We just want to be surrounded by things and people that matter to us. We’re big on experiences 🙂

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      That’s great Vanessa! Experiences are so much better than things! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  13. Rebecca @ Rice Revelations

    March 9, 2018 at 8:47 am

    This was a great read! My husband always jokes with me that he is going to move us into a tiny home and put us on a path towards a minimalist lifestyle. I never took the time to realize the points that you made that you don’t need to get rid of all of your things. I’m not going to lie, sometimes the idea of selling everything we own and moving into a tiny house is very appealing to escape the world!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 9, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I make the same joke to my husband… he would never go for it. Lol! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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