Debunking 10 Myths About Minimalism
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” —Epicurus
As someone who’s experienced the life-giving benefits of minimalism, I can’t help but desire to introduce others to this life-changing philosophy.
However, over the years, I’ve heard quite a few objections to the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle.
If you’re reading this article because you’re curious about minimalism but are still on the fence, I want to address some of the common objections people often have about embracing minimalism.
Objections might be the right word, but myths is probably even better—as most of the objections I hear about minimalism don’t turn out to be true.
My hope is to simply challenge some of the myths you might be holding onto.
1. “I Don’t Want to Give Up Everything”
This is perhaps the most common objection. But minimalism doesn’t ask you to give up everything—only the things that aren’t adding value to your life.
You get to decide what’s essential and meaningful to you. Even better, you get to decide which distractions are keeping you from fully-living… and those are the things you choose to remove.
2. “It’s Only for Single, Young People”
Minimalism has no age or relationship status limit. Whether you’re single, married, young, or old, the principles of minimalism can be applied to your life.
My wife and I found minimalism when our two children were young (5 and 2).
Minimalism has allowed us to enjoy more quality time, meaningful moments, and less stress.
3. “Minimalism Is a Fad”
It’s true that the term “minimalism” has gained popularity over the years, but the core principles are timeless. I hope, in part, because of Becoming Minimalist.
But the idea of living a focused, purposeful life is as old as time itself. Think about it, many of the world’s great philosophers and spiritual leaders emphasized the benefits of a simple, intentional life.
The lifestyle of choosing to intentionally own only what we need to own is as old as life itself.
4. “I Can’t Be a Minimalist Because I Have Kids”
As a parent, I understand this objection intimately. However, minimalism can have incredible benefits for families.
By decluttering our living spaces, we not only make room for more meaningful activities but also model essential life skills for our kids.
As I learned and have repeated from the very beginning, “Kids might make minimalism more difficult, but they also make it more important.”
5. “I Don’t Want to Live in a Bare, White Space”
Minimalism isn’t synonymous with a lack of decoration or color. Your home should reflect your personality and include items that bring you joy.
Minimalism merely helps you identify what actually contributes to your well-being.
6. “Minimalism Is Just Decluttering”
While decluttering is a component of minimalism, it isn’t the end goal. Often, the road to minimalism begins by removing unneeded physical possessions. But the principles quickly extend to other distractions we notice in our lives.
Minimalism isn’t just about what you’re removing but also about what you’re making room for—like purpose, passion, and meaningful connections.
7. “It’s Just for the Wealthy”
Minimalism isn’t just for the rich. In fact, just the opposite. It primarily benefits those with limited financial resources.
After all, you don’t need a lot of money to own only the things you need to own.
The mindset can be particularly useful for those who feel financially strained because it helps you understand what truly deserves your limited financial investment.
8. “I Won’t Be Productive Without My Stuff”
The belief that more stuff equals more productivity is a common fallacy.
In fact, excess often leads to distraction. A minimalist workspace can help you focus on tasks that truly matter, improving your overall productivity.
A related myth is “I need a lot of stuff to be a creative artist.” But again, this is not true. In fact, Orson Welles said it best, “The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
9. “I’ll Have No Safety Net”
Simplicity does not mean recklessness. Minimalist living actually provides greater opportunity for safety.
Creating an emergency fund and holding onto genuinely useful items does not conflict with minimalist principles. In fact, both of those things are easier when living a minimalist life. Minimalist living actually provides greater opportunity for safety.
Even more, minimalism encourages you to build a meaningful safety net, one not built on material possessions alone but also on strong relationships and skills.
10. “I Won’t Be Happy Without My Possessions”
It’s a myth we’ve all fallen for: equating material possessions with happiness. But if we take a moment to reflect, we’ll often find that our most treasured memories rarely involve material goods. Instead, they’re built on experiences and relationships, things that minimalism makes room for.
It’s natural, I suppose, to have objections and questions about minimalism. After all, it’s a step away from what society often tells us is the “right way” to live.
But I, and countless others, can attest that once you make room for what truly matters, your life will never be the same.
Minimalism is about creating space for more meaning, joy, and fulfillment. If any of these objections have been holding you back, I urge you to take a small step today—declutter a drawer, spend an hour without your phone, or simply take a moment to consider what’s truly essential in your life.
It’s a journey worth embarking on. And I promise you, on the other side of your objections, lies a life filled with purpose and joy.