What Minimalism is NOT

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Today’s guest post comes to us from Damien Olenslager of Bite Size Idea.


“I think people want very much to simplify their lives enough so that they can control the things that make it possible to sleep at night.”  – Twila Tharp

With the rise of minimalism as a lifestyle, some misconceptions have surfaced.  Every way of life has its naysayers and minimalism is no exception.  Let’s look at a few of the most prevalent arguments against the simple living movement.  Hopefully I can clear up the confusion and debunk some myths.

Minimalists Are Not Lazy

Some accuse minimalists of being lazy because they seek to reduce their commitments and efforts.  Minimalists abhor multitasking by either putting off some duties or dropping them altogether.  Does this mean we are lazy?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Minimalists are actually more productive because they are able to remove distractions and focus on the most important tasks at hand.  They understand the illusion of multitasking, opting instead for focus, in an effort to achieve a state of flow.  By removing distractions and focusing, a minimalist maintains a clear, productive mind.

Minimalists Do Not Settle For a Lower Standard of Living

Some naysayers claim that minimalists have a lower standard of living because they have less stuff.  This accusation gained prominence after the rise of the 100 Thing challenge, where minimalists choose to live with less than 100 personal possessions.  If minimalists have less stuff, then they must be living in third-world conditions, right?


Minimalists understand the trade-off between quantity and quality.  Every person has a finite amount of money.  Either you can buy lots of crappy stuff or you can buy a few very nice things.  Simple lifers choose to own nice things.

Minimalists, in fact, have a higher standard of living than the average person.  Their homes are clutter-free, which gives them clutter-free minds.

Minimalists are Not Ascetics

An ascetic, according to wiktionary:

One who is devoted to the practice of self-denial

Non-believers contend that minimalists can’t possibly enjoy life.  They don’t buy things, heck, they don’t even spend time daydreaming about the next big thing they are going to buy.  It must suck being a minimalist.

Not even close.

Minimalists see life like this: either you can spend your money on stuff, or you can spend it on experiences.  They have learned that stuff doesn’t bring lasting happiness or golden memories.

So they spend their money on living life.  On seeing the world and building relationships with the people who live in it.  At the end of your life, do you want a garage full of crap or a heart full of memories and friendships?

Jump in, the Water’s Perfect!

I am an aspiring minimalist.  I say “aspiring” because I don’t know if one ever gets their; it’s more of a journey than a destination.

Believe me when I say that life as a minimalist is more fulfilling.  So why don’t you join us?  Buy less stuff,  take a break from the hustle and bustle, plan your next trip to somewhere you’ve never been.  I guarantee it will change your life.


This was a guest post from Damien Olenslager of Bite Size Idea. For more from Damien, I suggest you get your FREE COPY of The Minimalist Guide to Investing by clicking here.

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6 Responses to What Minimalism is NOT

  1. In my nearly 63 years of life, i have come to the conclusion that ‘quality of life’ and ‘standard of living’ are almost opposites! The quality of my life has undoubtably been better when I had less material wealth, when one has all the accoutrements of a ‘high standard of living’ one invariably spends alot of energy and time worrying about losing it! However, if one has the basic neccessities and not much else, one has liitle to lose and what one has is ALL valuable. Nice post, thank you ;o)
    Michele Nicholls´s last blog ..Easter meanderings My ComLuv Profile

  2. What a great guest post. Seriously. I think you hit on the major objections that people have when they hear the words simplicity and minimalism.

    Gonna save this – thanks!
    Luke @ simplifi.de´s last blog ..The Simple Life – A Lesson from My Mom My ComLuv Profile

  3. @Michele I hadn’t before thought of the difference between quality of life and standard of living. That’s an interesting distinction!

    @Luke Thanks for the kind words to a guest post newbie :)
    Damien Olenslager´s last blog ..4 Reasons to Switch to a Paperless System My ComLuv Profile

  4. Dan Goodwin says:

    As a fellow aspiring minimalist, I love this post. I used to think that being a minimalist meant living in a sterile white box in isolation, denying one’s self any kind of pleasure in the pursuit of something higher.

    In fact what I’ve come to see, is minimalism is about simplifying, about living lightly, treading softly, enjoying moments, and reducing all the physical and mental clutter that gets in the way of us being alive.

    Thank you for an excellent, informative post.
    Dan Goodwin´s last blog ..How To Create For A Whole Day In Two Hours Or Less My ComLuv Profile

  5. Short and sweet post, great stuff! I especially loved this: “At the end of your life, do you want a garage full of crap or a heart full of memories and friendships?”. This pretty much sums um the whole minimalism movement. I will use this the next time I am confronted with naysayers and see how they react.

  6. This is so true. Thanks for reminding me and everyone that being a minimalist is NOT a sacrifice. But it IS all about quality rather than quantity.

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