Minimalism at times seems more myth than fact; mention the word to someone on the street and while saying they have no desire to be a minimalist they will generally refer to one of the prevalent myths about the lifestyle.
Here are five of the biggest minimalism myths:
Myth #1: You have to be single to be a minimalist. There are many minimalists who are married: Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist , Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens are a few excellent examples. While some of the extreme adherents to minimalism do tend to be single this is definitely NOT a requirement.
Myth #2: You can’t have kids and be a minimalist. Many well-known minimalists have kids. Francine Jay has one, Dave Bruno has three children, I have one child at home and Leo Babauta has six! With minimalism you scale your possessions up or down with your current needs so those with several children will need more items (toys, clothing, space, etc.) than the person who has only one child (or none).
Myth #3: You can’t have a car and be a minimalist. Let’s be blunt: in some areas of the world you need a vehicle to get around. Public transportation is not available everywhere and it makes no sense to deprive yourself of something that you actually need. While I would like to eliminate the expense of my vehicle I happen to live in a small town with an almost nonexistent public transportation system and very cold winters. As a result I am unable to eliminate this item from my life. However, if I were to live in an area with ample public transportation (and could eliminate the need to travel) I could easily eliminate this item. People who live in the country have a similar problem. They have to keep a vehicle just to go to town for supplies.
Myth #4: You are only a minimalist of you own 100 things or less. While some minimalists like to number their possessions many refuse to even bother; as long as you have enough for your needs there is no point in numbering your possessions. Minimalism is not a competition; there are no awards for the person with the least amount of stuff! The object of minimalism is to have as much as you need and no more.
Myth #5: Minimalists judge people who spend money and have a lot of stuff. Absolutely not! While we have made a personal choice to live with less we know that this is not a lifestyle for everyone; as we respect you for your decision to live with more, we also hope that you can respect our decision to live with less.
It is my hope that you will ignore the myths surrounding minimalism and explore this lifestyle for yourself. Are you a minimalist or do you know one personally? Please share your stories in the comments below.
Thank you for your support!