5 MISTAKES ALL MINIMALISM BEGINNERS MAKE & HOW TO AVOID THEM
I recently made a video all about the reasons why I'm not a "minimalist". It really got me thinking about the traps that I had fallen into when I first learnt about and embarked on minimalism. I unintentionally set high standards for myself that were unattainable and unrealistic. In following others I lost myself, and I want to make sure those of you reading this and looking into minimalism don't do the same. I wanted to share a few mistakes I have made since I started to declutter my life, as well as mistakes I often see or hear about others making. So if you're new to it all, hopefully these points can bring you back down to earth, and help you not lose yourself to the minimalism bug.
1. DON'T LOSE YOURSELF
The internet is an incredible place to get inspired. I personally can say my entire lifestyle has drastically changed, and for the better, from being inspired by others online. I have gone vegan, drastically reduced my waste, decluttered most of my stuff and embarked on a journey of self love since seeing others do the same. However, I have made the mistake along the way of losing myself and my individuality. It can be easy to just copy what someone else is doing and hope it works for you too, but this unfortunately doesn't usually work out. We're all totally different, lead different lives, have different hopes, wants and needs. We therefore need to each use minimalism (or any lifestyle for that matter) in different ways. Your version of minimalism is going to be completely different to mine. Remember that minimalism isn't a competition. The fundamentals of minimalism are to let go of desiring and owning stuff to determine your worth, and yet when we start to utilise minimalism, it can be tempting to determine our worth based off how little we own. Don't allow this to happen, keep your boundaries and don't lose who you are in the pursuit of this lifestyle.
2. take it easy
I'm the sort of person who makes a decision, clicks my fingers and wants things done straight away. I tend to go for things full force, which can have its benefits and downsides. While I had the motivation to get things organised, it became frustrating when the reality it wasn't going to happen quickly started to emerge. I realised I needed to take things easy. I wasn't going to declutter my entire life overnight. I wasn't going to turn a chaotic wardrobe that I had been collecting for the last decade into a minimal capsule wardrobe by next week. But after some time I realised how incredible this time was. I learnt more than I could ever have imagined a simple decluttering of my stuff would teach me. During this lengthy process of decluttering I was able to reflect, look within, understand where I had been, and where I wanted to go. So my advice would be to take things step by step in a way that makes sense for you. Give yourself a break and take it easy. Start with an area of your life that is in particularly overloaded (for me this was my wardrobe) and go from there.
3. don't buy new stuff
When I first started decluttering, I gave myself a shopping ban. Especially when it came to clothes. I realised I had everything I needed, and the temptation to buy new things needed to be eradicated. It was a huge learning curve for me as for the longest time I always had a long list of things I wanted in my wardrobe, my makeup bag or whatever. I knew that I needed to let go of this constant yearning for new things and focus on organising and getting rid. The best part is, this process did what I hoped it would do and so much more. I no longer yearn to go shopping, I am more considerate than ever when I do need to go shopping for something, I have become so much more grateful for all the things I have in my life, and I have saved so much money in the process. So one of the biggest things you can do when you first start is to tell yourself to say no to new things. Focus on decluttering, minimising and getting rid, and find satisfaction in that (but also don't beat yourself up if you do slip and unintentionally buy something new, just move on and learn from it).
4. don't make it unattainable
What is minimalism about? It is to reduce and to simply. Minimalism is not quantified by how little you own or how white your aesthetic is. Don't let it to become another ideal that you've been sold that you can't live up to. It needs to remain attainable and inclusive, rather than unattainable and exclusive. Set yourself attainable goals such as clearing all the surfaces in your home, or getting rid of a box of things you don't need anymore. There doesn't need to be any extremes. Extremes only make things unrealistic and harder to achieve. So the only goals you should be setting for yourself are ones that are within reach.
5. don't put pressure on yourself
Finally, do not put pressure on yourself. This process shouldn't end up being a stressful one. If you go out and buy something and regret it afterwards, don't beat yourself up, just learn from it! Think about how it made you feel and how maybe you could do better next time. Mistakes are there to be learnt from and if we didn't make them we wouldn't get very far in our life. Remember that it isn't a destination, but a journey. I'm still learning everyday, making mistakes, failing and getting back up again. It is what makes us human, makes us grow and become better people working towards our goals. Let go of the pressure and enjoy the experience!
So there you have it! Hopefully I've caught you at the start of your minimalism journey, and I can put you on the right footing to not tear your hair out during the process. Or worse, give it up entirely. Keep going and working towards your goals, and you'll be surprised at how far you'll have come by this time next year. Let me know in the comments what mistakes you've made during your minimalism journey, so we can all laugh about it together!