Day 2 - Misconceptions

So if you remember from yesterday, every day in November I'm going to be posting about my journey with minimalism. Today I'm going to talk about some common misconceptions regarding minimalism. I haven't told a ton of people that I've been embarking on this journey because it hasn't really come up and because I wanted to make some headway on it first before delving into it with others. A few people have noticed or said things about it to me though so I'll address their questions first and then some of the other things that I've seen asked frequently in minimalist groups I'm in:

"So...your house is going to be all white and empty?" 
Nope. Very untrue. I have six children - several of them very small - so there will not be anything white in the house. I have pictures on my walls now I intend to keep and the majority of furniture is also staying because I like it and/or it serves a purpose. I am not emptying our house of our possessions - I am instead trying to go through them all and sort out what we actually want, use and, need. I have no intentions of doing a major overhaul of our house at the moment unless a large financial settlement drops into my lap or something miraculous happens. :)

"Are you one of those people that _____________?" (Lives in a tiny house, has 100 possessions, has a capsule wardrobe, is an extreme environmentalist, is a vegan, never buys anything, etc.)
One really nice thing about minimalism (for me anyway) has been discovering that it can be different for everyone. Yes, there's people that live in tiny houses. (We do not. We like our space.) There are people that only have 100 possessions (not us) or that have capsule wardrobes with only a certain amount of clothing. (Not me yet.) Some minimalists are vegan. (I am not.) Some are very environmentally-conscious. (I try to be, but still could use some work.) I am just starting out on this journey so as with most things in life, I'm learning what works for me and what doesn't.

"So you're getting rid of all your kids toys? How cruel."
Not at all. We are paring down but I would never just get rid of all their things or things that are very precious to them. I've been going through my older kids toys with them and we've been sorting out things that are broken, things they don't play with anymore, things they'd like to pass on to other siblings/friends, etc. I've shared with them what I'm doing and they understand it because it has become a HUGE chore for them to take care of the mountains of stuff in their room. The littler boys aren't as attached to things and don't really understand yet, so I've just been cleaning things out when they are napping or gone.

"Your kids must hate it."
Nope. I kind of discussed this in the last paragraph but wanted to include an example to illustrate. My daughter and I went through her toys the other day and sorted out all the stuff she does play with and enjoys - stuffed animals, Legos, dress up clothes - and then we got to the Barbies. She has a massive box of Barbies and their clothes, shoes, furniture, and other accessories. A lot of them were mine when I was growing up but I think I've only seen her play with them *maybe* a handful of times. I said, "What do you want to do with the Barbies?" She thought about it for a little bit: "I don't really play with them..." Then her eyes lit up, "Hey mommy! My friends A & H really LOVE Barbies! They have a Barbie house! I bet they would like them! Can I give them to them?" I asked her if she was sure and honestly I felt a little pang of sadness at first, but then I thought no, this is what she wants to do and I'm glad she thought of her friends! So I sent off a text to A & H's mom to ask if they wanted a box of Barbies and now they're currently in my van to be dropped off the next time we see them!

"Does being a minimalist mean you only have one of everything?"
Again, it's different for different people. To explain, I saw a discussion in a group I'm in the other day that talked about sheets and how many you should own. Some people said they only had one extra sheet set for their bed, while others had multiple. It was different for everyone. For me personally, having multiple small children, I like to have a few extra sets for the inevitable sickness/accident. So no, minimalism does not mean you only have one of something.

"So since you are doing this you probably think everyone should do it..."
Do I feel that it's helpful for me and my family? Yes. Do I think the world in general could probably use some minimalism tips? Yes. Does that mean everyone should embrace it and do exactly what I did? No. I do think our society/culture has confused many of us into thinking we NEED more stuff, that more stuff makes us happy, that we need the newest everything, that we need to give our kids everything, etc. And so I can see where minimalism would help others. But I would never begin to tell someone how they should be living their life because I'm not in their shoes and it's not my place to dictate what they do. However, I'm happy to talk about it with others and share ideas if they're interested!

What other questions do you have about minimalism? Leave them in the comments & I'll try to answer as best as I can!

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