The minimalist lifestyle is all the rage these days, with online support groups, discussion forums, and even a TV show or two (we’re looking at you Marie Kondo). If you are currently surrounded by clutter and bulging closets, the idea of throwing it all away can seem attractive, hence the enduring popularity of the minimalist lifestyle.
The desire to downsize and declutter is certainly understandable, but you might want to do a reality check before you call the junk haulers and start tearing through your closets. Here are some key questions to ask yourself before embarking on a minimalist crusade.
#1. What Are the Risks to My Memories?
The stuff gathering dust in your home is more than just stuff. While some of the extraneous items cluttering your living space are completely disposable, others are irreplaceable.
Before you go on a minimalist rampage and jettison most of your belongings, think about the memories those soon-to-be-lost items represent. If you go too far with your downsizing, you could end up throwing away cherished memories, including photographs, scrapbooks and other things that are not available at any price.
#2. Do I Really Need to Downsize?
If you are crammed into a tiny apartment or sharing your living room with stacks of boxes, the appeal of a minimalist lifestyle is all too obvious. A targeted downsizing will allow you to reclaim your home and enjoy your life much more.
There are times, however, when the need to downsize and embrace the minimalist lifestyle is not so compelling. If you have a large home with lots of storage space, extreme downsizing is probably unnecessary, and it could be counterproductive. It is important to evaluate your current living conditions, and your plans, before embarking on any type of minimalism. (Related: No Time for a Home Reno? Do an ‘In the Meantime’ Fix Instead)
#3. Am I Prepared for the Unforeseen Costs of Downsizing?
If you downsize your wardrobe, your existing clothing will probably wear out faster. Far from saving money and reducing consumption, you could end up spending more in the long run.
You may also feel foolish about throwing away or donating usable items if you find yourself needing that stuff in the future. While many people equate minimalism with a lower cost of living, the opposite could actually be the case.
There is a lot to love about minimalist living, from a cleaner home and less clutter to a lighter carbon footprint and enhanced environmental responsibility. Even so, there are some potential downsides as well, and it is important to be prepared for all the realities, both good and bad, of this extreme form of downsizing.