Criticisms of Minimalism

30 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 2 bags

Lately, there have been a few articles chastising minimalism circulating the web. My goal today is to dispel what I think are the recurring criticisms of minimalism. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, look here, here and here

Here are five recurring criticisms of minimalism.

  1. There is one type of minimalist. Many criticisms of minimalism rely on stereotyping, painting the minimalist as one ‘type’ of person. Here in the blogosphere and on YouTube alone minimalists represent people from all walks of life, a variety in gender, age group, family structure, social status and many other factors. You don’t have to be a particular ‘type’ of person to feel the benefits of simplifying your life.
  2. Minimalism is for the wealthy. Many arguments against minimalism suggest that downsizing is a ‘privilege’ of the wealthy, arguing that those who struggle financially cannot afford to reduce clutter in their lives. I would argue that while some minimalists are definitely wealthy, these do not necessarily represent the majority. Most minimalists aim to simplify their material belongings to focus on more important things, and there is no income bracket that makes this desire more ‘legitimate’.
  3. Minimalism is a faux spirituality. I have been asking people to donate their worldly possessions, don a grey cloak, give me a tithing of their income and move into my compound for months, and it still hasn’t happened! Seriously though, I can see that when people talk about the benefits of minimalism, it might read as some sort of gospel or pseudo enlightenment, but people do that with all manner of subjects. The experience is as individual as you, and as a general rule in life, if you are sceptical about something someone is telling you, follow your own path.
  4. Minimalism is selfish. Critics ignore the benefits of minimalism to individuals and society. Minimalism can be a solution to many problems. Our rampant consumption fuels the production of lower quality goods, poor working conditions, and a massive amount of environmental waste. Can a few people changing their shopping habits really improve the world? Probably not. I think the real question is why some critics feel the need to attack people who want to leave less of an impact. These criticisms ignore the fact that many minimalists can reduce their environmental footprint and support artisans and small business by becoming more conscious consumers.
  5. Minimalism looks boring. Critics of minimalism seem to suggest that people purge their belongings to fit into a decor ‘fad’. Most people who actually talk about their own minimalist experience express feeling calmer in their homes. As someone who has removed a lot of clutter and colour from my interior, I can say there is a sense of calmness in my decor. In saying this, there are plenty of minimalists who embrace colour. Once again, there is no formula to any of this.

IMG_4883

I hope you enjoyed this post. Below is a video on the topic. Check out my YouTube channel for new minimalist videos every week, my Instagram account for daily outfits, and my Facebook account for minimalist resources and updates. I also have a Patreon account where for a small donation you can view additional content.


18 thoughts on “Criticisms of Minimalism

  1. good post. Everything gets stereotyped too much. But, oh no! All those people thinking I’ll never be a minimalist, because I have to have hot pink in my wardrobe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are right on in your post regarding the criticisms. There is definitely not a stereotypical minimalist as each has his or her own reasons for this lifestyle and to what degree. For me it’s all about getting rid of what is not needed or burdensome. How many things does one person really need? As a matter of fact I could probably do without some of the things still in my possession. Thanks for liking my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there, thanks a million for posting this. I had no idea there was such a backlash against minimalism out there. The extreme views, minimalism-is-for-the-rich jaded arguments and the sheer unwillingness to live and let live took me aback. I was also disappointed to see Caroline Rector’s blog, Unfancy, cited in one of the articles. Caroline’s blog is a lovely, inspirational place, with a very tolerant attitude towards everyone. Thanks for highlighting this and I thought your own response was very measured and insightful, Lxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can understand criticism of minimalism as a way to flaunt wealth, or as a statement on class or status. But there was little or no mention of positive reasons why one might pursue minimalism. So while a lot of their criticisms have validity in a certain sense, they have presented only a single viewing angle. Of the misconceptions you highlighted, #1 – there is no one type of minimalist – is the root of the problem I had with the articles.

    Thanks for the post. Although I see a lot of flaws in those quoted articles, it is always good to expose oneself to criticisms of concepts, things, etc that one might be interested in. I’d agree with one of the comments above that it was a measured and insightful response.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. When I read such criticisms it almost always comes across as defensive. Whatever you do, there will always be someone around to criticize it, lol.

    Minimalism is for the wealthy! Lol They need to come see me! What rubbish.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really good job of laying waste the “arguments” against simplicity. “Minimalism” is not new. While I don’t take seriously the argument for a divine being telling us what we are supposed to do, all three of the Abrahamic religions (Hebrew, Christian, Islam) have strong historical movements for simplicity of life and possessions. So does Buddhism. So to most (if not all) Native American and First Nations cultures in North America.

    Lavish consumption was adopted historically by monarchs as a sign of their power. Those who today argue against a simple life simply do not understand history or hubris.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I particularly loathe the idea that minimalism means that everything you own needs to be white, grey, or black. That might be just some people’s cup of tea, but it certainly isn’t mine!
    I think perhaps those criticizing minimalism as being ‘for the wealthy’ are taking a global view – there are millions of people who don’t even have enough money to feed themselves, let alone clutter up their homes with cheap plastic crap. But in the West, I think most of us could do with Less Stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s