I can say that I am minimalist and I really like this idea: it allows me to make my life a lot simpler, I do not have to care about a lot of things and can focus mostly on experiences. Of course, it is like all things in the world, so it has its drawbacks. I do not want to see only advantages, and say that minimalism is great for everyone, because that would not be true. Some minimalists do not like to discuss about downsides, but I prefer to be open, it always good time to thing, how can I use this in my life in better way: such ideas are not to use them in 100% to be super strict, but to be flexible and use what you really need. So, let’s discuss minimalist downsides.
Long decision making
It is a real issue. Because I do not want many things, I prefer less, but with higher quality, I usually spend more and more time choosing the best option before I buy something. In theory, it is fine, because we want focus on quality, but unfortunately, it has a lot of negative effects. First of all, we have to spend more time choosing things… Things! So, it may be a bit strange, because with minimalism, we want to free ourselves from things. Never-ending comparisons, advantages/disadvantages lists, quality/price ratios etc. It is just tiring and sometimes after a few days (or even a few weeks) I just reject the purchase plan, because I feel totally exhausted and think “no, I do not want this crap anymore!”.
Second option: I use very consumer-friendly rules in Poland and buy, check something and return to shop if I decide it will not cover all my requirements. Such law allows customers to try things (of course in limited way) and then decide and I think it is fine in current situation. I used that when I looked for a new sports watch, I tried a few options and finally chose Garmin – before that I was not a big fan of that company, because I saw a lot of complaints. After a few months of usage, I am still fully satisfied and think it was a good choice. How to deal with long decision making? I think the basic thing is to really deep investigation and question “do I really need that thing?”. It is possible that if we will hold off on a purchase decision, for let’s say a month, we come to the conclusion that we do not really need it.
It is possible we will try to convince other people
If we are minimalist, we will see “a lot of unnecessary things” in many situations and there is always risk, that maybe we will want to discuss that with other people, also try to convince them to change their mind and their lives. Discussing interesting things is always good, but pushiness is very, very bad. Maybe we transformed our life to minimalist-style, because we felt bad with tons of things, but what if different people do not have any problem with that and they just like what they have? It is super important to not try convince others, it is better “to be a good example”, but nothing more. If they are interested in our approach, they will ask us – and it is a good time to talk about minimalism, not before that.
It is a big problem especially in relationships. People are different and it is of course possible that both of you will like minimalism, but it is also possible that the second side will prefer something completely different. What then? Nothing, do not try to change second person! Never! It is the best way to break a relationship, not to build a beautiful pair. If you have some usual problems like too many clothes out, just discuss about that and set some boundaries, but do not try to be “the only one source of truth”, because you are not: you have your opinion, second side has her own and it is fine.
Always too much
If you are a minimalist, you can always think that you have too many things. It is a never-ending story, especially if you decided to go to the minimalist “step by step”, removing one thing, then another, then another etc. I think such an approach is fine, but in reality, there is no something like “breakthrough”, there is no real time when you said “I cleaned up my things”. It may be problematic, because we can remove some things only for ideas, but without real reason. I can say that I made some decisions and after some time I regretted them – because in reality, I did not need some things only in a specific period, and when I needed them again, there was nothing.
We can see similar problems with a lot of ideas: it is because we want to be very strict with someone’s idea and we completely forget about our life. Once again, as I mentioned in the beginning: minimalism is for the people, not the people for minimalism, so think about your decisions and be as flexible as possible. Use only some rules if you prefer them, abandon assumptions which do not fit your situation and your life. You can sleep on a mattress in an empty apartment and if you think it is fine for you, then ok, but doing something like that only for minimalism idea? It is absurd, nothing good.
A minimalist can be stingy
Yep, it is true. A minimalist can be stingy, because as I mentioned above, such a person will think a few times before will buy something. It means, there is a greater likelihood that such a person will also think about the real price of a new thing i.e., not only money, but also time required to earn that money, time to maintenance that thing and all others. In many situations minimalists can decide that they will not buy things because all advantages are not worth such price. Is it bad? I think not, I we do not go to extremes: sometimes we should definitely buy something (new clothes), also sometimes we should have some spare parts, not buy new things under time pressure, when something is really missing. Overall, it can be an advantage, especially now, on very interesting times.
Maybe it is not a huge problem specific for minimalists, but definitely for their families and friends who are not minimalists. In the past I received some nice gifts, but after just a short period I realized that I do not need them at all. What then? It is a problem, I can give it to others, I can sell them (and maybe buy something more relevant for me), but from a sentimental viewpoint, it is always a problem – we often do not want to do it because we think it is wrong and not fair. It is a big problem especially when we receive a gift from very close people.
How to handle that? I think the best thing is to tell others that we do not need all these things, and maybe a better gift will be something like discount coupon, carnet for a massage or something like that: something we can use, experience, not thing. If our family and friends know that we prefer minimalism, it will be better for both sides: them (always simpler to choose the best gift) and also us, because we will not receive unnecessary things anymore.