Sneaky Downsides of Minimalism (I See No One Talking About)

There’s a reason why minimalism has garnered such a massive following over the past few years: It’s a remarkable idea.

The core concept is simple, accessible, sustainable, financially attractive, and even therapeutic for most people. Minimalism encourages you to focus on what matters most while eliminating all the junk. It’s exactly what we need in our distracted, consumer-driven world.

But is that the whole story?

With such a brilliant philosophy, it’s easy to ryuukoi forget that there are also considerable downsides of minimalism — and that it’s not for everyone. It’s just like anything else in life: There are benefits, and there are drawbacks. Depending on your situation, one may outweigh the other.

The problem with minimalism is that most people only look at the benefits and toss the pitfalls in the river. This gives people who are new to minimalism a strictly one-dimensional perspective.

So here’s something you won’t hear from your average minimalist pal: An honest look at five downsides of minimalism. If you’re a minimalist or planning to become one, keep these in mind.

1. Simplicity Can Backfire

Less isn’t always more. It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way when I crammed my most valuable possessions inside a backpack and moved to Portugal. For seven months, I must’ve lived with less than 100 items (not that I ever counted).

And that was an incredibly freeing feeling, no doubt. But at the same time, two things started happening that I didn’t see coming.

First, I got way more attached to the few things I owned.

So whenever I lost something, broke an item, or simply wore off a piece of clothing, I low-key panicked. I became insecure about whether I could get a proper replacement. Or — even worse — I would shy away from getting a replacement because I was so focused on living with less.

2. The Obsess with Less

Creating a simpler life can be extremely fulfilling. Not just the result but also the process. There’s something cathartic about cleaning out drawers full of junk, ridding of tech you haven’t used in years, and accustoming to using only a handful of items every day.

It’s as if you’re becoming a new person. A phoenix being reborn in the ashes of your old clutter.

There’s just one problem: When you’re done with this process you can feel as though you’re lacking something. I’m not talking about missing stuff here. I’m talking about missing a hobby. A habit.

When there’s nothing more to declutter, and you’ve simplified your life, it’s like, What’s next?

3. Aesthetics Without Ethics

Minimalism is not just a lifestyle, it’s an aesthetic. Just look at the heap of YouTubers who show off their minimalist apartment. Or search Instagram for relevant tags and hashtags. You’ll get flooded with a very certain style we’ve come to connect ever-so-strongly with minimalism.

The problem with aesthetics? They’re easily replicable without thinking about the philosophy behind them.

I know too well that if I decluttered my furniture and wardrobe to the bare bones, it would make me miserable. Why? Because it’d be a desperate attempt to look like a die-hard minimalist. But internally, I’m simply not at that point yet. It’s crucial that the internal shift happens before the external one.

4. Loss of Self-Expression

If you live in a country that’s shaped by Western culture, try this experiment. Go out on the street on a busy day and observe what people are wearing. Here’s what I saw today:

If an alien came to earth and was given the task of judging the Western style of clothing, they’d probably say: “Well… everyone kind of looks the same!”

The minimalist style has quietly taken over the fashion industry.

And yes, it’s not a bad thing that everyone can blend into a big crowd with clothes they can afford. But at the same time, we lose a ton of cultural and individual expression.

It’s fascinating when you look at the style of Eastern or African

cultures in comparison. There we find bright colors, decorations, and laboriously crafted ornaments.

5. It’s Not the Magic Bullet

This was by far the harshest truth I had to learn. Many bloggers, YouTubers, and other content creators make it sound like minimalism is the ultimate magic bullet. The solution to all of your problems. And so, when looking up the benefits of minimalism, you’ll find an inexhaustible list about greater health, wealth, and happiness.

The problem is, of course, that you will still have problems as a minimalist. No amount of decluttering or simplifying life will stop you from experiencing the full range of human emotions.

A minimalist life is still a life. It involves the full share of suffering, loneliness, disappointment, and coping with mortality.

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