I tried to find an article about this, alas, I came up dry. I hope that at some point in the future then, this list will help someone. Minimalist or otherwise!
Here are 10 things that minimalists want you to understand:
1. We’re generally happy
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice. Sometimes, when you can’t afford much, you learn to live with less. You learn to want less. Minimalists learn to find ways to work out what they have, what they want and how to get there. For me, one of the driving factors was less housework, more plants. Now, my plants are all plastic, but the added green does great things for my mood. More importantly, less housework = more time with the ones I love = happiness.
2. We aren’t poor (usually)
Like I said above, minimalism is typically a choice, not a need. I may not have money in abundance, but living with less means I’m buying less and saving money. Avoiding debts and credit cards has gone a long way in avoiding red numbers on my bank account, but so has living with less.
3. But we aren’t rich, either
There seems to be an idea that minimalists can only be young people who live off of the bank of Mum and Dad and can afford cleaners and the like, that’s not true. Minimalism really is living with only what you need and tossing the rest, that’s it, no fancy lifestyle, just living with less.
4. We don’t want your money (again, usually)
This only really applies to the people who can “afford” a minimalist lifestyle, and by that I mean people who aren’t paying off huge debts. Very recently, my mother offered to buy my husband and I a divan bed base and she had a really hard time believing me when I said that we really didn’t want one. She had a hard time accepting that we didn’t need the storage because our headboard (two storage cube units) already provides it. We sleep on a mattress on the floor. I get that that sounds crazy, but honestly, we sleep better, plus we don’t keep braking bed frames and bed bases with our…. Shenanigans.
5. If we say we don’t want anything, we really don’t want anything (more on that below)
Christmas and birthdays brings minimalists out in a cold sweat. Why? That one simple questions, “What can I get you for Christmas/your birthday?”. The answer to that really is a resounding NOTHING. Do you know what gifts are to a minimalist? Clutter. We work hard to simply our lives and have more time for living. Unless there is something particular we want or need, be prepared for “nothing” to be the ultimate answer. If that’s the case, whiskey, beer, wine, flowers or chocolates always work. Think perishables that won’t hang around forever. Sounds crazy, I know.
6. Random gifts
Two years ago, I was adamant that I wanted some Russian piping tips for Christmas. Not make-up, not designer handbags or Gucci jewellery, piping tips. Why? Because I’d seen some cupcakes made with them and I was FASCINATED by them. I’ve asked for rosti rings so that I could make individual desserts for entertaining, a shed corner storage unit because my old one broke, a mini greenhouse and even a shower caddy. If you really want to buy a minimalist something, be prepared for them to ask for gifts based on what they need, rather than what they’d like.
7. Don’t be offended if your gift winds up on Ebay
Social rule dictates that once a gift is given, it is up to the recipient what they do with it. I have two hooded blankets in a bag in the closet behind me which are destined for Ebay. It’s not that I don’t love my little brother and it’s not that I don’t appreciate the gesture, it’s just that I won’t use them. Honestly, my husband and I realised that they had hoods but no sleeves. We put them on our heads, realised that we looked like a pair of giant caped rubber Johnnies and put them back in the bag, never to be seen again. Do I let them take up wardrobe space because of sentimental value, or do I let them go? I still have my brother, I can still plenty of good time with him..
8. Sometimes, we really do just want your money
Obviously, nobody wants to be paying of someone’s debt, but what if we were saving up for something or planning to start something, for example, a new project, or driving lessons? I’ve had people say that it feels impersonal to give money or gift cards but it’s really not. I’d much rather the money or gift card that I can put towards a bigger investment than a random gift that I don’t want or need.
9. Presence not presents
Presents aren’t that important for minimalists. For us, it really is “presence not presents”. It is about spending time with you,about being with you and talking to you, not what you’ve bought us. If you really insist, bring a cake or a packet of biscuits that we can share while we catch up over a cup of tea.
10. We’re not aliens
“How can you live with no stuff?” “I couldn’t do it myself”, “Are you a bit OCD?”. First of all, I have “stuff”, just less of it. Secondly, it’s a lifestyle choice, not a lifestyle obligation. Finally, Yes, I am, because all neat freaks are (that one was sarcasm, but I am clinically diagnosed with OCD for entirely different reasons). If you come to my home and notice it’s clean and tidy, realise that it’s just clean and tidy and has less stuff so that I feel less stressed and ahve more time. Im still human, I just got rid of the stuff that I don’t look at so that I don’t have to keep cleaning it organising it. Basically, instead of keeping stuff and spending my time cleaning, I’ve got rid of the surplus stuff so that I have more time for living and more time for the people that I love. More time for people like YOU!