why I'm giving up minimalism - life after minimalism on the Slow and Happy blog

Life after Minimalism? 5 Thoughts after 5 Years of Being a Minimalist

I’m a minimalist for more than five years. I need a few things, I have a few things, my clothes fit into one drawer and as a family of three, we used to have only four mugs in our kitchen for everyday use. I’m a minimalist and I’ve got many benefits from it. And recently I’m observing a change in myself. Maybe I should call it life after minimalism.

Now I tend to be more and more easy-going in terms of money, buying, things, clothing, rules, attitude to people. It seems to be something against minimalism, but we’ll see how it’ll develop.

Let’s look at what’s inside me now.

5 thoughts after 5 years of minimalism

1 | I understood the non-minimalists’ point of view

In our family, I’m the person who organizes home spaces. I’m the person who prepares meals, cleans up, tidies up, does laundry, puts clothes on their places, puts everything in its place, dresses up, washes and helps boys with the toilet.

As my toddlers are growing up and while I’m changing my worldviews and character, I start to appreciate comfort. As a mom of little kids, spending more time at home and making the home, I appreciate having a little more to make things easier and more comfortable.

I want that my 3-year old has slightly more pairs of socks than he needs. This kind of excess seems to me now better than trying to find a solution when the last pairs got dirty or wet and we need to look properly or go out right now.

I want to have excessive linens to be able to change it and enjoy the feeling and smell of freshly washed linens instead of doing the laundry right away to avoid the situation when I have no reserve clean linens.

I want to do make up a bit more often. And to actually learn to do it.

I want to have long hair which needs more time to care about it and probably more cosmetics and things to stay in good condition and look good.

Maybe I will want to buy candles. If it happens, I want to have my permission to buy them.

I want my children to have a room full of toys they like. I want them to have a choice. Limiting them for some abstract idea of minimalism, essentialism, ecology or anti-consumerism is not what I wish for them. At home, I want them to have beautiful things that make them have a good time and develop, and think, and ask, and have many new and new ideas.

2 | is there any sense in possessing less?

To possess as little as we can. To possess only what we really need. You know what? It’s easy. It’s completely easy. If you only can free yourself of emotions or memories connected with items, you can rid of literally everything. To leave items like clothes, toothbrush, and devices to work on – it is easy.

I think everyone could do what I did. But for what reason? Minimalism is a fantastic experiment. But should it last forever?

Minimalism is very useful when you travel a lot. Traveling light vs. traveling unconscious about the things we take and the reasons why we take them is a big difference.

But do you need minimalism to stay with you forever when you live in an apartment in a city, having a family? What is the sense of having no candles or limiting the number of clothes? It isn’t necessary. Is it wise?

3 | I can have more things but I’m not attached to them

There is a benefit of minimalism, a change in myself that will stay with me even if I’d decide to leave the path of minimalism. And it’s the ability to not be attached to things. This ability makes it easier to get rid of useless items. I also learned that life without a physical equivalent of memories (souvenirs, mementos) is possible and that it is actually pleasant because I can live here and now and not carry the past with me, not living with the past in my current drawers and wardrobes.

As a result of this emotional distance, I wouldn’t cry if I’d lose my clothes, kitchenware or other things, even my notebooks. My items are replaceable: tops, mugs, socks, cutlery, toothbrush… I’m not attached.

I’d cry only after losing, for example, my passport or access to my Internet profiles. But with some problems, I can get also them back or get new.

4 | I’ll play more society games, even these requiring buying or having and using more stuff

I have a thought that minimalism is a kind of youth rebellion. Being a minimalist is a disagreement with how the world is. We rebel against advertisement, consumption, gifts, makeup, plastic, waste, stuff from Asia etc.

But after the period of radical minimalism, the period of discrediting, rebel and denying, I need to find my golden mean between the world and my ideas about the ideal world. My life after minimalism. I could live radically, buying almost nothing, refusing to do makeup and so on, but such behavior separates me from people around me.

What could my life after minimalism look like?

It’s time for me to get back to the social game of buying new clothes when old ones just don’t look as new, although they still serve their purpose. In my “life after minimalism”, it’s time to get back to taking care of how my apartment looks like, not only if it serves my needs. It’s time to cook unhealthy anything from time to time to invite someone to dinner.

5 | I’ve tried being eco-friendly, I’ve tried to live zero-waste. And…

When I started getting more conscious about the condition of our planet, I wanted to live eco-friendly. I changed my habits, I thought about the impact of my every littlest action on the planet. I did well in terms of environmental friendliness. No disposable tissues, no paper towels, avoiding putting things in a shop to new packaging, using disposable diapers, refusing to replace old items with new…

While some of these new habits I applied easily, the bigger part is just… uncomfortable. I spent more time worrying and doing these actions that took longer than the non-ecological alternative. In a way, I wasn’t living. I was forcing myself to be no impact. The too much eco-friendly approach took time, energy and mental energy: worrying. It took me away. And took my life away.

In simple words: it was limiting. Less time and limited possibilities. Don’t do it.

Now rules for my life after minimalism and after being an eco-freak are:

If you have a choice, choose less, choose more healthy, choose more eco-friendly, choose less packed. But always think of yourself as more important than ideals (such as ecology, minimalism, 100% healthy living).

life after minimalism – conclusion

You won’t change the world. I won’t change the world. So let’s set our rules, take our experiments, try more conscious lifestyles but then: let’s have fun, joy, let’s feel love, let’s live this life, knowing that nor our life, nor the world are perfect.



life after minimalism - cons of minimalism

10 thoughts on “Life after Minimalism? 5 Thoughts after 5 Years of Being a Minimalist”

  1. Super interesting read! I completely agree that when moving down one of the paths, whether it be minimalism, or what have you, finding a happy medium and not letting it take over your life in a negative way is key. Sometimes it takes a while to find that balance, but it is important to do so. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject after 5 years.

    1. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Recently I keep thinking that this balance is what we should set up in our lives as the key to happiness. Extremes don’t work.

  2. I think balance is what we’re here to learn amongst other lessons. I do think however that many people are under the impression that minimalism is supposed to be this extreme and rebellious concept…
    We all go naturally from one extreme to another in life before we find our balance…. that’s exactly how we find our balance. .. I say ‘our’ balance because it is a very individual thing. Minimalism is just a way of living consciously, intentionally, and with passion. All things in your life don’t have to be at their absolute least….. they just have to be brought in with conscous thought and holding high value to you and you alone.

    Life with toddlers means you have to have just-in-case stuff. You said you wanted your kids to have a room full of toys they like…. well… that’s the very point. If they don’t like them get rid of them… and ultimately having many different things helps kids learn what they like.
    All of that does not mean you’re not a minimalist. It means your minimal for right now may be more than some… and permanently may be more than some if that’s what brings you joy and comfort.

  3. I love everything about this post! I too am having “thoughts after minimalism” – let’s just say I know now that minimalism is not all sunshine and roses and it’s not without complications (especially with kids and on lower incomes). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. June, thanks for stopping by and taking your time to comment 🙂 I think there is no way in life that’s “all sunshine and roses” but simple living have done good things for me, it taught me a lot about the world, society and myself.

  4. I love this! I keep thinking there needs to be another word for “just enough of what you need and love,” because the word “minimalism” is associated with the extreme, and now a whole spectrum of people living more intentionally. You are so honest about your reflections in a space that can be very dogmatic and judgemental, so thank you for that bravery. Now, if only we could coin a new phrase for “balanced minimalism with joy and convenience…” 🙂

    1. Zara, firstly, thanks for the kind comment! Yes, there is the discussion about the words (essentialism, optimalism, intentional simplicity), but I suppose it will never end 😀 so I don’t care. Some people waste time on discussing words, I spend time on discovering new ways to make life simpler. I write “minimalism” and people have an idea of what they’ll find here. And everyone can have his/her own minimalism.

  5. Thank you for this post about your personal experiences. I think you nailed the key insight in the comments: “Balance is what we should set up in our lives as the key to happiness. Extremes don’t work.”

  6. I am doing my version of minimalism and i love it. I love the freedom of not letting stuff weigh me down. Although, I do still have a lot of stuff ( We have 2 kids, they come with a lot of stuff no matter how hard you try!) haha. But now I make sure that everything in our home serves a meaningful purpose. I think you would like “hygge”. It has a few different definitions but the one I like best is: “The Danish practice of creating warmth, connection and well being. A complete absence of anything frustrating or emotionally overwhelming: taking pleasure from the presence of gentle soothing things, celebrating the everyday.”
    you should look into it! I strive to balance my minimalism with a dose of hygge. For me the point of minimalism is to take away all the cheap meaningless noise and clutter that fills our lives and focus on the things that make us happy whatever that may be.

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