After practicing minimalism and decluttering your home, does there come a point where minimalism ends and you go back to normal?

Does Minimalism Come to an End? How to know when it’s time to quit.

A few years ago, I had started really liking the content of a minimalist on YouTube named Lefie. She was what some would call an extreme minimalist. There were very few possessions in her home. It was mostly the basics like a bed, fork, plate. Nothing fancy…at all! I never really watch YouTube videos, but I would scroll through and watch bits and pieces of hers, until one day she posted a new type of minimalist video. It was a video all about quitting minimalism. Not only was this sure-fire click bait, but it opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking about minimalism — that it just might need to come to an end at some point.

Why do people start minimalism?

I took a poll once in a minimalist Facebook group that I am a part of just to see what causes some people to lean more toward a minimalist lifestyle. My personal minimalist journey had a lot to do with the loss of family members in my life. Because my reaction was so extreme, I couldn’t help but wonder if everyone’s minimalist journey was aligned with some sort of trauma. Here’s what I found out.

Traumas that cause people to practice minimalism:

  • Loss of a loved one / parent
  • Natural Disasters
  • Toxic relationships
  • Depression and anxiety

There were of course people who just realized they had too much stuff and chose to change their lifestyle. Nothing extreme took place that lead to their minimalist journey. I couldn’t help but realize, however, that for a lot of people, the realization that stuff wasn’t important came to them through a big epiphany that took place during a tragic or difficult time in their lives.

For me, my minimalist journey felt like a variety of small pin pricks that made me realize I was living out of alignment and was leaning too heavily on stuff. By pausing my consumerism habits and detaching from my need for things, I created the space to find myself, heal from my past, and focus more on the life I wanted to build.

After practicing minimalism and decluttering your home, does there come a point where minimalism ends and you go back to normal?

Can minimalism go too far?

Like most things in life, minimalism looks different for everyone who practices it. Some people choose to simply be mindful of how many toys their kids have, others refuse to own more than the bare minimum (think mattress on a floor).

There is no right or wrong way to practice minimalism, although some now believe it may be a new form of a mental illness. On the flip side, living in a clutter free home has been shown to have major mental health benefits. No matter what side you agree with more, it’s safe to say that there comes a point where people can potentially cross the minimalism line into harmful/obsessive territory.

During my minimalist journey, struggling with the idea that there was a right way to do minimalism, or that I needed to live up to some unspoken standard for how much I should own was very damaging to me. For example, feeling shame around keeping books I had already read was a struggle I faced for some time. Basically, I caused myself unneeded mental distress that all centers around possessions — even though I was working to detach from possessions.

To put it simply, yes, minimalism can go too far.

How to know if you’re ready to quit minimalism

It’s true that early on, my minimalist journey required me to pivot my mindset around trying to keep up with other people’s minimalist standards. I’m proud to say that I have found myself living at a happy minimalist medium for the last 5 years or so. Creating a clutter free space has given me the freedom and flexibility to reevaluate my life, sort through what matters most to me, and learn more about who I am.

For example, before starting minimalism, our family rarely traveled and when we did it was usually to some all inclusive resort. Basically, my idea of taking a break was laying on a beach and drinking for a week. It started to seem more like I just wanted to escape life, rather than fully live it. Minimalism helped me change my idea of what I wanted vacation to look and feel like. After a while, we decided to pause the all inclusive vacations.

I think for a lot of people, after minimalism has given them the space to heal, they might feel that urge to have a little more stuff back in their life. After years of actively practicing minimalism and finding balance, I have been feeling an urge to fill my life (and home) back up again. But, the thing is, I don’t plan on doing it the same way I did before.

It doesn’t have to be maximalism or minimalism

There is this common misconception around minimalism and decluttering; that you either get to have all of the stuff, or you have to get rid of everything you love. The reality is most people who practice minimalism are able to find a happy medium between these two extremes.

You don’t have to be a maximalist who is drowning in clutter, but neither do you have to sleep on a mattress on the floor.

At its best minimalism allows people the space to start asking themselves what it is that they truly value the most. What are the things that continually make them happy? What sort of comfort do they want in their homes? Which things would they never buy again should they lose them to a natural disaster? Once you start to get answers to these questions, you are given the opportunity to be more intentional going forward.

After practicing minimalism and decluttering your home, does there come a point where minimalism ends and you go back to normal?

How to intentionally fill your life back up again

I am currently at a point in my life where I am ready to intentionally fill my life back up again. Over the last few months, our family has been lucky enough to spend time in a beautiful home on the shores of Lake Superior. The family this home belongs to spends most of their time traveling — and we get to help house/dog sit. #blessed

What I came to observe during my time in this house was that even though it was a more cluttered home it was truly filled with treasures. The walls were filled with art work, both professional and grandchild based. Even though the family made a handsome living, some of their furniture was purchased from IKEA. All it did was serve a purpose, nothing more.

There were no designer purses, but there was high-quality, expensive kayaks, paddle boards, and mountain bikes. Most importantly, all of their possessions they openly welcomed our family (and other families to use.) I loved this so much because if we are going to own things, why not be willing to share them? Own things, don’t let them own you.

You see, when we begin to be intentional about our life and our possessions, we can design a life that feels purposeful and we can own things that enhance us rather than hinder us.

Does minimalism end?

The ultimate conclusion I have come to is, yes, minimalism can end, but it doesn’t have to for everyone. If the purpose of living with less is to help us find ourselves, then who is to say how much we might want to own at the end of self discovery journey? Only we get to determine such a thing. Some may learn that they thrive in a nearly empty home while others may realize some possessions truly enrich who they are.

Even though one might actively decide to no longer practice minimalism, I can’t help that feel like most people look at it the same way I do. Active minimalism may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to haphazardly fill our homes back up with stuff. If and when minimalism comes to an end we can move forward intentionally, mindfully, and still with a budget in mind!

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After practicing minimalism and decluttering your home, does there come a point where minimalism ends and you go back to normal?

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4 Comments

  1. I think the importance of deciding whether or not to be a minimalist is detaching from the label “minimalist all together. When we label we judge-it just seems to go hand in hand. When I started off with my minimalist journey I loved it because it gave me freedom and objective. Yet over time it did feel like another reason to see how I wasn’t good enough if I wasn’t meeting up to other minimalist standards. So I took the label off and decided to go by how I feel not according to anyone else’s standards. And as I live my life this way – going by what makes ME feel good without hurting anyone I find I’m much more content and therefore can now live amongst my things with greater appreciation. Minimalism doesn’t need to end we just need to change our perspective and work with the benefits of living with less. Out of minimalism came essentialism and extreme or ultra minimalism. See it’s all labels. For me I’ve come to know myself well enough where I can feel the energy of my home and she’ll speak to me and say hey I’m feeling stuffy in here, kind of like when I overeat and my body can feel the difference. I go by that to gauge whether I let things come and l/or go. This way I can move about my life with greater flexibility, ease and flow.

    I love your articles btw just found you but the ads are intense. It really takes away from the depth and clarity of your words. Makes me want to find a blog that doesn’t have ads. :/

    1. Thank you for this perspective. And I agree. I’ve noticed a HUGE change in the ads lately as well. I’ll have to work on changing that.

  2. You gave me things to ponder, Renee. Thank you. I seem to be letting things go from my past, while bringing in things more suitable to my current self and life. I’m decluttering and donating the excess and purchase mistakes. It’s basically a “refresh,” and it feels healthy. I have at times felt unhealthy obsession creeping in, and I’ve learned to back off and focus on a different project, like genealogy, music, or labeling printed photos. My progress is like ocean tides. I try to go with them.

    1. That sounds absolutely amazing, JoAnn. I can completely relate to feeling the urge to back off. Glad we get to go on this journey together.

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