This is something that is so fun for me to talk about! I am by no means a minimalist. I still have so much more stuff than I actually have a need for - BUT I love minimalism. It's so much more than an aesthetic (of which, I am obsessed with aesthetic), but also a lifestyle that is much more ethical.
I started out really diving into the topic of minimalism in the summer of 2017. I was doing a two month mission trip abroad in Montenegro, and got to experience a new kind of poverty. I got to spend a lot of my time with people who were refugees, and yet had so much joy despite their circumstances.
I also had a good amount of down time, and I watched the documentary Minimalism.
It was insane to me how far people were going to only keep what they absolutely needed to survive. Not because they had to, but because they had fallen in love with a lifestyle that was not rooted in possessions.
At the end of my time in Montenegro, I left a lot of my clothes there. I had packed two carry-on suitcases for the summer, and still hadn't used half the stuff I had brought with me.
I got home and purged my closet. Not "oh here's a few ripped things I've had since I was in middle school and I guess don't fit me anymore." But the type of purging where my mom was concerned I was going to be left without any clothes.
I decided to get rid of anything I either hadn't worn in the last few months, or I couldn't remember wearing from the previous season. There were so many things that I hadn't worn in easily 6-7 months!
I got rid of makeup samples, old books, canvases, shoes. It felt so good.
But now what? That isn't going to keep me from going out and buying everything all over again. I decided to create a list of things that I really needed to buy for the next year. Things like a winter jacket, white t-shirt, black socks.
I kept everything on my list basic and neutral.
I also decided that I was going to start looking into fast fashion vs slow fashion. It was so much more expensive to by from small shops that were all handmade items in the USA. Although I want to get there one day, I knew that I couldn't be perfect and make this change overnight as a broke college student. But I did make a commitment to myself to stop buying from stores like Nike, Gap, H&M, and Forever 21 because they have such obvious ethical and fast fashion issues. I tried to shop at local and small stores when I could.
When things are high quality and more expensive, it really helps you decide whether or not you really need that item.
In the fall, I moved into my house with one suitcase and two carry-ons. Again, still not perfect, but a huge improvement!
I wanted my space to be calming and neutral. Everything in my closet is a basic color, I don't have any loud or busy patterns. I kept my room filled with plants and essential oils, and I tried to keep the surfaces clear of stuff. I wanted everything in my room to have a place.
This was one of the BEST lifestyle shifts I ever made. I loved being in my room. I loved the calmness that having white bedding gave me. I loved having life all around me with plants. It was so much easier to keep things organized, and I could pick out my outfits so much easier because I knew what every piece in my closet was. I felt so good about where I was buying the majority of my stuff from.
Again, I just want to reiterate - I am so far from a real minimalist or from buying everything ethically. But it has been so incredible to see a shift in my anxiety and the presence in my room once I began to clean out all of the junk that I didn't actually use on a daily basis.
I didn't need six face masks and three cheap back tank tops. Rather I could have one high quality face mask and one high quality black tank top that I knew I would use constantly, would last me a long time and were good for human and environmental ethical standards.
Looking for a place to start shopping more ethically or find more resources on minimalist?
Check out these shops and resources! (** - I have personally bought from them).