When I first heard about the minimalist lifestyle movement 5 or so years ago, I was taken aback by how some people in our country could, and would choose to, live with so few possessions. At the time, I was fourteen years old, a freshman in high school, and living between two homes. Since I was a child, my parents have allowed me a large amount of freedom with making my own decisions, including giving me an allowance for makimg my own purchases. On one hand, this gave me experience with managing my money, but on the other, allowed me to fall into the trap of rampant consumerism at a young age. I had access to my mother’s eBay and PayPal account, a subscription to Seventeen magazine, and was constantly placing orders and making lists of what to purchase next. Though most of the goods I would purchase were small and inexpensive, they would, nevertheless, add up to hundreds of dollars a month. In addition to the financial burden, the assortment of magazines, electronic accessories, and beauty supplies soon became stockpiles in both of my bedrooms.
As a result of both my growing awareness of minimalism and desire to lead a a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, I have been working to declutter and dematerialize over the past few years. Most recently, I have began the process of creating an inventory of all the possessions that I own. Though tedious and time-consuming, doing this has truly helped me to evaluate what is valuable, buy less, and use the stuff I have more by making me aware of what I own. In addition, doing this has given me peace of mind over my possessions— a passive way of controlling a part of my life in a chaotic world. Though I am still far from being a minimalist and enjoy material goods, I now own much less and am far better at acquiring unneeded possessions compared to just a year back.
Minimalism isn’t about depriving yourself. It’s about taking a step back, appreciating what you have, and making room for what’s important.