When Can I Consider Myself a Minimalist?

Recently, I’ve been wondering: when will I know that I can consider myself a minimalist? I just moved into my new apartment and during that process I have cleaned out my clutter once again. Now I think I’m aware of almost every single item I own, but can I call myself a minimalist?

My journey has been rather complicated over these past 4 years. Since I started college, I began to accumulate so much junk in my first year that it overwhelmed my life and especially my mind. It got to the point where I couldn’t study in my room for the lack of space to think. Every year since my freshman year has been a process of cleaning out junk and replacing it with more junk, until this past year. Prior to this year, I would have consider myself a shopaholic who dealt with emotions by purchasing objects. Now I feel like every purchase I make is well thought out and 1/4 of the amount I used to purchase. I do have to give credit to my partner for still helping me with my shopping habits. Then, during my time off from college, I started decluttering my apartment and loved the high of getting rid of junk. When I stumbled upon articles & Youtube channels on living minimally, I finally had a language to put onto what I wanted to continue to do.

Since my discovery of minimalism as a lifestyle, I have been decluttering more and more. In this past year I have moved multiple times since returning to campus and now I may have hit a plateau in momentum as I run low on items to declutter. Currently, my partner and I are going digital with all our receipts & important documents (that we don’t need physical copies for) in order to reduce the amount of papers we own. Also, I finally set a schedule for the last few books we have left to read before the end of the summer so that we can donate them before our academic year begins. With every move, I have become aware of the distinction between things I need to donate/sell and things I need to use/use up. So as I work on using up products, I consider reading my last few books or finishing up craft supplies as using up products, I can’t help but wonder if I am a minimalist yet.

After some reflection, I realize that I might not be one yet because it all boils down to what’s left to do. If you have completely decluttered your home, try sitting down in the middle of all it and ask yourself: what’s left to do? If it’s a list of things to do like using up something to just get rid of it or cleaning out the garage for the last few random items to donate, you may not be living a completely minimal lifestyle yet. Declutttering and clearing out items is getting in the way of other work/personal/school responsibilites. The idea of living minimally is to make your life function more smoothly and without the stress of owning the unnecessary so that you can focus on your personal relationships & work/school. The right answer should be that you need to focus on your life responsibilities and it should feel like nothing’s left to do in respect to decluttering. I imagine it’s some form of relief and pride right when you’re done, then that feeling turns to calm as minimalism becomes the norm. Now I know that after you start living minimally, you will re-evaluate what you need with every new chapter in your life, but those re-evaluations should be quick if you’ve decluttered properly. So with this is mind, I will soon enough be able to call myself a minimalist. Until then, I’ll keep on decluttering and always re-evaluating what I own with every new move or new season.

Feel free to share your minimalist journeys or tips in the comments.


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