Real Life Minimalists: Karen

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words (click here for details).

This week, Karen writes from the Philippines. She’s applying a minimalist philosophy not only to her possessions, but also to her relationships and career. Check out her blog to learn more.

Karen writes:


Hello guys! I’m Karen, 23 years old and I live in the Philippines with my family! I am a minimalist before I knew what it is called. From time to time, I’ve been de-cluttering my collection of letters and journal books. I also see to it that my closet is not always full.

But then again, I’m just like any other girl who runs in the mall and ends up buying something I don’t really need. Unlike my mother and sister, I can’t stay the whole day at boutiques. And though I’m not the typical shopaholic, it doesn’t stop me from acquiring clutters in my life.

It was last February when my friend, Miss Gorgeous Green introduced me to Miss Francine Jay’s blog (right here!). I’ve read everything from the beginning and I felt the strong urge in me to live it up!

The emotional part of my minimalist journey is to realize the worth of people in my life. I began to weigh every relationship I’m keeping with my friends. Then I realized I have been spending so much effort and time with too many one-way relationships that I tend to lose valuable times I should have spent with the ones I care the most and loves me back. So I started spending time for my closest friends and tried to forget those who don’t need me as much. I’m a sucker of guilty feelings! I hate leaving any individual out of my life. But then the idea of keeping away from them has opened new doors of friendship that are worth to keep!

The best part is the personal life perspective breakthrough. I’m just a high school graduate who has so many dreams in life. I must admit that some of them are just vain dreams resulted from people expectations and envying. Through the years, I lived in fear of taking up any course that I wouldn’t love and end up giving up.
With the minimalism philosophy, I was able to focus on what I really want. I am now working online with the only thing that I really love doing: writing. Since I didn’t take up any college degree, I wish to earn and save to fund my studies in college. I know I’ve wasted enough years but it’s not too late to start dreaming big for my future!

In living as a minimalist, I aspire to inspire more youth out there who are lost in these fast paced generation…

My blog address is: – I talk about my life as a minimalist, dreamer and ways I do to achieve my dreams – my hope is to inspire more young adults like me!

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

34 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Karen

  • Hi Karen, thank you for your thoughtful, honest post. I love the way you have applied the principles of minimalism to all areas of your life. I especially enjoyed hearing about how you are investing yourself in your most important, valued relationships. And all the best with your writing!

  • Mrs Brady Old Lady


    Very inspiring, best of luck to you!

  • Wish you the best of luck! You are at an age where it is very easy to acquire lots of things, so learning and living this at your age will help to make your life more focused and spend time doing the things you really want to do.

  • Elizabeth

    Karen, I think you have really incorporated minimalism to your whole life by taking an inventory of everything: mind, body, spirit, relationships, your future, materialism. I love this aspect of what you have written. Best of luck to you in all you endeavor.

  • This is a lovely story. I totally relate to the idea of focusing on those who appreciate our friendship. It is something I am working on too. I feel that in my surroundings at home I’m at a good place with minimalism. Currently, it’s the emotional side of letting go of those people in your life who are negative. While I can physically let go of them, I am yet to master the art of letting go of the hurt their actions cause. Project 2012! Karen, I wish you all the best with your writing.

  • tammy

    you already have a head start with your dreams!
    you have courage and simplicity on your side and you are a very mature and caring young woman. you apparently have learned the important things in life are not “things” at all… and that is rare in this world for your age group! congratulations and best of luck to you karen!

    • Tammy, you are sooo sweet! I’m very much flattered with everything you said. It’s not that easy. Like what you said, it’s rare for my age. But this is where the challenge lies and I love being challenged. Thank you!


    I love your story and the fact that you have started this minimalist journey at such a young age! keep the good work! I hope you inspire other people your age to focus their energy on positive and healthy relationships instead of shopping and waisting time in activities dictated by our society.
    Good luck with your passion of writing! you’re on the right path. Lovely story!

  • Karen,

    Yay, good to see you on here! I love your perspective, you are such a beautiful lady. Hope you are having a great week :)

  • I can completely relate to your perspective on friendships that aren’t based on equal affection… it’s definitely something I have been working on lately.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one. It really feels great to know that there are other people out there who are beginning to learn the importance of purging friends in order to appreciate the valuable ones. Best wishes to both of us, Elizabeth :)

  • I absolutely love Karen and her blog is amazing!

    I’m glad that I’m not the only young person who has decided to try and reject the consumerist lifestyle that seems to be engrained in our generation.

    Don’t worry about the slip-ups, Karen… we all have them from time to time :) Keep up the great work!

    • Way to go, Tim!!! We can do this :) Thank you for the encouragement. There are difficult times indeed. But knowing that life is so much better when we stay away from consumerism is enough to keep us motivated.

  • Juju

    Hi Karen. It’s nice to know someone from Asia practiced minimmalist living. I believe minimalism will spread throughout the world. In my country (almost) nobody aware how acquiring lots of things can make life complicated. People go to The Mall nearly everyday, buying stuff just to fill te void. They are carelessly throwing away their money and adding more clutter to their lives and minds. It is a never ending destruvtive cycle.

    • What country are you from, Juju? I can totally understand you. Sometimes,people in my country complain too much about poverty. But the truth is they only make their lives complicated by consuming every single thing that they thought they need. It’s really sad…

  • Mel

    Holy cow! A fellow minimalist from the Philippines! :D This brightened my day. I love writing, too! Good luck with everything. It’s great to know we’re not alone, y’know? :)

    • Oh my carabao! Lol. You made my day, Mel!!! If most Filipinos are minimalists, I reckon there’ll be less poverty complaints ;)

      • Mel

        Oh my gulay! :)) Yeah, I feel like minimalism could help our country out too. So many issues that make me feel so sad :( I’ll try to follow your blog! :D Now if only I could do that via WordPress, if not, RSS!

  • Maria-Lou

    I’m glad I fell upon this blog! Great blog, Karen! Keep writing and keep following your dreams :)

  • John

    Hi Karen,

    Is there a community of minimalists here in the Phil?

  • Tina

    This was interesting. The idea of getting rid of people in our lives who contribute nothing. Over many years, some friendships have ended because we have nothing in common. Your life is what you make it.

  • Tina

    Some of us must feel we are walking the runway at all times and dressing for an audience. I choose 1 accessory each day that someone will comment about. I have a very small wardrobe and never cared about clothes. I have 4 pairs of pants, 6 decent tops, 5 T shirts and some sweaters and sweatshirts. Because we truly get 4 seasons in Chicago, I also have jackets, gloves and warm hats and scarves. There are days when I feel lucky I don’t have to go out. I don’t own shorts or sleeveless tops. Most of my clothes are black or navy blue.

  • Tina

    I tell my husband I am young at 65. He tells me I am old. SInce my mother is still alive I am young. I try to avoid people who trouble me and tell my friends to do the same. I watched the Hoarders on TV and found more art supplies to give away. I have enough for several years. I spent some time clipping old growth off my plants and putting some on my balcony so they will get more sun.

  • Please join Minimalista Facebook group and let’s help every Filipino to live a minimalist lifestyle.

  • I just gave away a big pile of magazines and books. The other day, I gave away a tote bag full of coupon inserts, gardening articles, seed packets, and plant cuttings. I am filling another bag for the Y summer camp. I filled 2 more bags with books to give away to a friend. It takes vigilance to keep my home clear.

  • Tina

    I never thought it would happen but DH, who is no minimalist, is getting rid of a huge telescope. He has others, but they are smaller. He said our 5×5 storage space looked empty. We live in a condo and that is our attic/ garage. The rest of our items are small.

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