Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
This week, we hear from 16-year-old Sarah. How wonderful that she’s embracing minimalism so early in life (don’t we all wish we’d done the same)! Be sure to check out her blog.
I’ve always been a compulsive organizer, but I didn’t hear about Minimalism until two years ago. I ended up on Zen Habits one day by accident, and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop reading! The idea of having less stuff was extremely appealing. Being the over-researcher (I prefer the term “ninja googler”) that I am, I started reading every blog on minimalism and simplicity I could find.
It didn’t take long before I was sold. I had no clue where to start though. So much stuff. What do I get rid of first and how do I figure out what to keep? I thought about it and decided to make a list of everything. I’ve never been a packrat (although I live with six, bless their hearts!), but the number was still high enough to inspire a serious tossing session. I gave away about 2/3 of my personal things. While I won’t say it was easy, it was definitely worth it!
Afterwards, I moved on to my digital clutter. Deleting, unsubscribing, and uninstalling everything I didn’t need. I kept what meant the most to me, but I still found it hard to delete old emails and pictures. I guess parting is rarely easy. It always makes me happier in the long run though. So I continued to simplify a little each day. Taking it one thing at a time.
Then someone suggested I start a blog. Partly because there are very few minimalist teen bloggers, but also to keep track of my simplification/decluttering progress. So I did, and haven’t regretted it once! Besides helping me improve my writing, it has also given me a new way to meet people. I don’t have hundreds of subscribers, but that doesn’t matter. The main thing is encouraging other teens (and adults) to live a simpler life. I’m perfectly happy with 5 readers if they are helped by anything I write.
Later that year, I realized something. Although I had gotten rid of most of my personal stuff, I still had a lot of clothes. I had been putting it off because it seemed more intimidating. After all, what’s a girl without her clothes? I was missing the point though. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean getting rid of what you love, it’s just the opposite. Once I realized that, I went through my clothes and donated 29 of my 50 pieces. Very freeing! I expected to feel like half a person or something. Which wasn’t the case at all. Silly me, huh? Live and learn!
This has all been taking place over the last year, and I’ve never been happier! Before becoming a minimalist, I had no idea how much my stuff weighed me down. I feel so much lighter now, and have more time to do what I love. I’ve found it tough to resist buying some of the latest things (especially when they are broadcasted on nearly every site on the internet!), but I like to remind myself of this quote:
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” -Socrates
It helps me realize that having what other people have doesn’t make you happier. True happiness is found in contentment, and you can’t buy that anywhere.