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6 Months of Being a Minimalist: Here’s What I’ve Learned

On August 31st, I decided that I would become a minimalist. I wrote an article here on Her Campus about how I kicked my excessive shopping habits to the curb and attempted a minimalist lifestyle. Prior to minimalism, I began to notice that I was adopting bad habits. I’d make unjustifiable purchases to compensate for how I was feeling. I’d buy multiples of different products just to have a variety on hand, and I always had online shopping sites on my laptop tabs. I began to feel less like a consumer and more like the stuff I owned consumed me.

When starting out as a minimalist, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know how long I’d last. Now that I’m nearly six months into the lifestyle, I’ve learned that it’s become more of a mindset than a practice. A mindset that I believe is helpful to anyone, minimalist or not! Here are some of the ways a minimalistic perspective has changed my outlook on life.

green ceramic mug on wooden desk
David Mao/Unsplash

Minimalism for Mental Clarity

Knowing that you have absolutely everything you need is the first step to minimalism, and I’d go as far as saying happiness. We live in a world that attaches fulfillment to having more. When in reality, there’s something quite calming about recognizing that the everyday items you have are enough. I’ve learned that true happiness and satisfaction has little correlation with items. Now, if I ever feel inadequate, I can deal with the issue head-on without displacing my feelings with a receipt. I feel much more at ease with this understanding. Working towards a clutter-free life brings me joy!

Intentionality is the Best Mentality

Establishing what you consider as your necessities is key. On a human level, we all need food and water. But on a personal level, I also need blush and lip gloss…

Regardless of those necessities, making purchases with intentionality is important. It forces you to really evaluate why you want or don’t want certain things in your life. Whether you decide to buy a new white t-shirt or not probably isn’t a big deal. But implementing the thought process of intentionality transcends minimalism. Asking yourself what you care most about owning and why are key questions that will follow you throughout your career, relationships and even goal-setting.

Intentionality is necessary to justify purpose. In my experience, it’s not only allowed me to be a critical spender but has made all my purchases worthwhile. I focus on saving my money and spending it towards appreciating assets. Materially speaking, I’m learning what I need most in my life and why. My hopes are that with time, I can take what I’ve learned through minimalism and answer these questions in my personal life as well.

clothes on rack
Photo by Duy Hoang from Unsplash

Limiting Waste and Helping the Environment

I’m going to be honest; this outcome wasn’t what drew me to minimalism to begin with. But in becoming a minimalist and prioritizing intentionality, I’ve learned that we must consider the environment when making purchases. I try to stay clear of single-use plastics and to only replace worn-out clothing or empty products. We can learn to value the earth by limiting waste and purchasing from ethical or sustainable brands. This step is a hard one to follow, but it’s so essential. It’s okay to take baby steps, as long as they’re still a step in the right direction.

Via Pixabay

Overall, the lessons I’ve learned through this mindset are not exclusive to minimalists. Obtaining mental clarity, limiting clutter, and prioritizing the environment are all fundamental ways to better ourselves. You don’t have to be a minimalist to recognize that there’s beauty in appreciating where you’re at and what you have. We all have different paths that help us find joy, and for me, learning that less is more has become one of them. I’ve given myself a purpose and am finding peace!

Emily Nicaso

Queen's U '24

My name is Emily Nicaso and I am a first-year student at Queen's University. I love the arts and am passionate about espresso and sitcoms.
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