Reasons to Become Minimalist (from ADL 8th Graders)

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the 8th grade class at ADL Middle School as part of their “Saving Planet Earth as Kids Unite Proactively” Day Celebration (SPEAK UP). I was excited to see the organizers recognize the minimalist lifestyle as an important piece of the conversation.

At the end of the seminar, I asked each 8th grader to write a mini-blogpost consisting of 2-3 sentences that attempts to convince/inspire others to live with less.

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the highlights:

“Dear _____, You should own less things because you will have more free time. Instead of paying bills, you can spend time with your family.” – Tayler S.

“Dear _____, If you had less stuff you wouldn’t have to clean so much and stress would be down. The basement and garage would be clean too. Also, your closets and downstairs/basement would be clean.” – Alex W.

“Dear _____, Have you ever wished that you could take a break from the stress of daily life? Maybe you were cleaning out the closet or paying off the credit card debt? Maybe you were sitting in traffic on your way home from a job that you don’t really like. But there’s a way to avoid the clutter and unfulfilled feeling of this lifestyle: become a minimalist. Studies have shown that people who own less stuff are happier than those who own more, and it’s great for the environment. Think about it really? What do you want most from life?” – Evelyn B.

“Dear _____, Please let us have a good planet.” – Hannah G.

“Dear _____, You should live with less stuff because you’ll have more money, you can go on more vacations. Also, you have more free time to do what you want. There is less stress because you have less things to pay for.” – Brad M.

“Dear _____, You should consider living with less stuff because the planet is slowly slipping away into basically a garbage can, and I am not looking forward to living in a garbage can when I’m older. So maybe becoming a minimalist can help with that. You will be happy, I will be happy, everyone will be happy.” – Laura C.

Dear ____, Even though it may seem like being happpy is having more stuff. But really it’s not. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather feel really amazing knowing that you’re doing all you can to save your money and the planet too?” – Ashley C.

“Dear _____, You should buy less stuff because everything you buy seems to have payments on it.” – Jake G.

“Dear _____, Does your work suck? Would you rather be playing with your kids or grandkids? How ’bout this? Try every weekend getting rid of 10-20 things or maybe more. It’s called minimalism. Living with less means more money and time. So you can quit that job that you hate and maybe add more hours to your day.” – Giselle G.

“Dear _____, You have heard that you need the newest things and the best things. But it’s not always the best. For example, you could live on only the stuff you need. You could be happy, spend more time with your family, and not spend as much money.” – Chad H.

“Dear _____, If you owned less stuff, you wouldn’t need as much money so your expectations would be lower and smaller things would make you happier. Also, my dad is pretty much always stressed so if he worked less, thus made less money but still had enough, he would be more relaxed. Also, my mom is always cleaning and our house is pretty messy, so if we had less stuff, she would be free to do other things. You would also have more time to travel and by buying less, you would have more money. Having less could also help you sympathize with people in poverty and desitiution, so maybe you would be compelled to help them.” – Name withheld

It looks to me like the idea of minimalism is starting to make sense to them, don’t you think? And on a related note, I am apparently available for school assemblies.


Becoming Minimalist is committed to inspiring others to enjoy more life by owning less possessions. It is a completely revolutionary way of thinking that is changing people’s lives all over the world. We’d love to see you give the movement a chance in your own life by receiving updates via E-mail or RSS.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Lori says

    This is fantastic–thank you for sharing. So incredibly hopeful to think that the next generation will get it right and truly understand what “life” is all about!

  2. says

    Is it a bad sign that these 8th graders figured out what took me 30 years? Ha! Great insight and good to see the younger generation with such thoughtful responses.

  3. says

    Yeah! Kids seem to grasp the truth of things easily and naturally.
    I’m so happy that I get to raise my kid into a minimalist, simple lifestyle from the start.

  4. AprilB says

    My favorite: “You should buy less stuff because everything you buy seems to have payments on it.”

    Doesn’t that just cut right to the heart of the matter? Because often the “payments” come from more than just our bank accounts . . . .

  5. says

    Wow Joshua. This is fantastic! You must have really gotten through to these kids. Look at all the amazing insights they walked away with after you spoke to them. Just think what would happen if your talks could be held in every eighth grade classroom.

    And I’m with Bernice – Evelyn B. sounds like she could write one heck of a guest post for Becoming Minimalist!

  6. Patricia says

    I may be a bit cynical here but you asked them at the end of the seminar after they had heard what you had to say about it.
    I’m just wondering what their bedrooms look like and what they all have written on their Christmas wishlists :-\

    • says

      I told the students at the very beginning that I had a pretty tough job. I said, “I have 40 minutes to try and undo the message of the 13-14 million advertisements that you have seen in your life. And my hope is to open your mind to the idea that maybe they were all wrong. That maybe, just maybe, there is actually more joy in owning less than in owning more.”

      The purpose of the exercise was not to see if they had all decided to become minimalist. The purpose was to see if they could rationally communicate a reason why owning less may indeed be a better way to approach life. Whether it affects their Christmas list in 6 months or not, for at least this brief moment in time, they understood the point of living with less.

  7. Annabelle says

    Wowsa! These kids totally ‘get it’!!! This is beautiful. Maybe this is just my perspective, but their comments are also kinda sad, because underneath all of this, some of the kids just really want the simpliest thing of all, time with their parents (who aren’t stressed out!!!).

  8. says

    They get it, cannot believe that they actually gat it!!! Some of the responces open windows into outher areas of there lives, all they want is more time with or more support from there family.

    It would be interesting if you could ask the same group the same question in a yars time to see how meny actually retained the point of view.

  9. says

    Incredible responses. So interesting to see how these kids view their parents lives: jobs they hate, things they can’t afford and an inability to put “stuff” aside to spend time with their children. It will be interesting to see if this generation chooses to live differently. Definitely some good signs in these notes!

  10. says

    Loved this!! Will you please come to Nebraska and have a one on one session with my 11 year old daughter? Let’s just say her artist mind sees beauty in EVERYTHING and therefore wants to collect everything!! It’s killin’ this wanna-be minimalist mom:)

  11. Karen T. says

    Wow! This is a wonderful post, but as several people have noted it’s a little sad too. These kids understand that time with loved ones is way more valuable than more stuff. They understand what a waste it is to work at a job you hate in order to pay more and more bills. They see that more stuff means more stress and less happiness. You have to think that they are living without enough time, attention, and joy and way too much pressure and junk.

    Joshua, obviously you have a gift for communicating these important ideas to kids — you really connected with some deep feelings. I hope you’re going to be doing a lot more school assemblies!

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