stephanie’s story

at becoming minimalist, we frequently share stories of everyday people who have decided to begin living a minimalist life.  they encourage us.  and probably encourage you.

recently, stephanie shared her story with us through our share your story page.

I am 17 years old, and have started to become a minimalist about a week ago. Yes, not very long. But my life has been transformed in many different ways.

It all started with a quote I found from one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy sh*t we don’t need.” I thought about this quote for a while. I realized how much of an avid consumer I was – constantly buying clothes and makeup, always eating out (not to mention unhealthy), and just giving in to the mentality that having more will make you happier.

After this thought, I began to read up about minimalism on the internet, and I was completely inspired. I have always been fascinated by this concept, and always wanted to try it, but I never had the integrity to do it. Right after browsing through blogs (like this one!) and other helpful sites, I sought after a new minimalist lifestyle.

I began to empty my closet of the countless clothing articles that I never wore and yet refused to part with before. I emptied out maybe 1/3 of my closet. I’ve still got a long way to go, but for me, this was a good first step. I started to eliminate the little clutter on my desk, and in my cabinets. I already feel a bit more free.

This start in minimalism has made me realize how different ‘simplicity’ and ‘minimalism’ are. I would always tell my friends and family that I wanted to live a simple life. I tried to do this by always keeping my room very simple and organized, as well as buying items that were versatile (plain black bag). But what I really needed was a lifestyle change, not just making things appear to look clean cut.

I am not a pack rat to begin with actually – I am one of the most organized people you will probably meet. But I consumed far more than I needed. Part of it is being a teenager is today’s society. I hate to admit it, but the media has a huge influence on me, as much as I wish it didn’t. It is a big reason why I bought so many CDs, magazines, books, etc.

I even work at a job I dislike. I would put in many hours just to splurge on a new dress, or buy fast food with my friends.

I am at the start of my life. I’m heading to university next year, and the real world soon enough. I’m very happy with my decision to become a minimalist, it is probably the best one I’ve made thus far. I want to go into my adult life as a minimalist. I want to travel, and have more time for my family and the things I love, such as creating art.

I realize that this probably won’t be easy. Especially for me, a teenage girl that loves to shop. The biggest challenge will be adjusting my eating and spending habits. But I am willing to do it, in hope of a more balanced and happy life.

I just want to live life the way I want, not the way that society has made me want to live.

All the blogs I’ve read so far have been incredibly inspiring, so I just wanted to say thank you.

stephanie, may you find incredible joy in living life the way you want…


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. says

    What a wonderfully inspiring story! I’m 19 and am slowly doing the same thigns – though i’m reducing my intake more than actually purging my current belongings at this point. I talk about things I’m learning on my simplicity blog and just love to hear that people my age are realising the hold that the media has on us.
    Well done to stephanie and I hope to be able to tell my own story here once it feels right.

  2. C says

    Stephanie, since you’re going to college, it’s likely you’ll end up living in a dorm. This is a great place to be a minimalist. You don’t need any cooking supplies, your desk and bed are furnished for you, and you don’t have the option of keeping stuff in the bathroom. Many places will even wash sheets for you. It’s very easy to get away with only having a laptop, your books and notes, some clothes, and toiletries.

  3. says

    I love these stories. And it makes my heart rejoice that I see more and more young folks that are getting this. Yes, advertising is more and more persuasive, but in the end, we all have the power to respond to a given stimulus (i.e. advertising) in the manner of our choosing.

    Congratulations, Stephanie, keep going, it’s a journey with no true destination.

    – Charley

  4. Christine says

    Stephanie, how wonderful that you are starting out your life this way! I am 27 and started really becoming a minimalist last year. I wish I had realized this when I was your age, heading off to college – I would have saved a ton of money!

    Good luck in all of your endeavors! And thank you for your inspiring story!

  5. paula says

    well done Stephanie – I wish I had worked this out at 17 – think of the money I would have saved! Goodluck, and remember every $ you don’t spend on ‘stuff’ you can save for something you really want

  6. says

    Wow, great story, Stephanie! I wish you all the best in your journey to minimalism… I’m only 23, and I really wish I had been more deeply into the simplicity/minimalism movement back then. Even those 5 years can make a huge difference.

    I will second C, too, and say that college is a great place to practice your minimalism.

  7. JJ says

    Great story. Another great Chuck Palahniuk quote is “The things you own, end up owning you.” That one has always stuck with me.

  8. Caroline says

    Beautifully written! I also love Chuck P (I started reading his work when I was 18, but it apparently did not have quite the same effect then) and had a very organized pile of crap as well – I wish I had ‘found’ minimalism when I was 17 instead of 27. All those years of accumulating that Stephanie will skip – so envious!

  9. Alix says

    Stephanie, congratulations on figuring out something at an early age that most of us don’t figure out til much, much later.

  10. Stephanie says

    Thank you so much to everyone for commenting. Your feedback has encouraged me to continue to strive for minimalism in all aspects. It’s certainly not something that all of my friends understand, but it’s comforting to know that there are people who believe that I can do it.

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