Minimalist Teen's Guide to Minimalism

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16 Minimalism Tips

For if you ever need your minimalistic tendencies to be supported or reinvigorated! My favorite is the tip that minimalists CAN be fashionable :)

For Your Mindset

1. Minimalism doesn’t beget happiness.

Once you’ve finished following the 9 steps into minimalism, that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to be happy for the rest of your life. Like your stuff, minimalism isn’t the source of happiness. It is simply a tool to clear up time to focus on what’s important. Minimalism should not be your end goal.

2. There is a big difference between needs and wants.

Needs can include food, water, clothing, shelter, sanitation, education, healthcare. Do you need that shiny new tech gadget, that flashy new car or that trendy new sweater? Probably not, as much as you want to. “The truth is you already have everything you need. Look around—you’ll never need more than this.” ーJoshua Fields Millburn.

3. There’s no right way of being a minimalist.

Recognize that minimalism is expressed in a wide spectrum of ways! Everyone has a unique flavor of minimalism, but the important takeaway is that minimalism helps people clear up their life to live happier, healthier and more deliberately.

4. Your true priorities are what you spend your time on.

Time is a finite resource; everyone only gets 24 hours every day. What do you spend your time on? How you spend your time speaks volumes more about what’s important to you than the things you may claim are priorities.

5. The things your find value in will change.

You’ve finished following the 9 steps, and you’re ready to be a minimalist. But your journey isn’t over! What you get value from and what you prioritize constantly changes (for example, that backpack you loved for high school may no longer have a place in your life once you’ve graduated). Change in life is good, however, it will require you to repeatedly evaluate your items if you want to ensure that they're still adding value to your current state. You’ve finished following the 9 steps, but in a month or so, consider going through them again. And again. And again.

For Minimizing

6. Donating is a win-win.

By giving your items to someone who would get more value from them, you’ll a) make the most of an item AND b) feel satisfaction from adding value to others’ lives. Stop holding onto items you’re not using and let them have a new home! One man’s trash CAN be another man’s treasure because everyone finds value in different things.
Not sure where to donate? I recommend checking out , , and . Also, consider giving stuff away to friends :)

7. Selling items requires time and stress.

Since the selling process can be time-consuming, consider donating your items, rather than selling them. The time you save and the relief you’ll felt from getting rid of your boxes of stuff may far outweigh the couple of dollars you could get from a consignment store payout or an online listing.

8. Decide on a sell-by date.

Holding onto items you hope to sell will delay your journey into minimalism AND your freedom to live your life in the manner you want to. So avoid waiting days, weeks, or some other open-ended timeframe to sell your stuff! Instead, define a sell-by date (e.g. one week from today). Once that day arrives, trash or donate all of the items you haven’t sold by then.
Don’t want to end up trashing/donating the nicer items you can potentially get money from? Having a sell-by date can motivate you to finally list your items online or book a selling appointment at your local thrift store.

9. Focus on quality, not quantity.

If you’re having trouble deciding between similar items––which should you keep? which should you donate? should you keep both?––remember that if you invest in high-quality items, you’ll need fewer of them. This applies to your closet (a well-made sweater can easily outlast five fast-fashion pieces), your kitchen (one nice cast-iron skillet can do the job of five frying pans), your relationships (investing in one meaningful friendship can be more fulfilling than trying to please five surface-level relationships), and your shopping.

10. Minimalists CAN be fashionable.

Minimalism and fashion aren’t mutually exclusive; you can be a minimalist AND be the most fashionable person you know. While media portrays many minimalists as single men in their early thirties who wear a uniform of jeans and a black tee every day, no rule says you must follow that lifestyle to be a minimalist. At the end of the day, minimalism is a lifestyle in which everything you own adds value to your life. So if fashion is your passion, you can have a large closet with beautiful pieces AND still be a minimalist! ( is a great example of a fashionable woman with minimalistic values.)

11. Your spending reflects your values.

Do you want to support that fast-fashion company that outsources labor to sweatshops, or do you want to support that locally-owned boutique that has handcrafted pieces from an organization that pays its workers a fair wage? When shopping, consider purchasing items that are made sustainably. Since quality items will last longer, you won’t have to replace them as often, allowing you to accommodate for the higher price tag that comes with ethical consumerism.
If you’re not sure how/where to shop sustainably, check out , a website that ranks how ethical and sustainable fashion brands are based on their environmental impact, labor conditions and animal welfare. There are many other great online resources including !

For Following Through

12. Avoid re-evaluating your decision to get rid of an item.

If you’re constantly changing your mind about getting rid of items after taking them out of their boxes (i.e. you only remember––and want to keep––items after seeing them again), consider keeping your boxes of stuff sealed and donating them unopened.

13. There are always reasons to say “yes” and reasons to say “no”.

There are always reasons to say “yes” and reasons to say “no”. This applies to everything in life, and very much to your decision to keep an item. If you re-evaluate your decision to get rid of an item, you can easily rationalize keeping an item instead of getting rid of it.

14. Don’t keep items “just in case”.

You may think, Even though I don’t wear this, maybe one day I’ll have an occasion to. I should keep it just in case. Chances are, the situation that would warrant that item just in case won’t occur. And in the meantime, the item you keep will be physically taking up space in your home and subconsciously taking up mental space in your mind.

15. Most things can be easily replaced.

In my experience post-purge, there have been few––if any––items that I remember and regret giving up... and my regret was short-lived since the item was easily replaced. Yet another reason why you shouldn’t keep items “just in case”.

16. Accountability is key to lasting change.

If you feel like minimalism is the right path but you’re feeling challenged to part with your stuff, consider building more accountability––tell more of your friends, commit to donating X amount of items every day, set and follow concrete deadlines, allocate your time based on your true priorities. Accountability is a great way to motivate yourself to stick to your commitments.
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