The beginning of my journey with minimalism

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Because of my Deep Declutter, I ended up reading my handwritten journals as I scanned them in to digitize them. I surprised myself. I originally thought I became interested in minimalism when I moved from California to Pennsylvania in 2013 and pared down my belongings to make it an inexpensive and easy relocation.

But apparently, way back in 2005, I desired a minimalist lifestyle. I didn't quite know how to express it, though. I thought it was linked to my depression, and I felt out of place because of it.

The Desire to be a Minimalist Surfaced in 2005

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I wish my life was so simple so that all I had to do was work a simple, non-big corporation job and take care of a small apartment and just live paycheck to paycheck and find pleasure in the little things. My material possessions are only attempts to cover up what's really inside.

I knew back then that I shopped compulsively in order to fill some sort of void. Whether that void was depression, trying to find myself in my early 20's, or something else, I'm not sure.

Minimalism Felt Strange

The desire to be a minimalist back then felt strange. In 2005, the desire to have almost nothing and live a simple life made me feel like I was on the fringes of society.

I knew back then that I wanted to give up on the socially-acceptable path and just live small.

But I felt weird because of it.

The Desire to be a Minimalist Felt Like a Death Wish

In October 2005, I wrote this:

Oh yeah I also feel the desire to cleanse myself of some possessions as if I were nearing death. I also frequently think about what I'd take with me if I was leaving for somewhere. Right now I'd take Nestle and my iPod.


(Nestle is my stuffed dog. I have abandonment issues.)

In 2005, I was 21 and I had the desire to leave everything behind and just own what really mattered to me. My stuffed dog and my music. (By the way, if you're a young Millennial, an iPod is what your iPhone does, but it just played music, that's it. It was super cool back then, I promise.)

I wanted to get rid of everything, as if preparing for my own death. I almost felt suicidal. I didn't know how else to explain my wish to live with next to nothing.

As a Budding Minimalist, I Felt Alone

I didn't know how to explain my thoughts and feelings. I wrote in my journal that I thought it'd be best if I just suppressed my longings to live a simple life.

I'm feeling like maybe I'm not actually depressed but maybe I just have certain views and beliefs about how life should be—simple and happy— and the rest of the world disagrees with that so I am forever doomed to feeling weird because it's just who I am. But does that really make sense? Then the only way to fix that would be to change my views on everything.

You are Definitely Not Alone Now

Minimalism is way more mainstream than it used to be. I hope that no one with minimalistic ideals feels lonely now. While I know it can be difficult to explain the minimalist lifestyle or mindset to others, you should definitely know that you're not alone. I hope this blog and others help you feel understood.

I'm so glad I took the time to do read my old journals during my Deep Declutter. While not all of it was pleasant to re-live, re-discovering where I was mentally in 2005 in terms of minimalism was worth it.

Do you remember when you first had the hankering to be a minimalist?

Cover photo by Aaron Burden