Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Chase Miller.
Everything I own fits in a suitcase, except my surfboards. I love country music and the freedom that comes from owning very few things. My name is Chase Miller and I am a minimalist teenager.
My journey of minimalism began 3 years ago at the beginning of summer. I had just finished school for the year and decided it was time to clean out and re access what I owned. I was sick of seeing my closet full of stuff I didn’t use and clothes I didn’t wear. I made a goal of selling or donating everything that I didn’t use or that wasn’t important to me.
The biggest motivation for me came from reading the various Minimalist blogs. The writers had something I wanted; being content and happy with what you have. You could tell through their articles that they were truly enjoying life with less; not because they had to, but because they wanted to.
It wasn’t that my room was packed full of stuff. In fact I was already the cleanest person in my family; but my way of looking at life changed. I didn’t want to be tied down by what I owned or always be focused on having the latest or greatest. There is something freeing about knowing you could easily pack up and move if needed; that you could travel the world and not worry about your possessions.
It took time to change my way of thinking and downsize what I own. I will be the first to admit that it did not happen overnight, but over time I started to realize how little I needed.
This was my action plan:
- Clean Sweep – I took everything out of my room and only put back things I used on a regular basis. Everything else got donated or sold on Craigslist.
- Simplified my Clothing – got rid of clothes with big logos because I didn’t want to be a walking advertisement. I then bought solid colored T-Shirts and basic jeans, which make up a large majority of my wardrobe.
- Daily Choice – Everyday I make a choice to focus on what I have, rather than what I want and in reality don’t need.
I think the biggest misconception about minimalism is that you essentially live with nothing; from your most treasured possessions to your clothes, everything goes. It’s the complete opposite, its merely being content with less. I am the only minimalist in my family. While they have been very supportive, they tend to hang on to stuff for longer. Personally I don’t mind as I realize minimalism is a personal choice and not for everyone.
Minimalism hasn’t affected my relationships with friends, as I don’t really talk about it. However, many people do notice and make comments about how clean my car is. My parents love the fact that I am a minimalist because they never have to ask me to clean my room or anything of that nature.
How I am different than the average teenager:
- I buy clothes without emblems or logos because I do not feel the need to be a walking advertisement
- Traveling is easier because I usually just bring a carry on with everything I need for the week
- I am not going to a high cost university even though I was accepted because I have decided against taking out student loans. Instead, I plan to take advantage of the great community colleges that are in the surrounding areas.
- I have more money to spend on important items or experiences because I am not constantly buying unneeded things.
Minimalism shapes your future by helping you focus on the right things in life. I think the biggest thing for me is spending time on things that are important; things like traveling, spending time with friends and capturing life through photography.
If you are a teenager considering becoming a minimalist, I would suggest giving it a shot as it will become much harder if you wait until you are an adult. And if you don’t like it, you can always refill your life with useless things.
Chase Miller is a High School student from Orange County, CA. He loves to surf, travel, tweet and catalog life through photography.