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You Are a Minimalist

Image: Bryon Lippincott

So often when people write me they start with something like this:

“I’m not a minimalist but ….”

Somehow people think that minimalism is something to attain, something to strive for but hard to reach.  Like you can only consider yourself a minimalist if you can put everything you own in a backpack or one load of laundry.

I’ve got news for you

You probably already are a minimalist.  You can own the title if:

  • You are consciously making choices for a simpler life
  • Don’t want your life to be defined by your material possessions
  • Are working toward keeping what you need and love and reducing clutter

Most people who write me fit this description… lots of people fit this description.  There is no test to become a minimalist, no maximum count of possessions, no test to take.  There is no ‘minimalism guard’ that grants the title.  Minimalism is a movement away from a ‘more more’ society and toward a ‘what I really value’ society.  If you are questioning the societal norm and moving toward owning and living what you really value – you are a minimalist.

This is important!

It is really important to be able to call yourself a minimalist.  It is a head thing.  When you are ‘trying to be more minimalist‘ or ‘looking at minimalism‘ you aren’t in it, you don’t ‘own’ it, you don’t really let it change you.

How we define ourselves dictates our behavior more than we realize.  Your actions will originate from who you believe you are.


Most of the reason we don’t say things like:

  • ‘I’m a minimalist’
  • ‘I’m an artist’
  • I’m a writer
  • ‘I’m a healthy weight’

…is that we are scared someone is going to disagree with us.  Right?  We are scared someone is going to say.  “No way, you aren’t a minimalist.  You have way more things than a minimalist!”

But there is a better chance that voice is in your mind.  We are terrified of the negative voices in our head more often than we are afraid of negative voices in our environment.  Yikes!  If there are very negative people in your environment you might not choose to say these things to them, but go tell it to someone else… even a stranger.  It feels great!

Own the title.  You are a minimalist.  Keep saying it to both yourself and others.  It will make a difference in the way you think.  I promise!


  1. I am a writer and a minimalist (because of my two jean pairs).

    • 2 is a good number for jeans. I have 2 pairs as well and each of them fit so good, I love them :)

  2. I confess I am a minimalist… you are so right even thought I don’t live in an all white Scandinavian designed house with large empty rooms, I am a minimalist. I really like that the way you defined being one, esp. not wanting to be defined by my possessions. I want to be defined by my compassion and my intellect. Thanks, Happy Thanksgiving the best minimalist holiday.

    • I love the white design… maybe after my kids grow up and move out :) You have a great Thanksgiving too!

  3. hope green hope green

    I guess I do qualify as a minimalist. Eight years ago my husband and I sold our 2500 ft. home, had an early estate sale, gave the kids their chance to “come get” anything they valued and moved aboard a 49ft sailboat.(Think old,not new.) When something “new” comes aboard, something “old” has to go… There’s only so much room. I think we could have gone smaller in size with the sailboat but my husband wanted to be able to stand up in the galley… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

    • oh that sounds wonderful! I love sailing :)

  4. Love this post because you are absolutely right! Thank you for that pep talk.

    • you’re welcome! I practice with the pep talks a lot… because I need to give them to myself :)

  5. Oh, I totally agree with you! Minimalism seems like a scary word, but many people are minimalist, seek for a simpler life but are just afraid to say it, to own it. And Yes, Yes, Yes! When we finally decide to own it, that’s where the real magic starts to happen! Really great post!

    • thanks so much for your comment! Nice to meet you :)

  6. I think when you label it, you can become it, too.

    • yes! Well put :)

  7. Marissa Marissa

    Love your blog! Love this post! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • thanks so much! You have a great Thanksgiving too!

  8. This has got me seriously thinking…

    • sweet! Mission accomplished :)

  9. Elizabeth Kane Elizabeth Kane

    Ugh! How I hate that voice you’re talking about. But it’s true – it’s our own critical selves reflecting fear back to us that somehow we don’t measure up. Anytime I’ve tried changing a way of thinking, or a habit I’ve had in the past that I think will make my life better, this voice creeps up saying, “No – this is not you,” or “No you can’t do that – who are you to think you can do that?!” I think the same happen happens when people think about calling themselves a minimalist. Good thoughts, Lorilee :)

    • the sad thing is I don’t know if it is possible to get rid of the voice. It just helps to recognize it and get in the habit of not listening to it :)

  10. Pascale Pascale

    I love when you said that:
    “How we define ourselves dictates our behavior more than we realize. Your actions will originate from who you believe you are.”
    I heard it often, but this time it made its way. I’ve been a minimalist since I read Elaine St James in 1999 so that’s not an issue for me. But when I read your post I saw that I could apply the same reasoning to anything I want to change. I’ve been ill since 2006 and I often get discouraged. So I applied what you said and I’m now saying. I’m positive. The joy of the Lord is in me.
    Thanks for your post Lorilee. I really appreciate it.

    • so glad you liked it :)

  11. Thanks for the encouragment, I have a long ways to go, but consider my initiative in setting goals and starting the journey towards minimalist living part of the process. You have such great perspectives!

    • … I have a long way to go too. It helps me by writing it out, kinda like repeating things in the mirror :)

  12. […] I followed a link to Lorilee Lippincott’s blog post (You Are a Minimalist). In her post, Lorilee confronts the fear people have of owning the title of being a […]

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