Minimalism hasn't always been the trendy lifestyle portrayed on Pinterest. In fact, some black minimalists grew up with a different understanding of this concept.
Minimalism, for many people who are part of black and brown communities, isn’t simply an enlightened lifestyle change. They grew up with it as a way of life.
However, some black women have taken to the minimalist movement and are using it as a tool of empowerment.
If you're curious about who these women are, keep reading to learn about 8 black minimalists who are joyfully living and thriving with less.
How is minimalism defined?
Minimalism isn’t a complex topic. It originated as a concept in art and design, and it’s the idea of having less. Yet, the lifestyle encompasses so much more.
Minimalists focus on making space for things that matter in life, by removing the unnecessary.
Yet the idea of limiting the items one owns isn't always a personal choice but a result of circumstances.
Black people’s history with minimalism
If you searched for an image of minimalism you’d probably see pictures of white walls and grey tables and chairs. Images of pristine places speak to the beauty of having less.
Yet minimalism isn’t always aesthetically pleasing depending on a person's socio-economic status.
Minimalism as an outcome and not a choice
Tatiana Donaldson, shares on her blog a different viewpoint. Sharing that minimalism meant barely making ends meet. She wrote in her article that at a young age, she created an essentials list.
This was a list of things she would take with her when her family had to frequently move from place to place. An abrupt change in living was often a result of the economy and social climate at the time.
Many racial injustices, such as redlining, segregation, and Jim Crow laws prevented various black families from obtaining well-paid jobs, or home ownership.
As a result, many black communities were put into a lower socioeconomic status which influence their purchasing power.
Yet despite these challenges, there are black minimalists who have grown to a status where minimalism is a joyful option that has helped them elevate their lives.
8 Black minimalists who are living full lives
Minimalism is a practice that can look different depending on the practitioner.
Here’s how these 8 black women create joy and freedom from minimalism.
1. Danae Smith
Danae Smith created her blog The Wondrous Life to show the value and beauty in living a slower and simpler way of life.
She believes that there is magic and beauty in the mundane. On her blog, you can follow her posts surrounding her monthly intentions.
She also has a podcast “Let’s do coffee” that focuses on conversations around daily life.
2. Christine Platt
If you follow other black minimalists, then you may already know about the Afrominimalist herself, Christine Platt. Platt took on this lifestyle not wanting to conform to the mundane and colorless designs she often saw.
Instead, she created a life with less that has been influenced by the African diaspora. In her book The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living With Less she teaches her decluttering regime, and how to let go of things that aren't adding value to your life.
For more motivation, you can also check out her TED titled You can be a minimalist, Yes You!
Jhánneu is a black minimalist with a YouTube channel that focuses on sustainability and productivity while also incorporating different elements of a minimalist lifestyle.
On her channel, you can find videos on how to get started with minimalism, especially for beginners. She also has videos around minimalism skincare and beauty.
4. Jessica Young
Jessica Young displays the concept of minimalism as something that can be applied in various aspects of life with her blog Minimal Student. In one blog post, she talks about how minimalism leads to living a happy life.
In that same post, she emphasizes how minimalism can take away the importance many people put in material things. Her blog also includes meditations and mantras around minimalism.
5. Jessica Malone
Jessica Malone started Nacho Average Fro, a life design company that helps entrepreneurs learn how to declutter. By doing so she helps clients step into the lives they truly want.
On her blog, she tackles an important aspect of minimalism which is decluttering. Focusing on how one must declutter the mind before one can make a lasting impact through decluttering one’s space.
6. Farai Harreld
Farai Harreld is also known as the Afro Herbalist.
With a strong focus on all things natural and eco-friendly Harreld shares with her audience a range of topics including motherhood, fashion, gardening, and sustainability.
7. Yolanda V Acree
Yolanda V Acree can be considered a minimalism veteran and she’s been living with less for the past nine years and going strong.
For Acree, minimalism is a way to envision and create a life that is simple yet intentional. She is also another founder of the Black Minimalists.
Along with being a founder, she is also the author of the book, Mindful Simplicity: Practical Strategies for Finding Harmony in Your Home, Work, and Life. It is a guide to simplifying your life.
8. The Melanated Minimalist
Lisa Shunette takes a lively approach to minimalism. She believes in living simply but not depriving yourself of certain joys and luxuries. Things such as a colorful wardrobe, having more than one type of cutlery and living with intention.
Her YouTube channel is curated with minimalist lifestyle tips and tricks to help more melanated women become minimalists. She emphasizes that there can be joy and fun in living a simple life.
How to use minimalism to enhance your financial situation
From the above list of black minimalists, you’ve probably gotten the idea of how minimalism can be life-changing. This lifestyle and state of mind can also influence finances.
Identify your core values
Starting minimalism usually starts with identifying your core values and eliminating the things that don’t align with those values. When it comes to your finances, you can apply the same technique.
If you value security and a comfortable place to live, you can start putting your money toward home ownership. If you value experiences and learning about new places, you can put more of your money towards traveling.
Put money towards experiences and less on material things
Another aspect of minimalism is having fewer things. If you're focused on not accumulating many items, you’re most likely going to spend less money trying to acquire new things.
With the minimalist state of mind, you focus on experiences and put less value on physical objects. This way instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone you’ll put money towards things that truly make you happy, not just happy for a short period of time.
How minimalism can enhance your overall well being
More than helping you to prioritize your spending, minimalism can help you to enhance your way of life.
Less stuff can equal less stress
When you limit the things in your life to what brings you value and joy, you feel lighter and happier. No more digging through your closet trying to decide what to wear out of 47 t-shirts.
You can find what you need because what you need is not lost in a drawer somewhere under gadgets and gizmos you don’t use.
Clear the clutter in your mind and space
Have you ever felt like there was too much going on in your mind? If it’s hard to focus or think straight because of the millions of other thoughts racing in your brain, you might be experiencing mental clutter.
If you have mental clutter you probably have physical clutter. And what comes along with physical clutter is you don’t have a space to relax and focus.
Minimalism can help clear your mind and your space of the stress and frustration that clutter can bring.
More time and freedom
More stuff means more time you have to spend maintaining the stuff. Too many clothes means more time doing laundry.
A surplus of dishes means more time cleaning. More beauty products can mean more waste and longer bathroom clean-ups.
When you have less to worry about, and less to maintain you’re free to use your time how you want, instead of organizing 30 pairs of socks.
Appreciate what you have
Lastly, minimalism can help you to appreciate what you already have. Things such as the old coffee maker that might run slow but still makes good coffee. Or an older generation cellphone that fulfills all your basic needs.
There will always be something new and innovative, but that doesn’t mean what you already have isn’t good enough.
Will you give minimalism a try?
Hopefully, you’ve been inspired by this list of black minimalists and have seen that the lifestyle is adaptable to who you are and how you want to live. It’s important to remember that less is more.
Focus on surrounding yourself with people and items that bring joy and value to your life. Everything else you can leave behind. And you can take this a step further by becoming a financial minimalist with a simplified budget, as well.