Being a Teen Minimalist

Stuff. I hate having stuff around.

All the paper scraps with daily to-do lists, pie charts for math, and scribblings of random letters, trying to figure out how to spell a word.

Stuff. I hate having stuff around.

Three shirts stuffed in the back of a drawer, the designs chipped and peeling off.

Stuff. I hate having stuff around.

Statues that don’t do anything and are just for looks, but passed down from generation to generation.

Here is my view on stuff.

A Twelve Year Old’s Stuff

I remember cleaning out all my possessions when I was twelve, a month or so before we started traveling. Then, my stuff meant the world to me.

Yes, I had to keep:

  • The three year old birthday card from my grandparents because it had a cute dog on the front.
  • My old stuffed dog’s plastic nose that fell off because it might somehow go back on some year.
  • The mood ring I never wore because it was pretty and it was an in-thing at one point.

All that stuff? I don’t have it anymore. It was not as important as I thought it was.

And, frankly, I don’t miss any of it.

The Stuff I Have Now

Not to say that I don’t have stuff. I do have stuff.

I have:

  • Several drawings and letters given to me by traveling friends and non-traveling friends slipped into a file underneath my parents’ bed.
  • A geode and a couple of beautiful green rocks in a small bag underneath a bench in my room.
  • Shells, tucked away in the very back of my sock drawer.

What I Have That Is Not Stuff

I do not define ‘stuff’ as something that I would use on a daily basis.

For example, clothes.

I did clean out my clothes recently, but then Christmas rolled around, and I got a few new shirts. But that’s okay. There is room for them now.


Ah yes, the creamy pages sequestered away between glossy enticing covers, just waiting for the perfect dreary day to fly open and whisk me away to magical places with mystical creatures and other-worldly adventures.

I do not part with my books.

Some I have neatly sitting on the shelf my dad built a couple years ago. Others I have stored away in a box underneath my bench.

I have notebooks, being the writer that I am, and a pen to write with. I got an adult coloring book for Christmas and colored pencils, and I like to use that frequently.

I also have a fish, so I have a fish net to catch him with. I guess I don’t use that on a daily basis, but I need it if I am to have a fish.

I do have a keyboard and piano music that I do not always use on a daily basis, but yes, I have it anyway.

I have a box in our ‘basement’ (underbelly storage), that I use for things I do not need every month. I keep yarn in it. And an old journal that is filled up. But other than that, it’s all yarn, because I like to knit. And I do it on a daily basis.

And that is pretty much the extent of the stuff I have. In the RV.

Okay, Okay So I Do Have Some Stuff Not With Me

I have a box in my grandparents’ basement that does hold some stuff. I have:

  • A couple books (like I said, I don’t part with them).
  • My old stuffed dog who lost his nose.
  • Pinewood derby cars and trophies.
  • A couple shells.
  • Probably some stuff I don’t even remember having.

But it’s all in one box. Just one box, so I can keep it all in one place.

Being a Minimalist

And so I am a minimalist. I am quite proud of the fact that I don’t have a lot of stuff.

I find peace in throwing away something, or dropping something off at Goodwill. It makes me think, “One less item to care about, stumble over, dust off, and bring with me when I move out”.

After all, I have memories. Memories are almost the most precious thing in the world to me. I’m never purging out any of those. But guess what? They don’t weigh anything. They’re not another three pounds to drag down the road. And they don’t take up space. They’re not another thing to fall off my bed and make me frustrated after a long day of driving when I want to go into my room without stepping on stuff.

I hope that I’ll always be a minimalist. It makes life so much easier. My dad wears the same kind of clothes everyday. I don’t think I could do that. I like a lot of variety in my clothing. Just variety within a small selection, if that makes any sense.

I don’t ever want to have so much stuff that cleaning takes too much time. I had that when I was little, but now it’s just thirty seconds, and it’s all done.

I like it that way, and I hope to keep it that way always.


Closet of Clothes

Closet of Clothes

Books I Don't Part With

Books I Don't Part With

Book Box Fits Nicely Under Bench

Book Box Fits Nicely Under Bench

Yarn Box With Used Journals

Yarn Box With Used Journals

Bottom Bunk Only Holds Hamper

Bottom Bunk Only Holds Hamper

Second Part of Shelf

Second Part of Shelf

I Don't Normally Have Clothes Hanging, But These Are Work Clothes

I Don't Normally Have Clothes Hanging, But These Are Work Clothes

My Bunk

My Bunk

How Minimalistic Are You?

Do you have a different view on it than I do?

6 Comments Being a Teen Minimalist

  1. Picture of Alhena Alhena December 31, 2017

    Hi Miranda,

    Im fourteen years old and I really want to be a minimalist. All my life I have grown up knowing that things do not equal happiness, but since I have moved to Dubai and started high school I fear that materialism is overtaking my life. I want to slowly take the step, and become a minimalist. I think you are such an interesting and open minded person, especially as a teenager. Thank you, and great article

  2. Picture of Miranda Boyink Miranda Boyink December 31, 2017

    Hey Alhena,
    High school is a tough time to be a minimalist, especially if you are attending public school. But do not let that discourage you! One of the things I kept telling myself and still tell myself today is, “I did without it before; I can do without it again.” If you are having a hard time taking the first step, I would suggest reading ‘Less is More’ by Joshua Becker. I believe you can find as an ebook or on Kindle if there is not a copy in Dubai. I agree a lot with what Joshua Becker says, and he got me in the mood to do more purging!
    Good luck and happy minimalizing!

  3. Picture of Cathryn Cathryn April 10, 2018

    I’m 13 and I’ve just started highschool in the UK. It’s really good, but I’m interested in the whole minimalism idea. However, a lot of the “stuff” I have in my bedroom is things that I’ve received as gifts from friends and family, or bought and just never used, so I feel super guilty getting rid of them. Do you have any advice??
    P.s. I think this article is really interesting!!

  4. Picture of Miranda Boyink Miranda Boyink April 17, 2018

    Hey, Cathryn,
    Thank you for reading my article!
    If you’re having a really hard time parting with these ‘knick-knacks’, I would suggest moving them into a box and just storing them away for a couple of years. Like I touched on in my blog post, I did this when I was just a year younger than you. I came back a year later and realized that I did not need these things as much as I thought I did. Also, when we were first getting rid of ‘stuff’, I had my parents take pictures of me with some of my stuff that I wanted to keep but knew I couldn’t, That way I could still look at it several years later without having it around.
    I also had trouble with buying things and then never using them, and it took me several months before I finally was able to get rid of them.
    I hope my advice help you!

  5. Picture of Susana Susana July 03, 2018

    Hello Miranda! I have recently become interested in pursuing life as a minimalist. I found it interesting to read your article because we share a similar interest such as writing! I have some questions to ask… What do you write about/ what keeps you interested in writing? And do you have any advice on how to start living a minimalist life style as a teen? Thankyou!

  6. Picture of Miranda Boyink Miranda Boyink July 03, 2018

    Hey Susana!
    I write pretty much anything the wide genre of fiction. I like trying new sub-genres, such as fanfiction, or dystopia. Usually my stories center around something I am passionate about. My latest two completed novels were written about horses, and the other one was about snow leopards. I am currently writing a fanfiction centered around Peter Pan, and that’s going pretty well.
    I think the easiest way to start out being a minimalist is to go through your closet, lol! Even I still find myself owning clothes that don’t fit and/or I don’t wear anymore. Having a clean room is also very important.

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