I discovered Christine on Instagram under the name @afrominimalist. Coming from a South Asian immigrant family, I know a little bit about how marginalized groups rarely prioritize minimalism over having a bunch of stuff for "security", "stability" and status.
So Christine drew me in with the strong minimalist messages she's both living and teaching. Read further for some inspiration via important and relatable points on bringing the freedom of minimalism to our lives.
“Minimalism: An Intentional Life”
by Christine Platt
“I wish I’d taken a picture of my closet two years ago.”
That’s what I tell folx when they reach out and ask, “How did you adopt a minimalist lifestyle?”
Slowly. Very slowly.
Like many first-generation college graduates and first-time six figure income earners, I used to spend my money on things—things I thought were nice, things I wanted but didn’t need, things that I felt I deserved. Which resulted in me having, you guessed it—a lot of things. It was only after reading The Minimalists by John Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus that I looked around our house and acknowledged that I was emotional spender. And I was completely overcome with sadness, guilt and regret.
I had more clothing than I would ever wear. Accessories with the tags still on them. Unlit candles. The list goes on and on. Which is why I started slowly. It was too overwhelming to tackle all the things in one weekend.
It’s taken me a little over two years to downsize from our almost 3,000 square foot house to a 630 square foot condo. And it’s also taken two years to acknowledge and change my spending habits, and to recognize my triggers. And most importantly, to forgive myself.
While the task is undoubtedly daunting at first, the more you let go, the better you start to feel. You will want to keep going.
Taking control of your spending and being intentional about what you own is an empowering act of self-love. Disregarding what society says and thinks you need, and being mindful of what you need and what best serves you are key components of loving and honoring yourself. And once you start with your closet, it is impossible for intentionality not to trickle into every aspect of your life.
Being a mindful consumer benefits our society as well. So, learn how products are manufactured. Learn what products can be recycled. Learn your global footprint. And then pinpoint the areas in your life where you can bring about change.
I am often asked if I miss anything that I’ve donated or given away. And the answer is, “no.” I don’t miss a single thing. This is primarily because these were things that I didn’t use or need—clothing or home goods that I’d found on sale, or products that had expired. And I remember this whenever I shop. I have a little mantra that I tell myself: it’s not a deal if you don’t need it.
Because we live in a capitalist, consumer-driven society, we can very easily find ourselves in the space of believing that we need something. The reality is, most often, we don’t. We often want something—because it’s a status symbol, because we want to treat ourselves, or because, let’s be honest, it just looks nice.
Historically, the marginalized tend to operate from a place of lack because they are so used to not having. And this is where the mind shift happens. This is when you must ask yourself the difficult questions. When you’re holding something shiny and new, or when an item is sitting in your online shopping cart—do I really need this, or do I just want this? And if you just want it, why do I want this if I don’t need this? Our spending habits are often tied to emotions rather than necessities.
When I started my journey to minimalism, I saw very people who looked like me. It’s the reason I started sharing my journey online. As a Black woman, I own family heirlooms, pictures and artwork that reflect my people’s journey and experiences. It seemed to me that mainstream minimalism didn’t take that into account with its all-white, barren aesthetic. I love to show that minimalism can include colors and textures. And that is my minimalism, my home and wardrobe, reflects my life’s work and passion—the history of the African diaspora.
So, start slowly. Understand and acknowledge why you have accumulated the things that you have. And then build an intentional minimalist lifestyle that works for you. The chances are that your version of minimalism will not look like anyone else’s, and it shouldn’t. It’s your life. And that is what your minimalism should reflect.
To say that my life has become more abundant since adopting a minimalist lifestyle would be an understatement. My life is abundant. And I am grateful.
Christine Platt is a passionate advocate for social justice and policy reform.
A believer in the power of storytelling as a tool for social change, Christine’s work centers on teaching diversity, equity, and inclusion through culturally responsive literature for people of all ages.
You can follow her journey to minimalism on Instagram via @afrominimalist