Black Minimalist: Ashleigh Bell
When and why did you start your minimalist journey?
It was mid September 2017 when I first started minimizing our lifestyle. After a very stressful week I was cleaning my house when I realized we were out of trash bags and I couldn’t afford to buy new ones. I couldn’t understand how when we had no money to buy things we had enough trash to throw multiple bags away each week. That immediate moment is when I decided that we needed a drastic change to the way we lived in order to survive and thrive even though we were struggling financially.
What lessons have you learned since going minimalist?
1. Creativity is your best friend. From coming up with ideas for dinner out of pantry items we already had to free ways to keep our children learning and active. We are never at a loss for how to fill up our day without acquiring any new stuff to bring home.
2. It’s okay to fail as long as you keep moving forward. Our minimalist journey also involves being zero waste. However, our first holiday season was not on track with our goals at all. We had fun, enjoyed ourselves, and at the end of it I realized that we needed to go back to having less stuff and reminded myself that I didn’t need to be so upset that I fell off the wagon. Being minimalist is a journey and wrong turns are okay as long as you get back on track.
What are your goals in living simply?
My goal is to be the best mother I can possibly be by interacting more with my children and involving them in household decisions. This way, I am teaching my children that we all need to support each other as a whole by giving them a voice and allowing them to express how they feel.
Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?
It has. After almost a full year of being negative in the bank account we finally have a small savings simply from the items we no longer have to buy (paper towels, instant food, and less take out as a treat yourself item).
My marriage has also become a lot stronger because rather than fighting over money and stressing like we used to we have become more active and communicate better than ever.
What if any surprises or challenges have you encountered?
I have such a hard time telling people, "No". When you have kids everything becomes hand me downs and everyone wants to give them to you. From toys to clothes my children have accumulated so much stuff simply because I have struggle with telling people, "No, thank you".
What mindset changes have you experienced?
I enjoy cleaning now! It gets done quicker and everything has it’s own place so I never feel like I’m just hiding my clutter anymore.
What advice do you have for someone interested in simplifying their life?
Just start. Every time you touch something really ask yourselves:
- Do I need it?
- Can I repurpose it to make it functional again?
Take it one item at a time and never feel like you have to be like everyone else because minimalism is different for everyone.
What does being a black minimalist mean to you?
Being a black minimalist brings me so much because in a world filled with “white, clean, simple” I can be black and proud. It also helps to show others that being minimalist isn’t a white people thing and that it’s not something you have to have money to do.
Where can we learn more about you?
I have full blog posts on Minimallyus.wordpress.com however I’m mostly active on instagram @Minimallyus
Ashleigh is a young mom of 3 who recently moved from a small town in South Carolina to Charlotte to try to adapt to city life while not breaking the bank. Working full-time in sales she helps bring the minimalist life style to other millennials by showing free/affordable ways to minimize your life and help lead a zero-waste lifestyle from a relatable point of view.
With the help of her husband they set to accomplish a way of living healthy and happy for their whole family while having fun.