Black Minimalists: Deborah Shepherd

Deborah Shepherd

When and why did you start your minimalist journey?

I unofficially started my minimalism journey the day after my college graduation in 2016.  I packed a suitcase and a box then moved to Richland, WA to work at a church. Living in a small town for 3 months, I realized that not one soul cared about the highlighter on my cheeks or the fact that I owned a $540 lambskin jacket. My heart finally felt free as I was already becoming sick of solely blogging about makeup and clothes.

After the program was over my host dad Mike asked me, “Where are you getting all this money from to go to Starbucks everyday?”  Caught red-handed, he introduced me to Dave Ramsey’s method of budgeting and saving. Then after God spoke the name "The Broke Minimalist" to me and it was birthed (to document my minimalism journey).

What lessons have you learned since going minimalist?

The biggest lesson I learned was if you place your value in your job, belongings, or in others then you will become slave to these things. But if you value who God made you to be and live according to your values then you will always be free.

What are your goals in living simply?

To find my value only in who God designed me to be, get out of debt so I can have room to help others, and to become a relatable resource for millennials to live authentically. Also to be able live a life with freedom from debt and the need for instant-gratification. Personally, I would love to travel more and build my ideal capsule wardrobe.

Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?

Minimalism has definitely opened my mind and changed how I look at the world. When I think about fast-fashion I instantly think of the person who sewed it together and how many hours they worked to produce tens of thousands of that one item. It has also challenged me to vote with my dollars and invest in myself. Besides money and people, I am learning to enjoy the tiny glimpses of happinesses along the way like sitting in parks verses going to the mall to hang out.

What if any surprises or challenges have you encountered?

I was surprised how much minimalism, fashion, and money were intertwined. Also, I didn't realize how much my faith would pushed me further towards minimalism. The challenging thing is letting go of my old mindset. It’s extremely difficult but it’s a journey and there will be plenty of opportunity for you to stretch your thought pattern.

 What mindset changes have you experienced?

I aim to consume only the most nutritious things for my body and the planet, so I want to become a vegan (I know, it’s trendy but seriously). Also, I think about ethical fashion and slow fashion a lot more. This is why I started a Cost-Per-Wear series on my blog to encourage people to buy ethical items that are typically expensive until you see how much wear you’ll get out of them.

What advice do you have for someone interested in simplifying their life?

I have informative videos and blog posts discussing how to start and endure your minimalism journey. But, I’ll say this: it’s more than decluttering. You have to actually change your perspective on life.

 What does being a black minimalist mean to you?

It is extremely important to me to see other African Americans living minimally. I’m honored to be apart of this community and I hope to learn more about their journey.

Where can we learn more about you?

Feel free to watch some exciting and informative quick videos on my YouTube channel (

Let’s chat and see more minimal fashion, wellness, and economically-conscious posts over on my blog (