Black Minimalists: J Chavae
When and why did you start your minimalist journey?
I started my minimalist journey a little over a year ago. I have a friend (Sadiya Marie) who was kind of already on it. I think she suggested the documentary Minimalism to me. I watched it and I loved it. I started because I had so much “stuff”, but I loved having a clear and open space. I feel as though my life’s journey has been pruning me for years to become a minimalist. Every time I moved, especially to a different state, I brought less & less “things” with me. I started taking only what I needed.
What lessons have you learned since going minimalist?
I have noticed that I have learned that I do not need as much as I thought I did. My non-attachment has definitely deepened. I can let go of most things a lot easier now and not feel the weight of anxiety that would come along with the release.
One of my biggest lessons was that I am not my things. What I have does not add value points to my journey. All my Spirit & soul care about is that I do the work with the highest intentions, not how cute I look.
What are your goals in living simply?
NUMBER ONE GOAL: I need to have a capsule wardrobe! I haven’t decided how many pieces I would like to have, but I definitely aspire to have an adult wardrobe. I feel like my wardrobe right now is filled with pieces over the years. I don’t love everything in my closet, but if I get rid of these clothes, I won’t have any clothes to cover my backside haha! Another goal is to have a living space that definitely reflects my partner & I’s aesthetic, but beautifully decorated with pieces that we LOVE. My ultimate goal is to live in a house where every room feels like a sanctuary, where energy has room to move. 0% clutter, everything has a home.
Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?
Yes, it definitely started as something physical and crossed over to the spiritual/mental side. I declutter my mind as much as I do my space. It is all important and an example as “As above, so below. As within, as without”.
What if any surprises or challenges have you encountered?
When I started this minimalism journey, I DID NOT expect Ego to put up such a fight! I still work on deconditioning myself to not put so much value in material things and what may be visually pleasing. I can check my ego a lot faster now, but I used to feel sad because I did not have a cushion of “stuff”. Also, I did not know that minimalism is simply loving and using everything you have, not just having the least amount of things possible.
What mindset changes have you experienced?
Since embarking on this journey, I have definitely put more energy into being mindful...of everything. Noticing how my mind starts to race when thinking in a space of lack. I have also been more in the mindset of INVESTING. I didn’t know how to actually save money a year ago. True story. Once I got serious with myself and started saving, then investing what I saved in something that I needed, it felt SO GOOD! Like, why have I not done this my whole life? This has also helped with my patience! Another mindset change has been checking my thoughts when they come from FEAR or LACK. I constantly remind myself that ABUNDANCE IS MY BIRTHRIGHT. I have everything that I need, and if I dont, then I have the power to save until I can get it. It is all a practice, but it is definitely worth it.
What advice do you have for someone interested in simplifying their life?
I would say to do what feels right to and for you. Just like any other journey, the journey to simplify your life, or being a minimalist looks different for everyone. You don’t have to sell all of your belongings to simplify your life. Start where you can, when you are ready.
What does being a black minimalist mean to you?
To me, being a black minimalist to me means unplugging from what society says we should be and do. In the black community, I feel as though consumerism and capitalism runs RAMPANT. We are force fed all of these ideas that make us believe that our worth lies in what clothes are on our back, what bags are on our arms, what watches are on our wrists, what cars we drive, basically what we spend our money on. Imagine if we saw how much money the black community puts into designer clothes/accessories at the end of the year. We could rebuild our communities. Being a black minimalist means being vigilant with and aware of where every one of your dollars and cents go. I feel like black minimalists tend to have farsight rather than short vision. We see that what we can invest in is greater than what we can quickly spend our money on to please Ego. Black minimalism is not just about the things we own, it is a sustainable lifestyle that can last for generations.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can learn more about me at
Youtube: J Chavae