Black Minimalists: Timi Komonibo

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When and why did you start your minimalist journey?

I started my journey in 2015 when as I was preparing to move to DC for a year. As I was packing for my move, I knew I could only bring the essentials with me since I was going to be in a tiny room in a shared apartment. I donated a lot of my clothes and items that wouldn't fit into the car to charities through my startup Style Lottery. My friend, Julia, was a huge inspiration to me because she was a natural minimalist. One time, we traveled to Puerto Rico for Spring break and she only brought a couple travel cubes in a hiking backpack. I was amazed. Over the years, she's taught me her tricks to living smaller and more simply. I now live in a lovely tiny apartment, so my incentive for living minimally is my limited amount of space. Even with being a minimalist, I haven't had to compromise on having nice decor or entertaining friends at my place. I have exactly what I need-- nothing more and nothing less. 

What lessons have you learned since going minimalist?

1. Don't be afraid of wearing the same outfit more than once.

2. Collecting your trash in a jar or counting the number of items you own isn't for everyone.

3. There's nothing a winged cat-eye and red lipstick can't fix. 

4. Chickpea is your plant-based diet's BFF. 

What are your goals in living simply?

For me, living simply and living greener go hand in hand. In my personal life, I'd like to transition to more farm-to-fork cooking. Farmers markets and local sellers need our support, so I'm hoping to send more of my dollars their way. I am also conscious of the weight of the Black dollar, so I will be strategic about where I shop. I'm also very passionate about sustainability, so one of my goals is to become the Chief Sustainability officer of a brand. There's a lot that companies can do to spark change in consumers and I want to be part of that change. I love that I've been seeing the ingredients of products get shorter and that packaging is becoming more recyclable/reusable. 

Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?

I have adopted the practice of what I call "minimal waste" in all areas of my life. It's a combination of minimalism and zero waste. I have cut out one-use disposables and fast fashion from my life. I love finding products that have multiple uses and can be used for a long time. This has reduced the number of products that I need. I always have a bottle of Dr. Bronners soap and grapeseed oil handy because they can be used for so many things. I also eat a plant-based diet, so I've been experimenting with vegetables more. I'm continually amazed with what you can do with chickpeas, beans, and lentils.I'm constantly reading up on things and my Google history auto-completes the questions "What can you make with..."  Overall, I've found that minimalism has made me more curious about the world around me. 

What if any surprises or challenges have you encountered?

My style has been the biggest opportunity for personal growth. Once I transitioned from fast fashion stores, I had to rediscover what fabrics, silhouettes, cuts, and colors flattered me most. I tried several rounds of making a capsule wardrobe (curated collection of clothes). Going through and sifting through my closet helped me realize that for many things I own, I'd bought them because they were cheap or because someone gave them to me and I felt obligated to keep them. Having a capsule wardrobe gives me a smaller closet with essential pieces that I actually enjoy wearing. 

What mindset changes have you experienced?

Before becoming a minimalist, I had a feared of monotony and routines. I associated them with being boring, but I discovered that couldn't be further from the truth. As an adult, routines position us to be better stewards of our time and resources. As I simplified my possessions, I found that my routines were simpler. When I get up in the morning, I have fewer outfit considerations to mull over. My makeup routine is essentially the same every morning, save for the lip color. I have a few lunch options in rotation that I like to take to work with me. These routines unclutter my mind, and most importantly, they get me to work on time! We should not become enslaved to our routines; our routines should work for us. Every once in a while, I switch things up so I don't feel stale. 

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

Find your "why" for minimalism. Do you want a simpler life? Are you a recovering pack-rat? Would you like to lower your carbon footprint? Whatever your reason is, hold onto that and let it be your motivation. I personally don't think a specific number of clothing/personal items makes you a minimalist. It's all about having a mindset of having what you need. I love the book "The Life Tidying Magic of Cleaning Up" because she encourages people to hold onto the things that "spark joy." We should hold on to only the possessions, relationships, jobs, etc. that truly give us joy. Minimalism is not about deprivation. It's about identifying the things that make us cherish the one life we've been given. Start from there and you'll find what matters most to you. 

What does being a black minimalist mean to you?

The overall minimalism community is over-whelmingly beige, which can lead people to believe that Black people don't care about these types of issues. I'm proud to be a visual presentation of the Black community's commitment to taking more ownership over our physical and mental health, our diets, our finances, as well as our excess and our waste. Being a minimalist is empowering. I get to choose what I allow into my life. I want more people to know that they have more power than they realize and that is why I am vocal about this movement. It's not about perfection; it's about growth. I love seeing this community of Black minimalists grow in their own authentic way. 

Where can we learn more about you?

You can join me on my journey on my YouTube channel (Naturale Chronicles) and on Twitter/Instragram as @TimiKomo.


Learn More About Other Black Minimalists