Black Minimalists: Yolanda Acree


Learn about Black Minimalists team member, Yolanda Acree's minimalist journey.

When and why did you start your minimalist journey?

My journey began in late 2012. I had reached a point in my life where things weren’t adding up. I had accumulated a lot of stuff, debt, and stress, but had little to show for it in terms of happiness and drive. I was stuck and fed up, and I figured the best way to move forward was to start from scratch. So I got rid of most of my stuff, my apartment, and eventually my job, to make space to figure out what I really wanted out of my life.

What lessons have you learned since going minimalist?

  1. I’ve learned nothing is as simple as it appears to be on the surface, but everything can be made simpler if you choose to, and sometimes, to make things simpler, you have to choose to accept them as they are.
  2. Before I embraced minimalism, I believed good things and deserved experiences had to be complicated. I learned to distrust simple and easy solutions and outcomes because very few things in my life and the lives of those around me seemed to come easy. I found solace in unnecessary complexities even to the detriment of my wellness and self-perception. I’m unlearning complicated is always necessary and when approaching situations, it’s best to start where it’s easy.

What are your goals in living simply?

To be my whole and authentic self. I also want to be independent and financially secure.

Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?

After about two years on my journey, I realized this minimalist thing was much bigger and deeper than I ever imagined.

Bigger in the sense I was seeking a community to share this journey with and in creating this community, we have the power to impact the culture and the diaspora.

Deeper in the sense of understanding this journey is really a spiritual one once all the layers have been peeled back. Even the smallest, mundane choices reveal our deeper desires and conditioning.

What surprises or challenges have you encountered?

  1. I lived out of a backpack for a month when traveling in the Philippines. I think I could probably live out a backpack for the rest of my life, it would have to be a really big one though lol. It’s so freeing to not have to think about your stuff.
  2. I can’t expect to unlearn 30+ years of materialist and spiritually-lacking conditioning in a few years.      

What mindset changes have you experienced?

Learning to discern the difference between what my ego wants and my spirit needs.

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

Start where it’s easy, although conventional wisdom might tell you to do the hard things first, progress is the most important thing on this journey. Keep going forward, no matter how slowly.

What does being a black minimalist mean to you?

It’s about community and liberation. It’s important to me to call myself a “black” minimalist because for me it says, “I see you. I feel you. I support you.” and it asks the same, “Do you see me? Do you feel me? Do you support me?” and the answer is overwhelmingly, “yes”. When we connect with each other we have the power to free each other.

Where can we learn more about you?

You can find more details about my minimalist journey as well as tips and tools to help you on your own journey on my personal site, and my Youtube channel. I’m also on Twitter and Pinterest at @yolandavacree and Instagram at @yolandaacree.