I usually say that I became a minimalist in 2015. It's difficult to decide the exact moment, because minimalism is a journey rather than a change you make over night. I believe that my journey began when my father died of melanoma in 2010. Even though he wasn't even near a hoarder, he collected things like albums from his favorite band and such. He didn't have more things than the average person I know, quite the opposite. But when he died, it was up to me and the rest of my family to decide what to do with his things.
The first couple of years we barely touched his things. After a while we started to donate a lot of his clothes, but we kept his personal things. I have told the story about the cardigan so many times now, but it's an important part of my own journey towards a minimalist life. My father had a yellow-beige cardigan. When he was in the hospital, and later passed away, I used that cardigan as a kind of safety blanket. It had the scent of my father, so I breathed into the cardigan and it was as he was right there. I kept that cardigan for several years.
However, in 2015 I decided to donate the cardigan to a shelter. I had started to declutter my home and I knew that I didn't want to keep my fathers cardigan. But every time that I tried to give it away, I changed my mind and decided to keep it. Then, one day, I was so upset that it was so difficult for me to get rid of this piece of clothing even though I never used it. So I took the cardigan and donated in within 15 minutes of my outburst. And I never regretted it. Instead, it became the real starting point of my minimalist journey, because after getting rid of that memorabilia nothing was difficult to discard.
Having to take care of my father's things made me realize that I didn't want to have so many things myself. I though to myself that life would be so much easier with lesser things to care and think about. Since then, I declutter whenever I feel like it. In 2015, I decluttered so many things that I started to see myself as a minimalist. Today, I own even less things and want to continue to declutter. Minimalism is a never-ending journey. While your needs may change, the number of possessions you have also change. Therefore, you will probably never finish. And that is actually something I find nice to think about.
How did you become a minimalist?