Minimalism is More Than "Black & White": A Conversation with Roe of @BrownKids

Minimalism is More Than "Black & White": A Conversation with Roe of @BrownKids

By: Derika Crowley

The moment I heard Roe, of Brown Kids, speak on Alex Elle’s Hey Girl Podcast I knew I wanted to meet her. She spoke with such a calmness and self-awareness that I not only was intrigued by but that I wanted to experience for myself. On Alex’s podcast, Roe spoke about minimalism and the entire conversation made me want to learn more about this “intentional living” she was speaking about.

For a long time, I contemplated transitioning to a more minimal lifestyle. The biggest challenge for me was knowing where to start. I heard about it, but I didn’t get it. After speaking with Roe, I learned the goal is to live intentionally and really think about what you value and how you’re living out your values.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about Roe. Roe is half of the minimalist couple that is “Brown Kids”. Working alongside of her partner, Erin (who also goes by “E”), both Erin and Roe allow their thousands of followers to join their journey of living intentionally and enjoying the simple things this world offers (I also feel it’s needed to note that she doesn’t own a phone…now, if that’s not minimal living I don’t know what is).

Her shift into this lifestyle happened as a result of two major moments in her life: a trip to East Africa and a blog challenge (yes, a blog challenge). After doing development work in East Africa, for the first time, she was able to see what happened to all of our unwanted clothes. Almost everything Americans giveaway in shipping containers somehow makes its way into East Africa, resulting in a depression of the local East African textile economy. Everything, from shoes to prom dress, can be found at a market in East Africa. It’s an experience Roe describes as “eye opening,” because she was able to see the importance of living more sustainably.

After she returned back to the states, she came across a blog challenge called “10 in 91 days” (wear only 10 items of clothing for 91 days. At first glance, she thought it was impossible (well, she actually said she thought it was written by some rich white woman who probably didn’t understand lol), but after contemplating a few days she decided to do it. At the completion of the challenge, she found it freeing. She learned it wasn’t about the variety of things she had, but how she used them and put them together.

“I kid you not, I have never gotten so many compliments in my entire life! People don’t notice if you wear the same thing over and over; they notice how to put together you are.” - Roe

Those two moments blossom Roe into the intentional women she is today. Now, she’s willing to share this knowledge with “Twenty Somethin’ & Black” readers. Perhaps because of social media, the term minimalism has become a bit of a commercialized trend – all white furniture, white and black closet, and a few pieces of furniture. However, living as a minimalist is so much more than following a color scheme. Minimalism is a mindset. As you read these tips from Roe on how to start living each day intentionally, really meditate on the challenges and advice, and see how you can apply them to your life.

“It's important for young women in their 20’s to start changing the way they look at “things,” because we are in the early stages of forming our beliefs. It’s important to undress those beliefs now, so we can start to create opportunities that allow for more mobility.” – Roe


Decide to Live Intentionally, Not just “Minimally”

“When it comes to this word ‘minimalism’, I prefer to say, ‘living intentionally’. I prefer intentional living because when you choose to become intentional about what you invest your time and money in, naturally you start to exclude those things that don’t align. What we love, we become.” – Roe

Determine What You Value

“Write out a list of seven values you have, then look at your life and what you spend your time and your money on. Does it align?” - Roe

Get Creative with Your Finances

“Finances are tools. Think about how you are using them. When you get your finances in order, you can really see what you can do. It’s not about how much you make it’s about what you can do with what you make. I was able to stretch $100 for the money because I got creative with how I spent it. Invite friends over for a game night, or for dinner. Find other ways to do the things you love outside of just the typical “go to dinner with the girls.” In fact, [one idea could be] just go to a bar with a girlfriend, split an appetizer, and maybe get a happy hour drink. You can still have a good time (and take tons of Instagram photos)” – Roe

Take a Moment to Journal

“When first getting started with living intentionally, carve an hour or so of your day to write out your first memory and belief of ‘things’. Figure out how and why you look at ‘things’ the way you do. From there, make it a habit to dedicate time to writing down whatever comes to mind – goals, aspirations, highlights – and meditate on them. Constantly read them over and remind yourself throughout the day…” – Roe

Start Your Journey in a Place You Can Win

“Avoid simply trying to “purge”. Purging is reactionary, acting intentionally is different. It’s also important to start in a place you can easily win, like your kitchen or bedroom. When you start in a place like your closet, sometimes it can be so emotionally overwhelming because your style is a big part of you. When you're overwhelmed, it's hard to stick it through so try starting with your bathroom drawers and medicine cabinet. Quick clean and satisfying win in one day."” – Roe

Be Transparent About Your Commitment

“When you decide to really do this. Really live intentionally and within your means. Share with your friends and make them hear you. Once they see you’re committed to this, they will (well, should) support you. If you're worried about resistance from your best girlfriends, share your heart with them and invite them to be your allies. Whether they want to hop on the minimalism train with you or not is not important at the end of the day (though ridiculously inspiring, so wait and see)” – Roe

Follow Roe at @BrownKids

All photos were taken from the @BrownKids account