I have seen a lot of posts about this lately. And the quite correct answer is, whenever you want. You don’t have to pass a test, or learn a secret handshake. There is no minimum or maximum number of items you should own. You can call yourself a minimalist before you declutter a single item, if you identify with the term. I consider myself a minimalist, although my house still looks very normal, I’m sure others would not see me as such. But I had SO MUCH stuff to start with, that my current situation is definitely minimalist to me.
But there is one caveat I feel is very important to mention. Once you call yourself anything, people will judge you and question you and it can be unpleasant and intense if you are not prepared for it. I learned this the hard way when I switched to a vegan diet and immediately told all my friends, family and co-workers. I had no idea of the backlash I would face. People who never before cared how or what I ate suddenly bombarded me, saying it was unnatural, assuring me I would get sick, demanding to know how many macro nutrients I was getting and from what foods and were they the types my body could really use. If these queries had been from genuine concern or curiosity I could have handled it. But mostly I felt people were just threatened by the strangeness of it and going into default ‘attack the unknown’ mode.
Looking back, I would have done it differently and kept my veganism to myself for a while. The judgement from others added a lot of stress and doubt during the period when I was still figuring everything out.
For this reason, I personally don’t tell people that I am a minimalist. Perhaps I will in time. But for now, I just want to keep enjoying the many benefits this lifestyle is bringing me, without being pushed to validate or justify it to others. There certainly can be benefits to being Quiet!