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Minimalism: less is more

Alejandra Carrasquilla, Copy & News Editor

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Face it: It’s time to denounce your busy, cluttered life. The mountains of clothes on the chair, the papers on the desk, and the junk on the floor must be exchanged for a clean bedroom that’s organized year-round, not just when you’re inspired to improve your life at three in the morning. I realize that this task is easier said than done, but trust me–your mind, emotional state, grades, and wallet will thank you for it.

The art of downsizing and regularly getting rid of unnecessary things has a name: Minimalism. It’s a movement that’s gaining popularity across the western hemisphere for its monochrome aesthetic and philosophy of having less tangible things.

Before I go on, I must clarify that minimalism is not doctrinal; it isn’t a competition for who could own the least. It pertains to downsizing, reducing one’s possessions to only own the necessary and create a new appreciation for the items that actually bring happiness, not just a perception of it.

So, how do you begin? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with the biggest item in your room: your bed. Wash the sheets, and once you’re done, make your bed. If you are one of those lucky few who get their laundry and sheets washed for them, then just make your bed. This clears up space and makes your bedroom look put together.
  2. Clean up your phone, tablet, computer, etc. Get rid of apps you don’t use anymore and sort the ones that you do into folders. If you can’t get rid of certain apps, (looking at you, Stocks) then clump them all together into a “Irrelevant” folder on the last page of your home screen.
  3. Turn to your bedroom and decide what section needs urgent attention, such as your closet, backpack, vanity, or laundry. Wash, clean, disinfect, and organize as you normally would have (if you did that at all.)
  4. Once you have normally cleaned your room, look at your surfaces. Clear them off and find a home for them that isn’t in plain sight, even if you use these objects every day. If you can’t find a home for them, then make room by getting rid of the things in your drawers that you obviously don’t use. Disinfect these surfaces again.
  5. Now that you have a clean bed and surfaces, look at the collection of things that you own the most, like clothes or books or makeup. Dump every piece on the floor or on your bed and sort them into categories. Set your own threshold of maximum items per category, then put those who didn’t make the cut into a different pile. These extra items should be bagged or boxed to either be sold or donated or passed down. Reorganize what you’ll keep back into its home.
  6. Repeat this process periodically until your stuff has dwindled down to only what you truly need and/or brings you happiness.

While decluttering for the first time, I encountered the dilemma of sentimentality. What if I would need these things again? What do I do if it was a gift from someone I love? I couldn’t get rid of it so easily if it reminded me of certain stages of my life, good or bad.

In order to deal, I put the sentimental stuff in a box under my bed. That way, it’s out of immediate sight and I don’t have to bear the guilt of throwing it away. If I was attached to clothes or shoes, and I didn’t truly know if I would need them again, then I put them in bags in the bottom of my closet, and if I needed them again, I would wear them and put them back on a hanger. I’m giving them 6 months, and if they are still there, then I know I should definitely get rid of them.

Seeing the numbers rise in my bank statement has been the ultimate reward. Because I’m not buying as much as I was before, I am able to use the money I was uselessly spending on experiences, like concert tickets and weekend trips. Currently, I am budgeting a trip month-long trip to Europe as a gift to myself following graduation in June with the money I’ve saved.

My minimalist journey has forced me to realize that the richest man is not he who needs the most, but he who needs the least. I hope this has inspired you to take steps towards conscious consuming, owning less stuff, and getting your life together before you leave this school for the last time.

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Minimalism: less is more