How to Maintain Mental Minimalism During Finals

When I think of minimalism, I think about the lifestyle and philosophy that emphasizes living with less and disassociating yourself from material belongings. Other forms reside in the realm of financial, environmental, material, and mental minimalism.


Environmental minimalism would include:

  • Living in a small house/apartment/boat/trailer/tiny house

  • Using heat and air conditioning less


Financial minimalism would include:

  • Budgeting and managing subscriptions

  • Using only one line of credit/debit


Material minimalism would include:

  • If financially able, buying for quality instead of quantity

  • Only keep things that “spark joy” as Marie Kondo puts it.


What if we applied minimalism to our mental space?

Mental minimalism means focusing on the present, acting with intention, and avoiding multitasking. It incorporates elements of environmental, financial, and material minimalism, but it is essentially up to you to find your own method of maintaining mental minimalism.


Some steps to begin achieving a more clarified and organized state of mind:

  • Removing unnecessary open tabs online.

  • Transfer camera roll to Google photos—where they will be safely stored (forever in your Gmail account) which allows you to delete the 7,980 pictures, random screenshots, and memes from your immediate camera roll.

  • Make EASY to-do lists every day.

  • Throw away to-do lists every night.

  • Make NEW, EASIER to-do lists every day.

  • De-clutter your computer desktop.

  • Keep living spaces consistently neat instead of fluctuating between chaos and calm. This is particularly difficult if you’re going through a hectic week or another depressive episode, but cleanliness can be a learned habit. And a tidy room suggests a lucid mind.

  • Eat a meal without technology. Eat thoughtfully.

  • Write down thoughts, emotions, memories, imaginations, and dreams to de-clutter your mental space.

  • Develop a morning routine, after-class routine, and before-bed routine.

  • Attempt to break bad habits. Even an attempt is enough.


I’m attempting to gradually follow these steps with the goal that I attain a clarified, de-cluttered, present, “minimalist” mind. Personally, I don’t think I could maintain a minimalist lifestyle in a tiny house without all my excessive amounts of clothing, but I resonated with the minimalist mindset and its encouraging mantra of “less is more," mentally and spiritually.

Perhaps I will take the “less is more” mantra into finals week in terms of “less stress, more success.” Easier said than done. But let’s try it.