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Incorporating Minimalism Into College Life

Minimalism can be a difficult lifestyle to achieve in such a consumer driven, materialistic society. Here are a few tips to help you incorporate minimalism into your everyday college lifestyle:

1. Less Space Should Mean Less Stuff 

Regardless of where you live in college, you likely don’t have all that much space. Even if you upgrade from a dorm to a sorority house or an apartment, just because you have the space doesn’t mean you need to fill every inch of it. This goes for your room, your closet, your backpack — pretty much anywhere your belongings go. Figure out what you’re going to wear to class or out most and bring only your favorites. There’s no use in having a bunch of clothes sitting in the back of your closet in the “reject pile” of things you know you’ll never wear. Stay organized so you know where everything you need is, but keep it simple. The idea is to not lose or misplace anything because you have a limited amount of things in your space. 

2. Quality Over Quantity 

This can be in regards to items, activities or even people. My mom always says “less is more”. The things you have in your life should make you happy, not create unnecessary stressors. See something in your space you could do without? Donate it, sell it or give it to a friend. The same goes for activities. Doing two or three things that you’re really excited and passionate about is much more fulfilling than doing six things you don’t have enough time for and usually forget about. A lesser known and more difficult aspect of minimalism, however, is people: This is not to say you can only have a few friends, especially in college where you seemingly have to make a hundred new ones. However, if people aren’t making you happy or bringing positivity into your life, it may be time to part ways. This is not a bad thing — just a part of life. 

3. Downsize What You Currently Have 

Before you even get back on campus in the fall, go through everything you’re planning on bringing and make sure it’s all things you need to have with you until the next time you go home and can switch some stuff out. Look at each item or article of clothing and ask yourself if you need it, if you love it and if it “sparks joy” (thank you, Marie Kondo!). Figure out what you actually need and what you want to keep as opposed to what you can give to friends or donate. Someone will get renewed satisfaction out of what you once loved in the same way you used to. 

4. Consider Your New Purchases 

Whenever you’re out browsing or actually intend to purchase something new, ask yourself if it is a need or a want. Some people live by the rule of one thing in, one thing out. This means that every time you get something new, you get rid of something else you no longer need or want. It keeps you in check with your spending and purchasing habits and won’t let you overload your small space with too much stuff. In addition, ask yourself if you even have the space for new things and whether or not it even needs to be filled with something else if it’s something unnecessary. You already pay enough to go to college and live at your school, so try to limit your spending to avoid overwhelming your space with too many things that you just don’t need or don’t make you happy. 

These tips are just a few simple ways to downsize your college life and become just a little bit more minimal. Think about what sparks joy in your life and rid it of whatever doesn’t meet that standard. Your happiness should always take priority! 

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Hi there! I'm Kendall and I'm a sophomore in advertising at the University of Illinois. Aside from staying busy writing at my internship and running around campus, you can find me adding to my monthly Spotify playlists, listening to true crime podcasts, running at the arc, or having cozy movie nights with friends!
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