Simplifying Life: Minimalism 101

Alright, Collegiettes, take a minute to look around you. If you’re in your room, class, or wherever. Just take in the amount of stuff most of us have with us all the time- even if really has no use or meaning for us. Our society has become one that focuses more on the material things we have, instead of all the other things in our life that can give us meaning.

I’m one of the biggest offenders of this. I mean, my room is full of stuff - more clothes than I know what to do with, knick knacks from people that I’m not even friends with anymore, and don’t even get me started on cosmetics (really though, why do I need like 6 bottles of perfume). When I came back to UMass after winter break, I realized how much useless crap I had brought from here to home. Most of it I didn’t even use, but yet I still feel as if I needed these things, just in case. I realized how much stuff I had, and how little I actually appreciated it, or the people and places that I got those things from.

I instantly went on to Pinterest to look at ways to organize all of the junk that I had. After what seemed like an eternity of looking at DIY storage containers and shelves, I realized that even if I organized all of my junk that I have, it's still just junk. Once I realized that, I decided that I needed to figure out how to simplify my life. I decided to get rid of those things that really had no use or meaning to me. Along the way of figuring out what I was trying to do, I realized that having a minimalist approach to simplifying my life really helped me.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be a little hesitant to try and be a minimalist, right? Well, its not as cut and dry as you would think. Essentially, minimalism is taking out the things that have no meaning in your life, in order to allow new experiences and people to take their place. Trying to live a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to throw away all of your things, or live in a bare home. Some people do, because that is what it means to them, but there is no right way for everyone.  It does focus on decreasing the amount of material things that you have, but it's not just for the sake of having no possessions.

Instead, when you start to remove the material things in your life that you think you need, you start feeling a lot better. You aren’t as tied down to all of the junk that doesn’t actually make you any happier, and helps you focus on the experiences that the stuff reminds you about (not only that, but less stuff - and less of a need for stuff - keeps you from spending money, keeps you from having to clean as often, and helps you to feel all around better).

There are a lot of different ways that you can get started with trying out minimalism in regards to your things and your lifestyle. For some people, it's easier to just take everything out of their desks, shelves, etc. and go through each piece, deciding whether or not it should be kept, thrown away or donated.

If that’s not something that you think you have the patience to do, you can try something like Project 333, where you only keep 33 articles of clothing (not including PJS and workout gear), and either donate the rest or keep it out of sight in storage. After three months, evaluate what you’ve worn and whether or not you really need those other things in storage. You can play around with it too - if you don’t think you’re ready to choose only 33 pieces of clothing, just increase the number a little. 


Or, you can try something like the MinsGame, where each day you get rid of a certain number of objects, depending on the day (so on the first of the month, your get rid of 1, on the second, 2, and so on) for a month.

If you’re not sure where to start with simplifying your life, or you just want to read about it, you can check out some bloggers, like Colin Wright, Josh Becker or Leo Babauta!

Source: Cover1,2,3