You Should Consider Minimalism Before You Become The Next Hoarder
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Student Life

You Should Consider Minimalism Before You Become The Next Star Of 'Hoarders'

Just because its free or cheap, doesn't always mean you need it.

You Should Consider Minimalism Before You Become The Next Star Of 'Hoarders'
Natalee Wheeler

As the school year is approaching, so begins the mass exodus of college students from their hometowns into dorm rooms, apartments, and shared houses. They will bring their clothes, cleaning supplies, miscellaneous decor, and millions of towels their mom bought them. And even when they arrive, they will go to Walmart, Target, Goodwill, and even Yardsales to track down furniture, kitchen utensils, and maybe a new TV. Stuff, stuff, stuff.

I am no exception to this pattern. Most people buy things, have lots of things, and accumulate all of these THINGS forever. It is especially easy to do when things are cheap, free, or given to us. It usually doesn't seem too excessive, but in reality, consumerism is a pretty big issue. I have done research on this in some sociology classes, and the facts are pretty gross. Americans overall spend around $1.2 trillion dollars annually on nonessential items. 99% of the materials in the consumer system are trashed within six months. If everyone on the planet were to live like Americans, we would need three Earths to have enough resources for everyone.

As I was moving into a house for the first time this school year, I realized how much stuff I had. At first, I didn't think it was that much, but when I got some boxes out of storage, I realized how many things I had piled up over the years. When I said I was no exception to the rule, I think I am one of the best examples of this consumerism.

Much of what I own is clothes. While I have gotten most of my clothes for free or very cheap at thrift stores, I still have about three times as many clothes as someone actually needs. When I realized this, I took two huge boxes of clothes to my local thrift store. I am still working on going through everything to see what I actually need, but its hard. I hate to say this, but I LOVE my stuff. I have art that my high school friends made me, a memory jar from my sister, cute pictures to hang up... the list could go on forever! All of these things hold meaning for me, so that's why its so hard to give them up.

However, I know that this isn't a sustainable type of lifestyle. Several months ago, I watched a documentary called Minimalism. I got really inspired by it at the time and was amazed at how easy it seemed for the people get rid of most of their belongings. I thought I could do the same and was excited to go through my stuff and have only the essentials. Once I began thinking about it, though, I realized the second part of Minimalism; it's about having the important things. So maybe I don't need that sweater my grandma gave me or the painting from my 10-year-old sister, but they are important to me. I definitely don't need 15 coffee mugs or a covered deck, and I can limit the number of things I buy (especially new), but its all about finding balance. I definitely don't want to be the next star of "Hoarders;" which is very possible if you keep the non-essential and non-important. However, I don't think I'm going to be starring in Minimalism anytime soon either. As long as I'm trying my best to focus on what I truly need and what's really important, that's what counts.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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