Junk. Crap. Clutter. Things. Sh*t. Whatever, you want to call it, we all have a lot of it. Random knick-knacks that have accumulated over the years, free giveaways (college campuses are notorious for giving free hand-outs at events), sentimental objects that haven’t seen the light of day in what seems like (or is) forever, and finally just the things we use on an everyday basis—we all have things. Clutter. And adding this clutter to our already hectic lives, can just make things seem exponentially more hectic.
And believe me, I am notorious for holding onto things. Papers from old classes, tiny bits of sentimental notes or bits of clothes that I could always try and re-wear, socks without pairs that are kept in a tiny bag with the hopes of finding its mate again, and earrings? Well, I could open my own jewelry store at this point, if there was a business for mismatched stud pairs. And shopping? Notebooks with pretty fonts, stationary of any kind, hair products, skin care, hair ties (though, can a girl ever have too many hair-ties and bobby pins?), lip-glosses of varying sparkle-tones (that to almost anyone might look like the exact same lip color) and don’t even get me started on books.
And recently, there’s just been too much. Maybe it’s the stress of college, living in an entirely new state, or maybe it’s just a maturation or adjustment in my mindset, but I don’t want it. I’m tired of organizing and re-organizing things, all for it to end with a muttered curse (or, sometimes exclaimed, depending on the time of day). Because let’s face it—we’re going to keep accumulating stuff. We’re going to keep getting things. It’s natural. With big sales for the holidays, Christmas itself coming up, shopping seems to be the thing on everybody’s mind.
And for all of these reasons and more, I’ve decided to approach Minimalism in the new year.
We’ve all seen those beautiful posts scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr—white backgrounds, clean landscapes, simple clothing and bedrooms and planners. And partially, it’s nice to have a clean, almost ready-made aesthetic. But minimalism isn’t about pretty pictures and modest clothing. It’s about living with what you need and what makes you happy.
How many times do we walk past a junk drawer filled with random assortments of pens, scissors, coupons (many expired), and just think—why is this even in here? Or, Hey! I forgot about that! Because for me, every time I enter my dorm, which while usually tidy and organized, I wonder if I really need thirteen t-shirts for bed, many with holes, and many that haven’t been worn since I moved back in August. Or when I look into my closet and wonder if I really, truly wear comfortable clothing? Does it serve a purpose? Does it make me happy?
Now, don’t get me wrong—I am very thankful for everything that I have, but I also recognize that I don’t use everything that I have in the way it should be used—and that’s simply because I do have so much clutter. And consumerism is a basic principle of America, and teen girls. I live for trips to the mall, walking around a store aimlessly, and window-shopping. But it’s time for a foray into the idea of mindfulness (of which I am sure I will write about in the near future).
With that being said, it’s important to take small steps. For me, I started with my makeup bag, giving the products I never touched or hardly used to friends. Then, pieces in my wardrobe at college went to my friends. And there was something so satisfying about seeing those pieces getting used, not sitting in the back of a closet or at the bottom of a bag, unused and untouched. It was nice to see things being used and enjoyed in the way they were meant too.
Now that I’ve spoken at length about why I chose minimalism, beneath, is a simple guide on what minimalism is, but here is a quick simple guide I used to start decluttering my life:
- Make a list of things you don’t need
- Donate/discard duplicate items.
- If possible, try and keep things electronic (eliminate paper waste)
- Simplify meal-times
- Try and keep open spaces clean & clear
- “One in, One Out” Rule
- Stay on top of Laundry & Dishes
"He who buys what He does not need, Steals from himself"
- Swedish Proverb