Look around your room. Is your closet stuffed with clothes you don’t wear? Is your bookshelf crammed with titles you haven’t glanced at since you bought them? We probably shouldn’t even talk about what’s going on under your bed.
I used to be the same way. I never lived in a dorm, so I didn’t have to choose which stuff to bring with me and which not. Since my mom refused to act as a storage unit, I had to move every single thing everywhere with me. Every. Single.
Thing. It went on for three years before I just got tired of all my foolishness. I didn’t even use half of this stuff, and it
made me mad I had to worry about packing it every time I moved.
If there is anything I can tell you about your college years, it’s to really consider what you buy and what to bring with you. It’s super easy to become attached to things, so get a head start on practicing living with less.
1. Take your time
There really wasn’t one day where I went through everything I had and decided what to keep and what to toss. Every couple of days, I would notice something new I didn’t need or want anymore. The advantage to not doing it all in one weekend is that if you’re unsure about what to keep/toss, there’s no pressure to do it right then. You can think about it, thus avoiding tossing something out you didn’t really want to.
2. Get inspired
There are numerous blogs about living like a minimalist, such as Miss Minimalist, and Apartment Therapy. One woman began a “War on Debt” and sold enough things in her house to pay off $39,000 worth of debt in just 13 months! These are great websites to visit if you feel overwhelmed or defeated.
3. Be resourceful
Don’t just give everything to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul. If you don’t sell some things for cash, I encourage you to do the extra research and look for shelters in need. Some animal shelters have garage sales to support the animals in their care. It may be easier to dump everything off at one place, but why not spread the wealth? If you find any old cell phones, drop them off at a Verizon store, whose HopeLine program benefits women affected by domestic violence.
4. Play by the rules
In the future, each time you buy something new, ask yourself, “Is this a want or a need?” Also ask yourself how often you’re going to use or wear it. These questions will really help you to not only save space, but money too.
When in doubt, my favorite philosophy to live by is to “enjoy life and not a life filled with stuff.” Ask yourself if all your stuff is contributing to your happiness or just making you more stressed out. That said, minimalists aren’t about tossing family heirlooms or books inscribed with a note from your grandmother. By all means, keep the sentimental things, but learn to let go of anything else holding you down and stressing out your life.
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Serena Piper is a Lifestyle Writer at College Lifestyles (TM). She is pursuing a career in publishing and magazine journalism. She’s an avid news watcher, a travel enthusiast, a Scrabble lover, and has a not-so-secret crush on Brian Williams.