Despite common beliefs, minimalism is not just an aesthetic, it’s a lifestyle. Minimalism, to my understanding, is maintaining value within all aspects of your life. If something does not bring you value, remove it to cleanse your life!
Sounds easy, right?
- But what about that one shirt you have? Good times in it, yeah? You’ll wear it again.
- All of the books you grew up with as a child? Sure, they take up room, but how could you get rid of them?!
- Do you have three full pages of apps on your iPhone? How many photo editing apps do you really need?
There are a million and a half reasons why you need to keep this or when you might need that. Realistically, these items just sit there, adding onto our already busy and full lives, secretly contributing to a more complicated life.
I became enamored with the concept of minimalism back when I was probably in middle school. I loved scrolling through Flickr all day long (B.I. – before Instagram) and admiring neat rooms and slick desk setups (have I mentioned I’m secretly a huge Apple nerd at heart? No? Well, now seems like a good time I guess). A few of my favorite users would post pictures of their sleek desks with basically empty rooms. This look of simplicity not only looked great but seemed like an efficient way to live.
Since then, I have come to understand the true lifestyle of minimalism, much past the point of keeping your room basic and tidy. I do believe in the ability of minimalism to help one simplify and focus on value in their life. However, as a college student, this can become difficult. From keeping textbooks just in case you need them in the future, needing random outfits in the rare case you might have an extremely specific date party theme, to even balancing two different bedrooms between your college room and your room at your parent’s home, what’s the best way to go about this? Now, by no means am I a minimalist or very skilled at maintaining this lifestyle. I’m not going to be telling you right now to go get rid of your couch or anything, as some Minimalists may practice. However I am interested and motivated, and these tips below help me start to focus on what is important in my life, in various ways. They’re definitely baby steps, but they are a nice way to open yourself to the ideas and practices.
- Keep one page of apps on your phone. This may seem random and a miniscule step forward towards minimizing your life, but hear me out. Rather than swiping from page to page to page to find something, try to remove some applications you’ve downloaded. I have some apps on my phone that I haven’t used in months, but just haven’t taken the time to sit through and delete it. Whether you use folders to organize or one simple page of apps, it’s an easy way to start cleaning up! (Maybe after this, go through your computer and either back up or plain delete old files?!) Also perk of this clean up – since I’ve organized my social media apps into one folder, I’ve definitely been checking them less frequently? Just something interesting I’ve noticed!
- Clean out your closet using the 6 Month Rule. If you haven’t worn it in 6 months, it’s probably time to get rid of it. Granted there can be valid excuses to this (ex. You’re not wearing a coat in the summer, saving something for traveling, sentimental value, etc.), but be real with yourself. Why haven’t you worn it? Do you like other pieces in your closet more? Sell it or donate it. Try to focus your closet on key, versatile items (which also makes getting dressed much easier!) that will LAST. It may be weird at first, but soon enough you won’t even miss them!
- Detach from toxic relationships. Stick with me here. Do you have that one friend that puts you down? Maybe someone who bags on you the whole time? Or complains? Or only speaks poorly of other people? We’ve all been there. This is your chance to allow yourself to be free from these people who aren’t helping you grow or bringing you happiness. You don’t have to call them up and say, “this friendship isn’t serving me well anymore. Thanks, bye.” (Unless that is your preferred method of handling these things…then go for it?) You simply can allow the friendship to fade naturally. Stop reaching out. Don’t always accept every invitation. If they ask, then you can be honest. But allow the relationship to run its course. You will feel lighter as you continue to eliminate things that drag you down in your life.
If you’re still reading right, I’m proud of you and thank you. I promise this isn’t just some woo-woo kind of thing, but it is interesting to hear how this changes people’s lives! I don’t know if I will ever become a full-on Minimalist one day, but I am inspired by their practices to pursue happiness and hope to continue exploring.
Have you tried any of these? Do you notice a difference? Leave a comment!