Embracing Minimalism

Remember the feeling you used to get at the start of a new school year, when you would buy brand new notebooks and pencils and say to yourself, This year will be different. I will not procrastinate and I will enjoy school and I will have more free time. That’s the kind of clean-slate feeling that you can get if you let go of materialism and embrace minimalism.

What embracing minimalism meant for me was getting rid of a lot of stuff when I came home this after graduating college. Everything I needed for 4 years of my life fit neatly into one dorm room, and even some of that was superfluous clutter. I donated a lot of my clothes to Goodwill, gave some things to my friends, and packed everything important to me into two boxes to be shipped home. I arrived home before the boxes did, and I found the amount of stuff I owned to be overwhelming. If everything I needed was on a UPS truck en route to me, what in the world were my drawers overflowing with?

I spent the next few days figuring that out. I separated things into piles and bags- one for garbage, one for donating, one for keeping. What I ended up with was an extremely de-cluttered room which felt so much nicer to be in. Just knowing that your drawers aren’t full of old junk helps create a much calmer mood.

How can you embrace minimalism?

Getting rid of sentimental items:

It can be hard letting go of old stuff. Get rid of as much as you can, but for the things you just cant seem to let go of, put them in a box and put the box in the back corner of a closet for a few weeks. Forget it is there. When you remember it some time later, go through the box and ask yourself if you truly missed anything that was in it. Was it hard for you to get by the past few weeks without that silver spoon your ex best friend brought you back from the Cayman Islands? Probably not. Throw it out and know that you’re not doing anything wrong by getting rid of the physical representation of a memory.

Letting go of collections:

What I’m having the most trouble getting rid of is collections. I used to collect coins and I still collect sea glass, and I have started a small teddy bear collection. I decided to never start another collection, but what do I do with the old ones I am still attached to?

The sea glass collection I decided to keep, because I hand-picked every piece myself off of different beaches as a child, and it all fits nicely into a martini glass that I display in my room. Its not taking up much space and it looks nice.

My teddy bear collection is taking up space- I just don’t know where to put it. I have multiple bears from the same people, so I decided to choose one bear from each person and put the other ones away in the box in the closet and see if they are still important to me in a few weeks. I think I should be able to let go of them fairly easily. And as for the bear I bought myself, hes going to be the first to go. Sorry teddy.

My coin collection is also hard to get rid of; a lot of the coins were given to me by friends and family who also treasured them before me. Its easy for me to get rid of the coins I collected myself while abroad, but the others are harder. One way to encourage yourself to let go of things like this? Check their selling price on Ebay. Its hard to keep something you don’t truly need when you find out you could have $40 instead.

So put de-cluttering on the top of your to-do list. It feels great and it will encourage you to buy less and spend less in the future. You’ll be able to focus on people and activities instead of just stuff.