A little over a year ago, I met a boy who shared with me all sorts of funny ideas. He gushed about the quality of American-made items and raved about a lifestyle called minimalism. I thought he was crazy.

Flash forward to this past semester.

The floor of my dorm room is layered with clothing and accessories that I never considered wearing once throughout the past year. With mounds of “stuff” I had accumulated throughout a lifetime of consumerism, I became stressed out by what I owned. Oh, retail therapy. I would buy a Lilly Pulitzer item in every pattern I considered decent that season. I, too often, purchased basic tops because they were on sale. All of that “stuff” accumulated faster than I could have imagined.

It’s incredible to realize that one’s own possessions could possess them so much. I picked up the remote and watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and made a change. I have started so, terribly slowly, but I plan to get rid of two-thirds of my belongings by the end of the year. This might sound extreme to some, but when we sit down and consider the things we actually touch on a weekly basis, two-thirds is probably not enough for most.

As a more extreme version of de-cluttering, minimalism also encourages us to really appreciate and utilize the things we have. If we only hold onto what really brings us joy, there is little chance that our possessions can cause us any stress. Our time is not spent organizing and reorganizing our belongings, and the thought of paying money for a space to house only our things never enters our minds. The concept of minimalism can extend into other aspects of our lives, too. Which friends really add value to my life? What does one person do with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths?

At it’s root, it’s about not being wasteful of any resources, but especially our own. Our time and money is better spent on experiences that enrich us. I would so much rather pay for a ticket to a Bastille concert than buy a shirt with their name across the front.

This is not a strict set of guidelines on how to live one’s life, but more a set of ideals which could be employed at one’s will. It is important that we do what feels right for ourselves. However, rather than falling for our advertisement culture, I consider purchases more carefully and only buy when it is necessary. In the long run, this will save me time and money better than any semi-annual sale would.

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