Sure, minimalism and simplifying may seem impossible. I assure you there is no right or wrong way to achieve your goal. There are many paths that lead to success, but there are a few fundamental rules to live by.
- Stop comparing to others
- Make a list, and stick to it
- Remove clutter
- Be grateful
By dismissing comparisons, you will no longer need to keep up with the Joneses, which is too much of a game anyways. Prioritizing allows you to see what is most important to you, and making the list allows you to constantly remember these priorities. The most important rule, however, is being grateful for what you do own. So what if you cannot afford all of the things you want. Neither can many of your friends. Simplifying is the first step to cutting the cord to materialism.
By living by these basic rules, you can aim your lifestyle towards minimalism. There are many other methods as well. You must keep an open mind while following the guidelines and know the difference between needing and wanting an item. Personally, I am considering either the Bare Essential Method or 21 Day Process.
“The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” –Elise Boulding
Society makes consumers believe that they can only increase their self worth by purchasing more things. Television commercials and constant advertisements are constantly telling us that we need their product in order to live a perfect life. Why must we give in to their trickery? That Michael Kors bag does not make you more successful. Owning an Audi does not make one any smarter. These items simply make one appear as if he or she is experiencing the best standard of living. Real success is not measured in material wealth!
I went away to college for my freshman year– almost three hours from home. I knew I had a small dorm room which I had to share. When I began packing for the commute, I realized that I could not possibly take all of my belongings. I had too much stuff. I tried to sort through my items and only take what was necessary, but it seemed impossible. I managed the first two weeks with only the necessities and a few items of attachment. However, every weekend that I visited home I would bring a few more items from home back to my dorm room. After the first semester, I realized that I had a problem. Why did I need so much stuff? The second semester I started bringing things back home during my visits. My room became more organized, and I was able to focus more on my studies and less on the clutter forming amongst the room.
I have since moved back home for college. Last year, I realized the same problem occurring again. I have grown attached to items. It is a must to decrease the amount of belongings. The clutter is distracting to say the least. I have decided on living a more minimal lifestyle. I have slowly been decreasing the number of things I own and items I purchase. I have even given a few things to the local Goodwill.
So far, I have noticed a few improvements in my life.
- less clutter and more organization
- more money to spend/save
- less worries about items lost
- less to clean
- an increase in personal freedom
Jessica, minimalist student, explains in her page Minimal Student, “You don’t have to give up everything, it’s about reducing to what you really need. You can still dress fashionably without wasting money on brands, watch TV that is actually worth watching and drive a car when you need to.” She also discusses her own personal reasons for minimalism and ways to achieve a simpler lifestyle.
A few other blogs to consider are Uberless, Almost Bohemian, and Seeking to Minimalize. Starting today, for every unnecessary item that I purchase, I will get rid of two things I don’t need.