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Dec 31 2015
by Emily Perry

Why I'm a Minimalist

By Emily Perry - Dec 31 2015

My junior year of high school, I started following these two men on social media who refer to themselves as simply, “The Minimalists.” I saw their way of life as charming and streamlined; a lifestyle that was approachable and seemed to improve their lives. As I read more, I realized that minimalism was something that would benefit my life as well, and it was a challenge that I decided to take on.

When I first made this “decision,” I decided that I wouldn’t be one of those minimalists obsessed with counting objects and living within a boundary of a certain number. I would, instead, strive to not have duplicates and make sure that every object with which I surrounded myself had a purpose. Because of this, I began to purge. Starting with clothes, I donated any item that I didn’t think had a purpose. I made it a rule for myself that if I had to contemplate whether or not to keep something, I’d get rid of it then and there.

Purging clothes is simple, and there are countless tricks in the book to help you along the way. My favorite is turning all hangers backwards and waiting a certain amount of time to see what you actually wear. Some people prefer to use this trick over a long period of time, but I chose to make the time one month.

After I purged my excess clothes, I trimmed down all other belongings. Furniture, technology, books, movies, etc. Anything that I owned that was superfluous or didn’t serve an immediate purpose was sent to Goodwill. This part was easier for me than most, considering that I’m probably the least sentimental person you’d ever meet. Because of this, I don’t really see the need in keeping old belongings.

Minimalism, after a while, stops being something you do and it becomes part of who you are. I started seriously loving experiences more than I loved possessions, and I began to cherish people more, rather than cherishing objects. My friends often joke about getting me presents, laughing about how a single present would double the amount of things I own. But like I said, I don’t mind the number of things I have, I simply mind their function.

Being a minimalist in college is wonderful, helpful, and it makes for such a better life. On move in day, It took one trip to carry my things to my dorm room. I never worry about space or storage, and my stunning lack of things makes it that much easier when I need to pick up and move, or when I want to get away for a weekend.

Another thing - college is a time when everyone is trying to “find themselves.” We question who we are, what we want to do in life, and we change. Minimalism allows change to happen so much easier than it normally would. Instead of being bogged down in old possessions and old feelings, I can move on easily, picking up new style or new decor, new ways to express myself quite easily and without hesitation.

Overall, minimalism has become such a large part of who I am that I couldn't imagine being any different. I have found that it's easier to live with a defined purpose each and every day. It allows my life to be free of hesitation to do the things I want, and free of a lot of financial burden – qualities that can benefit any college student's life. 

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Emily Perry - Rhodes College

Emily is a Russian Studies major at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She loves film, literature, and the US National Park Service. Emily has been writing for Fresh U since June of 2014 and has served as both a web editor and a social media editor. Outside of Fresh U, she volunteers with the YMCA Center for Civic Engagement and is involved with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.

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