College is the perfect opportunity to pursue minimalism. New students pack up their rooms and move into compact dorms warranting the use of extreme organizational techniques in order to fit everything into a single space. Typically, the problem students face is their attachment to the material things that found a place in their last bedroom. There is also a misunderstanding that one cannot survive with absolutely every last item and article of clothing they ‘used’ before college. Minimalism is the ideal way for college students to prioritize their material possessions and approach dorm life in a decluttered way.
Many students fall into the back to school sale trap. Stores send out checklists of everything a student needs, and people flock to sales to purchase every listed item. The Everyday Minimalist provides tips on how to stay out of the sales and on track with a minimalist lifestyle. Her number one tip: avoid branded trinkets and apparel. School spirit is central to the college experience, but owning multiple stuffed animals and mugs with your schools brand, and 10 similar sweatshirts is not only a waste of space in an already too small dorm, but also a waste of money. In regards to branded apparel, The Everyday Minimalist writes, “Sweatpants and T-shirts are all well and good until you get to the end of your college years and realize you should have saved that money to buy a nice suit for interviews instead.”
Emma Ayer, a student at the University of Colorado: Colorado Springs writes about her experience with minimalism in college. Two tips that she highlights in her piece from the Odyssey Online is to focus on physical and mental health in order to sustain a minimalist lifestyle. She recommends finding the time to exercise and plan out clean eating meals. Ayer also suggests taking sabbaticals from social media periodically throughout the semester as a way to cleanse yourself psychologically and detach yourself from the internet. Also, it makes more time for interpersonal relationships with loved ones and opens yourself up to new relationships. When you feel good and are thinking clearly, you are able to successfully remain on track to living a simple life.
It can be easy to fall into the peer pressure of college life, that is consumed by Instagram posts depicting expansive wardrobes, Starbucks runs every day, and elaborately decorated dorms. But that’s just it- it’s all very consuming. College should be a time focused on making memories and truly being present to experience them. Minimalism offers a lifestyle to help with this.