I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to decorate my room in my own house next year. Of course I will have roommates, but we should all have our own rooms. Last year, I lived in an on-campus dorm with a dreadful roommate. This year, I’m living in my sorority house, and although I have the biggest two person room, I’m still tied to a roommate. Don’t get me wrong, I love Grace, but I cannot wait to have a space to myself that isn’t under my parents’ roof. I began looking through designs and was immediately draw to the clean lines and neutral colors of minimalism. After a bit of research, I was hooked.
The best definition I read was “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” By decluttering my life, I will discover what means most to me. It sounds pretty attractive to a college girl trying to figure out her entire life plan. But the decluttering was going to be tough.
I’ve never been considered a light packer. When I came home for winter break, my mother joked that I must be failing out of school and moving home based on the amount of stuff I squeezed into my Corolla. Once I got all of my stuff to my room, I realized I didn’t have a place to put it. My room had been so full that when I moved out for college, I hadn’t even made a dent in the amount of stuff still crammed in my space.
I have a huge walk-in closet. In addition to the massive amounts of clothes, I had four moving boxes stuffed into corners. As a military brat, I’ve moved often. One would think that moving every two years would prevent hoarding, but it didn’t stop me. I packed things away and never reopened the boxes. Most of them had clothes and random stuff. I discovered an entire moving box full of hair ribbons and old calendars. Who keeps enough ribbon to fill a moving box? Me, apparently.
Shoved in other random places, I found ‘sentimental’ items: a large shopping bag full of other shopping bags from places like Hollister and Juicy Couture; nine Nike shoeboxes, and a random assortment of other shoeboxes; a tangled mess of enough Mardi Gras beads for all of New Orleans; every issue of Seventeen magazine from 2010 to 2014; and a collection of empty bottles of alcohol from my rebellious high school years.
If I was going to transform into a successful minimalist, I had my work cut out for me. After a few weeks of sorting through piles and piles of items at 4am, I managed to fit all of the things that were actually sentimental to me into one plastic tub. It mostly contains journals and scrapbooks with a few odds and ends sprinkled in. I traded in some clothes at Plato’s Closet and got $160. According to my Goodwill receipts, I donated 5 boxes of wares and 8 bags of clothing. I literally know nothing about taxes, but my mom kept the receipts and said she would get a good tax break from all my hoarding.
The picture above is my new, minimalist closet. Please keep in mind that these are only the clothes I brought home for break; my college closet also needs to be cleansed. But I did get rid of all the stuff I haven’t worn in years. On the other side of my closet, I have only very sentimental clothing like my prom dresses and my state volleyball jerseys. My closet is now mostly empty hangers and a lot more floor space than I could’ve imagined.
I’m still a work in progress. I still proudly own more pairs of Nike Frees than any one person realistically needs. I couldn’t bear to part with any of my Micheal Kors bags. I will always attach sentimental value to my mason jar full of old, dead flowers. I’m not a perfect person, and I’m definitely not a perfect minimalist. I hope to apply my new minimalist skills to my tiny, shared room back in College Station. Maybe by the time I move into my own space I will have purged all of the unnecessary items from my life and will be able to start fresh. Then I could obtain the streamlined aesthetic that drew me to minimalism in the first place.
Here’s another one of my favorite minimalist quotes: “There are two ways to become rich: one is by acquiring much and the other is by desiring little.”
If you’re interested, I recommend becoming minimalist by Joshua Becker.