When freshmen are packing for colleges and universities they always have to keep in mind that living quarters, whether dorm or off campus housing, often have narrow space and so there’s a limit to what they can bring. For this reason they are usually advised to come with just a few belongings which translate into a couple of bags of clothing and a few other essentials.
True, over the course of the year new students will pick up a few extra things here and there but for the most part, if they’re lucky, the amount of belongings they claim will still remain at a minimum. In a way what results is their early experience in the world of higher education is on par with leading a minimalist lifestyle.
Nevertheless, as they become sophomores and so on it’s very easy to accumulate things, much of which can stick around for decades when not careful.
Some of the blame for the accumulation of stuff can be placed squarely on the media and various marketing campaigns bombarding students from many directions. Elsewhere it could be based on the perception that material objects can make us happy.
However, before things get out of control students who live away from home should take a step back and consider the following. Many of the possessions left behind at their permanent address aren’t necessary or at the very least play an insignificant role in their daily activities and identity.
In fact, they could end up being downright problematic in life.
Having lots of possessions weighs people down. In many cases it’s a psychological thing but that weight can be felt. How so? Let’s say someone gets a job offer but it would require moving cities. When lots of stuff is involved there’s suddenly a need to figure out what to do with it all and the situation can become so overwhelming causing that person to remain in his place instead of making a much needed change.
Even if the weight of everything isn’t holding us back the sheer clutter which having a lot of stuff creates can be enough to throw us over the edge. Even if it’s all stuffed into a room opening that door and seeing what we must one day face should be a sign that’s it’s time to confront it once and for all sooner rather than later.
If the weight of everything isn’t holding us back and we’re able to keep the clutter to a minimum all that stuff can still affect us through worrying about it. For instance, because there are so many things to look after it can become an unnecessary worry whether it’s going to get damaged or stolen. True, it could all be put in storage but then there are payments that need to be made creating another headache.
What this all boils down to is that by most standards Americans deal with a lot of these issues throughout their lives because of the nature of living in a consumer culture. Still, it doesn’t have to be that way. Students who may be experiencing minimalism now, even if they haven’t considered it a way of life, can take extra steps in order to truly integrate some of this thinking into real life after they graduate. Doing so may alleviate some pressures of life down the road.
How can this be achieved? Consider the simple equation of reusing, limiting, and disowning and how they can work together to attain results.
1. Reusing: Reuse whatever you can so there’s no need for unnecessary stocking up. An example is having a water bottle so there’s no need to purchase bottled water.
2. Limiting: Limit the amount of particulars like clothing, cutlery, bags, etc coming into the living space. Just have enough to do what you need to do.
3. Disowning: If limiting is being watchful of what comes into the living space disowning is emptying out. The word itself sounds harsh but think of it as if everything you have doesn’t really belong to you. The more this sits with us the easier it will be to simply give away belongings when no longer needed.
Guest Post Written By, Jakob Barry
Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs about Green topics for pros across the U.S. like Hialeah, FL, carpenters.