Adopting a minimalist mindset can declutter and re-prioritize your life

Anna Norwalt, Reporter

More people should adopt minimalism in their lives as it is a better way to live. Minimalism promotes contentment with what you have and intentional living.

Minimalism is described by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.”

Today we don’t see a lot of extreme minimalism, rather a middle ground with a minimalistic mindset.

When I say minimalism I mean making a conscious effort to consume less, in one or more areas of life. Spending less time online, less money when shopping or even just owning less things.

The minimalism mindset has become more popular with the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix which features Japanese organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo. 

Kondo introduced the practice of asking yourself: does this thing in my hand spark joy? If the answer is yes, keep it, if no, give it away. This is a form of minimalism and decluttering.

Minimalism was introduced to me three years ago starting with Kondo’s show on Netflix and then again by Sarah Therése, a YouTuber and blogger who shares her tips and life as a minimalist.

The goals of minimalism are to consume less with more intent. By consuming less, you spend less time shopping for things you don’t need, scrolling through social media and have more money to invest in the things you want.

Another reason people are turning to minimalism is that it helps you reprioritize your life and helps you feel more fulfilled in focusing on what is important. This creates less space for comparison.

This technique of minimalism, proposed to buy less clothing items, often goes with buying sustainability-made items which can be pricey. As a college student, I understand the financial burden buying items can bring, and offer a few ideas such as clothing swaps, thrift stores, and community groups.

If you need new clothes or need a place to put your old ones, a clothing swap is a great and free way to go. 

Minimalism is about intentional things being brought into your life, not the elimination of bringing things in. A clothing swap is a great place to do this because you have to go through each article of clothing to find the pieces you want.

I believe that if an item has no purpose in your life, it’s best to give it away because it might be purposeful in someone else’s life. This concept can also be applicable for thrift shopping. Thrift stores are another great place to give away items and buy new ones at low prices. It gives items another chance to be used. 

California Lutheran University’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Rachel Schmid was part of Cal Lutheran’s third clothing swap on March 26. At the clothing swap, students were encouraged to bring clothes and were free to take any that caught their eye.

“A swap is not just for the people who are receiving clothing but the people who get to let go of things that they were holding onto that were baggage in their life,” Schmid said.

Another reason people should look into minimalism is the environmental benefits it brings. 

Global warming, polluted oceans, and poor human rights in fast-fashion can all be fought by buying more intentionally. While sustainable clothing is favored over fast-fashion, it is more expensive and college students don’t always have the money to invest in clothes.

Krista Chang the president of the Green Club at Cal Lutheran said that fast-fashion items could be held on to as long-term clothing, which was her idea to make sustainability a more reachable goal for students.

“I think the biggest thing, I know college students don’t necessarily have a lot of money and fast fashion can be a very attractive option, and that’s not always necessarily bad,” Chang said.

Another way to spend less is by asking those in your community, friend groups or family if you can borrow certain items.

Schmid is a part of a group called ‘Buy Nothing, Get Everything,’ inspired by a book with the same name. This is a community-based group where people can borrow things from those in the group, creating less of a need to buy more.

This falls in line with the current idea of a minimalistic mindset. The idea is to be intentional with your buying habits and create a ‘more is less’ mentality. This saves you money, creates less stress and saves time.

“Whatever it is that you’re scrolling through…you’re going to be bombarded by ads that tie your emotional wellbeing to something physical,” Schmid said.

Minimalism is a new way of thinking, not a one-time declutter method. It helps you better discern what is important to you and live accordingly. Having minimalism, even in one area of your life, can make a big difference in the way you live daily.