College students often live a stressful and cluttered life. A minimalist lifestyle can take away unneeded stress and give more time to focus your energy on reaching your goals and helping your community.
The popular concept of Minimalism is rooted in an artistic movement in New York during the 1960s to be extremely simplistic, but has been revived with “Minimalism” and “Tidying Up” on Netflix. Many of our own Eckerd community members live by this philosophy.
“Minimalism to me is... getting by with as few resources as possible to live comfortably without buying and using things in a carefree, thoughtless manner,” Sustainability Director Evan Bollier said.
Minimalism is not getting rid of most things you own and only having four shirts. It is about only keeping things that add value to your life, so it is different for everyone.
“My room isn't barren, but I only have things that I feel are valuable,” junior John Opaleski said. “With my cooking stuff I have one fork, one spoon, one knife, two bowls. I don't have a mug, I drink my coffee out of a bowl. Just cause I don't need it.”
While throwing out your whole closet and buying a new wardrobe at Goodwill may be extremely liberating, that is not easy for most people. We find importance in our items, but are three blue T shirts really needed?
Author Courtney Carver is a minimalist who created a challenge to start minimalism. The 333 project is a challenge to wear only 33 items of clothing for three months. Instead of getting rid of all of your clothes, just put away most of your clothes except for 33.
The point is to find which items that bring joy and which ones sit in the closet untouched. By taking out those items that are only adding clutter to your closet, it simplifies your life.
Junior Trish Schranck lives a minimalistic lifestyle here at Eckerd and strives to fit everything she owns inside of her car. She is working towards a zero waste lifestyle as well.
“Minimalism to me is really all about simplifying,” Schranck said. “Simplifying the things that can stress you out in your life or cause you to be overstimulated and pull you away from what your central goals are.”
What you physically own isn't all that minimalism is about. Having less things simply helps you to focus on what is important to you. Instead of spending 20 minutes in the morning deciding what to wear, you now have 20 minutes and more energy to focus on your goals. Even if that just gives you the extra time for breakfast in the morning.
Sophomore Zachary Brown is inspired by the minimalism and is attempting to transition to the lifestyle. He found it through minimalism youtubers and documentaries on netflix.
“Minimalism is to focus on the way you live, not what you have,” Brown said.
Living your life by giving yourself the room and time to do things you enjoy is mentally and physically beneficial. Instead of searching Walmart for something to buy your roommate for their birthday, go out and do something they love.
“I don't buy a lot of material things because… there's so many more things I feel we can invest our money in like making memories and experiences,” Schranck said.
Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle takes time and can be daunting. Taking the first step is the hardest part. Eckerd hosts Trash to Treasure during May, allowing students to donate the things they don't want anymore.
“For a minimalist perspective I think it [Trash to Treasure] is a great idea to let people declutter without feeling stressed that they are just throwing it away,” Brown said.
Whatever items are donated by students moving out in May are sorted through and resold to incoming students and staff. The things that are still not bought are donated to a charity. According to Boiller, this event saves roughly ten tons of materials from ending up in landfills.
“I think that you can get a lot of value, save money, learn a lot of things and help save the environment if you are able to thoughtfully reuse things and give them an extra life cycle,” Bollier said.
By living a minimalist lifestyle you have less clutter in your home and produce less waste.
Junior Nathan Kovacs lives a minimalistic lifestyle and uses his reusable mug for coffee, water, and meals including pancakes to reduce his material goods. His goal is to live in a van and have all of his belongings fit in his movable home.
“Our society is trying to focus on ‘reduce reuse recycle’ but focus too heavily on recycling, when reduce is the first R,” Kovacs said.
Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle helps the environment and yourself. Clearing your living space and your mind of clutter give you the ability to focus on what is truly important in your life.