So You Have Too Much Stuff? Try Minimalism


Courtesy of Grana

A minimalist-styled closet scene. 

Chloe Miller, Staff Writer

Everyone remembers move-in day, with parents finally bringing the last load of trash bags into the tiny dorm room. You stood there asking yourself, “Where is this all going to go?” College dorm rooms are a pain, especially if living in the quad. Someone may claim that everything in his or her closet sparks joy, but no matter how many sweatshirts were left at home, there are always too many things and not enough space. If you have found yourself in this position, read ahead for the easy guide to collegiate minimalism. 

Minimalism gets a bad rep for being daunting and impossible. Who really wants to get rid of all their clothes and knick-knacks? The key to decluttering and finding more space in one’s room is not necessarily becoming a true minimalist, but becoming minimal-ish. A person doesn’t have to hunt through the closet and only keep one white tee-shirt: this is rather impractical. A whole lifestyle does not have to be turned upside down. 

To become minimal-ish, one must be practical. Before starting the declutter, commit to the process and remember that you can’t hold onto everything. Everything kept at school should be serving a purpose for life on campus, not necessarily life at home. Be honest with yourself; how many times do you really dress up for class during the week? More often than not, you are probably in your pajamas for most of the day, even when heading to the dining hall for food. 

The first step to becoming minimal-ish is trying to figure out what exactly it is that one has too much of. Maybe you have too many workout clothes that are rarely used, desk trinkets that clutter your workspace or maybe you even have too many mugs or dishes. It is easier to minimize when starting from the category that one has the most items in. Once you figure out the first area you want to work in, trash the triples. If one already has two of one item, are any more really necessary? How many duplicates of a single item does one really need? Two mugs, two sets of sheets and two blankets is perfectly enough, especially in small, confined dorms. When tackling the closet specifically, the rule of triples will be extremely helpful. Another helpful tip for decreasing one’s absurd amount of clothes is to throw away the extra hangers. Once you do a first declutter of the closet, only keep the number of hangers at this point. Getting rid of those extra hangers ensures that whenever buying new clothing, one can get rid of as many pieces that were brought in.

The next important step to maximizing space is figuring out how often items are used. If it isn’t used once every two months, how necessary is it? Maybe it’s a yoga mat you never get around to using or a pair of shoes you constantly swear you will wear. However, if it’s not used within two months, be honest — it probably will never be used. 

Living in dorm rooms isn’t, and will never be, easy. Trying to decrease the number of knick-knacks lying around and black sweaters in the closet will help make the space feel more open and comfortable. One doesn’t need to become a by-the-book minimalist. Be realistic and practical, and becoming minimal-ish will follow.