Lately, I’ve been getting into minimalism (*gasp*). Minimalism has been a rising trend for a few years now, and it has swamped a good portion of us into it: Marie Kondo-ing our rooms, downsizing our furnitures, and capsule wardrobe-ing our clothes. Before this concept started gaining traction, I was… a bit reluctant. The few minimalists out there seemed too much, the concept too foreign. But as more people hopped into the wagon, the idea of adopting this lifestyle started to tease me.
I’m not someone that’s immune to trends, but I also don’t adopt them blindly (at least, that’s what I would like to think). Trends dictate the flow of something, for a period of time. It’s hard not to go along with it, and I know that what I do is at least in part influenced by them. You can see it as inspiration, or you can see it as lack of individuality. Either way, trends influence me whether I’m aware of it or not. I can see it in all the Instagram themes that I’ve adopted and all the fashion “phases” I’ve been through. Something that I really appreciate is that, after every trend I’ve attempted to embrace, I have gotten a little closer to the style that represents me best.
Minimalism is the latest trend I’m adopting, and I think it’s here to stay. As an aspiring minimalist with a maximalist heart, I’ve realized that “minimalism” places emphasis not on ridding yourself of 90% of your belongings, but on digging out those few treasures that fulfill your life. To be minimal is to free yourself from the fetters of materialism. To show greater appreciation for the things that you have, and to be more creative in how you use them.
To be minimal is to free yourself from the fetters of materialism. To show greater appreciation for the things that you have, and to be more creative in how you use them.
In terms of fashion, I’ve been shifting towards basic colors that I know for a fact I like: black, white, and pastel pink. With the occasional pop of color here and there. This shift in mindset has been so freeing for me. I don’t think about all the clothes I liked but didn’t buy, because they are not an “option” in the first place anymore. I feel more justified in sticking to those same few outfits, because that’s my style. It also makes reducing the size of my wardrobe easier, as I feel less guilty for giving away an item that no longer fits my color scheme.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in having a distinguished fashion style and reducing my wardrobe is the confidence I get from it. By reducing my options, I created more freedom in my mind to be more sure about my choices. I want my style to be distinguishable. I want you to look at me and see what my style is. I want to surprise you with the occasional bright yellow dress or velvet red skirt that you didn’t know I have, but only occasionally.
By reducing my options, I created more freedom in my mind to be more sure about my choices. I want my style to be distinguishable. I want you to look at me and see what my style is.
I’m also drawn to this lifestyle because of my current living circumstances. As a college student, I’ve moved 4 times and lived in 5 different places over the past 2 years. Moving is a huge hassle in itself, but having to drag bags and boxes of stuff that you might not even use is an even bigger annoyance. I’m slowly ridding myself of things that have been collecting dust in my drawers for the past year or so, and it doesn’t feel like I’m depriving myself when I do so. It feels like I’m making space for the things that I do have, need, and enjoy.
I know minimalism is for me because just thinking about it, the idea of it, is so alluring to me. I’ve always been a neat freak, and though I’m not a huge hoarder, I’ve always been annoyed at how I tend to hoard the stuff I don’t want to get rid of (aka “sentimental items”), even though I clearly don’t need nor want them. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not embracing extreme minimalism in the sense that I want to rid myself of non-minimalistic things that make me happy. An un-minimalistic dream of mine is having my own library. Imagine a walk-in-closet of books. Not exactly minimalist, but it’s meaningful to me, and it’s me. I guess this comes to show that minimalism is merely a guiding principle to lead a more fulfilling life, not a law enforcement that you will be penalized for.
But minimalism is not for everyone. Some people thrive in the very antithesis of a minimalist space, and I respect that. It’s important to find what fits your personality the most, and embrace that. If having a messy work space with books invading your space and pictures plastered over your walls – own it.
Minimalism is also a luxury. It’s not something that you can exactly worry about if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and have other priorities to take care of. It’s by no means a necessity to life, and I think it’s important to acknowledge this because I need to acknowledge my privilege of being able to make these choices about my lifestyle. Some people simply can’t afford to be minimal when going for the cheap and quick option is the most feasible choice in their life right now. Others may be minimal not by choice, but because they are simply too poor to be anything other than that.
However, the thing about minimalism that I believe everyone can benefit from is letting go of hoarding. It’s such a vicious hole to fall into, and I think we all hoard things to some extent, even if unintentionally. It’s so easy to pile up your drawers with clothes that you no longer need, but have forgotten about due to their unuse. It’s easy, but it’s not fair for you or your (precious) space. To combat this unintentional hoarding, I try to clean out a part of my space – my desk area, closet, or other drawers – about once a month, and I always find things that I know can be put to a better use if I gave them away. And it feels good when I finally have that drawer cleaned out. It feels good, and it makes me want to keep my space uncluttered for longer.