**NOTE: These tips work for everyone, especially those who move a lot.
Minimalism while staying in a dorm in college isn’t usually something a first time student is thinking of when packing for the new school year. More likely than not you’re running around trying to make sure you have absolutely everything you could possibly need. Most freshman tend to over pack rather than under pack.
When I arrived in my first dorm, my dad wanted to make sure I had everything, so besides all of the clothes, shoes, and other necessities I needed, he thought Costco sized bottled water packs (about 24-36 per pack), Costco sized laundry detergent and fabric softener, and Costco sized anything else. The pros to having such a large quantity of things is that it takes a significant time to get through, lasting longer. The cons is that living in a 12x19ft room, it leaves no room for anything extra. I also had one hell of a time dragging the heavy laundry detergent up and down the stairs every few weeks.
So, is minimalism something you can or should do in college?
Even if you’re not comfortable with the idea of minimalism, curbing the consumerism and making sure you leave with the same or even less than you came with is a good goal.
“When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.” (x)
How Does College and Minimalism Work?
Well, mainly, it’s learning to adapt to the size of your environment. Having a comfortable amount of items so you don’t feel squished or overwhelmed with the amount of items you have not only works in keeping your room a safe place to be if you need alone time, a place to study or do homework, or just chill out. I don’t know about you, but trying to do homework with giant piles of everything all over the place and there isn’t much free space, makes me uncomfortable.
You’ll thank yourself when you’re moving out (especially for the first time) and you’ve come to find that you have more clothes than suitcase, or more books than containers. There’s nothing like trying to pack your stuff and finding out that everything you own doesn’t fit in your packing containers, or worse, doesn’t fit in the car/truck/ etc. you’re using to transport your stuff home.
Anyone who lives outside of driving distance from their college and opt to fly there instead will completely understand this. They tend to be pretty good at keeping their things under control. Why? If they’re not storing some of the less used things (lamps, mini fridge, etc. ) with a local storage company, they have only a few carry ons to get their stuff home. Anything that doesn’t fit just isn’t coming.
Why is Minimalism Important?
Well, for one, it keeps your consumerism under control. You may head to your campus store and really like this hoodie that’s on sale, but if you have a more minimal mindset, you might think to yourself “Can I fit that in my closet? Can I replace an old hoodie with this new one?” instead of just impulse buying. As someone seven years out of college that has a closet full of hoodies and zipups with my university name on it, I can vouch for the amount of room they take up in my closet.
This also doesn’t mean that you can’t have material items. Some people choose to live with the basics, or have a total of 100 personal items. That’s okay. It’s also okay to have a collection of Pop Vinyls or collector’s edition fan memorabilia if that’s your thing. It doesn’t matter. As long as you don’t feel overwhelmed with the amount of things you have, you’re on the right track.
Here’s a quick recap:
1. Don’t buy more than you can pack
2. Don’t stock buy if you don’t have the room
3. There’s a difference between items you want and items you need
4. Keep your space neat, clean and underwhelmed with items.