How to become a minimalist: UC Berkeley edition

Olivia Staser/Staff
New Doc 2017-08-27

College is a time of excess. There’s too much homework, too many cups of coffee and too many classes. Simplification is essential. That’s where minimalism comes in. Becoming a minimalist in college —especially at UC Berkeley (where there’s too much stuff and not enough square feet) — is a necessity. Decluttering your living space and holding on to only the necessities is the way to go. It’s just a matter of how to start.

Step 1: Digitize your stuff

Whether it’s textbooks, important papers or anything else, going digital is an easy first step to clearing up space and simplifying your life.

Step 2: Give away old/unworn clothes

We all have at least one old sweater or a pair of skinny jeans with the tag still on them. Most of us have more than a couple of items we could afford to give to Goodwill instead. Instead of letting unloved clothes hang idly in your way-too-tiny closet, give them away to a person in need.

Step 3: Stop buying stuff

It’s not that you’ll never buy anything again, it’s that true minimalists only buy things they actually need. Next time you’re shopping on Amazon or debating whether to get your $4 daily chai latte, take some time to think about why you’re actually buying it. Then make a decision.

Step 4: Go on a social media hiatus (for a little while, at least)

Social media addiction has struck college campuses everywhere, and Cal is no exception. Sure, social networks help us keep up with friends and family, but they can quickly become a time-consuming habit. Detoxing for a little while will allow for a more peaceful existence.  

To be a minimalist is to realize that material possessions aren’t everything. As Socrates said, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” He’d probably agree with my assertion: a campus with more minimalists is a happier campus.

Contact Melany Dillon at [email protected].