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Minimalism: A New Way of Life

Posted by Paris Rivera on

“What you do have control over, is having less.”

The other day, I walked into my apartment to find my roommate glued to the TV screen. I asked her what she was watching and she told me it was a documentary on how to be happy.

I didn’t understand at the time, but she told me later that the film was about a different way of life: minimalism. Minimalists find joy in the simple things and rid themselves of anything that they don’t necessarily need or enjoy. A great pastime of American society is retail therapy -- shopping for things that we tell ourselves we need to feel accomplished and good. But when does this need for the material items end?

When we overspend and overbuy, the result is an abundance of material possessions that hold no true meaning or value. Inevitably, we tire of those things we once thought would make us happy and go on to purchase more unnecessary goods. Those things that we bought earlier end up in the trash, creating a cycle that has defined how the fashion industry views the American consumer. This perspective exposes the real problem -- us -- and how we collectively contribute to the great waste that our country produces and its effect on the world.

I realized that as much as I wanted to live eco-consciously, I wasn’t aware that my spending habits were part of the problem, so I decided to learn more about sustainable consumption and be an example for others. The film opened my mind to a new perspective and made me think: of all the things I own, what do I really need to be happy?

Consider how much we spend on material possessions, what it is that we buy, and if/how those things are truly benefitting us. One place to start is in your own closet. Think about all the clothes you own -- jeans that don’t fit anymore, all the random t-shirts, sweatpants and 3-year-old shoes -- and ask yourself, “what do you actually wear, and like wearing? What can be done with the rest and how can this benefit both the environment and your well being?”

I believe if we all took a moment to evaluate our closets, we would realize how many things we own that we do not truly need, and giving up those items could mean the world to someone else.

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