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What’s the appeal of minimalism?

Minimalism — to live with fewer possessions, free from ties and free from consumer culture.

The concept of minimalism appears to be a trend for 2016-2017, especially for millennials who can’t afford to tie themselves down to a set lifestyle. But, while that definition may give off the impression that it’s part of hippie-culture, it’s actually a philosophy more people should be adopting.

As a human being, I generate a lot of crap. I keep movie stubs and theatre tickets, I have drawers overflowing with 10-years worth of birthday cards books and notebooks, and my closet is bursting with sweaters I hope to fit back into some day. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

I wouldn’t label myself (or anyone who falls under that description) as a hoarder, but I think it’s fair to say that I tend to get overly attached to inanimate objects. That is, until now.

One random day in December, it all started to bother me. The fact that I couldn’t sit down at my desk and use the entire space.  I felt closed in and cramped in my own room. Of course, the feeling could be associated with some serious PMS or life-changing obstacles I was facing throughout the terrible year of 2016, but either way I resolved to do something — to de-clutter my life and keep only what I use.

As Kelly Bishop’s Gilmore Girl character, Emily Gilmore, said in the revival: “If it brings you joy, you keep it. And if it doesn’t out it goes.”

The last year has been an emotional roller-coaster, and adopting certain minimalistic principles is a refreshing way to rid your space of negative elements. You’ll find that once you get yourself organized, you’ll feel a lot better. Your mind will be clearer, you’ll be less stressed and experience less anxiety. There is something incredibly satisfactory about knowing what is in every drawer, and being able to open it and see the contents clearly. You’ll also find you have more space in your home than you realized.

I’ve already gone through a number of my possessions and divided them into three — a garbage pile, a donation pile, and a re-sell pile. Anything that I haven’t used over/worn over the past year I’m getting rid of. If something has a strong memory, I may keep it, but I have to ask: “will this bring me joy”. Will I even acknowledge it’s existence, other than when I clean my house and suddenly find it again. Usually, the answer is no — however, if you are overly concerned with the loss of memories, keep a memory box in your closet. When the box gets full, it’s time to re-evaluate those keepsakes.

At the end of this process, you should be left with the essentials. Everything should be in its proper place and your home will look more like a real home as opposed to a place you go to sleep at night. From the money you make at garage sales or by selling larger items online, maybe you can do some travelling? That is the very essence of minimalism — being able to do what you want, when you want to, because you don’t have many unnecessary expenses. And of course, there is nothing like the feeling of dropping off bags of  clothing to good will!

This year, make 2017 about re-adjusting your lifestyle. Go through all your things and decide whether or not they bring you joy. Do you NEED all those shoes? What about that dress you wore once and never had occasion to again?

The answer is no. Get rid of it and make room for new experiences in your life! We can all use a bit more joy in our lives, don’t you think?