Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Minimizing and Packing

I've been spending a lot of time these past few weeks trying to minimize my belongings. As I'm writing this, I am currently in the midst of packing my belongings up so I can move out of my dorm. I have always really aligned with a minimalist lifestyle in theory. In reality, I'm not so much of a minimalist. That's all changed this past week as I pick through my belongings one by one and determine whether it's important enough to keep or if I can get rid of it. 

Let me start by saying, I by no means have a lot of stuff. I have at least half the amount of belongings that my roommates and suitemates have because I am not a huge clothes person and haven't gotten a lot of things since being here. But I did have a lot of crap that I don't need and probably will never need. In the end, I believe I'm going to leave a trunk full of winter clothes and other things, a printer, and another box of bedding with one of my friends here in Reno. And when I go home? I'm only going to bring my backpack and my little red carry on suitcase. 

How did I do this? Here's how I was able to minimize a lot of my belongings. 

1) Get rid of things I'll never need
This is SO VAGUE! I know, and I'm sorry for that. But this was the most generic way to put it. For me, these were things like notes for classes I took last semester that have no relation to my major or my future life goals. These were also things like random papers and flyers that accumulate in folders and backpacks. 

2) Scrutinize
I went one by one through all of my clothes. If I hadn't worn it at all, or if it was starting to look particularly ratty, I put it in a bag to donate. The secret to this trick is to separate yourself from the items. There is no room for sentimentality here. Judge each item based on how often you use it and whether or not you need it, and choose whether you keep it based on that. 

3) Get rid of consumables *this is only for packing*
Things like food should be eaten or donated because there is no sense in keeping it over the summer in storage. Same with shampoo, conditioner, any personal care items. It might be wasteful, but if you have small travel sized containers, fill those up from the big bottles and then get rid of the larger packaging. I tried to time everything so I'll run out of personal hygiene items by the time I need to leave, but it will seriously save you so much room if you get rid of big, bulky packaging and just re-buy what you need when you return. 

It is hard to try and move everything. It really is. But instead of thinking about how it sucks to pack everything, use this as an opportunity to go through your belongings and minimize. Items don't make you happy. The things that you have don't determine your worth. Separate your sentimentality from the items that you know, and you'll soon begin to realize how much you can do with less. 

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