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A tidy desk in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. (Photo/Kayla Renie, kayla.renie96@gmail.com)

Most students find that their rooms are littered with things that they’ve accumulated over their time at UGA. We often see students online shopping during the lulls of classes or discussing their hauls from various booths that pop up around the University of Georgia. Whether it be from orientation or Amazon, students may walk away the proud owner of a bunch items they don’t necessarily need.

But by taking all that stuff home, students end up cluttering both their physical and mental spaces. By minimizing the influx of accumulated material goods from their living spaces, students might find themselves the proud owner of better lifestyle habits.

For many of us, this accumulation of stuff started in childhood. After all, American children make up 3.1 percent of the world’s population but consume 40 percent of toys produced globally, according to UCLA. Once these kids become adults with actual purchasing power, students continue their culture of consumption with money that they earn themselves. However, when Americans spend nearly 1.2 trillion dollars on nonessential (or unneeded) good yearly, there’s a lot to be trimmed from their financial diet.

In the age of rampant consumerism, minimalism is a mindset that can be cultivated during one’s time at UGA and applied once they’ve moved on and found their own job. By managing how you buy and accumulate stuff, you’re more likely to fight off advertisers and marketers wanting to dip their hands into your wallet. But attaining the minimalist lifestyle requires deliberate concentration and understanding of oneself.

Even the mention of minimalism brings up images of empty homes and forgone pleasures of life. While space does tend to open up in your house, minimalism doesn’t have to be the life of hardship. Minimalists find that they’re quality of life improved greatly once clearing out their crowded closets and storage spaces.

And the results many people find is the reduced need to tidy up one’s home, alleviated allergies and sinus issues due to better air ventilation throughout the living space and more money in the bank account to be put to other enriching experiences. Why buy the newest phone when you can put that money towards a plane ticket?

At its core, minimalism is finding out when you have enough to be happy. Happiness doesn’t come from the next purchase, since there is always another product invented and put on the market. To put it differently, minimalism is like the transition to eating enough to simply satiate hunger from eating until you are stuffed full. It’s about being comfortable in consumption. It’s about buying goods that fulfill a greater purpose in one’s life, not simply buying something to buy something.

So take stock of what you own. Donate, recycle or throw away what doesn’t enrich your life. Free up the clutter from your closet and your mind.

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