We—as a student, a worker, or as a family member—are constantly exposed to overwhelming amounts of stress. Especially in a modern society where the competition is fierce, we hardly feel like we are close to being “good enough.” Everything we see continues to pressure us to do more, become more, and own more.

As a fellow college student who often struggles with inner perfectionism and competitiveness, I can definitely empathize with the difficulties that people in this world is going through. After watching a Netflix documentary, Minimalism, I thought this change of perspective may be something we need.

Minimalism is a very interesting idea that is totally opposite to our contemporary societal value. It is about finding freedom and happiness by eliminating the excess and focusing on what actually matters. Removing unnecessary possessions also gets rid of source of stress and it makes a room for us to enjoy what we truly want in life.

There's a common misconception about minimalism that the minimalist lifestyle requires some extreme decisions such as quitting nice jobs and selling our possessions. Broadly, minimalism basically encourages you to have a simpler lifestyle, which can be achieved by various ways. Here, I will give you some suggestions that you can give a try.

1. 20/20 Rule

If you are one of those people who have a hard time throwing things away, I recommend the 20/20 rule. Get rid of any items that you can get under $20 within 20 minutes distance from your current location. Clean and organize your room by removing “just in case” items. However, some things such as cleaning supplies or books that can be used anytime do not account for this rule.

2. Project 333

Simplifying your closet can be sometimes troublesome. Project 333 is a fashion challenge that suggests you to wear 33 fashion items maximum for 3 months. The 33 items include clothes, accessories, and shoes, and excludes items such as wedding rings, pajamas, and underwear.

This minimalist experiment is aimed at reducing the time and energy that goes into deciding what to wear every day. Surprisingly enough, people likely won't even realize that you're dressing up with less items. If you're too intimidated for a big change, try hiding your remaining clothes rather than actually getting rid of them.

3. Take a Break from Social Media

As much as social media benefits us, there are downsides. Taking some time off from social media will not only reduce a huge amount of time you spend on checking what other people have posted, but also will allow you to free yourself from the pressure to act like someone you are not. Most importantly, you will be able to focus on what is actually important: real friends and the present moment. 

4. Quality Over Quantity

The minimalist lifestyle suggests that less is more. However, “better is better.” Purchasing goods that are long-lasting, versatile, and that you truly love is more beneficial than buying many mediocre items. In the long run, you will save so much time and stress to replace the worn out items. In the end, your spending habits indicate where your priorities lie in life. Choosing quality over quantity will offer you more satisfaction and time.

5. Value Experiences More Than Things

Kristine Mahan

Although minimalism seems as if it's all about owning less, it's ultimately about valuing what is really important. According to a recent study, the satisfaction for experience-related purchases are permanent while satisfaction for material purchases fades. Prioritizing experiences such as time with family will help you to increase the quality of life.

Minimalism is not about living with a set of rules. Rather, it is about the mindset of valuing what actually matters. Taking the first step to it may be intimidating, but minimalism will definitely help you to follow your true happiness and priorities in your life. As Kathy Gottberg once said, “Real luxury is not working like a maniac to take an expensive vacation—it is living a life you enjoy every day.”