The Year of Less

I just took some Benadryl to combat my allergies and my insomnia, so this may get interesting…

In the final few days of December, I encountered this article on my Facebook feed. It’s titled Why Minimalism Should Be Your 2017 Resolution and it definitely got me thinking about the benefits of having less stuff. In all honesty, I hate clutter. You might think otherwise if you’ve seen my apartment or been in my room, but I truly hate it – with. a. passion.

The problem is, I have a lot of stuff I don’t need. I’m also really busy. And I still struggle with mental illness. This lovely combination often puts cleaning and organizing at the bottom of my priorities list (especially when I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed with anxiety) and makes the task difficult when I actually attempt it…THERE IS JUST SO MUCH STUFF.

I probably just made myself sound like a hoarder. I’m not one; I promise. There’s just a lot of clutter and a lot of things that I don’t need anymore (or never needed in the first place). While I’m not striving for minimalism, I’ve declared 2017 “The Year of Less” and I’m off to a pretty good start.

So far, I’ve cleared oodles of books from my bookcase and have gone through piles of clothes. Earlier this week, my mom and I sorted through things in our attic and I purged a number of items I’d stored for years in plastic Rubbermaid containers, stashed away and all but forgotten.

I came up with a list of guidelines for handling each of the items I decided to get rid of:
1. If someone else can use the item, consider selling it.
2. If I can’t sell the item, but someone else could still use it, donate it.
3. If the item can’t be used by anyone, throw it away or recycle it.

I’d love to be super generous and just donate everything I no longer need to those who need it most, but I truly need the money gathered from selling things to cover necessary expenses. The places I’ve sold to thus far include Half-Price Books, Plato’s Closet, and Clothes Mentor. Between the three locations, I made just over $80.

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Some items to be donated (foot not included)

The other component of The Year of Less involves my habits as a consumer. In addition to having a lot of stuff, I also buy a lot of stuff. I’m easily lured by sale prices and love the idea of having new things (yes, it’s materialistic and I’m not proud, but it’s the truth). This year, I’ve resolved only to buy things that are absolutely necessary. I know I’m going to purchase some frivolous things over the next twelve months, but I’m working to be a more conscious consumer. All of the money I save from not buying stuff will go directly toward graduate school expenses and necessary living expenses, such as medication.

So far in 2017, my drawers are emptier and my bookcases more sparse than they were just weeks ago. I’ve lined my wallet with some cash and have begun putting it toward the professional attire I need for my upcoming grad school interviews. I’m also a lot more at ease knowing that there’s a little less stuff for me to keep track of and I feel confident in my purchases of things I really need.

Here’s to less stuff and more 2017.

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