by Cassidy Lawson
Hello everyone! Thanksgiving and Black Friday are officially over and this week we’re now on to Cyber Monday. It seems that every year, they keep trying to make the holidays more drawn out; or rather the sales want to become more and more extravagant. Every single day, but especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are almost pressured into buying way more than our friends and family need. Every time you open your email or get on Twitter, there is another promotion, another discount, and another wish list item…it seems like it will never end. Lately, I have been thinking about really reassessing my priorities as far as my belongings go. One of the graduate assistants in my office recently started a blog on simplifying and becoming a minimalist. I identify with this greatly because lately it seems like I’m always bogged down with stuff. For the past two years, I’ve never actually unpacked my apartment all the way. I get so swept up in creating the perfect apartment that I keep buying stuff and then get so overwhelmed that I just give up and don’t make it the space that I want. To this day, my apartment is still not how I want it and it’s December. Think of all the free time you would have and all the happy feelings you would get from simplifying…
Something that I’ve learned lately is that getting rid of stuff is hard. Every time I try, my mind will come up with another excuse like, “What if you do wear that someday? Remember how much money you paid for that? This could be really useful someday right?” I think it’s my packrat habits mixed in with my only child symptoms of not wanting to let go of what is mine. However, just because I have all these possessions doesn’t mean they’re making me happy. In the recently popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, the author suggests you should ONLY have items in your house that bring you joy; everything else is just fluff. Therefore, it is so important to take a hard look at what is in our apartments, offices, closets, cars, etc. and say, “I don’t need this item. I’ve never used it and someone else could benefit from it.” The upside of getting rid of items is knowing that they’re going to a good home. For example, I have a huge tote full of craft supplies that I never use that I’m going to donate to a local art program for free-can you imagine the joy of the kids that will use it? Not only will I be doing a good deed, I will also feel a weight off my shoulders from getting rid of things. I bring all of this up because I feel that this obsessive shopping habit started when I got to college. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by these interesting, beautiful people that appeared to have so much more than I did. I compensated my insecurities about myself by buying way more than I ever needed. I’m not the only one that has experienced this; I’ve talked with several other students who claim they also spend way too much on themselves. Don’t we want to be teaching our students that living simply is the way to go? We have way more than we need anyways; I hope this holiday season you consider cutting down before you spend and buy more!