Lifestyle

Less is more for students who are willing to minimize

Living a more meaningful life with less could be the answer to the stress and anxiety that many students are feeling this time of year.

According to Keely Dunn, community leader of the local Calgary Meet-up Minimalist page on Facebook, minimalism isn’t about having nothing, but it is about having things that are meaningful and valuable to the owner.

“[It] frees you up emotionally, financially, spiritually to enjoy the things in your life that mean a lot to you,” said Dunn. 

Dunn’s first brush with minimalism came when she was a student at the University of Calgary.

“Every year I moved, and every year I ended up with less and less things.

“So by my eighth year, when I was finishing law school, I had a futon bed, an end table, books and clothes, and that’s all.”

But, according to Dunn, once students graduate and start their careers, they can get caught up in the Western dream of having a big house filled with stuff. After a while, Dunn got caught up too.

“It was almost a full-time job just to shop.

“It just wasn’t helping me [or] serving me. So I just started paring things back.”

There isn’t a single way of doing minimalism, said Dunn, but for many people, decluttering is a “big entry point.”

Chelsea Preston, home organizer and professional declutterer, works alongside her customers to help them maintain an organized environment in their home.

“For me, if my house is decluttered, I take that with me. My mind is decluttered.

“It’s like wiping something off of a whiteboard – having a mental checklist,” said Preston.

In the current economy, people are just “buying, buying, buying.” If students tidy up and minimize, they can cut corners and save money, said Preston.

“With everything going on in this day and age, [minimalism] is trendy but [it’s] going to stick.”

Jen Zagorsky, owner and professional home organizer at J’Organizing Inc., said that for most people disorganization is a huge stressor.

“It makes them feel that they don’t have things under control, it makes them feel chaotic,” said Zagorsky.

The main benefit of organization is a sense of calm and peace that her clients experience when they can find the things that they need when they need them, according to Zagorsky.

“If you don’t have [clutter] constantly weighing on you, you can go out and enjoy other things.”

Cutting back the amount of clutter in her client’s home is a very important first step in moving them towards a less chaotic way of life.

“We live in such a chaotic world, and to be weighed down with stuff doesn’t make a lot of sense to us, and that’s why we try to calm the chaos.”

“We need to treasure the things that we have and place a little bit more value on the things that matter, and in the grand scheme it’s not stuff.”

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