By Ken Sturtz
Most of us would admit we have too much stuff and in a college dorm room or a small apartment it doesn’t take much for clutter to take over and make your life miserable.
One way to deal with it is the route Syracuse-based comedian and motivational speaker Derrick Tennant took.
He has just seven shirts (one for each day of the week) and fits his belongings into a suitcase. With no home address he lives out of hotels and occasionally stays with friends and family.
It’s part of his philosophy to live simply and love completely. Even if you insist on keeping a permanent address it’s still doable to pare down your belongings in college, reduce the clutter and live a simpler, less stressful life.
Here are some ideas to help.
stuff doesn’t equal more happiness
It’s nice to have stuff, especially really nice stuff. Unfortunately, American culture tends to broadcast the message that to be happy you always need more stuff. You certainly don’t have to give away all your possessions to live a simpler life (or be happy), but it helps to mentally give yourself permission to strip some of the material excess in your life and organize what’s left.
Figure out if your real problem is organization
Most people have a friend who is comically disorganized. Think: clothes on the back of a chair, mountains of stuff piled on the desk and a textbook in the laundry basket. Ask yourself if your problem is organization, too much stuff or both. If organization is your main issue, reach out to a friend who is particularly well organized and ask them for some advice.
things at home
There’s no reason to take your heavy winter clothing to college months before it snows. And if you know you’ll need dress clothes for a formal event later in the semester don’t bring and store them the whole time. They’ll take up valuable space. Think through what you’re packing and leave behind things that you won’t need right away and can return home for.
Bringing too much clothing is a common problem. Fashions change as often as the weather and no one wants to be caught flat-footed without their favorite ripped jeans. As painful as it might be, go through your clothes and try everything on. Whittle things down to what you know you’ll wear and a few extras. Leave the rest at home.
a regular thing and get your roommate
One of the best ways to keep your dorm room or apartment from becoming a mess in the first place is to make cleaning and organizing it a part of your weekly routine. One idea is to take an hour each Sunday afternoon to clean and straighten things up so you’re ready for the week. Find what works best for you. And if you have roommates, get them involved too so the common areas stay neat.