For me, last year was introspective, as I reflected and questioned various aspects of my life. Learning more about who I am and who I want to be has led me to value certain things and let go of others, from friendships to materialistic objects. My goal was a simple and fulfilling lifestyle: I wanted to explore how to clear unnecessary clutter out of my life. The first place I started was my closet.

I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember, but the fact is, fashion is both a symbol of self-expression and vanity.  Being “fashionable” is often associated with having an abundant wardrobe filled with stylish clothing (think MTV Cribs style walk-in closets). Despite donating clothes over the years, this mentality has led me to hang onto clothes from middle school – due to sentiment and the fact that I’ve been the same height for 6 years. This mentality also encourages constant consumerism, either to chase the short-term euphoria that comes with a new purchase or to fulfill a need to stay on trend. Unfortunately, these habits cultivate a fast-fashion culture, associating a false idea that happiness is correlated to materialistic objects.

I wanted to break out of the mold the fashion industry has placed upon consumers and take a turn towards minimalism.

I realized that I only wore select pieces from my school closet, and anything that I left in my hometown was out of sight, out of mind. I was intrigued by the minimalistic lifestyle, the concept of removing items that provided no real value or purpose is a great start to living a “simple life.”

Minimalism is a buzzword movement that has grown in popularity through platforms such as Netflix and YouTube. Although I was intrigued, many of my friends were turned off by the way minimalism is portrayed: a life of restriction, owning virtually nothing.

To me, minimalism is like any movement: I can define what it means to me and how it shapes my life.

I have begun changing the way I shop, avoiding malls as I feel they solely exist, so people come to buy more than they intend. Going in with a set goal and sticking to that leaves me with what I need and reinforces good spending habits.

I read somewhere that if you truly want something, you should wait a while before getting it. Thus, my new principle is waiting a month to decide if something is worth it. It’s really a win-win situation: the things I do buy, I carefully consider, so I’m spending money on something sustainable and not adding to the culture of fast fashion.

Overall, it is possible to balance being a fashionista and a minimalist. In a world where we control so little, life can feel cluttered. It’s refreshing to simplify some aspects of your life. Whether you take the approach to your closet or your mindset, minimalism is a trend that everyone can get on board with.

Tanisha Hasan is a 2nd Year Political Science student. If you are interested in submitting to MUSE, please send us your ideas here.