Quaran-clean: Becoming a Minimalist During Quarantine

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Celeste Abourjeili ’20

The “Bronx Science Buying and Selling Girls’ Clothing” Facebook group is used by female students who are looking to get rid of old clothing. “I’m selling these clothes because I don’t wear them anymore, and I’d like for someone else to put them to good use… [the group] is a great way to make some cash or get some cute new clothes!” said Ley Len Ching ’21.

For over a month now, COVID-19 has left us all stuck at home with nothing to do. While many have taken up new hobbies to pass time, lots of students have decided to clean their rooms. 

After a month and a half of quarantine, many have found that material goods are not that valuable after all. The minimalist lifestyle is about living with bare necessities and finding happiness free from materialism. If you’re ready to undergo a massive cleaning of your room and take on a minimalist lifestyle, here’s what you can do:

1. Make a plan

Cutting down on possessions and cleaning a part of your house can be as big or as small of a project as you make it. For Nicole Constante ’20, cleaning her room only took about an hour. “I suggest focusing on one thing at a time. For me, that was putting my clothes away since that created the biggest mess,” said Constante. 

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant who is famous for her minimalist method, suggests breaking down cleaning projects into five parts: clothes, books, papers, sentimental items, and miscellaneous items. As part of your planning, you should decide what order of these categories you would like to clean in and how much time you plan on allocating to each. (You can watch Kondo help families through the process on her Netflix reality show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, HERE (subscription required).

2. Clothes

Gather all of your clothes into one giant pile. Seeing all of your clothing together can be eye-opening in understanding how much you actually own. Once you’ve done that, go piece by piece and ask yourself if each item brings you value. If the answer is no, let it go.

Getting rid of clothes we don’t use or value can lift a giant weight off of us, especially when donating. Ali Younes, a high school senior in Gabon, shares a similar perspective on donating unused items. “Never forget that what you give away may be the object of someone’s dream in this world. It never hurts to make someone’s life a little less hard than it already is,” he said.

Before school closures in March 2020, the Green Team enrolled Bronx Science in New York City’s official clothing reuse program and acquired a collection bin. Once school goes back into session in the fall, you can place any textiles that need to be reused or recycled in the bin, which will be located at the back of the cafeteria. 

Some students also turn to social media platforms to sell their items. Menasha Thomas ’20 likes to use Depop to sell her clothing. “Depop provides me with a sustainable way to resell clothing that I don’t wear anymore. It’s an easy way for anyone to make some extra money but still avoid lining the pockets of fast fashion corporations,” she said. Others like to use Facebook, where students have formed groups for the sole purpose of selling used clothing. For example, the Facebook group “Bronx Science Buying and Selling Girls Clothing” has acquired around 650 members since it was started two years ago.

3. Books & Papers

As with clothing, gather all of your books in one place and go one by one, searching for value in each item. With books, it’s really easy to donate to schools or libraries.

In the case of used SAT/AP review books, Bronx Science students have also taken to Facebook to sell at a reduced price. In the Facebook group “Buying and Selling for Bronx Science,” students regularly sell old textbooks before the start of the year. 

With paper, it is generally best to be honest with yourself about what you need to save and what you can recycle. For instance, notes from the previous year’s classes may not be helpful if the material can be found online or if it no longer pertains to your studies. “I threw out old school worksheets and college pamphlets that I don’t need anymore,” said Constante, who is finally free of unnecessary class notes.

4. Sentimental & Miscellaneous Items

While these items can hit a lot closer to home, it is important to follow the same process of evaluating each one. “I would suggest getting three boxes to put items in: ‘keep,’ ‘donate,’ and ‘trash.’ You might not like something, but it can be used somewhere else!” said Constante. Whatever you keep, make sure that you end up storing it in a practical and organized manner so that you can maintain the cleanliness longer.

Hopefully, you can take this opportunity to stay safe and have a nice quaran-clean!

“Never forget that what you give away may be the object of someone’s dream in this world. It never hurts to make someone’s life a little less hard than it already is,” said Ali Younes, a high school senior in Gabon.

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