Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

MINIMALISM: travelling light

When it comes to minimalism, there’s one question that many people ask:

How do I travel with as little as possible?

I’ve decided that the best way to cover this question is to show you two things:

  • What to do before you travel
  • How to pack like a minimalist

I’ll start with the “before you travel” aspect.

Before you go.png

The most essential step to travelling minimally is to plan in advance what your travel plans will be. I recommend taking a small notebook, or making a Word Document and list all of your trip information. Here are some things you should have in your notebook/document:

  • [if required] Flight details
  • (check-in/take-off times, airport, seat number, terminal number)
  • [if required] Bus details (take-off time, bus number, bus station)
  • Trip details (what you have planned while you travel e.g. sightseeing)
  • Accommodation details (hotels, guesthouses, friend’s addresses, etc.)
  • Food (e.g. restaurants)
  • Packing list
  • Other personal details

Are you wondering what writing this list will accomplish? Well, it’s simply so you have a plan. Because if you only know your flight/bus and accommodation details, it’s hard to pack without knowing what you’ll do during your travel.

If you’re stuck for what to do while you’re away, Google is there to help! Just type in “what to do in [destination/country/city]” and something will come up.

Once you have your travelling plans (and only then) you can go onto packing!

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CLOTHES

Whenever I’m away for a weekend (typically two or three nights) this is what you’ll find in my bag:

  • T-shirts (x3)
  • Black leggings (x1)
  • Other leggings (x1)
  • Shorts (x1)
  • Underwear & socks
  • Dress/fancy outfit (if I’ll be going out) (x1)
  • Toiletries bag

Really, for a weekend trip that’s all you need. Minimalism has really made a difference in the amount of clothes I pack for trips, and I have to say one thing: I haven’t ever brought too little. The amount of clothing I bring every single time I’m away is perfect, and ideally you would try to do the same.

If you’re one of those people who always packs a full suitcase and ends up wearing not even half of what you bring, I dare you: try to bring only the basic necessities. You’d be surprised at how much easier it is to travel with less stuff!

BEAUTY & HYGIENE

Don’t go overboard with the makeup. If you can get away with going au naturel, please do, but if you can’t – bring only the bare essentials. And only one of each product! You don’t need three lipsticks, whatever you might think.

Also, use travel-size toiletries! I cannot stress this enough. Do not lug around 1-litre bottles of shampoo with you. And a lot of beauty products are universal, so don’t panic if you forget your face mask – you can probably buy it at your destination.

Remember too, that a lot of hotels/B&B’s will provide essentials like soap and towels. Hotels also often have those small bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom.

If you can, bring a comb instead of a hairbrush, as it will take up less space in your toiletries bag. #bigbrushproblems But if you need your hairbrush, try seeing if you can purchase a smaller one, or even see what’s lying around your house?

PACKING TIPS

  • Don’t bring more than three pairs of shoes, at the most. Shoes are awkward to pack and weigh down your bags.
  • Make sure to fold your good clothes (e.g. suit) neatly – or if you can, carry them separately in one of those dry cleaner’s bags to protect your outfit from getting creased or dirty.
  • I’m begging you, DON’T BRING TOWELS. Almost every single place of accommodation will provide you with towels, and there’s no need to bring something that takes up so much space.
  • Don’t go overboard with the comfy clothes either. If you’re able to survive with one t-shirt, please do.
  • Also, you can always hand-wash small items such as underwear and socks! Sure, it may not be as good as a washing machine, but leave your little pieces to soak in the sink for an hour or so, rinse them, and allow to dry.
  • When choosing your carry-on bag (or handbag if everything’s carry-on), go for something on your back. Believe me, I’ve been there with that annoying shoulder bag that’s constantly in the way as you rush around the airport. A small, smart-looking backpack like one of these can do the trick:

Image result for backpack

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I hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know in the comments if you’re more of a minimalist traveller, if you’re someone who always packs things “just in case”! 😉

And have my tips helped? Let me know!

See you soon ❤

 

 

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For Students, Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

MINIMALISM: being an educated minimalist (minimalism at school + uni)

I figured this would be a fitting post to write, considering that school has started by now for almost everyone – and indeed university?

In this post I’ll share some simple tips & tricks for you to be as minimalist as you can when it comes to education – schoolbooks, stationery, and so forth.

Schoolbooks.png

Schoolbooks are pretty much inevitable in these years of our lives. Ideally, everything would be digital in this day and age, but while a lot of schools are doing that, not everyone can.

But you do have options…

Find out if your school/uni has a book rental scheme. I know that in a lot of school around Ireland (not sure about unis, though) the pupils just have to pay a fee at the start of the year, and they can rent textbooks from the school for the year, which they then give back when school is finished.

This is not only good for minimalism, but also for your pocket, because I know how expensive a lot of textbooks are.

Try sharing books with classmates – arrange to sit next to each other, and use one book between two. I know this isn’t feasible for everyone, but it can be worth a try as it’s easier on your pocket and schoolbag.

If you do buy all of your schoolbooks, why not keep them at school only? You can take a photo of the page you need for homework with your phone and then just delete the photos when you’re done.

It may seem pointless, but this clears up clutter from your home, and you can’t forget any books at home. This is also easier for your back as well, because you don’t have to lug around heavy textbooks.

Stationery.png

When it comes to stationery, it’s not that hard.

Obviously, try to go digital – this eliminates the need for stationery at all! If your teachers allow it, use a site such as Evernote or Google Docs to take class notes and write assignments. I know that for mathematics and physics/chemistry/biology it may not be as easy, but in subjects such as languages, history, or geography, it’s feasible.

If you can’t go digital, however, your best bet is to just have a few staples when it comes to stationery. For example:

  • Red pen for titles
  • Black pen for subtitles
  • Blue pen for content (x2)
  • Coloured pen (e.g. green, purple) for important words/phrases
  • Highlighter
  • Correction fluid
  • Pencils (x2)
  • Eraser + sharpener
  • Ruler (and maths set if required)

This may not seem exactly minimalist, but when it comes to stationery, you can’t really go completely minimalist.

However, for the pens I recommend these really basic ones (the Bic 4-in-1):

Image result for bic 4 colour pen

This means you don’t have to hunt around for four different pens, and it’s much easier to just carry the pen in your pocket from class to class.

Other Supplies.png

So let’s be honest: do you actually need all those little extra supplies you have?

  • Paper clips
  • Staples
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Sticky notes
  • Page flags

And so forth. Are you actually using these on a regular basis? Keep in mind that the less you have, the easier it is to clean + organize + stay tidy.

Now is the ideal time for you to start an organization system in your locker. Do you really need all the notebooks, papers, folders, etc. that are shoved in there?

I recommend keeping two folders – one for worksheets/homework assignments/etc. and the other solely for tests/exam papers. Make sure also that you only have the papers from this year only, unless you need to keep your tests from last year for a reason.

It’s a good idea to take five – ten minutes every week to quickly run through your folders and check for any useless/unwanted papers, and get rid of them. You can also use the opportunity to organize any new papers you have, rather than just shoving them somewhere and not being able to find them.

As for what kind of folder? I recommend using one like this:

Image result for folder with plastic sleeves

As you can see, the plastic pockets aren’t detachable, so they won’t be falling out.

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I know that this wasn’t exactly minimalism, but nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading this and got a little knowledge from it. In the meantime, stay minimalist, and I’ll see you soon!

 

Books, Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

MINIMALISM: declutter your books

“DECLUTTER MY BOOKS?” you say in horror.

Yes, you read the title. Today I’m going to give you some quick tips on how you can pare down your book collection and get a little more shelf space!

(that was pretty much the introduction, so now the tips)

Take Them Off.png

The first step to decluttering books – in fact nearly anything – is to take it all off. In this case, strip your bookshelves and pile your books into a space on the floor.

Next, clean your shelves – give them a good wipe to get rid of any dust. If you have any ornaments/trinkets/candles/etc on your shelves, take them off also and clean them. Then leave them aside for after you’ve finished clearing out your books.

Evaluate Why.png

Next, it’s time to evaluate why you actually have your books. I’ve found that usually one of more of these reasons will apply to all of them:

(1) You bought the book yourself, and don’t want your money to be wasted

(2) It has a gorgeous cover and looks pretty

(3) It’s one of your favourite books, and you want to either reread it or keep it for the happy reading memories

(4) It’s on your TBR (to-be-read)

(5) It was gifted to you by someone

From here, choose a section with the appropriate number, depending on why you have a book. I’ll give you some advice on why you should get rid of the book, and what to consider if you’re keeping it.

(1).png

I bought the book myself and don’t want the money to have been wasted.

Okay, so you bought an expensive book for yourself as a treat, and then you read and disliked it. But you paid money for it that you earned yourself, and don’t want to put that money to waste. It sounds logical.

It’s not. Why on earth are you keeping something in your living space that you dislike?

If you’re worried about the fact you wasted your money, fear not.

  • You can sell your book to someone (use online sites such as eBay)
  • You can do a book swap with someone, if you know they have a book you want
  • You can also head over to Goodreads.com and see if any of your friends are willing to do a book swap (I know that in some Goodreads groups this goes on)
  • You can gift the book to someone else, and not have to spend money on another present

Take a look at the options I’ve listed above, and see which one would work for you.

If you read the book, remember this: your money has most certainly not gone to waste! You read the book; it has served its purpose.

And if you didn’t read the book, consider this a lesson: don’t by expensive books that you may not even read!

(2).png

The book has a gorgeous cover and looks pretty on your shelves – too pretty to get rid of.

Let me say this quickly: that’s pretty stupid.

Why must your book look pretty to be granted a place on your shelf? It’s the story inside that counts. And even if it’s a super-expensive fancy hardcover, please head back up to (1) and see my reasons and options for when you keep a book because it was expensive/you paid your own money.

If you read and loved a pretty-looking book, by all means, keep it. But if it’s a terrible book and you just kept it for the gorgeous cover and design, please, get rid of the book.

(3).png

The book is one of my favourites, and I want to keep it for the wonderful memories it holds. I’d also like to reread it sometime.

I know that feeling when you’re debating whether or not to keep a favourite book. It’s hard.

But be realistic. Are you actually going to read the book? How long have you said to yourself “I’ll reread that sometime”?

If you’re not sure, think carefully. The book has served its purpose in your life – you discovered a great story and it brought you joy and happiness-

(I’m feeling like someone’s friend trying to tell them to move on in  relationship. #whateven)

-so consider that maybe the book’s job is done. After all, if you suddenly feel an urge to reread it, there’s probably an online copy you can get, or a copy in the library.

(or on Library Genesis)

(4).png

It’s on your TBR.

PUT EVERYTHING DOWN AND READ IT

Seriously though, if you’ve been meaning to read it for more than a year, get rid of it. You probably won’t end up reading it at all, but if you suddenly feel the urge (there’s that phrase again)

there’s probably an online copy you can get, or a copy in the library.

(or on Library Genesis)

And if you really do want to read it, make it a priority, otherwise it’ll be waiting on your shelf for the rest of your life.

(5).png

It was gifted to you by someone else.

If the only reason you kept a book is because someone gave it to you, then please, please, do away with it. The person probably doesn’t even remember they gave you the book.

If you’re really concerned, you can always just go and ask them “Hey, you gave me a book a while ago. [insert stuff about appreciating the gesture here], but I’m just not going to read it.” But be tactful!

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Thanks for reading another minimalism post! If you have any comments or questions, leave your thoughts below, and I’ll see you again in a couple of days <

Psst! My Fault In Our Stars giveaway is ending in a few minutes! Enter it here while you can!

Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

MINIMALISM: how to declutter + organize your computer

In all the tidying-up books I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve actually seen a chapter dealing with decluttering your computer. Or tablet, laptop, etc.

So here I am today, with tips on how to

  • declutter files
  • organize your files
  • share your files if needed
  • declutter your apps

Let’s get started!

DF.png

  • I know how hard it can be sometimes to delete a file… “But I might need it!”
  • But a very simple trick I use is this: did I use this file within the last two weeks? If yes, you probably need that file. If no, or if you know that you don’t need the file, get rid of it!

Tip with WordPress: If you use photos in your posts (headers/graphics/etc.) you can delete them from your computer once you’ve uploaded them to WordPress!They’ll stay within WordPress’s media storage, and won’t disappear from your posts unless you delete them from WordPress storage.

Photos

  • And when it comes to photos, it’s a huge struggle. But let’s face it: how often do you actually put on a slideshow, or flick through your photos?
  • If there are any photos you’d really like to keep, by all means do, but look at it realistically. Is there something more important that could be taking up photos’ storage on your computer?
  • If you’re particularly concerned about any photos, you can always send them to the people featured in the photos. But don’t get into a habit of this, though – only send the best photos, or the really important ones. We’re trying to keep clutter to a minimum for everyone.

Downloads & Documents

  • A big storage-eater is your downloads folder. Scrutinize this area of your computer – often when you download something, you only need it temporarily.
  • You documents is a place where people often store files with large memory – class essays, school projects, stories, etc. If you have old school/work assignments in your documents – unless they’re current work, or you’ve been told that you actually need them – delete them.

Videos

  • Again, unless they’re extremely important, delete them.
  • I know that family/home videos are tricky, but really, how often do you call a family video night where you just watch old home videos?

Quick Tip: If you want to go the extra mile, why not have all your home videos converted into one DVD? I remember my dad did this with his childhood home videos, and it was really fun one night to sit down at the TV and watch him as a wee young lad 😉

OF.png

So now that you have the minimum amount of files that you need, it’s time to organize them.

Photos

  • You can either arrange your photos by date (e.g. 20 August 2015) or by category (e.g. 2014 Holiday, Dog, Kids Playing, Birthdays, etc).
  • I recommend sorting by category, because it’s unlikely you’ll remember the exact date of an event.
  • But if you do want to sort by date, I recommend dividing your files by month e.g. July 2017.
  • If you’re sorting by category, try not to be too specific, but still mke sure there’s some sort of precise system.
  • For example, instead of “Polly’s 8th birthday” you could have “Polly’s birthdays” and stick in all the photos from Polly’s birthdays.
  • Another tip would be if you have a certain category, make sub-files. For example, if you have a “Family Holidays” folder, you could add a folder within the folder called “Spain 2014.”

Documents

  • When it comes to documents, organize them by topic.
  • For example “School Projects” “Essays” “Book” (if you’re writing a book) “Management notes” “Business Ideas” etc.
  • You can then ceate a few large folders and drop the other folders within them.
  • These large folders are very general – “School” “Work” “Home” “Current work” etc.

Videos

  • Ideally, you wouldn’t have too many videos on your computer – they take up a lot of memory that could otherwise be used for more important things.
  • I would recommend purchasing a simple 2/4GB USB key to store videos if you have a lot.
  • Otherwise, you can use the same filing system as with photos and documents.

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Even if you have a PC, I’d say there are a few apps you could get rid of.

  • Evaluate your everyday computer work – is it for your blog, book, business, or just fun?
  • If it’s for business/work, go ahead an uninstall all those computer games. In fact, do it anyway, because they turn you into a mindless slug.
  • If it’s for your blog, check your photo editors. I’d say one would be just fine, or two if one has features the other doesn’t.
  • If you use your computer just to browse social media, read articles and watch YouTube/Netflix, delete all those useless apps for money, analytics, etc. Why not try installing an app such as Deezer to listen to music?
  • If you have a Windows laptop/tablet like me, you can click here to learn how to uninstall default Windows apps such as Camera, Voice Recorder, Messager, etc.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Sorry if it ramble a little – I was listening to this song while writing 😉

I’ll see you on Thursday with a book review for All The Ugly and Wonderful Things ❤

Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

MINIMALISM: Goodbye Things – simple living in body & mind

If you’re in any way a minimalist, you may have heard of the latest minimalism sensation – namely, Goodbye Things. This new bestseller was written by a 35-year-old Japanese man called Fumio Sasaki. Here he is:

Related image

Mr Sasaki was not always like this. He was once a maximalist, collecting CDs, books, hobby items and much more. He drank too much, gained weight, and generally was unhappy with his life.

But now?

He has thrown away most of his possessions, to live a real minimalist life. Now he can simply pick up his wallet, watch, keys, & phone – and head out the door to wherever he pleases.

This is his wardrobe, consisting of barely 20 items (including socks):

Image result for fumio sasaki

He says he is aiming to create a signature uniform, similar to Steve Jobs. If you look beneath the clothes, yiu can also see the futon mattress that he sleeps on. In the morning he rolls it up and puts it away to use his bedroom as an eating/living space:

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And this is how the small room looks when he sleeps:

Image result for fumio sasaki

Sasaki now wakes up with the sun streaming into his 20-sq metre Tokyo apartment, whereas previously (in his maximalist life) he hit snooze on an alarm.

If you would like to read a little more about Fumio Sasaki, click here to read a news article, and here to watch a CNN insider video.

One of the many reasons I admire Sasaki’s lifestyle is the simplicity. I too am aiming to achieve a simple, clutter-free life, but in my large family it can be a bit difficult! However, I’m starting to teach my younger siblings the art of decluttering and simple living, and they seem to be catching on a bit.

I also love the flexibility of this life. When one owns many possessions, it can be extremely difficult in emergency situations. But if you own only the bare essentials, it’s relatively easy to pack up quickly and go.

“When you become a minimalist, you free yourself from all the materialist messages that surround us.”

I also like that Goodbye Things isn’t just a regular minimalism/decluttering book – it also focuses on minimizing yourself in character. Relationships, habits, thoughts, attitudes… if you’re going through a bit of a hard time right now, I urge you to pick this up and declutter your life.

There’s not really much else I can say on this book. But it does also feature some case studies of minimalists that are interesting – a single person, a couple, a family.

I highly recommend this for a bit of self-evaluation. Though otherwise, it lacks a little “spark of joy” to make it truly perfect.

Lifestyle, Minimalism, Of Pens & Paper

My DECLUTTERING JOURNEY: KonMari + Minimalism

Continue reading “My DECLUTTERING JOURNEY: KonMari + Minimalism”