Minimalist Living In Your Own Home

         You may have heard the latest buzzword ‘minimalist’ floating around, people claiming to be one or to live in a minimalist abode and how it has changed their life and made modern living just that much easier. People have written books on it, given ted talks and seminars, but what is minimalist living really, and will becoming a minimalist really make your life simpler?

What does it all mean?

A minimalist is the word used to describe a certain style that pares down elements of design. The term minimalism originated in the art world, referring to painters and musicians that were stripping things down, only doing what they saw as the bare essentials and letting that speak out of their art. Over the years it has become a word used for anything that strips things back, minimalist clothing or design, usually referring to simplicity not lack of fabric!

In the context it is now used in, people are refereeing to themselves as being minimalists and living minimalist lives. When they say this they are talking about striping their lives back to the bare essentials. Minimalists talks about giving up a lot of material possessions, focus less on having ‘stuff’ and more on having space and the freedom that comes from that space.

So do you think the minimalist life could be for you? Lets delve in deeper and take a look at the first simple steps you can take towards having a more minimalist home without having to give everything away and more in to a caravan!

Cutting It Down

The first thing that springs to mind as we talk about minimalist living is obviously owning or having less. Do you often walk in to your garage and stub your toe on a box that you have no idea what is inside it? Are you laundry cupboards full to bursting with who knows what and do you have that one room with all of you craft supplies that haven’t seen sunlight for years? Having a lot of stuff can often lead to stress, always trying to look for places to put things, feeling guilty about buying new things because you have so much already.

Maybe once a year you manage to do a big spring clean and get rid of some of the clutter, but most of the time it’s just organizing things back into boxes that won’t be opened until the next spring clean. Living with less is one thing that the minimalist movement is founded on. Here are a few tips to get you started on the path to less.

Clothing

A very personal way to start is with clothing; you can do this for yourself without stepping on any ones toes. Fast fashion is something many of us fall victim to, and we will buy and buy to keep up with the latest trends, often cheaper clothing too so we don’t feel too bad for spending. These clothes often get used a few times and then go back in the closet where they stay and take up space, but still you look at your hanger and complain there is nothing to wear! Well it’s time to get real and brutal. A great place to start is by taking all of your clothes out and sorting them first into piles.

– Love (your favourites)

– Useful (Things like winter jackets, or exercise clothes)

– Staples (the items you find yourself wearing most days, jeans or work clothes)

– Like (those items you are not in love with but you still like)

Now if there is anything that doesn’t fit into those categories they go on the chuck out pile immediately. Maybe a pair of old sweats with holes in the knees that are your comfort pants, or an old t-shirt with a silly slogan on it!

Now take a closer look at each category. Start with your staples, do you wear jeans a lot but have 10 pairs? Well which do you use the least, or don’t fit quite right? On the chuck out pile they go. You can go through each group of clothing quite methodically and ask your self these questions.

– Does it fit well?

– Have I worn it in the last year?

– Do I like the colour/pattern?

– Do I feel good when wearing it?

For this to work you will have to be quite honest with yourself. It helps to envisage the nice clear space that you will have in your wardrobe when you have whittled away at your clothing stack.

Once you have cut away about everything you feel you can then reassess. If it looks like there is still a lot, and you feel the need to cut down further but don’t have the heart to throw anything else out, then I suggest this brilliant trick. Put everything on hangers facing the one way, everything you wear an item of clothing from your wardrobe put the hanger facing the other way. Over the next few months it will become apparent the thing you wear regularly and the things that are just taking up space and you can make further cuts accordingly. There are many methods like the ten item wardrobe method that people do use when redesigning their wardrobes, which are great things to look into if you need that extra push.

Ornaments/Decoration/Knick Knack’s

Now we’ve all been a bit guilty of keeping little knick-knacks that we are fond of, ornaments and decorations around the house. A lot of the times these things collect dust and look out of place and random around the house. It’s time to take a harder look at what is really there to beautify the home, has large sentimental value or what is just there because your aunt gave it to you for Christmas last year and you have put it on the mantle piece and forgotten about it. This is a great time to do a revamp of your home, decide on a particular design theme, if you haven’t already, and start to tidy things up. Look around of your desktops, benches and bookshelves. You can use a similar method to that of clearing our your clothes. Either take everything down and put it in the one place of go through your house room by room and look at each item to see if you really love it, if it hold great sentimental value or is in keeping with your design theme, or if it is in fact, just collecting dust. Clearing space will allow for less cleaning and having DE-cluttered benches has quite a soothing affect. This isn’t to say you must get rid of everything and have blank walls. But just pair down what you do have until it is back to the essentials of design.

Furniture

You obviously need furniture in a house, people need somewhere to sleep, a table to eat at and comfy chairs but do you have random furniture around the house that seems to be taking up space and hardly gets used? Some people have a habit at finding bargains or verge side collection finds and bringing them home and trying to make space for that cane arch that just seemed to be too good not to have even though there is no real space for it in their home! Take a look at what you use and what you need and also the quality of those products. If you are buying a cheap lounge set chances are it’s going to break down quicker and have you looking for other replacements. So take a good hard look at what is around you and what is essential.

Kitchen

The kitchen cupboard can become their own black holes. There are always so many different gadgets out their to supposedly make your life simpler, but that pasta maker gets used twice and the zucchini curler and yoghurt maker never even got a look in! Go through all of your draws that only keep the essentials that you use on a weekly basis. If you have only used something once or twice the chances are you will not use it again and all it is doing is taking up space and giving you a headache each time you are searching for something you do really need.

You may have old pans that have lost their stick but they stay in the cupboard just because you haven’t got time to throw them out. The kitchen is always full of strange one of devices, and there never seems to be enough shelf space, so take a further look and see what you can rid yourself of to free up more space.

Kids Toys

If you have kids, chances are you have a lot of toys and games that are floating around the house and seem to never be in their toy box but instead all over the floor. You can probably relate to that feeling of dread when you see your children pull out another game before packing up the last and knowing how much of it is going to end up under the furniture for you to try and sweep up. Kids don’t actually need every new toy or game and are often quite content with cardboard boxes and some simple Lego. Go through your kids toys and games and see what games are missing pieces and give them the flick. There may be games that they have hardly ever used too, so these can go on the give away pile. A great idea for toys is to keep them in rotation.

Put some of the toys and game sin a separate box to your main toy shelf or box and every month or so you can switch it up and bring out some other games putting the ones they have just had, away. So even though you are not buying anything new it feels new to the kids because they haven’t seen it in a month. This way you don’t have to deal with them pulling out every activity you have at once and making a huge mess. Let them be creative and make the most of what they do have instead of over stimulating them with every game under the sun.

Toys and Devices for Big Kids

Now that you’ve sorted the kid’s toy situation out, it’s only fair you do it for yourself also. Do you find yourself wanting the latest fads and electronic devices? First sort through your old things, do you have a model plane on a shelf in the garage that has a wing broken that you’ve been ‘meaning to fix’ for three years now? Get rid of it! Do you really need a tablet as well at your laptop and smartphone? Just like with your kitchen goods and furniture take a look at what you really need, but you use on a regular basis and what you think stimulates your body and mind in a healthy way. We can get so caught up in advertising for the latest fads, or maybe there is that special on gym equipment, but you actually find it really hard to be motivated enough to work out at home, how about save that money, get a gym membership if you really do want to stay fit that way, and then save your space and have more freedom to be flexible. Often our argument of ‘it will be cheaper in the long run’ doesn’t quite work out because we may lose interest quickly in our jet ski or be working so hard to pay it off we don’t have time to use it anyway. Renting things like boats and jet skis, even cars if you live in the inner city, can be a better way to go. Free up your bank balance by only paying for something when you really need it.

Is It For You?

So is it for you do you think? Would you like to be freer from stuff? Try out these first steps and see how if feels, you may find it becomes easier and easier as time goes on to live with less and you’ll have more time and money for the things that are really important. When you do go through your house, consider donating clothing or appliances to goodwill, to give people with less of the basics a bit of a helping hand. Living in a minimalist way does not have to be a strict lifestyle where you own nothing and never work to give you more ‘time’. It is much more about cutting out of your life the things you don’t really need that take up your time money and attention that could better be spent elsewhere. Take a look at your life, try out some of these steps and see how it feels for you and who knows where it will take you.

Study Hacks

If you are studying then I don’t need to tell you twice how it seems like you are never on top of things. There is always study to be done even when you think your brain can’t cram anymore in. And if you have the stresses of having to pay rent and buy food, chances are you have a part or full time job also to juggle. Not to mention a social life! So how do you find enough time to fit it all in? Bellow are a few hacks that can help optimize your study time and free up more space in your life so you don’t have to feel guilty about attending that party on Friday night!

 It’s all in the timing!

You’ve often heard people identify themselves as a morning person or a night own, referring to when they feel most awake and productive. Well We can’t always choose the perfect time to study, we have to work around other commitments of course but sometimes you can adjust your schedule a bit more to suit you so it’s worth taking note of what time of the day you feel most productive and then use this time to get stuck into some serious work. Sometimes waking up that extra bit earlier you can fit so much more in and get a lot of study out of the way when your mind is fresh. Or perhaps you get your second wind in the afternoon.

  Sleep!

Sleep, yes I know what you’re thinking, when do you have time to fit that in? Well you need to make time because studies have shown that trying to study on a tired mind is counter productive. The best sleep you can get is at night before midnight. I may not sound realistic but if you can train yourself to become a morning person instead it’s well worth it. Getting enough sleep is vital to a healthy functioning brain, which means a smarter you!

Get your priorities straight!

Yes, stop procrastinating and take a look at what you really prioritize in your life. If study isn’t right up there then you either need to have a reflection of how interested you are in what you are learning or take a hard look at what you can cut out or reduce in your life to make study one of your top priorities. There is often a lot of time spend during the day in mindless activities, checking your phone or watching YouTube. If your social life is really important to you then instead of cutting it out entirely try cutting out that wasteful time binge watching TV or just ‘hanging out’ and use that time to be productive, that way when there is an event you really want to go to, you’ve gotten enough done so you don’t have to feel guilty.

Organize

Let’s get organized. This isn’t just about your study schedule but your life! Making a study schedule is a great idea. Get yourself a diary or create your own personalized weekly schedule and then get to playing tetras. Put in each day the most important things you need to get done and how much study time you need to achieve each day, then juggle them around to it all fits. Work it out on some scrap paper first; just getting it onto paper helps you have a better perspective of what is really important. Once it is all down and you’ve allotted time for things then make a good copy and keep it on your phone or a hard copy above your study desk.

Organizing your time is not the only important step; you also need to have an organized space to study in. Try to keep your desk clean and clear of distracting things. If you study in your room then have a good tidy once a week just to make sure the space around you is more calming and conducive to focusing on the task at hand. If you are in an environment where it is hard to study, maybe you have loud housemates or not enough space in your own room it may be best to find another work space. Public libraries are always great places to study, there is a pretty strict quiet policy enforced often by women you wouldn’t want to mess with. So it could be a great alternative as a place to be free of distractions.

Focus On Your Goal

Sometimes in the midst of studying and the stress of exams it’s easy to lose sight of why on earth you are subjecting yourself to this and not just spending your days in lounging in the sun. So to keep yourself motivated try making a moodboard, or if you don’t want to get overly crafty then get a few pictures that are your inspiration for the work you will be able to do once you have your degree. Any kind of pictures that help remind you of why you are doing what you are doing keep your goal in mind. You can put up great things to put up around the place or even keep in the front of your note books so that when you feel like your attention is waning and your desire is slipping you can take a glance and remember what it is all for.

How To Have Enough Time For Everything

We always seem to be busy because life is busy. There are never as many hours in the day to achieve what we want to. If you’re an adult then there are jobs that need to happen to make money to pay the rent.

clock to tell the time

Then there are the relationships that need fostering, with a partner or friends or family, and then if you have kids well, there’s them too!! And on top of that there is all the activities we like to do for us, you know, the ones that keep you feeling sane and like yourself. Sometimes there is study instead of work, or study on top of work with kids and rock climbing hobby!! And then there is the awful guilt that comes with procrastination, with scrolling a little too long down your Facebook page, or watching a few too many episodes of your favourite show instead of sleeping, oh yes!! Did I forget to mention you also need to sleep! It’s really all a bit much sometimes and we often end up doing more of the procrastinating because our brains need a break from thinking of the stress of all that other ‘stuff’ that needs doing.

So how do we get through life, fitting in everything nicely, having enough time to make the money we need, to spend time with the people we care about and to nurture ourselves and take care of our own personal needs too? Well it’s all about time management. A mug I once read said ‘You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce’ Truer words have never been spoken. We are all living on that same twenty four hour clock, and yes Beyonce may have assistants and managers and a ‘person’ for about every job and it may seem a little cruel to compare our own time management to hers, but still it’s the concept that matters. We CAN have enough time, it’s just about how we allocate it. So below I’ve put together some hacks to help you change the way you see time and be able to make the most of it so you can spend more time doing what you really love.

Morning Routines

Every day starts with a morning (provided you wake before twelve…) Morning is the best time to set your intentions for the day and start off on the right foot. We’ve tried to turn our day around half way through after that long unneeded sleep in or those two hours of aimless Instagram scrolling, and while it is possible, it’s also HARD. That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up properly as soon as you wake. Setting yourself a morning routine is an excellent way to become efficient and also put you in a good frame of mind for the day ahead. So first start by making a list of everything you currently do in the morning before work/school, then make a list of everything you NEED to get done in the morning. Eat, shower, get dressed, feed the kids, pack your lunch, exercise. This only works if you are being honest with yourself. But take a look as both lists and see the things that you can cut down. Maybe every morning you spend time on messenger talking to friends or online watching Youtube clips. Or maybe you press snooze three times on your alarm clock. Now it’s time to prioritize. Work out how much time you actually have in the morning, if you are getting up at a reasonable hour. Start to make a schedule from most important to least. You may find you really don’t have time for that 20 minutes of Instagram, but you could replace it with a 10 minute guided meditation to help center yourself instead. Go through your list and be brutal, but also allow enough time for everything so that you don’t feel rushed. You may have to get up half an hour earlier or you may find that if you prepare your lunch or breakfast the night before you can make time for that 30 minute run in the morning. When it comes to time management it’s all about priorities. Once you work out a good morning routine it’s important to stick to it as best you can, be army like about it especially for the first few weeks, it may be hard at first and feel like your mornings are so mechanical but within a few weeks you’ll start to ease into and you may even see you didn’t need as much time for one task as you thought and you could replace that with something a little more indulgent. Soon your mornings will start to sync in so well with you that it will no longer feel like a rigid routine and it just becomes your ordinary life, except you are no longer chasing the bus down the street or coming into work stressed because you didn’t get everything you needed to get done, done.

There are plenty of little hacks you can look into in your mornings, see what tasks you put together. For example if you like to read a bit in the morning but never seem to have time, but you spend half an hour in traffic on your daily commute, then try an audio book instead. Or if you catch public transport to work or school, then could be the perfect time to check your social media and emails, or catch up of your Youtube watching, instead of doing it in bed when you first wake up. Little hacks like these will free up a lot more time than you think.

Making Lists

Making lists sounds kind of boring and not so freeing, but trust me, it’s a great habit to get into and helps you with a sense of achievement throughout your day. The best time to start a list is either in the morning or the night before. You can use just a plain exercise book or notebook for this. Write down the days date you are making your list for and begin. Just put everything you can think of that you NEED to do that day down. Now we are not talking, eat, brush your teeth, type stuff, more the little things we may forget Eg. Post letter. Reply to email about cheese, pick up tomatoes from the store. Then you can go back through and put a mark next to the more important ones. Some tasks you may not get crossed off that day and then you can move them onto the next day’s page. Crossing things off a list for some reasons gives a huge amount of satisfaction, and what a feeling it is when all, or even most things are crossed off at the end of the day. Making lists can give you more time during the day as you don’t need to waste your time stressing and thinking ‘oh what was that one thing I needed to do today?’ It helps take a load off because all you need to do is look down and refer to the list for guidance.

Prioritize

As I said earlier, time management is all about the way you prioritize things. Take a look at your life and see what are firstly the things you enjoy most. Write them all down on a big piece of paper if you have to. Then make a list of all the things you HAVE to do, like work, study, cook, and grocery shop, the essentials of modern life really. Now make a list of all the things you don’t like doing, or that don’t bring much fulfillment to you. See where those list collide with your needs. Maybe you don’t really like your work but you need to pay rent so either you look for another job, or if for the moment you decide to stay put, then you need to obviously take time for it. Much like your morning routine system, have a look at the things you end up doing that are not serving you. Maybe you are spending time hanging out with friends you don’t even really like, well if you are then stop!! And use that time to be with people you really cherish or to spend valuable time with yourself with a hobby or interest you really do enjoy. Maybe you stay for after work drinks on a Thursday even though you don’t particularly want to but feel obliged, well, from now on tell them you have other commitments and use that time in a better way.

May also find you use a lot of time watching TV, well how about choose only 3 shows you absolutely love, instead of binging on shows that kind of annoy you because you can’t be bothered doing anything else.

Go To Bed Happy

When you start to free up your life and order it you’ll find you go to sleep peacefully and happily because you’ve been able to achieve things and make times for the things in life that really matter to you. And you’ll also rest easy knowing that the things you didn’t quite get around to are patiently waiting on the list for tomorrow!