Clearing clutter

January’s theme is clutter, the physical kind. This is definitely the easiest I can relate to, because it’s something I can see.

I first noticed how easy it was to accumulate stuff when I moved to California for grad school, way back in 2008. I arrived with one or two pieces of luggage (I forget now). Technically I only had one small room to fill with stuff, because I didn’t buy anything for the shared living spaces. When I left, though, my friend and I ended up filling her van to the brim with all the things I’d accumulated. My stuff didn’t fit in one, or two, pieces of luggage. I had to ship several boxes back.

My second “oh no” moment was probably… I dunno, late last year? See, in October of 2014, I finally moved from a flatshare to a one bedroom apartment. When I first arrived, I didn’t have much. I had to buy a lot of furniture and homewares. I think I was just chilling on the couch one afternoon when I realised that I now had a lot of stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I have a problem (yet). I’ve actually been donating my clothes to donation bins for the past few years, because I do get iffy if I see my closet overflowing with things I don’t want to wear. And I still have a lot of storage space. But I noticed that I could easily get to that hoarder stage, if left unchecked, especially with additional said storage space.

Anyway, one of my tangible clutter goals this year (by tangible, I mean not just like… “have less stuff”) is to make all my clothes and other knick-knacks fit in the built-in wardrobe. I’ve decided that this year is New Bigger Bed Year, and that means the standing wardrobe and desk in the bedroom will have to go. (I actually think I don’t have long to go — I just need to rearrange my things better.)

What I’ve done:
Picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (This was last year.) I didn’t do the one-big-purge thing that she recommends, but I’ve become a lot more brutal when it comes to deciding what items stay, and what goes. I’ve done a few rounds of purges since then, and I think that style works best for me.

Reorganised my cupboards. I realised that the “I have nothing to wear” dilemma while standing in front of a closet full of clothes doesn’t only apply to clothes, it also applies to food. While clearing out my kitchen cupboards I found a lot of food that I could still use. I’ve now resolved that with the exception of vegetables and other perishables (e.g. eggs, milk) I actually have enough food to last me a while.

Tried to sell my books. I signed up for StudentVIP, an Australian student website, to try to sell some of my books. I’ve come to the conclusion that no, I will not be taking up Python or ASP.NET again. So far I’ve sold one textbook for $50! Yay! Here’s hoping I get to offload more of them when the new semester starts. (If I don’t sell them by the middle of this year, I’m just going to donate them.)

Hello 2016: My year of simplifying

(Yep, I’m reviving this blog! I know said in my last post that I was going to give up blogging ~forever~ (haha), but then another part of myself won out, so I’m back here.)

I was reflecting at the end of 2015 about the changes I wanted to make in my life. It struck me that what I really wanted to do most was to simplify. I’ve made resolutions over the past years, and these two would always pop up: get into a regular meditation habit, and waste less time on the Internet. What I wanted to do was to bring more peace and intentional living into my life.

Yeah, I know that sounds kinda airy-fairy and New Age-y, but hear me out. I realised that I was tired all the time, and while I was genuinely busy with work and other commitments, I never seemed to have time to do the things I wanted to do to take care of myself. And some of the stuff I wanted to do didn’t take too much time — my meditations are only 10 minutes long, and my HIIT exercise routines take 10 minutes or less, and I still didn’t have enough time on some days!

However, I could spend a full hour mindlessly browsing the Internet.

So, yeah. I want to remove all the time wasters in all aspects of my life this year. I signed up for a course called “a simple year“, which is made up of 12 months of guided instruction. It’s a bit pricey, but I’ve pegged it at coming out to around a dollar a day, which, to be honest, isn’t all that bad.

You’re probably wondering — “you’re simplifying, but you’re ADDING another thing to do on your list (blogging)?” I was listening to a podcast the other day, and they were talking about how minimalism isn’t just about getting (or doing) less things (or nothing at all), it’s about getting/doing things that are meaningful to me. I’m using this blog build the routine to set aside some time to reflect on what I’ve learned, and document my progress (hopefully).

So, here I go!

For the record: in addition to the course I linked above, I’ve subscribed to the following podcasts: Optimal Living Daily, The Minimalists, The Simple Sophisticate.