I love a simple life. A quiet existence where I have everything I need and nothing more. Having too much stuff distracts me from what’s really important. It’s the people who matter to me, not the things. I want my mind to be free to focus on what I value: my relationships and self-improvement.
Unfortunately, I have a pack-rat for a roommate. She displays knickknacks throughout the living room and likes to stack her entire tea collection on the kitchen counter. But it’s her space too, so I try to keep things in perspective.
While I may not have complete control over the shared spaces, my room is different. My room is my sanctuary. It’s clean and quiet. There’s no clutter. A few frames adorn the walls, a string of lights, some travel shots. It’s a cute room with matching colours and simple pleasures. It’s very much me. It’s my escape and where I go to unwind.
Since our shift into winter, I’ve had more time to clean and tidy up indoors. I can remove the clutter that slowly piles up and reclaim the quiet corners of my room. This past week I’ve gone through my room, closet, and storage bins, purging them of unnecessary items. It’s a work in progress but clearing out space in my closet is so addicting!
How’s your week been?
I’ve been on a travel kick lately. So following on the heels of my last travel-related post, I wanted to share my packing list. This is usually what I bring for a long trip (up to 4 weeks). Overnight trips are a lot easier to pack for.
When I travel I only take carry on. I’m pretty low maintenance and it helps reduce my stress. I usually create a capsule wardrobe for each trip. This means that everything I bring matches and gives me several outfit options. It also allows me to pack for a specific climate.
Bringing only carry on does mean I’ll be doing laundry a few times during the trip but I’m okay with this. I wanted to share my packing list for my Philippines and Japan trip. Feel free to adjust as necessary. Helpful hint: rolling your clothes will help you to reduce wrinkling and saves on space.
-Comfortable pullover sweater
-Scarf – becomes a great makeshift blanket or pillow.
*I try to wear things that don’t wrinkle. I’ve noticed that dressing nicely does impact how the gate and flight attendants treat you. And I’ve been upgraded to business class a couple of times randomly (while wearing a dressier outfit). But sometimes you have to be comfortable. So it’s up to you.
-A week’s worth of socks, underwear, and bras – rolling the socks and underwear and stuffing them into your packed shoes will save on space.
-T-shirt and athletic shorts – perfect for a casual day or workout.
-Five short sleeved or sleeveless tops
-A dark grey cardigan
-Pair of pants
-Pair of jean shorts
-Dressy flats – must be comfortable enough to walk in for a couple of hours.
-Camera and charger
-Lots of protein bars
Toiletries (tucked into my carry on)
-Shampoo bar in a tin (mine’s from Lush) – I use this for both shampoo and body wash. It also doubles as laundry soap if I need to wash anything in the sink.
-Toothbrush and floss
-Jewelry – I’ll usually bring a ring, necklace, and pair of earrings.
-Extra hair elastics and bobby pins
-Band-aids – great for random injuries and blisters.
-Kleenex pocket pack – in case the bathroom doesn’t have toilet paper.
*I purchased a disposable razor once I got there.
Liquids/gels (in a plastic Ziploc bag)
-Travel size toothpaste – you can buy a larger one when you arrive.
-Contacts and solution
-Face and hand lotion
-Essential oils roll-ons – great for helping with upset stomachs and headaches.
*I’ll keep these in my purse while going through the security screening and will tuck them into my carry on suitcase afterwards.
-Snacks – lots of trail mix, dried fruit, and protein bars.
-Phone and charger – I loaded helpful travel apps on here.
-Wallet with ID, cards, and foreign currency
-Passport and visas
-Power bank and charger
-Ipod and noise cancelling headphones
-Itinerary printouts and information- I keep these in a waterproof folder.
-Medications and/or vitamins – keep them in their original packaging and check that you can take them into the country ahead of time.
What’s on your packing list?
I’ve been on a cleaning and purging kick lately. It all began when I was cleaning out some cupboards. As I was pulling things out, I realized how many of them I haven’t used since my last deep clean.
It was a good reminder and inspired me to delve back into minimalism. A cluttered space makes me feel tired, unmotivated, and overwhelmed. I want to feel refreshed and inspired but that won’t happen until I get rid of the extra stuff.
It’s easy to slip into collecting mode. To keep things “just in case”. I’ve shifted back into minimalism and have been getting rid of anything I haven’t used in a year. It’s such a freeing feeling. As I clean, I’ll usually divide things into several piles.
1. The keep pile.
In order for something to make it into this pile I need to love it. Or it needs to serve a purpose. Or both.
2. The sell pile.
I’ll put things like electronics, video games, and collectibles here. By posting ads online and on community forums I can sometimes get a little bit of money back. But I’ll usually give myself a timeline and if they don’t sell, I’ll donate them.
3. The donate pile.
I’ll put good quality clothing, books, and household items in this pile. This way they can go to people who will actually use them. Depending on where you donate, it can also help support a worthy cause.
4. The “give to friends” pile.
If I know a friend needs something I can pass it along. For example, I have a ton of extra yarn. Fortunately I know people who knit and crochet and love free yarn.
5. The recycle pile.
Any cardboard, paper, and plastic will go into this pile. I’ll shred any paper with personal information and add it too.
7. The trash pile.
If anything doesn’t make it into the above piles, I’ll throw it in the trash. I usually keep a large garbage bag on hand and will fill it up until I’m done.
I’m also starting the 30-Day Minimalism Game today. You get rid of one item on the first day, two items on the second day, and it continues until the end of the month. This should keep me on track for getting rid of the clutter I’ve allowed to build up.
Have you ever tried minimalism?
Early on in my minimalist journey, I discovered an interesting concept. Reduce the number of clothes you use on a daily basis to reduce stress and increase efficiency.
I’d recently switched from a retail job to an office job at the time. My uniform changed from casual to business casual and most of my wardrobe became superfluous. Project 333 sounded like a promising solution.
Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. (website here)
The rules are simple. Choose 33 items to wear over the course of three months. This gives you four ‘capsule’ wardrobes per year (I switch things up twice a year instead as it’s easier). This includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes. However, sentimental jewelry (like a wedding ring), underwear, sleep wear, lounge wear, and workout clothing doesn’t count towards your total.
It seems a bit daunting at first, but trust me, it’s worth giving it a try (worst case, it doesn’t work for you and you can go back to the status quo). I gave away and donated a lot of my extra clothing, but you can just keep anything extra in storage. If you need any inspiration, look up ‘capsule wardrobe’ or ‘Project 333’ to get some ideas. Here are a few benefits I’ve discovered:
1. Everything is your favourite.
When narrowing down your wardrobe to 33 items, you end up picking the things you like most. This means you’re always wearing your favourites. It’s a big confidence boost and always makes you feel well dressed.
2. Save on time.
I no longer have to flip through tons of hangers, pulling out different outfit combinations, only to reject them. Even if I’m short on time, it’s so easy to grab something quickly, already knowing it goes with everything I own.
3. Creates your own personal style.
The more you deliberately choose pieces of clothing for your wardrobe, the more your sense of style develops. As a result, you wear stylish clothes that suit your body type on a daily basis.
4. Saves money.
When I’m considering a purchase, I always ask myself whether it will fit within my style and match the clothing I already own. It’s allowed me to shop more deliberately, rather than purchasing something I’ll never wear, simply because its on sale.
What do you do to make your life easier?
As an introvert, I’m easily overwhelmed. Put me in a loud, busy, crowded room and my brain quickly becomes fuzzy and sluggish. Similarly, if my place is cluttered and messy, it’s hard to find peace of mind. One thing that has really helped is minimalism.
Minimalism isn’t about living out of a backpack, or only owning 10 things. It’s about keeping only things that add purpose or value to your life. Imagine opening a kitchen drawer and being able to find exactly what you need without digging. Or opening your closet and creating an outfit with all your favourite clothes. It’s like that.
theminimalists.com (one of my favourite resources) defines minimalism this way:
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
I first discovered minimalism a couple of years ago. I had moved four times in two years and having to pack up things I never used got old pretty fast. I was also transitioning from a retail job (casual wear) to an office job (business casual wear). There were a few things that carried forward but most of my wardrobe became superfluous. I eventually went on a massive “get rid of everything I don’t need” party.
As a minimalist, I live in a tidy little apartment. I have throw blankets, pillows, art on my walls, plants, and candles. Books line my shelves. But I no longer have piles of useless things that serve no purpose. As a result, I’m a lot more content. Here are a few benefits to minimalism:
1. Peace of mind.
By getting rid of clutter, and keeping only things that have value or purpose, I’m no longer faced with piles of stuff sitting on all available surfaces. I love it. I can sit in my clean and tidy living room with a book, light a candle, and just enjoy the peace and quiet of the room. I never realized how stressed out stuff made me feel, until it was gone.
2. It’s cathartic.
Getting rid of things you don’t need feels amazing. It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if it’s something nostalgic, but it’s worth it. I had so many things, some from 10 years ago, that I was moving from place to place but never used. If I haven’t used something in 6 months, there’s a good chance I won’t use it ever (I’m looking at you, ice skates from middle school).
3. Focus on priorities.
When you’re sorting through your personal items, it forces you to think about what’s really important. Do I really need to keep that grad dress that I only wore once, doesn’t fit anymore, and sits in my closet? Not really. Plus, when you’re no longer focused and distracted by material items, you can spend your time on the important things in life: family, friends and personal connections.
4. Cleaning is easier.
When you don’t own a lot of stuff, your place automatically looks cleaner and tidier with much less work. A friend stops by unexpectedly? No problem, your place already looks good to go. You also have less things to move when dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, etc. It’s awesome.
What are some of your thoughts?