Easier to find things!

This week I discovered one of the many benefits of minimalism – Easier to find things!

I was never a messy person. In fact, I organised my things very well! I have many things in my room but I knew where I placed my stuffs. In the past, I was able to find things.. but it takes some times and more efforts to locate. But with lesser things, there is lesser areas to look for and hence, the time spend on searching will cut down. I was looking for an old octopus card in preparation for my upcoming trip to Hong Kong next week. In the past before I started cutting down things massively, I have 4-5 areas to look for in my room. But with the massive minimalism, I know straightaway and only have one area to look for..where I put all my traveling stuffs and its not there. So I am quite sure its with someone else or I have simply forgot that I have returned it!

In the past, I would tend to spend so much times on these few areas that I thought I have kept the thing. I wouldn’t just give up if it is not found in these few areas. I would most likely to search the whole room. Even though I feel that I organised well, but since it cannot be located, I would think that I must have misplaced it somewhere else. But with lesser things, there is even better organisation and you would know that its not possible for it to be elsewhere. Even if I do ended up searching the whole room, because there is lesser things, I will not spend so much time!

 

I always say the process of becoming an minimalist is very hard. Especially for people like me who is obsessed with things, shopping & belongings. Over the past couple of years, I changed a lot but I always feel that there is still something not quite done properly. Sometimes, I am happy with my progress as I felt that I have “given up” a lot of things. But sometimes, I feel frustrated as I still have a lot of things. There is no deny that I am still in the “learning” stage. It has taken so much of my time as I am still working my way towards the ultimate target of having less things for real.

So for the past years or so, I am not buying things like before. I don’t buy that many shoes, bags or even clothes. When I go to the malls, I can “shop” around the whole day but didn’t buy anything at all. It was quite hard to do that in the past. It is an achievement that I am proud of but I still find myself questioning the buying decisions that I have made. I always feel that minimalism is not about not going for shopping at all. I mean if you really need that shoes because your old one is worn out/broke etc, you should go ahead and just buy it. But the general concept is buy only when you need it and keep things to the minimum. So I felt that shopping do play an important part.  This is one main factor that I felt is contributing to my success/failure. I really need to work on making smarter buying decision. For e.g. I subscribed to an harry potter wearable box even though I knew that I have too much shirts. I have since unsubscribed as of last Monday. Finally! I am always thinking of a way to better manage all these. But the best method  is probably to avoid – e.g. avoid the malls if I can! But it doesn’t always work of course. I guess I have to train my brain to process my buying decision carefully :p I told a friend that I no longer buy things at the first instant I see. This is very important for me as I need to ask myself by thinking carefully if it’s a want or need. And most of the times, it’s just an “want” which means 1) I do not need it. If I buy, it will ended up being “unloved” somewhere in my house 2) I already have that product. Another dress? No thanks. 3) I can live without it.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to purchase a book that I came across on the “minimalism” subject. I bought this book as I really wanted to get more inspiration. I felt that I am not doing enough especially for the past one year or so. So I started reading it today.

I was very impressed that the author lived with only a few things in his life. So of course, it inspired me to start doing some decluttering… But I probably cannot get to that stage yet….

So here’s what I have done:
1) Declutter my bookshelves. The author threw/sold his bookshelf. But I could never do that. Some books like the harry potter series are still important to me! But I was inspired to sort through my books. In the end, I have 2 stacks of books which I decided to giveaway. Most probably I will deposit at the library or something 🙂 At the same time, I am going to consider my future books purchasing carefully. This is another milestone for me because I never touch books in the past. I always said I would never throw away any books because you would always have use for them. But it was of course not true. Unless it’s Harry Potter, I wouldn’t read them a second time. Many minimalists go digital by purchasing ebooks on Kindle etc. I do own an Kindle. But I still prefer flipping books every now and then. Of course there is the library which I can access for free! Well, I guess I really need to work on this.
2) Declutter facial/cosmetic – I kept a box of makeup products (Memebox days!) just in case I need someday. But I never uses them as I don’t apply makeup in my daily life. I tried throwing some. But after thinking, I threw some more! There is still some left just in case. I uses other stuffs like facial products, lotions etc more often. But I decided to get rid of some. So I threw some away too.
3) Threw a couple of random stuffs like cover for my old iPhone.

I am happy with what I have done as I have wanting to do something about these things for a long time. At the same time, this inspired me to further work on other areas. I will probably scheduled time everyday next week to do 10-15 mins of quick decluttering! As usual, I am looking to live with lesser things 🙂

Why is Sat the most important day for me?

A friend commented that she notice that I am seldom “online” on WhatsApp & reply to WhatsApp messages from most Fridays till Sundays. It is true that I kinda have that habit established to I avoid social chatting as much as I can during that period.

Firstly, I hate “chatting” on WhatsApp. Gone were the days that we were actively chatting online. MSN. Whatever. Now I am all grown up. I have much more important things to do.  Spending time chit chatting (on text) was never my kind of thing. Although I did have a period that I did like to chit chat with a friend… Well, she was the one who keep sending me messages. But I realise it is time wasting. Before you knew it, you have spend 1-2 hours “chatting” and you haven’t do anything else.

Secondly, I like to be productive. So… my weekends are busy with tasks, to-do etc. Hence, Saturday becomes the most important day for me for the week.

Even though I get home much earlier after I changed my job last Oct. But still, I don’t get much done. Decluttering on a weekday evening? Yeah, that’s would be so fun! After I came home, I have dinner, then bath, then I just do not want to be involve in tasks that will cause me to feel sweaty. So I seldom do decluttering on weekdays. In fact, sometimes my room is in a huge mess until Saturday. Oops, I know. I shouldn’t have leave it till Saturday. But I just don’t want to take that risk. So Saturday is the best time to organise, declutter & minimise! I usually wake up about 9am or earlier and spend the rest of the day doing some awesome like decluttering etc. As much I love being outside having fun, but I realise that my priority is to focus on what is more important. Well of course sometimes I do have to be out. So, I switch around and work on it on Sunday instead. Nevertheless, Saturday is still important. That friend of mine made an decision 2 weeks ago which I never understand. She told her boss that she will go back to work on Saturday to replace one of the day where there was an shutdown. Why would you want to work on Saturday? Saturday is not about having your well-deserved rest and fun. It is also on the days that we can spend on doing things we never have the time to do on weekdays. If I work on Saturday, it means that I have no time again as Sunday are dedicated for reading, watching movies etc.  For e.g. yesterday I worked on a task that I keep delaying… I finally “declutter” my MacBook Pro!! It took me 8-9 hours. So if I didn’t have the Saturday, then I wouldn’t have the time as I wouldn’t feel like doing such a tedious task on Sunday. This is especially so if I have only Sunday to rest.

 

Review – Tom Bihn Side Kick

I found out about this brand too late! I think its a super great company that make really good quality bags! So when I learned about this company, I was very anxious to own one. So I decided to purchase one of the smaller bag (an cross body known as Side Kick). This bag is similar to a Muji bag that I have purchased 3-4 years ago. As much as I love nice looking cross body aka “fashionable” cross body in fabulous vegan leather , I think nylon bags are much functional when you are travelling. They are lightweight, decent, low profile (especially when you are in an not-so-safe city) and always full of compartments that you can use. Functional is way important than being fashionable. My Muji bag has been an awesome side kick for a long time. But recently I noticed an unremovable white stain on the bag. Furthermore, the bag do not have compartments that I really need. Hence, I purchased this to replace my muji bags and other cheaper cross body bags that I owned.

I spend a couple of days deciding on the colours.  70% of my life I spend on buying black bags. But do I want another black bag again? I mean its going a bag that I would use for a very long time! So…I must make careful decision. I finally came to a decision while riding the train back. I decided to get a Black Halcyon (aka black checkered nylon). Checkered pattern was never my kind of thing. But I thought plain black is too boring! I am however craving for a purple bag (I kinda like darker shade purple secretly as it was the official colour switch for my previous company. Due to the influences, I have been getting things of that colour occasionally.) or burnt orange. Burnt orange look so cool and unique!

It took a day for them to ship and only one day to reach a forwarder I am using being in the next state. BUT the forwarder took super long to process the shipment to me. I shall not go into that. I waited for about 10 days plus to get the package.

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So the first day it came, I couldn’t bring it with me for the next day as I need to carry library books! But I was determined to carry it asap. I have forgotten to bring back my notebook and planner from work on that day I decided to start using the bag. So I was a bit worried if my bag would fit them. At 5.20pm (I end work at 5.30pm officially!), I decided to start packing. Since my SK couldn’t fit in my lunch boxes, I have to carry a lunch tote. So I figure out I could squeeze in some stuffs if I couldn’t fit them in! At the same time, I try to arrange the pouches in order to make use of the awesome o-rings that they have.

Of course, they amazingly fit in! And there is more space for more things… Some compartments are still empty…

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Here’s what I have in my beloved Side Kick:
A slim umbrella – I am most pleased about this. I cannot go anywhere without an umbrella. Most people mentioned about fitting in an bottle. But I have not read about umbrella. I probably put in an water bottle if I am traveling. But if I am commuting, umbrella is more important. 
Tissue – Again, I cannot go anywhere without a tissue pack or two.
Card access – Hufflepuff lanyard 🙂
Pouch for transport card, keys & coins – I modified this and was pleased that the key straps that I have purchased from Tom Bihn can be strapped into the zip of the pouch. I was so glad that I purchased an 8 inch strap as it make tapping of cards much easier!
Tom Bihn Ballistic organiser (mini) – I uses this as an wallet. It works so well as its much larger than most coin pouch. Notes can be easily slot in and out. I am thinking of getting another piece next time to carry my other necessities. And of course I strapped to the one of the o-ring with the default key strap given. It is again so useful as I do not have to search for my wallet again!!
Notebook – I uses an fauxdori currently. It is from Taobao, China. As much as I like Midori, I would never buy their traveller’s notebook being its made of real leather.  But I uses the authentic refills from Modori. 
2017 Planner from Moleskine
Pens – My all-time favourite Sarasa Clip Pen & a Snoopy pen from ASOS. And I absolutely love the Pen compartments!! 
Power bank
iPod Nano
iPhone 6S (Not pictured)

I really wanted to cover it with pins and badges for personalisation. But I read about not being covered by warranty etc. But I thought who cares! I would just get another to replace. But I realise a button may not fit in that well as the front compartment is quite bulky. But I decided to attach an keychain to personalise. Another alternative is probably to attach it onto the strap instead since the strap is detachable.

Obviously, I am super pleased with the bag! Although its much more expensive than my Muji bag (3 times!), but I know this bag would last for a long time!

1. There is so much compartments! I love compartments as they really helps in organisation!
2. O-rings. So much love for this function. It make life easier. I can easily tap my card & I can easily find my pouch.
3. Size. The size is amazing! It can fits in all the essential yet it is not crazy big. I anticipated using this for my next holiday trip.

What I do not quite like:
1. I wasn’t a fan of the strap originally. It is more thin than my Muji bag. It is less comfortable. But after 2-3 days, I gotten used to the strap.
2. There is not much padding. I put my planner (hardcover) at the back and it feels uncomfortable due to the lack of padding support. But its really not an big issue. Adding in padding probably make the bag more bulky. An alternative is to place something soft – e.g. a lightweight scarf as “padding” at the back.