I admit it, I absolutely love all things Minimalism. Even though I blog mainly about faith and philosophy, I sometimes get more excited to read articles from minimalist bloggers than philosophy and theology bloggers. It’s always a joy to stumble upon some tips that will help me declutter my home and my mind.
Today, I thought I would share five of the strategies I employ to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety in my life and which enable me to feel more peaceful and happy. With a new year approaching, it’s a good time to get organised. Perhaps you will find something in these tips to improve your peace of mind as we head into 2022.
1. Life Planning System: Calendar, Notes, Reminders. I find these three apps work together to form a really great system for keeping my life organised. I use the Apple Calendar app for appointments (for example, a doctor’s appointment or a repair visit to my apartment), I use Notes to brainstorm ideas for projects and plans and also to keep an inventory of everything I own, and I use Reminders as a daily ‘Things To Do’ checklist. In Apple Reminders you can schedule To Do’s to recur daily, weekly, monthly, or annually, which means you can get reminders to do your grocery shopping every week, or to do an annual Spring Clean or boiler service, for example. There are of course dozens of To Do apps out there (I’m actually using Things 3 currently, but here I’m recommending Reminders because you will probably already have it if you have a Mac and/or iPhone).
2. Clutter-Free Digital Organisation. I don’t have a single file on my computer desktop. I keep just those applications and folders I use most often in the dock at the bottom of the screen. There are 10 applications in my dock, plus a single folder, a budget spreadsheet, and a simple life plan document. Within the folder are only files I believe I may need to access regularly; the bulk of my files are on an external Samsung hard drive which I regard as a kind of storage cabinet. Keeping legacy documents on an external hard drive frees up storage space on my computer allowing it to run more smoothly. I also backup my computer every Sunday to another external hard drive (I have a reminder set to do that!).
3. Cleaning Blitzes. This is a tip I always love to share with people. Instead of letting cleaning jobs pile up and feel like a terrible chore to tackle, instead you can set a timer for 20 minutes and do as much as you can in that time. At the end of the 20 minutes, have a cup of tea and I expect you will feel satisfied you’ve made good progress. Most people can spare 20 minutes in a regular day, and if you do this a few times a week you should stay on top of the cleaning with hardly any stress.
4. Inventory. I find it very reassuring to have an inventory of everything I own. If I need to move to a different home, or if I were to pass away, the inventory could be really useful. It also stops me from buying duplicate items, and when I started doing this I was able to donate many spare items to others in my community which is always a positive thing to do. If you’re bored during yet another lockdown and have the motivation, I highly recommend having a crack at making an inventory. Do it on your smartphone so you can access and update it whenever you need to.
5. Contingency. It can be really reassuring to plan for the unexpected in life. I keep a few backup plans in my documents in case things in my life change unexpectedly. These relate mainly to work, finances, and accommodation. Also, I recently wrote a will and got it signed and witnessed. Included alongside my will is a document with instructions for my next of kin related to my physical and digital assets. I also keep a copy of my inventory document (listing and locating everything I own) alongside my will. It gives me peace of mind to know my family would not have too much stress if I were to unexpectedly pass away.
Just as an aside, I also have plans for if there is a time when I have no computer. If my MacBook broke I would still be able to manage my author business with only a smartphone. I also keep a stock of physical copies of the books I have written in my apartment in case all technology ceases to function and I can’t access the Internet for a prolonged period of time for some reason. These are uncertain times, folks!
What are your tips for staying organised and do you believe there’s a correlation between how organised you are and your happiness levels? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading!