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A Beginner’s Guide to Living the Minimalist Lifestyle

If you’ve heard the term at least once, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard it associated with architecture and interior design, where having only the barest of arrangements can truly be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

But minimalism as a concept is applicable not just to design – it also works on a person’s outlook and lifestyle.

Why Go Minimalist?

Minimalism is a tool that lets you strip away the excess things that don’t bring value to your life, allowing yourself to focus on the things that you think are the most important or happen to enjoy the most.

This is great not just for getting rid of the physical things in your room or home that you don’t need anymore. If you find that your life is currently too full of things that are holding you back, then minimalism is definitely for you.

Getting Started on Minimalism

Minimalism is a great way to cut down on the things in your life that you find are simply taking up space without doing anything, and leaves you with room for the things you really need or enjoy having. Here are a few steps on how you can get started:

  • Give yourself a clear, personal goal. What does minimalism mean for you? What do you want to achieve with it? Focus on what you’re really passionate about doing, and write down the steps you can take to achieve your goals.
  • Use the 90-90 rule. Take a look at a particular item you own. Have you used it in the last 90 days? Will you be using it in the next 90? If your answer to either question is no, you won’t miss it too much.
  • Start re-using. You can really start cutting down on spending when you start re-using or repairing things instead of throwing them away. By finding ways to use what you already have, you don’t have to keep buying new things all the time.
  • Invest in things that don’t break or wear down easily. Things that don’t break or wear down easily is where minimalism can be initially expensive, but they can definitely be worth the investment.
  • Learn to live with less. You don’t have to jump right into a minimalist lifestyle all at once, but you do have to learn how to be content with the things you already have. You may have to give yourself a week or two to get used to it.
  • Give yourself room for error. This is the most important – everyone makes mistakes, and minimalism is an ongoing process. When you do, remember why you’re doing this in the first place, take a deep breath, and try again.

Habits You Can Form to Reduce Garbage in Your Home

Reducing the amount of garbage that you produce starts with taking small steps and being consistent with them so they can add up to have a significant overall effect. Here are the many different ways how you can really put the three R’s into practice:

Don’t buy bottled water.

Bottled water takes up a lot of resources to produce single-use products that take too long to decompose. If you really need to drink water, you’re better off buying your own water bottle that you can fill up with normal tap water, which is often safe to drink.

If you love having your coffee on the go, you can even choose to invest in a metal thermos instead of drinking from a paper cup every time.

Minimize take-away.

You’re better off cooking or preparing your own food yourself. If you don’t have the time to make elaborate meals for any reason, opt for foods that you can easily eat on the go, such as trail snacks and fruits. 

Not only will food taste much better (you’re using fresh ingredients, and you worked on it yourself), but you also get to cut down on single-use containers you would throw away whenever you order take-away from your favorite restaurant.

Bring your own re-usable bags.

Plastic bags may be cheap, easy to get, and really convenient, but they also take really long to naturally degrade (depending on the type of plastic used, it can take as many as four hundred). These days, having re-usable cloth bags for your groceries or when you go to the marketplace is a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint.

The same can be said when you order take-away. As much as possible, bring a lunchbox and ask the staff to place the food in your lunchbox instead of having it in single-use containers or plastics.

Use cloth napkins and hand towels in your kitchen.

This may not seem much (and there’s a good chance you’re already doing this), but using cloth instead of using tissue paper or paper napkins can go a long way in reducing the amount of trash you make overall.

No need to keep buying new ones when it comes to cloth napkins and hand towels – simply wash and let dry and you can use them again.

Know your local laws on recycling.

The good news is that in Singapore, you have easy access to detailed guidelines when it comes to segregating waste and recycling, and you only need to ask around if you’re confused. Most HDB blocks and privately-owned properties in residential areas also have large recycling bins where you can easily dispose your waste.

4 Items in Your Home that You Need to Replace (And When)

If you think that you’re already surprised at the amount of stuff that you or your household throws away, there are even more things that you should pay attention to since they have their own lifespans.

In fact, here are five of them to get you started:

1. Air Conditioner

Air conditioners can last you about fifteen years on average, and when given proper care and maintenance, as well as replacement parts, can even reach a full twenty.

However, there’s a good chance that replacement parts won’t always be manufactured or available in order to make the repairs possible, so be sure to keep an eye out for the signs that your air conditioner is starting to fail – especially when it’s been around for more than ten years.

2. Washing Machine

Washing machines are another item at home that you should be replacing, especially if it’s been in your home for more than ten years.

Because the average lifespan of a washing machine is between eight and twelve, you want to pay careful attention to little details, such as the door gasket, the water connections, and the motor mount.

Small problems in your washing machine should not be overlooked, especially since the current that comes with the electronics can come into contact with the water, and any leaks could mean the risk of electrocution.

3. Refrigerator

You may find it difficult to replace your refrigerator at home since you’ll have no place to store your food, and especially since it’s running 24/7 to do just that. However, it may just be all the more reason why you should do so.

Even with a properly maintained model, the life expectancy of a fridge can only be up to seventeen years at most, and that’s when the parts can be unavailable and the repairs can start to get more expensive over time.

You should also pay extra attention to your refrigerator’s water filter. Replacing it regularly every six months minimizes your risk of being exposed to harmful bacteria and chemicals.

4. Fire Extinguisher

It never hurts to have one at home just in case, since fire accidents and hazards are common, but disposable fire extinguishers can only be viable for up to twelve years before they need to be replaced.

For rechargeable fire extinguishers, this lifespan is six years.

When making sure that your fire safety at home is ready and safe, check the pressure gauges at least once a month to see if they are still charged to full. If not, then you should get new ones or refill them as soon as possible.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

The Complete Guide to Taking Care of Succulents

Even though growing succulents at home or on your desk at work sounds easy at first. While they don’t need to be watered frequently to thrive, they do need a lot of sunlight to stay healthy and vibrant.

However, by following this guide, you’ll be able to practice your green thumb and grow them in your home or office like a pro.

Getting the Right Succulent Plants to Grow

While some plants can adapt fine growing indoors, most succulents tend to require a lot of sunlight.

The way you can tell this is by looking at their colors – if the succulent has bright colors (reds, purples, oranges), they should be left outside. Succulents that will do fine growing in a controlled environment are green in color.

Getting the Right Light

It’s hard even for indoor succulents to get enough sunlight, so be sure to place them near a window or somewhere that gets bright, indirect sunlight all day.

If you notice that your plants are starting to stretch, there’s a good chance that they’re not getting enough sunlight. For most colorful succulents grown indoors, such as Echeveria varieties, this is a common fate.

On the opposite end, succulents can also get sunburned if they get exposed to too much sunlight, but these tend to be rare cases and not a major issue.

Knowing When to Water (and How Much)

Succulents thrive off of a surprising amount of water. However, what makes succulents tricky to grow is that they need to be watered less frequently compared to other indoor plants, and this is because they like to be soaked with water and then dried out quickly.

Watering indoor succulents daily is the quickest way to kill them, so you will need to follow the “soak and dry” method of watering them once a week.

Lightly spritzing them with water can also help them survive for a while.

Another thing to pay attention to is the “dormant period” that succulents have, which is usually during the cooler months of the year. During this time, they won’t need as much water since they aren’t actively growing.

Storage

Most pots can be great for storing succulents, but when it comes to office storage, glass containers are definitely a no-no because glass containers tend to not have adequate drainage, which means that the plant’s roots will be sitting in damp, soggy soil for a long time.

The same can be said for airflow. Because succulents are usually found clinging to trees in nature, their roots need that regular airflow to stay healthy.

If you’re determined to use containers without drainage or breathability, your best bet is to use soil that allows for easier draining, and carefully measure how much water you’re giving to avoid any excess.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

6 Planning Hacks When Travelling with Friends

Travelling in groups has always been a trend: all-girls’ holidays and bro trips are just a few examples of friends hitting the road together. Before you jumpstart preparing the nitty-gritty details of your travel, here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your ‘friendventure’ goes off as smoothly as possible.

  1. Narrow Down Your Destination Choices

Before you start calling the squad, narrow down your destination choices. These are your best buds, so you probably know what kind of vacation everybody wants. Your choices, of course, should be down to actual justifiable and practical reasons, such as affordability of flights, a destination everyone would want to visit, brilliant hotel deals, etc.

  • Go for Shared Accommodation

Renting a property as a group will make the travel so much cheaper than booking individual hotel rooms, though you certainly can if you really want that option. If you choose the latter, contact several hotels, and even hostels, to see if there are any ongoing promotions and discounts for bulk booking.

  • Let Everyone Contribute

Let everyone in the group play a role. Someone books the daytrips, someone takes care of the flight bookings, someone handles the finances, etc. This way, the responsibilities are shared, everyone would feel they have contributed and no one would feel stressed out or overworked.

  • Create a Pot Money for Expenses

Decide on an amount and have everyone contribute the same amount of money to raise it. This will help keep everything clean and easy, especially for joint expenses, such as taxes for accommodation, everyday meals and night out expenses. If there is any leftover, it is much easier to split the remaining money among everyone.

  • Let Everyone Do Their Thing

They’re your friends, so you probably already know each other’s personality. While partying is your cup of tea, others may find it exhausting. You and a few of your friends may want to go clubbing, while others prefer to stay in during the night. If some prefer not to join some activities, let them be. Allowing everyone do what makes them relaxed ensures that the group does not only get the holiday you all want, but everyone else also gets the individual vacation they want.

  • Be Considerate of Everyone

This is more of a general rule: be considerate of everyone in the group. Some could be more laidback than others, and simply because they do not say anything mean you don’t need to consult them. Make sure that every single thing is decided and agreed by everyone to avoid unexpected surprises. Once you’ve settled everything as a group, review the information and adjust if necessary.

Group trips are supposed to be fun, so don’t let the stress of planning get in the way. Keep in mind these helpful travel tips to organize and get you excited about your upcoming vacation, instead.

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