Sometimes the biggest stress when you’re walking around university is the amount of stuff you’re carrying. Textbooks, papers, sheets, planners, food, water, phone, wallet/purse…the list goes on. It weighs you down, sucks your energy and can damage your back in the long run if you’re not careful.
It can create stress from not being able to find something, or forgetting to take something with you because you thought it was ‘somewhere in there’.
Why not only carry the minimum amount you need with you for that one day? Here are 5 steps to help you out:
1. A thin folder. Instead of carrying all of your sheets from the whole week, or an entire pad of lined paper, just carry what you think you will need for that day – a few notes and a few pieces of paper. When are you going to use a whole pad of 150 sheets in one day? Do you really need those sheets from last week today? Each night, take out all of the things you don’t need and add anything you do. This will help you keep things filed away and it will shave off a bit of weight off your back.
2. A smaller purse/wallet. It’s easy to fill up a purse or wallet if there’s lot’s of room. Receipts and loose change are some of the main culprits. Keep those pennies in a jar at home or only take a few around with you. Try to carry only the amount of money you will probably need that day, as well as any cards or ID. Discard receipts straight away if you know you don’t want them (eg. for food) or make sure you put them in away as soon as possible if you want to keep them for a while (eg. clothes), but don’t forget to throw those away after a while too.
3. A smaller bag. Carrying on from the previous point, downsizing your actual bag or rucksack can help you to carry less as well. It will make you question yourself when you can’t carry all of your textbooks and your laptop with you that day. Do you really need to have that book? Or can you use the library’s one? Do you have to have your laptop, or can you use the computer clusters? If you really do need to have that stuff, at least a smaller bag will mean you might be able to find things easier instead of wasting time rummaging about.
4. A smart phone. I am a big advocate of writing things down because I think it helps you remember things better. But sometimes, if you can afford it, a smartphone can store a copy of your timetable, or help you set reminders and book appointments, instead of having it all on a million bits of paper or in a thick planner. Also, if it is connected to the internet and has some basic functions, it can also replace your laptop for surfing as well as a separate voice recorder, if you use one.
5. An ebook reader. Digital books will always only weigh the amount of the ebook reader, no matter how many you carry. And you don’t have to worry about forgetting, damaging or carrying your expensive and/or heavy books. Also, because the books don’t have to be printed, distributed and stored, they usually cost a little bit less and are much greener.
Minimalism in this case isn’t about making your life harder because you won’t have all the materials you need. It’s about carrying only what is essential, because isn’t that all you need?