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decluttering and minimalism for students // the basics

There are three things that all students can
minimise, declutter, or cut back on: (1) paper usage; (2) stationery and (3) student-related
organization methods and apps. i could do a whole video on minimalism but
there’s so many amazing content creators out there that explain it way better than me that
I just decided to list my favorite ones in the description box. Minimalism for students, however, is not a
hugely popular topic although we tend to hoard a lot of things during our academic journey. For instance, according to the California
Integrated Waste Management Board, the average school in Los Angeles wastes more than 74
thousand ponds of paper annually. 1) **Paper**. Even if you are not a fan, going digital is
probably one of the biggest steps you can take to minimise the amount of notes and paper
you use, read and annotate in college. Your notes, paired with assignments, information
sheets, practice tests and other handouts will eventually add up to hundreds of pounds,
per year, spent on paper. Of course that not all people have the chance
to cut back on paper. When I got to my first lecture of Ancient
Greek a couple of weeks ago, my teacher already had a binder with at least 200 pages of notes
prepared for each student. These notes weren’t provided to us digitally
so we all carry this binder with us during the entirety of the course. However, I can also say that in my experience,
this is usually the exception. Most teachers nowadays are willing to share
the digital version of their documents online and allow you to either use a computer, tablet
or even your phone to consult those documents in class or allow you to print the parts of
the document that are relevant to the class while keeping the rest of the material stored
in your computer. Even if you are not allowed or can’t afford
to bring a digital device with you to class, being able to select smaller portions of the
document to bring with you to class, or even reduce them to a portion of the size by taking
your own notes on a couple of pages, helps tremendously on cutting back on the amount
of paper you use. You can also stick with double-sided printing,
use the digital version of newspaper or magazine subscriptions, improve your paper recycling
habits, using whiteboards or blackboards to write notes instead of paper, and so on. If you’re a fan of books, you can also try
the ebook version and I must say that is the biggest difficulty I have in my life in terms
of sustainability because I love my printed books and I find it really hard to switch
to digital, so if you’re in the same train as me, I totally get that. 2) **Stationery** If you consider yourself part of the studying,
planning or bullet journal community on social media, than you have probably fallen prey
to the thousands of pictures of expensive stationery that you sometimes have to import
from overseas, or find on etsy or other craft stores. I have fallen prey to that and I am currently
using colored pens and buying no more black pens until I’ve finished the two or three
packs of stabilo and staedtler fineliners I hoarded during the years. THe thing is, too much stationery is expensive,
wasteful and does nothing for your studies. Of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t have
fun with your stationery shopping but going all out and purchasing a pack of 50 colored
fineliners when you definitely always write with the same 5 colors is a waste of time
and resources. Cutting back on this will help you minimise
your usage of space as well as the amount of unecessary decision-making you have to
make when you’re taking notes and studying. Using less supplies will allow you to create
simpler notes that allow you to focus on the really necessary and important concepts. Furthermore, if you just don’t want to go
the digital route and substitute all of your stationery for a mouse and keyboard or a digital
pen, you can simply commit to using the same stationery for the entirety of a semester,
which will probably be enough for you to use most of your writing supplies. You can also consider investing in better
quality and reusable items, like a ringbound planner, which can last years, a sturdy backpack
or a binder instead of spiral notebooks. While some of these items can be a bit more
expensive, a binder with a good cover for instance, can last you the entirety of college;
the only thing you would have to care about would be the refills. 3) **student-related organization methods
and apps.** Another thing I fell prey to is going overboard
with organization tools, be it digital or not. I’m talking about keeping several planners
at the same time, going back and forth on 10 or more organization apps, using different
note taking apps in different devices, etc. Although it’s fun to try and experiment with
different options and alternatives, it’s also crucial to be able to make a commitment with
some of your choices and stick with them for a longer amount of time. If you’re constantly switching back and forth
between different methods, you will feel overwhelmed and you won’t even understand if the methods
you employ actually work, since you’re not testing them for a large amount of time. My rule of thumb is to stick with each method
at least for 30 days and if it’s failing miserably I’ll just think of an alternative. If you are interested in the whole sustainability
movement I highly recommend a documentary called called “Bag it”, which talks about
the problem of using plastic and the effect that consuming it in high amounts has on the
environment, sea life and even human health. If you want to watch the whole documentary
you can do so by signing up for free for CuriosityStream, who is sponsoring today’s video and has thousands
of documentaries in different categories and was created by the original founder of Discovery. As a special gift you can use the promo code
“study corner” or click the link in the description box to have a free 30-day membership, which
will give you more than enough time to watch “Bag it” as well as many other documentaries
in their list. It’s also available for a ton of different
devices so you can keep learning everywhere and after your free membership, it just costs
2.99 a month and I think that’s pretty cheap for almost unlimited learning opportunities.

About James Carlton

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