Clear the Paper Clutter Pt. 2

A Hygge-lism How To

You have attacked your paper clutter collection, it’s organized, accessible, safe and under control.  Yet everyday, more paper seems to find its way to your kitchen counters, table tops and every other open surface available.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

You got it under control, now let’s keep it under control with a few tips and tricks.

One of the biggest culprits of paper clutter is junk mail, and just the daily mail in general.  You get home from work, you grab the stack of mail on your way in and you toss it onto a counter to be dealt with later.  This is where you will need to make your first adjustment.  

Begin with a simple Act Now Mindset.

Open your mail next to your paper shredder – Have an area designated for incoming mail, in that area should be your paper shredder and a basket for items that require a response or action from you.  As you open your mail, immediately shred the junk and the empty envelopes. Items such as bills, RSVP requests and return service requested goes into the basket, to be taken care of that evening or that coming weekend.

School Artwork, Awards, Test Results – As children grow, these items tend to change.  In the early years though, nary a day will go by that they won’t come home with a piece or two of artwork.  If you display the artwork, limit it to just a few pieces at a time, then as a new one arrives take an old one down, snap a picture of it and then send it packing.  The same method can be applied for test results and awards. Report cards on the other hand should be scanned and saved prior to disposal.

Replacement Papers – These are items that get renewed periodically.  When new insurance policy or registration cards show up, or you get your license renewed immediately discard the old one.  This will actually become something that you look forward to; smile while you shred that old insurance policy or card and enjoy the sound of the old driver’s licenses and credit cards as they get crunched into tiny little squares.

Once you get a handle on the incoming paper clutter and you get used to the act now response to it.  Then it is time to focus on cutting back on it so that you don’t need to apply so much time to dealing with it.

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Embrace Paperless – I can’t name a business that doesn’t offer paperless statements or paperless bill paying off the top of my head, and even if I could, I guarantee it would only be one or two at the most.  Embrace paperless opportunities, scepticism about the internet security surrounding your water bill should be the least of your worries. All of your billing information is being stored on the internet at that company regardless of whether or not you receive a bill through email or snail mail.

Re-evaluate Subscriptions – It’s time to get honest with yourself.  Take a look at all of your magazine subscriptions and evaluate their importance.  If you love it, read it and can’t get it digitally on your tablet, then keep it. If otherwise, save yourself some money by canceling it, save yourself some time by not having to deal with it and save yourself some peace of mind by not having it add to your paper clutter.

Sweep, Sort and Purge – Make a regular habit of doing a quick sweep of your home to collect papers that have slipped through the cracks.  Occasionally sort through the paperwork that you do have filed away, to ensure it is still relevant. Then purge anything and everything that is no longer necessary…ah the glorious sound of a hungry shredder. 

Instill these quick and easy methods and enjoy a paper clutter free environment.  Kick your feet up onto a paperless coffee table, enjoy a quick snack on a paperless kitchen counter and place your coffee down next to your laptop on your paper free desk, on a coaster of course.

Join 144 other followers

Cable Has Been Cut

An Unrelated to Anything Else Ramble

I dare say that we are a generation, possibly two away from a generation of kids that won’t know what cable was.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

As hard as that may be to imagine, I am sure that at some point it was unthinkable to conceive of generations not knowing what an eight track or cassette was.  As the cassette industry was forgotten, so went the Walkman. Records were nearly a thing of the past until this latest resurgence, and CDs are on their way out and closely following them are DVDs for sure thanks to the likes of Netflix, Amazon and other streaming movie services.  Not to mention Beta…beta…betamax? I don’t even know if that is right. Well betamax lost a war to VHS…oh yeah, that’s gone too! And never forget the short lived Laser Disc  

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Landlines are something that many kids are no longer aware of anymore as is life before the internet, social media, video games and cell phones. Millennials may recall life before social media, but “Gen Z” is so confused by this article that it’s laughable.  GPS is a staple in new drivers lives now, hand a new driver a map and they are likely to wrinkle their forehead in confusion as they try to figure it out.  I dare say that stand alone GPS systems will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future, after all, it is standard on any new cell phone. Speaking of cell phones, they have virtually eliminated the not so old Ipod and dedicated music storage and streaming device industry.  

Now I don’t imagine that stand alone camera’s are going away quite yet, but I see them being owned solely by folks in the photography business.  Camera film on the other hand is going, going, gone, with the exception of the “vintage” albeit short return of Polaroid.

Photo by Tim Savage on Pexels.com

Thanks to Post Malone, we have recently discovered that Ozzy Osbourne was someone that was virtually non-existent in today’s youth as crazy as that sounds.  Name a band or entertainer from before the turn of the century and there is a 50/50 shot that anyone under the age of…gulp… 20 will know who it is…yikes.  If you stop for a drink on the way home, there is a good chance the kid next to you sipping his, limited release, locally brewed, cherry tinged, craft IPA won’t know who the Doors are let alone who Jim Morrison was.

A bit of a mind blower is cursive writing.  It is no longer taught. There is a good chance that cursive writing will fade away.  How are the future generations going to sign their name onto anything? Hand in hand with learning to write cursive is learning to read cursive writing.  If I want to keep a secret from my oldest son, I can just write a note to my wife in cursive and he is stumped. We are looking to remedy this ourselves.

But cable?  Can it be so?  I myself cut cable many moons ago, but thanks to my parents my children are still in the know about it.  Will their kids know about it? I doubt it.

Join 144 other followers

Clear the Paper Clutter Pt. 1

A Hygge-lism How To

One of the key components of hygge-lism is bringing the outside in when it comes to design.  Having a forest residing on your desk, counters and in your cabinets in the form of paper doesn’t count though.

Balancing the necessary and the excess when it comes to paper clutter can be a daunting task, and the hardest part is getting to a place where a routine and process can be put in place as many of us are starting from a disadvantage and more paper clutter arrives every day.

So in order to do this properly, you have to start from “the now”, and the common current situation is dire.

Grant Yourself Amnesty

When starting out, it is important to capture the entirety of the undertaking in one fell swoop rather than starting the process over and over again with each space.

Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

Take the time to gather all your paper clutter into one working space, fill bags, baskets, tubs, whatever you need to gather all of your clutter together.  No judgements made. This way you will be able to sit down and focus a block of time to the project without having to run around and risk getting distracted by countless other tasks.

Gather Your Tools

I don’t typically recommend purchasing…well…anything, but this is a rare case where a few small items are recommended to not only get paper clutter under control, but to keep it under control.  If you know someone that has these items and they are willing to let you borrow them on a weekly or monthly basis, then perhaps you could go that route as well.  

Household Paper Shredder – A basic paper shredded will prove to be an invaluable investment and will likely be an everyday use item until you can pair down your paper clutter intake significantly.  These have become relatively cheap for a solid, reliable, worthwhile paper shredder – I recommend something such as this – 8-sheet cross-cut paper and credit card home office shredder.

Home Office Document Scanner and/or Adobe Scan: PDF & Business Card Scanner App. – A home office document scanner is an excellent way to convert any and all important documents to electronic files for storage.  This is a reliable, tried and true method, and it won’t break the bank to get a reliable scanner.  

A more updated, even cheaper method nowadays though, involves your smartphone and a quick download of the Adobe Scan App pictured to the right.  This process takes a little bit more know how, but is instantly available.

If you prefer the tried and true method of a home office scanner, I recommend one such as this – Epson Workforce ES-50 Portable Sheet-fed Document Scanner.

External Hard Drive and/or Cloud Based Storage Program – I recommend a two-fold storage method here, but one or the other would suffice if need be.  Computer and laptop life cycles have gotten shorter and shorter, and their reliability on a day to day basis is questionable.  Without regular data back-ups, anything stored directly on their hard drives is tentative at best.

An external hard drive is reliable, and requires very little maintenance if any to assure that it will work perfectly whenever you need it.  I recommend a decent quality hard drive such as this – Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive.  1 TB of storage for documents is more than you will use in a lifetime, but it is better safe than sorry, and you could also double this hard drives function by storing photos and memorable home videos on it as well.

Cloud based storage is a perfect way to store important documents, it removes the risk of hardware failure and natural disaster such as a house fire or flood.  It also makes the documents available at anytime from anywhere, but…that security will come at a monthly or yearly fee, usually low, but a fee none the less. There is also the risk of the program going out of business or getting hacked.  So a proven reliable company such as Evernote – pictured to the right is where my recommendation falls.

You are all set up, now comes the fun part…

Sort, Sort, Sort

Whether you have 2 minutes, 10 minutes or 2 hours, sit down in your designated area and begin to sort your stacks of paper clutter.  Feel free to incorporate as many categories as you wish; receipts; medical bills; loan paperwork; insurance documents; tax records; birth certificates and social security cards; bank invoices; sentimental items like children’s artwork etc.

If you come across any obvious trash items, like junk mail, leftover paper scrap from coupon cutting or torn open envelopes, then shred them immediately.  I promise you, this will be a satisfying feeling and you will grow to love the sound of the paper shredder.

Put aside small blocks of time as often as you can to work your way through your collection.  If more paper finds its way into your house while you are sorting, which it inevitably will, sort it and add it to the appropriate pile as soon as it arrives.

Once your amnesty pile is fully sorted and the obvious junk has been shredded you are ready for the next step.

AudiobooksNow - Digital Audiobooks for Less

Attack One Category at a Time

Here is where you will really start to see a difference.  It may have felt like you were going backwards, all of the paper clutter that you had tucked away, was suddenly on display and your designated area was an overwhelming mess.  Well not for much longer.

I will reference some specific items and categories, if there are any particular items you would like discussed, feel free to bring them up in the comments.

Receipts – For items with warranties, keep these for the life of the warranty by scanning a copy of the receipt and then shred them.  If the receipt is for a work/taxes related item, scan it and shred it. For all other items, only hold onto the receipts until you know you won’t be returning the items, then shred them.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tax Documents – You are required to keep the last 7 years of tax records for Audit purposes.  Anything older than that can be shredded immediately. Scan in the remaining years then shred away, and look forward to hitting that delete key once every year after tax season.

Vehicle/House Records – These should be kept until the car/boat/motorcycle etc. is sold and the loans if any for these items are paid off.  Scan then shred.  House records such as mortgage documents and home improvement receipts should be kept until the house is sold, the loan is paid off and you have done your taxes for the year that you sold the house.  Scan then shred.  Yearly insurance policies and cards on these items, only the current years should be kept, shred all previous years.

Bank Statements – Anything more than one month is excess.  You could scan these in, but I recommend you keep your last statement, switch to paperless statements with your bank, wait a month then shred that one too.  If you are a stickler for paper statements, keep the latest statement in a one drawer file cabinet and then shred it upon receipt of each new statement.

Credit Card Bills – Shred immediately once a payment is made, then switch to paperless billing.  There is no need to keep a history of these, so even if you prefer paper statements; receive the bill; pay the bill; shred the bill.

Investment Records – If you invest and I hope that you do, these are treated much like tax records.  Keep them for seven years past the closing of the account. Scan then shred.

Lease Paperwork – Keep until the end of the lease, and the return of the deposit if applicable.  Scan then shred.

Paychecks / Earnings Statements – Keep these for 1 year, until you receive your W-2 for the tax year.  Scan then shred.

Keep Forever Items

For items that you need forever, I recommend a three-fold approach.  Scan and save these documents on your external hard drive as well as in your cloud storage, then keep the physical item in a fireproof safe in your house or a safe deposit box at a bank.  Here is a list of common keep forever items:

Birth Certificates / Death Certificates

Adoption Records

Driver’s licenses – Scan these, but don’t lock them in a safe, carry them with you…I shouldn’t have to tell you this.

Marriage Certificates / Divorce Certificates

Medical Records

Life Insurance Policies

Military Records

Passports

Retirement / Pension Records

Social Security Cards

Last Will and Testaments

Academic Records / Diplomas

Sentimental Items

Photo by Inga Seliverstova on Pexels.com

Items with sentimental value such as your child’s first art project or homemade mothers / fathers day cards are very meaningful items.  Feel free to keep them if you like. You could also take a picture of them and have them added to a digital picture frame or screen saver rotation.  You will likely find that seeing a photo of the item is just as sentimental as having the physical item itself, if that’s the case you may be able to let go of the item after all.

Photographs are fantastic, and in this digital age photos of any and everything is readily available.  Scan copies of your most important photos for storage, add them to your digital picture frames and screensavers and place them safely in your fireproof safe or organize them into albums.

With all this done, you have successfully taken control of your paper clutter. Now you have to instill a process to maintain.  Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss part 2 of this post where I will spell out methods to keep your paper clutter in check.

Join 144 other followers

6 Hygge-lism habits of the Highly Successful Pt. 2

Picking up where we left off:

4. Stick to Routines

Routines are a very important part of a successful life, they can keep you grounded and re-focus your efforts.  A good routine will require little to no effort or thought once it is established. It will be efficient and timed down to the minute.  Now I admit, while a mindless routine will free you up to think about other things, it takes away from enjoying the process of daily activities.  A routine in every sense of the word will inevitably become mindless.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Along the same lines, successful people start their routines early.  Early to bed, early to rise will leave a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  This is not a known saying just because it sounds nice and rhymes. Successful people site their most productive time to be in the earliest hours of the day. So establishing a solid morning routine is vital. 

In addition to a nutritious breakfast and a hot coffee or tea while you review the to-do list that you put together and prioritized the night before, be sure to consider a hot morning shower.

Now stick with me here, have you ever noticed that you seem to come up with great ideas while in the shower?  I know that you have. Well, there is a science to back up why this happens. A hot shower is proven to be one of the most relaxing activities a person can undertake, and it increases the dopamine flow which further relaxes the mind.  All distractions are “washed” away, and the white noise of the shower blocks out any other possible distractions. In this state, which is very similar to a meditative state, your mind can do amazing things.

5. Read for a Purpose

Successful people are voracious readers, lots of people are voracious readers.  The difference is that successful people read for a purpose, they read for self improvement and in order to gain knowledge.  A fiction book here or there is fine, but the non-fiction genre is the primary focus of the most successful.

At the time that most people are zoning out in front of the TV for the night, they are heating up a cup of tea and sitting under a throw blanket with a biography of some of the most influential people in history.  Their reading habits are akin to the assigned reading of a college history course.  

While reading, take notes, highlight key points and mark references to return to later.

AudiobooksNow - Digital Audiobooks for Less

6. Eat Healthy & Stay Fit

This could be considered as two separate habits but they go hand in hand.  While you could eat healthy and not be physically fit, you can’t be physically fit without eating healthy.

Carving out at least 30 minutes to an hour every day to focus on fitness is an essential habit of the most successful.  Similar to a hot shower, exercise releases dopamine, and consistent exercise will improve energy levels, stamina and awareness.

Photo by Philip Ackermann on Pexels.com

Beginning an exercise routine is as simple as going outside and walking around the block.  There are a multitude of exercises that involve absolutely no equipment, accessories or investment other than a little of your time.  Pull-ups can be performed on tree branches, or park monkey bars. Sit-ups can be done by just tucking your feet under the front of your couch or dresser.  Push-ups can literally be performed in any open space large enough to fit your body. Running…need I explain? Even a yoga routine can be put together with minimal research.

The greatest exercise routine is next to worthless though, if it is not paired with healthy eating.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

If cooking is not your greatest attribute, create a weekly meal plan of healthy options and learn only the basics to get you by.  Perhaps reading for self-improvement could encompass healthy cooking in this instance. A meal plan is also highly encouraged because it will save you time, money and reduce your decision fatigue.

As we mentioned earlier that a consistent routine will free your mind up to explore other areas, cooking is a journey that is most enjoyable.  The process of preparing food can be as rewarding as the end product, sometimes more so even.

So there you have it, six proven and researched habits that are internally focused but once implemented will lead to both internal and external success.  Give it a try for yourself.

6 Hygge-lism Habits of the Highly Successful Pt.1

Success is highly subjective.  Some gauge success by their bank account, by the size of their friends list on Facebook or how many likes a post receives.  Others gauge success by job title, reputation or amount of influence they possess. In this case, our measurement of success focuses on the foundation blocks of health, simplicity and happiness. Achieving internal success will enable you to become externally successful with little to no effort.

Below is a list of the first three hygge-lism habits that some of the most successful and respected figures of the past and present have practised and stood by as their means to achieving great success.

1. Develop a Minimal Wardrobe

A minimal wardrobe is not a new concept and its benefits are so great that some of the most influential people of the past and present have adopted them.

Photo by Duophenom on Pexels.com

The most recently recognized minimal wardrobes are that of Mark Zuckerburg with his grey t-shirt and jeans, and the late, great Steve Jobs with his black turtleneck, jeans and white sneakers.  It’s hard to picture either of these guys wearing anything different

A lesser known minimal wardrobe employer is former president Barack Obama.  He limited himself to only gray or blue suits. Speaking of gray suits, Albert Einstein believe it or not only owned suits in shades of gray.

All of these people swore by minimal wardrobes for the same reasons.

They save time – It’s easy to decide what you are going to wear everyday when it’s not really a decision.

Photo by maitree rimthong on Pexels.com

They save money – You are not constantly shopping for the new styles, latest brands or falling victim to fast fashion.

They reduce decision fatigue – Check out THIS POST for a detailed explanation of this.

They fit perfectly – When you like how something looks on you and are comfortable you gain confidence.  So stick with it.

Simplicity – Simple things need to stay simple, why complicate something that is so basic and easy. 

For more about minimal wardrobes – HERE IS ANOTHER ARTICLE.

2. Stay Organized

Minimalism in general, screams organization.  Less things equal less clutter and less time dedicated to organizing your things.  But we are not just talking about possessions here.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

The items that the highly successful organize are plans, priorities and goals.  Create to-do lists at the end of your day to help clear your mind and prepare for the next day.  Apply priorities and schedule the most important items to complete when you are on the top of your game, which is typically first thing in the morning and at the beginning of the week.

Sometimes addition by subtraction is the best way to organize.  Evaluate the excess in your life and relationships and remove distractions.

Set realistic goals and achieve them, then celebrate that achievement by setting another goal. 

You can help yourself organize your mind and thoughts with the next hygge-lism habit.

3. Take Time to Meditate

We are beyond the days when the idea of meditation was only for monks and hipsters.  The benefits of meditation have been studied, proven and written about in countless articles and scientific journals.

Something as simple as 20 minutes a day, even if you split it up into 5 or 10 minute intervals will serve to minimize your thoughts, clear your mind, reduce your stress and help you re-focus on what is truly important.

Do yourself a favor and download a meditation app on your smartphone and give it a shot.  Guided meditation is available for beginners and it requires no accessories or equipment to do it.  

In addition, hygge is more a mindset than anything else, meditation will aide you into achieving that mindset.  

Take some time now and try and focus on implementing just one habit or at a time and be sure to subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss part 2 of this article for 3 more hygge-lism habits of the highly successful.

Binge Some Doc’s

Once in a while, you just need a break.  I get it, it happens to the best of us. There is nothing wrong with kicking back on a lazy day, making a hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, grabbing a throw blanket and zoning out once in a while.  If today is one of though days, then here is a selection of documentaries that I recommend..

Finding Hygge – This documentary came out in 2018, and is unique in that it explores both the positive and negative sides of hygge.  It is hardly a biased view of the Danish lifestyle term. You can watch a trailer for the film HERE on Youtube.

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things – This is often the default reference for all minimalists, and it also played a large part in introducing myself to the minimalism lifestyle.  The documentary came out in 2015 and was put together by Matt D’Avella and can be found on Netflix. There is a short trailer to watch HERE if your interested.

Expedition Happiness – This documentary follows a couple and their dog around in their skoolie conversion bus as they take off for a minimal, nomadic adventure. There is a trailer HERE and this documentary can also be found on Netflix.

No Impact Man – Some would say that zero waste is a bit of an extreme lifestyle.  This documentary follows a husband, wife and their 2 year old daughter attempt to live a zero waste lifestyle for an entire year. The trailer is HERE

**Bonus Pick** Pedal the World – This documentary features the same Felix Starck from the Expedition Happiness doc.  It follows him as he bike packs for an entire year in Europe. He travels 18,000 kilometers across 22 countries. In case you don’t know bike packing is traveling and camping with only a loaded up bicycle.  The trailer is HERE

There are a multitude of documentaries and shows that I could recommend in addition to these so be sure to subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss them.

Mirror rorriM – One

Need to catch up?

Prelude

1

Football season was over, and Baseball was in full swing for John.  Seth was working after school at The Pizza House, trying to save for a car of his own.  He had his license for all of about six months and couldn’t stand trying to borrow a car every time he wanted to go anywhere.  John’s Jeep was out of the question, he had made that clear, and Mom and Dad’s respective vehicles were more often than not, in use.  He was two or three hundred more pepperoni pizzas away from a used Volkswagen, but he was seriously debating a Moped that was only about 30 pizzas away.  If he ended up going for the Moped though, John would never let him hear the end of it, dad couldn’t care less, and mom would be a tough sell but he knew he could convince her it was safe enough.

“Hey, you awake over there?” Jessica asked. “You have been staring at that half-made pizza for like 15 minutes.”  

Jessica was the counter girl at the Pizza House, she was a cute, girl next door type, black hair, blue eyes and in Seth’s history class.

“Huh, what…oh…I guess I just zoned out there for a minute.” Seth finally answered.

“Oh yeah you did, what did you zone out about, Sethy?” Jessica smiled.  

Seth could tell she liked him a little, but he had no idea what to do about it.  John would know exactly what to do he thought.

“Thinking about that Moped again”, he said, “and don’t call me Sethy!”

She was the only one that ever called him Sethy, well her and his mom once in a while, but moms get a pass on that sort of thing.

“Why don’t you stop thinking and just go buy that silly little scooter?” Jessica rolled her eyes at him.

“First off, it’s a Moped, second I don’t have enough money yet, and third, what do you have against “scooters”?” Seth threw up some air quotes.

“Nothing, I can see you now, little half helmet with aviator goggles, brown leather jacket and white scarf flowing in the wind behind you.” She giggled.

“What am I, Charles Lindbergh now?” Seth smiled, “well, I will add you to the list of people that I will NOT be giving a ride.”

Jessica was about to reply, but the bell on the door jingled. “Saved by the bell”, she said instead.

Seth just shook his head, anytime he started getting a good conversation going at all, customers always seemed to show up.  Maybe he should just ask her out already, a movie, coffee, anything. The Moped did seat two, perhaps she wouldn’t be going on the “don’t give a ride list”.

“Two large cheese pies to go, Sethy!” Jessica called back to him.

Seth shook his head and smiled at being called Sethy again. “That’s two pizza’s closer to my “scooter””, he called back.

Closing time at the Pizza House came quick, and before Seth could come up with anything more interesting to talk about he heard John’s Jeep pull up outside.  He always had the top off of the Jeep and the music up loud, so there was no mistaking his arrival. Now there was no chance of him asking Jessica out tonight, once John is in the room, Seth ceases to exist. At least, that’s how it feels to Seth anyway.

“You ready punk?” John poked his head in the door.

“Hey John” Jessica waved shyly

“Oh hey, c’mon loser, I haven’t got all night.” John yelled into the kitchen.  

Jessica was not quite up to the standards of the starting halfback and center fielder.  What could be expected though, Jessica was two grades behind John and he had a girlfriend already anyway.  A cheerleader at that, could he be any more of the stereo typical jock? That didn’t stop Jessica, or any other girl for that matter, from trying to flirt a little though.

“See you tomorrow Jessica” Seth said in passing

“Bye Seth” Jessica answered.

“So what’s up with you and that chick?” John asked on that way back to the house.

“Jessica, nothing, I work with her” Seth didn’t want to talk about it.

“Well, she’s not ugly, and she knows your name, you gonna ask her out?” John asked

“No I’m not going to ask her out, and why do you care?” Seth answered defensively. 

“Hey, relax man, I’m just asking.” John smirked “Besides, it’s obvious you like her, you’re about as red as a stop sign right now!  Seth and Jessica sitting in a tree.” He sang.

“You’re like a two year old, you know that?” Seth turned even redder.

Continue to Chapter 2

Side Hustles – How to Get Started

A popular term these days is “Side Hustle”.  It refers to a small part time job, hobby or product that you can turn into a money making opportunity.  It typically takes just a little effort and time, and affords you some extra bonus cash. Side hustles are also something that can be done during your free time and as you know, one of the advantages of minimalism is having more time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Side hustles are common practice as part of the FIRE movement and among the budgeting community in particular.  After all, a little extra investment money now can make a very large difference later with the help of compound interest.

How do you establish a side hustle though?  That’s a good question, and involves a little research and asking yourself some honest questions.

  1. How much money are you looking to earn?

If the answer to this question is more than your grocery money for the month, then you are not looking for a side hustle, you are looking for a second job.

  1. What are the needs in your area?
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

Sometimes the answer to this question is obvious and sometimes it’s not.  A lot of towns have a facebook page; is there a common complaint or request that comes up all the time?  What are the conversations at the grocery store and coffee shop typically centered around?

  1. How much time do you have to invest?

Side hustles are ideally flexible commitments, but they are still commitments.  Whether you have every afternoon or one Sunday a month free, your hustle has to conform to your free time and you have to be willing to dedicate that time to it.

  1. What do you want to do?

Whether there is a need or not, what you decide to do has to be something that you love to do.  Side hustles are not lucrative, they are just a little extra money. Finding the motivation to dedicate your time to something you don’t particularly enjoy is a whole lot harder when the compensation is minimal.

Okay, you asked yourself the important questions, you did your research and you have your mind set.  Time to persue your hustle, but how?

  1. Put yourself out there.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Social media is a powerful platform as is word of mouth.  Offer your services or products up at every opportunity. Join the grocery store and coffee shop conversations.  If there is a community center then design a flyer for the corkboard; it’s corny but effective. Everyone still does tear off phone numbers or web addresses on flyers for a reason.

  1. Gauge the going rate.

Is someone else offering up similar products or services?  What are they charging? If there is no comparable that you can find, then you can often let the customer dictate the value.  Once contact has been made, questions like “what are you looking to spend”, or “is there a rate you’re aiming to find” can open the door to negotiating.

  1. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Thorough record keeping is a must.  The last thing you want to do is double book, be late on a delivery or over extend yourself.  

  1. Build a reputation.

When getting established, quality and reliability is of the utmost importance.  Just as social media and word of mouth are powerful tools to get you started, they are also a powerful tool that could end you.

We have recently established a side hustle of our own that I will be posting about soon (no, this blog is not it), be sure to subscribe to this blog if you want to hear about it.

If you have a side hustle out there, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. 

A New Soundtrack

It is hard to imagine life without music, impossible even.  Music was an inevitability not an invention. We use and apply music to our lives in so many ways that the absence of it is nearly as remarkable as the music itself.  A certain song can transport back in time to a nearly forgotten moment in your life. It can instill a feeling, set a mood, change the vibe of an entire evening. It can raise or lower your heart rate, make you smile, make you cry or make you dance.

Today’s streaming society revolves around music options.  It has opened our ears up to music that we would have never even known existed. 

When we want to reminisce and relive our most memorable times we always drift back to the prominent music from our high school years, when we were at our most influenceable.

While looking back can be enjoyable, chances are that we are not the same person that we were in high school.  I know for myself that the music that I lived for back in those days, while I still enjoy it, is not the music that fits my hygge-list lifestyle now.

So now it is time to create a new soundtrack for my daily life.  Hygge and Minimalism strive on simplicity and calm. I could sit here and call out some artists that exemplify these traits, like The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons, even Post Malone or Khalid, but what calm and simplicity really boil down to for me though is one genre in particular – Acoustic.

Also in true minimalist form, I am not a fan of collections.  A wall full of purchased albums or a program full of purchased music is not a goal of mine.  What I do recommend is free and at your fingertips, boarding either side of this post is just a portion of the various playlists that result from two simple searches on the free version of Spotify; “acoustic” and “hygge”.  Any of these playlists feature a multitude of songs that will accompany your hygge-lism lifestyle perfectly. They will open your eyes and ears to a world of artists that you had never heard of before, and their multitude of tracks will never cause you to tire of hearing the same song over and over again.

So I encourage you to go back and listen to the music you grew up on and relive those moments, but I also encourage you to build your future soundtrack with the help of these playlists.

Is there one song that you could call your theme song?  What is it and why?

Mirror rorriM

Prelude

“It blinked, he…er…me, I blinked!” John gaped.

“What are you talking about, weirdo, of course you blinked, we all blink?” Seth answered.

“Yeah, but I saw it happen, in the mirror I swear I saw it!” John was amazed.

“You probably just imagined it, you can’t see yourself blink, that’s just ridiculous” Seth scoffed. “Don’t you have something to do besides staring at yourself in the mirror all day?” 

“What like sit around all day and read books like you…nerd!” John shot back.  “I’m embarrassed to call you my little brother sometimes.”

“Sometimes?” Seth asked

“Alright…all the time” John answered.

“I’d rather sit around and read all day, than stare at myself in the mirror, flexing and ranting about blinking at yourself.  Just so you know, I’m not exactly wearing an “I’m John Matthews little brother” shirt to school every day.” Seth pointed out.

“Enough of your mouth, I’ve got places to go, people to see, a life to live.” John ended the conversation as he walked out the door.

Brothers, not quite two years apart, but as different as night and day, John and Seth Matthews.  John was the athletic, popular, good looking Jock. Seth, the smart, quiet, bookworm with a smart mouth.  Senior year for John put Seth firmly in the middle of his high school career at Stratford High. Football season was coming to a close, and baseball hadn’t started yet, which meant that John didn’t have practice or a game of some sort just about every single day like he usually did.  It was Seth’s least favorite time of the year, hardly any time to himself, and he just couldn’t seem to get enough alone time. He wasn’t a recluse or anything, he had friends, two or three really good ones, not like Johns seemingly hundreds. Next year, John will be off to college on some sort of sports scholarship, and Seth will have an entire school year to himself, just the thought of it made Seth smile.  His thoughts immediately returned to what John said before he left though.

“I saw myself blink…hah, what a weirdo.” Seth said out loud to himself.  Being a fan of science fiction, and having an active imagination, Seth starting thinking about this possibility.  What if something like that really did happen, what would it mean? Your reflection wasn’t you, but just someone that looked like you.  “That would make a good movie I bet.” Seth said out loud.

“You still talking in here, Jesus, do you ever stop talking, you know I left the room like 10 minutes ago!” John poked his head back in.

“First off, it was like 2 minutes ago, and I wasn’t talking to you.  I thought you had “a life to live”, or did you have to fix your hair first?” Seth rebounded.

John didn’t even acknowledge that with an answer, just walked down the stairs and out the front door.  Jumping in his Jeep and throwing the book bag that he always seemed to have with him in the back seat, he started his Jeep up looked in the rear view mirror and paused when he saw his reflection.

“Nah…” he said shaking his head.

With that, seeing himself blink in the mirror was forgotten, and life rolled on.

Continue to Chapter 1