Although it may seem oxymoronic to have tools when you’re a minimalist, I rely on many things to keep me deliciously minimal. Here they are:
- Notebook - I’m not a Moleskine fan. Their price keeps me from using them effectively. I handle them with too much care, almost afraid to put pen to such high-quality paper. Instead, I use a cheap-o notebook (usually stolen from the work supply closet). I scribble ideas, driving directions, topics to google, grocery lists, restaurants found on yelp.com. Once upon a complicated time, I always carried my notebook with me. Now I keep it at home, ripping out lists/directions, if needed.
- Pen - I’m loyal to the PILOT Precise V5 RT Extra-Fine pen. It’s like the golden sword of writing instruments. It’s also refillable (and refills take up less space than extra pens). This pen is more important than my trusty notebook. I can always find a napkin or receipt to write on, but locating an operational writing instrument is trickier.
- Email account / Online Docs - I use my email for every aspect of my life. Bill notifications, notes from friends, and even emails I send to myself as reminders. I also store and access my documents online. I’ve converted all of my paper documents to digital, with the exception of my birth certificate.
- Inbox for Home – I stash mail, receipts, coupons, and various stuff that I need for a short period of time. I just dump everything in and sift through it regularly. This may not sound minimalist, but it keeps my pockets/wallet/purse empty.
- Favorite Pair of Ballet Flats - I love my sneakers, but even I’m aware that there’s a time and place for them. My favorite pair of ballet flats match everything I own, are capable of carrying me for miles, and are appropriate for (almost) every occasion. One less thing to think about. What could be simpler?
- Digital Camera – Since I’ve fallen in love with photography, I’ve found many ways to use my camera to minimize. I take pictures of birthday and Christmas cards, to forever remember what was written inside of them, but not having to forever store them. Instead of buying souvenirs while traveling, I snap pictures to remember each trip. I’ve yet to find a souvenir lighter/smaller than a digital photograph.
- Reusable Shopping Bag – As of January 2010, I decided to always use a reusable shopping bag. Since I bring only 1 bag with me during a shopping trip, I’m limited to how much I can buy. This is clutter prevention at its best. (I did cheat by purchasing the absolute largest reusable bag I could find on planet Earth ).
- Library Card - Perhaps the books are stained with Cheetos fingerprints, but they’re FREE! And when I’m done, they’re returned to a shelf that doesn’t belong to me.
Tools I Don’t Have But Drool Over & Know They’d FURTHER Minimize Me:
- iPhone – I could use Evernote, easily access my 100+ lists, get rid of my abovementioned “golden sword” pen, and have the world conveniently stored in my pocket. Despite some negative opinions on smartphones, I’m convinced this would benefit me.
- Netbook – They’re conveniently small, yet meet all of my needs. I especially like the Dell Mini.
- Smart Car - When I saw the convertible version, I fell in love. Parallel parking would be a breeze, and I’d never be asked to join a car pool again.
- Kindle - I’m undecided on this one, but it’s definitely a minimalist device. I’m still preferential toward free library books.
- Personal Masseuse - Stress would become a distant memory. My constant state of relaxation would prevent any desire to complicate my life. I’d be uber-productive and generally more pleasant to be around.
- Quality Carry-On Luggage – I want to travel as much as possible. The perfect piece of luggage will make this much easier. Haven’t found it yet, but I’m optimistic.
What are some tools that keep you minimal? I’m always looking for new ideas!