Day 5: A quick update on my decluttering

(I may not have perfect skin, but these lemons do. I also just felt like I had to find a refreshing image to match my refreshing feeling after all the tidying up and since it’s pouring and flooding like no tomorrow in Sydney, I was not going outside to buy some.)

Cleaning out my room has never felt so good.

I have found so many things that I didn’t even realise I owned and got rid of so many seriously outdated products. So far, I’ve cleaned out all my makeup, skincare and two of my old “stuff drawers”- which were absolutely chock-a-block full of random stuff. I’m never going to need to buy a pen for the rest of my life, I have that many.

So, because whilst it’s fun telling you about my cleaning up process and the joys I’m getting out of it, I thought, why not take a few pictures so you can see what I have left and what I think I still need…just a warning, if you are not that interested in makeup or skincare, this is probably a tad boring for you and don’t worry I will have many more storage tips for all different things  in the coming weeks!

Numero Uno: Makeup

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As you can see, I really don’t have that much makeup. I’ve got a few concealers, nail polishes, lip glosses, blush and a range of eye products. I tend to go for neutral colours with a bit of pink/orange because that’s what I think looks best on me. Then again, the only lipstick I seem to have and always wear is a bright red Bobbi Brown one, which definitely is not au naturel looking! Also, I just realised, that I don’t even have a foundation in here. Well, considering I’ll need one at some point before I go to another 21st, which trust me is probably in a day or two time since everyone I know seems to be turning 21 at the moment (except me!), if you have any recommendations for a good foundation, please let me know! 🙂

Also, if you’re wondering where I got these makeup dividers from, I bought them from a place called Howard’s Storage World ages ago, but I imagine you could get them from any Target or equivalent. I personally love them because I can put them in a drawer (like I have here) and still see everything, and if I spill something I can just take everything out and wash the divider in the sink because it’s plastic. Before anyone asks, I prefer to put my makeup in a drawer so it doesn’t get dusty. When you live in the city, everything gets dusty so quickly and I’d rather that the stuff I put on my face stays as clean as possible!

Also if you don’t want to buy a specific makeup storing divider, just use a cutlery or stationary divider- it does virtually the same thing and it is much cheaper! Anything that’s marketed towards makeup or “women” always happens to be much more expensive. Before I got the divider, I used to just use a variety of different sized cardboard boxes which I stuck together to have my own sort of DIY divider. 🙂

Numero Duo: Skincare

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This is all my skincare, no more, no less!

I am in love with everything Aesop’s products. They works great with my skin, they don’t cause me to break-out or anything and I have super sensitive skin so something gentle that doesn’t result in a strange rash or sea of pimples is a win win in my books. If I do have a break-out then there’s always some good old benzoyl peroxide haha!

Storage wise, I have a few of these tubs from Ikea, which are fantastic. Just like my makeup dividers, they’re hard plastic, so if I spill anything it’s super easy to clean up. If you haven’t noticed already, something that’s easy to clean is super important to me because I spill lots of things. The other great thing about these tubs is that they have cut-out handles which makes it easy for me to pick up since I put the whole tub under the sink. So, all I need to do is just grab the tub and everything is at my disposal, there’s no search through drawers. I can’t find the exact tub on the Ikea website, but it’s pretty similar to the one here, if any one is looking for it.

I also have a metal stationary thing (no idea what it’s called), to put some of my smaller tube shipped products in and tools like tweezers, which I didn’t need for all my 100s of pens and so repurposed for here. I’m pretty certain I bought it from Office Works, where I get most of my stationary.

If you don’t know much about Aesop, then you might be wondering why I don’t just keep them in the shower? Well, nearly everything Aesop (except shampoo and some creams) come in glass, which means if you’re a bit clumsy like me, having wet glass bottles in the shower is a bad idea- I haven’t smashed one yet, but I’m not taking any chances! Especially when you’re paying $40-60 a bottle which is a lot, but it lasts a long time.

So that’s some of the stuff that I have been doing with my makeup. I’ve also been selling some jewellery online which has gone fairly well and I’ll write a post about that shortly because I feel like it’s one of those things where there isn’t that much information about selling mid-range jewellery, most of the articles I read were all about selling high end pieces, which is not me!

So I hope this gives you a few storage ideas or some inspiration to part with a lot of your old and never used products as well as show that you don’t need a lot of makeup to get by, unless you love makeup in which case as I always say, “you do you”. I was thinking of maybe doing a post running through my skincare/makeup routine, so if you’d like to see that or if you have any cool storage ideas that you use, please leave a comment down below!! 

Alana 🙂

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Day 4: “You don’t look like a Minimalist”- Oh Sorry, let me get my White Shirt

(It’s okay guys, I finally found my white shirt. It’s 100% definitely not my dad’s business shirt. Can I please join the minimalist club now?)

Have you heard of the minimalist look, or should I say…aesthetic?

Well, apparently it’s a thing now. I was recently chatting with a few friends and one of them commented that they had seen my blog but that I just didn’t look like a minimalist, and being the adept student I am (sometimes), I thought, “well, I better find out what all these minimalists look like”.

I’ve studied a fair amount of modern art at university and have quite a few architect friends. So, I thought I already had a good understanding of Minimalism as an art and design movement, and then spending quite a bit of time reading about Minimalism as lifestyle, I felt like I connected with the basic principle of having less, but appreciating it more. I started applying these ideas to my life and have so far been really enjoying letting go of a lot of the physical and mental clutter I’ve been collecting for god knows how many years. It started to help me to let go of a lot things I was really attached to for no good reason, to realise passions that I wasn’t sure about before, to learn to be a bit less materialistic and environmentally aware of waste, and overall to try to be a more appreciative person.

The fact that I connected with all of these ideas as well as enjoying the design and art side of Minimalism made me start to think of myself as slowly becoming a ‘Minimalist’ and be comfortable wanting to be a ‘Minimalist’. What I didn’t realise was to be that person I had to have the ‘look’, otherwise, no one would take me seriously. What look are we talking about?

Well, from my research it’s something like this: monochrome and geometric clothing (no colour whatsoever), minimal silver, again geometric, preferably triangular jewellery, a neutral makeup palette and lip and then of course dead straight slicked back hair. So, in a nutshell, according to ‘catwalk-fashun’, because that’s where the ‘cool’ things come from, we’re looking at something like this:

minimalism-gareth-pugh

(Is it bad that the first thing that concerned me about these outfits was that you may not get past airport security with those edgy edges?)

Now, I’m all for self expression – you do you buzzfeed, but sometimes I go places, and I feel like these outfits would be a tad inconvenient. For starters, I live in Australia and here summer gets pretty hot so those two black leather outfits are probably a no go. So, whats my point here?

Well, it’s pretty simple: you don’t have to have the look to be part of be part of a community. One of my goals is to learn to be less materialistic and waste less when it comes to clothing. Now, if I just threw all the clothes I own, which are win perfect condition out and then bought a whole need monochrome wardrobe I’d look like a minimalist, but would I be living a minimalistic lifestyle? I personally don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong things get thrown out all the time and it’s not the end of the world when you throw something out, but throwing perfectly fine things out just to fit to an ‘image’ seems a little rich in my books. Also, who said minimalism was all about monochrome? One of the most famous Minimalists is Yves Klein, and he only painted his art in blue, even looking at geometric Scandinavian designs, there’s quite a bit of colour in them.

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(There is no monochrome here, it is literally just a blue rectangle.) 

So, I kinda thought about this whole ‘look’ business in my life and it reminded me of a conversation I jokingly had with my dad. I recently bought a skateboard, which has been great- minus ripping holes in my jeans, being chased by skateboard-hating dogs and spraining my ankle for a week…oops, but apart from that it’s so much fun. One day, before I went to go skate in my casual jeans and t-shirt, my dad commented that all I needed was an open flannel shirt and look like a skater chick. An open flannel shirt makes me a skater? Okey doke. So it’s not the skateboard that is the discerning feature of a skater, but the shirt they’re wearing….riiiight. Finally, this all makes sense now, everyone who was looking at me cautiously when I rode by, were doing so not because I had terrible control of my board and they were afraid of being potentially impaled by it, but because of my lack of flannel shirt. Obviously.

It’s not just minimalism or skateboarding that have their ‘aesthetics’, everything does and we’re all unintentionally (or intentionally if you’re the kinda person that sucks) making judgements on what labels fit what person based on the clothing they wear. That’s life. Whilst we could argue that we should ban all the labels, it’s probably never going to happen, what we can do, is try to think a bit more before with make that judgement, especially if you’re making it vocally. You’re going to think the thoughts you think, but it doesn’t mean you have to share them. Now on the other side, just because everyone in a movement or activity that you enjoy ‘looks’ a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to as well.

Whilst, I’d love to believe that wearing monochrome 24/7 will make my room tidier and a that flannel shirt will instantly teach me how to ollie like Tony Hawk, I unfortunately know that that is not the case.

Then again, I totally believe that when I wear my glasses I’m just so much smarter…they say it’s the whole reading-prescription thing, but I’m sure it’s all in the frames. Trust me, even KK & Kayne wear glasses.

Hope you enjoyed reading this! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole minimalist ‘aesthetic’ or just the how ‘look’ club in general?

Alana 🙂

 

Please not that I have nothing against monochrome fashion, it looks great but it shouldn’t be the single defining trait of a minimalism enthusiast in my opinion. 

Fashion image source
Yves Klein painting source

Day 3: Why I’m terrible at using a diary and what I plan to do about it!

(I tried to model my cat for this photo. What did I learn? Some things you just can’t ‘organise’, cats being one of them, even with bribery.)

I have a lot of diaries.

I have so many diaries in fact that one would assume that I was so organised that I organised my organisation.

Unfortunately, that just not the case. Here’s the usual example: it’s the beginning of the year or semester and I decide, ‘Alana, you can’t remember every single thing in your head, so get a journal and write it down. You’re going to be more organised than you were last semester!‘ So, I go out and buy a diary, which is usually the biggest, most-detailed diary I can find, come home, spend hours putting it all together and then spend the evening feeling pretty impressed with myself because I’m now, all of a sudden, an organisational genius. Does it work?

HAHA…no. What usually happens: I spend a week pedantically carrying around this oversized journal and meticulously writing down every possible commitment I may have, until one day I decide it’s too big or too heavy to fit in my bag and so leave it at home. One day diary free becomes 2 days and so on until I eventually stop using it and it gets abandoned in some pile of university work which is called the ‘to-do’ pile, which is in fact the, ‘I don’t feel like doing it now and will probably never do later’ pile. If my parents are reading this, don’t judge, I know you have exact the same piles…we all do. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.

Back to the diary situation. So, once I’ve abandoned my diary, my organisation and record keeping becomes a series of writing things down on whatever piece of paper I happen to have at the time, until I lose them all, forget something and then once again I eventually decide I need another diary, make up another set of excuses and the cycle starts again…Oooft, try saying that sentence all in one breath!

So, what am I doing about it? Well for starters, I’ve moved to an electronic diary. Why? Because I’m 20 and addicted to my phone – trust me, it’s probably an addiction when you respond to your whilst in the shower rather than wait 2 minutes until you’re out like a normal person…I guess I’m not perfect after all. The current diary app I use is the simple, basic apple iCalendar and the free app Wunderlist for all my to-do stuff.

Why these two? I’ve spent more than enough money on my ‘organisation’ and it’s easy and convenient for me and what I do, which is study and keep up with work, university societies and friends, and you can’t exactly get behind in iCalendar, it’s always there. I’ve considered other calendar apps, like Fantastical 2, but for around $80AUD, there’s just no way I can justify spending that much money on something I may never use, but that’s just my opinion! If you have experience with Fantastical 2 or any other great calendar/daily planner tools, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them?

Okay, so having the apps and whatnot is one thing, but how am I actually making it work? Well I’m doing 4 basic things:

  1. As soon as I make a plan, I just put it in my phone. I don’t wait till I get home or do it later. I just try and do it asap- because I will forget.
  2. I don’t make exceptionally long and unrealistic to-do lists. I try to focus on doing only 1-2 things daily, so whatever else I do on top of those feels like a bonus rather than a failure.
  3. I don’t beat myself up about forgetting something. Okay, so I forgot to write something down, or I got the time wrong, or the place wrong…these things happen and that’s life. C’est la vie!
  4. I don’t let my diary rule my life. I don’t need a plan for every day, nor do I want to spend a considerable amount of time planning when I can be doing. Also, plans can change and mine often do.

So that’s how I’m trying to improve my organisational and time management skills! Don’t worry, I’m far from perfect and do love my procrastination. In my opinion, embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle isn’t necessarily about cutting heaps of things out of your life and becoming this super organised well-oiled machine, but more about trying to reduce clutter. In this case, it’s not physical clutter I struggle with but mental clutter. Trying to remember everything in your head is hard and stressful and so I’ve found that writing events down in a calendar and having short 1-2 thing to-do lists has really helped me!

Hope you found this interesting, and let me know if you have any organisational tips too!

Alana 🙂

 

 

Day 2: My skin’s not perfect and that’s okay – skincare clean out.

(They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but if skincare did, I’d save a lot of money. Don’t worry Dad; I didn’t damage your spring onions.)
“Did you just look at yourself in the window?”
“No, of course not…”

Okay. Admit it. You were 100% definitely checking yourself out. Don’t worry, I do it too, we all do. I can’t count the times my parents have accused me of ‘being vain’ and it’s not because I think I’m hot stuff, but because I’m a little bit insecure about what I look like

I’ve always been a bit so-so about my appearance, particularly my skin. When ‘makeup’ and ‘skincare’ hit school, I was all over that stuff, trying to cover blemishes I didn’t even have or reduce the appearance of my freckles or even try to look a little tanner. I remember some of my “friends” pointing out the occasional pimple or spot there that I had never before even noticed and being so embarrassed and trying to cover up my chin for the rest of the day. Then, once I started using makeup I was criticised for using it, being told I was doing it wrong and I shouldn’t be so vain blah blah blah. Puh-lease, we all know most of this criticism came from the girls who had that trendy dark foundation line for a necklace and raccoon eyes for school photos.

So, I guess that’s where my slight skincare addiction began. It wasn’t necessarily because I enjoyed skincare products or had an interest in them, it was because I was incessantly fixated with every single potential flaw on my face. I’ve tried everything from basics like cetaphil to high end brands Clarins and YSL and then everything in between to try and ‘fix’ these non-noticeable flaws. Even worse, is the amount of nutritional condiments that have gone on my face, including staples such as: eggs, avocado, oatmeal, honey, lemons, gelatin, yogurt, milk, toothpaste and vegemite (once and it was awful, please don’t ever attempt). I gave up certain food groups, like dairy and sweets and then coffee and pretty much anything worth eating. I drank excessive amounts of water and regularly ‘steamed’ my face in an attempt to ‘clarify’ my complexion.

And you know what? None these remedies made any difference to the way I looked, they did not obliterate my pimples, clear out my blackheads or unclog my pores…all they did was shatter my self-confidence, confirming in my mind that I had a problem that cannot be cured.

So what changed? Well for starters, university did. I left the hypercritical environment of an all-girls school and made a whole lot of great friends at university, many of them guys, who 100% did not notice or care how my skin looked. But I still had meh skin, I started drinking, having late nights, eating a bit more junk and occasionally sleeping in my makeup which made my skin flair up a bit more.

But this time, I was working. So it wasn’t a problem, I had the money to spend on virtually every skincare product available and when one didn’t work, I’d buy another. This was just a never ending cycle, if the product I’d just bought didn’t work immediately then it was back to Myers to try another brand, and eventually, I just ended up with all these really expensive products that I don’t use, as well as wasting a lot of money as many of these items are $50+, and you need multiple.

So what did I do? I stopped buying more products. I decided one morning enough was enough, and stopped poking and picking my face. I went back to a medium-high end organic, hypoallergenic, natural brand that I used often throughout school. I bought a basic set of skincare: cleanser, toner, moisturiser, a scrub for my dry skin in winter and a mask for my oil skin in summer. That’s it, no more, no pimple cream, no eye cream, no night and day creams, none of that extra additional stuff. And I told myself, ‘you are not buying any more products until you have used up the ones you have’, and eventually my skin calmed down a little and I felt confident enough to wear makeup a little less often, which in turn improved my skin even more.

What made the difference to my skin was not some miraculous $100 cure, but consistency and patience. The consistency to: just use one product and stop jumping between things, and the patience to accept that yes this stuff takes time, it’s not magic. I just have to love what I’ve got because it’s really not that bad and I’m tired of wasting time and energy over something does not contribute to my wellbeing and just makes me unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, I still worry, just a little less now! (I think, or at least hope so).

I guess now you’re wondering what my cure for my teen acne was? Well, that’s easy, 5+ years of gruelling high school, bitchy comments and much staring in the bathroom mirror until I was no longer an oil-skinned teenager. Seriously, time has done so much more that any product I’ve ever bought. 

So, in celebration of my slight boost in skin confidence, I cleared out all my old and dead skincare products today in accordance with my new minimalistic approach to life, or what I like to call now, ‘not hoarding stuff I don’t need’. Adios you non-amigos and causers of pain, anguish and way way way too much money and hello fresh-faced, freckled and occasionally pimpled me.

Alana 🙂

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Here’s me with 0% makeup, 100% sunlight and about 10% actual sleep after submitting an assignment haha.

Day 1: the make-up makeover

(The mess that is my makeup feat. the king of poor judgments, super tan Mac foundation.)

I. Have. So. Much. Makeup. It Hurts.

For a single person who barely wears makeup to own as much as I do is insane. I have piles are piles of eye shadows, blushes, foundations, lip liners and lots more other things I both don’t know why I own or even how to use them. I know the saying, ‘eyebrows on fleek’, but if you’ve ever seen me try to attempt eyeliner then you know it’s a godsend I don’t attempt my eyebrows.

So, what do I do? Well for starters, I’m going to have to be ruthless. I don’t need that one shade of darker foundation that I’ve had for 5 years because I thought that one day I’d be tan (lol). I also don’t need 10+ fluro blue nail polishes that I’m holding onto because one time I needed them for my UV light rave debut. Why do I need to hold onto 6 nail files? One for each nail that I never file of course! So, I’m going to have to put my game face on and say bon voyage to that fake tanner that never worked and accept the fact I’ve never going to be tan enough to wear mac NC20, which for you makeup illiterates out there is the 3rd lightest colour (again lol).

Okay, so getting rid of it – check! But why do I have it anyway? I often feel terrible throwing things away, especially when I know how much I paid for them (I’m talking to you Napoleon Perdis lip glosses I’ve never worn), but why? If I don’t wear them anyway, and many of these products are probably out of date by now, so I can’t use them anyway, then why should I feel bad about getting rid of them?

Shopaholic’s Guilt! Ta-da! I think the fact I often feel awful throwing or giving away things I cannot use or don’t need anymore is because they were a negative purchase. Since I don’t shop for makeup much of my own accord, makeup for me is often an impulse buy, when I’m out with friends. We go into a Sephora or Myer’s and all my friends know and understand how these things work and I don’t, and if I don’t understand or care how makeup works, then am I not woman enough?

So, I get into this panic, where rather than saying to myself “hey, I’m fine with my sunscreen that’s pale enough to double as foundation and that one mascara and lipstick for those 3-4 times a month I go out”…I instead go “wtf is contouring?…Wait…Do I need to be contouring?…How does one contour?…I have nothing to contribute to this conversation, but this product is endorsed by KK so if I just buy it, no one will notice my lack of feminine knowledge”. This is followed by what I often call, ‘the great realisation’, where I watch 1 youtube makeup tutorial and then realise I don’t have time for this $50 shit. 

My advice of the day: If you’re foundation comes form the Cancer Council, you don’t need a bronzer.

 

Less is more? Well let’s find out!

(The desk I wish I had)

 

This, that & thingy-ma-bobs.

I’ve always had so much stuff. You name it I have it. From books, to clothes, to excessive amounts of cat trinkets I received as a kid. Trust me, I’ve got it.

The worst part? I’m even worse at organising all this stuff I own. I know it’s fashionable at my age to be ‘eclectic’ regarding one’s tidiness, but sometimes my ‘eclectic’ bedroom drifts into apocalyptic…oh dear (sorry parents).

You’d think having literally everything at the tip of your fingertips is a good, but I’m not so sure. I’ve conned myself into holding on to things that may ‘one day’ be useful or would be such a shame to throw out. Well, if that’s the case, why on earth do I still have a yr 10 maths textbook when I’m a third year university student? God only knows.

It’s not even just things, it’s people and social events too. I spread myself so thin across so many different social groups and then events because of good old fomo, yet, I wake up every morning tired, feeling slightly unfulfilled and realising I still can’t keep up with 30+ people.

So, I’m trying something new. I’m taking a few pointers from the minimalists in the world. I’m going to spend 30 days decluttering and organising my space and my time. So I can spend quality time with those good friends, achieve those goals, have a little more peace and finally tidy that room (and keep it tidy).

So, if you’d like to hear about a 20 year old on a quest to the holy grail of a clean and tidy room, then follow my blog. If you have any tips or tricks that’d also be more than welcome!

Alana ox