Lifehacking in Austin

Inspired by the various lifehack lists on Buzzfeed, I created a little blog on lifehacks back in Singapore which shares tips about savings and convenience opportunities specific to the city. Our relocation to Austin presented a great opportunity to put lifehacks into practice, and here are some from week one:

1. As-is section at IKEA

In lifehacksg#13 I talked about the “As-is” section at IKEA and how you could get great deals there at reduced prices. Here in Austin, we walked the talk when we found the As-is section at the IKEA in Round Rock and got our tables at about half off (they were display sets)!

2. Wine crates

I got this idea from my good friend Sung about how wine boxes can actually be used as beautiful display furniture. I picked up two from Steps and found a third (a 1960s 7-Up crate) from one of Austin’s oldest antique stores, and this is the display feature in our living room!

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3. DIY lighting fixture

So we were looking around for a sizeable piece of lighting that could provide a warm-feel to the living room, but didn’t want to spend north of $30 for a piece of metal and some paper/textile material. At the Goodwill store, we stumbled upon an old laundry basket and decided to stick a lamp stand through it. Viola! At a cost of $9.

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4. Beer box table

We didn’t need anything fancy for the bedroom and were thinking of something along the lines of a simple table for misc. use. I took apart the secondary layer that came with the IKEA table, picked up 2 empty beer boxes from Steps and created a small table!

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5. Reusing packaging

It’s amazing how much stuff you could reuse if you don’t have a lot to begin with. We moved into an empty apartment and had, well, an empty apartment. We started to reuse all these packaging material that came with some of the things we bought.

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So far the relocation has been great but I forgot how much work it actually involves! Getting stuff done in the US is generally quite easy, it’s just having to deal with a lot of different things in general ranging from apartment hunting, to figuring out furniture, to auto insurance, directions and groceries and…

… all the “work” aside, we’re excited to start exploring Austin! It’s just a beautiful sprawling place with various unique areas – downtown, UT area, hippie-East, posh-West lake hills, a lot more to figure out as we go along!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Life zipped up in a single suitcase

I pulled a leaf from Leo Babauta’s pages on minimalism about stuff and how it has come to overwhelm usand took the relocation opportunity to further “de-clutter” on life. Carousell has been an amazing tool to help with the process thus far, and I highly recommend it to everyone out there looking to get rid of extra stuff lying around your place.

Lysia and I first thought about taking on the 50 things challenge, but due to practicality issues we decided to instead limit everything we need to just one suitcase each. Although It seemed unthinkable at the start, the process to reduce all we need in life to a single suitcase was enjoyable and extremely liberating.

A logical approach to this problem could look like this:

  1. Step one – list out all the things you own on a spreadsheet
  2. Step two – give an estimation of how many days in a year you actually use the item
  3. Step three – sort the list from smallest to largest

According to the Pareto principle, or most commonly known as the 80/20 rule, you’ll probably find that the top 20% of the items you own are being used 80% of the time. The next logical step – get rid of the bottom 80% of the items! Not only is the de-cluttering process very therapeutic, it also forces you to think hard the next time you wish to add another item to your “life”. So in a nutshell, one suitcase doesn’t mean a strict concrete measurement, but it means to reduce your stuff down to a level that is right for you.

Now that we’ve done it, the everything you need in life in a single suitcase idea seems very doable and another great lifehacking concept! In fact, upon further reading, I found a few other reference projects available online, such as Project 333 and the 100 thing challenge – very helpful resources.

So go ahead and REDUCE (some stuff), REFUSE (new stuff), and REJIGGER (your priorities).

2370003053050_bgP.S. Merry Christmas in advance with clutter-free gift ideas from the Minimalist Mom!