Studies have proven that clutter is detrimental to mental and physical health, and in the long run can even compromise our satisfaction in life. Here are 10 efficient ways you can declutter your life and permanently keep it that way.  

#1 Lighten Up

It’s a no brainer; how do you live a clutter-free life if you’re literally surrounded with stuff? While it’s a pain having to sort, pack and dump the things you don’t need, it’s a necessary step that’ll have you well on your way to a clean and organised living/workspace. When going through the clutter, arrange your unwanted items into three main categories: stuff you can sell, donate/hand down or throw away. Why waste your old textbooks when you could always give them to your juniors or flip them for extra pocket money? 

#2 Have a place for everything

When you’ve decided what you should keep, make sure you have a proper place to keep each item. A drawer for your random electronic gadgets, a special box for your mementos, or even that specific shelf space where your skincare and cosmetics should return to – having a dedicated place for each belonging makes it easier for you to tidy up, and realise when you’re repeating the bad habit of piling up too much stuff. 

#3 Establish dedicated storage 

With that being said, it’s only realistic to cater for the inevitable accumulation of unnecessary items. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. By portioning out a dedicated space for clutter (like a drawer or anything else you prefer) and containing your mess to only that area, you can avoid cluttering up the rest of your neatened up space with more junk. And at best, you’ll learn how to work within the limitations and at best, eventually cut down on your hoarding habits. 

#4 Learn the art of putting things away 

Whether it’s tidying up your workspace, washing dirty dishes or even folding the laundry, many of us opt to put these chores off as the evidence of your messiness (and laziness) pile up. Eventually, it takes over everything and cleaning up seems like an insurmountable task that’ll take forever to complete. To avoid that dreadful situation, take 10 minutes out of each day to tidy up and put things back where they belong, it’ll save you much more effort in the long run! 

#5 Embark on the two-minute challenge

Point 4 mentioned the 10-minute clean up, but try adopting this two-minute habit while you’re at it: if a random task takes two minutes to complete, do it. You’ll find that this rule is applicable to micro tasks like taking out the trash, re-packing your school bag for the next day, making the bed, etc. Taking two minutes out of your entire day to neaten up doesn’t seem so bad, does it? 

#6 Don’t give junk a nesting spot 

Setting down empty cups on a random shelf, saving unwanted receipts in your wallet, shoving random junk into your bag while making mental reminders to clear your bag after… giving your clutter a resting spot is a huge part of why your life is filled with it. Start making a conscious effort to stop leaving your junk everywhere and you’ll be good to go – straight to the bin it goes!

#7 Stop buying things you don’t need

The concept is simple – your belongings back home won’t accumulate if you don’t add on to it. Before you roll your eyes at this tip, take a moment of self-reflection: how many times have you bought something you already own and probably don’t need? If you have trouble sticking to this rule, try challenging yourself to toss out or donate something you already own, the next time you purchase something. 

#8 Go paper-free 

While living in the digital era means using a largely reduced amount of paper as compared to generations past, you’d be surprised at how much paper can still be accumulated, whether it’s random scribblings from previous assignments or bills sent in the mail. Cutting down your paper consumption means a less cluttered workspace, and a step towards a greener environment. 

#9 Keep clothes off the floor 

The only place your clothes belong, is in your wardrobe. Not on your floor, the foot of your bed, or that random chair in your room that was meant for light reading sessions. While it’s easy to commit the mistake of leaving your clothes where you toss ’em, having to clear them is a hassle that can easily be avoided. The next time you’re figuring out what to wear, remember to hang them back up! 

#10 Build good habits 

Honestly, the best way to live a clutter-free lifestyle is to build good habits. Whether it’s adopting a weekly cleanup routine, learning not to hold on to meaningless items, exercising strict discipline or even to cull the urge of buying things you don’t need (and save money in the long run), embracing positive practices are your best bet. 

What are your tips to maintaining a clutter-free life? Share your tried-and-tested tips with us!

More related stories: 11 Unnecessary Things Millennials Splurge On8 Effective Ways To Deal With Frenemies8 Ways You’re Wasting Time Without Realising It

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Campus

5 Micro Tips To Ace Your Exams

9 Nov 2017 by Isabel Pang

With exam prep already being such an arduous task, you don’t want to pile on unnecessary stress. Study smart and study hard too, with these these effective study tips will help you get way more out of your intense mugging sessions.

Stay Off Your Phones

A new research from the University of Texas found that the
mere presence of your smartphone could have 
a ‘brain-drain’ effect. Our itchy fingers instinctively reach for our gizmos even when no one’s calling. We’re not saying you should go fully off the 
grid, but try putting it on airplane mode and tucking it away during your next study session, occasionally allowing yourself to take a peek during coffee breaks. Out of sight, out of mind!

Dress For Success

It seems like we should start taking the saying 
‘put on your thinking 
cap’ quite literally. A
group of researchers from Northwestern University found that those who turned up for
 a test in a doctor’s coat 
fared better than those who donned a painter’s coat. While we aren’t suggesting that you dress as a doctor for your exams (you could if you’re that committed), how you dress certainly has an effect on your performance – so ditch the sweatpants and go geek-chic instead!

De-clutter Your Workplace

We promise we weren’t forced to put this in by our mums, but clearing up your messy table and organising your stationery can really help to put you in the right frame of mind. Rather than spending half of your studying time hunting for stuff, get everything in place so you won’t waste time playing hide-and-seek. That long-forgotten textbook buried under a pile? It’s right there. Need a protractor? Whip it out
in a second. It’s the same reason why we get drawn to neatly arranged #Flatlays on Instagram – our brains respond positively to tidiness and order.

Let Down Your Hair

Girls, this one’s a tip 
just for you. Studies by researchers from the Jefferson Headache Center at the Thomas Jefferson University found that tying your hair up could result in what’s known as a ‘ponytail headache’. A tight bun could be tugging on your scalp’s connective tissue – and coupled with some intense frowning
and concentration – could cause painful headaches that will hinder your ability to focus. So free up that bun, and let your hair down. You’ll find yourself in a much better headspace to revise for your examinations and conquer that Ten Year Series.

Turn Up The Volume

Listening to music while studying has always been a debatable topic, but it all really boils down to your musical preferences and study habits. While classical music is known to have the ‘Mozart effect’ – which helps to bolster cognitive performance – it’s more common to
see students memorising notes to Ariana Grande or finalising your essay to Ed Sheeran. If classical music is not your thing,
we suggest turning to
an acoustic playlist of
your favourite pop tracks for minimal distraction instead.

This article was adapted from the August 2017 issue of Teenage.

More related stories: Are You Using The Right Study Methods For Your Learning Style?, 17 Places You Can Study at Without Getting Chased Away, How to Google Your Way to Better Results

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Campus

11 Unnecessary Things Millennials Splurge On

7 Nov 2017 by Johanna Teo

Can’t seem to get your bank balance growing despite your efforts at avoiding splurges on big ticket items? These 11 money-wasters might just be the culprit. 

#1 Paying For In-app Purchases

While most may be hesitant at shelling out for paid apps, the same can’t be said for in-app purchases. Whether it’s buying pretty filter packs in that “free” image-editing app or paying for extra credit in a Freemium/free-to-play mobile game, these dollars trickle away quickly and silently. And chances are, you wouldn’t track how much you’ve spent! The next time you’re tempted to buy something in-app, take an equal amount of money out of your wallet and put it away in savings. Yes, even if you have to ride out those pesky in-app advertisements! 

#2 Splurging On Subscriptions 

With paid subscription services like Netflix and Spotify becoming an essential in modern millennial lives, spending money on such platforms seem inevitable. While the best situation would be to not spend money on ’em at all, we suggest taking full advantage of promos and offers available, think student rates, family bundle packs, sign up discounts, etc. to split the cost. Every once in awhile, take inventory of your subscriptions and cancel off any unused or under-utilised ones. In addition, don’t forget about those free trial periods where you have to provide credit card details upon signing up; don’t fall prey to sneaky charges on auto-pay services you don’t even use. 

#3 Shelling Out For Extra Data

If keeping within our data limits is one of the top millennial struggles, then paying the price for it must be the most painful. Thankfully, our local telcos have made it slightly easier on our pockets with competitive data plans that offer deals like unlimited weekend surfing and affordable data plan upsizes. With that being said, avoid additional costs altogether by limiting data usage in Wi-Fi free zones, and remembering to turn off any background apps that might be siphoning data even when unused. 

#4 Not Paying Your Bills On Time 

For those who have started paying your own bills, it’s best to adopt the healthy practice of paying for your bills whenever it’s due, instead of procrastinating and incurring late charges when you eventually forget about it. The only thing more unnecessary than splurging on unwanted items, is paying for late fees and additional interest. If it helps, either apply for giro payments or set calendar alerts to remind yourself to pay up. 

#5 Getting Your Food Delivered

If you have an account on every food delivery service available and are frequently ordering food in, it’s time to nip that habit in the bud because your laziness isn’t worth the delivery fee and marked up menu cost. Let’s put it this way: most services only deliver food that’s within your own neighbourhood anyway, so why not get off your butt and tapau it yourself? 

#6 Heading Out To Eat

Following in a similar vein, eating out might be the easiest way to get your meals settled but it definitely isn’t the most economically-friendly nor healthy option. We’d suggest heading home for dinner or even prepping your own lunchbox for school. If you find everyday cooking a hassle, there are one-day recipes that offer easy meals you could eat all week. Your wallet and body will thank you in the long run! 

#7 Grocery Shopping While Hungry

Packing your own food involves heading to the grocers – the next time you’re headed there, ensure you’re going on a full stomach. It’s been proven that people tend to purchase more items when they’re hungry, so don’t fall into the trap of buying food you simply don’t need!   

#8 Buying Beverages 

It may be easier to spend a dollar or two on bottled water and other beverages instead of lugging your own water bottle around while you’re out, but these little costs still add up in the long run. The next time you’re packing your own food, remember to slip your water bottle into your bag! Additionally, instead of heading to Starbucks for your coffee fix, consider either brewing your own or opting for the cheaper (but equally delicious) kopi peng? 

#9 Shopping At A Sale 

Newsflash! Just because you bought a sale item at a drastically marked down price doesn’t mean you’re actually saving. Unless it’s an absolutely necessity, try resisting the temptation of buying something you don’t really need… 

#10 Paying For Something You Can Do Yourself 

From getting manicures to getting your food delivered to paying someone to do your homework (we’re just kidding on the last one), it kinda makes no sense to splurge on things you could easily do yourself. And as you get older, you’ll find that getting into the habit of spending unnecessary money to get stuff done for you, literally wouldn’t pay off. As much as possible, stick to doing things yourself! 

#11 Buying Low Quality Items 

This point may seem a bit ironic because good quality items naturally come with equally great prices – but sometimes, it’s worthwhile to invest in pricier items if that could mean saving more in the long run. Whether it’s good quality clothes or a pricy gadget from a trustworthy brand, avoid settling for cheaper options that’ll conk out in no time. 

Featured image: Matthew Henry on Burst

What are your spending vices? Share your woes in the comment section! 

More related stories: 8 Effective Ways To Deal With FrenemiesHow To Google Your Way To Better Search ResultsIncrease Your Efficiency With These Student-Friendly Apps

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If you still find your grades falling short even after hitting the books diligently, you might be taking the wrong approach. Take this short quiz to find out the best study method for you! 

  1. You open your new textbook and hope to see ____ to help you understand topics better:
    a) pictures
    b) extensive text
    c) diagrams and charts

  2. When you’re bored in class, you tend to:
    a) doodle
    b) sing or hum a song stuck in your head
    c) fiddle with a pen

  3. Your favourite pastime is:
    a) watching TV and movies
    b) listening to the latest hits and gossiping with your BFFs
    c) exercising and doing sports

  4. You’re likely to get in trouble with your teacher for:
    a) drawing on my assignments and textbooks
    b) talking during the lesson
    c) fidgeting and distracting others

  5. During revision of your school work, you prefer to:
    a) draw out mind maps
    b) get a friend to ask you questions and answering them out loud
    c) re-write notes word for word to memorise them better

  6. Your dream occupation would be:
    a) a painter, architect or artist
    b) a radio DJ or musician
    c) a sportsperson

  7. When in class, you would most likely get distracted by:
    a) sounds coming from outside the class
    b) passersby 
    c) having to stay at your desk for the entire lesson

If you got…

Mostly As: Visual Learner

As a visual learner, you tend to remember what you see (like power point presentations or graphs) over what you hear (your lecturer teaching), and you prefer reading and writing over listening to someone explain your study material. When making notes, try including lots of colour with highlighters to help you remember key points. And aside from creating mind maps, visual learners can also try to draw out the images that come to mind (as opposed to simply jotting down concepts) when studying a certain subject topic to help you better visualise and retain information. 

Mostly Bs: Aural Learner

Listening to details comes easily to you, and your strength is picking up on keywords that your teacher would point out. Make it a self-reminder to pin point the essential information and repeat them to yourself out loud during your revision sessions. In addition, get permission to audio-record your lectures or tutorials – they’ll likely come in handy during crunch time when you need to remember that exam tip mentioned in class!

Mostly Cs: Kinaesthetic Learner

There’s no cause for concern if you fall under the category of a Kinaesthetic Learner. Being one means you’re likely able to learn better with some movements or activity involved, and are elaborate in explaining academic theories by using hand gestures. You’re more receptive to practical examples rather than theoretical, which means you should try experimenting or acting out scenarios to grasp a particular subject better as well.

Which type of learner are you? Tell us in the comment section! 

More related stories: 6 Easy Ways To Stand Out At Your Internship, 6 Morning Habits To Help You Be Productive All Day, 5 Pro Tips To Help You Fight Procrastination, 17 Places In Singapore You Can Study At Without Being Chased Away

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Campus

8 Effective Ways To Deal With Frenemies

30 Oct 2017 by Germaine Cheah

Have a friend that constantly brings you down with snide words or odd actions? You may have a frenemy in your midst. Read on to find out how to identify a frenemy, and learn a few trusty ways you can handle them. 

im-winning-youre-losing-gif

The One Who’s Competitive. This person lives by the “anything you can do, I can do better” motto, and are easily identified when you are unable to talk about anything you’ve done without them immediately following up with their own superior achievement. You ran 5km during your weekend exercise? They ran 10km. You scored 85 marks on a tough exam paper? Great job! They scored 90 marks. 

How to deal: While having an overly competitive friend can be ultra annoying, don’t engage in their petty games or squabbles. Instead, rise above gracefully by acknowledging their accomplishments and giving praise where it’s due. And instead of having them work against you, try adapting their competitive nature to your advantage – partner up in group projects, be their ally in team games, or identify common goals you could work towards together. 

santana-you-love-me

The One Who’s Narcissistic. All this person wants to do is to relentlessly talk about themselves and their problems. They will pay no attention to any of the people around them, or care if they have any problems of their own. Basically, your role in the friendship is to just nod and agree with whatever this person is saying. 

How to deal: Chances are, these pals care mostly about themselves and little about anyone else. If you’ve decided to stop going along with their one-man love fest, start by slowly distancing yourself from said friend – start establishing personal boundaries and be wary of sharing too much about yourself. Focus on other friendships where you can receive actual care and empathy from likeminded friends. 

regina-george-shes-my-friend

The One Who’s Secretly Jealous Of You. This is the person whom you get along with consistently – they talk to you regularly, you hang out after school almost daily and they even confide in you their deepest secrets. But underneath the friendly facade, they are (almost) always inserting snide remarks that’ll have you second guessing their praise or even trying to downplay your achievements to make you feel bad. At worst, they’re secretly scheming behind your back, spreading rumours in an attempt to ruin your reputation or a friendship you have with someone else.

How to deal: It’s a delicate situation. Ignoring your friend’s issues may raise even more resentment in the long run, while confronting it head on may cause some serious backlash. Before any action is taken, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their point of view; what happened to have him/her feel this way? What would they say during a confrontation? Do you behave in a way that could cause them to feel jealous (like bragging or rubbing your successes in their face)?

When actually broaching the topic, do it in a calm, rational and honest manner. Avoid accusing them of being jealous – try sharing your feelings about how distant your friendship has grown, and invite them to share their thoughts. Give constant reassurance about how much you value the friendship, and your honest admiration for their character/achievements. Being open and candid about the matter will help to shed light and hopefully fix the issue. 

top-10-signs-friend-is-frenemy-6

The One Who Gives Backhanded Compliments. This person probably took a page out of our resident favourite Mean Girl, Regina George’s playbook. Every time this person says something to you, you get pretty confused because you’re never really sure if they were complimenting or insulting you. 

How to deal: There are several effective ways to respond to these confusing remarks – either ignore it, acknowledge only the good part and thank them for it (which will probably annoy your ‘friend’ to no end), use humour to counter that snarky statement, or address it straight on: “that comment was hurtful”. Whichever way you choose, don’t raise to their petty bait! 

Other ways to deal

Find Out What The Problem Is

Before taking any drastic action, try reaching out to this person and ask them why they’ve been acting in a particular way towards you. Who knows, they might not have had any idea that their actions were causing you any distress. Talking about what’s been bothering the both of you in a non-confrontational manner can help repair any damage done and help to get the friendship back to normal. 

Set Some Boundaries

We’re not saying that every moment you spend with this person is negative, but it’s important to not be tricked into having a false sense of security. While it might be unnatural to do so, set boundaries around various topics of conversation, and always avoid sharing personal information. The key is to not overshare and give them something they can use against you in the future.

Don’t Fight Fire With Fire

It just creates a bigger flame. It’s easy to want to give them a taste of their own medicine, but it’s not worth it, especially if you think that the friendship might be worth salvaging. Being mean towards them or talking about them behind their back would just mean that you’re stooping to their level, and it would create more tension and could potentially lead to an explosive argument between you two. 

Know When To Let Go

Lastly, if you’ve tried everything on this list and nothing else works, then it might be high time to end the friendship. Some people are just not worth the emotional draining. Losing the friendship may be hard at first, but your mental wellbeing comes first, and removing this toxic person from your life will help you feel better in the long run.

What are some other ways you utilise to help deal with the frenemies in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

More related stories: Students Share Their Tried-And-Tested Study Hacks, 6 Easy Ways To Stand Out At Your Internship, 9 Ways To Make A Good First Impression

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