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How to Be a Minimalist Student: 5 Tips I Wish I Knew

I remember a time when I was super busy with exams, projects, extracurriculars, and more.

Because I was so busy, my workspace got extremely messy, in addition to my mental state.

I spent that semester frantically looking for course materials, paperwork, and more within the messy void I created.

This was all before I transitioned to become a minimalist student

Once I learned about minimalism, I started to take steps towards becoming a minimalist student. As a result, the quality of my studies drastically improved.

If you’re looking to reduce stress and improve your study game, then I invite you to read this guide to being a minimalist student!

I’ll be sharing with you 5 awesome tips later in the blog post, so be sure to read until the end!

Full Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

The Benefits of Being a Minimalist Student

There are so many benefits to being a minimalist student. Here are some of my personal favorites:

1. You‘ll do perform better in school and get better grades

This should not be a surprise. With less clutter, both physically and mentally, you’re able to focus better on the tasks in front of you.

When our space is a mess, so are we.

Studies have shown and proven that a clean workspace helps you work better. It eliminates distractions, allowing you to fully concentrate and focus.

And when you’re able to focus, you will retain more information and perform better on your exams, projects, assignments, and more.

2. Less clutter means less stress

Do you ever get stressed just by looking at clutter?

I remember constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the mess of my room, workspace, and the overall mess of my own life.

When you have a cluttered working environment, it makes finding things much harder.

I remember losing my homework within my own dorm room and frantically panicking to find it minutes before class started. 

Luckily, when you’re a minimalist student, you won’t ever have to worry about these problems again. 

3. You’ll save a surprising amount of money

My personal favorite benefit is that you get rid of a lot of financial burden.

I remember always having to buy new pencils, notebooks, folders, etc. because I would lose them and would need to find a replacement.

Now that I’m a paperless student, I save so much money.

When you keep a limited amount tools you like and cherish, you’ll appreciate them more and also take better care of them.

Because of that, you’re less likely to lose stuff and your supplies will last you a long time. 

4. You’ll save time

Time is money. As students, we all know how limited our time is. There is always so much to do but so little time

But when you always have to look for things and navigate your mess, you lose a lot of time and energy.

As a minimalist student, my workspace is always clean and I can get to work much faster.

There are so many other benefits to being a minimalist student, but these are my top four!

So, how do you become a minimalist student? What do I have to do exactly? You might be thinking this, so let’s address these questions!

Minimalist Students Supply and Arsenal

When most people think about minimalism, they only think about finding things to eliminate.

While letting go of things you don’t use is an aspect of being a minimalist student, it’s not a competition of who owns the least amount of stuff. 

What it is about is having all you need and not hoarding stuff you don’t or won’t ever use.

That being said, here are the things I personally use and recommend!

1. Laptop

Nowadays, it is hard to get by as a student without owning a laptop. You’ll need your laptop for doing online assignments, typing essays, participating in lectures (especially with what’s going on in the world these days), and more.

Since it’s portable, you’ll be able to bring it to class, the library, coffee shops, and more.

I personally use a 13” Macbook Pro. I’ve been using it for almost 5+ years and it’s still serving me well!

However, any laptop works fine. If you have one now that works, than you’re pretty much set in this area. 

2. iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2

I mentioned it before in the article, but I am a paperless student. This means when possible, I don’t use paper textbooks, notebooks, sticky notes, flashcards, and more. 

What makes going paperless possible for me is my 12.9” iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2.

With my iPad and Apple pencil, I can read, take notes, create flashcards, write in my digital planner, journal, draw, and so much more.

I can do everything I did on paper as a student and more

Another bonus of owning an iPad and Apple pencil is the amount of clutter I reduce.

I don’t have to buy dozens of different writing utensils anymore because of my Apple Pencil. I also don’t have to carry around different textbooks, notebooks, folders, and more, because everything I need is on my iPad or my laptop.

If you’re interested in going paperless, any iPad that is compatible with either the Apple Pencil 1 or 2 should work.

I recommend you getting an iPad that’s at least 10 inches. If you’re interested in getting an iPad for school, I recommend you read my blog post listed below.

Recommended Resource: What iPad to Get for Digital Note-taking and Planning

3. Versatile Notebook

Taking notes is a key aspect of being a student.

And naturally, you’ll need a notebook to take your notes in.

As a paperless student, I opt for a digital notebook with multiple sections to keep all my notes organized in one place.

Even if I wasn’t paperless, I would opt for a binder or a high-quality multi-tab notebook so I don’t have to carry too many notebooks.

The notebook I use is the Digital Notebook from my shop. It is a gorgeous 12-tab notebook with 36 different page templates!

The hyperlinks in the notebook allow for easy navigation and you can reuse it as many times as you want. 

If you’re a paperless student or a student with an iPad, then this is the notebook for you. It is available in Grey and Cherry Blossom Pink.

4. Battery Pack

A battery pack will come especially handy if you’re a paperless student using an iPad. If you aren’t it’s still nice to have when you need to charge your phone or any other device you use.

I recommend and use the Anker Battery Pack!

The Anker Battery Pack will allow you to charge your iPad, phones, and anything that uses a USB or C Charger port. It’s small, compact, and won’t add much to your luggage.

5. Headphones or Earbuds

It might sound silly, but once you start studying in public places, you’ll recognize the need for good headphones or earbuds.

Here are some of my personal recommendations:

6. High Quality Reusable Water Bottle

Whether you’re a high school, college, or graduate student, you’ll need a water bottle. Constantly buying plastic water bottles is not only costly but horrible for the environment. 

I encourage you to get a high-quality water bottle that holds a good amount of water.

I use a Hydro Flask water bottle and I’m pretty much in love with with it.

Ever since I got my Hydro Flask, I drink a lot more water and feel more refreshed and energized. My water also stays cold (or warm if I use hot water) all day. I can count on it if I want a refreshing sip (or gulp) of water.

Digital Minimalism Using Technology Intentionally and Mindfully feature image

7. A High-quality Planner

What keeps me organized and sane in my day-to-day life is my planner.

As a minimalist and paperless student, I opt for a digital planner

I use the Clarity Planner which you can find in my shop.

Our shop also carries student planners designed for diligent and excellent students. These planners are available in pink and grey!

All of our planners are undated, so you’ll never have to buy another planner again if you so choose to. 

8. External Hard-drive

An external hard-drive will help you store things while keeping your computer space clean and running fast.

It’s also good to have a backup of your files someplace in case anything happens. 

I use the Seagate 2TB Hard Drive and found it to be very useful, but people I know also love the Western Digital 2TB Hard Drive and LaCie 2TB Hard drive

9. USB Flash Drive

If you’re looking to carry files in a more casual and transportable way, USB files are another great option. Especially if you’re sharing files, dropping it off to print things, etc. 

I USB sticker I use is the Samsung Bar Plus USB flash drive. There are different storage options for your needs.

It’s a great flash drive and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for something sturdy, reliable, and fast.

I love that it’s waterproof, shock proof, magnet proof, and temperature proof, as I’m naturally pretty clumsy.

10. Pencil Case with No.2 Pencil(s), Pens, Erasers

For exams, you’ll most likely be taking it on a scantron where you’ll have to bubble in your answers.

To play it safe, have a compact pencil case with No.2 pencils, a few pens, and a high-quality eraser.

11. Folder Organizer

As a student, you’ll be receiving handouts in class. Although I was paperless, there were times where I couldn’t avoid using paper.

To help make your life a lot easier, you should get yourself a ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>good file folder so you can store all your handouts in one convenient place

12. High-quality backpack

Last, but not least, you should have a high-quality backpack that can hold your laptop, tablet (if you have one), water bottle, and other necessary supplies.   

Throughout university, I used a Grey Jansport backpack and it lasted me all four years!

Here are some other high-quality backpack options that will last you for years to come:

5 Tips to Successfully being a Minimalist Student

Now that we gone over the basic supplies, here are the tips I wish I heard when I first transitioned into being a minimalist student. 

1. Access what you use and don’t use

The first step to becoming a minimalist student is accessing what you need and don’t need.

First off, what are the items you use a lot?

Rather than jumping straight into the decluttering, I like to pick out the things I do use and like. That way, decluttering doesn’t become a negative task.

After that, assess what you don’t use as a student and let go accordingly.

2. Assess if there are any alternatives to your current school set-up

After you let go of the things you aren’t using, assess your current student set-up.

Are there things you could or are willing to replace with digital alternatives?

Personally, I was frustrated by how many notebooks, textbooks, and folders I was carrying around. They were all required, but they also took up a lot of space in my backpack and created clutter.

An alternative I saw fit was to go paperless and have all the course material I need in one portable device, which is my iPad.

This might not be your exact solution, but I still encourage you to see if there are changes you can make to better serve you.

3. Be Mindful of your Digital Environment

I talked about assessing the physical things you use and don’t, but let’s talk about the importance of being mindful of your digital environment.

If you have files scattered everywhere on your laptop, 15 tabs open, and 10 applications open, then it’s going to be difficult to focus and be efficient.

Every month or week, I recommend going through a daily cleaning on your laptop, phone, and/or iPad.

Delete the photos you don’t care for, the files you won’t ever use, the bookmarks you don’t need anymore, etc.

Make cleaning your digital environment a regular habit. For your sanity’s sake, you don’t want to let clutter build up over time.

4. Develop a system

You probably know how easy it is to accumulate clutter.

I talked about this in my how to go paperless blog post, but throughout the semester, you’ll accumulate different handouts, papers, files, notes, and more.

It’s important that you develop an efficient system to stay organized and to prevent clutter.

A part of my system is to assess my stuff every week. I would ask myself, “do I need this handout anymore?”

I would also scan my handouts every week so that when possible, I can discard the physical copy but still have a digital one.

5. Focus on one thing at a time

A big part of being a minimalist is focusing on one task at a time.

Doing this not only helps us focus better, but it helps prevent you from getting overwhelmed and burnt-out.

When you have an immense focus on one task, you’ll finish the task not only quicker but much better.

To help curb distractions on you’re using the internet, I recommend the Block Site chrome extension.

It is designed to help you block distractions and to stay focused! You can set a focus timer to block the site for a set period of time. It’s super customizable and there are many options!

Take Action

Transitioning to minimalism may seem overwhelming, especially if your life now is filled with clutter and mess.

But remember you don’t have to jump all in at once.

The most important thing is to take action today — create a plan, start assessing your current workflow, and work towards becoming a minimalist student every day!

If you are interested in being a paperless student, I have a free 5-day paperless student email course that will walk you step-by-step!


Thanks for reading guys and I wish you the best of luck on your minimalist student journey! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

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