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How I Started Living With Less.

living with less
How I started on my journey of living with less…

If I lived on my own I’d have virtually no possessions , no TV , and a very organised and tidy house . But I don’t , and as I can’t get rid of everyone else’s possessions I have to find a way of dealing with their “stuff” but continue in my quest of living with less stuff.
My partner is a borderline hoarder who still keeps boxes from phones he no longer possesses !
I too battled for years to contain my “stuff  ,  I would stuff it all in drawers , cupboards and the garage . The house would be serene looking on the surface but the inner workings were a tangled mess of chaos .

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So what changed ?

I had the ever pulling urge to get rid of everything I owned, to make my overstuffed drawers and cupboards as clutter free as the surfaces so I started to get rid of stuff and it felt great  but I just kept filling up the newly acquired space with new purchases.

Then one day , I stumbled across a book which put me on a journey to simplifying my life ,  it immediately changed my attitude to shopping and clutter, it gave me a plan , a way to achieve the “click point” in my life , where I can  actively live with less and  everything I own sparks joy .
If you only read one book this year make it this one!
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever

the author takes you step by step through all the categories to help you simplify your life.

 

Final thoughts!
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read Marie’s book or are thinking about simplifying and living with less but don’t know where to start ! Drop us a line in the comments below we love to chat

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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How to declutter When You Live With A Clutter Bug ! Simple tips to cut through the clutter!

how to declutter with a partner who is not on board

  1.       How do I declutter when my partner isn’t on board ?
  2. How do I get my partner to declutter? 
  3. What do I do when he tells me he likes me in everything I want to   throw away ? 

These are all questions I get asked on a regular basis .

It seems that a lot of us “declutterers” and organised people, live with people who will not throw anything away . And talking from experience there’s nothing more frustrating!

So what do we do when we live with someone who just won’t simplify?

Throw away their stuff and hope they don’t notice ?

Nag them consistently untill they comply?

Argue constantly about their clutter ? 

Of course none of these are the answer although I bet most of us have tried them in vain ! My favourite  decluttering and tidying guru Marie Kondo covers this very subject in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and  Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying

Her theory is that if we just concentrate on our own “stuff” we will soon realise that other people’s stuff is not the real problem .

So, I tried it and guess what ? It became totally apparent that his stuff was a tiny proportion of the clutter in our house .

Marie guides us through our clutter step by step working through every single possession we own in the following order:

  1.  Clothes,
  2.  Miscellaneous,
  3.  Paperwork
  4. Then, finally sentimental .

She tells us to pile everything on the bed and hold each item , if it brings you joy you keep it, if it doesn’t , you don’t it’s as simple as that .

how to declutter when your partner is not on board

I tried this method and became hooked very quickly

  • I discarded or donated approx 70 % of my stuff
  • I only kept approximately 30% of my original possessions .
  • Everything that made it into the 30% of keepers was things I loved and this in turn made me happy .
  • With that , came space , clarity, serenity and tidiness .
  • Everyone else  in the house  kept the  empty spaces tidy and stopped piling stuff up .
  • No one left anything lying around
  • People in the house including the kids seemed to  start to declutter their items without being asked to.
  • Toys only took a few minutes maximum to tidy up each evening before bed.
  • Cleaning the house was quicker and easier.

Getting your partner to declutter is simply not the way to tackle things at this stage, start on your stuff, move on to the kids stuff  and watch how the whole house seems to get tidier as people notice the empty spaces!

To my surprise I learnt that if I keep my stuff in order everyone else will too!

What do I do when he tells me to keep something I don’t wear because he likes it ?

This is a tricky one and one only you can decide but my rules for this would be to donate if

  1. It doesn’t fit
  2. It is uncomfortable in any way.
  3. It doesn’t make you feel a million dollars
  4. It is old,worn and generally grotty
  5. you don’t love it !

I would never tell my spouse what to wear and I wouldn’t expect him to tell me what to wear so its an easy one for me ! Luckily my other half doesn’t notice what goes in and out of my wardrobe so that helps !

If you’d like read more in depth about these decluttering methods you can read how to here.

Another method I love is  the  Flylady , I love this method because she breaks things down into 31 baby steps and I like bite sized pieces especially when someone is  also guiding  me when to do something!

If you’d like something a bit more serious to read , head over to Josh and Ryan at the The minimalists and read all about their minimalist wardrobes!

 

 

The Organizer UK’s  top 4 recommended tools for decluttering  today!

      1. Dettol Original Liquid Antiseptic Disinfectant I use this daily and it is definitely my go to product for keeping the house smelling fresh. Use it in the areas you have decluttered to really give yourself a fresh clean space ready to organise.
      2. Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner . I love this little machine as it is so easy to use , lightweight and portable with no cord !  It enables me to get into all the little nooks and crannies,  it also gives me approx. 40 minutes of cleaning time and doubles up as hand held for the car or the kid’s mess. I find it really powerful and it covers all my decluttering jobs with little effort.
      3. Dyson Groom Tool attachment for dogs . This is a fantastic product which attaches to most Dyson upright models and grooms your dog as the all hair gets sucked straight up the vacuum! Please note this is not compatible with the cordless Dyson Vacuum cleaner. Let’s keep that freshly decluttered floor free from pet hairs!
      4. Chilly Bottles Double Walled Reusable Bottle – 18hrs Hot & 24 Cold – 260ml) I wouldn’t be without this little fella, it’s  my favourite water bottle and I’ve got it in several colours. It keeps water icy cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 18  hours so it is a really versatile bottle which is a go to in any season. My kids love them . They are great for those of us who are trying to live a more conscious  lifestyle as they are stainless steel and save on waste , they are sturdy and will outlive most other plastic bottles. I have found them easy to carry in a bag as they are condensation free. That said , it’s my go to bottle for having at my side  to keep me hydrated as I go through my many jobs of the day !

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How to declutter when your partner isn't on board

 

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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How To Declutter When You’ve Not Got The Motivation, how to motivate yourself in 10 easy steps

how to declutter when you have no motivation

 

The question I’m asked most of the time is :

“How do I motivate myself to start simplifying? “

It’s such a simple question but one that is holding back thousands of people in their journey to a clutter free life !

When you are at a loss to  begin decluttering it can be completely over whelming to look at how much you have to deal with .

So lets break the question down into two simple parts

How Do I Motivate Myself?

  1.  You are motivated , you are ready, the only  thing which is stopping you is not your motivation it is knowing where to start . This is where we come in !

 

How do I start decluttering?

 

  1. Set yourself an absolutely tiny goal, one which is achievable in a few minutes, for instance , one small drawer which you struggle to shut, or one piece of floor which is so cluttered you keep falling over stuff.
  2. Choose something which is irritating you or is making your life difficult so you feel the benefit once it is done.
  3. Choose a time when you will not be distracted by people, work or social media.
  4. Listen to a podcast or audiobook  click the link for a FREE 30 day trail Audible Free Trial .
  5. Set a timer for 10 minutes , 15 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you feel can give without getting frustrated.
  6. Start when the timer starts and stop when the timer stops!
  7. Throw away all the rubbish you’ve collected into the bin immediately.
  8. Pack anything for the charity shop away and put it in the car boot (to drop off next time you pass) or outside ready for the charity collection (then ring to arrange collection they normally come the next day ).
  9. Clean the area you have decluttered !
  10. Put everything away!

 

 

What Happens If I Want To Carry On after the timer has finished ?

  1. My advice is to make sure the first area is complete before carrying on , so the steps from 1-10 are done in full before you move on to another goal .This may seem like its counter productive but you’ll probably find once you have completed your goal from beginning to end and put everything back afar cleaning you will at least need to rest before you begin again.
  2. Often we find that life seems to take over, we get interrupted, things take longer that we anticipated , we get side tracked.
  3. Our focus is to start in bite sized chunks which fit into our already very busy lives, this allows us to get into the habit of decluttering as we go and prevents us from getting overwhelmed and suffering burnout!
  4. Our aim is to get the decluttering bug and to look forward to the next time we grab the timer and go !

My guidelines for success

  1. In the area you are decluttering if there is anything you don’t use,
    don’t like, don’t need or don’t want , donate it .
  2. If there anything which just irritates you , for instance the candle you can’t bear the smell of, the unwanted gift, donate it !
  3. Throw away anything which is broken or anything which is just rubbish!
  4. Now enjoy the empty space you have created!

 

If you enjoyed reading this post you might like to follow some of my other hints and tips in

 

My other recommended reads on how to declutter are:

  1. Flylady who in her book Sink Reflections splits everything into 31 baby steps,  zones and daily missions.
  2. A slob comes clean who in her book How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind gives us a humorous down to earth slant on her disorganised life and shares her tips to get out of the clutter rut .

 

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Posted in minimalism, minimalist

The Secret To Being Rich in 9 easy steps!

How to save money
A penny saved is a penny earned!

 

 

Whilst sitting in the doctors waiting room yesterday I picked up a glossy magazine  and the headlines screamed out

  • “The must have hand bag! “
  • “Why I can’t live without velvet! “
  • “Life changing eyeshadow pallet!”
This got me thinking , why is it a “must have handbag ?”

So let’s break it down ,  it’s  literally just a handbag that someone has decided you must have!

If you want a handbag  choose one that you like, not because someone in a marketing office has told you it’s a must have . You have your own style and don’t need a “must have” hand bag to validate that .
The “why I can’t live without velvet” … person  has a serious issue, I urge them to try to live without velvet ,I’m pretty sure that they’ll  survive!
As for the “life changing eyeshadow pallet ” in my opinion , becoming a parent, losing your job, moving abroad are “life changing ” events an eyeshadow pallet is not life changing in most cases!
But the headline which really caught my attention for all the wrong reasons was
“the lipstick to make you beautiful” , as if any one product could make anyone person beautiful .

I agree with Audrey Hepburn who said that “the most beautiful thing anyone can put on their face is a smile “.

Gratitude , kindness empathy and humility make a person beautiful , these are qualities which shine from within , these are the lessons we should be teaching our children .

So how does this make  us rich ?

What to do right now to see your money grow!
  • Stop falling for the constant consumerism  mumbo jumbo that advertisers are constantly bombarding us with, read between the lines!
  • Bear in mind we don’t  need anything other than the basics to keep us alive!
  • Stop buying “stuff” which will end up in the charity shop in six months time .
  • Start instead to save your  money.
  • Start a small emergency fund to cover any repairs or breakages.
  • Pay off your debts.
  • Never spend more than you earn.
  • Get rid of the credit cards.
  • Follow the principle that  ” a penny saved is a penny earned”

 

Try this for a month and you’ll be surprised exactly how different things can be by wanting less. After a short time you will have more financial freedom to  do the things you really love and  to create memories.

 

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hoe to get richer in 9 simple steps

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How I Got My Kids To Love Eating Vegetables.

how to get your kids to love eating vegetablesHow I got my four year old to love eating vegetables.

My 4 year old  son is naturally a fussy eater, he does the usual trick of pretending to vomit at any given opportunity when salad or vegetables are served on his plate . If it’s green he refuses point blank to go near it .
This revelation came as a huge shock to me because I was one of those (smuggety smug) parents who already had a six year old who would eat absolutely anything .
So of course I had to be clever with this little fuss pot , using the age old tricks to get some veg into him:

  • Green smoothies at breakfast . A hand full of spinach , a banana , and a handful of berries blended together with a handful of ice and some Almond Milk
    or coconut water  Coconut Water, these are always wolfed down in our house, the kids think they are a milkshake. Sometimes if my kids have been super busy with school and activities or are feeling low in energy ager being poorly  I add a scoop of  Bioglan SmartKids Superfood Shake for an extra boost.
  • Blended  or juiced vegetables in sauces, these can be anything from courgette, carrot, beetroot, celery or anything else you have in the fridge , these can be blended in your Vitamix Blender or any other blender you have .
  • Home made soups , made from fresh cooked  vegetables and stock then  blended and  sprinkled with parmesan cheese for a delicious comforting dish.
  • Fresh juices made from a mixture of vegetables such as carrots , beetroot celery and fruit to give it the sweetness, my kids love apples and oranges added to their juice , I prefer the tartness of grapefruit in mine. this is also a great way to use up fruit and vegetables and if you use a slow press juicer such as Retro Cold Press Masticating Juicer  you can keep the fresh juice in the fridge for longer , although it doesn’t last long in our house !

 

 

All of this effort  of course , ensured that my son had enough veg in his diet but it didn’t make him “love ” vegetables.
I wanted him not to shy away from veg , I wanted him to grow into an adult who naturally wants to choose to eat vegetables.
Then I came across a book called  French Children Don’t Throw Food

Which gave me a huge insight into why kids in France eat the same as  their parents eat at every meal and in restaurants, including vegetables without any fuss at all.

 

So, how do French people get their kids to love vegetables what is their secret?

Well one thing they do is serve a platter full of raw veg sliced as a ” starter ” before every meal .

This idea made complete sense to me because:

  1. Before dinner my kids are
  2. At their hungriest
  3. At their most relaxed
  4. Not particularly paying attention to what they’re eating especially if the tv is on.
  5. Likely to wrestle the other child to the floor for no reason what so ever !
    All perfect conditions to sneak some veg into them without them really noticing!

So,  in conclusion this would mean that they would:

  1. Be less fussy with what they are eating!
  2. Not be psyched up and prepared for a dinner table battle ( catch them off guard !)
  3. Not paying attention to what they are eating!
  4. Willing to fight each other over the last carrot !
    It was a light bulb moment for me !

So now the test !

What did I do ?

I decided that the first day would be all about coaxing them over to the plate

  • So, I  mostly sliced fruit which I know they love, with just some bell peppers sliced in between .
  • I left the plate on a table next to the TV and walked away ,no nagging, no coaxing , no acknowledgement of the plate of food , I just dumped it and ran !
    They dived in , wrestled each other for the last piece and then asked for more !

 

 

  • The second day I reduced the fruit by half and added different vegetables including olives which my kids love .

 

  • On the third day it was all veg they had eaten on the first 2 days
    After that I added one new vegetable a day .

                 Each day they cleared the plate , no matter what I put on it !

How did it affect mealtimes ?

Dinner time became much more relaxed because I knew they’d already eaten a ton of veg as a starter in front of the TV so there was no pressure to eat it at dinner time , we were all more relaxed and it didn’t matter too much if they left food at dinner time because they’d already eaten the good stuff!
So now my 4 year old is choosing to eat lots of veggies for himself with no input from me at all and the dinnertime battles have ended!

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5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

Laundry tips and routines
Laundry!

Don’t  you just love it ?

Its ability to triple in size in the blink of an eye.
The  empty basket of laundry you smile at smugly only to find that 30 seconds later your husband has picked up his all his dirty clothes from the side of the bed and filled it up again .

We all have our own way of doing our washing , some people do it once a week , some people do it by colour, some do it daily.
I’ve tried them all , some were hideous,  some worked well . Here for what it’s worth is how I do it !

  • My first job in this drudgery of dirty clothes was to train everyone in my house to put their clothes in the washing basket . Sounds simple ? Not so ! It turns out that even a man of 41 years old would rather drop them on the floor , then repeatedly pick them up and place them on the bed , then move them to the floor again at bed time than walk an extra foot to the washing basket ! He also enjoys volleying his underpants to wherever they will land . The children were easier in this department and apart from the odd random sock or underpants in the lounge they have mastered this skill.

 

  • If I get behind on the laundry which I often do due to our busy schedule I catch up by washing the loads by person , so when it comes to folding and putting away it all goes in one persons wardrobe
    Whenever possible I wash ,dry and put away all on the same day and I try not to start a load unless I know I can complete that cycle.

 

  • I also try to wash everything we have worn that day so the basket is mostly empty

 

  • When the kids have been swimming or we are going somewhere muddy I make sure the washing machine is empty before we go , so wet towels or muddy sports kits can go straight in the wash .

 

  • I try to prioritise work shirts , school uniforms and sports wear above everything else so they’re always good to go .
    I try to iron at least every other day when possible .

Final thoughts…

I do know someone who has 28 pairs of knickers / underpants for each member of the family and does a “knicker” wash once a month , I’m still trying to get my head round that method !

And the good news is that we don’t have to do it all by hand these days !

If you enjoyed this post you may like Get Your Minimal Wardrobe In 6 Super Simple Steps ! and 6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff these posts will help you streamline your wardrobe which will help keep that laundry mountain down !
<

 

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How to Get Rid Of Your Junk Drawer In 1 Easy Step!

simplicity…….

 

We have all probably got one or have had one … The “junk drawer”, aptly named because it’s the drawer where you stick all the stuff you can’t be bothered to put away .

We use the excuse that we need to keep “it” in this drawer because it’s “handy” . Not so handy having to dig through reams of other junk when we need “it” though is it ?

  • Let’s examine the typical contents of the junk drawer.
  • Tape measure .. Should be in the toolbox .
  • Phone chargers …. Should be at the charging station .
  • Sticky tape … Should be with the stationary.
  • Pens … Should also be with the stationary .
  • Nail clippers …. Should be with the nail stuff.
  • Random keys … Should be on the key hook.
  • Random cables … Should be in the cable box .
  • Hair bobbles . … Should be in the bedroom
  • Medicine …. Medicine cabinet
    You catch my drift…..

 

How to get rid of the junk drawer in one easy step !

Everything residing in your junk drawer belongs somewhere else in the home .
Tip it all out and go and put it all away . No more trying to organise the junk drawer, just  go and put it all away.
Now , use the newly empty drawer to get something off your counter tops or surfaces and out of sight and voila you’ve killed two birds with one stone !

 

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Get Your Minimal Wardrobe In 6 Super Simple Steps !

minimalist simplicity…….

 

 

We all have clothes in our wardrobes we have never worn, you know the ones … They tend to fall into the following categories:

  • The …..when You’ve lost weight purchase
  •  The….. couldn’t resist bargain
  • The….. stuff people have given you
  • The…… brightly coloured fun item
  • The ……fur item
  • The…… too short skirt
  • The….. too long jeans
  • The…… itchy jumper
  • The….. impulse purchase
  • The….. unworn designer label
  • The….. worn once party outfit
  •  The….. wedding attire

How many are hanging in your wardrobe right now ? If you’re anything like me before I simplified , the answer is all of them and more !

Have you ever asked yourself why they are still there ? Do the following excuses pop up every time you try to have a clear out ?

 

  • It cost me a fortune !
  • I’m going to diet!
  • My sister gave me this !
  • I’m waiting for the right occasion to wear it !
  • I’ve got nothing to wear it with!
  • I’ve had it since I was a teenager!
  • I’ll definitely wear it again!

If any of these sound familiar to you they could be stopping you from having the minimal wardrobe you’ve always dreamed of.

Every time we open our wardrobe doors these items silently make us feel guilty.
So let me give you an answer to those silent excuses you use for hanging onto stuff you never wear.

  1. It did cost you nearly a months wages and yes that makes you feel seriously guilty but the money has been spent now and the item is making you feel crappy and guilty every time you see it.
  2. Just because you paid a fortune for it doesn’t mean that its valuable to you , forget the designer label , if it had only cost £10 would still keep it ?
    It’s great to hear that you’re going to lose weight but let me tell you , when you get down to your ideal weight the first thing you’ll probably do is treat yourself to some gorgeous new outfits!
  3. Your sister/mum/daughter gave it to you ? Guess what , they didn’t wear it either!
  4. If you are waiting for the right occasion the chances are you’ll buy a more fashionable outfit to wear than one you wore to your sister’s wedding in 1992!
  5. If you loved it you’d  have found something to wear with it in your already bulging wardrobe by now!
  6. You’ve had it since you were a teenager ? Well , you’re now 40 ! (Insert age )
    You wont wear it again!

 

So you made a mistake , you bought an itchy jumper, long trousers , hideous floral dress, brown woolly tights. So you put on weight .. Who hasn’t ?
It’s no big deal !

 

I’m not saying you should get rid of stuff you love , but just the stuff that makes you feel bad , the stuff you make excuses for !

 

The organising guru Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever” has a theory that when purchasing an item we get the thrill of the purchase which dissolves almost immediately when we walk out of the shop, she believes that the item you have purchased has done its job , it made you feel good at the time, therefore it has served it purpose and it’s time to let it go.

I found this advice invaluable in giving myself permission to get those items out of my house without feeling guilty especially all those designer items with the price tag still  attached .
It’s amazing how differently I shop now too, I’m a lot more mindful about how much I’ve discarded , that I now see each purchase as a future charity shop donation so it makes me so much more mindful of what I am buying.

I steer clear of bargains and cheaper brands as I released that these made up approximately 95% of  the clothes I never wore and ended up in the donation pile .

 

 

Final thoughts . Do you struggle to let things go or are you a guilt free de-clutterer ? Let us know below .

If you enjoyed reading this post you may like How I Started Living With Less. and6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff

Why not get organised with the FREE Cozi Family Organizer you can keep all of your lists shopping and dates in one easy to use planner which can be synced with all your family members to keep them all organised and up to date with your plans !
                 

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minimalist wardrobe in 6 simple steps
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8 Steps To follow to Become A Minimalist.

 

 

how to declutter with a partner who is not on board

Do you long to live like a minimalist but have no idea where to start ?

 Do you really need  

  • six pairs of nail clippers ?
  • enough paper clips  to supply three primary schools ?
  • three spatulas ?
  • six jugs ?
  • three mascaras?
  • ten pairs of jeans?
  • three rolls of sticky tape ?
  • three hammers?
  • two mallets?

no ?  Me neither !

So why do we find ourselves with so many multiples of one item ?

  •  just in case we’ve got thousands of presents to wrap ?
  • or we need to cut all the toenails  of all the people in the village at the same time ?
  • or maybe our spatulas will spontaneously combust and we may need a spare ?

 It’s utter lunacy, but if you’re anything like me you’re likely to have most things in duplicate ” just in case .”

 

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, THE MINIMALISTS  in their book Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists  talk about how most things can be replaced within a few hours for less than a few quid if it is needed to be replaced in an emergency .

 I have been known to ask the neighbours to open a can of kidney beans for me when my can opener broke for the umpteenth time , so we can get by if we have to.
Let go of  all your just in case worries and think when was the last time “just in case ” actually happened ? 
 if it does it’s  probably than more likely to be your washing machine which combusts rather than your spatulas ! 
 
So here are your quick fire steps to getting rid of those extra items . 
 
  1. Start with a particular group of items . E.g. Candles
  2. Search through the entire house and gather every single one of those items have in your house, car garage  or handbag .
  3. Group all together in one spot. 
  4. Wonder why you ended up with so many of the same item .
  5. Discard/donate any that you do not use .
  6. Keep only the one/ones you use or love . 
  7. Find a permanent home for the item so everyone knows you have it , where to find it and that it doesn’t need to be bought again until it either runs out or breaks . 
  8. Do not keep stuff “just in case”, especially if you don’t use it ! 

 

If you enjoyed reading this then you may also  like 6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff and How I Started Living With Less.  to get you on the road to live with less and become a minimalist.
do you need help keeping yourself organised? then why not put everything together in one place using the free cozi family organizer. it allows you to have all your lists and dates in one place ready to share with the whole family to keep everyone organised and up to date with what you’re doing!
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Continue reading “8 Steps To follow to Become A Minimalist.”

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