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” and 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 .
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.
As mum of two small children I’m all too aware of the pressures we face as mothers to keep all our plates spinning at once.
We rob time from Peter to pay Paul
We sacrifice one child’s spellings practice so we can help the other child with their homework.
One child can’t attend sports when the other child is ill
The kids fight with each other
We are grumpy with our spouse
They’re grumpy with us
We are tired
And so it goes on!
“ What is the monkey mind? ”
The monkey mind is when the brain just can’t stop jumping from one thing to another.
Thoughts are unable to slow down and control themselves .
The constant barrage of worry and over thinking continually invades thoughts and sleep , rendering a person unable to focus on what is happening right now .
Meditation or mindfulness allows us to calm the monkey mind .
As little as ten minutes a day can help us start to feel less agitated , and generally calmer during the day which allows us to think more clearly and make better more informed decisions.
It helps us to get to sleep more easily as our thoughts are quiet and not so busy.
Meditation or mindfulness gives us a greater sense of wellbeing .
One day, during a yoga class , it occurred to me that I got more benefit from the relaxation technique at the end of the class , where we were guided into a five-minute meditation session , than I did from the whole of the rest of the class .
(I was unaware that this was guided meditation at the time ) .
Years later I stumbled upon some guided meditation sessions and realised that this was what I had experienced all those years ago in my yoga lessons .
Where to start, and how to calm the monkey mind.
What is guided meditation ?
Guided meditation is a place great start for beginners
There is a narrator who guides us through several techniques such as focusing on the breath, body scan , (which is learning to relax every muscle in our body from top to toe) and guiding us through a relaxing scene such as sitting on a beach or walking through a beautiful garden .
There are also guided meditations available to help you get to sleep , to relieve anxiety , anger and to help with many more stressful situations .
After a short period of time practicing guided meditation you will probably find you are ready to move on to quiet meditation in which you practice concentrating on the breath and allow your thoughts to come and go without engaging with them .
You can choose to meditate for as long or short a time your lifestyle dictates, however the more you practice meditation the easier it is to sit for longer periods of time.
The beauty of meditation is , that no matter how busy your life is you can really feel the benefits of even just five minutes practice a day .
Even with a stressful job and a busy family life, it is a do-able practice .
How To Practice Meditation In A Hurry.
There are a few apps I’ve found helpful when pressed for time , one I use daily is a free app called Insight Timer , it offers thousands of free guided meditations to get you started.
Give it a go … If I can do it with a 10yr and 6yr old, anyone can.
And if meditation sounds too time consuming,
just try breathing quietly for five minutes a day ,
Living with someone who is constantly snoring can be exhausting and incredibly frustrating, it can affect their partner in many ways due to lack of sleep including,
Anger and rage
Impaired decision-making and impaired judgement.
The symptoms of being a partner of someone who snores are often made more difficult by
Denial from the snorer that they actually snore , even when presented with the evidence.
Anger from the snorer when their partner tries to move them to stop them snoring.
Unwillingness from the snorer to try anything to reduce their snoring.
Breakdown in relationships.
I have lived with my spouse for 18 years, his snoring is unbearably loud, so loud, that wax earplugs, music , the TV or the radio do not drown him out.
If he’s upstairs we can’t hear the TV downstairs and on the rare occasions he has a drink it really is absolute torture.
My spouse is in complete denial that he snores and absolutely refuses to try anything at all which may alleviate the problem, so , I decided to take the matter into my own hands and do some research into some solutions.
I have in the past tried the wax ear plugs ,these I must say were brilliant for getting the noise down to a level where I was able to go to sleep, however when the kids came along I needed to be able to hear them getting up during the night .
We also had our house broken into a year ago and if I’d been wearing earplugs I would not have heard them entering our house via the front window.
So I started researching snore relief sprays to find out what the active ingredients were and in a lot of the remedies I had researched , essential oils seemed a recurring ingredient, the most common being;
So I thought I’d try them individually first , I started with my favourite , Lavender Oil
which I already had in the house, I tried it for a week and just sprinkled it on a cotton wool pad and put it on the radiator in our bedroom .
It did reduce the loudness of the snoring but not for long, after about an hour it was at full pelt again.
as I already had that in the house too, but my snoring partner kept waking up all night shouting “whats that horrible smell” so that didn’t solve any problems ! However, I did notice that it did alleviate the noise quite a bit.
So then I finally I tried Red Thyme Oil
and this time I put the thyme soaked cotton wool pad just behind the pillow.
The results were amazing!
The snoring was reduced in volume by approx 60%
The sound was more like a very heavy breathing and was less jolty, noisy and erratic so it was not waking me up every few minutes.
Due to the volume reduction I was able to drift off to sleep much easier than before.
He did not noticed the smell, which I actually found quite pleasant.
I may decide to make a room spray with a mixture of the
Ok, you’re geared up for success, you work hard , you spend quality time with your family, you work hard keeping your house clean but you still don’t feel organised and in control.
You think other people seem to have it all together, they know when their kids have activities, they know when projects are due, you assume they are on top of their game at work, they always look put together and their house is always clean.
You ask yourself why you missed that important meeting, or forgot your kids swimming kit, or feel your house is dirty and disorganised, you wish you could spend more time with your kids rather than trying to juggle work commitments and chores.
It’s not easy , everyone has their own battles to deal with, perhaps you’re struggling with
Lack of free time
Chronic pain or illness
ill family members or family members with special needs
Lack of support from family members
A spouse who is absent most of the time.
Being a single parent
Elderly relatives living at home
A very demanding work schedule
A demanding business.
After school activities
University or work commitments
Busy family life
Having small children and a new baby.
Many people struggle to cope each and every day, there isn’t a magic potion we can all use to suddenly have more hours in the day , have a spouse who is home at 5.30 every day, or have a pain-free day.
But there is an “order” in which we can do things which help us become more effective and organised with the small amount of time we do have spare .
Listen up !
The order in which we do things may be affecting the way we succeed at being an organised person.
To be really successful at anything you’ve got to be determined that you’re not going to stop until you’ve reached your goal, no matter what life throws at you along the way , you’ve just got to keep going.
So, what is this “order ” I speak of ?
It’s a routine that you set yourself to follow each morning and you strive to achieve this routine each and every day.
If you are sick of coming home from work to a messy kitchen, you need to schedule filling up the dishwasher into your morning routine .
If you’re sick of missing your kids events at school , you need to schedule check the calendar into your morning routine.
If you’re struggling to keep the bathroom clean, flash clean the bathroom needs to be added to your routine.
Here is an example of my morning routine, I do this without fail every day , if I’m working I get up early to do it before I leave for work .
I don’t do anything else until this routine is done, as this is the minimum I have to do to keep my life and my family organised and running smoothly.
I have people relying on me for hundreds of tiny things every day, if I’ve not got certain things completed regularly then other things will not get done, the big things, the things that matter.
My Morning Routine
Prepare ingredients for tea, ~ defrost meat, chop veg or start the slow cooker.
Tidy kitchen and dining area, ~ load dishwasher, clear surfaces.
Tidy entrance, ~ sort post, tidy shoes, clear floor.
Tidy lounge, ~ tidy floor, put everything away, tidy toys.
Tidy daughters room, ~ straighten up , declutter paper , check for any dirty laundry , check the bed is made, open curtains
Tidy sons room ~ tidy any toys or books which have been played with before school, check for any laundry, make the bed, open curtains.
Tidy master bedroom, make the bed, put clothes away, remove any items which belong elsewhere.
Please note that these are the minimum things I do before I leave the house for work everyday. My kids do tidy up after themselves, open the curtains and make their own beds but I am just going round double checking they’ve not missed anything.
If I didn’t defrost the food for tea , I would not have the ingredients I needed to cook a healthy home-made tea and I would have to grab something quick which isn’t always the healthiest option.
If the house isn’t kept tidy my kids and spouse would just make a bigger mess, if it is kept tidy they won’t leave as much stuff lying around and are less prone to lose things.
If the kitchen surfaces are clear, it is much quicker to make my kids a healthy meal than if I have to start clearing a cluttered kitchen.
How To Create Your Own Morning Routine.
Write down all the things which you’d like to be more organised with, the areas you feel constantly trip you up or catch you off guard, the things which you feel are out of control. For example: If you are always unprepared at tea time and end up feeding the kids a last-minute unhealthy meal.
Write down a solution to each of these problems. For example prep veg or start slow cooker with a home cooked meal.
Take this solution and work it into your morning routine.
Continue to do this until your list is complete
Your list could be as short or as long as you like, if you only decide to commit to preparing the tea before you go out in the morning that’s ok, as long as it improves your day.
Commit to following this list every single morning including weekends and holidays, don’t slack , let it become a habit that is set in stone, it should be the bare minimum that needs to be done to keep your house running smoothly to make you feel more organised and in control.
Do what it takes to make this a habit, get up earlier than the rest of the family, stay off social media till its done.
Don’t start any other jobs until you’ve done the bare bones, don’t get distracted by the big stuff until your routine is done.
For instance I can’t start to clean until my house is tidy! I’m not going to start on my ironing until I’ve prepared tea because at the end of each day my kids need to be fed a nutritious healthy meal .
How to make it work for you.
Your routine should be written in a way which flows for you.
Start with the easiest room to do first.
If you plan on getting up earlier than the kids you would be better to do something from your routine in the furthest room away from their bedrooms so you don’t wake them up and lose your precious time alone .
I for instance , schedule the bathroom last so it’s done after everyone else has finished and made their mess.
After my routine is done I make sure I do one load of laundry, put one load of laundry away and do 15 mins of ironing ( or approximately 10 items), this saves me from having to spend a full afternoon catching up on laundry or having to do any panic ironing when someone needs something for school or work. It also prevents the awful Sunday afternoon spent tediously preparing school uniforms and work shirts.
I should point out that I do other loads of laundry throughout the week but one load per day is the bare bones required to keep the chaos away!
All other jobs such as cleaning, shopping , chores, paperwork, decluttering, yard work, extra laundry, meal planning and batch cooking etc are done whenever there is space during the week in between working, picking up the kids, after school activities family days out etc (but after the morning routine is complete), however , you may find that some of these jobs are already listed on your morning routine !
How it works.
Each day you do your routine you will find you get quicker and quicker, you will get more done than you ever imagined and you will get more and more organised.
The more organised you are the more free time you will have and you will feel more in control , this , in turn, will make you feel more energised to deal with other areas of your life that may have been overwhelming you.
Your morning routine can be as long or short as you feel comfortable with, you know how much time you have to dedicate to it , use that time wisely, tackle the jobs which really will make the biggest impact in your day and prioritise the important jobs!
Every time you do something from your routine you’ll find that its gets easier and easier for instance
If you’ve vowed to open your post and file it away every day , you’ll soon find that you are spending less and less time doing paperwork.
It won’t be a huge task which you keep putting off anymore, you may find that you now spend five minutes decluttering the file with the spare time you’ve accumulated.
Eventually your filling system will always be up to date uncluttered and easy to use, which in return makes opening your post every day a minimal job which should take seconds to complete.
It’s that time of the year again when millions of parents everywhere dig out the Elves and embark on a 25 day nightmare of idea planning.
Many Mums and Dads including me , have woken in a blind panic at 6 am, remember they’ve forgotten to prep the night before and scurry downstairs trying desperately not to wake the kids and be discovered!
That is why I created this emergency cheat sheet checklist of super easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas for when you’ve completely forgotten and only have seconds to spare !
It is a super simple checklist so you can see right away which ideas you have done and it is printable so you can stash it in your planner or wherever is convenient for you !
There are 25 very simple no prep ideas so you can forget every single night up till Christmas and we’ve got you covered !
Are you ready to join me in our Christmas countdown workshop?
Jump into our Free Christmas Countdown Workshop today and you will follow our 31 day steps to an organised Christmas Day .
How to use this guide
Start as soon as you can on week 1.
Complete one task a day, you will find a new task every day for 31 days.
If you miss a day it’s not too much of a problem however, try not to miss more than a couple tasks or you’ll find you will run out of time to get all the tasks done!
Some of the days have shopping tasks.
Some of the days are dedicated are pre planning.
Some of the days are for cleaning tasks.
Try to follow the correct order I have set you , as you don’t want to be cleaning too early or posting your Airmail too late !
Tick off the tasks as you complete them.
I’ve tried to cover as much as I could for the average family but due if plans differ in your household you may like to substitute a task which isn’t relevant for you with one which is such as booking flights/taxis if you are planning on travelling for instance.
How do I get my kids out of the door without any fuss?
The answer is by creating a calm morning routine.
We all have those hideous mornings where we stagger into school looking like we’ve just been dragged through a hedge backwards, nerves in tatters and ready to cry.
What is the reason for these hideously chaotic mornings?
It can be anything from
someone refusing to put their clothes on
someone not wanting to put a coat on in mid winter
someone refusing to eat their breakfast
refusing to get in the car
refusing to get their seat belt on
refusing to get their seat belt off
refusing to get out of the car………
Etc etc, but mostly its all of the above, every single morning !
So what can we do to stop these major meltdowns and non compliant mood swings?
Nothing ! Nothing?
Yes, you heard it nothing! We can do nothing to get these little people of ours to be more responsive to our many orders to get them out of the door , this will only fall into place as they get out of this ridiculously stubborn phase.
But , we can however smooth out the wrinkles in our morning routine to try to get us into a position to have the time and patience to face these tantrum filled mornings head on, a sort of head start on the kids!
Try these few simple steps in your morning routine to get your kids out of the door with less fuss.
Lay it out the night before!
This means everything!
Here is a list of what I lay out the night before;
plates/ cutlery/ cups
School bags with books /homework inside!
forms /letters /money need for next day
drinks bottles ready to be filled
uniform including shoes upstairs
my clothes and shoes
lunch boxes made up and in the fridge
The secret to our morning routine is to not allow anyone down stairs unless they are fully dressed including their shoes.
This eliminates both the
last-minute lost shoe palava
shoe refusal episode
so, that’s two arguments prevented already!
It also makes the holidays and weekends special as they get to have a few hours in their pyjamas before getting dressed.
No TV or tablets!
Imagine you’re a child , what better way to start your morning than to zone out watching TV.
Imagine how cozy and relaxed you are.
Now imagine being dragged outside to work on a cold winter morning in the middle of your favourite game or TV programme .
Make it easy for yourself leave the TV and tablets for relaxing !
This might be a difficult habit to break but stay strong the rewards are endless.
Make sure there are toys, books or art equipment to relieve their boredom!
Get up earlier than the kids.
I appreciate this is probably impossible for the majority of mums and dads out there . With all the little early risers and the light sleepers there are very few parents who are up before their kids, but if you can , when you can , try to get up before the rest of the house wakes.
This gives you time to get organised, get showered and dressed to your shoes and get any chores such as emptying the dishwasher or doing a laundry load uninterrupted which in turn makes you calmer and ready to face the barrage of demands that ensue the minute your kids open their eyes!
I’m always amazed at how much calmer I am when I get that rare time to get ahead in the morning and maybe even get time for a coffee!
I’m currently writing this post at 5.30am while everyone else is asleep!
Keep a weekly planner of all the kid’s after school activities, play dates, and in school activities and check it every evening.
Make sure everything is ready for them to take into school or ready to grab straight after school.
I try to get all sports kits ready for the whole week as soon as they dirty they are washed and packed back into their bags for next time.
I keep sports kits in distinctive bags in the kid’s wardrobe and get them to bring what they need down the night before, this makes them have some responsibility for the stuff they need on certain days which means they know what they need, when they need it if on the rare occasion I am ever ill or I forget!
spare clothes for playdate/sports events
snacks /drinks needed
money for activities
If you as a parent minimise the many things which can go wrong and reduce some of the chaos you will find yourself in a position to deal with the tantrums and the obstinate behaviour in a calm and level-headed manner.
If your little one knows he doesn’t get his breakfast until he is dressed he will get dressed as a routine as soon as he gets up , every morning !
Stick to a morning routine every day so your little ones know what to expect and there are no surprises, when they have a little bit of control of their mornings via a planned routine they know what to expect and stop trying to control the situation themselves.
Make sure your child is asleep early on a school night as a tired child is often a grumpy non compliant child !
If you liked this morning routine post you may like to download my other FREE printable routines checklist.
For further reading on parenting in a calm and simplified way you may like the website Simplicity Parenting.
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Having tried all various methods to include my children in the process of decluttering their possessions, my conclusion is , you are better off making the decisions on your own .
My kids have honestly never missed anything of theirs that I have donated .
The exception to this rule , which I have found is that my kids generally are less sentimental towards simplifying their clothes.
So where do we start ?
1. Look upon it as a gift giving day.
If you think of all the people in your life who would benefit from your unused toys clothes, prams and games it is easier to be more assertive about letting go .
If you know it’s going to be loved, pass it on
2. If it is broken … bin it
This is a no brainer!
If it has a piece missing or if it is broken bin it … Don’t look back !
3. Remove the sentiment
You may get teary eyed looking at a bag of baby clothes or a favourite toy , but the memories are in the moments not in the item, if the item is no longer there , the memories still will be .
4. Ditch the excuses
Even if it cost you a fortune or you love it , it’s itchy and your child hates it so ditch it along with the excuses!
5. If it has never been played with, donate it!
If it cost you a fortune , if they begged for it for weeks , if they’ve played with it once but they’ve owned it for a year.
Even if you think they are too young for it , in my experience they most probably never touch it !
6. Cull the paperwork!
Try to keep a sketch pad for art and a note book for writing in when they are in their bedrooms , so at tidy up time your kids are not shoving handfuls of used loose paper into already overstuffed drawers.
Pads of paper are also less overwhelming for little ones to tidy up !
7. Make sure everything has a home.
Rooms are easier to keep tidy if everything has somewhere to live . Kids are keen to put stuff away if it’s easy to stash.
The less stuff (clutter) they have, the more care they take of their treasured possessions.
8. Clear the floors!
With the exception of train or car tracks , keep floors and surfaces free of clutter in kids rooms .
This encourages them not to drop stuff on the floor or surfaces and to put it away instead , without you having to nag them .
9. Get rid of it ASAP!
After you’ve decluttered get it all out of the house as soon as possible .
Run, run , as fast as you can to the charity shop or the tip because if those little people see that unworn itchy jumper in the charity bag , you can bet your last dollar that they will make your life a living hell for the rest of the day !
If you could do anything in the world right now , what would it be? Do you dream of the simple life ? Do you long to slow down ? Do you wish you had more time to ….
Write a best-selling book,
Take up golf .
Become a black belt in Martial Arts.
Run up a mountain .
Keep in touch with friends and family more often.
Volunteer for a charity.
Spend quality time with the kids.
Start a business.
Start a blog.
If you are making the excuse that you haven’t got time to get started on your goals, then think again !
You most probably have more spare time than you think !
Society has found itself sucked into a technology black hole.
It is the age of the selfie generation where people contort their faces into an unrecognisable forms in competition with other self obsessed selfie takers in a never-ending social media battle of the selfies .
We have a Facebook , Twitter, Snapchat , Instagram generation where some people can’t go out for a meal without posting photos of their food , their first drink of the evening, or the full length selfie of the outfit they are wearing .
They can’t climb mountain , go for a family day out or visit the park , without making sure everyone knows they were there.
Then we have the gaming generation who play games which are so addictive, that people are unable to tear themselves away long enough to eat a meal with the family.
We have a never-ending stream of television which bombards us with hundreds of thousands of adverts, which we can live pause, rewind , repeat……
It’s easy to say switch off, but how can we and why should we ?
Give up one thing at a time
Delete your Facebook App.
Put your phone in a drawer and leave it there for a few hours …untouched.
Watch one programme then switch off the TV
Have a ‘no phone in bed’ rule and stick to it.
Take the TV out of the bedroom.
Stop taking selfies and start taking photos of your family instead , that’s where the real memories are .
Turn off notifications for everything.
Try leaving your phone in the car or at home when you go out .
Find some time to switch off…. And enjoy .
Be yourself , smile in photos , that duck face pose or Snapchat filter is going to be excruciatingly embarrassing in ten years time . Chill out, be you .
Eat with the family , enjoy your food and drink uninterrupted by selfies , texts and calls.
Go where you’re going without worrying that everyone knows you’re there.
Spend time with the kids without letting everyone know what an amazing parent you are .
Stop wasting time on social media , watching TV or taking selfies and see how much time you gain in your day to do the things you’ve always dreamed about !
You’ll create so much more time to do the things on your list .
You’ll enjoy the little moments and create real memories with your family .
You’ll stop worrying about what other people think and you’ll find yourself living in the moment .
If you’re anything like me, you have a constant battle to justify donating items which may have been a gift from a loved one or something that had a hefty price tag and has never been worn.
So what are the best things to donate ?
There are certain things we could easily give away without any guilt at all , our time and money are just a couple of examples .
The less stuff we buy the easier it is to stay out of debt and the easier it is to give to a favourite charity.
The less busy we make ours and our children’s lives the more time we have to give to others, whether its family or community.
The stuff we keep shoved in our closets and overstuffed drawers will make someone else very happy, give it a new home, and create some space in your own home.
Gadgets are improving and changing at such an alarming rate that its very hard to keep up with today’s technology, we all have a gadget graveyard in our house somewhere which is crammed with spare leads from forgotten computers or tablets, old mobile phones from the 90’s never to be charged again! These are the first thing that should go!
Unwanted gifts, this is a tricky one ! But my thoughts are, I’d rather someone else loved it than shove it in the cupboard and it take up valuable space ! The gift giver will never know you’ve not used it so you can probably, in the majority of times, donate it without any guilt at all!
Why I’m sharing my free blog planner bundle with you.
I decided to put together a neat little free blog planner bundle of my own, to help me simplify my blogging day and keep me organised and motivated right up until the moment I hit the publish button and way beyond !
As a new blogger I needed all the help I could get to keep me on track to create great blog posts .
However I could never find the right worksheets to keep me motivated and organised whilst planning my blog .
Most of the worksheets I downloaded were either over complicated, or dull and uninspiring.
So, today I have decided to share with you the tools I use for organising my time and ideas in one handy bundle which won’t cost you a single penny !
I hope you find these worksheets helpful.
In this bundle you will find:
Daily blog planner printable ~ I use this to plan my daily tasks, write a list of things I need to fix or improve, and to check off my social media posts. I have my sheets printed from Monday through to Sunday so I can plan ahead for the week or look back throughout the week for reference. There is also a spot for any ideas which may crop up .
Monthly blog planner printable ~ I use this to do my brainstorming for the months blog posts, jot down any blog titles that spring to mind, write ideas for social media posts, and i have created a space for improvements needed to be made on my blog or images for the upcoming month. My sheets are titled Jan through to December so there is plenty of opportunity for forward planning and scheduling.
Blank customisable planner printable ~ this is blank and is used to fill in as spare or customisable pages!
Social media follower printable checklist ~ this is a little checklist I use to to record my follower growth on Instagram , Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Social media post planners ~ I use these simple planners to plan which posts I’d like to schedule to Instagram , Facebook and Twitter and at what time they will be posted.
I use the Instagram planner sheet with Planoly to schedule all my posts, here is an screenshot of my Instagram feed.
Using Planoly scheduling allows me to create a beautiful feed with very little hassle.
Password keeper~ this is where I store all the passwords and usernames to all websites connected to my blog.
These free blog planner worksheets are simple , cleanly designed and easy to follow , to keep your ideas and thoughts organised and neat,