Posted in minimalism, minimalist, Organising, parenting

How To Get Ready For Winter

Getting Winter Ready

 

Let’s just zoom ahead by a month or two …

You’re running out of the door with

  • book bags ,
  • water bottles ,
  • packed lunches,
  • PE kits ,
  • swimming kits
  • all your stuff for work ,
  • musical instruments

Then it hits you…   the great  blast of icy wind

” Why wasn’t I prepared for this? ”  You guiltily ask yourself as you stare at the  thick unexpected  layer of ice on your windscreen.

Panic sets in as you look at your kids shivering beside you.

You haven’t got time to drop the mountain of stuff you’re carrying to dash upstairs to dig their gloves out of storage .

You have no choice but to leave , unprepared, cold and driving whilst looking through a tiny hole in your icy windscreen .

You start believing you are the worst parent in the playground, as everyone else’s children arrive with their gloves, hats, and winter coats on.

You then spend the whole day feeling guilty that you sent your kids to school with no gloves and wearing their summer coat .

You convince yourself those little fingers will freeze and fall off by lunch time, which, prompts you do a frantic Internet search for “frostbite in children”.

 

 

Not this year , this year we are on it and here is how !

  • Go to your cloakroom or coat / shoe area .
  • Take everything out ( yes everything ),
  • Give the room a good clean .
  • Then put into storage all the summer shoes
  • Replace with two pairs winter shoes each . The rest of the shoes  (less frequently worn) , should stay in  wardrobes and returned there after each wearing .
  • Donate any unworn or out grown shoes and coats , make sure these are taken out of the house as soon as possible!
  • Hang up all jackets and coats (except those worn daily) in the bedroom wardrobe.

Ok , now you should have an empty space to work with , so let’s not fill it back up!

Only return these  items to the cloakroom.

 

  • One daily worn winter coat per person
  • Two pairs of shoes per person

Everything else should be stored in the wardrobe and is put away there after wearing .

Next

  • Dig out the hats and gloves from storage
  • Donate unwanted items.
  • Keep  one set per person in the cloakroom and yes you guessed it everything else gets stored in their wardrobe until needed .

The trick  here is to keep this area as streamlined as possible to enable leaving the house a breeze .

The emptier it is , the easier it is to find the stuff everyone needs everyday .

Use this area to store anything needed to grab on the way out to school and work.

 

  • Top tip!
    Buy each child several pairs of gloves in one plain colour, so when one glove goes missing (normally after the first day) they have still got a “pair” .

All my daughter’s are plain grey and my son’s are plain navy blue ,
I normally  purchase several each and usually end up with one full pair each at the end of the winter !

Dig out or purchase a can of  Deicer and an  Ice Scraper  for the car, top up your car’s  Ready Mixed Antifreeze and place some Soft Warm Car Blankets in the back seat for cold mornings and evenings.

Put all wellys and boots on  mud tray.

You’re now ready for the  big chill!

 

If you’d like to read more about organising you might like

How To Organise Your Kitchen Like A Professional . 

How To Stop Hoarding Books.

5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to read more on minimalism you may like The Minimalists.

 

 

 

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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How I Banish Visual Clutter From Our Home.

How to banish visual clutter
How to avoid visual clutter

 

Every day our brain is trying to process billions of messages , trying to define what is important , what needs action , what to dismiss , what to leave until  later.

We have

  • TV
  • iPhones
  • laptops
  • Newspaper headlines
  • adverts
  • books
  • clocks
  • shop windows
  • road signs
  • consumer products
  • cars

Which, are all bombarding us with instructions to follow every second of every day.

Some of us may have  chosen to add “extra” visual clutter in our homes  by having  ornaments which spell out words such as  “bathroom” “love” or “home”.
I wonder how many times a week we subconsciously read the label on our shower gel, toothpaste tube, washing up liquid or moisturizer.

Marie Kondo  in her book “spark joy” suggests we protect our homes from the visual clutter of the outside world and encourages us to remove labels wherever possible from products we use daily .
As a mother of two young children I figured this would be almost impossible for safety reasons,  however  off I went to give it a go .

I started with hand wash , as I figured even my five-year old knows it is soap .

To my surprise it felt better not to read the words ” 3000 mint leaves were lovingly squeezed into this bottle”  on my shower gel bottle , every time I walked into the bathroom .

The process then became addictive , once I started I couldn’t stop .

Another eye-opening lesson for me was, when I peeled the label off my expensive moisturizer it looked no different from any other cheaper brand and I felt annoyed at myself for being drawn into their consumerism and advertising , I felt I’d been duped .

I immediately began to change the way I shopped for luxury beauty products, which were once a weakness of mine , and it felt good, almost liberating.

The  other upside is that no one in the family has washed their hair with conditioner yet, as far as I’m aware but you never know in our house !

Items  I remove labels from are

  • Hand soap
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body lotions
  • Face cream
  • Foundation
  • Mascara
  • Lipsticks
  • Teabags
  • Beans and pulses
  • Biscuits and crackers
  • Pasta and Rice
  • Washing powder
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Coffee
  • Nuts
  • Cereal

Please note food stuffs are now stored in glass jars and laundry powders etc are stored in plastic containers.

 

I only remove  labels from bottles if they are easy to remove within seconds and are not dangerous to my kids .

I really love having less packaged products in my home as I think it feels so much more tranquil and clutter free .

 

If you liked this post you may enjoy

How to Spend Less Money!

Is It Finally Time To Unplug And Slow Our Kids Down

How To Organise Your Kitchen Like A Professional . 

 

 

 

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Posted in minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How To Stop Hoarding Books.

 

  I Was A Book Hoarder.

I had books everywhere ,

  • stuffed under the bed
  • shoved in the wardrobe
  • in the car
  • anywhere I had space

Every time I passed a bookshop the chances were , I’d buy a book.

I would be offended when people advised me to buy a kindle,  I wasunable to understand why anyone would not prefer the physical version of a book .

I was a book snob . I judged people by their bookshelves and assessed their personality by the book they were reading on the train or the beach .

Then,  I had kids and my days of curling up for hours with a book came to an abrupt end .

I would just about manage to read two pages at bedtime before nodding off into an exhausted sleep.

Unfortunately my book addiction didn’t end and my collection of unread books continued to grow at an alarming rate.

So , how did I eventually reduce the amount of books I physically owned from over 200 to 10 ?

I followed these simple steps.

 

  • Unread books were the first to go . I decided that unless I had rushed home and read the book straight after buying it, was unlikely I was going to read it at all unless it was a reference book .

 

  • Cookbooks were next. They all were donated … Everything was available on the internet so that made it an easy decision for me .

 

  • Next up was books I’d already read. This was not so easy but I figured  that out of  perhaps the 100 books I’d already read, only two had ever been re read by me , so the logic was to donate them .

 

  • Reference books , I kept the ones we used ,nothing else , this too, was relatively easy.

Now, I all I own is

  • a collection of Charles Dickens hardbacks,
  • a handful of reference books ,
  • a few books I’ve re-read
  • And a couple of childhood books .

 

However my book hoarding days are not over , I now have hundreds unread books on my kindle .

I do prefer a physical book  and a  lazy afternoon visiting a beautiful bookshop,

but also like being able to read in the dark, and of course to have an invisible library stuffed to the rafters .

 

For more reading on simplifying

The Minimalists are a great place to start.

 

For further reading you may like

How to declutter When Your Partner Isn’t On Board ~ Simple tips to cut through the clutter!

Is It Finally Time To Unplug And Slow Our Kids Down?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOP recommended cleaning products

RESOURCES ~ Bookshop

 

 

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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How to declutter When Your Partner Isn’t On Board ~ Simple tips to cut through the clutter!

 

 

 

how to declutter when your partner isn't on board

 

How do I declutter when my partner isn’t on board ?

How do I get my partner to declutter? 

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 were 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!


                   Todays favourite products !

      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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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How to achieve your summer minimal wardrobe. 

capsule wardrobe

So now is a great time to dig out the summer clothes and organise a nice little summer capsule wardrobe !

Decluttering

 

  • Step 1. Empty your wardrobe of anything you know you will not wear untill next winter We will be heading towards making a wardrobe which is both winter and summer compatible but I shall be doing a seperate post on that at a later date . So for now empty everything on your bed . Now is a good time to assess what hasn’t been worn , what was uncomfortable , what didn’t make you feel a million dollars , or anything you don’t love . If it fits any of those catagories donate immediately !
  • Step 2 . Wash but don’t iron as you’ll end up doing it again next winter ! Make sure to put it all away in storage.
  • Step 3. Get out all summer clothes . Go though each item . Do you love it ? Does it fit ? Does it make you feel fabulous? If not donate it !

 

 

If you’re struggling with letting go  of any items you may like to read this post

  1. How I Started Living With Less.
  2. How To Declutter When You’ve Not Got The Motivation, how to motivate yourself in 10 easy steps

 

  • Step 4 wash and put everything back in your wardrobe .

You should now have heaps of space to view your minimal wardrobe and should be able to create many more outfits with the clothes you have kept .

  • Step 5 repeat steps 1-3 with coats , boots and shoes !
  • Step 6 . Assess the gaps in your wardrobe, decide the key items which would complete your outfits . Write them down and keep in your purse so you buy things you need rather than impulse bargains next time you shop
  • Step 7 decide on 3 basic colours to have  as your base colours and add one splash of colour .

My basic colours  are:

Charcoal grey

Navy

Black

And my splash of colour is bright red.

Only shop within your chosen four colours !

Stick to this rule when shopping for clothes and you will find shopping so much simpler.

My recommended reading on the subject of minimal wardrobes are http://www.unfancy.com and http://www.theminimalists.com for amazing inspiration and advice on how to live with less items in your closet!

 

 

 

 

CLEAN WITH THE ORGANIZER UK ~ all my favourite products for a clean home.

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Posted in minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising

How To Declutter When You Have No Motivation

how to declutter when you have not got the 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 ! Check out my favourite cleaning products here
  10. Put everything away!

What to do if you 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

 

 

Follow me on Instagram for daily tips and motivation!

 

 

 

how to get rid of your junk drawer

 

Check out these gorgeous planners to keep your family organised!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Keep In My Cleaning Kit 

Books ~ all my favourite organising and decluttering books

How to achieve a cozy home

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 frugal living, minimal, minimalism, minimalist, simplicity

How to stop buying more stuff!

how to stop buying more stuff

How to stop buying more stuff

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!
  •  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  do we stop buying more stuff?

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.

 

If you enjoyed this post you may like

 

 

 

 

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Posted in minimal, minimalist, Organising

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

junk drawer organisation

 

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 !

 

If you enjoyed this post you may also like

 

 

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how to get rid of your junk drawer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Organising, Uncategorized

The Simple Guide to Stop Toy Clutter.

 

How to deal with toy clutter
Simplifying toys reduces clutter

The school holidays are coming to an end and we are still enjoying the non-rushing, non-shouty mornings , but along with the lazier days comes the endless stream of mess and clutter which we seem to have no time to organise.

  • cups
  • plates
  • spilt drinks
  • crisps crunched into the carpet.
  • piles of toys
  • dirty piles of half worn clothes.
  • shoes
  • paper clutter
  • arts and craft clutter
  • tangled up knitting

But besides all that usual mess , there is also lurking  in the most extraordinary places the horrors of the sweet wrapper in the candle holder, the half chewed sweet behind a cushion, the underpants in the paddling pool, the Lego in the shower , the spiky seashell in your bed, they lurk ready to inflict pain at every opportunity!
We can’t do much to tackle the lurkers but we can tame the toys ! So let’s start with these few easy steps!

  • Start with a massive bin bag and throw everything away which is broken , obviously this has to be done with the stealth like precision of the SAS team just incase anyone desperately wants the doll with no head !
  • Next, separate the toys which are noisy , branded or battery operated and put them in storage.
    Seperate the remaining toys into groups , for example ;
    Vehicles
    Animals/ farm
    Arts and crafts
    Educational
    Board games
    Role play
    Dolls
    Lego & construction
    Choose one set from each group and set them out within easy reach . Place the rest into storage for rotation later on .
    Choose two books for each child and put the rest into rotation for later on.
    Allow your children the time and space to play without interruption, you should soon notice a change in the way your children interact with their toys .

 

 

What differences did I notice in my children’s playtime ?

I soon realised that they suddenly got excited about their now easily accessible toys , I watched while they played together for the first time with no arguments , I watched their imaginations come alive . Their once neglected toys were picked up again and loved and played with over and over again .

 

Did they miss having lots of toys ?

No, they didn’t realy notice as they could find things so much easier without the clutter of too much stuff and too many choices .
They built dens

they drew

they wrote stories.

They didn’t ask for TV or tablets.

They played and played.

 

Is two  books each  too few ? What if your kids love books ?

No , quite the opposite, at bedtime the stories became more animated as they really got engrossed in the familiarity , they got the know the stories so well they were role playing them in their general play during the week !

 

What happened next ?

After a week I rotated the groups from the extra toys and books in storage and the same thing happened again . My kids were calmer happier and more focused.
A year later I still rotate and they’re still excited too see their toys come out of rotation ( it’s almost like shopping in your own house ) , I donate any toys they don’t levitate to and any books they’re not excited about . The noisy toys get donated and they are never missed.

 

 

Tidying up !

Today the toys will only take five minutes maximum to tidy up which is amazing and it is also easy for my kids to put their stuff away themselves. win win for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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