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 de-icer and a windscreen  scraper for the car, fill your car with de-icer and place blankets in the back seat for cold mornings and evenings.

Put all wellys and boots on a 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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Posted in minimalist, parenting, simplicity parenting

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

how to get the kids to slow down.
Reading…

Think back to the lazy summers of our youth , what made it so different from our lives today?

 Apart from the obvious

  • bills to pay ,
  • rent to find ,
  • health issues,
  • financial worries
  •  work worries

We were free , free from the constant connection to something , there was nothing but us.

  • No social media,
  • no adverts telling us what we needed ,
  • no designer clothes ,
  • no mobile phones ,
  • no selfies,
  • no plastic surgery
  • no Botox
  • no self tanner
  • no Disneyland ,
  • no daytime television ,
  • no gaming
  • no cyber bullying
  • no junk food ,
  • no noisy battery filled toys ,
  • no homework ,
  • no after school clubs ,
  • no image awareness
  • no designer clothes
  • no competition.
  • No pressure .

We had no “stuff” to worry about , obsess over , and winge for.

It’s the first week of the holidays and my diary is already bulging with party invitations and events , even though I have culled a few activities  before the school holidays .

Here’s how I try to slow our lives down a little.

  1. I try to focus my kids time on things which they love doing , I try to choose quality over quantity when it comes to after school activities , this frees up more time during their week for parties or play dates and to still allows my kids plenty free time just to relax and recharge at home.
  2. I  try to be more present by switching off the internet on my phone for the full day and  I try to leave my phone at home or in the car when I’m out with the kids enabling me to be  more focused on the present moment , and to be honest it feels quite liberating . I also put my phone away in a drawer and try to only check it twice a day when I’m at home to avoid the temptation  to get drawn into social media or emails.
  3. Getting out into the fresh air is vital in our house as it helps us connect with each other and connect with nature. It calms the kids (and me) by getting rid of excess energy and creates memories. But best of all it doesn’t cost anything!
  4. Like all parents I try to limit time my kids spend on the TV and tablets, I have realised that the more time my kids spend on electronics the more manic their behaviour is, especially towards each other. We have  a “no TV ” rule in our house until 5pm , the kids know this and accept that it is not “TV time” so don’t constantly mither for it. They also know that if they play nicely together during the day I will bring TV time forward by a few hours. This saves a huge amount of fighting and sibling squabbles in our house and TV time is a cosy time of togetherness in our house, whilst the day times are spent playing and burning off energy.
  5. Tablets are mainly used  for travel and situations where one child has to wait for another such as swimming , karate, rugby etc . One of my children is completely not bothered by the iPad but my 5-year-old is obsessed with it so its important for me to monitor his use rather than let it get out of control.
  6. Evenings are when I like to cosy down  with blankets and candles, for chats and cuddles and our favourite programs .
  7. It’s the simple things we remember as we get old , not the money we had spent on us or clothes we wore, it was the warmth of our parents hugs and the taste of a home cooked meal, or a chippy tea in front of coronation street.

We may not be able to fix all the distractions of our full to bursting lives , but we can go some way to simplify small simple things for ourselves and our kids . We can stop making our kids so busy , stay in the present , stop filling up the “free” time and just slow down .

We might not be able to stop our kids screaming at each other and having major meltdowns but we can make it easier for them by not over stimulating them.

If our kids are lives constantly over burdened then so are ours.

We can try to create slow, empty time which helps to create pockets of calm in an otherwise crazy day.

 

 

For more reading on simplifying parenting 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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Posted in minimal, minimalist, Organising

Get Your Minimal Wardrobe In 6 Super Simple Steps !

 

capsule wardrobe

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 .

 

 

 

If you enjoyed reading this post you may like

How I Started Living With Less.

6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff

 

 

 

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Posted in minimalist, Organising

6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff

simplicity
buying less…


There are generally two ways stuff comes into our house.

It is either given to us or we buy it .

We are often given stuff we don’t need and we often buy stuff we don’t need. Resulting in bulging shelves , bursting cupboards, and  overstuffed drawers .

 

So how can we control this urge to buy more unwanted stuff?

  1. Take a good look at the stuff you throw away.
    As you are simplifying, look at each bag of stuff you discard in monetary value, think of how many hours at work you spent to earn the equivalent amount of money, try not to cry !
  2. Take a look at the size of the stuff you throw away.
    Take note of how much space those bin bags of unwanted items take up in your room before you take them out of the house, that space is the equivalent amount of space you’ve just created.
  3. See your new purchases as future junk.
    If you’re going in for the kill on an impulse purchase the possibility that it will be donated within 6 months should be enough to stop the impulse and for you to walk away and pause for thought.
  4. Remember it is not a bargain.
    It is only a bargain if you were going to buy it before it was reduced. If not ,it is more than likely join to be another costly mistake .
  5. Think about what makes you happier.
    What has more value to you , the item you’ve been craving , or the money in your pocket and the space in your house ?
  6. Say no to other people’s unwanted junk .
    Don’t let that bin bag of other people’s’ unwanted stuff over your beautifully de-cluttered doorstep !

 

If you enjoyed this post you may like to read

How I Started Living With Less.

8 Steps To follow to Become A Minimalist.

 

 

 

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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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If you enjoyed this post you may like

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

5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

 

 

 

If you would like to start organising and simplifying TODAY just leave your info in the box below and receive your FREE PRINTABLES and MORE!

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