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July 2017

Budgeting

How we planned a debt free wedding

  • You’re newly engaged and starting to make plans for your upcoming wedding. What an exciting time! The sad reality is that weddings are expensive. Most likely, more than you imagine they cost. Soon enough you hear through the distant bells chiming and realise that this is going to take some financial juggling and severe budget savvy-ness. But there is a way to plan for a debt free wedding and avoid any financial hangovers with a little forward thinking!

    I remember about a week after getting engaged to my now husband, I was asking my friend who was planning his wedding at the time, how much things are going to cost. He told me his entire budget was nearing the $30k mark. I began sinking in my chair. How on Earth could one day cost $30k?! Sure enough we soon realised that figure was pretty realistic for an average wedding.

    Money Smart’s 2014 report on wedding costs estimates an average Australian wedding will set you back $36,200, that’s closer to $40,000 in 2017 with 3% inflation. Soon enough my naive, newly engaged hopeful eyes were opened to the financial realities of planning a wedding.

    I certainly felt a tad unsure and concerned at this point. I’ve always loved working on budgets but this was a whole new world of financial challenges. My husband and I knew we were going to be paying for our wedding ourselves as our parents weren’t in a position to help out too significantly financially. Going into debt wasn’t an option in our minds and didn’t align with our values of avoiding debt (and certainly not for non-asset purchases!).

    I had heard of people trying to pay off their wedding debt post the big day and I didn’t that to be us. I was determined to find a way to have the wedding we wanted and to do so debt free. We got engaged in January and set the date for September the following year which gave us 19 months to save. Let me tell you we needed all 19 of those months and every spare dollar!

    The good news is that we managed to pay it all in cash. Completely Debt Free! And you can too. Read below for How We Planned a Debt Free Wedding.

    SAVING FOR THE BIG DAY

    If you aren’t saving now then you need to start today. Remit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich goes even further by suggesting that people who plan to get married one day and looking at a $28000 average wedding cost should each save about $3,000 per year, or $250 a month from when you turn 21. At 21 I was certainly not thinking about saving for a wedding but in hindsight, even a small amount each week would have helped out a lot when I got married at 27.

    If you have left saving for a wedding until the engagement, you will need to work out what your expenses are in a month and what you can afford to save towards the wedding. This will need to go into a separate wedding savings account.

    For 19 months all of our non-wedding spending was on hold. We still went out occasionally for our sanity, but there were no holidays, shopping sprees, non-urgent home repairs, new cars, new TVs, new clothes (other than things we needed of course). All spending came to a halt and every spare dollar we could find from savings – pay rises, bonuses anything we could think of, went to the wedding savings fund. I remember in that entire 19 months we took one 3 days weekend trip up the coast and that was it which wasn’t easy for two lovers of travel.

    FINDING EXTRA CASH

    Consider ways that you can bring some extra cash to help boost your savings and help you achieve your debt free wedding.

    • Do you have unwanted clothes or clutter that you could sell? This can bring in some fast easy cash and clear up some of your crap.
    • Can you pick up some overtime at work?
    • Can you do a side hustle if you have the time. Drive for uber, sell your arts, crafts, or designs. Advertise some work to do locally like gardening.
    • Save any pay raises instead of adding them into your spending budget.
    • Reduce your eating out budget and cook at home more often.
    • Change expensive nights out at bars with friends to dinner parties at home.
    • Shop your wardrobe instead of going out shopping and spending unnessessarily.

    YOUR WEDDING BUDGET

    Before you spend any money on anything, start by preparing a budget of all the wedding expenses. Refer to this one for an idea (this is read only, save a copy on your drive to edit). Include all clothing, jewellery, accommodation, cars etc. Work out a rough budget and talk with your wife or husband to be about what are the most important things to you both.

    You can research online or ask a friend who got married recently for an estimate of pricing for different expenses. Some suppliers advertise their prices online which is a good place to start, others you can get a quote after a quick email. Plot out the budget estimates into your wedding budget as a starting point. As you fill in more accurate number you will see whether you are in or over budget and you can adjust it from there. The more expenses you add in the better. Don’t forget all the little things; postage, flutes, gifts for the bridal party and so on.

    Updating your budget regularly is the key to planning a debt free wedding so you can ensure you haven’t left anything out. Record every expense as soon as you can after receiving the invoice. Forgetting to enter a cost into your budget can cause you to have budget blow outs or lose your reservation when it is left unpaid. As soon as you get the email or receipt put it somewhere safe and enter it into your budget!

    HOW MUCH WILL I NEED TO SAVE?

    Once you have a ball park of all the expenses work out how much you will need to save each month up until the day. If you are budgeting $20k for a wedding in 12 months you need to be saving $1667 a month for the wedding. Once you have your figure you will need to decide can we afford to save this month each month. If not you can either push back the wedding day or cut expenditure so you can put more money away to meet the required saving amount.

    Don’t leave this too late when your wedding is a couple of months away, and everyone has booked their flights and accommodation and you have to go into debt to pay the difference. It’s really important to get this figure and save the required amount from the get go.

    HOW TO SAVE ON WEDDING COSTS

    These are the things I did in order to save as much money as possible for our wedding. I do not what to think of what we would have paid had I not taken the time and effort to research multiple suppliers and get the best deals we could. We did a lot of the below tips and friends and family have saved on their weddings with others.

    1. Get multiple quotes

    For practically every wedding expense I got 3 quotes, sometimes more. This was no easy feat and time consuming but is going to be a huge help to your budget and potentially save you thousands!

    Quotes can range significantly and getting three or four can usually give you a ball park of what is at the budget end and what isn’t. This is a must particularly for big ticket items like the venue, cars and photographers. I looked into at least 10 reception venue’s and prepared a spreadsheet of the inclusions they offered and compared the prices to inclusions which ranged from $90 to $150 per person. When you multiply a saving of $60 by 50 guests or more the savings add up quickly!

    Be aware that cheapest is not always best. I didn’t go with the cheapest videographer I found because the quality of work was no where near that of the more expensive supplier. Sometimes it is worth paying more on a professional than throwing away half the money on something inferior.

    2. Pick a date further out to give you more time to save and bargain hunt

    The longer your engagement the longer you can save. If you want all the bells and whistles of your dream wedding in six months time you are going to find saving up in time a complete struggle. picking a date further out gives you more time to save and bargain shop!

    Once you have worked out all your wedding expenses budget, work out how much you need to save and what you can save each month as early as possible. If you can’t afford to save enough you are going to have to tighten those purse strings. It is not going to be easy but will be worth it to know you can enjoy your day and not have to worry about any debt afterwards.

    3. DIY as much as you can

    Skip the extras that you can do yourself like printing names on the invitation envelopes- pen will do just fine, bow tying etc and invite some close friends over for a night of crafts. These little expenses can add up when they a multiplied for each guest. I saved myself $5 per RSVP card plus postage by just requesting a text message RSVP instead of ordering cards. If you are going to do this you need to update your RSVP list regularly.

    4. Work out what are your must have items

    For us it was the stuff that we would look back on for years the photography, the rings, the wedding album. This is where we spend on quality. For everything else that is less important and you are willing to save on, this is where you need to find your savings.

    We opted to only have flowers for the bride and bridesmaids bouquets and didn’t bother with any others other than some orchids for the reception centerpieces. Besides, our wedding was in a garden we didn’t need any extra flowers 😉 If you can buy flowers from the local market the day before or ask a friend or family to help out on the day. This alone can save you hundreds. I know some brides who have done this and the bouquets are just as lovely (and not so heavy which is a bonus ladies!).

    We skipped the fancy ceremony set up and just opted for some chairs and a carpet. We could have spent big on an archway and aisle liners, and flowers for the aisle chairs but decided that the garden and water features were beautiful enough without all that excess stuff.

    5. Ask around for any friends or family that can help you out

    We are musicians so are fortunate to have many musicians as friends. A friend played harp at our ceremony and my husbands band did an acoustic cover of a song for entertainment at the reception. Do you know anyone that can make your cake, or do your hair or make-up for a discounted rate or in place of a gift?

    Did anyone have a wedding recently that would be willing to lend you their decorations or know of any great supplier offers? Save where you can. I got my flowers delivered to my brothers house so we could save $50 on long-distance delivery. Any small help goes a long way!

    This also goes for the venue. Ask your reception what vases and decorations they can provide to save you buying them.

    6. Consider buying the dress second hand or off the rack

    Shop around for the dress, aim for the perfect dress that you won’t have to go into debt for. On my wedding dress shopping day I saw other brides trying on expensive dresses with their mums looking like they were starting to sweat. If a $5000 dress is completely out of the budget don’t even try it on, you are asking for pain! Stick to your budget!

    A great time to shop is at EOY sales around June 30. I bought mine off the rack with a 50% discount saving me over $1000.

    Check out pre-loved wedding treasures facebook groups or eBay for second hand dresses to save!

    7. Shop around for wedding dress alterations

    These can range significantly and cost upwards of $500 very quickly. My first quote from the store I bought my dress from was for $500 not including what I ended up getting done. Get at least three quotes here! By doing this I managed to save hundreds of dollars by going to a local alteration place that specialised in formal and wedding dresses which worked out much more convenient travel-wise.

    8. Opt for a smaller cake.

    A friend was kind enough to give us this advice after his own wedding when he was left with half a cake – a very expensive one at that. We opted for a two tier cake and still had about half left over from 80 guests. Even after giving a lot away to family a lot ended up in the bin (Shock horror but it sat taking up space we didn’t have in our freezer for a few months and after agreeing we were not cake people we just wanted it gone).

    If you are having wedding cake, if your venue allows it consider skipping the dessert to save some extra cash. We paid for both and most people only had one or the other.

    9. Consider skipping the DJ and MC

    If a DJ and MC aren’t included in your package consider asking a friend to bring their laptop and speakers and be your DJ for the night as their gift to you. We did this for a friend of ours recently and were happy to help them out. With a playlist you only need to check the laptop occasionally and be there to que a few of the main songs.

    Sometimes the personal touch of a family or friend as MC can add to the night and save your money. If you have an extroverted friend this might be a good choice 🙂

    10. Have a wishing well

    If you feel comfortable with the idea, I highly recommend having a wishing well in place of a gift registration. Let’s face it do we need a second toaster and and a new set of towels that don’t go with what you already have? We were living in our home for three years before we got married and had everything we needed.

    Rather than getting more unnecessary stuff that you don’t have room for, consider asking guests if they are happy to, to donate to your honeymoon fund so you can create memories with their gift. Some people may still opt to give you a gift they picked but in our experience most people were happy to accommodate our wishes.

    We asked guests to donate money to our European honeymoon and some opted to give us Euros and Pounds which was greatly appreciated.

    If parents are buying you are gift, ask if they would mind paying for something for the wedding – the photographer, the celebrant or cake. Every little contribution helps and will be something you can appreciate for years to come!

    11. Ask whether your reception location offers discounts for weekdays

    Weekday wedding can be significantly cheaper. Fridays and Sundays can also be cheaper than Saturdays as an alternative to weekdays. We managed to save almost 10%  or about $1000 off the wedding reception bill by booking our wedding on a Sunday instead of a Friday or Saturday night. It happened to be our actual anniversary so for us it was perfect.

    12. Limit your guest list

    Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this but if you are paying for your own wedding and don’t want to be saddled with the wedding debt for the early years of your marriage you are going to have to stick to a numbers limit. If your parents insist on inviting extra people that aren’t on your list, ask them to pay the cost of their guests attendance.

    Work out what you can afford and stick to that number. If some people RSVP that they can’t make it, you can then potentially invite others that you had hoped you could but just couldn’t budget for in the original list.

    Try not to get caught up in offending people. It is not worth going into debt to avoid potentially offending people not invited who most likely completely understand how expensive and difficult wedding guest lists are. If you are really stuck, consider inviting guests to the ceremony only and keeping the reception for close friends and family.

    12. Consider a more minimalist wedding

    I recently went to a very minimalist wedding and it was no less special than any others I had been to and a lovely relaxing day. Work out what you can do without. Can you use a current suit (or buy one that you can wear again after the wedding)? Can you find an affordable dress off eBay (check feedback first of course!)? Do you have some heels you could wear instead of forking out for new ones? Do you need the pricey photo album or can you put one together yourself (we did this saving us $1000 or  more!)? Check out How Minimalism has Helped Me Find Financial Stability and how it can help you stick to a budget leading up to your wedding.

    Work out what are the must haves for you and your partner and agree on what you are willing to go without. We didn’t bother with expensive add on centerpieces that can cost hundreds and instead we went for some orchids in vases with water for under $80 in total. Sometimes less is more 🙂

    13. Find ways to save on bridal party costs 

    This is particularly helpful if you have a large bridal party. Instead of buying the bridal party dresses and matching suits consider asking them what item they already have that they could wear. Maybe they already have a dress or shirt in the colour scheme you are after and can mix and match. This can look really amazing in photographs and potentially save you a lot of money if you are planning to buy the outfits. Again look at buying these outfits around the sales periods like end of financial year.

    14. Keep your venue options open

    Picking the most higher demand venues means you are going to pay much more. We were looking at $120+ per head costs for a wedding venue in Sydney without any inclusions. On the suggestion of a friend (Steve, you are the greatest!) we looked at a coastal location 100kms away and managed to find a beachfront venue for under $100 a head that was just what we wanted! That decision alone saved us thousands and more importantly meant we could invite more of our close friends and family!

    15. Set realistic expectations and do what is right for you.

    It is your special day and you only get one of them.  At the end of the day ask yourself how much you are willing to spend from your budget on one day. Weddings cost an exorbitant amount of money and there is a lot of pressure to conform to friends or families expectations of what it should be.

    Less flashy wedding are no less special than their pricey counterparts! It is about two people coming together to start their lives together not about how expensive the car was that you hired or how many swarovsky crystals were on your dress. No one is going to judge you for wearing a $200 dress, or getting your bouquet from the markets or wearing shoes that aren’t new. If anyone does they probably aren’t your friend (and surely not paying the for wedding :p).

    If you want to elope with a couple of people around or have a destination wedding and limit your guest list, go with what is important to you. At the end of the day it is your wedding and your happiness should be paramount.

    16. Don’t overspend on the invitations

    I had no idea how expensive invitations got! They can range for a couple of dollars each to $20 or more. When you are buying them for 100 or more guests this adds up quickly. Let’s be honest, sure the fancy ones will look amazing, but people just open them, and chuck them on the fridge or in a drawer. No one else cares if they were the $5 or $30 ones. At the end of the day a good invitation gives guests the details they need to attend your wedding. The $5 ones will do this just find. Save your cash and spend it on the photography or honeymoon!

    17. Quality is not something to skimp on.

    Don’t skimp on the irreplacable stuff! It is important to balance budget services with quality.

    I’ve heard horror stories from people where friends or family were asked to take photographs for the wedding to save money. This can often end in disaster. Your wedding day is a one time thing, if you are going to spend your budget anywhere I would put photography to the top of that list and invest in a professional photographer with a great portfolio. You can never retake those photos. You can still get to the wedding in a Camry. You can still have a good day with a friend as a DJ but you cannot fix a bad photographer.

    Our celebrant was not the cheapest, but we met her at a friends wedding and loved how relaxed she made the ceremony and how friendly she was. We hired her and paid a fee for her to travel long distance. Despite the higher cost than other celebrants were charging she was available to help us with an unlimited amount of questions and made us feel comfortable and sometimes that is more important.

    We hired a venue for our wedding over a DIY hall option, which was the more expensive option. At the end of the day it was worth every penny to not stress on the night and to have professionals on the floor making sure by any means we were having a good time and had nothing to stress about. To hire a hall we would have had to book caterers, cutlery, table cloths, decorations with all the added stress that comes with that. This was definitely something where we opted for quality over budget but found a way to still save by picking a Sunday night and choosing a location that was not in the city.

    AFTER THE WEDDING

    After the wedding can be a good time to claw back some of the money you paid out. Can you sell your wedding dress, shoes or jewellery if they are something you won’t wear again on pre-loved wedding treasure sites? Can you sell your decorations, vases, lolly bar supplies, excess stationery etc that you no longer need on eBay? Did you buy a wishing well that will just sit there collecting dust? Find someone else who needs it. Consider with your new found freed up time creating your own wedding album online instead of paying thousands for the photographers one. This can help to get back a small amount of your cash after the wedding.

    I hope these tips will help you plan a debt free wedding and give you the day of your dreams within your budget.

    How did you save money with your wedding? Please comment below with your tips with other soon-to-be-wed Minimisers and share it to anyone who is planning a wedding 🙂

    Check out How an Organised Space Can Save You Money 

  • Organising

    9 Effective Tips to Help You Stay Motivated and Focused on Achieving Your Goals

    We all face times of lacking motivation. Having some effective methods to work around those periods can help keep you on top of your goals and stop you from falling behind.

    We all face times of lacking motivation. Having some effective methods to work around those periods can help keep you on top of your goals and stop you from falling behind.

    Sometimes even the things we are passionate about and love can be difficult to complete in times of lacking motivation. As I write this I have been sitting on my comfy lounge, under the warmth of our heater and was more than tempted to just grab a hot chocolate and put on Netflix and put the stuff I needed to off for another day. But as a busy gal I know that I have to push through this temporary rut and get on with what I have to do.

    I’m reminded of a quote I first heard from Joshua from the Minimalists “Drudge through the drudgery”, where Joshua Field Millburn suggests that in order to succeed at your passion you must be “willing to drudge through the drudgery to find the joy on the other side”. Since hearing it, I try and keep this in mind for those occasions where my motivation is lacking but I know that I must stay focused and push through any desire to postpone goals I have set myself.

    Here are 9 Effective Tips to Help You Stay Motivated and Focused on Achieving Your Goals.

    1. Stay positive

    Whenever I am feeling particularly overwhelmed, unproductive and  lacking motivation I acknowledge the things I have achieved that day or in recent times. By doing this I more often than not, realise that I have been more successful in achieving my goals than I may have acknowledged. Don’t be too hard on yourself, keeping a positive mind frame goes a long way to getting you back on track.

    Instead of saying negative self defeating commentary to yourself like; I am so far behind this is useless, I’m not cut out for this and similar negative assumptions about your talents and abilities, go for a more positive train of thought. Try repeating positive encouraging statements at these times of self-doubt; I’ve got this, I got a little off track but I know I can reach this goal with a little bit of effort, this is my passion and I am going to show the world that I can do this! After a while this will become a habit that will help you achieve your goals.

    2. Have a shower and get dressed

    Whenever I am feeling lethargic and not wanting to get out of bed or off the lounge or do anything much I get up and have a shower and get dressed. I find that no matter the time of day, this helps me to reset my energy levels and put me in a frame of mind to get back to business. Before I know it I’ve already come up with an idea for what I am working on and an am recharged and ready to get back to the task at hand.

    3. Give yourself a break

    If you don’t want to start that assignment or that pile of washing just yet that is okay! Give yourself a small break allowance to do something you want to do and then get cracking once that time is up. I will allow myself one Netflix episode for example or watch a couple of Youtube videos I wanted to catch up with and as soon as it is finished I turn it off and get started. If you have been studying for hours on end take some time for you. Grab something to eat, read something completely unrelated to what you are studying and give yourself a chance to rest your brain for a moment so you can get back to it refreshed in a little while.

    4. Write your specific goals down

    It’s hard to stay motivated when there are random undefined goals in your head. Get them on paper! It is much easier to tackle and prioritise tasks when they are written down in front of you and you can knock them off one by one. Be sure to tick them off when you are down for that extra rewarding jolt that comes from a crossed off to-do list item. Be sure to list specific goals. You’ll have a much a better chance of completing a task with spelled our tasks such as; fill out new superannuation account application, get stamp and mail off application, inform work of new superannuation account details as opposed to a less specific goal of change super accounts.

    5. Start with smaller sized goals

    Following on from the above tip, don’t try and overwhelm yourself buy tackling things in large chunks that can be unmanageable and stop you from achieving your goals. So what if your whole bedroom isn’t organised completely, if you have purged your wardrobe that is a huge achievement! Next time you can get to the drawers or your jewellery collection. Don’t beat yourself up for not sticking to your new budget 100%. Working to reduce one expense category at a time can still get you to your end goal and might even be more successful than aiming for 100% the first attempt. Acknowledge the amazing progress you have made so far no matter how small it may seem. Every step taken is a step forward no matter how small that may seem.

    6. Prioritise your goals by importance

    I’ve often found things on my to do list that seem to keep getting pushed off to the next week and then next. After doing this for a few weeks I usually come to a decision of either; this is a priority and I need to action it now or this isn’t a priority and remove it or put it on a longer term goal list. We will always have things on our to do list that seem to be equally important. If you take the time to assess what is truly valuable and prioritise that, you can help ensure you get what needs to be done and delegate or remove what isn’t so imperative.

    Sometimes asking for help can make all the difference. If you are drowning in to dos see if there is someone that can help you. Can your partner order the groceries for you this week? Can your family bring a dish each so you have less to cook for the family dinner? You don’t always have to do everything on your list. Get others to help out so you can get on top of things.

    7. Pick three goals each day to achieve

    As a lover of to do lists I know how easily they can blow out and end up being an endless list of fun-killing activities. Sometimes it’s easier to motivate ourselves to  accomplish a few things rather than a long drawn out list. Picking a Three Item Task List can help you stay motivated and reduce overwhelm. If you get those first three done in a day and have the motivation and time to do more – that’s great. If not than keep it on the list for tomorrow. When you only have three goals to pick you will by default pick the most pressing ones and allow the not so urgent ones to be completed at a later date.

    8. Clear the mess and clutter

    As someone who hates mess, I find that I can’t be productive when I am surrounded with dirty dishes and mess. Never have I been more motivated to clean my room or home than when I was studying at university and for my CPA. I find that a quick five minute clean up helps take my mind of the mess and excess around me so that I can focus on what is important, my task at hand.

    If time is limited I don’t necessarily recommend going all out and cleaning the whole house, just focus on the space you are working in. Ensuring that your work area is a clean and a calming environment can help you avoid avoid distraction and procrastination. If you can’t work in your ideal work environment find anywhere else in your home, or a cafe or library where you can work.

    When you do have the time clearing the clutter can be a great way to help reduce stress and increase focus. Having less stuff can reduce anxiety and create more time. Check out how minimalism can help you claw back some of your time so you can redirect your time to work on more important things like achieving your goals.

    9. Share your goals with others

    Sometimes having others keep us accountable can help us stay motivated to achieve out goals. This could be on social media, with a close friend, a partner or a group you see on a regular basis. If it is a weight-loss goal you could post weekly about how many kilos you lost or how many days you have been sugar free. Maybe once a month you can do a post about how long it has been since your last cigarette and your friends and family can help encourage.

    Perhaps your goal is to start writing so you start a blog and post articles on a regular basis to help you stay motivated and stick to that goal. It could be a goal to be debt free by a particular year and you could update on Instagram what your new debt balances is each month to track how you are progressing and hold yourself accountable to your deadlines and goals. Sometimes we need others to support us to stay motivated and help keep us on track to completing what we set out.

    How do you stay motivated when you are tempted to give up on something or procrastinate? Comment with your tips and what has worked for you below!

    >>For more tips on getting organised check out 13 Time Management Tips to Get Organised!

    Organising

    13 Budget Friendly Organisation Solutions For Your Home

    Having a few handy organisational products in your home can make staying organised that little bit easier and help add some valuable storage space to your home. Photo: Nicolas Barbier Garreau

    For some time I’ve been experimenting with different organisation solutions in my home. Our home is not quite a storage haven. Our linen closet is two small shelves in our laundry and what we can fit in our single bathroom vanity (which thankfully is a decent size!). Our kitchen is probably the most challenging for storage so we have had to be creating with our storage tool to make the most of the space that we have. Over the last six years living in our home I have come across some great organisation solutions to make our small space work for us. Check out these 13 Budget-Friendly Organisation Solutions for Your Home!

    1.    Over the door racks

    These can be picked up from around $10 and have some great uses. Use them to store dressing gowns when they are not in use to keep them from taking up valuable space in your wardrobe. These hooks are also great for storing your re-wearable clothes until you can wear them again keeping your clean clothes from ending up on the floor or in your laundry baskets prematurely. They also make for great storage of hang bags! I have one in my bathroom and bedroom which helps to free up valuable storage space in those rooms.

    2. Boxes

    Boxes are great organisation solution for organising and hiding your stuff to give a more uniform, neat look. Even better, sometimes you can find what you need in your own home saving you having to buy anything! Repurpose Gift boxes for storing jewellery and stationery. Old watch containers can be used to store small items like SD cards and USBs. Tissue boxes can be hacked and use as small storage containers. Shoe boxes can be wrapped or contacted in your favourite colours or patterns and used as storage containers.   

    3. Command hooks

    These work so well for so many things and are a great organisation solution for your home. I use these in my home to hang up small containers to hold cleaning supplies like microfibre clothes. Another great use for these is to hang up your kitchen gloves to dry after use, simply hang a bulldog clip off the command hook and attach to your gloves. They can also be used to hang up brooms and mops to stop them from sliding around, hide unsightly cables as well as holding your bin bag in place. I have one under our kitchen sink to dry our microfibre cloths before putting them in the microfibre cloth cleaning bin so they don’t sit in the container wet. Such a great organisation solution to have in the home!

    4. Over-door Shoe Organiser 

    These are a great and affordable way to store large amounts of shoes and utilise some extra unused space in your home. The great thing about these is they can be used for anything from shoes, to underwear, craft supplies, scarves, toys, stationery, make up, hair and beauty accessories – use your imagination! I use one in my home to store excess cleaning supplies on the back of our laundry door. Out of sight and freeing up valuable storage space in our under sink cabinet!     

    5. Over the door basket

    These over the door baskets are great for utilising space on the inside of your cupboard doors particularly the bathroom, laundry and under the kitchen sink. I have one to store our spare plastic bags (that I am slowly dwindling down :)) and another in the laundry to hold our additional laundry supplies like fabric softener and stain remover. This keeps the cupboard floor free for other storage needs and helps to stop if from being too cluttered.

     

    6. Magazine Files

    Use magazine file organisers for more than your stationery needs. They can be attached to your pantry door to hold foil and cling wrap and sandwich bags or used for storing vegies like potatoes, tomatoes and onions.  I’ve seen people use them to organise their families drink bottles, hair tools and even as shelving for coffee and tea stations. .

    7. Drawer dividers and cutlery trays

    Drawer dividers can help bring order to a chaotic utensil drawer. They come in packs of two which gives you three storage compartments to sort your different utensils into for different uses. Cutlery trays are another option for organising your utensils by category. If you want to save some cash create your own versions from cardboard or DIY felt drawer organisers. 

    >> For more organising tips check out How an Organised Space Can Save You Money

    8. Organiser Drawers/Trays

    These are handy for your fridge and freezer, particularly for narrow shelves where you need to reach into the back. Simply store your condiments, fruits, oils etc in these trays so you can easily slide them out and grab what you need or carry the whole container out with you if you need multiple items to save you continually going back to the fridge or pantry. They are great for keeping like items together so you can easily locate them and keep your pantry or fridge looking nice and tidy with no effort required at all 🙂

    9. Reuse old Jars

     Clean out old candle or food jars to keep for pantry ingredient storage or for other storage in your home. They can be great for storing baking good like sprinkles and chocolate melts, buttons, loose coins and make up and other beauty products. They can also be used to  create some DIY decor such as utensil holders, wedding or home decorations or even for DIY beauty gifts. 

    10. Pantry stackable shelves 

    I recently bought two three tier stackable shelves for storing our cans from Kmart. I couldn’t be happier with them. Not only do they look amazing, but they make it easy to see what you do and don’t have in the pantry. It gives you a limit on what you can repurchase so you can save money on groceries by not overfilling your pantry. Just buy what is needed to fill up the racks and wait for your next shop to buy any extras. Alternatively stackable shelves allow you to store your dry goods on two levels which helps increase the storage in your pantry and take advantage of any unused height.

     

    11. Shower curtain hooks

    These can be placed on a coat hanger for storing singlets, scarves, caps, bags and jewellery saving valuable drawer and cupboard space and keep your collection together.

    12. IKEA Skubb boxes for drawers

    I bought these from IKEA and love them for organising different clothes in our drawers. There are different sizes that can be mixed and matched to fit your drawer dimensions. Great for organising socks and underwear and the like. Alternatively you can make some DIY ones with some spare cardboard or by repurposing old shoe boxes.

     

    13. Laundry hamper on wheels

    This has to be by far the best organisation solution I have in my home. It has allowed me to simplify our laundry by avoiding the tedious task of sorting our washing as it is already done. Even better I no longer have to lug around a heavy basket across the house, I can simply grab one of the bags and carry it or roll the hamper to the laundry room. It has helped simplify my laundry routine and cut out the sorting which is a task I am more than happy to do without 🙂

    What are your favourite organisation solution in your home? Do you use any of the above 13 in your home? Comment below with what has helped you stay organised.

     

    Cleaning

    6 Laundry Hacks to Save You Time

    Are you wanting some tips on how to speed up the laundry process in your home and get some of your time back? Check out this 6 Laundry Hacks to Save You Time. Photo: Andy Fitzsimon

    As a full-time worker and blogger, with a busy social life you can imagine how much time I have left for chores like laundry. Not much. And frankly there are a million other things I would rather be doing with my time than washing! I have made it a goal of mine to get my weekly laundry done as quickly and efficiently as possible over the years. The less I spend washing, folding and the like the more time I have for more important things.

    Here are 6 Laundry Hacks to Save You Time that I have implemented in my household in order to simplify our weekly washing routine and claw back hours of our lives.

    1. Sort your laundry with separate hampers.

    Purchasing a multiple compartment hamper on wheels has been the greatest $30 I have possible ever spent. I used to dread coming home on a Friday night to start my weekend off with a pile of laundry to sort and disliked lugging the heavy baskets across the house even more. I realised how silly it was to spend precious minutes sorting something when it would be so much easier to just sort our clothing from the get go. 

    I purchased a three compartment laundry hamper (I got mine from Kmart but as they no longer stock them check out this hamper for an idea. Anything similar will do. We use ours for two separate dark loads (we wear a lot of black :P) and the one in the middle is for whites. This is kept in our bathroom, keep yours where your family gets dressed most frequently.

    As we only have two in our household the three compartments are plenty for us. If you have 3 or more in your household, having a hamper or twin compartment hamper for lights and darks in each bedroom can work just as well. Simply coach your family on what to put in what compartment of the hamper, add signs to the baskets if necessary, and soon enough you’ll have your whole family sorting their own laundry! 

    Wasting 15 or more minutes each weekend sorting through our clothes baskets is now a thing of the past. I simply grab one of the bags which is already sorted into darks, whites or towels, put its contents into the washing machine and return the empty bag to the hamper rack. If you don’t want to lug the hamper around you can just roll it to where ever you need. Seriously the best organisational tool in our home!

    2. Downsize your wardrobe.

    By having a large, overflowing wardrobe you can guarantee you will have a substantial amount of washing to do. This usually means you (or your family that doesn’t have to do the laundry) will end up wearing a significant number of clothes before you get around to your washing pile. Of course by then your laundry pile will most likely be a mountain high.

    If you are not one to wash and fold regularly, that pile is going to get out of hand, fast! If you limit your wardrobe to a reasonable number of clothes, you can have a direct reduction in your laundry.  Since implementing my own capsule wardrobe I have found it much easier to stay on top of washing. Check out How to build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide for ideas on how you can reduce your wardrobe. When you have less to wear you have less to wash and can go back to having more free time and less time spend in the laundry!

    3. Think ahead with your washing to reduce the need for ironing

    Have I mentioned I hate ironing and avoid it at all costs? Seriously  – who has time for ironing? If I had to fit ironing into my schedule I would probably start binning a lot of clothes fast! Due to my lack of joy for this task I have found ways to work around it. My tricks are these:

    • Where possible avoid buying clothes that need ironing. I’ve been doing this for years and don’t miss my buttoned blouses that never seemed to get worn because I never seemed to have the time to iron them regularly. I am lucky that I work in an office with a smart casual clothing policy and we are free to wear more casual clothes like office polos. If your workplace is more strict, this won’t work for you but wherever possible, if you can get away with not wearing business shirts and the like this will cut your laundry time down.
    • Hang your clothes out on the line or a coat hanger as soon as the wash load or dryer is finished to help reduce any clothes from getting wrinkled whilst sitting there.
    • When you take your clothes off the line, ask yourself am I going to put these away right now or are they going to sit around for the next days or so until I can get to them? If you can’t do them straight away no biggie, this is my trick. I put all the socks and underwear in first along with PJs. Anything that can get wrinkled without it being a big deal. Then with the other clothing items like shirts and pants I loosely fold them so they lay in the basket neatly, rather than screwed up slowly getting to the point of needing ironing. The folding takes a second or two per item and saves you having to iron them. 
    • If you are really stuck or in a rush to get something ironed, chucking your clothes in the dryer for 10 or so minutes can help remove any wrinkles in your clothes. Leaving your clothes in a bathroom with stream can also help remove wrinkles. 

    For those items that do need to be ironed at least you have managed to reduce the time you will need to spend ironing them and other items by carrying out the above. Hopefully this will help reduce the final pile!

    >>You may also like 12 Simple Bedroom Organisation Tips for tips on how to Keep your bedroom tidy without much effort.

    4. Identify your clean, dirty and re-wearable clothing.

    Identify an area in your home for each family member to store worn but re-wearable clothing. Pants and jackets and other outerwear can be worn more than once if they are clean. Allocate a spare drawer to these items in each bedroom or a hook in the bathroom. Even laying them out on a chair can do the trick.

    This will help reduce your laundry load as you will now know what you can wear again and reduce washing clothing that can be re-worn. This is particularly handy for kids that like to change their clothes multiple times a day and create excess washing for you. It’s an easy way to keep the clean, re-wearable clothing items from getting mixed in the hamper with the dirty items. Check out this amusing blog from Melanie Dale on Rules for Re-Wearing Clothes.

    Don’t forget the towels! Whilst you are there request that they each hang up their towel after use to dry so they can reuse it. You don’t need to use a fresh towel every time you shower. This could help half the number of towels you are washing each week.

    5. Ask for help and Delegate.

    Get your family to help with washing with age appropriate chores. Kids from age 3 can do small tasks to help with laundry. Make sure everyone at least is putting their dirty clothes in the correct washing hamper compartment. On wash day they can carry their basket to the laundry as well as folding and putting away clothes. If your kids are tall enough or you’ve got an adjustable clothes line they can also help hang out clothes and take them off the line. Get your partner and kids to help out on a regular basis. If they don’t know how to do the laundry, or how they can help, take the time to explain the process to them. Give them a few weeks and soon enough you’ll have a lot more help and a lot less time trying to keep up with a households laundry needs on your own.  So many parents wait until kids move out of home to teach them basic skills that should be esta

    6. Do washing loads by person.

    Consider washing a load for each person rather than mixing the washing all together only to have to work out when folding what socks and the like belong to whom. The less time spent sorting and matching the quicker you can get back to more important tasks. Washing one full load of one kids clothing means that they, if they are old enough, can then be responsible for folding or putting away their own items. To make this easier, use a laundry bag to keep socks together and help avoid the mysterious lost sock dilemma. If there is not enough for a full load for one family members washing, add two together and use the laundry bags to separate the socks and undies to avoid sorting confusion when it comes to folding them. 

    What laundry tips to you have to save time in your home? Please comment below with your hacks 🙂