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10 Tips to Help You Get Your Family On Board With Decluttering

When I first  started decluttering our home I knew I had stumbled onto something amazing. It was what I looked forward to when I came home from work each day. With each freshly decluttered drawer, shelf or cupboard I felt a sense of accomplishment and slightly less overwhelmed.

I started with my own belongings; my wardrobe, shoe collection, make up, toiletries and accessories. Soon enough I was ready to move onto other areas of the house.  I knew it was something I saw the need for, but also knew that it was not going to be so easy to convince my husband.

I spoke to my husband about this new lifestyle I had came across, Minimalism and living a more intentional life. Luckily he didn’t baulk at the concept and was okay with me decluttering our home as long as I didn’t touch his items.

After a while, I approached him about his wardrobe and if he would be okay with getting rid of some of his excess shirts that had seen better days. To my surprise, he was mostly willing to let go of everything. We continued to tackle the ‘easy stuff’ until one day after months of my own decluttering, he asked me to help him go through his personal space.

Over the past three years, we managed to declutter over 70% of our unwanted possessions. That was made a whole lot easier thanks to my husband being on board with this journey. Of course he didn’t start off donating baskets of items and yelling out ‘Let’s be Minimalists’, (although that would be pretty hilarious). But over time and with lots of understanding and communication, he saw – as I had, the value being added to our lives by letting go of the excess so we could enjoy what was essential.

We could find our stuff, we could close our drawers without a struggle, we had space and empty cupboards – shock horror! And most life changing was probably the fact that now as we were bringing less into the house, we saved money.

It was trial and error over that period to learn how to help someone else acknowledge the benefits of letting go of unwanted items just as I had. Through my decluttering process and working with my husband over time, I learnt some valuable lessons along the way that might help you get your family on board with decluttering and you working as a team, rather than facing and uphill battle.

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Get Your Family On Board With Decluttering.

1. Lead by Example

When was the last time you ever made a change in your life because someone told you to? If someone told you to stop eating chocolate would you jump on board that day? Or, would you be more likely to jump on board if you saw a family member or friend decide to do a chocolate free challenge and join in after seeing that they’d lost weight from doing that challenge? Some times we need to watch form the side lines before we can be willing to jump into something new.

If you want to get your family on board with your decluttering journey, rather than telling them what they have to do, why not lead by example. Start working on your own cluttered spaces. Declutter your wardrobe, your shoe collection, your own toiletries or beauty products, hair accessories, your DVD collection. When you partner or children, (or room mates if you have them) see your progress and how great your spaces are looking they will be a lot more willing to start decluttering their own space, or at least be more on board with you decluttering communal spaces like living and dining areas.

2. Communicate with with them 

In order to help get your family on board with decluttering ask yourself why you want to declutter your home? you need to know your why so you can help communicate that message with them. Are you feeling stressed trying to keep things clean with your kids toys everywhere? Can you not keep up with the laundry because there are endless clothes strewn around and in the laundry pile? Do you find it hard to focus on anything when you have clutter piling up around you? Talk to your family about yours needs and why you need to declutter your space. When they hear your struggles and reasons for letting go of things, they may be more willing to help you and get on board. It may even spark them to think of their own reasons to declutter and how the process could help them.

Related Post: 101 Things You Can Declutter in Your Home Right Now

3. Set a common goal to work towards

In order to get your family on board with decluttering and encourage them to adopt a less cluttered space, find a communal why. Maybe it’s the fact that by selling your unwanted stuff you can make some money to go on a family vacation. Perhaps your children will be on board when they learn how donating their old toys can help other less fortunate children. How about a goal of downsizing your stuff so you can move into a smaller home which will enable you and your partner to work less hours, spend less time and money on house maintenance and have more time to spend doing things you enjoy together? When you both have a clear goal in mind it can make the process much more successful and help others see the benefits.

4. Clear the excess to make room for the essential

When you have too much stuff, we can forget what is really important to us. Have you ever gone through and decluttered your wardrobe and realised that you had misplaced an old favourite outfit and completely forgotten about it? Maybe your favourite lipstick was lost in a sea of 20 other ones or you forgot about your favourite books because you didn’t notice them on the shelf next to the 200 other books that you have.

When we clear the excess we can make room for the essential. We can curate a wardrobe we love, we can keep the books on display that we enjoy reading over and over again, we can display things around our home that bring us joy. When we have too much stuff we lose site of the stuff that adds value to us.

If your kids have too many toys they won’t have the time or attention to play with something fully. Maybe your spare room is filled with crap, rather then used as a room that is more useful such as a theatre room or studio. Or you have so many CDs or DVDs stacked on top and in front of one another that you can’t even see what you have and end up not using the ones that you do love as they are lost behind the excess. When the excess is gone, we can enjoy the things we truly love.

Related Post: 7 Essential Questions to Help You Declutter Your Wardrobe

5. Be respectful of their zone

When on your decluttering journey be sensitive to your loved ones areas. You won’t be able to get your family on board with decluttering by attacking them and insisting they get rid of their stuff. Let them have their own designated space for what they find valuable. It may not be valuable to you but that doesn’t mean it is not to them.

Maybe their zone is the spare room they can set up as they wish, or a corner of the garage, or a desk in the house. Let this space be their sanctuary to keep what they please. Of course they will need to keep their stuff in the confines of the space, so once they fill their space they will need to remove something before they can bring anything new in. This will keep your partner or family happy, but also give you the ability to keep the spaces that you share less cluttered.

6. Help them

Sometimes your family may be on board with decluttering but don’t know where to start. Or aren’t quite sure of the benefits just yet. A great way to get them on board with decluttering is to offer them help them.

Be specific if possible to help your loved one recognise the need for your help. If you can see your child frustrated with their toys being everywhere that might be the time to offer to help them with them decluttering their toys so they have space to play. Or if you see your partner struggling to find their favourite shirt, that week might be a good time to discuss that issue. You could say something along the lines of ‘I noticed that you were struggling to find your shirt the other day in your wardrobe, would you like me to help you go through your cupboard and see if there is anything we can clear out to make space for the items you love?

Of course, if they decline, don’t force it on them. But hopefully you have planted a seed that they will consider and in time they might be more willing to come around and ask you for help when they are more open to to removing the excess.

Related Post: The True Cost of Our Stuff

7. Start small

Don’t expect your loved one to let go of their most treasured items from Day One. Start small and work your way up. Build their and your decluttering muscles gradually.  Start with the stained and torn shirts. The damaged shoes, expired items and anything broken. Get rid of duplicate items around the home or anything that you both agree can go. Save the harder stuff for later when you are more experienced with decluttering and more knowledgeable on what does and doesn’t add value.

8. Make it fun

Decluttering doesn’t have to be boring and tedious, why not make a game out of it! Try The Minimalists Mins Game where you declutter one item on day one, two on day two, three on day three and so on. Or do a Packing Party. Another fun options is to make a simple challenge to see who can declutter the most items at the end of the week. Check out the Minimise With Me 31 Day Decluttering Challenge for one with daily challenges for you.

9. Make it a habit

Decluttering isn’t a once off event. Over time things can creep back into the home with Christmas, Birthdays, events, anniversaries and so on. It is something that needs to be reviewed as you go. Make decluttering a habit. You could do a seasonal declutter such as when Spring hits or bi-annually. Or simply leave a container in the bottom of your families closets so they can declutter items as they go, and empty their bins when they get full.

Make some new traditions such as donating unwanted toiletries and a bags to a local Charities Christmas or Winter Appeal. As you approach Christmas, ask your children to fill a bag or container with toys they want to donate to less fortunate children for Christmas. Let them know that they will need space for any new toys Santa is bringing and make a habit each Christmas for them to go through and select some toys they no longer play with to be donated.

10. Implement a one in one out rule

A good place to start is to try and stick to a one in out rule. Make a suggestions as new things come into the house. Is your partner getting a new laptop or electronic? Maybe they could sell the old on (Less clutter and money? Win!). This would also help offset the cost of the new one.

After a while this will become second nature and can help limit excess clutter entering the house, as only the things your family truly values will come into the home if they are going to have to let go of something else in order to bring it home with them.

What tips did you find helpful to get your family on board with decluttering? Were they on board from the start? Or got you on board? Or maybe it took some time but you eventually won them over? Share your experience in the comments below 🙂



My Minimalism Journey: How I Discovered the Benefits of a Life of Less

Minimise With me is One! Check out my minimalism journey and how I discovered the benefits of a life of less.

Today’s post My Minimalism Journey is an extra special one. It is in celebration of my blog Minimise With Me’s one year anniversary! *blows party horn* If you had told me two years ago that I would start my own blog in twelve months I would But here I am and I couldn’t have had more fun! It’s been a huge year of growth for quiet, introverted me but I’m keen to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zones, find ways to share the things I have learnt with others and connect with other people on their journey to simplify.

I figured Minimise With Me’s one year anniversary would be a great time to share My Minimalism Journey, How I discovered the benefits of a life of less and how Minimalism has positively influenced my life. My Minimalism Journey kicked off about three years ago when I was in my late 20s. At least, that is when I first came across the term, Minimalism. I’d say that I’ve always had a tendency towards this lifestyle, even before I knew it existed. Finding it just made the pieces fit together 🙂

When I was young my parents didn’t raise us to be minimalists or the other side of the spectrum, materialist. We were fairly balanced. They didn’t shower us with gifts and toys but ensured we had what we needed, but nothing in excess. My brother and I looked after what we had and appreciated it, we knew what we had had to last and took pride in looking after our stuff. I watched as friends and cousins would get the latest awesome gadgets for Christmas; Game Boys, new electronic toys, the Nintendo 64 and all the best games and somewhat felt like we were missing out. We did of course eventually get a Sega Master System, PS One and even an N64 ourselves, but only long after their release.

By about the age of thirteen, a time when most teenagers have endless wants, I was a little different. I couldn’t think of anything to ask for as my birthday or Christmas rolled around, so I’d end up asking for money instead so I could pick out my own gifts rather than have something I didn’t like. I’d hit the shops with my mum or friends trying to find something to buy with my birthday cash. This usually ended up with me finding very little that I felt was worthy of my money and I would often just end up saving it until I could find something more worthwhile later on.

I was fourteen when my parents separated and I moved with my brother and mum to a nearby suburb. My mother did her best to provide our basic necessities as a single mother, but I realised quickly if I wanted anything; new clothes, bus money, a phone to go on school camps or out with my friends, I was going to have to find my own way of paying for it.

I set out to find myself a job as soon as I turned fifteen and landed my first job not long after as a Check Out Assistant at my local Coles. I was so excited to finally have some money of my own that I could spend as I pleased. I recall one of my first thoughts was about how I could buy a new pair of skate shoes each week if I wanted to and finally afford brand name clothing I was never able to ask for. Soon enough I was spending my time at shopping centres with friends after work, on my lunch breaks and weekends and progressively developed a hobby of shopping.

This was fine when I managed to work regular shifts, but became an issue when I didn’t. I remember some weeks I was only rostered on for 1 four hours shift that week and was worried about making my money last until the next pay period. After getting a phone call to do extra shifts that week, knowing my pay was much going to be higher than expected, I would go out and spend my savings buffer before I had even done my shift. One week I actually got caught out, my newly added shift was cancelled and I had already spent most of my bank balance.

It was the start of behaviour which eventually lead me on a path of wasteful spending and non-mindful consumption. Usually this impulsive spending was on clothes that I would never wear or didn’t need. My prior passion for saving and planning for the future took a back seat to buying the latest Target or Kmart bargains.

Related Post: 17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life

I got a second job when I was at Uni working three days as an Accounts Officer on top of my Coles job and was earning decent money for someone living at home with their parents, although I still had very little to show for it. As someone that used to be a keen saver this really bothered me. I couldn’t for the life of me even think about what I had spent all my money on other than a few possessions.

Luckily by my early twenties, and after getting my first full-time job as an Assistant Accountant, I had something new to motivate me to save; my very first home. At this point I had been dating my now husband, Doug, for a couple of years and we had talked about moving into our own house together. As soon as Doug finished university and got a full-time job, we both started saving for our first home. Within the space of 2 years we managed to save enough for a first home deposit.

We moved into our first home when I was 25 and began to accumulate the necessary items… well what we thought was necessary. In the year prior to moving out I’d started to buy things for when I moved out: towels, cutlery, plates sets, bedding, decorations and the like. Upon moving in we were also given house-warming gifts of more towels, utensils, bed linen and other items. Before we knew it, we’d filled every cupboard, drawer, shelf, container  – everything. It’s truly amazing when you can move with two bedrooms of stuff to fill a four bedroom house in such a small space of time! But that is exactly what happened.

I was soon to have the worst years of my life. My Grandfather passed away after a long health battle and I lost my Grandmother nine months later. Whilst dealing with our grief we had the emotionally heart breaking task of going through their four bedroom home and sorting through their life’s possessions. There is nothing that can prepare you for the emotional experience of going through someone’s worldly possessions but soon enough, I along with my dad, brother and other family members found ourselves facing this difficult task.

My grandmother had a love of shopping from Avon catalogues and Pop, was an avid collector. Both being brought up in the 1930s meant that they kept everything. As I went through my nan’s cupboard and drawers, I found so many brand new things she had bought from Target or Avon that were still in their original packaging. So many handbags, dressing gowns, pyjamas, shoes, singlets and socks she’d never used. I imagine she had been saving it for a special occasion, which had never come. It made me sad to think of all the lovely things she’d bought but never felt the day was worthy enough to wear them. I went home vowing that day that every day would be special and I wouldn’t save everything for a day that may never come. I would use the expensive candles and fancy soaps, the nice towels and good stationery.

We had to sort through room after room of trinkets and belongings trying to decide which ones to keep or donate and which ones were the most meaningful or sentimental to our grandparents.  I wished for a small note about what was important to them and why, to help us to know what was valuable and sentimental to them, but that was left for us to decode. It took us three weekends to sort through everything and my brother and dad spent even more time there than that. There were countless skips hired, filled and refilled. I knew after that experience I never wanted my stuff to weigh anyone else down or be a burden to them when I was gone.

Strangely, after this emotionally difficult experience, it was still not this event that made me stumble upon Minimalism although it certainly helped make everything come together when I did come across it.

Fast forward a couple more years and at 28 I was a newlywed, living in my humbly beautiful home with my husband. I had checked all my boxes; I was working as an Accountant, had recently completed my CPA, just had our perfect wedding, an amazing honeymoon travelling through Europe and were surrounded by great friends and family, but something still felt like it was missing and I couldn’t understand why.

I no longer had planning a wedding or studying year after year to distract me. With no new life achievements to tick off there was time to think. I found myself wondering what was next? I had hoped these achievements would lead me to fulfillment and happiness. But instead found that I was stressed, overwhelmed and felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. Most importantly, I wasn’t sure what my passions were anymore.

One day I was in my bedroom getting some clothes and started struggling with an overcrowded drawer and somehow the stress of that seemingly unimportant situation got to me. I threw the drawers contents on the bed and started sorting through the pile. As I went through the stash of shorts I was amazed to see things I owned that I didn’t even know about. Some still with their tags attached. I discovered three pairs of black shorts that were more or less identical. I had two more in other colours. All five I had not worn more than once – if ever. I couldn’t believe I had all these random clothes cluttering up my drawers, causing me stress and why? Because they had cost me $20 two years ago? Because I was planning to wear them one day? It suddenly seemed so ridiculous!

After working through my drawer, I opened the next one and saw the same thing. Too much stuff. Another ridiculously overflowing drawer that had also been driving me crazy for years. I threw its contents on the bed and before I knew it I had two decluttered and spacious drawers. Something I hadn’t had since I could remember. I felt a little calmer and less stressed.

Not before long I’d moved onto the wardrobe to tackle my then fifty odd shoe collection Next I went through and decluttered my collection of 50 dresses (can you see a pattern here?) Fifty dresses for a girl that wears a dress a handful of times a year. I noticed a pattern with each drawer, shelf, cupboard. I had too much and couldn’t possibly wear what I had in a year, let alone have any idea what I even owned.

I was overcome with a need to clear the clutter and was soon going through all of our home. Clothes were just the starting point. I cleared our counters which had been the bane of my existence for so long. We could finally use them for their intended purpose – to cook. I cleared out our pantry so we could actually see what food we had and what we needed to buy rather than just guessing. Soon Doug was also on board the decluttering bandwagon and gradually threw out old clothes and shoes and eventually let me clear out his office of excess stuff. Not a drawer, shelf or cupboard was left untouched.

I was sick of having drawers filled to the brim and trying to shove them closed. Sick of going out on a Saturday night in a stress trying to pick an outfit that I liked and that fit and not in some last minute panic to do something as basic as get dressed! Over getting home from the supermarket and trying to cram more food into our packed pantry and fridge where nothing had a place. I didn’t realise at the time, but all of these things were causing me stress and anxiety. It felt amazing to get rid of the excess in our home and make space for the essential. Each day that went by I began to feel less and less stressed. I didn’t know how one moment of frustration with a jam packed drawer could lead me down a path of self discovery but here we are.

I was keen learn more and started researching organising and decluttering tips. One day on my lunch break, on a Pinterest scrollathon I came across the term Minimalism. After falling down the rabbit hole I’d come across Josh and Ryan from the Minimalist’s Ted X Talk. That Ted Talk spoke volumes to me. I realised how much my stuff had been weighing me down and how I needed to value experiences more and find what my values were. I’d been living my life following this path set by others and didn’t realise I could take another route. My minimalism journey had officially started.

I was drawn to the idea of curating a more intentional life. Not just in terms of having less stuff, or only having things I loved around me, but to value my time more. To learn to say no to things that I didn’t enjoy. Set new boundaries for relationships in my life that were negative or draining. To worry less about how I fit in with those around me and just do what makes me happy.

Looking back, I had been a bit of a Minimalist at heart this whole time. I always appreciated heartfelt gifts over ones that cost a lot of money. Some of my favourites over the years were a towel friends had written favourite quotes from our Uni days on, a large jar my friend had hand picked lollies I loved to fill it with (#lollyaddict), and when my husband and I bought each other the exact same block of chocolate for our anniversary. For my 30th instead of blowing crazy amounts of money on a big party, I instead had a casual dinner with family and friends and requested for people to pay for their own meal in place of gifts I didn’t need and instead put our money towards our first trip to New Zealand which are memories we could look back on forever.

I had watched other people in my family struggle with debt and the stress it caused and negative health impacts and as a result was very conscious of getting into debt. In the back of my mind, I always knew that I would rather have less stuff and my health, than to have more and the stress that comes with that. Things like bigger repayments, longer hours, anxiety and sleepless nights.

About a year before even discovering Minimalism I walked away from my second casual job at Coles that I had maintained for extra cash. Instead of relaxing and preparing myself for the work week ahead I would be rushing off to work from 6-11pm most Sunday nights. At the time I justified the lost time with the extra money I was bringing home to add to our savings, and I did enjoy my job and the people I worked with – it wasn’t like I hated being there. Although I only spent five hours at work, I spent and additional hour travelling there on top of getting ready for my shift. I also lost time to prepare for the week ahead or to chill out and watch a movie. Most Sundays I wouldn’t plan much because I knew at 5pm I had to rush off to get home in time for work so this small shift was impeding my weekend plans and mental thought process as I only had one day a week to switch off. Eventually I realised that I valued my time more than the money and resigned.

Discovering minimalism made everything come together and I knew I was on the right path. I was so excited to see there was another way to live life and there were so many examples to learn from. Josh and Ryan’s escape from the corporate world, Joshua Becker’s journey to simplifying so he had more time with his family, and Courtney Carver taking control of her stress in the face of illness to name a few favourites. Their stories instantly resonated with me. I loved the idea of investing in personal growth, contribution, experiences and relationships over chasing more money and acquiring more stuff – where you could say no to more money, responsibilities and stress that often came at the expense of your time with loved ones or freedom.

Before Minimalism I’d buy something just because it was on sale and too cheap not to (what does that even mean?!). I bought things on impulse and thought about what I would use it for later. I had an overwhelming schedule that left no time for me and was slowly impeding m health. Minimalism has helped me to reduce wasteful spending so I can use my money for things that bring me joy, such as travel. Simplifying helped me pare back my crowded schedule so there was more downtime and less stress. It reinforced how much debt can weigh you down and inspired me to find ways to reach freedom from debt sooner. It taught me to look at the bigger picture in life. Not just how cheap something is, or how much it pays. I now consider if it is something I need, truly want, and if it aligns with my values. Over the space of two years I had donated, cleared and sold over half of our belongings and I don’t miss any of it.

Related Post: How I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism

In February of 2017, I decided it was now or never and decided to take my minimalism journey to a new level and started my blog Minimise With Me with a lot of support from my husband and friends (Thanks so much guys!). After seeing the benefits Minimalism brought to my life, I wanted to share those with others. For a long time I considered this idea, and it took a year of soul-searching to get the courage to acknowledge how much I wanted to help others. Not following my passion or need for growth and contribution was no longer an option.

I feel like discovering Minimalism and my minimalism journey has opened up my whole future to a new way of thinking. For the first time in a long time I have an insatiable desire to learn, grow and experience as much as I can. I want to encourage others to find their passion in life and the joy in each day and the benefits of less excess and more essential.


Minimalism at Thirty: What it Means to Me

Check out what minimalism at thirty looks like to me

About three years ago I found myself in a bit of a slump that I will call a “quarter-life crisis”. I was approaching my thirties and wasn’t sure what the future held for me. I found myself feeling empty, lost and dispassionate. I had approached my early to mid twenties full of life, with passion and goals I knocked out one by one. Having goals gave me something to strive for, something to grow towards and gave me purpose. But achieving each one seemed to leave me feeling more empty than fulfilled.

I had achieved what I had set out to do in my twenties; completed my Accounting degree and CPA, buying our first home at 25, had a wonderful wedding and travelled around the world and yet I wasn’t sure what was missing. I was surrounded by stuff, slowly but surely cluttering up our home, and found myself feeling more stressed and struggling to keep up with my insane schedule. I couldn’t see a way out and felt powerless to change my life.

One day as I was searching for some bottoms in my pants drawer I hit pure frustration. The struggle of fitting anything more into that drawer was just too much stress for me to handle. I grabbed everything out of that drawer and threw it on my bed. Somethings had to go, this drawer situation was just getting ridiculous. As I went through my pile I came across five pairs of shorts. Mind you I had not worn any of these more than once. I couldn’t believe that I even owned five pairs of these shorts or that I didn’t even know were there. I put the unwanted items in a pile and put my newly spacious drawer back into it’s row. I didn’t know at the time that that small moment would be the start of removing over half my possessions and lead me to the path of Minimalism.

Before I knew it I started decluttering the shirt drawer and the sock drawer and moved onto the closet finding more and more items with tags attached I had completely forgotten I had even bought! With each clothing item I pulled out and donated I found that I could breathe a little easier. I’d made space where there was no space before. I could now see what I had to wear at a glance. I wanted to know what other crap we had that I could declutter and soon moved onto the kitchen drawers, pantry, fridge, linen closet. Nothing went untouched.

Something had been sparked inside me and I found myself researching as much as I could about decluttering and organisation in any spare moment I had. I soon came across the term Minimalism. I spent the next two years decluttering over 60% of our possessions and learning as much about Minimalism as I could. I couldn’t read enough about it. I read about how Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists decluttered their homes and completely changed their lifestyles of working 80 hour weeks and discovered Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist journey to a less cluttered life. Their stories made perfect sense to me. Less is more!     

Inspired by No Side Bar’s article written by Jennifer Tritt Minimalism at fifty: What it means to me and upon celebrating my 31st birthday I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what Minimalism means to me at thirty as I head into a new and exciting decade of my life. Discovering minimalism a couple of years back has changed my life in so many ways and I am so glad to have stumbled upon this lifestyle now so I can make changes for the better earlier in my life. Minimalism can be a useful tool at any age, here is how it has affected my life in a positive way at thirty.

1. It means more space in my home
I moved out of home 6 years ago at the age of 25 and as the years went by, the clutter seemed to multiply. With each birthday and Christmas that passed, more and more stuff came into our home. Not to mention the trips to Kmart, Target and IKEA, always with the temptation to bring something home that I “needed“. Of course upon arriving home I would realise that I already owned three of the same striped shirts and that my new scented candle would not fit into my already overflowing candle drawer.

After discovering minimalism I pared back about 60% or more of our possessions. We now have space. This makes life easier whether it be space to prepare our meals with a clear bench, space on our dining room table to use it if we wish to eat meals at or work at, and not having to fight our closet or drawers to fit our clean clothes in. I can’t begin to imagine how much stuff we might have accumulated over the years and the anxiety that would have brought. I have never enjoyed space more and haven’t looked back.

2. It means being content with living in a smaller home
Our first home, which was to be our stepping stone into the home buying world was a 1300 square foot home with three bedrooms, a study and one bathroom. We figured it was big enough for us for now and within our budget and knew there was always the option to up size later on when we had the financial ability to do so.

After discovering minimalism the need to up size our home for a double garage, second bathroom and more master bedroom than we had, faded. Rather than wanting to go bigger, we made room for the essential and realised the benefits of a smaller home.  I acknowledged that I didn’t need a second lounge room, more storage space or huge backyard to be happy. Minimalism at thirty has allowed me to be content in our smaller home.

3. It means becoming debt free faster
Since discovering minimalism the impact to our finances has been nothing short of amazing. After learning to appreciate what we have and limit buying things on impulse, we have reduced what we are spending. Rather than spending more, we made money – over two thousand dollars by selling unwanted knick knacks that were cluttering up our home and not adding value to us. This is money we have redirected to things or experiences that bring us value.

By being content with a smaller home we can resist the temptation to up size for something bigger and better. This will allow me to pay off my mortgage before I am 40 (or maybe sooner than that!) rather than at 55 or even later had I gone down the Jones trajectory and taken on a bigger mortgage.

By being more intentional with spending and planning ahead for purchases it means I can sleep easy knowing I am not trapped under mountains of consumer debt. My pay doesn’t go to regrettable purchases on my credit card that I can no longer remember. It can go to things I need or truly want and the things that are important to me like the roof over my head and food in the fridge.

Minimalism at thirty means I can avoid taking on unnecessary debt that would impede my future finances, happiness and opportunity to say yes to experiences and mean I can utilise my money more efficiently rather than by trying to keep up with an endless debt cycle.

4. It means I spend my money more thoughtfully and efficiently
When you know what truly adds value to your life and question each and every purchase you can save a lot of money. Thanks to minimalism I now make more educated purchasing decisions, sometimes holding off for a few months before making a decision to make sure I am spending my money in the most thoughtful and efficient way possible.

Rather than walking into a store with very little information, I ask family and friends or people in online communities for recommendations. I look up reviews, research the products available and features for what would be the most suitable for me as well as researching the price before buying any item over $100. I soon adopted this method across most of our spending as possible. We waste less as we shop with intention when we go to the grocery store and review annual bills to make sure we are getting value for money. This has really helped us save and reduce regretful, impulsive and excessive purchases.

5. It means knowing my values and putting myself first
Minimalism has shown me what my values are and how important it is to live by them. I am now much more selective with how I spend my time. I don’t dedicate large amounts of time to things I don’t enjoy or am not passionate about and spend time with friends who have similar values and who respect my choices, as I do theirs.

I used to be resentful on occasions when I had wasted my weekend doing things that other people enjoyed, or even times I thought I enjoyed them and then living with the consequences, such as staying out into the early hours and ending up sleeping away my Sunday mornings and still having to find time to clean, grocery shop and do what I wanted to with my weekend. Minimalism at thirty gave me more confidence to say yes to putting myself first even if sometimes that means disappointing others.

6. It means that I can plan to retire earlier
After discovering minimalism I discovered new lifestyles that didn’t revolve around working until you are 70 and revolving around working more to spend more. One blogger in particular is Mr Money Moustache who semi-retired with his wife at the age of 30 who is encouraging many ‘moustachians’ around the world to reach retirement age much earlier.

Through Minimalism I have reduced spending money on many areas in my life, which over time will allow me to save for the important things such as my retirement and to start thinking about that at 30, when I can take advantage of more compound interest benefits rather than an after thought as I approach the end of my working career.

7. It means I value experiences more
Now that I spend my money more efficiently and have eliminated most wasteful spending, I can spend my money guilt free on experiences that bring me joy and that I find value in. When I was younger I was a lot less willing to spend money on experiences. I didn’t place as high a value on them or travel as I did physical items. After all, why flutter your money away on a two week vacation when you could buy something for the house or some new outfits or buy something that you can keep for years, right?

Minimalism really helped me change my mindset on spending. I now see the value in experiences, not just stuff. Sure my new Dyson and Kindle are great and I find great value in them, but my honeymoon in Europe and road trip around Iceland and New Zealand have added so much joy to my life that no new TV or wardrobe ever could!

By buying less stuff and I now have the opportunity to have more experiences. I can now go out for a movie with my husband, a weekend away, or buy concert tickets and know that these things will truly add value to my life whilst creating wonderful memories with no clutter.

8. It means freeing up time and valuing my time more
A huge benefit of owning less is that I now spend less time maintaining my stuff. I have more manageable laundry, my smaller home is easier to clean and maintain, I have less stuff to organise and there is less paperwork coming into our house to take care of. All of these small changes have added up to time savings that I can dedicate to more important or fun activities.

The time savings goes further as I also reduced the time I used to spend shopping for nothing in particular. I now only shop from a list of items that I build that up over the space of a week or month and do my best to get in and out fast. And thanks to knowing when to say yes and no I’ve clawed back my weekends.

Minimalism gave me the mindfulness to walk away from the extra $100 I was earning each week at a second job so I could claim my Sundays back. I look back now and wonder how on Earth I use to rush off from where ever I was on a Sunday night to get to work, quickly shoving dinner down as fast as possible only to arrive at home wide awake at 12am with the thought of having to wake up for my full time job at 7am. Minimalism at thirty has shown me that money isn’t everything and that I am deserving of free time and time to unwind and that my decisions shouldn’t be purely based on money.

9. I live for each day, not just the weekend
Minimalism at thirty has given me the ability to enjoy every day and not just live for the weekends. I try and find happiness in everyday. I listen to an Audiobook on my commute, go for a walk occasionally at lunch and take notice of the birds or trees swaying in the breeze and feel the sun on my skin. Or catch up with a friend for a chat over a hot chocolate (I’m the 1% of the population that doesn’t drink coffee, great for the budget ;)).

When I find the time I write or play bass or sing or read a chapter of a book. Every day holds the potential for joy. Minimalism at thirty means I do my best to enjoy 365 days of the year and  not write off the majority of them as a lost opportunity because they are work days. I may not be able to go and have a beach day or a picnic, but I can certainly find endless ways to make each day enjoyable.

10. I have learned the value of growth
Through the process of eliminating the focus on buying stuff and tying my happiness to physical possessions I was able to identify what was missing in my life; personal growth and contribution.

Discovering minimalism at thirty has encouraged me to grow. I now aim to learn something new each day or more often than not, it could be a new word in my vocabulary, a new budgeting or cleaning tip, or something musical related. Even if it’s just getting a little fitter each week or doing something to improve a relationship or your own mental health. It also gave me the courage to start my own blog and to contribute to helping others live a more intentional life. Knowledge and growth adds so much to our lives and shouldn’t be undervalued.

11. I put more value in my close relationships
Minimalism has highlighted to me the importance of relationships to my happiness. It has allowed me to invest in good relationships and reassess the less good ones. When I meet with friends or family I make more of an effort to be present, to keep my phone off the table, undistracted and paying attention to what they are saying.

I try and be more positive and supportive in anything my loved ones are passionate about and try and surround myself with people who also value this and encourage me to be the best person I can be. I’ve tried to make more time for the important people in my life, whether it regular date nights with my husband, just because family lunches and recently started a new tradition of gifting experience gifts to our nephews so we can take them out for a fun occasion.

12. I’m more mindful
Minimalism at thirty has showed me how to be more mindful. When I wake up of a morning and reach for my phone I pause and leave it on airplane mode a little longer. If someone or something is causing my stress I can recognise that sooner and take action or set new boundaries for that relationship. Instead of watching TV all day I write or go for a walk with my husband. When I see the sunset on my way home, I stand outside my home looking at it for a minute or so and soak it in rather then running into my house to start my list of errands. I’m loving being more mindful and hope to get better at it 🙂

How has minimalism benefited and changed your life? Please share your experience in the comments below 🙂


15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018

Wanting more time and less stress? Check out these 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

We’re at the start of a new year and it is a great time to reassess out current lifestyle and make positive changes. One of the most common complaints from people are they don’t make enough time for themselves, or their families or to just do things they want to do. We find ourselves filling up our free time with mindless facebook scrolling, endless washing and cleaning, and doing things that we probably should have just said no to.

Make 2018 a year to remember, a year for you to work on how you can simplify your life. The start of saying no to things you don’t want to do and yes to things that you have wanted to do for too long. Take a step back and reassess what is important and what isn’t, what we want more and less of and what is adding unneccessary stress in our lives.

Here are 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

1. Declutter

There is no greater path to simplify your life in 2018 than through decluttering. When we remove the excess we can focus more on the essential. By removing things that do not add value to our life we help to simplify our lives. By reducing the clutter in our homes we open ourselves up to numerous benefits. We reduce; the anxiety caused by too much stuff, the amount of time we waste cleaning and maintaining our stuff, and can soon notice the financial benefits when we are more intentional with our spending. Check out these 101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now to get you started!

2. Learn to say no

Don’t fill in your weeknights and weekends and leave  yourself no down time or time to reset. It’s okay to say no to people and events and put your needs first. If there is an invite to something you are really not keen to go to for whatever reason; you can’t afford it, it doesn’t sound fun to you, you really feel like if you cram one more thing into this week you are going to lost it, it’s okay to RSVP no.

3. Say yes to things you want to do

We can often get tied up doing the things we don’t want to do and the things we want to do end up falling but the wayside. Once we learn to prioritise our time better we have more time to do the things we really want to do like relax, exercise, watch a movie, learn a new instrument or read. By learning to say no more, we open up our calendar to say yes to more spontaneous things like a beach day when it’s perfect weather or hanging out with someone you just met.

4. Find joy in the small things

You don’t need to buy the latest iPhone or go on endless vacations to find joy. Don’t live for big buys and getting away when there is joy to be found in every day things. Make time to do things that bring joy in everyday and take the time to appreciate them. It could be playing a game with your kids, watching an interesting documentary, having a hot chocolate and smelling a yummy candle on a relaxing night at home in front of the TV. When we learn to find joy in the little things we can simplify our lives and learn to appreciate the small things.

5. Remove and minimise toxic relationships

Toxic relationships add drama and stress to our everyday lives. They can consume us, take our focus off our goals and hold us back. Joshua Fields Milburn from The Minimalists in his blog titled ‘Fake’ says ‘you can’t change the people around you but you can change the people around you’.  You can read it here. This really is the crux of our relationships, we can’t change people in our lives but we can change who we keep close to us.

Sometimes we need to remove or minimise contact with people in our lives, even if only temporarily, that take away from our happiness or that are toxic and detrimental to our well being. When we remove people that take our energy and bring us down we can remove an unnecessary barrier to our unhappiness and lead lives of positivity and growth. Sometimes even a simple conversation about new boundaries and expectations can redirect a toxic relationship into a more healthy one.

6. Read more

Who ever said I wish I had less time to read? Reading is a rewarding way to destress, learn new things, unwind and get lost in a book. When we make time to read, we are making time to sit down, stopping all other distractions and focus on one activity that will aid you to simplify your life in 2018.

7. Spend less time on social media

A lot of time can be freed up by spending less times on social media and on our phones. You probably don’t even realise how much time you are losing on it. Make a conscious decision to use social media less. You may consider deleting the apps on your phone for a small period of time, but if that is too scary to consider, try timing your use. Limit yourself to your tea break only or putting your phone away at a particular time each night. When you have important things to do put your phone on flight mode or hide it in a drawer so it is out of sight out of mind.

8. Simplify your wardrobe

Simplify your wardrobe and identify what you feel clothes are truly you. Be honest with yourself about what you will and won’t wear. Don’t be afraid to let go of items you no longer need, you can always replace them with more suitable and loved pieces. When we limit our overflowing wardrobes we reduce the stress we encounter with picking an outfit before running out the door. Give your morning self a break adopt a capsule wardrobe and simplify your life in 2018.

9. Eat less and be more mindful with food

I have been extremely guilty of this this past year of not watching my food consumption as much as I should have been. With You Tube, TV, Netflix, Messenger Chats and all other distractions we can sometimes find ourselves not even aware of how much we are eating. Simplify your life in 2018 by being more mindful of what food you are eating and how much of it. Take your time eating. Acknowledge whether you are full and stop eating if you are and try and take not of whether you are just eating out of boredom.

10. Reduce Stress

Identify things that cause stress and aim to minimise or eliminate them. Is your work a toxic environment? Consider changing jobs. Is your housework overwhelming you? Consider hiring a cleaner to come out and take the load off you. Is going out all weekend not allowing you the time to reset and unwind after the work week? Limit your outings on the weekend to one or two so that you have time to catch up on things at home and to relax. Pay attention to the signs. If your heart rate elevated? Is breathing difficult? Do you feel overwhelmed and like you can’t stop worrying about things. If things are not something you can solve on your own ask for help. An outsiders point of view can help you to see the issues that might be causing you stress but aren’t so obvious to you.

11. Limit your exposure to advertising

There is nothing more meaningless than spending your time watching ad after ad. Find ways to limit this and simplify your life in 2018. Some examples I employ are arriving at the cinemas later so I skip the ads (I do enjoy watching the upcoming movie trailers though!). Sign up for Spotify membership and listen to your favourite music without the ad interruptions. Reduce watching TV or stick to ad free streaming services such as Netflix. Be more selective of magazines that you buy as a large portion of them are just advertising.

12. Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions

Having an overflowing inbox with unopened email after unopened email can be soul destroying. Simplify your life in 2018 by eliminating unnecessary subscriptions from your inbox. Simply unsubscribe from each email as they come in if you feel that that do not add value and are cluttering up your inbox. Not only will this save you potential money when you are no longer bombarded with sale after sale notification, but will save you valueable time opening excess emails and managing them in your inbox.

13. Automate your finances 

Take the stress out of budgeting and managing your finances and simplify your life in 2018 by automating your finances. Remove any temptation to spend all your pay check by paying yourself first and saving from the get go with little thought or pain. Once you get used to your new savings transfers you will adapt to your new spending allowance and not feel like you are depriving yourself. With each pay it will get easier!

You’ll also save yourself the work of doing the transfers manually each pay and get the joy of watching your savings account grow over time! Take this a step further and set your main bills to be direct debited where possible to save you time making payments. Just confirm they were deducted and save yourself the hassle of making those monthly payment manually!

Related Article: Check out How I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism 

14. Limit your mail

With a simple phone call you can get all your bills emailed to you and skip the hassle of sorting through mail each week. This will not only eliminate having to go through your mail but also avoid that pile up of bills that is inevitable. You can also set up automatic filters based on keywords in you gmail account that will digitally file your bills for you, not need to do any physical filing at home! Simplify your life in 2018 further by limiting time wasted on collecting junk mail by sticking up a no junk mail sign on your letter box. If you really need something you can quick google it to find the best prices!

15. Pack less when travelling

As someone who travels a few times a year this has really saved my own sanity. In the past I would have packed 23kg of luggage to the brim plus carry on assuming I would need more than I really did. The next time you travel pack minimally. It will mean less frustration at the airport and commuting with your luggage weight less, less stress worrying about getting things to fit in your suitcase on travel days, or fitting things into your car, it’ll be easier to find things in your bag as you need them and you will save money on baggage fees is you are flying!

What changes have you implemented  to help you simplify your life? What do you want to do to simplify your life in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂








10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to Add Value to Your Life, Not Stuff!

With the gift-giving season fast approaching it’s the perfect time to rethink our normal gift-giving practices and adopt new ones. Gifts can help us to show how much we care for a loved one but they don’t have to be things in order to add value to their lives! Even with the best intentions, buying stuff can cause friends and family long-term clutter problems.

There is the guilt associated with receiving an unwanted gift that we have no use for. The worry of where to store or display another gift, that may have been extremely thoughtful but you know that space is severely lacking in your home. There is also the stress associated with buying a large amount of gifts with a limited budget. Not to mention the inner struggle of trying to guess what someone else might need or like when most people probably have everything that they need.

Sometimes the best gifts are not things at all and are just as valuable and useful to us. A donation of time to a family member in need, covering an expense that adds value to our lives or gifting an experience can provide a truly memorable gift that will be remembered long after that new set of tea towels you didn’t even need are forgotten.

If you are looking to simplify your life and holiday gift preparation consider giving a minimalist inspired gift. Here are 10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to add Value to your Life, Not Stuff for your loved one that will hopefully bring a smile to their faces and add value and joy, not more clutter to their lives.

1.  A Gift Card for a consumable
Is there something they need or love? Consider a gift card for a consumable such as a subscription service they love. Examples are Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Netflix, Spotify etc. They can read or listen to their favourite book or have a month of movies and TV shows on you!

2.  A movie gift box.
Let them enjoy a night in or out on you. Include a Netflix gift card or tickets to their local cinema, popcorn, drinks and snacks. Check out this movie gift box for some inspiration.

3.  An experience gift.
Such as ticket to the zoo, aquarium or the observatory. Other options are tickets to a show, game, or to see their favourite band.

4. Offer your time or skills.
Does someone you love need a babysitter, help with doing jobs around the house, someone to teach them to cook? Or simply offer to take them someone special. Sometimes donated time can be the greatest and most helpful gift.

5. Get artsy or crafty.
Put your creative talents to good use. If you are a sewer, writer, singer, painter, photographer, give a personal creative gift to someone special.

6. DIY beauty products.
Unleash your inner beautician with some Pinterest recipes of beauty products for lip balm, bath bombs, facial or hair masks. Some great ones are Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub and DIY Home Made Soap Jellies.

7. Give the gift of food!
Everyone loves dessert, you can’t go wrong with this one! Some ideas are an ice cream box with different ice cream toppings and sauces, a waffle box, home made-brownies or cookies.

8. Their favourite beverage.
Let’s not forget the drink lovers. Cater to your loved ones preference whether that be wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, tea, coffee or hot chocolate!

9. Contribute to their upcoming holiday.
If your friend or family member has plans to go on a holidays in the not to distant future consider giving them money towards their trip to help them saving up for it. Alternatively ask them if there is a tour or attraction they wanted to do on their trip that you could gift them.

10. The gift of no gift giving obligation
Sometimes the best gift of all is simply saying to your family or friends not to worry about a gift. Gifts involve, planning, shopping, wrapping, carting them around on the day not to mention the cost of buying them. Save your loved one the stress associated with hitting the shops, finding a parking spot and managing the chaotic crowds at this busy enough time of year and give them the gift of freedom. Freedom from any obligation to buy you a gift so they can invest their time and money in something more valuable to them. Agree to forgo gifts and just enjoy each others company!

What are your minimalist gift ideas? Have you made any new family traditions around gift giving? Do you and your friends say no to gifts or have you found more creative ways to give at Christmas and other special occasions. Please share your ideas to simplify in the comments below!

 >>Heading off this Christmas season? Check out these 16 Easy Tips To Pack Minimally for Your Next Trip!

16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel

What you pack can have a huge impact on the enjoyment of your travels. Packing with less can ensure an easier, less stressful travel adventure! Photo by: STIL

I’m back! I’ve just spent an amazing month travelling around Europe. It was my second trip there and I tried to soak in every minute of it. Of course every holiday must come to an end and I was quite glad to be home after a month of hauling our bags around from destination to destination.

This trip was a bit different than past travel as we were spending the first leg of the trip with the band doing a couple of shows so had to travel with our guitars as well as our luggage to all destinations. Unfortunately sending our stuff home was not an option. Many dollars were spent on that luggage, carting it across eight flights not too mention much the difficulty of carrying around 8kg backpacks on top of our other baggage. Not to say that we packed excessively but the situation certainly wasn’t ideal.

I looked over at travellers with one small carry on bag and envied them to no end! A man caught my eye walking around at Buckingham Palace with his tiny suitcase. At the same time, I watched people in the check in lines with bag after bag of stuff trying to assess what on Earth they possibly needed to bring in all those bags. (Faroese and Icelanders you are completely exempt your prices are ouch!). I knew where I wanted to be on the packing spectrum!

I was keen to take on the challenge of fitting our stuff into one suitcase for a month in Europe to see how little I could travel with. After travelling numerous times around the world I feel like with each trip I learn to get by with less and less and definitely feel that having less is more.

Here are 16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel that have helped me keep our baggage minimal and essential.

  1. Use packing cubes to organise clothing.

I have never used these previously but was convinced after watching many packing videos that they were bound to make life on the road easier and more organised. On most trips I have found myself trying to find a sock or pajama top or something that was lost in the midst of my luggage bag, only to destroy the organisation of my bag in order to find said item. With these I could simply take them out and place them in a drawer or shelf and easily find what I needed.

These were a complete lifesaver on our trip. At one point we were over our baggage limit and facing the prospect of open our baggage and go through our unmentionables in view of the line behind us, we simply grabbed one of the larger packing cubes out to hold and voila we were under the baggage limit! They also give you a little piece of mind that if you ever had an issue with your luggage breaking you can easily grab your packing cubes and avert any huge crisis!

2. Use small containers for beauty products, creams etc. 

If you’re anything like me you have a myriad of beauty products that come with bottles of all shapes and sizes. When you are trying to pack these for a trip those large bottles can quickly add weight to your bag and take up considerable space. I love travelling but I am not going to do without my creature comforts.

For the past few trips I have been utilising small containers to help myself pack minimally and reduce the amount of products and large bottles I need to bring. These are great for storing bulky products like night creams, hand creams, moisturisers, toner, exfoliator etc.  They can be found at any cheap shop, grocery store, chemist or online. I particularly love the silicon squeezable tubes that are so easy to use and store a lot more of your product! I now can easily fit my different beauty needs without taking up too much valuable space.

3. Roll your clothing

Rolling your clothing can help you better organise your stuff. It can help you see what you have at a glance rather than piling everything on top of one another. It also helps to reduce your clothes from getting wrinkled. Some believe rolling your clothes creates more space but Tortuga Backpacks suggest that it only moves the space from the sides to the top of the bag. On my trip I personally felt like rolling did make it easier to fit more stuff in so would recommend it. Rolling your socks and packing them into your sneakers or shoes can save some extra space as well!

4. Pack enough clothes for seven days only 

It can be amazing how long you can survive with a small wardrobe! For Europe I packed two pairs of jeans, two other bottoms, a dress, two jackets, a pair of swimmers, two pairs of boots and a pair of thongs and about ten shirts. I thought that that would be a minimal wardrobe but when having access to a washing machine in our Airbnbs I really never got close to running out of clothes. If you have access to a launderette or washing machine or even, just hand wash your clothes as you need them you can help you get away with even less.

5. Pack a capsule wardrobe 

By packing a capsule wardrobe you can pack minimally and ensure that your outfit packing choices can mix and match and give you a range of outfits to choose from. By sticking to 2-3 main colours you can ensure most clothes can be worn with others and increase your options.

6. Review the weather of your destination before packing

On my first trip to Europe I was still new to overseas travel and really had no idea what weather I was in for. I packed a few summery items as we travelled in late September and I figured like our Autumn, it would still be reasonably warm. It wasn’t. I did not think to pack scarves, beanies, gloves or a warm enough jacket and so a lot of my packed luggage went unworn. The same thing happened for Thailand, I packed two pairs of jeans and didn’t wear them after I got off the plan and ended up having to buy a few clothes that were more weather appropriate.

I knew the next time I travelled I would be more prepared! Before you head overseas review the weather forecast for the locations you are going and research on Pinterest what to pack for your destination and the appropriate season. Don’t pack a bag full of things you won’t need and regret leaving the things you will at home.

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits of a Smaller Home

7. Limit shoes 

Where possible limit your shoe selections to 2-3 pairs including a pair of comfy walking shoes. On my first Europe trip we both ended up binning a pair of shoes we had that became increasingly uncomfortable to walk in and ended up buying new ones which isn’t the easiest when you are in a foreign country (and certainly not cheap!). Don’t get carried away trying to bring a shoe for each occasion or outfit. Ideally bring something for walking, something dressier and if necessary something activity appropriate like hiking books or things if you plan to go to the beach.

8. Download Audio and eBooks before you leave home

In the past I would often bring two books to read on a trip. One I was currently reading and another to start when I finished. Sometimes this became bothersome particularly if I didn’t end up reading much on my trip and still had to lug around a book. Give yourself some space and get the Audible or Kindle app before your trip  or OverDrive to save on valuable space without forgoing your reading.

9. Keep make-up minimal

Make up products can easily get out of hand travelling. Stick to your favourite products and avoid doubles. Bring one foundation, one eyeshadow pallete, blush and so on. Just stick to the basics. I found on my trip after bringing a small bag of make up I ended up only using about six items each day. My ideal six were; mascara, eyeliner, BB cream, blush, & an eyebrow pencil with some lucas paw paw ointment.

10. Get a travel perfume/cologne spray bottle

Bringing a bulky perfume bottle can be avoided by buying perfume travel bottles. This also avoids the risk of your bottle being damaged in transit and save you valuable space. (NB: Try and find a quality one, my $2 version leaked on the flight over :()

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out The True Cost of Our Stuff

11. Limit Hair Tools, products and accessories

Pack minimally by not going overboard with the hair stuff. If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb they will most likely provide you with a sufficient hair dryer. Bring the hair straightener if you absolutely have to. You’re on holidays leave the fancy stuff for home!


12. Limit your accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum, the last thing you want to worry about overseas is losing a sentimental piece of jewellery. Pick a handful of accessories to bring with you and leave the others at home. Two necklaces, one bracelet, a belt, a watch, one other pair of earrings and a pair of sunnies should be more than enough to accessorise with. Wear one piece and pack the other to limit what is in your baggage even further. I bought two necklaces, a watch, sunnies and a mix of bracelets and that was plenty for me 🙂

13. Use products that double up for other uses

Using Dr Bronners soap can give you one soap for a variety of uses. It can be used as a facial cleanser, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and hand soap to name a few. This can save you bringing many other products or buying any at your destination. Moisturiser can be used as eye make up remover as well as shaving cream. A microfibre towel can be a back up towel as well as a handy tool for drying your washing.

14. Pack clothes that are easy to dry

Where possible pack a few items that can be washed and dried easily to help your clothes dry faster. The quicker your clothes dry the quicker you can be wearing them again.

15. Downsize your handbag and wallet

Before you leave for your trip, clear out your wallet of any receipts, cards etc that you will not be needing. Only bring the essential. Leave your over-sized handbag at home as well and opt for a smaller bag that will be easier to carry day to day. Preferably an over the shoulder ones so your hands can be free.

What are your tips to pack minimally? Do you travel with the same number of clothes for each trip? Share your tips for travelling minimally below in the comments 🙂




17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life

Photo by on Unsplash

Do you buy things frequently on impulse without thought to whether you truly need something or what you will use it for? You might be a mindless consumer.

Consuming is a necessary part of life. We need things to survive and thrive and at other times consuming brings us happiness. We work hard for our money so why shouldn’t we reward ourselves with nice things? This is all fine and life shouldn’t be about constant deprivation, but there is a point when consuming can become mindless consumption  and get out of hand, causing harm that may not be easily identifiable to most.

Have you ever done the following; bought two of something when you only needed one because it was on sale, bought something you saw in a shop without giving consideration to how or where you were going to store it or bought something only to realise when you got home that you already had that item and had just forgotten or misplaced it? These are tell tale signs of mindless consumption. 

Mindless consumption occurs when you buy without thought, usually on impulse. If you mimic these behaviors you might be carrying out behaviour that is consistent with a mindless consumer:

  • You hit the shops regularly, particularly to alleviate boredom to browse the aisles or shelves to see what takes your fancy
  • You spend hours each week at the shops and consider shopping your hobby
  • you buy things on credit because they were not a planned purchase so you didn’t save up in advance in order to purchase the item
  • you buy things just because they are on sale
  • you buy new clothes when you know that you can’t fit the ones you have in your wardrobe
  • you find it hard to stick to your budget or run out of money well before pay day

If you find yourself buying things you don’t need or that you regret on a regular basis you may need to reassess your shopping habits. Mindless consumption can lead to anxiety and stress. Whether it’s from clutter in your home that makes day to day life harder, stress about keeping up with credit card repayments or buyers remorse when you’ve spent money you weren’t supposed to on things you realise you probably didn’t need.

If you want to change the cycle and learn to be a more mindful consumer check out these 17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life.

  1. Learn to be content with what you have

A large part of our consumer culture is trying to fit in with the people around us. Whether that be having a newer car, most recent fashion, or the most awesome looking holidays. We often compare ourselves to others we see on social media that seem to have perfect lives, disregarding the true picture. It’s unrealistic to compare our lives with others when we don’t know their financial circumstances. Compare apples with apples not apples with oranges!

When we look at others and what awesome things they may have we need to remember that we don’t their income, what expenses they have, how much they save each week or how much debt they have taken on in order to fund their lifestyle choices. Unless they tell us their most intimate financial details we can’t possibly know and we shouldn’t need to worry as we all have our own financials to worry about. Maybe they earn good money and saved up for their car over a period of years or maybe they are living week to week and bought everything on credit. Comparing our lives to others when we don’t know the full picture gives us an uneven viewpoint and takes valuable time away from our own goals worrying about others.

If you don’t have a new car and are driving your regular old car be content that you can get from A to B and not have a car loan to pay each week. If you’re always wanting the next designer handbag or latest Nike runners you will never find happy. With the current weekly fashion cycle there will always be something new and more in than what you just bought there to make you feel inadequate – if you let it. Step outside of the consumer rat race. Make decisions that will benefit your life and increase your true happiness, not to impress others.

2. Look for happiness in experiences not things

Choosing experiences over stuff can lead to more mindful spending and increase happiness levels. Compare your thoughts and feelings about past purchases versus experiences. When was the last time you reminisced about the $500 designer jeans you bought or the must have new heels that were irresistible? Think back to Christmas two years ago. What did you get? Can you even remember? It’s highly likely that you can’t remember the awesome stuff you got at Christmas or what you bought at the mall but you can remember the experiences you had on your last holiday. That is because the memories we create, and the relationships we form and maintain are more important than the gifts that were exchanged or stuff we bought.

Reduce the focus and value you put on stuff. Having 100 pairs of heels might seem like a dream come true but could you be just as happy with 10 killer heels that you love and a relaxing holiday to explore a new and foreign destination? Instead of spending $100 a week shopping on things you will probably leave lying at the bottom of your wardrobe and forget about, imagine if you had instead saved that money and put it towards an overseas vacations with your family or friends. Or signed up for something that truly bought value and happiness to your life like joining a martial arts class, buying tickets to see your favourite band in concert, or getting those singing lessons you always dream about. These things can bring a whole new level of happiness and growth that can continue to bring contentment well after you’ve lost interest in your new purchases.

3. Get hobbies other than shopping

NY Daily News reported that the average women in America spends 399 hours a year shopping over 301 days. Alarmingly, Adweek  published results of a study by Varsity Brands that identified 80% of 13-18 year old girls listed one of their main hobbies as shopping. There is an increasing trend towards spending more and more of our time consuming.

Hobbies can provide us with many benefits; we can get exercise, learn new skills, develop our creativity, make new friends and find valuable uses for our free time that don’t include work or watching TV. Shopping can become an extremely expensive hobby with very little true benefit. There is nothing wrong with  shopping for things that we need as we need them. But when we shop aimlessly and unnecessary, whilst we are stuck in 4 walls searching endlessly for the next bargain we are missing out on other value adding activities like visiting an Art Gallery, learning a new language, spending time exercising out in nature or doing anything else that might be of interest to you. Not to mention the True Cost of all  that stuff that we walk away with including the environmental impact.

If you find yourself hitting the shops every day or very frequently, consider whether you are investing more of your time then you would like at the shops and consider alternative activities that you would enjoy over your next visit to the mall.

4. Stop shopping socially

If your only plans with friends are to go out shopping together reconsider your catch ups and change them to something more rewarding and less detrimental to your wallet. Consider going out for a coffee together instead or a river walk or join a class together. Find a new social activity to replace the regular shopping expedition. Speak to your friends about your desire to spend less time and money at the shops. You may find that they have been thinking the same thing and you can all help each other with your new found goal to reduce your shopping trips. Or if you really do love shopping with a friend, make sure you bring your list that you have built up an thought about over time to help you stick to your goals of shopping more mindfully.

5. Adopt a capsule wardrobe

Reduce the desire to shop for unnecessary clothing by adopting a capsule wardrobe. When you only have 30 or so of your favourite pieces to mix and match in your wardrobe, you will no longer feel the need to continually shop for more clothing as you will be content with what you have in your own home. You’ll also be more aware of what you do. Having a capsule wardrobe will help reduce the impulse buy clothing as you will always have something you love to wear on any given day. Set yourself a new goal, if you bring a new clothing item home that you need to get rid of something else to limit the temptation to buy something you probably don’t need. As you shop ask yourself what am I willing to donate in order to take this home? This will help you to reduce mindless consumption and help you only bring home what you genuinely need and will use.



6. Have a wishlist of things you want

Avoid walking into shopping centres with no plan or purpose. If you walk around aimlessly into store after store, you are guaranteed to succumb to temptation and purchase something you really don’t need. Instead of going to the shops regularly and to browse, only go with a well curated list of things that you need. Add to and build your list over time, this will  allow you to reduce your shopping trips and let you buy what you need in one visit. If you can get your shopping done once a week instead of in multiple trips you are going to see the added benefit of time savings, and we can all benefit from that!

7. Wait 24-48 hours minimum before buying anything

To help you resist the urge for mindless consumption it pays to pause before making purchasing decisions. The bigger the purchase the longer you will need to access the decision you are making. Stopping to think before we hand over our cash or cards can help us resist unnecessary purchases that we will regret later. It also allows us time, particularly for larger purchases to check reviews in a relaxed environment, ask friends for product recommendations and to truly think about the item before you part with your cash.

Having time to carefully consider your purchase before exchanging cash will allow you to reduce the number of items you are bringing into our home impulsively and potentially save you thousands each year. When we stop to think we can help reduce mindless consumption. The smallest pause can make a huge difference. Even if you just leave the shop and decide to think about it a bit more before you part with your cash you can always come back to the shop before you leave.

8. Be patient and wait for the right item

Sometimes we can find something close to what we want and by it only to find what we actually wanted soon after. To help avoid this and mindfully consume we need to be patient. Ask yourself what is the ideal item I have in mind for this item I am after? Think about the features you want in it. If it’s a new backpack, maybe you want something that is fold-able, has hidden zippers, a bottle holder, rain cover and is blue. Don’t grab just any bag or the one that is on special. Hold out for the one that you want with the features you need.

I wanted a rose gold necklace and found one that I really liked which was only $4. I was so tempted to put it into my basket but I wasn’t sure if it was what I truly was after. I imagined what necklace I would by without hesitation right now if I saw it and it wasn’t the one I was holding so I put it back. Asking yourself ‘is this something that I will be happy with no matter what other item I found from here’ can help you make the right purchase decision.

9. Declutter your belongings

One of the biggest reasons we are mindless consumers is because we don’t know what we already have. If your wardrobe is overflowing and your drawers are packed full to the point where you struggle to close them it’s highly likely that you probably have forgotten about what you even own. Out of sight out of mind right?

After decluttering over half my belongings, my need to consume reduced drastically. I soon realised what items I bought unneccessarily and what I wouldn’t buy again. I learnt what clothing and shoes I liked and what I didn’t. Decluttering your stuff will show you how little you need to be happy what you can live without. It has the added bonus of ingraining in you how much money you have previously wasted. Every time I sold something for $10 and thought how much money had gone down the drain was a lesson for me to change my old consumer ways! I now know that I don’t need ten pairs of great jeans and that owning three is more than enough and know I never want to revert back to my overflowing chaotic wardrobe of the past. Here’s a list of where to start!

10. Learn to differentiate needs versus wants

The next time you feel the urge to buy yourself something ask yourself is this a need or a want. Learning the difference between the two can be budgetary speaking – life changing. Buying what you want over what you need could mean the difference between a future home filled with endless trinkets and decor pieces, with the stress and time outlay that comes with maintaining your stuff, with a side of sky rocketing consumer debt. Sticking to only buying what you need more often than not can mean achieving freedom from debt much sooner and a life of contentment with only the most valuable items to you.

Maybe instead of buying that lovely aqua vase you can just admire it, accept that it is a lovely piece of decor and acknowledge that you already have a lovely vase at home and there would be better uses for that cash such as saving it rather than buying another decor piece to dust every week. If you ripped your jeans and only have one other pair, then it’s safe to say you probably do need a new pair and you can go out and replace those confident that you are mindfully consuming.

When you adopt a lifestyle of less you will start to appreciate what you do have much more than ever before and feel most content with less as everything you do have will serve a purpose in your life and hopefully bring you joy in some way.

11. Start saving and investing

Some people genuinely don’t have a plan for their earnings and therefore find themselves trying to find more and more things to spend it on. I recently heard a millenial interviewed about housing costs that said that because she couldn’t afford a house there was no point in saving any of her money. I couldn’t believe my ears? Because buying a house seemed  impossible there was no point in saving for anything. When you have no financial goals mindless consuming can quickly become the norm.

When you change your goals from what you want in terms of physical stuff and instant gratification to what your future you want a whole new change of mindset occurs. You will now have a new idea in mind for your hard earned cash. Instead of regularly blowing $200 on an impulse shop you could save or invest that money for the future. Over time watching your savings or investment increase over time will give you an equally awesome, yet guilt-free buzz!

12. Donate and help others

If you have enough cash to hit the shops every single weekend and buy every new gadget as it hits the store shelves, maybe you could consider an equally rewarding use of you cash. Helping others such as donating to charities instead of consuming can give your happiness levels a much longer lasting boost. Consider the joy you feel when buying a new top versus the joy you would feel knowing that you had donated to a worthy cause and changed someone in needs life for the better!

If you have endless time to scourer the mall and aisles, maybe your time could be better utilised volunteering to help others in need. Find a charity that resonates with you and one that you would feel pride helping. Donating our time or money can bring us a much greater sense of purpose and joy.

When we want less, we are able to give more.

13. Say no to debt and buy in cash

There is no greater way to encourage mindful consumption than to pay with purchases in cash. The simple rule is if you don’t have cash then you can’t afford it. Just because after pay is available doesn’t mean it is a good idea. And we all know it is so much harder to pay for something after the thrill of buying it is over.

If you want to truly know if something is worth buying and a mindful purchase, save up for it! Wait whatever time it takes to put that money away for it. Every time you are willing to sacrifice going out for dinner or happy to skip the morning coffee you will know that what you are saving to buy is going to add value to your life and something you are willing to make sacrifices to get.

When you finally buy your item you can truly appreciate it for the hard work you put in and know you can walk away with your new awesome purchase completely debt and repayment free!

14. Borrow or buy things second hand

The next time you are on your way to the shops to buy something ask yourself could I borrow this or buy it second hand? I recently planned to buy an electric sander which was only $80, my thought process was – oh that’s not too expensive, I will just buy it. I then considered whether I could borrow it instead and asked around and managed to borrow one off my step father for free. My last photo shoot I wasn’t sure what to wear and managed to borrow a beautiful dress off my sister in law for the day that cost me nothing! Each of this little changes to buying habits adds up and in time you can return the favour.

Ebay, Gumtree and sites like Craigslist have opened us up to more options for things we need but don’t necessarily need to buy new. By borrowing or buying something second hand we can not only save money, but can help the environment by reusing something rather than having it end up in landfill. Thrift shops are also a great option to find pre-loved items on the cheap.

15. Ignore the catchy sale signs

I used to swoop to those sale racks or tables as quick as anyone else ever did. It’s what frugal people do right, who would pay full price? Maybe so, but it’s only frugal if you are buying something you need, not something just because it is on sale. Often people get caught up in the ‘savings’ and hype of a bargain. If you bought one $50 top and got one free you didn’t save $50 you spent $50. The next time you are at a sale rack ask yourself this:

“If this was full-price would I be willing to buy it”?

If the answer is no, then maybe you are just buying it because it is on sale and you need to reconsider your decision. If your answer is a resounding yes that would show that you have made an informed decision and found the perfect item, ideally an item that you love, that sparked joy and fit perfectly and made you feel great. When you stop buying things just because they are on sale you can start buying what you really want – even if it is full-price – as long as you are sure that it is what you truly want rather than just a spur of the moment decision.

16. Educate yourself on waste and the impact on the environment 

By educating ourselves we can open our eyes to the negatives of our consumer culture and mindless consumption and it’s impact on the environment. ABC’s War on Waste recently reported that Australian’s are disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every ten minutes. Being aware of our environmental impact can help us make better decisions. Sometimes we need that extra nudge to kick us into action and make changes to our consumption behaviour.

When we realise that our purchasing decisions can make an impact on the environment or other people or animals lives that can aid us to make more mindful consumption choices. When we see the level of waste that occurs we might think a little bit more about each purchase. It could be a simple decision to buy more quality, timely pieces that last longer rather then cheaper pieces that end up in landfill in 12 months time or after a season.

17. Learn to value your time

One trap of the consumer culture is that we all seems to lose sight of the value of time. We are all so focused on getting more and more money and more and more stuff and forgetting our most important resource – time. A resource that we can never get back.

Think back to all those hours you spent shopping. Whether it be at the mall or online, or browsing Amazon. Not to mention the time spent in traffic getting to the shop, the time spent waiting in line or to try those clothes on. Think of what you could have done instead with all that time! Was everything you bought last year worth the time you spent earning it? Or even everything you have ever bought? I am certainly no stranger to wasting money on things I didn’t need and that I eventually regretted buying. In order to assess this it can be helpful to calculate our purchases in hours, that is the time taken to earn the money spent as opposed to dollars.

As an example, you earn $20 an hour and want to buy a new handbag for $120. That handbag is also costing you 6 hours. So the total cost is really $120/6 hours. Does this change your decision? In order to mindfully consume we need to take into account the whole picture for each purchase. Not just the cost to our wallet but the time lost. When you take both into account the cost seems a little less ideal – even if it is on sale! This isn’t to say that nothing is worth our money and we should never buy anything and just hoard our money but considering the time cost goes a long way to helping us make more mindful consuming decisions.

What helped you to become a more mindful consumer? What tips to you have to limit impulse purchases that might be helpful to others? Please share your experience and tips 🙂



5 Lessons I Learned from my Capsule Wardrobe

When picking your capsule wardrobe aim for comfortable, versatile pieces that you love and you'll never feel the need to go back to a packed closet again

For some time now I have been attempting to adopt a more streamlined, thoughtful and less excessive wardrobe. This June I decided to make it official and adopt a 30 items capsule wardrobe for the June to August winter months. I didn’t want to make it too onerous so I limited the 30 items to clothing, and excluded, jewellery/accessories, underwear, gym and lounge-wear.  

We’re four days into spring and after three months of living my capsule wardrobe I thought I’d reflect on the process of choosing my capsule and what I learned and do a Winter Capsule Wardrobe update!

Here was my breakdown of my Winter Capsule Wardrobe:

Shirts – 9

Long sleeved shirts – 6

Coats, Jackets – 3

Jumpers/Cardis – 2

Pants – 5

Skirts – 1

Scarves – 1

Shoes – 3

Total clothing pieces 30  


Here are my main take aways from adopting a capsule wardrobe this past season:

1. You need less clothing than you think you do
I’ve previously tried to limit my clothes to a reasonable number but never gone through the process of setting a limit. I was surprised after three months that I managed to stick to a 30 item wardrobe and had 4 items still left untouched over that time (see the backwards hanger method for how I monitored this).

In three months using a capsule wardrobe, I managed to wear only 26 items of the 30. I was really amazed that I didn’t need a huge number of clothing. I never felt like I was too restricted and was wearing the same clothes over and over again. If anything, I felt like I had more variety than ever as I knew everything I had hung up in my wardrobe was wearable, comfortable and that I loved it. The fact that I could easily see everything in my wardrobe and grab it with ease was a bonus! 

2. Think ahead and be selective about what you pick for the season

A couple of weeks into my winter capsule wardrobe I realised I had a few too many cooler shirts in my capsule that just weren’t cutting it in the warmth department. Particularly as my 30 items had to be suitable for working in an office (which is freezing most days, am I right ladies?). So I decided, in order to ensure the success of my capsule wardrobe and my survival of winter (…okay that was a slight exaggeration) to swap in some warmer long-length shirts whilst removing some of the short sleeved tops during the first couple of weeks. I ensured I still stuck to the 30 piece goal I had set myself.

Towards the end of the period I had some more formal events including a bridal shower and wedding which I hadn’t really accounted for in my winter capsule wardrobe as I don’t normally like to wear dresses in winter, so had to expand my wardrobe to include something a bit dressier for those two occasions.

I’d managed to get through 10 weeks with my regular capsule, but realised in the last two that I hadn’t catered for any more formal events in my capsule.

Try and think ahead about what clothing you will need for the three month period. Do you spend your time in an office, or do you work from home? Do you do yoga every day and live in yoga pants or are you in court for work and need something more dressy. Do you go clubbing most weekends or spend them mostly indoors or in the garden. Try and map out what clothing suits your needs and allocate a percentage of the type of clothing you need for different activities in the week. It could be 60% work, 20% loungewear, 10% gym wear, 10% dressier occasions. Pick your outfit ratios according to the relevant percentages for your lifestyle.  

Bonus tip: Note down what you had in your seasons capsule so if you mix and match pieces across the seasons you will know what to grab when that season rolls around again.

3. Having a capsule wardrobe saves you time and stress

Each morning I knew in seconds what I would wear to work or out for dinner that night. Having less clothes in rotation and selecting easy to maintain clothes meant I didn’t have to waste more time than necessary on washing, folding or ironing them.  

A capsule wardrobe also has other time and stress benefits. I wore a dress I have worn a few times to a wedding last week and got many compliments on it. Barely anyone at that wedding had ever seen me in that dress so it would have been silly to feel self-conscious to re-wear it. Had I been afraid to wear a dress more than once I would have had to not only spend unnecessary money on a new one, but would have had additional time and stress trying to find the perfect dress for the wedding.

4. Having a capsule wardrobe helps you to reduce clothing expenditure
Thanks to my capsule wardrobe I felt less of a desire to go clothes shopping as I knew that for the current season I had everything I needed. Every time I thought of buying something new I had to think would I be willing to get rid of something in my capsule for this new item? Pretty much every time the answer was no. I knew I had something I liked more that had been tried, tested and paid for already at home.

The capsule wardrobe also helped me to avoid the shops unless I had something specific in mind that I needed. As I knew that I could only have 30 items in my capsule wardrobe I made sure that any purchases were quality items that I loved, and felt comfortable in and would get a lot of wear out of them. Check out what I did buy below.

5. Your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be perfect

From this experiment I realised that there was no perfect capsule wardrobe. Through all my efforts of selecting versatile pieces that were comfortable and that I loved, there were still instances where I had to make changes some slight changes. There are no awards for perfection, keep your capsule expectations realistic. 

Whether you have a capsule wardrobe of 30 items or 40 the key is selecting the right number and pieces to suit your lifestyle and needs. At the end of the day any capsule wardrobe is a huge step on the path to more intentional life and will help you reduce the excess in your life. The benefit of this being less stress, less decision making, less spending in your clothing budget or a reduction in your need to shop unintentionally.


If you would like to know more about Minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits or a Smaller Home and How  I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.


One of my goals of having a capsule wardrobe was to reduce my desire to buy more clothes to be content with what I had. I am pleased to say that I achieved this for the most part. Over the past three months I did make a few clothing purchases that I felt were necessary. Although I didn’t avoid buying clothes all together over this period, I was pleased that my clothes shopping became much more intentional and thoughtful. I only replaced or purchased things that I specifically needed and could get a lot of use out of. 

Here is a list of what I bought:

  • 2 Jackets
  • 3 Thermal singlets
  • 2 Thermal long sleeved tops
  • 2 Thermal leggings
  • 2 Pairs of thermal socks
  • 2 Long sleeved shirts
  • 1 Scarf

My criteria for these purchases were:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Are they good quality?
  • Do they feel comfortable to wear?
  • Can I get a lot of use out of them?
  • Are there online reviews that recommend this particular item?

I made sure I tried everything on first to check for comfort and fit (except the socks of course :p). My shopping policy is – if I am too lazy to try it on I can’t buy it policy – which also helps me avoid any impulse decisions and saves me having to return anything I buy that doesn’t fit. I try to, where possible, read reviews online, and reviewed travel blogs about what to wear in particular climates and locations as all of the items purchased I would be able to wear during my upcoming Europe trip. A lot of what I bought was on sale and all were quality items.

Most of these items purchased were external to my capsule. I felt that my 30 item capsule other than a few minor additions was more than enough for my needs which helped me to resist making impulse clothing purchases. I look forward to continuing on with my capsule wardrobe and monitoring my clothing purchases over the next few seasons and see how my clothing purchases will be impacted in the long term!   

If you would like to start your own capsule wardrobe check out How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide for tips on how to pick and check out my Pinterest board for Capsule Wardrobes for inspiration.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Would love to hear what you have learnt from your experience with having a capsule wardrobe and how many items you feel is ideal in yours. Leave your experience in the comments below 🙂



13 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home

Downsizing your home doesn't have to be a bad thing. A smaller home can free up your time, money and mental space for more enjoyable things! Photo: Scott Webb

Living in a smaller house can have some often overlooked benefits. For some time there has been an increasing trend in housing towards larger homes. This was certainly evident in Australia during my upbringing in the 90s and 00s. The average size of new homes in Australia surged by 50 per cent between the mid-1980s and 2010. For a period of about 15 years prior to 2012, the average new house in Australia was bigger than that in the United States.

This trend has since reversed, with homes built in 2015 averaging 231 square metres, down from a record 247.7sqm in 2008-09. With house pricing in Sydney and Melbourne achieving above 13% growth rates annually it’s no wonder the trend for smaller housing is growing. The large home dream with double garage, outdoor entertainment area, and two or three bathrooms is now falling out of even the above average income earners reach.

This may not be ideal for some, but I wanted to share some of the benefits of living in a smaller home to those who might be considering downsizing or who aren’t pleased at the thought of buying a smaller home when the larger ones are outside of their budget.

In 2011 we bought our first home. It was a humble three bedroom home with study, one bathroom, one lounge room and a single garage and most importantly was within the budget we had set. We have been here for 6 years and plan to stay here as long as we possibly can. Here are 13 Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home and why we at least for the foreseeable future plan to stay in our cozy abode.

1. Your mortgage or rent payments will be more affordable
You can’t argue with that. The smaller the home the less you are going to have to fork out for it in rent or mortgage payments each week. I’ve never really understood the mentality where people buy huge homes, which come with huge housing expense outlays each week.

Those same people then proceed to work more and more in order to keep up with their mortgage repayments, leaving them with less time to enjoy their beautiful home or spend time with their family.

2. You’ll buy less stuff to fill it up

What happens when you have two lounge rooms as well as a theatre room, three bathrooms, a guest room, on top of four bedrooms and a study? You inevitably fill it up with stuff. Have you ever walked into a lived in home that left rooms empty? Of course not, who wants an empty room? We don’t want to look poor.

Buying all that extra stuff adds up. The extra lounge at $2000, extra buffet or hutch at $700, another bed $1500, quilt $150, rug $300, TV  $2000 and so on. Think of how much money could be saved if you had less space to fill.

3. You’re not throwing money away in unnecessary storage space

I am a massive fan of housing shows and always find it so bizarre that people insist on buying a huge homes with excess space, no matter how many people are living in the home. One episode a bachelor bought a 4000 square foot home just for him. The logic is baffling.

Others pay for a guest room week after week year after year for the two weekends in a year they have guests. If you work out the math, say 10% of your floor space x your weekly mortgage payment x 52 weeks in the year you could be throwing away $2600 a year on a guest room on a $500 a week mortgage that is only utilised 2 of those 52 weeks a year.

Others pay for a third garage to store boxes of unused stuff they probably don’t need and could just donate or sell. If they bought a home with only two garages or one, they could be savings thousands a year in mortgage repayments (not to mention the money they could earn from selling that unnecessary stuff!)

4. You spend less time cleaning it

There is nothing I love more about having a smaller home than the fact that it only takes me 35 minutes to vacuum and mop my entire house. We have one bathroom and one toilet to clean. One living area. On the weekends this couldn’t be more ideal as we can get our cleaning done fast and go our and enjoy our day.

If you pay for a cleaner it is going to cost you extra each week to cover the additional spaces you need cleaned, so although the house doesn’t take you longer to clean personally, it will cost you more on your cleaning bill.

Got a huge backyard? Well you’re going to be stuck mowing that football field for a couple of hours every few weekends. If you are not a huge fan of that chore it is going to get old fast.

5. You spend less on repairs and maintenance

The more space you have in your home, the more it will cost you in repairs and maintenance. If you need recarpet it, you will be paying a lot more to cover the extra floor area than you would have in a smaller home.

Having a smaller home gives you the ability to save on renovations. Get the renovation you want without spending as much as much as you would of for a larger home.

6. You’ll save on council rates and insurance

By having a smaller home and land size you will pay less in council rates (or land taxes) that are calculated on the size of your land. Your home and contents will also be reduced if your home is smaller and less costly to re-build and you have less possessions to replace in the event of an emergency.

7. You can pay off your mortgage faster

When you have a smaller home, the smaller mortgage that comes with that makes it a lot easier to pay it off and achieve financial freedom. Instead of slogging it out for 30 year you could pay off that mortgage in 20 or 15 years or sooner saving you tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

8. You can invest the mortgage savings

Imagine your $750 weekly mortgage repayment on a house that is possibly a bit on the big side for your or your families needs. It’s got a spare room that you don’t need, you don’t use the backyard and you’re sick of cleaning three bathrooms.

Let’s imagine for a minute that instead of repayments being $750 a week, you downsized to a smaller home and your new repayments are only $650.  Consider now what you could do with that spare cash each week. It’s real money that you can utilise.

If you were willing to downsize to a smaller residence you could invest that $100 a week. Over 15 years and with only a 3% return (Ubank and ING Savings Maximiser current rates) you would have accumulated over $98000. If you invest it elsewhere with a higher return that amount will only increase!

Or even putting that $100 a week away would give you $5200 a year to take your family on an annual holiday or put onto your mortgage to pay it off faster. When your money isn’t tied up in your housing you have more options.

9. You’ll save on Utility bills 

The larger your home the harder and more costly it will be to heat and cool it. I’ve heard stories of bill shock where people have moved into a larger home and see the first electricity bill has doubled from the prior one. If you downsize, you will get the added benefit of downsizing your utility bills.

10. You’ll have more time 

Having a larger home means working more hours and for more years to make the mortgage repayments, keep up with the rates, maintenance etc. The bigger it is the more time you are going to spend cleaning it. Downsize to a smaller home and watch your time free up for more enjoyable activities.

11. Your home will fell more cosy and connected

Having a large home can often feel a bit isolating. One of you is at one end and the other at another end of the house. I find comfort knowing that our home is more cosy, homely and compact and less isolated and empty.

12. It will help you to avoid the clutter monster

Having limited space for stuff will help you to have reasonable limits for how much stuff you can bring into your home. A three bedroom house sets the limit of your stuff to those three bedrooms whilst five gives you the ability to clutter up an additional two rooms.

13. You can free up money for other enjoyable activities 

Minimalism helps you revalue your priorities and find what is truly crucial. This helps you to minimise the excess and focus on the essential. When you realise that you don’t need a huge home with excess storage and a theatre room and gym with a basement you can find the money for more meaningful pursuits.

For us that is travel. We would not be happy with a larger home if that meant that we had to travel less, if at all. Maybe spending less on your housing will free up some cash to spend on your child’s dance classes or be the difference in going out as a family once a week as opposed to once a month.

Do you live in a smaller home? Share the benefits that you have found in the comments below!



How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe: A Guide For Beginners

Building a capsule wardrobe can be a great way to limit stress in your life. By picking a well-curated selection of 30 items of clothing in your capsule that you love, you can ensure you look stylish, and feel great each day with minimal effort!

A few years back at the beginning of my Minimalism discovery I came across the term Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve never been what you would consider a fashionista. My wardrobe normally consisted of jeans and a hoodie and band shirt. My friend and I used to laugh with our thrifty-ness of making old clothes last beyond their years through any means possible. If there was a way to be fashionable, and coordinate an outfit without much thought going into it, this was going to be a game changer for me.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, okay… a lot of Pinning more specifically. Whenever I talk wardrobes with people and mention the concept of a capsule wardrobe I’m often surprised to hear that most people have never heard of the idea. Which is a something I am hoping to change. Read on for how to create your own capsule wardrobe!


Before we start our capsule wardrobe we must understand the benefits. Here are the benefits I have personally found:

  1. Having  a capsule wardrobe means it is less stressful to get ready. It is one less time consuming decision to make during your day so you can focus on more important or enjoyable things like spending time having your morning coffee.
  2. Having all your clothes in one area makes it easier to mix and match your outfits. A well curated capsule wardrobe means that your outfits easily work together and items that suit your lifestyle which in turn leaves your feeling more confident.
  3. It saves you time on your laundry. If you have a capsule of 30 items, you will probably only have one load of washing per person per week. This avoids the dreaded mountain of unwashed clothing that comes with your average wardrobe!
  4. You can feel comfort knowing that everything in your capsule has been hand picked by you and are items that you love. No more walking out the door only to realise the pants you grabbed don’t fit anymore or are uncomfortable.
  5. It will save you money. When you have 30 or so items that you love you feel less of a need to continually hit the shops trying to find the perfect outfit when you have a perfectly amazing wardrobe at home!
  6. It is better for the environment. Fast fashion has created 6000kg of clothing and textile waste every ten minutes in Australia. By choosing to adopt a capsule wardrobe you are helping to reduce the clothing ending up in landfill by only buying quality, loved clothing pieces and being more mindful of what you buy.
  7. Despite what you may think having a capsule wardrobe is less boring and more creative as each day you get to create a new outfit mix, rather than picking the same old items in your overflowing wardrobe.

Now that we understand the amazing benefits of adopting a capsule wardrobe we can get started!


Before you make a start on your capsule wardrobe you are going to need to identify what you want in it. This involves going through your current wardrobe and decluttering and only keeping what you love or in Kon Mari’s words what “sparks joy”. These steps will help you get your decluttering started:

  1. Prepare your working area. Make the bed as a clothing work space, grab a few boxes, containers – whatever you have and label them with the following 4 signs; Keep, Toss, Donate, Mend.
  2. Take all your clothing, all of it, and lay them out on the bed. Grab anything in your washing baskets so you can ensure you haven’t missed anything. If you are someone that only has small pockets of time to declutter you can do this by category such as shoes, shirts, dresses and so on until you have gone through each category. This will make the process slower but is better than not doing it at all.
  3. Next pick out the items that you love and wear on a regular basis from your pile. Put the “love” items into the container marked keep. It is often easier to choose what we love than what we don’t so is helpful to start with the ones you know you wear and love first.
  4. Go through your pile and put anything you don’t like, or don’t wear anymore in to two separate piles. One to be donated, any items that are still wearable. One to Toss, for anything else that is not in good condition. If you have the time and energy, you can also put some of the more pricey donate items into a pile to be sold to add some extra cash into your budget.
  5. If there is anything that you love, but that needs repairing put this into a separate ‘mend pile’ and action these in the next week or so. If they need a new button sew it on, if you need to take it to the professionals put them in your car to take to your alteration store.
  6. Continue to work through your pile until you have sorted all items.

If you are left with anything you are unsure about, I call these the “Maybe”pile you can do the following:

  1. If you are not yet ready to part with items in this pile you can place the items in a container to be stored out of your closet for a short period of time. I recommend no more than three months.
  2. Set a reminder on your phone to review the container once the time limit is up. If you find you do want to use something you’ve stored away, you can go and ‘save’ it.
  3. After three months donate the items in the container. Generally after three months you will realise that you don’t miss the items you stored anymore and don’t need them and be willing to let it go.

>> Check out  9 Decluttering Methods For Your Home for extra tips on methods you can use to declutter your wardrobe and home.

After this process you will now be ready to curate a capsule wardrobe from your newly minimised wardrobe.


Mix and match your favourite colours in your capsule wardrobe. Picking 3-4 colours can make styling different outfits much easier.
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez



It is important to be honest with yourself and what you wear day to day. Are you really going to wear that old bridesmaid dress again? Do you own 5 pairs of short shorts but never wear them? Do you have clothing that needs ironing which you haven’t ironed in six months? This wardrobe is designed for your lifestyle now.

Pick what you love to wear now, what you feel comfortable in and what suits your lifestyle. If you work in an office that might mean more button up blouses, if you are a yoga instructor you might only own one button up blouse and 10 gym outfits. Curate the capsule wardrobe for your present needs.

To make your capsule flow day to day, try and pick a colour theme. Basing your wardrobe around three to four colours is ideal. For example, if your wardrobe is made up of black, white, grey and blue you can mix and match these colours effortlessly. Of course feel free to pick whatever colours you love, it’s your capsule 🙂


Check out Fashion Youtubers such as Lindsay Albanese for tips on How to Flatter Your Body Issues With Clothes to help you pick the right clothing choices for your capsule or watch Jennifer L. Scott’s Ten Item Wardrobe TEDx Talk for tips on where to start with picking the core items for your capsule wardrobe.

My favourite Capsule Wardrobe blogger Courtney Carver’s Project 333 is a great starting point for your capsule wardrobe. Courtney started blogging about her wardrobe of 33 pieces including accessories and shoes in 2010, in which she picks a capsule wardrobe of 33 items including clothes, shoes and accessories for 3 months and changes them out each new season.


Take the Minimise With Me 21+9 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge!



After researching into different capsule wardrobe options, I decided to come up with my own capsule wardrobe challenge. After considering my wardrobe needs I came up with the following:

Two capsule wardrobes that can blend together to fit different areas of your life:

– a 21 item wardrobe for your non-work, everyday life and

– a 9 item wardrobe for work

I don’t wear my work pants or all of my work tops on the weekends, but I do mix and match things like my scarf, some of my tops and coats/jackets so I came up with having a capsule for work and non-work occasions that is still inter-changeable so I can wear pieces for both work and outings but not have my main wardrobe taken up by pieces I only wear to work.

What is excluded: In my capsule wardrobe I exclude pajamas, gym clothes, lounge-wear, swimmers, underwear, singlets or thermals, and accessories.

I feel that buy the time you add in a couple of necklaces, a belt, sunnies, a scarf, a watch and bracelet to your capsule, a lot of your capsule wardrobe limit is taken up so I wanted to be free to mix and match accessories and not focus too much on those limitations within my capsule. By all means don’t go crazy buying 10 belts and 15 pairs of earrings for yours but allows some variety!

The goal is to limit your decision making and stress! My necklace collection is probably larger than others, but as I do wear what I have, I wanted to ensure my capsule didn’t restrict the freedom for me to do that.

What is included: Include all other clothes – pants, tops, dresses, shorts, skirts and so on as well as your shoes.


Grab a pen and paper and create a list for your capsule wardrobe. Start with the numbers 1-21 on a piece of paper for your every day wear and 1-9 for your work wardrobe. Create a blend of items from your new wardrobe of ‘loved’ pieces. Pick ones that are suitable for the season you are going to be in for the next three months. An example of my current winter capsule wardrobe is:

Everyday Capsule (21 items)

Shirts – 10
Coat/Jacket/Jumpers – 4
Pants – 3
Skirts/Shorts – 1
Shoes – 2
Scarf – 1

Work Capsule (9 items)

Work pants/skirts – 2
Work shirts – 5
Long cardi – 1
Shoes – 1

Once you have your 30 items hang them up in your wardrobe and box up the remaining items to be reviewed next season. Don’t go and fill your wardrobe with new clothes now that you have more space unless you are missing key pieces or want to swap out items in your capsule.


If you find 30 items too difficult to get to, aim for close to that. Go up to 35 or 40 items and see if that can work for you. You might find you don’t need the extra items after all or even if you do, you’ve at least come a long way from where you were previously with a bulging wardrobe.


In order to check what you have and haven’t worn without much thought, use the Backwards Hanger Method. Turn all your coat hangers backwards when you start your capsule wardrobe and put worn items back the regular way when they are washed. At the end of the month you will easily be able to see what you did and did not wear. This will help you to make decisions on what to keep in your capsule for the next season and what to donate.

At the end of the three months, check what you did and didn’t wear and alter your wardrobe accordingly.


A good rule of thumb to avoid getting carried away and refilling your newly minimised wardrobe is to implement a one, one out rule. This rule requires you to donate one item for every item of clothing you bring into your home. It will help you resist the urge to buy something unnecessary when you have to think about what  you are willing to get rid of in place of it.

For more ideas on building your capsule wardrobe check out my Minimise With Me Building a Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest for some inspiration. 🙂

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Let me know how many items you find works for you in the comments 🙂