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organisation

Cleaning

How to Clean your House Fast with Speed Cleaning

Speed cleaning can be an efficient way to clean your home with minimal time.

Six years ago I moved out of my parents home into a house of my very own. I was expecting to be on top of this new adulting domestic lifestyle, but to my surprise that wasn’t quite my experience. Now don’t get me wrong I was no stranger to domestic duties. When I was five I was in charge of sweeping the floors, raking the leaves, making my own bed as well as tidying my own room. I was so fiercely independent that at five years old I’d climb up on our kitchen counter tops to reach the plates or what I needed so I didn’t have to wait for someone to get it for me.

By fourteen I was doing my own washing and vacuuming. I did try and get out of the vacuuming for as long as possible but my brother saw through this and taught me how to use our Kirby so I couldn’t get out of that chore much longer after that. I thought I was pretty well adept at this house work stuff and moving into my own home would be a breeze. I knew – I’ve got this!

Going from having the responsibility of looking after a bedroom and bathroom to my own entire home with a backyard was not so smooth sailing as I had hoped. We had a humbled sized abode with a kitchen with limited bench space which made trying to cook a juggling act. Add a newly vegetarian husband to the mix with limited bench space and you’ve got an even bigger challenge trying to keep up with separate meals and excess washing up.

Although we loved out new home, we struggled with limited bench space and cupboards for storage and had a lot of difficulty making our space work. Things were piling up on the bench that we were also trying to prepare food on. By the time we added a microwave, kettle and toaster we had lost half our kitchen bench space and 1/3 of the rest was taken up by our very necessary stove. For a while we just lived day to day through chaos. Being in our mid 20s, we had a busy social life on top of band commitments and full time work and finding the time to clean a home, even our reasonably sized one, seemed like some kind of alien task we were just never going to figure out.

It was at this point I just cracked it and knew something has to change. Trying to cook dinner with dirty dishes piling up everywhere and laundry mountains in multiple rooms had to stop. There had to be a better way and I needed to find it.

HOW DISCOVERING SPEED CLEANING CHANGED MY LIFE

I was determined to end the chaos that was our life and get back some control. I started researching everything I could about cleaning efficiently. Becoming a bit obsessed, I was soon watching  YouTube videos on how to clean your home (seriously Minimisers I was watching people clean! This included the How Clean is Your House show – oh the shame!)). Pinterest also came to the rescue and not before long I had stumbled across the idea of speed cleaning.

I am a massive fan of efficiency and let’s face it, who wants to spend more time than they have to on cleaning their home. This idea of cleaning your home fast really resonated with me. I hated the fact that to have any visitors we had to clean for an entire day and wipe ourselves out. Not to mention that visitors don’t always give you a days notice.

With nothing to lose, I went home that day and gave this speed cleaning a go. I set my timer for ten minutes and started speedily cleaning my kitchen. Looking at the mountain of dishes waiting for me I thought to myself who on Earth can clean a disaster of a kitchen in under ten minutes. I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to clean the entire space within the time allocated. After months of just trying to keep up and putting off the inevitable dreaded cleaning, I realised that this was not something I needed to put off, procrastinate or devote a lot of time to for results.

I had seen the light and this new discovery was not forgotten and certainly didn’t end at the kitchen. I gradually tested for each task until I had found the quickest way to clean all areas of my house in only a small amount of time each day.

HOW TO SPEED CLEAN YOUR HOME

The time is totally up to you and may need to be increased if you have a larger home or a two story home (check out how your cleaning time can be reduced with a smaller home) but anywhere from 5-20 minutes should get you well on your way to a tidy, visitor ready home!

Set your timer for fifteen minutes. Now get started  – you don’t have time to spare if you want to get back to enjoying your day!

1. Walk around your home and grab any dishes, cups and cutlery lying around and run them to the sink.
2. Scrape off any food scraps off your plates and bin any rubbish or anything else no longer needed in the appropriate bins (even with efficiency we still have to recycle :)).
3. Open your dishwasher and empty it as quick as you can if you haven’t already. If you can do this task in the morning it can save you the hassle in the afternoon. (Skip this step if you don’t have one ;)).
4. Start re-loading your dishwasher. If it is full chuck in your dishwashing tablet or soap and let it run. If you don’t have a dishwasher start washing up. Leave clean dishes on the rack to dry. Ain’t nobody got time for dat (hand drying).
5. Spray your benches and sink with your Home-Made All Purpose Cleaner.
6. Run to your living areas and do a quick tidy. Fold the throw rug, straighten up your cushions, put your shoes and any bags or toys, where they belong. Grabbing a washing basket can help you collate any stuff that needs to go back to it’s home elsewhere in the house.
7. Return to the kitchen and wipe down the benches, dining table, stove and sink and if time any marks on the kitchen cabinets.
8. Bask in your newly cleaned living space that hopefully took only fifteen minutes and get back to Netflix and Chill or doing whatever the hell you wanted to! 🙂

Speed Cleaning can be applied all over your home. Whether it be your bedroom, bathroom, laundry, garage – where ever. Just set your timer, get cracking and see how much you can tidy up in a small amount of time!

SPEED CLEANING TIPS AND TRICKS

Here are some extra helpful hints to making speed cleaning work in your home!

1. Speed clean a little each day.
A little goes a long way. If you spend 10-15 minutes a day speed cleaning you are going to make amazing progress in your home with very little time and effort!

2. Ask for help.
Can you imagine what you can get done with two speed cleaners???? I get my husband to help me when I set the timer which means we can cover a lot more in a smaller amount of time. And let’s face it, I am just a weirdo that enjoys racing the clock and any helpers only help you win! Involve your kids and make it a race. I recently watched my friends 3 kids speed clean their toys before bed and they seemed to love it and it was certainly entertaining to watch them race the clock.

3. Grab as you go
Save yourself some hassle by thinking ahead. If you’re walking past a dirty dish in the lounge room and on your way to the kitchen, take it with you! This will save you running back and forth grabbing them during your speed clean. Get your family to adopt this one habit and you’ll be on a path to clean-houseville in no time!

4. Minimise your clutter.
Having less stuff in your home is guaranteed to make your cleaning tasks that much easier. The less you have the less there is to wipe, dust, move, vacuum around and so on. Keep it essential! Check out this list of 101 Things to Declutter to get you started.

5. Apply speed cleaning all over your home and mix it up.
One day clean your bathroom in 10-20 minutes. Even if it’s just a tidy up and wipe down of surfaces. Spend one day on the bedrooms. Another on the living area and so on. If you went out to eat for dinner and the kitchen is spotless from last night pick another are that needs some TLC. Don’t save everything up for one horrendous cleaning day unless you prefer that. I prefer to do things in small chunks and find it more rewarding to have near instant cleaning gratification.

6. Take note of how long it takes you to do each cleaning task.
Knowing that folding a load of laundry only takes 10 minutes might make you less inclined to put off doing it and letting your pile get out of hand. Most chores feel like they take a lot longer than they actually do. You might dread cleaning the shower (isn’t it the worst job guys?! My number 1 disliked chore right there!) but realise that it actually only takes 15 minutes. Maybe your partner and kids would help out around the house more if they knew that vaccuming the entire house only took 18 minutes instead of whatever horrendous figure they have dreamed up.

Do you speed clean your home? Has this helped you to become more efficient in your cleaning routine? Has this helped you get your family on board with cleaning? Share your experiences in the comments below!

If you liked this you may like – How an Organised Space Can Save You Money + 10 Benefits of Natural Home Made Cleaners.

 

Organising

12 Easy to Maintain Car Organistation Tips

A little effort can go a long way when it comes to car organisation. Photo: Karlis Dambrans

Does your car resemble a highly portable rubbish tip? I know your struggle. I used to struggle to keep my car neat and tidy and often shuddered with sheer embarrassment at the thought of having anyone looking into my car let alone entering it.

When everyone was arranging car pooling on a work lunch outing I would wait silently, hoping someone else would volunteer and save me the impending doom that awaited me once anyone saw the state of my commuting “situation”.

When other people would give me a lift I often marveled at the beauty or their organised back  seat, not a thing out of place. I wanted this car sanctuary for myself. I wanted to walk into my car and feel relaxed knowing I could find everything I needed, when I needed it and take on unexpected passengers without ultimate fear of being judged.  

After decluttering my home, I began to transfer the organisation habits I had developed in my home to my car. It was a space that I drove around in every day, and was visible to the world. I felt the need to bring it into alignment with my new-found love of organised spaces.

After implementing these small changes over time I have managed to keep my car tidy on a continual basis which allows me to stay unexpected passenger shame-free and enjoy a space that I spend on average 10 hours a week in.

Try these 12 Easy to Maintain Car Organisation Tips to keep your car organised that only take a small amount of planning and very little work week to week.

    1. 1.

Utilise Note pads

Keep a note pad and pen in your middle console to have handy for any quick notes you need to jot down. This will save you having random pieces of paper strewn around your car (and handbag).

2. Make a plan for loose coins 

Keep a small coin purse (even a zip-lock sandwich bag will do) in your middle console for loose change. Whenever you get any change through the drive through etc, put it in this bag for handy change for next time or parking.

3. Get a bin for your car

Use a large cereal container for a bin. It will only need to be emptied once or twice a week and will keep your car looking much tidier than having rubbish thrown all over the floor. Each time you get to the petrol station or walk past your outdoor bins at home (ours are right next to the driveway) assess your car quickly for any rubbish and take it with you. It’ll only take 20 seconds and make a huge difference! Since becoming more involved in recycling I now generally empty my rubbish each day so I can recycle it if possible.

4. Get some compact reusable shopping bags

Ditch the large re-usable shopping bags for small fold-able ones that fit neatly in your glove compartment or boot and save valuable boot space!  

5. Store loose items in a container

Keep a small container in your backseat to collate loose items like books, kids toys or jackets. Having them in a container is a lot more appealing and practical than having them fly around the seat and floor of  your car.  

6. Organise your returns

Keep a medium sized container in the boot to store any returns you need to take back to the store. It’s pretty amazing the number of times I’ve been at a store where I needed to return something and realised I had left it at home! This way when you are at a particular shop and you know you need to return something you can easily return it and grab it from your boot on the way in. This can also be helpful to store things that you need to give to a relative or friend and keeps it from cluttering up your home.

7. Keep your electronics together

Have a small cosmetic bag or similar to keep all USBs, cables and media that you have in your middle console or glove compartment. This will make them so much easier to locate and save tangled messes.

8. Prepare for unexpected passengers

Leave a microfibre cloth in your car for those last minute emergencies when you need to pick someone up and the car is looking a bit dingy. If you keep a small spray bottle of water handy for those unexpected lifts, most of the marks and dust will clean right up in a flash.

9. Go digital

Digitise your music collection or limit the number of CDs you keep in your car at a time. After buying a car which had no CD player (I somehow didn’t realise this until too late but have adapted ;)) I now keep all my music on USBs or copy them onto my phone to minimise the CDs that seemed to be strewn about the car previously. Before this I used to keep about 8 in my car and swap them out as I needed. You can also get CD wallets to help store extra CDs you want to have handy, whilst avoiding the mess.

10. Consider alternative organising solutions 

Use back seat organisers for organising additional items such as car air fresheners, pocket tissues, kids snacks, stationery etc. Or consider repurposing a cleaning caddy to keep in your boot for longer trips and to keep pens etc tidy when not in use. 

11. Limit what you store or leave in your car

Keep accessories to a minimum. By all means, have your Pop Character, bobbling head or stuffed toy on display but avoid cluttering up your vehicle with excess plush toys or trinkets. Aim to keep only what you need in your car, this will also help make it a lot easier to keep tidier and presentable. Don’t use your car as storage for your stuffed toy hoard.

12. Do a stock-take of your car regularly

Clearing out your car on a regular basis can go a long way to keeping your car organisation in check. Remove your gym clothes from your last session or the clothes you got changed out of on Saturday night at the end of the week. Ask yourself do I need three jackets and 2 pairs of shoes in the car or would one of each be enough to save you in an emergency. Don’t let your car turn into a closet or laundry basket. If it has started to look like that it’s time to clear out the excess!

What tips do you have to keep your car organised? Share them in the comments below! Please share this article if you found value in it 🙂

If you liked this you may also like 13 Budget-Friendly Organisation Tips for Your Home or How An Organised Space Can Save You Money 

Cleaning

4 Daily Habits For a Tidy Home Now!

A few years back I was in a bit of a cleaning and organisation rut. It seemed as though I could never get on top of anything. The dishes would pile up on all of our extremely limited bench space. We would fish out our clean, now wrinkled clothes each morning from the bottom of the basket as there never seemed to be time to put them away. Just hoping that what we were looking for had been washed that weekend. If we had guests coming over it was a huge ordeal getting the house into guest-ready status. We were convinced we needed a bigger home. One with more bench space and bigger area to wash up, a larger laundry room and more cupboard space. It would surely solve everything.

I quickly realised that more space was not the answer (in fact more space = more cleaning and work!) and seeing as we were hoping to own our home sooner than later up-sizing was not going to be an option either. I had to find a way to make what we had work. Coming home to mess, attempting to cook and make dinner with dishes everywhere and trying to use what scrap of bench space I could find could not go on. Life wasn’t meant to be this hard, surely!

Let me tell you it is not! There is a way to get on top of things before they get out of control. The key is to not let is get out of control in the first place and to do a little bit each day. A small amount goes a long way. And it doesn’t take hours and hours! Read on for 4 Habits For a Tidy Home Now! 

  1. Do a general tidy daily

Let’s not build cleaning up to be more difficult than it is. Sure vacuuming and mopping and the rest take a lot of time but we don’t need to have show homes 24/7. A daily habit of doing a general tidy up is good enough. Spend five minutes a day doing a general tidy of the main areas of your home. You’re not going to be able to clean every space, surface, crevice but you will make your home look much more tidy with a small amount of effort.

Set your timer. I use the one on our oven so I know when to stop. During your general tidy go to each area of your home and pick up what doesn’t belong. A clothes basket can work great so you can chuck everything in there and move a lot of things quickly.

THINGS I DO IN MY GENERAL TIDY

  • Hang up the towels in the bathroom and clear the vanity counter.
  • Make the bed.
  • Straighten up the couch cushions and fold the throw.
  • Pick up any clothes on the floor and either throw them in the hamper or hang them up again.
  • Put anything away that’s lying around.
  • Bin any water bottles
  • Move any cups or plates to the kitchen
  • Pick up mess from the floor

If you just do five minutes a day or even just as often as you can, you will be amazed at how much tidier your home will look. If your spouse or kids can help out you will make even more progress. Everyone living in your home adds to the mess- get them involved, delegate!

If after your five minute general tidy is up and you are on a roll then keep going. You’re better off tidying when you feel like it or have the time than to leave it for a day where you just rather not move from the couch.

2. Clean as you go

This is such an important tool for keeping your home tidy. Get in the daily habit of cleaning up as you go. When you are finished with something in the bathroom of a morning, put it back in the drawer or vanity. When you are walking from one room to the next take a second to look around and see what doesn’t belong and grab it to take with you on your way. Are you going out to the car? Grab that bag of donations you’ve had sitting at the door for the past week.

If you want to save time on cleaning and getting back to more enjoyable tasks think ahead and find ways to be more efficient with your time. Are you waiting for the microwave for five minutes? Go and clean up the mess from your meal prep or empty your dishwasher. Utilise what little time you have! Once you get used to this daily habit it will become part of your routine.

>>  If you are interested in getting organised you might find value in

4 Tips to a More Organised Life!

3. Clean your kitchen daily

For me, cleaning the kitchen was the one daily habit that drastically changed my cleaning habits and stress levels. I used to feel completely overwhelmed with dirty dishes and marks on our bench tops that had hardened and become difficult to clean. I would struggle to cook and prep dinner with our limited bench space covered with last nights dishes that I just had not got around to yet. And try cooking anything when your sink is over flowing. It’s just going to make your daily life much harder than it needs to be.

A chaotic kitchen can add so much unnecessary stress and being the hub of the home, it’s rare that you can ever walk past without seeing the mess piling up. Set yourself a new daily habit of tidying the kitchen. I used to put this off as it would get so out of hand that I would need a good half hour to get it back in order but now i set the time for 7-10 minutes and knock it out as fast as I can. I find it a challenge to work against the clock and love how efficiently I can clean my kitchen with a bit of forethought.

ALLOCATE YOUR TIME

Work out a time each day where you can spend 10 minutes on your kitchen.  Whether it be in the morning, when you get home from work, or before you go to bed. Whenever is most convenient for you. The key is doing it every day so there is no mass of dishes you have to sift through. Set the timer and get started.

MY KITCHEN CLEANING METHOD:

  1. Grab all your dirty dishes from wherever they may be (save yourself some time and effort insist on a rule after meals all dishes and cups are returned to the kitchen!). Soak any in hot soapy water that you need to wash.
  2. Spray all surfaces with an All Purpose Cleaner so that can break down your stains whilst you get onto the dishes.
  3. If you have a dishwasher quickly unload it (if you unload it in the mornings and load in the afternoon this will make like easier :)) and put all your dirty dishes in. If you don’t have one, quickly arrange your dishes into plates, cups, cutlery and bigger items like pots and start washing.

I let my dishes dry on a drying rack and put them away when they are dry (hey ,we’re trying to save time and make life easier here, let’s not do things that we don’t have to ;)).

4. Then wipe all surface areas. The stains should easily come off after being broken down by your All Purpose Cleaner.

Hopefully you’ll be done before your timer goes off. If not I promise you it won’t be more than a few extra minutes and the next morning when you see your beautifully clean kitchen and when you go to cook the next night you will not regret the effort 🙂

4. Don’t let your laundry pile up

I’ve never really understood why people have wash days and tackle their entire laundry pile in one horrible sounding day. I like to plan ahead for my washing. I certainly don’t wash everyday (thank you Minimalism!) but I prefer to do it in manageable chunks.

Make it a daily habit to do your washing. Now I personally don’t have enough washing to wash daily, but it’s certainly a daily habit to check if I do or don’t. I normally throw on a load of washing on Friday before I go to work and hang it out in the afternoon (Love that timer function!). By Friday I have a full load of darks so hold off until I have a full load.

Saturday morning I’ll then wash and hang out another and set another load to go before I head out for the day. Sunday is then just a catch up day for towels, sheets and anything else that needs to go in. Again get someone to help out if that is possible. My husband and I both do washing. I work full-time and have more important things to do than spend hours each week washing.

BONUS TIP

Consider decluttering your wardrobe! If you have 50 shirts to wear and 10 pairs of jeans you are going to be washing 50 shirts and 10 pairs of jeans in a never ending pile of washing. Set yourself a more realistic laundry limit and wash regularly.

Don’t let that pile get a mile high whether that be washed or unwashed, as it will just be so much harder to tackle and get motivated.

If you chip away at your washing, load by load, and make it a daily habit to at least check your clothes baskets to see if you have enough for a load, you will save yourself the stress of endless baskets in your laundry and waiting to be folded.

These are the four daily habits I have implemented in my routine and I have never felt more on top of things in my home.

Try them and comment below to let me know if you feel things are getting less overwhelming!

Feel free to share any daily tips that you use to keep your home tidy! My goal is to help you minimise the excess in your life so you have more time for the essential!

Organising

4 Tips to a More Organised Life

Cathryn Lavery

I’ve always been a keen organiser and to do list maker. Some time back my organisation needed an overhaul. You see, I was an avid post-it-note user. As you can imagine, this wasn’t the most effective means of staying organised, no matter how well intentioned my efforts were. Most of the time my post-it-notes would end up at the bottom of my handbag, scrunched up or would just disappear off the face of the Earth. Worst case, I’d end up with something leaking in my handbag ruining my organisation attempts. (Just a quick disclaimer, I am more organised these days, but after spilling 20% of my coke zero in my handbag earlier today I am definitely still working on that side of things ;))  

I still use a mix of handwritten and digital methods to keep myself organised. I find a balance of both helps. There’s no greater satisfaction than ticking off completed tasks on paper but I also enjoy the convenience of having 24 hour access to my digital organisation versions.

Here are 4 Tips to a More Organised Life I recommend to help you on your journey to kick-ass at organisation!   

  1. Start a Bullet Journal

I discovered bullet journals about a year ago and have been keeping one ever since. It helps me to keep all my thoughts in one place and have a plan for action. Even better you can personalise it to suit your needs and schedule. I like to do a week to a page as well as a page for the monthly calendar and monthly goals. In the weeks plan I include the following:

  • To do list
  • Weekly Meal plan
  • House tasks chores I need to do
  • Monday to Friday Weekly schedule with dates for plans and appointments
  • A ‘To buy’ list for any items I need to buy that week such as birthday gifts
  • Exercise plan to mark in gym days and other exercise

On my monthly page I mark in any upcoming appointments or scheduled plans for the month ahead so i can see my month at a glance. I also make note of my goals for the month on the page to the right. It certainly beats my old post-it note system and I find it extremely satisfying ticking things off my list as they are done. Is there any greater joy? 

You can make your bullet journal as simple or creative as you like it’s totally up to you! If you love drawing or are artistically creative I’m sure yours will look a lot better than mine 😛 

For anyone else a bit stuck on what to include in their bullet journal or how to get starter there are many Pins on Pinterest to help you get some cool ideas and inspiration.

And of course the organisation doesn’t end here. There are a myriad of things you can use your bullet journal for:

  • Tracking your debt journey
  • A habit journal to record your achievements e.g. exercise daily, water intake, taking your vitamins, eat fruit
  • List such as books to read, books I’ve read, documentaries to watch
  • A record of things you want to do around the house
  • Keeping track of your savings balances
  • Weight goals
  • Recipe ideas
  • Cleaning schedules
  • Favourite quotes

The greatest things about the bullet journal is you can tailor it to suit your life and sometimes it feels nice to crack out the texters and coloured pens (stationery lovers I’m looking at you!).

 

  1. Three Item Task List

Sometimes our to do lists can look so overwhelming that we don’t know where to start. Looking at a list of ten things might make it hard to prioritise what is the most important and can be an extremely unrealistic goal. And let’s be honest trying to do a large number of things in a small space of time can often mean we make not progress on any.

The key to achieving our goals is to set realistic ones. If you try and attempt 10 things on your to do list today you are probably going to fail. A good tip to limit the fear of your to do list is stick to a list for each day of the 3 most important to do tasks.

Pick the three things that you feel are the most important to be done today. The ones that if left incomplete have the most consequences. Once you have completed those three most important tasks, you will feel a great sense of achievement that you met your days goals. If you feel like you’re on a roll and could do more than three go for it, but only do this once you have done your top three items. By the end of the week you could have up to 21 tasks on your to do list cleared off. For more on list organisation method read Joshua Becker’s Accomplish More with a 3-Item To Do List.

>> If you like this, you’ll love: “12 Simple Bedroom Organisation Tips!

  1. Google Calendar to keep track of your schedule

I have been using my google calendar for years and would be lost without it. Although the bullet journal is great for writing down your tasks and plans, there is nothing quite like having access to your calendar no matter where you are. I don’t carry my bullet journal out with me on nights out and there is the chance you could leave it at home one day. A wall calendar just never worked for me. You can only view it when you are home and it’s not ideal for making plans or appointment on the go.

Typically you will always have your phone or access to a PC so there will be very few occasions where you aren’t able to check your calendar. Each time I make any plans it goes straight into my Google Calendar to make sure I don’t lose track of it and forget. There is so much to remember day-to-day and we should utilise what tools we have to make our life easier. Another advantage of the Google Calendar is you can share it with whomever you need – your spouse, team, colleagues. It can help everyone stay on the same page as to what is happening when. I’m sure there are other digital calendar out there but I have found this one the easiest and most reliable.

 

  1. Utilise Organisation Apps 

There are a whole range of organisation apps out there to help you get organised. Apps such as Google Keep, Wunderlist and Colour Note are great for organising your notes and to do lists.

My personal favourite I love to use to keep track of notes is Colour Note app. There is an option for notes or check lists. You can make as many notes as you need and copy and paste information easily. It’s great for those times when you want to make a quick note like a movie recommendation or if you come across a book you’d like to read. I like to make notes in mine such as what I have planned for the day, my shopping list and where I am going to shop, recipe ideas, travel packing lists and so on. Even better, it syncs with your phone so you can back-up your notes – no fear of losing your phone and your important notes. You can easily send the notes to your email or share it with others.

Another organisation app I love is Google Drive. It offers a to-do-list where you can list your to dos by category, record due date, enter a description and mark them as completed when done.

Try a few out, research your own and find what works best for you!

 

For more tips on getting organised check out my article 13 Time Management Tips to Get Organised . I share my tips for getting on top of your to do list and tools and techniques for becoming a master of your own.

What are your favourite ways to stay organised? Do you have any apps to recommend? Please Comment below with your tips.

Minimalism

101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now!

It can be hard to know where to start when decluttering. There are so many rooms and areas you could begin with and it can seem overwhelming when starting out. When we are so focused on bringing new things into our home we can forget the importance of removing the items that are no longer useful to us and could be taking up valuable space in our home.

Do you open your kitchen utensil drawer only to become flustered trying to find the one thing you actually need? Have you accumulated twenty mugs in the cups cupboard and seem to forever have endless ones to wash? Is your linen closet overflowing so closing it is a struggle and you often end up shoving the clean stuff in closing the door and just think to yourself I will deal with this later? Downsizing our excess stuff can allow us to reduce stress in our lives and make some of our chores less bothersome. We are limited to the space we have in our homes so if your cupboards and shelves are overflowing with stuff if might be time to start clearing some of it out.

Here is a list of 101 things to declutter in your home right now that will give you a place to start your decluttering journey by area and hopefully a new leaf to a less cluttered, more simplified life.

Kitchen
1. Duplicate utensils.
2. Excess kitchen knives
3. Excess cleaning supplies. Use up what you have before buying any new ones.
4. Cutlery. Limit it to a reasonable number for your regular needs.
5. Plates. How many plates do you need? Limit to 2 per person per type as a guide.
6. Cups and mugs. Empty out that cupboard filled with overflowing cups piled on top of each other and only keep your favourites.
7. Bake-ware. Ask yourself how often do you bake and if you really need everything you have.
8. Single purpose appliances such as doughnut makers, popcorn makers etc. Keep only the items you use regularly.
9. Restaurant menus. These can all be located online put them into the recycling.
10. Excess vases.
11. Pots and Pans.
12. Tupperware with missing lids.
13. Expired medicine.
14. Unwanted cookbooks.

Fridge/Freezer 
15. Expired condiments in your fridge.
16. Uneaten leftovers.
17. Unwanted drinks.
18. Frozen meats with freezer burn.
19. Food that you don’t plan on eating due to change of diet etc.

Pantry
20. Expired food in your pantry.
21. Unwanted alcohol.
22. Expired spices or any you don’t use.
23. Any food you don’t plan on eating.

Bathroom
24. Shampoos and conditioners. Avoid buying seperate ones for each person unless necessary. Try and stick to the same brand so you don’t end up with multiple bottles going unused cluttering up your cupboard.
25. Old or unused Makeup. What makeup do you currently use, is there something you haven’t touched in the past year? Do you have ten different eye shadow pallets when a few would be enough? Make up has a limited shelf life and should be used up in 1-2 years for most products. See this link for details on expiration dates of makeup.
26. Beauty products. Limit beauty products to what you need and avoid buying more until you’ve used up what you have.
27. Lotions and leave in conditioners. If you don’t plan to use it give it to someone who will or bin it.
28. Decor. Remove excess decor from the bathroom and counter tops. The less you have the less you have to move when cleaning. Have a few nice decorative pieces and clear the rest.
29. Hair accessories keep only what your use regularly.
30. Old razors.

Manchester 
31. Towels, face washers and hand towels – Keep two towels per person for your home. Hang it up after use and wash the ones in the hamper regularly. Think of the time you’ll save on laundry when you only have 8 towels instead of 16?! These can be donated to animal shelters.
32. Quilt covers. How many quilt covers do you have? Assess what ones you still love and donate the rest. Ideally you need one to use and one spare for when the other one is in the wash.
33. Blankets. Limit blankets to two sets per bed.
34. Pillows. Keep the number of pillows required for your bed and bin the rest.
35. Bath mats. I’m certainly one that finds it hard to resist the allure of a new soft bath mat. Stick to 2-3 on rotation and donate the others to an animal shelter.
36. Spare curtains that are no longer in fashion or have been sitting in the linen closet for years.

Bedroom
37. Perfumes or fragrances you don’t like. Old unwanted perfumes or colognes can be binned or donated to friends or family. I’ve sold a few on eBay as well so that’s always an option to make some extra cash.
38. Bedroom decor you no longer love.
39. The stuff under your bed. It is a lot easier to clean your bedroom when there is nothing under the bed.
40. The bedroom TV. Do you really need that eyesore in your bedroom sanctuary?
41. Books on your night stand that you aren’t currently reading. Keep one or two on your bedside table and put the rest back on the bookshelf.
42. Anything that doesn’t belong in your bedroom (for us more often than not it’s guitars :p).

Wardrobe
43. Shoes that you don’t enjoy wearing.
44. Worn belts.
45. Ties that you no longer like.
46. Handbags that are no longer your style or worn.
47. Jewellery/Accessories that you no longer like or wear.
48. Clothing that you haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months. Use the backwards hanger method to establish what you do and don’t wear.
49. Socks that are missing a pair or have holes in them.
50. Underwear that is uncomfortable or has seen better days.
51. Old pyjamas that have had their time.

Laundry
52. Reduce your wardrobe. This will mean you reduce your washing by default and limit the laundry piles to manageable amounts.
53. Excess laundry baskets or hampers (once your laundry is reduced).
54. That random stuff that you find in pockets. Have a catch all container or box to collate items found in pockets. Empty this regularly.
55. Cleaning supplies you no longer need.
56. Laundry products you tried and didn’t use again.

Kids play rooms/bedrooms
57. Books. Donate unwanted books to schools, childcare centers or the library.
58. Unwanted Toys. Sell toys in good condition on eBay or donate to local charities.
59. Stuffed Animals.
60. Games or puzzles with missing pieces.
61. Kids art. To make room for new artworks to be displayed scan the image or take a photo of it and create into scrapbooks or store them digitally.
62. Old unwanted electronic games.
63. Dried out texters and pens.

Garage/Shed 
64. Old paint cans or other chemicals you no longer need.
65. Car oil or parts for cars you no longer have.
66. Cardboard boxes that have past their warranty period.
67. Any broken gardening tools that you haven’t got around to fixing.
68. Old tiles if you are renovating and no longer need them.
69. Scrap building supplies you won’t need.

Living Areas 
70. Excess decor cluttering up your living spaces.
71. Excess furniture that is being unused.
72. Extra lounges when they are mostly empty.
73. Artwork or photos you no longer love.
74. Excess or drab cushions.
75. Rugs that don’t go with your colour scheme.
76. Excessive photo frames. Keep a few on display but don’t go overboard.

Entertainment/Media 
77. CD’s you no longer listen to.
78. DVD’s you won’t watch again.
79. VHS’s.
80. Excess TVs.
81. Unused Gaming Consoles.
82. Games you haven’t played since finishing.
83. Old mobile phones and phone chargers. These can be dropped off at local library or Mobile Muster collection points. See this link for your local recycling options.
84. Old cameras.
85. Your DVD or VCR if you don’t use them.
86. Old laptops you no longer use.

Sentimental Items 
87. Old cards. Scan them and save them digitally.
88. Bad quality or blurry photos or people that you no longer want in your life.
89. Other photos taking up space in large bulky photo albums. Consider making your prints into a photo book or displaying them in a digital photo frame and backing them up digitally.
90. Sentimental items that you have no connection to. Take a photo of the item if that makes it easier to let go.
91. Jewellery you don’t love. Find someone in your family who will love it or get is melted down into something special.

Home Office/Paper
92. Books you no longer read or reference.
93. Magazines. Cut out what you need and put them in a folder and recycle the rest.
94. Old bank or credit card statements. These can all be accessed online.
95. Utility bills. Get these emailed to you and reduce some of the paper coming into your home each month.
96. Old receipts. Scan them as they come in on your phone and recycle them or keep them in one file.
97. Excess notebooks/pads. Keep a few or put them in areas where they will be useful like your handbag or car.
98. Stationery from your uni days that you no longer need.
99. Your printer (if you don’t use it).
100. Excess pens. Test what works and bin the rest or any you don’t like using.
101. Manuals for electrical goods.

What things have your decluttered in your home? Please leave a comment below!

Organising

13 Time Management Tips to Get Organised

Cathryn Lavery

Time is a resource that seems to be hard to come by, I rarely hear anyone say I have too much time on my hands. There are only 24 hours in a day, with one third of them spent sleeping and the other third or more working, that doesn’t leave much of the day to get things you want or need to do done. Our to do list can be a useful tool to get organised but sometimes even that can overwhelm us and quickly resemble a never ending list of unachievable tasks.

For most of us with our family and work commitments, hobbies chores and everything else it can seem impossible to balance those tasks on top of day-to-day activities and remain productive. Here are 13 time management tips that have helped me to get and stay organised and accomplish a lot in a limited time.

1. Write your to do list down.

Whether your to do list is on your phone, calendar or a notebook, the important thing is to get it written down in some form. If it is all in your head you are really putting a lot of unnecessary pressure to remember what you have to do. Writing it down can tell you what it is that needs doing at a glance and help you to prioritise. Using apps such as Colour Note, Wunderlist and Google Keep can be very quick, easy tools to jot down your important tasks as you think of them. There is nothing more satisfying and motivating than ticking off a completed task. Having them in digital form on your phone means that you’ll always have access to them and can adjust your list as you go.

2. Set realistic goals.

If you look down at your to do list and see to do list items such as paint house or write a book you’re probably never going to get around to doing either of those goals. They are too vague and don’t really set out any actionable steps to get you started. Creating more manageable, bite sized tasks that can be achieved in small blocks of time can help make your to do list or project seem less daunting. Writing on your to do list to brainstorm what your book could be about or start the first chapter outline will give you some more effective and definable steps to get you started on your goal. Once you start setting more realistic, actionable tasks, you’ll avoid staring at your blank page or putting off your dream indefinitely. Everyday you can slowly work towards your ambitions.

3. Work to a timer.

If you don’t set time limits on things they can end up taking much longer than you’d initially hoped. If you give yourself a whole day to work on a project rather than a small block of time you will probably end up spending a lot of that day procrastinating. By setting time limits we can help to ensure we are focused and avoid distraction and help us to mentally commit to starting a task. Going up against the clock can be a motivating tool to make us want to do our best work, knowing that in an hour or whatever time you have set that you won’t have anymore time. It could be getting in a 10 minute workout and seeing how many exercises you can fit in that time or folding as much washing as you can in twenty minutes.

4. Utilise small pockets of time.

Most people feel that they have no free time and struggle to do what they planned during the day, leaving the to do list to forever grow. Sometimes it helps to step back and reconsider our time and how we use it. Could you utilise one of your lunch breaks to tackle some of those calls you have been meaning to make? At the end of the night can you do a quick fifteen minute tidy up so the next day you wake up to a clean home and aren’t greeted first thing in the morning with endless stuff everywhere it shouldn’t be? Could you turn the TV off twenty minutes earlier to squeeze in a chapter of your book you haven’t touched in weeks? It’s amazing what you can do in small pockets of time when you add them up over a week.

5. Make the most of commuting time.

The commute to work in my car used to frustrate me. I realised that I was throwing away ninety or more minutes a day, five days a week listening to advertising and radio segments that weren’t really adding any value to my life other than an occasional laugh or news topic. I decided to find a way to utilise my commute time so the drive to work was less of a chore and I could learn or do something enjoyable. Realising I could do anything other than reading, I bought a a set of Pimsleur German CDs and started listening to them on the way to work. Each lesson goes for twenty minutes so was the perfect length for the commute. Being in a band, and always struggling for time to practice my vocals, I started fitting my vocal practice into my commute. Other options are listening to audiobooks or podcasts of shows that interest you. If moving closer to work is not feasible, and you are locked into a long daily commute, take advantage of that time when you can.

6. Do things you’re passionate about so being productive comes easier.

When we are procrastinating it’s good to assess what we are doing with our time and if it is something we are really passionate about. You might be studying a course you aren’t really that excited about anymore, but as you’re already halfway through you’re reluctant to quit or start again. We can make life so much harder than it needs to be by doing things we don’t want to because we are just on autopilot or are fearful of change. If you really aren’t enjoying something that is consuming your time make a change to something that you will love. Soon enough you could be looking forward to your classes rather than dreading them. If work isn’t something that you look forward to, find out what you need to do to get into your dream job or to get a promotion and make a start. If you hate running but really enjoy aerobics, don’t force yourself to go running each day, substitute that exercise for one you are more passionate about. Look for areas in life where you can make changes to make each day more enjoyable and you will will be more likely to get things done and progress towards your goals.

7. Do the hardest, most important stuff first.

I recently read the book Eat the Frog by Brian Tracy and loved his advice on tackling the hardest, most important tasks first thing in your day. Often with a fresh mind we are better able to focus and make more progress. The last thing you want to do is get to the afternoon and still not have tackled the biggest to do list item and have the weight on your shoulders all day. If the hardest project is also the most important and you have left it to 3pm for a 5pm deadline, you are putting yourself under unnecessary stress and making that task even more difficult to achieve when you are trying to rush through it. Once the most difficult task is complete, the smaller tasks will seem like a breeze and be easier to knock down with your current momentum.

8. Learn to say no.

If you have too many commitments and are feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to say no to anything more on your plate. There are no prizes for being the busiest person, in fact the opposite is true. You could find yourself over time neglecting more important things such as your health, your relationships or sleep. If your friend springs on you that they need help moving on the weekend and your schedule is already overflowing with commitments, don’t try and cram another thing in at the expense of your immediate to do list, even if that list consists of a couple of hours to unwind. Be honest with yourself about what you can fit into your schedule. If something comes up that is just going to add too much stress to your already packed diary, apologize and say no. We are all in charge of our own lives and we are the only ones who can know what we have the physical and mental energy for.

9. Take regular breaks.

If you’re really stuck and have hit a productivity brick wall, stop what you’re doing and take a break. Clearing the mind can do wonders for productivity and help kick-start the creativity flow. If you’re lost for ideas or an answer sometimes after a small break, or even a good night’s sleep the answer pops out at you. Taking a small break could save you sitting there stressing for hours unnecessarily.

10. Plan ahead.

I used to be a bit of a last minute person and seemed to be constantly stressed because I’d left it to the day to write in a birthday card or wrap a gift or to iron my dress. I have learnt over time that planning ahead makes life so much easier. Of course this something you can improve on overtime and we can’t always be perfect, but there are ways to get ourselves more organised to reduce the stress associated with life. If you need a gift for an upcoming event, don’t wait until the day before to look for something. Plan ahead. Buying the gift a couple of weeks out or even months out if that gives you piece of mind, it will save you a massive headache running around the shops on a day where you really don’t have the time. It might even help you find the perfect gift as you’ll have the time to research a gift or order something the person will love.

11. Get off your phone.

There’s nothing more distracting than a text notification going off or flashing in the corner of your eye. Once I see or hear it is hard to resist. Before I know it, I am just having a quick look and the will power is lost and more often than not I’ve lost my momentum and focus. I can’t count the number of times I unlocked my phone to do something only to hit the Facebook or Instagram app out of habit and realise minutes later that I’d completely forgotten to look at what I’d set out to do. We all probably spend a little too much time on social media and that’s fine in moderation. However, if you’re spending hours a day on social media sites without a specific goal, you might be able to reallocate some of that time to doing something more productive. When you have a deadline or something that requires you to focus, put your phone away, turn it on airplane mode or silent if you need to help reduce any potential distractions.

12. Delegate.

If your schedule is overloaded and you just can’t seem to get on top of things it might be time to consider delegating. If you are snowed under with housework ask your kids and partner to help out. Even if they all chipped in for 15 minutes a day or every now and then it could free up some much needed time in your schedule. Alternatively, consider getting outside help in. If you just don’t have time to clean, consider hiring a cleaner to come in once a week or fortnight. Would you prefer to get out with the family this weekend instead of spending the morning mowing the lawns? Consider hiring a local gardener to do them. When time is limited and you can’t get to the grocery store do an online shop and get it delivered. Some weeks are busier than others and there is no shame in asking for help.

13. Consider deleting things off your to do list.

If you seem to be carrying to do list tasks forward repeatedly ask yourself if that item is really all that important. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it’s just not as pressing to your life at this immediate time. Perhaps you really just don’t have the time to even think about it right now. You could always come back to it at a later time when you are less busy and more able to dedicate your time to that task.

How do you stay organised and productive? Comment with any tips you have found that work for you below.

Organising

12 Simple Bedroom Organisation Tips

 There is nothing worse than walking into your bedroom after a long day at work and seeing piles of mess all over. Laundry on the floor, loose coins piled up on the bedside table, quilt and sheets on the floor – this used to be my daily visuals until I decided that I needed to have my bedroom as a place of calmness and tranquility. Here are some tips I found helped me achieve a mess-free organised bedroom without too much effort.

1. Make your bed every day

Always make your bed. It’s the first thing you will notice when you walk into your room and gives a sense of cleanliness and order at a glance. Even better it only take a minute or less! 

2. Reduce Clutter

Remove clutter or items that don’t belong. The key is to have make sure everything as a home. If stuff from other rooms in the home seems to be creeping into your bedroom remove it. An easy trick is to have baskets for each person in the household n which you can return their items to without having to take multiple trips.

3. Keep a clothes hamper in your bedroom

Put a clothes hamper in your bedroom, bathroom or wardrobe to keep laundry off the floor. Better yet, get one with compartments for sorting.

4. Create a capsule wardrobe

In order to avoid the morning stress associated with having to pick something to wear from an overflowing wardrobe, consider de-cluttering your wardrobe or creating a capsule wardrobe. A more streamlined wardrobe filled with items you love will make getting ready a breeze and ensure those days of clothing strewn all over the floor are well behind you. 

5. Limit items on bedside tables

Keep bedside table items to a minimum. It looks less cluttered and will be easier when it comes time to dust. Keep the book you are currently reading but put the others away.

6. Organise Like Items together

Keep like items together; jewellery, hats, handbags etc so they are easy to locate and you can see what you have before going out shopping and coming home with duplicate items.

7. Utilise over door hangers

Use over door hangers for easy to store options for things like shoes and jewellery. Over-the-door hooks can be used to store clean but worn clothing for re-use. This will help keep clothes that can be worn again off the floor and provides great additional storage space.

8. Keep the floor clear

Keep as little on the floor as possible. Open spaces do wonders for the appearance of tidy. A hamper in the corner or cupboard will greatly help to achieve this!

9. Use the Kon-Marie folding method to maximise space

Fold your clothes Kon-Marie style. This method allows you to fit more in your drawers, reducing the number of chest drawers you will need, and allows you to see your clothes at a glance. They also stay much tidier than just thrown in when you have to dig through other clothes to find your favourite shirt. I made this change and will never go back. Here is a video containing the instructions on how to fold clothing the Kon-Marie way. 

10. Be selective with what you bring into your bedroom space

Be selective with what you bring into your space. Try to implement the one in one out rule for clothing to avoid closet chaos. Don’t buy endless decorative items that take up space and attract dust. Select a few you love and keep the rest from cluttering up your room.

11. Use boxes and containers for drawer organisation

Using boxes like IKEA Skubb or DIY versions to organise drawers into sections. This can be great to organise bras, underwear and socks or shirts into sections.

12. Implement a plan for worn clothing

Ensure every time you wear something you assess does it need to be washed or will I wear this again. Find a system that works for you. I put dirty clothes immediately into a hamper in the bathroom and if it is something that can be worn a second time, I will hang it up on hooks behind our bathroom door. Alternatively put it back on a coat hanger in your closet or have a specific drawer for clothes you want to wear again but to keep them separate from the unworn clothes. Once you get into the habit of this, clothes left lying on the bedroom or bathroom floor – or wherever is your clothing hotspot in the house – will be a thing of the past.

I hope these will be some useful tips for your household so you too can maintain a beautiful calming organised bedroom space. Please let me know in the comments what tips you have for maintaining an organised bedroom in your home.