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Minimalism

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 🙂

Minimalism

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimalism

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!
Cleaning

6 Laundry Hacks to Save You Time

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

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

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

  1. Sort your laundry with separate hampers.

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

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

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

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

2. Downsize your wardrobe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Ask for help and Delegate.

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

6. Do washing loads by person.

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

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

 

Cleaning Freebies

My Favourite Home-Made Cleaning Recipes

Jessica Skene

About a year ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Human Experiment which opened my eyes up to the dangers of having so many chemicals in our homes. I’d been dealing with the frustration of sensitive skin for years meaning I had to be careful of what my skin came in contact with, even dish soap and hand wash would make me break out in an extremely uncomfortable Dermatitis rash. I soon became very passionate about finding ways to keep my home clean, whilst looking after my health and skin and was on a mission to learn about natural home cleaners and testing them out.

After much research and trial and error I came a cross a few staple home-made cleaning recipes that I use regularly.

Here is a list of My Favourite Home-Made Cleaning Recipes. They work just as good in my experience as brand name chemical cleaners and are not only more affordable, but safer to use in your home. Please see my blog on 10 Benefits of Home-Made Cleaning Products for ten reasons why I recommend making the switch.

INGREDIENTS LISTS

These are the basic must have items for your home-made cleaner recipes:

  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing Liquid (I use Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid Ultra Dry Skin Aloe for sensitive skin)
  • Bi-Carbonate Soda
  • Essential Oils (Tea-tree and Lavender oil preferably)
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Water
  • Spray bottles
  • Labels (use a label maker or stick on labels)

Don’t forget to label all your spray bottles as when you come back in a week you will probably have no idea what is in what bottle. It’s really worth it to save you  figuring out what is in what bottle and having to waste your cleaning products.

These are 9 of my favourite home-made cleaning recipes!

Home-made All Purpose Spray (Two versions)

I have two recipes that both work wonderfully. Sometimes if I am in a rush I will make the simpler version and if I have more time I will go with the second version.

All Purpose Spray (Simple Version)

Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. That’s it! This should be gentle enough to use on most surfaces and is a cleaner I use for all around the home. I would use the Version 2 cleaner for more stubborn stains unless you have stone bench tops. Please check the care guide for your bench tops before using any cleaning products as vinegar can damage stone and other surfaces.

All Purpose Spray (Version 2)

In a spray bottle preferably over a sink (the bottle can overflow with the bi-carb soda and vinegar reacting) put the following

  • 4 Tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp of dish washing liquid
  • 2 Tsp of bi-carb soda
  • Fill the rest of the spray bottle with warm water.

Spray the solution on your stained surfaces and let sit for about 20 seconds to help break up any hard to move stains. If you are using the bottle when the cleaner is back to room temperature, throw the bottle in the microwave for about 10 seconds and this will help remove harder to move stains. This solution is what I use for everyday All-Purpose Cleaner, just refill when you are out.

As mentioned above please check whether vinegar can be used on your bench tops as some stone benches can be damaged by vinegar.

Linen Spray

This is a spray to help keep your sheet smelling amazing between washes.

Fill a small plastic spray bottle (I use the ones in those travel container packs) with:

  • I cup of distilled water
  • 5-10 drops of essential oils
  • 2 Tbsp of rubbing alcohol

Use this to spray before sleep to spray your bed linens. Lavender essential oils can provide a calming scent but feel free to choose whatever scent you prefer.

Glass Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with

  • ½ Water
  • ½ White Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle

Since starting to use this glass cleaner I have never looked back or thought to buy a regular store bought version. Just make up as described above in a matter of seconds and spray contents of glass cleaner on mirrors or windows and wipe over with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have beautiful, streak-free mirrors and windows in no time. Leave a bottle of this in your bathroom and a microfiber cloth to clean as you go.

Shower/Tile Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with

  • ⅓ vinegar
  • ⅓ dishwashing liquid
  • ⅓ water

This is great for cleaning showers and tiles with a brush or sponge. Another option is to fill a refillable dish washing brush with a mixture of ½ vinegar and ½ dish washing soap to scrub all over the shower with. The vinegar smell will dissipate soon after and dish washing liquid will give you a nice scent over the harsh scents most chemical cleaners provide.

Daily Shower Spray (same ingredients as glass cleaner)

  • Spray bottle
  • ½ water
  • ½ vinegar

I leave a bottle of this in our shower to spray down the shower after each use (well, as often as I can remember to ;)). Spray down the tiles and shower glass and floor if it is the last shower of the morning or night (or last for a while). The vinegar helps to break down soap scum and fights the growth of mould so will make your weekly shower scrub a breeze! Remind your partner or room mates or whoever uses the shower to give it a quick spray over when they step out, it only takes 20 seconds and will save whoever is stuck cleaning it a lot of elbow grease!

As mould loves moisture, another tip from Clean My Space’s Melissa Maker to avoid your bathroom being taken over by it is to squeegee or wipe down the shower screens or tiles with a cloth after each shower. This is a bit more time consuming than the after shower spray but is a massive help if you can manage it.  

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Fill with vinegar
  • Add 10-15 drops of essential oils
  • Shake before each use

Combine vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle. Spray vinegar mixture inside bowl and around toilet. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside toilet bowl and scrub inside of bowl with a toilet brush. The Bi-carb soda gives a bit of abrasion to remove any hard to remove stains.

You can use the all over purpose cleaner (Version 1) or the above recipe spray to clean the outside and seat of the toilet. 

Disinfectant Spray (Non-scented)

  • Spray bottle (you can use one of the small travel spray bottles mentioned above)
  • ½ water
  • ½ rubbing alcohol

A great spray for disinfecting surface around the home such as bench tops, door handles or cupboard handles and for cleaning your toilet brush.

Disinfectant Spray (Scented)

  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Tea-tree or Lavender essential oils (10-15 drops or a blend of each)
  • Spray bottle

For those who love a nice smelling home this second disinfectant spray not only leaves your home free of germs, but with a lovely calming scent. Tea-tree and lavender essential oils can be used for their antibacterial properties or blended with other favourite scents you have.  

Do you have a favourite home-made cleaning recipe? Please comment below with anything that you love to use in your home.

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!