Earth Hour 2014

I haven’t done a ‘Why don’t you…’ column in a while but when the rep for Earth Hour got in touch to spread the word I thought it would be the perfect reason to do so.

If you’re not aware, Earth Hour is an annual event to encourage us all to switch off our power for just one hour to combat climate change. This year the focus is on saving the Great Barrier Reef. My parents took us when I was 13 and I want to be able to do the same for my kids in future but it won’t be around if action isn’t taken now.

The Man and I have already been going very low-tech recently, with renovations simultaneously rendering our lounge and kitchen  almost unusable. So we enjoyed a candlelit picnic on the floor (and may or may not have polished off a bottle of red on a Monday night).

It felt like such a relaxing treat we’ll be doing it again for Earth Hour this Saturday at 8.30pm.

 

PinterestShare

dining-after

Several weeks ago I was gearing up to prep our home to put on the (rental) market. We were thankful to quite quickly arrange a lovely tenant (a former colleague of The Man’s) so we didn’t have to go through that whole process.

Of course, there is a bunch of maintenance we’re doing in preparation – touching up chipped paint, having the oven professionally cleaned, fixing the stove that’s been broken for four years – you know, all the things we’ve never got around to doing for ourselves.

What we haven’t had to do is any staging for listing photos and inspections.

I must admit to being relieved, but then I saw a great post over at Minimalist Mom advising to ‘sell’ your home to yourself.

That is, even if you have no plans to move, act as if you were moving house; get rid of anything that wouldn’t be worth taking with you.

Act as if potential buyers are coming into your home; fix any less-than-appealing features.

It’s a great approach to try to get yourself to see your home through someone else’s eyes: you’ll notice things that you tend to gloss over because you see them every day. Immediately you’ll want to put all your kitchen appliances back in the cupboard, change an awkward furniture layout, pare down the knick knacks and go on a decluttering frenzy.

Treat yourself to some fresh flowers and enjoy your ‘new’ home!

free printable moving house checklists

With help from your brilliant moving house advice, I managed to get a TON of packing done last weekend. The Man (who was attending a seminar the whole weekend) came home to quite a different house!

A recurring suggestion was creating an ‘essentials’ box so I’ve pulled together a bunch of your suggested items into a checklist as a free printable.

I also created an address change checklist to hopefully ease that particular headache.

Download the free printables:

Moving essentials checklist

Address change checklist

You are all such clever cookies, thanks again for your input!

Any requests for any other printables?

new lights dining

A friend said to me recently ‘I can’t believe everything you were able to do in your current house’.

I was quite taken aback. I mean, we’re only two people, we’re not that into gardening and we don’t even have so much as a goldfish as a pet. So surely a two-bedroom one-bathroom townhouse would have been the perfect size?

Nevertheless, I have to admit I was feeling the pinch.

…Guests have to climb over each other to extract themselves from seating for a loo break.

…My office doesn’t have a surface large enough for essentials like a cutting mat or packing area.

…The Man has had to work from the couch since I commandeered our once-shared study for my business four years ago.

…I am over not having a full-size ironing board or Christmas tree.

So there is a whole range of current everyday nuisances (#firstworldproblems) that I’m looking forward to not worrying about in future.

That said, it got me thinking about all the strategies we developed out of necessity living in a small home (relative to our peers, that is). I actually think we will continue with many of the tactics that we’ve established here, even though space won’t be such an issue.

Small space lessons that can apply to any sized home

  • Reduce amount of stuff before organising / adding more storage
  • Choose furniture and storage that is functional as well as beautiful
  • Think creatively (for example, hacking Ikea kitchen cabinets into custom desk)
  • Maximise storage by adding shelves/hooks in ‘dead’ spaces
  • Choose a few items that you love rather than a bunch of okay stuff
  • Go without infrequently used items (you can always borrow or hire them)
  • Know that letting go of sentimental items isn’t letting go of the associated memories
  • Ask for ‘experience’ gifts instead of material ones
  • Take advantage of technology and go digital with media and especially paperwork

Regardless of space, I think it the approach will help us make the most of our home and keep it uncluttered.

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Moving in day 2008

When The Man and I moved into our townhouse, we were both coming straight from living with our parents. Naturally, apart from our bedroom furniture and personal items, we didn’t have a lot to move.

Six years on, we have accumulated a LOT of stuff. It’s things we need and use, so I’m not talking about clutter (well, mostly!). But we started out with the absolute bare minimum of furniture and household items (seriously, every time we cooked a new meal we discovered we needed some new utensil or dish) and have slowly built a home.

Now, we are faced with our first ‘proper’ move and to be honest I am kind of overwhelmed by the thought.

Where do I start? How long will it take us? And (with no garage or free floor space) where on earth do I put the packed boxes?!

So I’m asking pleading for your packing and moving tips. Leave a comment with your advice and we can get a nice big list happening.

Before we get into today’s post, I must announce the winner of the 3M Expressions tape giveaway. The winner, chosen at random by Random.org, is Melody Tan! Congrats Melody, I will email you for details.

Recipe folder and app

As I look around my home, I can see the supplies for the finishing touches to our bathroom makeover that began last winter, craft supplies left out after long-forgotten projects, pictures framed yet unhung, invitations that I have designed but not photographed or launched, half-full garbage bags from my partially decluttered wardrobe.

Not to mention the things you can’t see: my 176 draft blog posts (really), the nagging ‘we must catch up soon’ mental reminders, years worth of digital photos gathering virtual dust on my harddrive instead of being put in albums…

Oh my.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Further to this new years post, I am in the midst of reevaluating my to-do list. I had long known that I had far too many commitments than were realistic. I knew the overscheduling left me stressed and drained.

What I hadn’t fully grasped was how my overcommitting was actually directly contributing to my underachieving.

The reason the once-enthusiastic digitisation of my recipe folder finds itself abandoned – 18 months on – is purely because the deadline for the next project was breathing down my neck. Then the next one… and the one after that.

Instead of flitting between so many competing priorities, I’m limiting myself to one project each for home, business and blog at a time. Of course there are the smaller everyday tasks (cooking dinner, client work, writing blog posts) that need to be kept on top of, so this approach is more for bigger, one-off projects.

Not only am I feeling less overwhelmed (no more ‘Should I be working on x, y, or z right now?’) but focusing all my energy and time onto one thing means I am actually ticking things off at a faster rate.

It is going to require all my restraint not to start a million projects at once on the new house because I know I am going to want to do ALL. THE. THINGS. Whenever I find myself wanting to dive into something new, I need to take a deep breath, put it on my ‘later list’ and get back to finishing the projects I’ve already started.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to type out a bunch more recipes.

Tell me I’m not the only one. What projects of yours are draaaaaagging?

House sold sign

We got to put up our sold sign last week — yippee!

Before we get stuck into planning all the new house projects — oh, who am I kidding, I have already mentally planned everything — there are a bunch of things to address in our current abode.

We already have a tenant lined up (phew) so it does take the pressure off but we still want make it nice for her.

Here are the projects we are tackling before we move:

Bathroom

  • finally finish painting bathroom tiles
  • install new taps and showerhead
  • deep clean and re-caulk shower seal
  • install shower shelf
  • whiten grout in floor tiles
  • tidy up caulking

Kitchen

  • fix light fixture that had come away from the ceiling
  • clean top of shelves and rangehood
  • fix stove element that I broke ~4 years ago and replace knob
  • touch up paint (there are a few nicks in the woodwork)
  • re-caulk splashback

Laundry

  • touch up chipped & scuffed paint

Study

  • fix hole in ceiling (don’t ask)
  • patch up wall where paint is missing from some overly enthusiastic Blu-Tak removal
  • touch up paint (where the lamp, cables etc have scraped the wall)

Bedroom

  • putty and paint holes from hooks
  • fix airconditioner

Living room

  • de-mount TV and patch/paint holes

Courtyard

  • general pruning and tidy up
  • train creeper along green wall
  • replace broken parts of bamboo screening?
  • put plant in bare corner where maple tree was

Front yard

  • nothing except trying to keep it alive during this scorching hot summer

Of course, each room will also get a thorough clean of all the floors, skirting boards and so on. I’m also trying to do a big declutter so we’re not moving anything we don’t need.

They are all little jobs, although they do add up. Plus, every time we do something, we are wishing we did it for ourselves earlier!

Do you have any other tips for first-time home movers?

Fridge before

I already knew it had been a while since we’d cleared off the front of the fridge, but when a friend actually commented recently on how old some of the invitations were, I decided it was finally time to do something about it.

Fridge before

(Dreadful photos sorry, I had to do this at night.)

Fridge after

We were given a set of Scrabble magnets as a Christmas present (thanks Sharon if you’re reading!) and thought they should be given pride of place.

A super quick project, but very satisfying nonetheless as it makes the whole room feel brighter and neater. (I am clearly all about the 10-minute projects this week – the temperature is in the 40s again so it’s too hot to do much else.)

Fridge after

Now we can clearly see our meal plan and any upcoming events, like The Man’s brother’s engagement party tomorrow. Yay indeed!

makeup drawer before & after

Since we’re about to move house, I am less in organising mode as I am in decluttering overdrive. So while I had organised my makeup drawer a few times since we’ve lived here, it was well overdue for a proper clear out.

To make matters worse, as I’ve discovered before, the drawer dividers have a tendency to pop out or get things stuck under them. But hopefully a good declutter will reduce the effect of this.

makeup-drawer-during

Like any drawer clean-out, I started by taking everything out and laying out the contents according to type. It’s then really clear how much you really have, including any duplicates (such as my three foundations, half-dozen eyeliners and countless lipsticks) and items beyond their life (perished brushes, out-of-date mascaras).

makeup drawer before & after

After a good wipe-out, I set up the dividers again and returned only the items that I use. I find this is an easier way to do a ruthless declutter (adding back things you use rather than taking out things you don’t).

makeup-drawer-during-2

I was left with the items above. Some products were binned (ahem, like the blue eyeshadow I’ve had since I was 15) but others were able to find another use in my cosmetics case.

makeup-drawr-during-3

Ridiculously, a couple of spent products were in the drawer for the sole reason that I loved the colour and wanted to replace them. I took note of the names of the brands and colours in Evernote then tossed the empties.

makeup-drawer-before-&-after

I must confess I still have frequently-used lipsticks/glosses stashed in every handbag and I clearly need to consolidate my eyeshadow collection. But overall, definitely a big improvement in only ten minutes.

, , ,

Sponsored by Target.

Target desk accessories

I’ve been back at work for a few weeks now, but we don’t properly get back into a regular routine until term starts and The Man returns to work (which is today).

This year, I’m even more keen than usual to give the desk a good spruce-up since I ditched my dearly-departed old black beast of a computer and replaced it with a sleek laptop. (I will be getting a big monitor when we move but for now I’m enjoying the simplicity).

Target desk accessories

Once I’d done a big tidy-up and wiped down the desk, it was time for the fun part: new stationery!

I picked up some of the gorgeous new-season stationery at Target, mixing and matching the colours, patterns and materials.

Target desk accessories

Target desk accessories

Don’t forget to look outside the stationery aisle: I scored the sweet faux blooms and ceramic tray from the homewares department.

Target desk accessories

Target desk accessories

As a total stationery addict, I was really impressed with the quality of the materials, like the fabric tray, timber pens and leather notebook plus all the paper items.

Target desk accessories

Target desk accessories

One of my favourite finds was this stackable in-tray with a drawer – so nifty and versatile, right?

Target desk accessories

What a cheery little spot to work now! Are you all set for back-to-work and -school?

Notebooks, pens, pencils, pencilcase, in-tray, flowers, white tray all from Target. Balloon art print from Akimbo. All other items I already owned.

, , , ,

A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

read more…

New? Start Here!