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?

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This post is sponsored by Glen-20

Glen-20-bathroom

When the folks at Dettol wanted to send me a Glen-20 Freshmatic to review I was a bit unsure. I have to admit I’ve never bought an air freshener before.

Most of them seem to just mask odours with some sickly scent, which doesn’t appeal to me. They explained that this one was more of an odour neutraliser rather than just a fragrance, so I thought I’d give it a test run.

We don’t have too many nasty smells in our home (at least I don’t think so?!). With no pets or smokers in the house, it’s mainly just a matter of keeping bathroom and kitchen smells at bay.

I first tested it out in the bathroom – it fits in quite nicely into the new shelving, don’t you think? It sprays out a mist periodically and it smells really fresh and pleasant. It was almost enough to trick me into thinking I had cleaned the bathroom – ha!

Glen-20-kitchen

Our kitchen has a virtually useless extractor fan, so strong food smells can hang around for days. (It’s really quite gross coming home to the smell of last night’s salmon risotto.) While I didn’t have enough time to test it out on some of my more, er, fragrant dishes, the kitchen smelled so fresh I think it would be enough to take care of some much stronger odours.

I like that the dispenser has a minimalist design, so it’s nice and discreet, plus a fresh, neutral scent. It could easily fit in with any room.

I still love throwing the doors and windows open to freshen the air at home, but it’s not always possible due to hot, cold or rainy weather. It feels nice having a fresh scent in the air in between cleans, no matter what the weather.

What nasty smells do you want to disappear at home?

ironing-board-cover

 

There are no big projects happening for us at the moment – after all, Spring Cleaning month is all about those little updates that maybe only you will notice.

Once such tweak I’ve just done is replace the ironing board cover we’ve had since we moved in over five years ago (I know, nothing but excitement around here). It had gotten a bit scalded and threadbare and the wadding was so thin I was getting the metal pattern of the ironing board imprinted into whatever I was ironing.

I picked up this cute cover from Barefoot Lake on Etsy, plus some new wadding. I’ve been a big fan of Joel Dewberry’s patterned fabrics for ages so I’m happy I’ve finally found an excuse to have some in my home.

Only problem is, the little birds are upside down!

Oh well, if you don’t look too closely it’s still a fun addition to the laundry.

Have you had any great Etsy finds lately?

This post is sponsored by Target

cleaning caddy 1

One of my favourite organising tips is to store items where you use them. I decided to take my own advice and set up a little cleaning box in the bathroom using this cute white storage tin.

cleaning caddy 2

The caddy contains vinegar, bicarb soda, methylated spirits, Ajax, a sponge cloth, a microfibre cloth and an old toothbrush.

cleaning caddy 3

Instead of carting everything up from the laundry (downstairs), all the essentials are now on hand in the bathroom so a quick clean is that much easier to squeeze in on a busy weekend… or, er, five minutes before guests are due to rock up.

vileda-robot-sweeper-1

I was already on a mission to simplify our cleaning routine when I spotted this nifty gadget. 

You guys, a robotic sweeper. I feel like I’m on the Jetsons.

vileda-robot-sweeper-2

You just press a button and off it zooms to every corner of the room (this is what the disposable pad looked like after only a tiny section – ew!).

We will still need to mop any sticky spills in the kitchen, but for everyday cleaning of crumbs, dust and hair it will work great on our downstairs flooring.

vileda-robot-sweeper-3

I had a spare metal crate under the sideboard that is the perfect home for it.

Only thing is, I’ve now made life easier for The Man (cleaning the bathroom and sweeping fall under his side of the chores list) so I need to even it up by finding ways to automate my tasks – ha!

Do you have any of your own tips for simplifying your cleaning routine?

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laundry after2

Spring, yay! I have to say I’m even more excited about the warm weather this year than normal since we spend a large chunk of our summer in a northern hemisphere winter.

This past weekend we had glorious weather and it was amazing to be able to throw all the doors and windows open and let the warm breeze in. Apart from making the most of the t-shirt weather, this time of year also means spring cleaning.

For me, spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of cobwebs and dusting the top of the fan blades (although goodness knows I do need to do that), it’s also about decluttering so you’re left with a home that’s not only clean but also organised.

For my many readers for whom it is coming into autumn (fall) rather than spring, it’s a great chance to catch up on some cleaning and organising around the home that has fallen by the wayside while you’ve been enjoying your summer.

What are some of your spring cleaning, home maintenance and organising questions? Leave a comment and I’ll tackle your dilemmas in posts throughout the month.

This post is sponsored by Fisher & Paykel.

Living in a small space can be a double-edged sword when it comes to housekeeping. There is less to clean (yay!) but it also means that it can get chaotic very quickly if we’re not vigilant.

Any home, no matter the size, needs a well-functioning system to keep the household running smoothly. Adopt a mix of new labour-saving appliances, clever space-saving tricks and good old fashioned chore routines and you’ll be well on your way.

Make it shared

Many hands make light work, so divvy up the responsibilities around the house with your family (yes, including kids). How you split it will be up to your individual circumstances, as well as ability, interest and other commitments.

Even if you do already share the housework, it can be helpful to discuss a more specific arrangement so that you can take responsibility for your own tasks and not have to worry about the rest.

Make it multi-function

Only have space in the laundry for one major appliance? Instead of having to sacrifice a dryer, opt for a washer-dryer combo for maximum convenience in a single appliance.

On a smaller scale, choose all-purpose cleaners so you don’t need a cupboard full of specialist products (plus you’ll win points from Mother Nature).

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Make it space-saving

These days space isn’t the limiting factor it once was when selecting appliances. For example, you can replace one drawer in your kitchen with a Dishdrawer for all the time-saving bliss of a dishwasher while maintaining your storage space.

Also available are cabinet-depth fridges and under-bench fridge drawers for a streamlined look in even the tiniest of kitchens.

Make it fun

No really! Cranking up some upbeat tunes or listening to an interesting podcast will make your housework feel like less of a chore.

Make it easy

Dry-clean only? Porous kitchen counters? No thank you. Select easy-care surfaces and materials for your home and clothing to make maintenance a breeze.

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Make it ergonomic

Housework isn’t just a drain on your time, it can also be physically demanding. Take a load off and try back-friendly appliances such as dishdrawers, upright vacuum cleaners and wall ovens.

Make it automatic

Embrace amazing new innovations such as self-cleaning ovens and robotic vacuum cleaners to put your housekeeping on autopilot. Plus set timers for things like your washing machine and coffee machine to do their thing ready for you to wake up.

Make it routine

Setting aside certain times for each chore is the easiest way to prevent things getting out of control. Just as importantly, make sure everyone in the household is clear on the schedule too, so that they can do their bit when wash day or bin day rolls around.

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What are your favourite tips for easy housekeeping? Tell us in the comments!

laundry after2

When The Man and I were preparing to move in together almost five years ago, we set about discussing who would do what in the household.

Having been responsible for cleaning the bathroom at his parents’ home, he volunteered to keep doing that (SCORE!). On the other hand, I don’t mind doing the dusting because I can arrange things how I want. We agreed I’d take care of vacumming the upstairs floors while he’d mop downstairs and I’d wash the clothes while he’d do the sheets and towels.

Some things were based on skill/interest (I’m more interested in cooking so I plan the meals) and others based on logic (he takes care of the car since he’s the one who uses it every day).

Bigger and more frequent jobs such as shopping, cooking, dishes and finances have been shared responsibilities.

Overall it’s worked really well, but over the last year we’ve both had increased work commitments so our previously smooth process developed a few bumps. Mail would pile up and each of us would secretly hope the other one would deal with it. After a long day we’d forget to ask if the other one had paid that bill.

None of which is conducive to a properly functioning household (or marriage, for that matter).

So we sat down and had a chat one day recently and divvied up a few of the shared tasks. A word of caution: Do not attempt this when you have done the dishes for the twentieth night in a row and are resenting it.

Giving each person more individual responsibilities might seem like a strange thing to do to deal with being so busy. But in reality, it was a huge help and I noticed a difference in not just my actions but my outlook overnight. No matter how busy I am, I know that it’s now up to me to manage our receipts. On the flipside, I don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the kitchen floor because it’s not my responsibility.

No more silent stand-offs or building resentment.

I definitely prefer having 100% responsibility over 50% of chores rather than 50% of responsibility for every chore. How about you? That’s not to say we don’t communicate with each other about the household (even if one person pays the bills we still regularly discuss finances) or that the system is not flexible (The Man will throw on a load of washing for me if I’m having a particularly hectic weekend).

The balance will vary between couples, of course, depending on your commitments and lifestyle, but I do think it’s helpful to have a clear set of expectations and responsibilities. Otherwise you risk falling into the trap of doing certain chores and end up getting stuck with that expectation and start getting resentful of your partner.

I know we don’t talk ‘relationship’ type stuff here very often, but I firmly believe that a well-oiled household routine is as much a part of a beautiful home as how you decorate it, so I thought it was worthwhile dipping our toes into these murky waters.

Now that I’ve shared how we handle chores chez Parsons, I’d love to know how things work (or perhaps don’t work!) at your place.

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Bedroom

I’m going to be honest: I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with housekeeping.

Growing my business and writing this blog take up an insane amount of time. And of course I have a marriage and frienships to enjoy and maintain. After all that, there is only so much else I can squeeze in to what remains of my 24 hours each day.

So this week instead of getting worked up over the fact that the house was chaos and I didn’t have time to do everything, I just picked one thing – making the bed – and make sure I did it.

Sure, there were still clothes on the floor and you certainly didn’t need to do a white glove test to notice the dust everywhere, but with just that one change I feel more in control and on top of things. The added bonus is that you might even find you’re motivated to do another few quick jobs while you’re about it.

I picked making the bed as it takes up such a large amount of real estate in the room so it instantly makes the entire room feel neater. It doesn’t have to be the bed, though. You could try:

  • Keeping the kitchen table clear
  • Doing the dishes before you go to bed
  • Keeping the bathroom clean (actually this is my ‘one thing’ when guests are coming)

What about you? Do you have a ‘one thing’ that you try to do every day if nothing else?

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spring cleaning

I’m always ready for a spring freshen up when the warmer weather arrives. But this year even more so since I’ve had such a busy winter and let’s just say I wouldn’t be passing the white cotton glove test.

With that in mind, my guest picks this month are all about spring cleaning.

Click to read the full post on Houzz.

Ironing mat

We already have a pretty good small space ironing solution (a tabletop ironing board) but this ironing mat from Solutions takes it one step further.

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

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