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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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porch makeover

One of the things on my porch makeover must-have list was some storage. Why was it so important, you ask?

Well, because there is a never-before-photographed corner of our courtyard that looks something like this:

messy courtyard corner

Yeeeah. Nice, huh?

Our laundry is home to most of our hardware and garden gear, but sadly with no shed or garage the bulky items simply have nowhere to go and have languished in the courtyard for six years.

outdoor storage bench

They now have a neat little spot on the front porch inside the new bench.

Not the most pin-worthy storage idea, I admit, but it will mean our courtyard will no longer be a dumping ground so it wins major points with me.

Now the only question is: what do to with the awkward corner of the courtyard?

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kitchen storage baskets

I have another guest post up over on Interiors Addict. Pop over and check out my post Good looking storage ideas to suit your home.

If you’ve clicked over here from Jen’s blog: welcome!

I hope you had a great honeymoon, Jen!

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organised toiletries case

I was lucky enough to get a couple of the big things on my birthday wish list earlier in the year (including the lens and adorable handbag) – hooray! I was still really keen on the Apple & Bee toiletries case and decided to splurge and buy it for myself recently.

organised toiletries case

I had a not very feminine camping-store style case before that. I loved how it had a hook so it could be hung somewhere even in the most cramped hotel bathrooms.

What I didn’t love though, was that it didn’t quite fit everything in it. Even with the bare essentials of makeup items, I would struggle to get the zip closed and would have to pack another pouch for larger items such as hairspray.

I thought about it for months because it wasn’t cheap, but in the end I decided to go for it since it was the only case that met all my criteria after a lot of searching.

The Carry-all Traveller lives up to its name and I can fit EVERYTHING in it – including makeup, hairstyling gear and perfume – and has the nifty hook. As you can imagine it is quite a bulky piece, but I now don’t have to have several different pouches floating around in my suitcase and spread out around a hotel room.

organised toiletries case

Here are my tips for packing a travel toiletries case:

  • Pare back your makeup
    When I’m at home I’ll vary up my eyeshadow colours and such but when travelling I’ll usually only take one of each item (although I admit I stash another couple of lippies in my handbag). Choose more streamlined versions of your regular products, for example I use a stick blusher which doesn’t need a brush (I normally take pressed powder for the same reason but I just ran out so on our last trip I had to pack my bulky loose powder and brush). Non-essential items like bronzer and primer don’t make the cut at all.
  • Streamline your routine
    Similarly, simplify your other products to save space. For example, I take a single lotion for both hands and body, only one moisturiser (instead of one for day and another for night) and a razor instead of my usual epilator. Especially if you’re only going for a short time, you won’t miss the full kit & caboodle.
  • Keep a second set of everything 
    Instead of packing my toiletries case from scratch before each trip, I actually keep a second set of almost everything in there so I’m ready to go and won’t forget things. It sounds extravagant, but most essentials such as shampoo, body wash and toothbrushes, are cheap and longlasting. If you’re anything like me, you may already have a stash of gift-with-purchase samples and other spares.
  • Don’t take more than you need
    If you only need a couple of weeks’ worth of supplies, don’t pack a one-litre body lotion or huge hairspray. I prefer buying travel sized products for convenience but decanting into plain bottles will be cheaper.

What are your tips for packing toiletries?

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Interiors Addict readers welcome to Atypical Type A

If you’ve popped over from Interiors Addict after reading my guest post, welcome to Atypical Type A! Step inside, take your shoes off and make yourself at home. I write about decorating, organising, entertaining and craft – basically anything to make your home a more enjoyable place to be.

If you haven’t seen the post on 10-minute organising projects, you can click over and read it now.

Big thanks to Jen for having me guest post while she’s off on her honeymoon.

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