I think you’ll all agree when I say that paperwork is one of the biggest clutter culprits in most homes. ‘Going paperless’ is a semi-regular series on eliminating paper from your home in order to save time, reduce clutter and benefit the environment.

Kindle and books

I can tell you the exact moment when I decided that I ‘needed’ an e-reader.

It was the moment The Man and I were trying to zip up our suitcases before our journey home after our big trip this time last year. They were filled with handpainted Christmas decorations, Ghiradelli chocolate, copious items from art gallery gift shops… and seven (count them) novels that we’d read over there. A couple of them were even hardbacks.

Neither of us are big readers at home but we totally binge-read on holidays. We even had to hit up the English section of some Austrian bookshops to feed our habit and I bought a couple of e-books to read on my iPad for the long flight home.

Upon returning home, I promptly forgot about my resolution… until our next holiday 10 months later to New Zealand, wherein I smashed through another three books in ten days (Hunger Games – omg!). And again, had to load up the iPad for more.

Apparently all my complaining hinting was effective, because on Christmas Day I was lucky enough to find a new Kindle under the tree from The Man and my parents.

I used to be all annoyingly purist about books. And to be honest I still prefer holding a real book in my hands and enjoying the lovely covers, but ultimately the practicality outweighed my sentimentality by a long shot.

Why didn’t I just keep using the Kindle app on my iPad for reading e-books? A few reasons. Mostly, the size, weight and screen glare. Also when I’m reading I want to be completely absorbed in it, so I wanted to avoid the other temptations offered by the tablet. (Those with iPad Minis and/or better self-control can feel free to disregard much of this rationale.)

For those on the fence, here’s what I lurve about having an e-reader:

  • Can hold your entire library – don’t have to lug around piles of books when travelling.
  • It’s so small and light – I can pop it in my handbag to read during my lunch break with no noticeable weight added (important as I walk to work and already have to cart my shoes, lunch etc).
  • Doesn’t add clutter to the house – nothing extra to dust and organise.

There are lots of other benefits that I’m enjoying that I wouldn’t have considered before, like being able to highlight and note which is great for non-fiction books.

Additional reasons may include wanting to read 50 Shades of Grey on public transport. Just sayin’.

The only con is that you can’t use them on a plane during takeoff and landing, which isn’t too big a deal.

I was also lamenting not being able to freely share books (something my family does a lot) but then found out you can actually temporarily ‘lend out’ your e-books to friends via Kindle which is pretty cool.

I’m actually reading a lot more now that I have the e-reader because it’s so portable. With any luck I may not just be a holiday reader any more.

 How about you? Are you a traditionalist or modernist when it comes to books? Any recent converts like me?

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nature-path

As I mentioned the other day, 2013 was a very hectic and draining year for me.

It was not without highlights – in fact, there were many brilliant experiences – but I had way too much on my plate so I was too frantic to properly enjoy any of it.

Instead of loving living my dream job, I was dreading my unachievable to-do list and spending most of my day doing things that weren’t really getting me anywhere.

Instead of building the wonderful community around this blog, I felt so drained by constantly being online that I switched off from social media and was just ‘keeping up’ with the blog, rather than it being a joy.

Instead of spending our young, child-free years blissfully indulging in all the travel, me-time and socialising we could handle, I was avoiding commitments because I ‘didn’t have time’ and feeling guilty when I did do something fun.

In short, I can now see that I was doing so much that I could do none of it well.

This year, my plan is to get back to basics.

That’s not to say I plan to do the bare minimum and not have any lofty goals – far from it – it’s more about focussing my time and energy on doing a small amount of things to my very best ability. I still have the same areas of commitment to juggle (home, business, blog and work) and that’s not going to change, so it’s a matter of narrowing down the amount I take on for each.

Home:

For the first couple of years that The Man and I lived together, we really enjoyed our home. Keeping it clean and organised meant I felt relaxed and there was room for spontaneity. Now I feel overwhelmed by the chaos caused by housekeeping being squeezed out of an overstuffed schedule.

I want to get back to doing more of what I love about home: entertaining friends and family, cooking, reading, decorating and improvement projects and just pottering around. And god forbid as a decorating and organising blogger I might actually want an attractive and organised home!

Business:

Trial and error is how I learnt so much as a fledgling business owner. But three years on, I now need to focus on what works and what is the core of my business. This year I am cutting off the to-do list any projects that won’t contribute to the long-term success of Akimbo.

My business is still my baby and I love it, but the amount I was taking on was affecting other areas of my life too much and for too long. By cutting back to a more sane workload I will not only love my life more, but also my business.

Blog: 

With a growing business along with a new part-time job, I now have less time to commit to Atypical Type A. It is still very much a priority for me though, so I need to make sure I dedicate regular chunks of time to it.

I realise that now I have the shop and need to deal with sponsors I need to be even smarter with my time to ensure my most important work (original posts about creating a home) is always maintained. Having a whole new home to tackle is making it easy to get excited about though!

So my plan this year is to…

Do the important things and do them well.

Everything else doesn’t matter.

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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Heart-Centred Living

When my bloggy friend Deb from Home Life Simplified asked if I wanted to design an e-book she was working on, I jumped at the chance. I love her blog and the book sounded right up my alley.

The result is Heart-Centred Living, a free e-book filled with inspiring stories from women all over the world.

You can pick up your free copy here.

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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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?

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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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?

Why-don't-you-have-a-long-lunch

 

Spending an entire afternoon enjoying a lazy meal with friends and family is one of my favourite simple pleasures. It somehow feels so much more indulgent doing this at lunch not dinner, don’t you find?

It’s been a while though, so when some interstate rellies announced they were visiting this weekend we thought it was the perfect chance to have a relaxing Sunday lunch. The weather doesn’t look like it will be quite nice enough to eat outside but we might at least crank the barbecue for the first time this season (whole fish? roast lamb? can’t decide).

So this weekend, why don’t you enjoy a Sunday long lunch?

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

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