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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.

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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.

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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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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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 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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Why-don't-you-set-up-a-tea-coffee-station

 

If last week’s project of setting up a bar cart wasn’t your thang and you prefer your liquid vices caffeinated, this one’s for you!

It’s such a simple idea but I totally love our little drinks station in the corner of our kitchen (especially now that we’ve got a fancy coffee machine – aww yeah!). Keeping everything within arm’s reach is such a time-saver, plus house guests can easily help themselves without feeling awkward about rummaging through cupboards to find the teabags.

Don’t stop with just the tea/coffee/drinking chocolate, make sure you include everything you need such as sugar, mugs and teaspoons (and biccies too if you have the restraint not to scoff half the tin every time you have a cuppa).

If I had the space I would totally do little themed ‘stations’ all over the place (breakfast making! letter writing! mail sorting!) but this one is definitely a great starting point since we use it daily.

So this weekend, why don’t you set up a tea and coffee station?

Why-don't-you-set-up-a-bar-cart

With our bathroom having been in a state of mid-renovation chaos for the last few weeks, entertaining friends hasn’t been on the cards.

Now that it’s fit for use again, I’m itching to have some friends over and bust out the bar cart I set up earlier in the year.

Not only does it free up valuable kitchen cupboard space, but you can keep all your entertaining essentials together so there’s less preparation to do when you have guests over for a spontaneous martini.

So this weekend, why don’t you set up a bar cart?

This post is sponsored by Target.

bathroom-after-5

Woohoo! I can finally show you the bathroom!

Here’s how took the inspiration and turned it into reality. The adjoining room (the upstairs landing) is green so I thought I’d go for mainly white with green accents.

Target bathroom makeover

Decorating in the bathroom should above all be focused on functionality, so most items are completely practical.

bathroom-after-3

They had some brand new storage gear in store, including the white tins and wicker baskets, so I ended up using those instead of my original plans. Even The Man commented how cute they were – win!

bathroom-after-4

After five years, we were well and truly due for some new towels. I’m loving these new thick and fluffy Egyptian cotton bath towels – such a pretty colour don’t you think? Our daggy hand towel was also ready for replacement and I opted for a contrasting rather than matching one.

bathroom after-2

I bought most of the items that you see here from Target  but mixed in some existing pieces I had on hand.

My main tip is to think outside the bathroom aisle! I used some items from the storage department, homewares and even kitchenware for storage and decor.

What aspect of your bathroom could use snazzing up?

Why-don't-you-organise-one-thing

 

If you’ve reached a point where you’ve become overwhelmed with clutter, it can be hard to know where to start. Or perhaps you think you’re ‘too busy’ to make any real changes.

Well, the old saying about how to eat a chocolate elephant applies to simplifying and organising your home, too.

Temporarily set aside the fact that you can’t even park your car in your garage anymore and you have two years’ worth of paperwork to file. Instead find a bite-sized corner of your home that you can easily tackle within an hour or so.

It will only take a short time but sorting out your make up drawer / kitchen table / junk drawer will make your daily life easier and less chaotic. Even if that’s all you get done, you’ll regain that I’ve-got-it-together mindset. It may even give you the confidence and motivation to tackle more nagging messes.

 

So this weekend, why don’t you organise one small thing?

Leave a comment with the area in your home that would only take a small amount of organising to achieve big results. Me? I’ll be reacquainting my clothes with their places in my closet (they’ve been getting too friendly with the floor lately).

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

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