Simplifying My Life In 2017

It’s hard to believe that January is over and we are well into February already. How does the time go by so quickly? I find that this is the time of year when we all begin to settle back into our regular routines and start getting a bit of normality back to our lives. If you are reading this, then I’m guessing that you are interested in the idea of simplifying your life. The mere thought of this is extremely overwhelming when you feel like you are living in chaos. This is pretty much how I am feeling at the moment.

I love my husband to death but when he is on holidays I get absolutely NOTHING accomplished. Please tell me I’m not alone on this one?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having all of that extra family time together. Day trips to the beach and extra activities with the kids have been wonderful and of course the little ones love having their Daddy home so much over the break.  In saying that, I’ll admit that I find it very hard to keep everything in order when the four of us are home together all day everyday for a month straight. Routines get thrown out the window, there are way too many late nights and every day is like the weekend. And if I am to be 100% honest with you I get quite lazy myself – if everyone else is on holidays why can’t I join them?

February is also the time of year that I really start to act on my goals for the year. I know I’m a little late in regards to this topic – I realise that the new year began over 6 weeks ago.

Quote Template_edited-1

The holiday season is absolutely insane around here. My Husband and I went on our Honeymoon at the end of November and also celebrated his birthday. Then of course there is Christmas, our Sons birthday, New Year Eve celebrations. Add to that “Party Season” as all of Master B’s little friends birthdays fall in December and January as well as my birthday! To say it’s been impossible to start anything new during this time is a massive understatement.

But now is the time! Hubby is back at work and Master 5 has just started kindergarten. My aim is to simplify our routine so that we can enjoy our day to day activities. I’m also trying to create  a new routine with just Miss 2 and myself at home. I know this will be a major adjustment not just for me, but her as well. She misses her big brother so much.

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a new year. It’s a fresh start and a whole world of possibilities. As you all know, I love having a decluttered and organised home. While it has taken me many years to get to where I am at this point, I am far from finished I really want to take it further.

This year I chose one word, call it my theme for the year. LESS. I have always aimed to use less, have less, spend less, waste less. In the past I have tried when I remember to, but this year I’m determined to take it to the next level. I’m really excited to share with you my goals for the year.

It’s time to start simplifying my life

e485dd3bb1379eb21061aa273fba8866

Source

I have officially begun my journey to minimalist living.

Now let me just say that I will never be a “true minimalist”. We will not be selling all of our furniture and electronics. We will not be swapping our couches for bean bags or our beds for a mattress on the floor and we certainly will not be replacing toilet paper for washable cloths.

Yes, I have recently learned that this is actually “thing”. #omg

I have been learning lot about minimalism over the last few months. My time has been spent reading many articles and I have been listening to a lot of podcasts on the topic. I have joined quite few facebook groups where everyday people share their progress, as they begin living with less, simplifying their lives and living with purpose. Let me tell you, the benefits seem to be life changing for some people. I want to be one of those people!!!

There are many interpretations of what minimalism actually is. To me, it’s only keeping things that you need, use and love. Everything else is not needed. I love the idea of living a much simpler life, getting rid of the unnesacery and only having what we need. I truly believe that happiness is not measured by the amount of possessions you own and more importantly I want to teach my kids the same thing. This is incredibly difficult to do these days any way.

During my year of culling I will not be stopping at household items. Minimising waste of food and money by meal planning and budgeting is high on my list of things to improve. As well as cutting costs anywhere I can in the everyday running of my home.

It may come as no surprise that having less stuff makes keeping your house clean, tidy and under control a much easier task. Having too much stuff causes stress and creates so much more work when it comes to running the household. I’m going to tackle it all. Every inch of my home is going to get the minimalist touch and I will be sharing my progress on my facebook page as well as monthly updates here on the blog.

I am so excited about this change we are making and I can’t wait to see how it impacts other areas of our lives.

The Year Of The House

The second goal I wanted to share with you are the projects we have planned for our home. It is really going hand in hand with our minimalist goals. My husband and I have renamed 2017! Yes, you read that correctly, 2017 is now known in our family as the year of the house. Our plan is to do as many updates and improvements to our home as possible. This will include DIY projects and organising projects. If you have seen my Back To School Series part 1 and part 2,  work has well and truly begun.

We have been in our house for eight and a half years now. We have painted a little here and there and made a few changes along the way but we have a long way to go. With our kiddo’s aged 2 and 5 it has been extremely hard to find the time to knock all of these projects off the to do list, as I’m sure many of you out there can relate to.

Truth be told, over last year I have realised that we are very quickly outgrowing our home. Before we bought our house, my husband and I had been renting a tiny two bedroom unit. So when we moved into our 3 bedroom house it felt huge, like seriously huge. Add to that another dog, two kiddos and all the extra stuff that those little people need and we are close to bursting at the seems. This is another reason we will greatly benefit from a more minimalistic life.

Moving will not be an option for us any time soon, so for the time being it’s about making the most of the house that we have. I had so many plans for our home when we first moved in and somewhere along the way it has all been pushed aside. So decluttering and setting up systems to make the most efficient use of the space is at the top of the to do list.

I think of all those years we totally wasted the space in our entry way. It was always a mess because there wasn’t enough storage and with our entry project not only has it completely transformed the way it looks, but it has totally changed the way we use that space.

entry

On Our To-Do List
  • Laundry update – better storage
  • Declutter while simplifying storage in kids rooms
  • Closet organisation in all bedrooms
  • Finish painting inside
  • Front patio update
  • Garage declutter
  • Garage organization
  • Purging every room
  • Photo Organisation

I’m sure there a million other areas that will need some kind or re-organisation and I’m sure they will be added to our never ending list.

55acf1c4ae9d60a22c5526d11283ebf7

Source

 

So this is the starting point. I’m ready for a more simplified life. I’m so excited to get started on ridding our home and lives of all the unnecessary stuff that has no purpose and only having things in our home that we truly need, use or want.

So here’s to a tidier, cleaner and less cluttered 2017!

 

 

 

 

How to prepare for the unthinkable

My child vanished

Hi everyone,

I am finally getting back into routine after a weekend away that was emotional, exciting and fun but stressful and terrifying all rolled in together.

This past weekend I packed up my little family and we took the 3 hour drive to Sydney to participate in the 2016 Parkinson’s Unity Walk for the 4th year running. This is the part of the weekend that was exciting and fun. It’s what happened the day before the event that I wanted to share with you.

The day we arrived, we decided to take the kids to this amazing park that we had visited the last few times we in Sydney. The kids had been strapped into their car seats for 3 hours and this has become our “go to” method of letting the kiddo’s burn off some energy before heading back to the motel for the evening. This park is huge…..I mean HUGE. Nothing like the little parks we have back home. Blaxland Riverside Park spans over 3 hectares. There are enormous slides, and tunnels through giant hills and compared to the playgrounds that my children are used to (that have a maximum of 20 kids on a good day) this park has thousands and thousands of people, rain or shine. Yep that’s right, last time we went to the park the weather was horrible and it was still packed with children playing in the rain – including ours.

The last time we came here my daughter was only just walking, this time she was a little two and a half year old ball of energy that you couldn’t keep in one spot if life depended on it. My husband and decided to divide and conquer. He followed our son and stood on to the top of one giant hill and I stood on the other giant hill watching our daughter. Occasionally I would glance up to see if my husband was still close by and then went on watching Miss D. I peeked over the edge each time she crawled through the tunnel that ran under the hill I was standing on. I was in the best position to see her no matter what direction she went. The kids were having a ball racing back and forth up and down the slides and the hills, climbing through the tunnels, across the rope nets and up the rock wall. I looked up again, just as my husband looked over to me. We gave each other a little grin knowing that we were thinking the same thing, they were going to sleep extremely well that night.

And that’s when it happened.

I looked back to where my daughter was and she was gone. I scanned around to where she was literally 2 seconds before and she was gone. I looked over the hill to see if she was back at the tunnel…nothing. I peeked over the other side of the hill and waited to see if she crawled out…nothing. I looked back over to where I had last seen her and she was nowhere to be seen. My stomach dropped and my heart rate sped up so fast I thought I was having a heart attack. I looked back to my husband, he could see the look of horror on my face and I just threw my hands up in the air and shook my head and burst into tears. I began yelling her name over and over as I walked down the hill scanning around trying to find my little girl. We looked for a few minutes where we last saw her then my husband took off through the hundreds of people while I held on to our son for dear life. I began walking up to families asking if they had seen my daughter, describing what she was wearing. They looked at me blankly; they couldn’t understand what I was saying as they didn’t speak English. I have never felt as scared as I did in that moment. I needed help, there were thousands of people around me and no one could help me.

I kept racing around yelling out my little girl’s name, dragging my poor son around beside me not wanting to let go of him for a second incase I lost him as well. We did this for another few minutes until I looked up and saw my Husband about 100 meters away, walking towards me holding our daughter in his arms.

I immediately burst into tears again and ran towards them with my iron grip still holding my little boy’s hand. Of course I grabbed her and held onto her so tight, and told her over and over

“You need to stay with Mummy. Never run away, never run away from Mummy”

She said to me

“I’m sorry Mummy, don’t cry, I’m very sorry Mummy”

She went back to playing as if nothing happened, of course, she is only 2 years old but it really shook me up.

I was watching her. I wasn’t talking to other parents and I wasn’t mucking around on my phone. I was 100% focused on my daughter and she still disappeared in a second. Thankfully she just wondered off and we found her within 6 or 7 minutes, but it was the longest 6 minutes of my entire life. I kept thinking how I could have been more prepared and wondered if my 4 year old son would know what to do if he needed help in an unfamiliar situation.

So I have put together a list of things that will hopefully prepare you and your children if they were to get separated from you out in public

Take a photo

If you are visiting an amusement park or an event where there are large crowds take a photo of your kids so you have a reference of what clothing they have on. It will be easier if those looking for your child, know what they are wearing

What’s in a name?

Not only is it important for them to know their own full name but your full name as well. It will be much easier to track you down if they are able to identify themselves and you to those that are helping them.

Important Information

Teaching your children basic information about themselves, like their address and phone number would be very helpful if they get lost. Practice with them, we used to do this in the car every day. It doesn’t take long at all for them to memorize an address. Phone numbers are a little harder, but practice makes perfect.

Arrange a meeting spot.

If they are old enough, when you arrive at your destination explain to your children that if they are to get separated from you they are to go to the designated meeting spot and stay there.

How to ask for help

Simply telling your child “ask for help” may not be enough. Explain in language that is age appropriate the words they would need to say.

“I have lost my Mummy, can you call for help?”

Stranger danger and who can help.

I read this really great article a few years ago about how to teach your kids about strangers and tricky people. But it’s also important for them to know that there is not always going to be a teacher or a policeman round to ask and that sometimes they may need to ask a stranger for help. Teaching kids about “safe strangers” like shop keepers or a mum (or dad) with children. When push comes to shove, parents understand the urgency involved with a child when they are lost or in trouble and scared.

If your children, like my daughter, are too young to learn phone numbers and addresses or even understand the concept of a meeting place here are a few great ideas that I have found that could help someone locate you quickly if they were to find your child wandering around alone.

 

Kids Safety Bracelets

custom_name_wristbands_1

Source

 

Safety Tattoos

1425267206487-1498666990

Source

DIY Safety Bracelets

Easy-Phone-Number-Bracelet-from-Juggling-Act-Mama

Source

Having my child just disappear was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened if my Husband hadn’t found her that afternoon.  Hopefully others can learn from our horrible experience. Take this opportunity to have these conversations with your kids, have a plan and make sure everyone knows what to do if they get separated from you. If your child is too young then be prepared and use some of these resources above – as we will be doing in the future.

Most importantly watch your kids, pay attention to what is happening. If this can happen while you are watching, imagine what can happen if you are distracted.

Where it all began

where it all began

It comes as a surprise to many people when I tell them that I have not always been a super organised person. In all honesty I still have moments of chaos and disorder in my home. I have two children under 5 and a husband and to say that they struggle to put things back where they belong is an understatement. In recent years however, I have come to a place where at the end of the day when the kids are snuggled up in their beds it doesn’t usually take more than about 30 minutes to have our home back to normality. It hasn’t always been like this though.

When I was younger I always kept my bedroom immaculate. The bed was always made, my books perfectly lined up in order of height and my CD’s were stacked in the rack in alphabetical order. Everything had a spot and I loved the way my room felt when it was tidy and in order.

When I entered my late teens I had well and truly fallen off the tidy wagon. I had my license and my own car and a few of my friends were living out in the real world in their own units where I stayed over often. I would load up my car with what I needed and disappear for the weekend. When I would float back in on a Sunday afternoon I dumped my stuff in the corner of my room as I prepared for the next week of school. The pile would grow and grow until my Mother couldn’t take it anymore and demanded it be cleaned up. Of course after I would clean it up, the cycle would begin again.

When I met my husband I was 18 years old. I was renting a small two bedroom unit with my sister at the time and it wasn’t long before he moved in and she moved out. We were not so great at keeping things in order. We had a dining table in our small lounge / dining room which was a catch all for everything that entered our place. I remember once it got so high that when we tried to add another item, something would fall off. We lived in this tiny space for 4 years and I vowed when we bought our own house that things would change. And they did…..for a while.

When we bought our three bedroom house it felt massive. We had come from a tiny 2 bedroom unit where we could move from the lounge room to the dining room in 2 steps and further 2 steps would take me to the kitchen. The bedrooms were tiny and our laundry was in a cupboard. That’s right, a cupboard.

I really couldn’t believe how much space we had in our new house. The master bedroom was ours of course, we had the office set up in the medium sized bedroom and the smaller third bedroom became a storage room as such.

We lived extremely comfortably in our spacious place for the next 3 years, but when I fell pregnant with our son Master B, it became apparent that he would need a bedroom. We had a clean out and moved our office into the storage room and in no time our little man had his own space. When we began moving all the furniture into his rather generous sized room, but it became quite clear that we would be struggling with the space. With a cot, bassinette, toy box, change table, tallboy dresser, a rocking chair, play mats and toys the walls seemed to be closing in on us.

This is when I took a step back and started thinking about how we could be clever with storage and furniture placement as well as coming up with ideas on how to maximise every square inch of the room.

I was speaking to my sister one day about how I was setting up the baby’s room and how I wanted it to be perfectly organised and everything in it’s place. She introduced me to a blog that she had been following called iheart organizing. To be honest, at the time I never even knew what a “blog” was, let alone read one before, but after reading one post I was totally hooked. I loved all the little organising tips and ideas that Jen would write about and most of all how she made every project look so pretty. I signed up to her mailing list and every morning I would check my email for a notification that a new iheart post was on the blog.

This was such a massive turning point for me. I had always found that life was just easier when things were tidy but actually organising had never been big on the priority list. That was until I knew our family was growing. I started following an Australian blog called An Organised Housewife and then another called A Slob Comes Clean. I was getting a little addicted but I figured if this addiction was having a positive effect on our home and the way we lived then it really wasn’t such a bad addiction to have.

I have learnt so much over the past 5 years and I’ve really nailed the art of decluttering and keeping things organised. I am constantly updating systems that no longer work as our needs change. After all our family has grown with the birth of our little girl Miss D.

As we all know the kids continue to grow older, toys and clothes are outgrown the cots get replaced with big kid beds and the rocking chair is no longer needed for those night time feeds.

My home is never perfect and I won’t pretend that it is, but I do have systems and routines in place that make it very easy to restore order at the end of each day. Toys are tucked away where they belong and dirty laundry is thrown in the hamper. We have a space where my husband and I can enjoy our evenings together without being overrun with clutter and toys. I have worked extremely hard to make our house a home and to make it a comfortable place where we want to spend our time together. Isn’t that what everyone wants out of their home?

There are always projects to do and systems to update – our home will always be a work in progress but this is my organising journey so far and I would love for you to continue the ride with me as we Organise It All.