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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Back To School Series – Part 3

Good morning guys and welcome to my third and final installment to the back to school series.

I can’t believe how fast this month has gone! In just 3 short days I will be sending Master 5 off to his first day at Kindergarten. We are well and truly organized and my little man is totally excited…… me on the other hand…I’m extremely anxious. Deep breaths Hailey, deep breaths.

Before we jump into part 3 of the series, lets take a look back at what we have covered so far in terms of school organisation.

Back To School Part 1

  • Command Centre
  • Family Schedule
  • Cleaning Schedules
  • Routines
  • Calendars
  • Filing System

Back to School Part 2

  • School Uniforms
  • Shoes
  • Schoolbags
  • Lunchboxes
  • School Papers

Today I will be showing you how I organise and keep track of my kids school work. I have been using this system for about 2 years now since my son began pre school.

At the moment my children’s “school work” is any artwork that they bring home. I will continue using this system the same way as they progress through their school years and when they begin bringing home special school assignments and important exams in the future.

My system is very basic and right from the beginning I decided that I needed it to help me limit what I hold onto. You have to be very particular in what you keep or you will be drowning in school papers for the next 13 years. Once that file is full you need to either stop keeping artwork or take something else out in order too keep a new piece. That is the rule.

Supplies used in this project include

  • File box
  • Suspension files
  • Manilla folders
  • Free printables (you can find the links below)

 

I got my file box from kmart a few years back for around $15 but I found this from Officeworks which is very similar.

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I started with the pre school files, labeling them with the year that my son attended day care. Having worked in child care for 8 years before having my kiddo’s, I know how much artwork they can come home with. Funnily enough my son was never a big fan of doing craft once he started pre school – he was far too busy running around and playing outside to stop long enough for craft. So most of his art work was from when I used to do it with him as an infant. I am hoping I get a little more craft work from my daughter.

I then continued to label the remaining files kindergarten, year 1, year 2 and so on, all the way to year 12. (Yikes that is a scary thought…. my baby ….. in year 12)

The files come with little clear clip on label holders and white labels. Of course you can just write on them with a marker but I wanted to make mine pretty so I created my own labels.

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I printed them on a white cardstock then I cut them out and slid them into the clips.

Inside each of the suspension files I have placed one manila folder to hold the school work.

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For the front I created a fun little printable to fill out each year. It’s a place to record your child’s teachers name, their class, what they want to be when they grow up. My little guy  told me he wants to be a skateboarder #adorable. There is also a place for a school portrait for that particular year. It is such a cute little keepsake to look back at in years to come.

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And look how organised it is!

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When the kids come home from school, I search through their school bags and gather papers. Any notes are filled out, important dates are added to the calendars and artwork is put into the keepsakes section on my desk file in the kitchen.

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Once a week or when the file is full, all of the keepsakes are moved to their school file boxes that are stored in our garage.

I store these in the garage for an obvious reason – the boxes are big. I only have one hall closet in our house that serves many purposes. It houses craft supplies, beach towels, gift wrapping items, my household file, warranties and manuals binder and my printer. I honestly couldn’t fit another thing in that closet if I tried.

I love this system because once it is done, that’s it. It is a sealed box so everything inside is protected. It is so simple to just slide school work inside as needed. There are no folders, hole punches or plastic sleeves to worry about.

Having each year contained to one folder really makes you think about what pieces are truly important to you. Lets face it, your kids are not going to want box after box after box of every single piece of art and craft they have ever created, handed down to them when they head off to Uni. I know that for me personally, I keep the little works or art because they are special to me or represent something significant.

The hand and footprints remind me of how little they were at certain stages of their lives. The pictures remind me of how hard he worked to draw that ninja turtle or the page of writing reminds me of how long he sat in full concentration to write his entire name.  Those are the pieces I will keep. Just because you don’t keep every single piece of work, doesn’t mean you love them any less.

 

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I wanted one system that will last the next 13 years. Even with the extra pre school files in there, look how much space there is left!  This is a system that never needs to be updated. That was the goal and that is what I’ve created. Simple, easy, storage.

I hope that this inspires you to set up a school work system for you children and to make the process a little easier I am giving you my file labels and cover pages absolutely free!!

So head over to my shop and download them today.

Download your file labels here.

Download your school year cover pages here.

 

 

 

 

Back To School Series Part 2

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Well hello everyone and welcome back to part two of my back to school series. We are less than 3 weeks away from the first day of school. How on earth is this going so quickly? I mentioned last week that my eldest it starting kindergarten this year and in all honesty I’m crying on the inside – I’m told this passes, quite quickly. Although I’m extremely anxious about the whole thing, I know that Master B is more than ready for school and is totally excited about it too. So I’m keeping myself busy by getting us all organised for when the craziness begins.

Today I will be sharing with you all how I plan to keep all the school clutter organsed once my little one starts school in just a few short weeks. You know what I’m talking about, all those nessecary items that your kiddo’s need – but totally cause chaos within the home. The school bags, shoes, hats, coats, uniforms, lunch boxes and school papers.

I have been working on an update in our entry to accommodate all these extra items as well as setting up a few systems to keep the clutter at bay.

School Uniforms

In order to teach my Son a little independence I have made “setting out uniform” part of his night time routine. I have placed this basket on the shelf in his bedroom where his entire uniform can be set out ready each night. The school uniform is easy wear polo shirts and there will be no ironing involved (#mumgoals) so I wont need it all on hangers. His school uniform will be neatly folded in the basket ready for the following morning.

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Lunch Boxes

Lunch boxes have been driving me absolutely batty for the last 12 months. My husband takes two separate lunch box / cooler bags to work and my Son has been using one for pre school as well. When they walk in the door they are brought into the kitchen to be emptied and cleaned and then they end up scattered all over the kitchen bench and then being picked up and moved around every time they get in the way. I have a very small Tupperware cupboard so they can’t be stored there so I decided that I would buy a basket to store them all in so I don’t have to look at them. Now they have a place to call home. The pretty basket has a spot on the kitchen bench tucked away in the corner and the lunchboxes will stop getting in my way once and for all.

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School Papers

I like the idea of keeping these school papers separate so I know I only have one place to look for permission slips, home readers and canteen order forms. When anything comes home from school it will go straight to my desk file. Any important dates are added to the calendars any permission slips are filled out and are put in the blue school pocket and any artwork is put into my keepsakes file.

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Shoes and Schoolbags

This would have to be my favourite part of my home organisation series. I have been thinking about how I can organise my entry to accommodate school clutter for about a year now- yes really, a full year. I will share the entire makeover process at a later date but this is what I have come up with that works with the space we had available.

In the past I had all of our shoes stored in a clear plastic tub under a hall table that we used to have and it always looked a mess. I recently purchased this shoe storage cabinet from Ikea that holds all of our shoes.  I love it because all of our shoes fit inside and all of the visual cutter is gone. The kid’s shoes are stored in the bottom as it is easier for them to access as well as stash their own at the end of each day.

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We have also recently installed board and batten in our entry that hold 6 double coat hooks. This will be the place to store school bags, hats, jumpers and jackets. These extra hooks will help keep things organised and off the floor.

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I feel like things are finally coming together and we are almost ready for school. By having all of these systems in place before the term begins, I am hoping that it will make the transition – for all of us – a little smoother.

Check back in next week for the last installment in the back to school series.