4 things to do immediately after you move in

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Congrats on your new home! Whether you’re moving out for the first time, have bought the first or forever home, moved into a new rental, or you’re being a smart cookie and saving your pennies (a.k.a serious cash) by moving back in with the parentals, these tips are to help you get set up and back to life as you know it!

Get the beds set up

The first thing after moving all your stuff and realising that no system will deal with all of “this” (waves hands over the towers of boxes) is to set up the beds. You will be pooped by the end of the day and arguing with a threenager at 6:30 at night is not for the faint-hearted. Put the beds back together with screws or at least plonk the mattress down where you intend the bed to go. 

A tip when packing up the bed linen: try to put fresh sheets on a day or two before the move and then swoop the whole bed linen set – pillows included – into the fitted sheet. You can carry it in a large IKEA bag or pop it in a box with some other bedroom items. Just make sure you clearly label the box so it’s easy to find. It makes life SO easy at the new place. 

Setting the beds up also means you will instantly get an idea of the space in the room and where all the other items and furniture pieces can go. And it’s a quick win on the board and you’ll love that feeling of completion ahead of the long process of unpacking. 

Put everything in its intended room on moving day

Once you get to the new place with the moving truck, you will quickly realise that any orderly unpacking you dreamed of has all but gone. Chaos ensues – even for the most organised of us! As time is money with most removalists, focus on getting your stuff out of the truck so the truck can move on and is not blocking the road. Once everything is in the house, in the most organised way you can manage, focus on putting the items and furniture in their “forever” rooms. This includes putting everything that needs to go upstairs, up there and everything that needs to go in the home office in the office space. 

Putting items in their rooms means that you can assign one person to organise each room or if it’s just you, work your way around the house in stages. You will absolutely organise and reorganise as you unpack, particularly if you are in a small space. But having everything handy in one room means you won’t be tripping over everyone and everything else in the house!

Get the kitchen essentials in drawers and appliances out

Okay so beds are set up, everything that needs to go upstairs is up and all the bathroom crap is out of the hallway. Next is getting the kitchen set up, as this is what you will need once you head back to work and school. Hopefully, you have labelled your boxes so you know where the kitchen essentials are so you can easily find all the key pieces. Plug in the electricals, put the cutlery away in the drawer (even if you need to buy a new cutlery tray, just get it in there and away) and all the food items in the pantry. You may play around with the layout and organisation as you go, but the focus is to try and get rid of the bulky packing boxes and ensure that 90% of your stuff fits in your new space. If it doesn’t fit, it’s a red flag that you may need additional storage or get creative by putting your larger platters or large appliances in another location.

Get accustomed to the space before making exy investments

Humans tend to panic when our usual way of doing things ain’t what it used to be. This is highlighted when people move as “they always have the baking foil 3rd drawer down”. When moving into your new place, get creative about where things go and how to make the spaces work for you. Old ways may have suited the last place, but simply may not be practical in the new home. Be open-minded about where items can find a new home and if you’re renting, pop any extras away in a storage cupboard as you may need them at the next place!

This also applies to fixtures. You may have wanted new blinds yesterday, but holding off for at least a few days to see how the light works and if the room is fit for purpose (you may want to switch your Master Bedroom for a back room if the traffic and lights are too much at the front of the house!) before making an investment is often worth the wait. A sheet with some tacks can do the job in the interim. 

If you do decide you need new storage items, always measure the space before you purchase. Finding just that right item for the space will pay off in dividends every time you use it. I have seen waaay too many examples of people buying things for their new home in a panic and then later regretting it. It can wait. Take your time with it!

How to organise your drawers with IKEA SKUBB

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IKEA has nailed it with this design. I have used Skubb drawer containers (or dividers) in my own home and countless clients’ homes. They keep all items in their assigned spot, instead of a sea of clothes sliding around in (or being stuffed into!) one large drawer. Having a container to keep every category together often means you don’t need to fold items – just lob them into their designated container. Skubb drawer containers are made out of fabric, with relatively well-structured sides and a flexible base. With a good structure and a little bit of flex, this design means that you can keep your drawers organised, but also stuff those few extra items in when needed!

What to put in drawer dividers

Drawer dividers are great for items that can’t be hung on a rack or smaller items that are a bit too fiddly to fold. 

Here are the key items that are perfect for Skubb containers:

  • Undies
  • Socks
  • Boxers
  • Bras and bra accessories
  • Hats, scarves, mittens
  • Belts
  • Stockings
  • Active/Sportswear (think loose form/flimsy fabrics)
  • Swimwear
  • Shapewear

 

What not to bother putting in drawer dividers

  • Tops and T-Shirts (hang them up or just roll/fold them instead)
  • Shorts (just fold or roll)
  • Bulky clothes like sweaters, hoodies, track pants (just fold them instead)

 

How many do you need to buy?

There are two ways to calculate how many containers you need: either buy a bunch of containers and return any you don’t use or measure and plan so you know exactly how many you need to buy in advance. 

To make the measuring and planning process clearer, I’ll break it down into steps.

1. Remove any items of clothing you don’t love or use (a.k.a declutter!).

2. Make sure you take stock of any clothes that are being washed/sitting in the laundry.

3. Put all your socks together, undies together and so on. Create categories and put them all together in piles so you can visualise how much you have of each category.

4. Lay out your drawers with your clothes in an order that you like. This means you can literally see how much will fit in each drawer.

5. Play Tetris with the categories to find the best fit. Don’t be afraid to switch drawers around, split or combine categories. 

6. Take note of the sizes of the Skubb containers (you can make a quick paper template or just buy one pack to play around). Double-check the height of your drawers as well to make sure they will fit and you can still close your drawers.

7. If you think you will need a bit of room for growth of a category over time, keep this in mind and opt for a slightly larger container, rather than trying to jam everything into a smaller container. A little bit of extra room in each container also makes it easier to rummage through items.

8. Often, there will be a gap either at the side or back of the drawer. Use this as a separate compartment. For example, you may have your undies and socks in two containers and then use the gap/extra space to pop your swimwear in.

At the end of the day it really is just a game of tetris, but make sure you leave enough room in each container for the category to grow over time.

 

What’s the best colour to choose?

I have no doubt that IKEA will continue to produce new colours and patterns over time. In general, sticking with a lighter colour will mean it will be easier to see what is in your drawers than let’s say black, as this can make it harder to see what you have in the back of your drawers (particularly if you have a fair chunk of black/darker clothing!). 

 

How to label them 

Given that the containers are made of fabric, you will want a label that will stick, but also one that you can change if you need over time. The best ones I have used for many projects are the Dymo labels. You buy the little machine and just the sticker labels. No need for any ink! For labelling fabric, use the paper stickers (not the plastic ones) because the paper ones will adhere better. You can pop the labels on the front of the container, side or even inside. You can also pop labels directly on the inside of the drawer – if you do this, use the plastic labels as they are easier to peel off hard surfaces when you need to. Think about what works best for you when you open the drawer. 

 

Kids and drawer organisation

Organising drawers for the little ones is always a good way to get kids on board with where their stuff lives! However, as kids grow, so do their clothes. Soon, a drawer that seems only half-full will overflow. And clothes that were easy to fold, now need to be hung on adult coathangers. When organising kids drawers, just keep in mind that you will need to adapt as they grow through the seasons. When their drawers start to feel too snug or just out of control, use it as a sign to reassess and re-organise the drawers and perhaps see if items need to be hung and non-clothing categories put elsewhere to make extra room. This is where Skubb containers are excellent as they are super easy to reorganise and reuse and will adapt as the kids grow. 

When your drawers just don’t feel organised anymore

If your drawers just don’t feel that organised anymore, it may be time to re-assess and overhaul what you have. Start with a declutter and assess if any of your categories have grown over time. Sometimes even 1x new item can throw things out of whack – which is okay, you just need to find a way that works for you. You may also find that there are items you simply don’t need to have in your drawers or may find that you need to split one category into two. Organising is all about finding a system that does the thinking for you, so don’t be shy about over analysing it so you don’t have to think about it for a long time!

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The Number 1 Home Organisation Hack

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Home organisation for the crazy-busy

If you’re always losing your sunnies every morning, yelling down the halls of the house looking for them, or perhaps guessing when the last time the bed sheets were changed and then thinking “meh, they’ll last another week”; this post is for you my dear internet friend.

And whilst some don’t like the process of being more organised, rest assured, everyone appreciates the outcome. 

Being more organised doesn’t start with buying 50 new containers from Kmart. Or copying a pantry image to the letter from Pinterest. 

And whilst the umbrella of organisation does cover having a ‘home’ for all of your stuff, in reality, being more organised is more about keeping on top of the living that goes on in the household.

Being organised is much more than simply putting stuff away. It’s all the ‘boring’ admin-y stuff that you do everyday. The stuff you kind of have to do as an adult human being. 

Like getting out the front door for work and school. Keeping the household fed and watered, including yourself. Cleaning. Washing. Homework. Projects. Entertaining. Calling mum. You get it. 

To start being more organised, you will need to identify the key tasks that are the most annoying and frustrate you. It could be something super simple (like ironing work shirts each week) or something that requires a fair bit of effort (like cleaning the whole bathroom). 

Once you have identified a few key tasks that bug the living daylights out of you, your job is now to create a system that does the thinking for you. 

Create systems that think for you (put your home on auto-pilot)

Systems take the decision-making and guessing out of tasks as you simply follow the steps, rather than either an internal or verbal debate about what should be done. It’s effectively putting your brain and your home on auto-pilot (the next book I am working on!). It means less complaining about stuff never getting done or tasks only being half-done. 

Creating little systems that do the work for you will cut through the mental workload

To create a system is fairly easy. You lay out the steps, checklist style, and get cracking.

To tweak and find what works for your home is the harder bit, although it’s not rocket science. 

Creating systems that work for your home is really something only you will know how to do. 

Here are two examples of systems to cut through the mental workload. I have chosen these two specific examples as I have never met anyone who actually enjoys these two below tasks! 

  • System for changing bed linen 
    • Agree to strip/wash and make the beds every Sunday
    • If you can’t do Sunday that week, do Saturday or Monday
    • Agree what gets washed each week (Just sheets? Doona covers?)
    • The whole household will eventually get used to the beds being changed every Sunday
    • Whoever is home pitches in to help strip/make the beds together
    • No complaining allowed as you will have to do it next week, and the week after etc
    • Know how many loads you need to wash and pop on a timer accordingly, so you can process and dry that day
    • Everyone gets snuggly clean sheets every Sunday night
    • What better way to start the week?
  • System for cleaning the bathroom
    • Define what ‘cleaning the basin’ vs. ‘scrubbing the shower’ vs. ‘cleaning the whole bathroom’ means for your home. You will need them at different times. 
    • Agree how to clean (eg. scrub, vacuum, mop)
    • Define when is “too dirty” or agree a schedule for cleaning. This is when you dive in and clean it. Glass looking a bit cloudy? Pink mould showing? Guests coming to stay? Or will we clean every 2nd Monday?
    • You need to decide and agree with the other humans under your roof
    • No passive comments that “it never gets cleaned” if the criteria isn’t clear enough (tweak as you need)

Teach the others in your household how they work (true 101 teaching and not assuming or skipping steps) and your life will automatically have more flow.

Test out systems that are tailored for YOU

There’s no point agreeing to clean the house every Saturday morning if you know you love your sleep-ins or are rarely home. You can always start somewhere, but if you are simply ending up being constantly frustrated by the planned systems never being completed, find a new way. 

There is always a way! And if it was super easy, we would all be doing it.

And that’s not to say that the task will suddenly become more enjoyable or fun once you wrap a system around it, but it will mean that you have time to do it and you’re keeping on top of your home, rather than constantly feeling like nothing is getting done. 

Tweak and adjust your systems

The biggest complaint I hear when it comes to trying to be more organised is that “I have tried to be more organised in my home, but no one (even you!)  follows it”. 

I hear you. 

To overcome this, look at how it could be tweaked to either make it easier, simpler, or explain to your home team why you have put this system in place. 

And when I say simple: I mean basic, level-one simple. You can always build from there. 

We all desire different levels of organisation so there will always be someone who wants more organisation and someone who doesn’t care as much. It is about meeting each other half-way and finding what works for everyone. 

To do so takes time, baby steps and observation.

Something as simple as having a wash basket without a lid means that the washing actually ends up in there. Sure, it may be hanging off the sides, but it’s better than the floor. Or having one large toy basket that just gets tipped out each day, rather than 12 little organised ones that are always out. 

Choose your battles. 

It’s also critical to acknowledge if a system isn’t working, to take a step back and see what’s changed. Work hours increased? Kids started school? Teenage growth hormones kicking in? Boss adding way too much stress?

I am all for 50/50 with the division of labour in the home. But rest assured that being part of a family means pitching in and helping out sometimes. Life happens and always changes. Being aware of when something not only isn’t working but may need a completely new approach – even for a month or two – and can save everyone’s nerves. 

Once you have a system, the eye-rolls + complaints disappear

Well, almost. But once you know that every Sunday you do the bed sheets and will be instantly rewarded that night with fresh linens, the whole dragging feet and eye-rolling seems to taper off almost completely. Even for the most pessimistic among us.

I don’t know if it’s simply growing up #adulting, but having little systems means that there is a whole lot less arguing and finger pointing in the home. It’s more matter of fact “that’s what we agreed” or “how do you suggest we make it better?” than dealing with the empty, tired complaints.

So if you’re keen to get more organised, look at the stuff you do on the regular that is “boring”. Wrap a system around it so your brain goes into auto-pilot. 

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How to deal with the growing list of life admin

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Getting all the little tasks done without losing your mind

Life admin tasks are all the little and large things that need to get done in your life, but fall outside of the basic tasks of your week.

It might be cleaning the car, changing a light bulb, finding new insurance quotes, getting the blinds repaired or returning an item.

Even fun stuff like getting your hair and nails done can feel like a chore when you’re busy!

Life Admin tasks come in waves – and of course when it rains, it pours…

Life will be ticking along fabulously and then the dishwasher will break. The car suddenly needs new tires – always get the tires! #safety. Your phone is dying and out of contract. Something breaks and you really should buy some super glue to fix it. 

You have good intentions of getting all the tasks done, but they all feel so boring and ugh!

As we head into the 2020’s, life is getting busier and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

We are also constantly thinking about doing more, being more, having more, loving more. 

Just being more!

And whilst that’s not all bad, our brains rarely stop to just chill. 

So, if you’re feeling like all the little Life Admin tasks are constantly never getting done, here’s why.

Along with some tips to get you back on top of your To-Do list! Yay!

Why simple tasks can feel overwhelming

So often we think “oh, I need to change the lightbulb in the bedroom” and then instantly feel tired and don’t do it. 

And it’s probably because the process itself has multiple steps – you just don’t always realise it straight up.

It may be that you need a ladder or really tall human to reach the bulb. This may require either hiring someone from AirTasker (more time to post and then scout someone, and wait for them to show up), or wait for when your tall friend/parent is over next to change it. You then need to know the wattage and style of bulb before you buy a new one, but you can’t tell until the old one comes down. You will probably go to the hardware store, forget to take the globe and buy the wrong one (always take the old globe with you!). This requires a return trip to the hardware store for exactly the same task (highly annoying). You then need to put in the new globe (cue ladder or tall person again). And heaven help you if you turn on the light and realise you got the wrong colour hue.

Tired just reading that? Yep.

Now, you might be thinking “that’s a detailed breakdown for something so simple! Just do it already!”

But this is why stuff never gets done. We underestimate the work involved and rarely set aside the time to get the task done. And we almost never factor in the chance of something going wrong. 

Add 15-20 of tasks like this on top of a working 50-60 hour week, no handy tool shed to with all the equipment waiting for you, trying to keep a social life, attempting to save for a larger investment, cooking to be healthier, exercising in the wee hours, side-hustling on weekends to get ahead…

You kinda throw your hands up and just get used to what you have.

The light bulb can wait. Hello darkness my old friend. 

Life Admin stuff simply becomes too much of a headache. And it’s often much easier to throw it all in the Too Hard, Too Boring basket. 

Here’s how to change that. 

Be realistic about steps involved in each project

When setting out a task, stop and think about what is actually involved. Sure you can charge straight into the task, but if you constantly find that stuff just isn’t getting done, it may be time to change tack. 

Run through the steps in your head and add in allocated timings. Including driving. 

You can 100% get it done. Just give yourself the time it actually needs instead of screwing yourself over and getting frustrated because it only took the gal in the YouTube video 7 minutes to get the task done.

It may sound lame that it takes you 2 hours to change a lightbulb because the hardware store if 30 minutes away (round trip, borrow friends ladder etcetc), but that is life sometimes. 

It is what it is. 

Unless you pay someone to do it all for you!

(Also get LED lightbulbs, less chance you will need to change the bulb again #lifeprotips).

Schedule in chunks of time instead of drip feeding

Some people like to clean the kitchen on Monday, floors on Tuesday, bathroom on Wednesday… blah blah blah. If it works for you, you do you. 

However, if I did this, I would feel like I am always cleaning the house and honestly, I would never feel like it’s clean

My approach for all things house related?

Batch.

Package.

Do it all at once!

No drip feeding constant little tasks here and there. Just set aside a few hours – or the better part of a day – and get stuck in. 

Do it in one foul swoop.

And if you have another pair of hands around the house to help out, even better. 

Although the Life Admin stuff always crops up, you can jot down all the tasks as they come up and then knock them all off the list at once.

Think of it as a little working bee for your home.

Use your phone to fastrack everything

Forget trying to remember every little task that needs to be done.

You won’t. 

Create a To Do list on your phone and add to it every time something pops up.

This means that when you’re at the hardware store for something else, you can check your list for any other little things that need doing. 

Having a handy list also means you can easily schedule tasks in on a not-so-packed weekend. 

Take photos of when something breaks so you know what to replace it with. 

Seek out online reviews of products that you want to buy, so you get the best deal.

Watch YouTube videos on how to DIY tasks – there is a video for everything.

Having a running list in your phone takes the guesswork out of remembering the Life Admin tasks. Pop every little thing on there and life will become a lot easier. 

If you do the same task every week, set up a system

Your brain hates making decisions, so bypass it with a system and cut through the mental workload.

Think washing clothes, changing bed sheets, cleaning, food shopping etc.

To create a system is fairly easy. You lay out the steps, checklist style, put in a deadline, and get cracking.

Having systems takes the decision-making out of tasks. You simply follow the steps, rather than having an internal or verbal debate (or both!).

An example of a system might be every Sunday morning, you change and wash the bed linen. You’re not wondering when you’ll fit in changing the bed linen, it’s just something you do on Sunday mornings

Over time you won’t even think about it. It will be a habit. Not a fun one, but a habit nonetheless

And fresh sheets are always amazing.

The Life Admin list never ends. And that’s kinda the point

Life Admin – the giveaway is in the name. 

Life never stops. And neither does the admin that comes with it!

You will soon realise that as soon as you clear your To-Do list, another item appears. And that’s 100% okay. You’re living. 

Although it can be frustrating at times to get home tired and cranky at 8.30pm, only to be met with the tasks that needs to be done, the dog needs a walk, emails need a reply, and think of something vaguely healthy for dinner.

Remember that you don’t have to – you get to. A simple change in the way you frame it. 

And if you’re really having a crap day, week or month, rest assured that all that small stuff will get there. And maybe it doesn’t have to happen tonight. 

You’re still living. It will happen. Just spare a thought for future you and don’t leave it for days.

Life Admin gets a whole lot easier as you get older

And it’s not only because you learn new skills (cleaning, washing, gardening, time management etc) but you learn how you operate. 

You learn that you loathe cleaning, so you hire a cleaner. 

You learn which brands are quality and last the distance, and which ones are rubbish.

You look after things a bit better, so you don’t have to keep replacing items or fixtures. 

The same tasks crop up each year, so you get quicker at it. 

And most of all, you learn that Life Admin is just a part of life that never really goes away. 

You honestly just get on with it and don’t think or complain about it as much as you know there will always be something to do. 

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How much Decluttering is too much?

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How do you know when you’ve decluttered too much?

Decluttering is getting rid of the stuff in your home that you no longer love or use. 

And it should never be about how much you have, but why you have it. 

But sometimes decluttering can become slightly addictive. Or a habit. The focus shifts from keeping the stuff we enjoy to constantly focusing on making our pile of stuff as tiny as it can be OR we declutter in a mode of frustration and chuck everything out. The latter is quite rare, but it can happen. 

And then, we find that maybe we did need that rolling pin. Or maybe a few extra t-shirts would be handy for summer.

Finally being in control of the stuff you own after, perhaps, a very long time of drowning in it, can bring about a sense of control. 

But getting into the habit of decluttering whenever you have a few minutes, or scheduling it into a weekly task, can lead to a few knock-on issues. 

Here are my tips for knowing when to hit pause on Decluttering your home.

You’re doing it wrong if you’re re-purchasing the same stuff within 6-12 months

Decluttering, minimalism and zero waste are all movements that tie into each other. Basically, they are all about living with less so that we leave less rubbish on the planet. Simples right?

But if you are decluttering to live with less, but are finding that you are repurchasing the same stuff within 12 months (even if it’s just “junk” from the $2 store), take a look and reassess at why you chose to get rid of the stuff in the first place. 

So often we focus on how stuff leaves our home, but it’s also critical to look at how it enters our home. 

More simply put – how is stuff entering your home and how is it leaving it?

Humans like new stuff all the time. However, you don’t need to be getting rid of volumes of the items you own, only to put your hard earned cash straight back into the same stores. 

The planet doesn’t need it, nor does your bank account. 

If shopping is a hobby or a pastime of yours, maybe it’s time to find a new one. You’ve got this. 

You start to obsess about how small you can get your pile of stuff

Clutter is stuff that just sits in your home and will collect dust until probably the end of time.

However, it is 100% okay to keep the Christmas Tree waffle maker tucked away only to be pulled out on December 25th each year because the kids love it. Or holding onto boxes and boxes of kids clothes as you know you are planning a growing family. Or that one lime zester that looks kinda awkward in the drawer, but you do only use it for your famous tart 1-2 times per year.

Life moves in phases, so there will certainly be items you can retire, but be honest about the practical use of stuff instead of focusing on how empty the space will look.

It’s okay to have stuff in your home. 

You don’t have to ditch those final few winter coats because you just want the whole closet to be empty. If you love them and know you will use them, it’s okay to fill the space.

Some categories will also naturally grow over time. You don’t have to cull the kids’ toys so that all the toys fit all into one little neat basket. The kids will accumulate more toys. It’s okay to get a 2nd basket to make your life easier. 

Keep the stuff that is still useful for your household. And in the quantities that are practical. For now and in the future. 

You fear getting attached to items so you just want to get rid of them

Try taking a toy off a toddler and you will quickly see that us humans love our stuff. 

And that’s actually okay. It’s human.

Decluttering and minimalism are not competitions to show off how clean or disciplined you are with your stuff (and frankly, no one cares).

Decluttering is freeing up the space in your home by removing items that suck energy, rather than give it. 

I like a fair bit of stuff in my own home. Little artworks, cushions, plants, books. The list goes on. 

You can have a collection of lovely things and still not be emotionally attached to it. Meaning it doesn’t define you, but it does make you happy. If you lost it all in a fire one day, you would still be you. And although it would be hard and 100% annoying to replace it all, you’d be okay at the end of the day. 

You’re afraid you’ll end back at Square One

So many clients over the years have said that they worry they’ll put in all the hard yards of decluttering only to end up back in the mess where they started – drowning in a house of stuff. 

The thing is, decluttering is a skill you learn. Like baking, riding a bike, or typing. 

Once you learn it, you have it in your toolkit, ready to pull out when you need it. It does take a bit of inspiration and motivation to get started, especially since decluttering is so physical. But trust me, once you’ve done it once, you can do it again.

You won’t end up back at Square One as you have seen the light and already know how to declutter. 

The days of wondering what to do with all of your stuff are well and truly behind you.

You know how to deal with it and get stuck in (and thankfully it’s not rocket science).

Decluttering is a chore – not a hobby

If you are finding that every free moment you get you feel like you need to be getting rid of something in your home – stop. 

Batch your decluttering sessions further apart (every 3-6 months) and spend your time doing something else. Reading, running, getting stuck into a new TV show. Constantly trying to decrease, streamline and perfect every inch of space in your home ain’t a way to spend a life. Call up a friend for coffee, get outside or google hobbies that you could do instead. 

It sounds easier than it is sometimes, but getting out of the habit of decluttering and starting up new, fun activities is the end goal. 

Life is far too short to constantly spend it obsessing over your stuff – no matter how small the pile is. 

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Spending Xmas solo? Here are some ideas on what to do

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Spending Xmas solo when you really wish you weren’t?

Spending Xmas day solo can feel overwhelming and a terribly long day.

Particularly when all you want is to have a lovely jubbly bunch of people, surrounded by glorious food and presents, having fun and creating memories – like you see in the movies.

Alas, reality hits for this year and it becomes clear that Christmas Day by yourself is either the only option or the best option (spending the day with other people is not always the ideal scenario!).

Whether it’s a family debacle, travelling for work, or you simply find yourself solo on Christmas Day but you’re kinda wishing you weren’t, here are some ideas for the day.

1. Plan the day ahead of time

I only say this because it will keep you off the socials and popping the wine at 10.30 am whilst downing a pudding and custard, leaving you feeling even more terrible by midday (trust me).

Even if your Christmas is cancelled on late Xmas Eve or on Dec 25th itself, get a little game plan together of what you will do on the day.

You may be keen to be super productive an start planning goals for the New Year or dive into getting on top of the the washing, but if you’re feeling a bit down and out, keep it simple. Food, TV, and getting outside. 

2. Plan your snacks and food (+ buy on Xmas Eve if you can)

Do your body a favour and actually eat something kinda healthy and nutritious on the day. Instead of eating a bag of chips for breakfast and then realsing you have nothing left in the house, get to the store for some decent meals and yummy snacks. 

In Australia, most places are closed on Xmas Day, but more and more stuff is staying open. All you really need is a convenience store and/or a takeaway place. Google is your friend.

Plan your main meals (even if it’s just one), and stock up on the snacks!

3. When you get up, get out of bed

Without trying to sound like your mum, get out of bed. Then proceed to make the bed and put some clothes on – even if it’s your comfies.

Having just achieved that one task will start the day on the best footing (so to speak).

Open the curtains and if it’s not too chilly or hot, open the windows (juggling this USA, UK and Australian readership!).

It’s a new day and you will feel better for it – even if you crawl back into bed early afternoon. 

4. Go for a walk or run

If you can get outdoors, do it. 

A bit of exercise will make you feel better. Aim for 30 minutes of walking if nothing else tickles your fancy.

If you’re stuck indoors, pop on a an exercise video – there are loads on YouTube. It will get all those awesome hormones moving to make you feel a spot better.

5. Send some Christmas cheer to your mates

Sending your friends a Merry Xmas on the day will spread the love and make you feel a little less alone. If you’re spending the day solo because of #drama you don’t have to go into it or tell anyone, but we can probably all agree that a few of your friends will be looking down the barrel of dealing with a few unwanted family members so will appreciate the love from you.

A DM, post or SMS is all you need!

6. Keep off the socials if it makes you feel terrible

I don’t know many people who go on Social Media and then feel 10x better after they close the app. It’s usually the opposite.

Just put the TV show on and turn the phone off or put it in another room. Your soul will thank you. Today and in the future.

7. Feeling sad is just one of our many emotions. And it’s okay to feel that way

You don’t have to decide to have a terrible Christmas Day. You can still have good parts. And it may not be filled with loads of people, but it can be a slow, chill day for you to relax. 

Feeling a tad lonely on Christmas Day is often wrapped up with other emotions. Emptiness, nostalgia, regret, anger, frustration, sadness.

We experience a wide range of emotions. And it’s actually okay to sit with the negative ones and let them wash over you (here’s an article which says this much more eloquently than I!).

Just choose stuff that will make you feel better – not worse. Sad music and the likes won’t help, but neither does trying to feign happiness.

Just let the day be what it will be.

And if you have a thought that doesn’t nourish or support you – you can always say “I don’t have to think about this right now” and choose another thought. 

8. It’s called a Holiday. So relax + chill

You don’t need to clean the whole house or get ahead on the washing. Or try and solve the world’s or your family’s problems today.

You are 100% allowed to just mooch on the couch and escape through technology.

Put that phone on airplane mode (stay away from the #drama)

Slather on a face mask.

Binge Netflix shows.

Read some interesting blogs or books.

Naps are also encouraged. 

At the end of the day, it’s another Wednesday or Thursday – despite what the stores will tell you. The sun will rise and set, and this too shall pass. 

Have a slow, chill day with the coolest person you know – you!

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How to stop the snowball of Christmas decorations

When Xmas decorations take on a life of their own

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. And a big part of that is the Christmas decor that pops up everywhere, signalling the end to another year. The fairy lights, dark greens, rich reds, cosy vibes – even though I live in Australia and there ain’t nothing cosy about 35 degree days! To me, the atmosphere leading up to Christmas is the most exciting part and the decorations are the visual to kicking off that Christmas vibe!

Working with clients over the years, I have seen the HUGE collection of Christmas decorations people have that are no longer used or loved OR simply take over the whole house – and not in a tasteful way, but more of a “well, I have it so I may as well put it out” approach. For Christmas decorations in my own home, I have noticed how quickly the collection can build up. At the time of writing this, we still rent and so I do need to be strategic about what is purchased, to invest in pieces that will work in multiple rental properties!

Here are my three top tips when it comes to managing the Xmas decor in your home:

1. Choose a classic theme

We live in an age where shopping has become a pastime. Choosing a theme that you can continue to build on over the years instead of switching colour palettes every 2-3 years will mean a whole lot less waste in the world and also, a super fun and creative journey for you. To me, Christmas is all about traditions. There is something wonderful about bringing out all the trinkets, delicate decorations and home-made keepsakes to decorate the tree and the home. They are memories of times gone by, and revisiting it every year is always a great conversation starter. 

Investing in a classic theme does not mean it needs to be old fashioned or traditional. It is simply taking a long-term strategy and investing in decorations that will not only LAST for the years to come, but a colour or tonal palette that you will want to develop over time. You may see all the blush tones in-store and love them, but that doesn’t mean it needs to go in YOUR home. 

As an example, the theme I have adopted is what I would call ‘Scandi’. Simple decorations, muted greens, whites with subtle pops of red and ALL the fairy lights. Last year, I invested in some extra greenery to put on mantle pieces and wrap around staircases. Although I am tempted to buy many of the gorgeous arrangements in-store, I always stop to think if it fits within my own theme. Hence, saving a whole lot of time and money that could be spent on other things.

To start out with your theme, look at what you already have. Chances are, you have purchased items you love and there may already be a strong theme in your current collection. If there are one or two items that throw the collection off, you can always remove them to create a more cohesive look and feel. And there’s nothing wrong with going for a general ‘eclectic’ look either – lots of sparkle and colour!

2. Buy 1-2 max investment pieces per year

As much as I love Xmas decor, I now put a limit on what I buy each year. Having chosen a classic theme that works for me (and I know I will love for more than just 1 season), I look forward to slowly building it over the years to come. Only purchasing 1-2 items per year means I have essentially given myself permission to finding those cute investment pieces (and believe me, I look in all the shops!) and appreciating the new ranges, rather than feeling any FOMO. It may sound overly simple, but putting a cap on how much you buy each year will avoid your collection from taking over your entire home within a few years. So if your tree is new and looking a lil’ bare – rest assured it will get there as the years go by.

When buying 1-2 pieces per year, you want to ensure that they already fit within your theme and that they’re also good quality. There is nothing worse than seeing your Christmas decorations fall apart January 1! Some items may be purely decor, like a bauble or tree decorations, or it may be the start of a tradition like stockings or present bags for the kids. Take the time to slowly build your collection over the years with beautiful items that are meaningful to you.

3. Gifted or Inherited a whole range overnight? Sort it out ASAP

If you have inherited or been given a whole lot of delicious Christmas decor and you are feeling both excited and slightly overwhelmed at the same time, my number one tip is to sort it out stat! 

So often we put off decisions thinking there will be a better time, but usually, delayed decisions about what stays and what goes will result in all that extra stuff just entering the circulation with everything else. 

Be ruthless about what you keep and what you either bin, donate, or sell. You don’t have to keep someone else’s entire collection to hold onto the special memories. A small handful of items that are meaningful to you is more than enough. 

If you have been gifted an item that really doesn’t fit within your decor or you simply don’t like it, you can donate it or sell it so someone else can enjoy it. There is no point having it collect dust in your attic when someone else may absolutely love it in their home. 

There is an endless supply of lovely and cute Christmas decor. And with each year, your collection can change and grow. Just aim to do it at a pace that means you aren’t simply creating clutter in your home. You want to enjoy Xmas – not feel like it takes control of the home every year!

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Anyone you don’t like, tell them it’s terrible.

5 ways to make moving easy as pie

Simple moving tips for busy people

Moving always sucks. It doesn’t make much of a difference if you have someone pack and unpack for you (okay maybe it does!) or DIY the whole thing. It just sucks. It’s a process that you can’t really speed up – you just have to live through it. The packing, realising you should have gotten a bigger truck, the mini freak-out where everything will go, and the days and days of being surrounded by brown boxes. And then having to deal with either the beating sunshine or torrential rain on the actual move day.

What a joy.

Having moved interstate, upsized, downsized, combined a tonne of stuff and from someone who just hates moving in general, here are my tips for moving your home (and humans) with less stress!

1. Put EVERYTHING in a box (excluding furniture)

We have ALL helped out that one friend who has bought 5 “jumbo” boxes thinking it will be enough to fit their entire life in and then realised it wasn’t enough – by any stretch of the imagination. And instead of buying more, they have shoved everything into thousands of tiny plastic bags, pillow slips, the odd IKEA bag, their one broken washing basket, and the rest they just expect you to carry in teeny, tiny piles in with your arms. It’s a logistical nightmare.

Ditch hoping everything will fit into a minimum amount of boxes and buy up! You always need more than you think! And purchase some strong masking tape whilst your there. Having a quality box means you won’t be dealing with boxes falling apart at the seams and your stuff falling out on the street… And trust me it’s 10x worse if it’s raining! #beentheredonethat

Having every item packed into a box will save time (and let’s be clear, sanity) for everyone on moving day. And when it comes to moving: time is money. It’s much quicker to load 2-3 boxes on a trolley than it is to carry down a vase filled with faux flowers, a dressing gown, and a pile of books!

Some people like to assemble boxes all at once and then put items in them, I say it’s 100% okay to do up 5 boxes, fill them, and then do up some more. Assembling every.single.box in advance means you will probably end up drowning in a sea of empty boxes. Seriously, they will take on a life of their own. Bit by bit is usually a better, more sustainable approach.

For any heirlooms and valuables, the age-old saying of transporting these items yourself still stands. Stuff will get damaged, so transporting that lovely artwork piece or special bottle of wine yourself is always worth the extra effort.

Avoid: hoping everything will fit in 5 boxes.

Do this: buy more than you ever think you will need. Most removal places will buy boxes back (win!) or tuck them away for future moves!

2. Box Labels: keep it simple and just write the name

The most common question I get when it comes to moving is “how can I tell people where to put stuff in the new place?”

The answer is NOT colour coding rooms.

No one (and I mean no one) cares if the Master Bedroom is the purple sticky note or the pink sticky note.  Kinda looks like magenta to me…? Or was it green?

Just buy some YELLOW post-it notes and write “Master Bedroom” – and firmly tape that label down!

In addition, label rooms that make sense to your movers. “Tom’s Bedroom” is all well and good, but “Downstairs Bedroom” makes much more sense to a stranger.

Firmly sticky tape a label on TOP of the box and on one SIDE of the box. That means the movers and you will know to just look for the yellow labels to know where the box needs to go. Consistency is key. 

If possible, in the new home, sticky tape a label on each of the doors in the house so they know where “Master Bedroom”, “Ensuite” (and so on) are specifically. It’s a simple touch to make life easier on Move Day. 

I also like jot down the important items (e.g hairdryer, iron, cutlery) below the post-it note on the side of the box so I can quickly find the items I know I will need ASAP after the move. 

Avoid: colour coding which adds another layer of complexity and can be confusing.

Do this: put no-nonsense, practical names on each box. You WILL 107% forget what is in each box, so do make the effort to label every box.

3. Give yourself extra time: packing always takes much longer than you think (and it never ends!)

If you think you can pack up the entire house in one weekend, you may find yourself working quite late the night before Move Day.

Movers are there to move stuff, not to help you pack. Get organised ahead of time. 

Try to start packing 2-3 weeks beforehand, by putting away the stuff you know you definitely won’t use. Packing away even 5-10 boxes and even small things like taking artworks off the walls will make a difference on the day and makes life much easier, particularly if you have small humans running around your home. To make packing faster (as seen in point 1), having enough boxes will make life MUCH easier. Create an overly simple system for everything to go in (everything). This strips the process of decision making as you are not wondering how you will carry stuff to the moving truck.

If you do find that you are short on time, decide what is going in the moving truck that day and what items you will come back for later on. Keep in mind, it may be easier to come back for say 4x dining chairs, than it is to come back for piles and piles of smaller items. Think about what can fit in your car in one trip (you can put the car seats down, use those roof racks!). 

Avoid: thinking you can do it all in 1-2 days.

Do this: pack away the stuff you 100% won’t use 2-3 weeks out. Doing little bits in advance adds up. 

4. ‘Declutter-as-you-pack’ is a myth that needs to get in the bin

In an ideal world, you should declutter before you move. And it makes sense. You are moving less stuff and therefore it will cost you less in time, boxes, tape and stress. Blahblahblah.

We all know what we should do.

But life doesn’t always pan out that way, so here are my thoughts on lumping moving and decluttering together. 

Moving is a huge project entirely on its own. Decluttering is another huge project.

Moving is simply taking items from cupboards and playing Tetris on Level 30 to fit them into boxes. Decluttering is quite different as you are making decisions if an item stays or goes – and 90% of those decisions carry an emotional weight. Decluttering often results in comparing items against each other. Not as simple as playing Tetris. Moving and decluttering are quite different frames of mind to be in and rightly so as they are separate processes. If you do decide to declutter as you pack, just keep in mind it will make the packing process go a lot slower. It’s not always as simple as “in the box or not in the box?” as you pack. You need the time and headspace to do it. Check out The Declutter Book for more tips about what to do when you declutter. 

If you can, do a declutter session well before you start packing. Move through your stuff asking “is this item staying or going?”. You may need to do several passes of this as you work through your stuff. If it is going, you can then either bin or donate the item. If you donate the item, keep in mind you will need to make a trip to the local charity or organise a pickup. It’s extra time that you may or may not have. Be realistic. 

If you don’t have time to declutter before you move, the next best option is to do it as you unpack your stuff in the new place. If you don’t want to keep an item, don’t put it away. Bin it or put it by the front door for dontation. This will mean that the unpacking process WILL take longer, but you are doing two tasks at once and it will pay off in dividends when you have a new clutter-free home!

Avoid: stressing about decluttering before you move.

Do this: plan what you will do in advance. Either, declutter WELL before you start packing OR as you unpack – either way is 100% okay. It just takes extra time. 

5. Sort the essentials for the first few nights

Tired bodies, tired eyes, hungry tummies. Moving takes it out of us both physically and mentally so having a game-plan for the first few nights will make life a lot easier for everyone. Here are some ways to make the first few nights in the new place a little bit easier!

  • Plan ahead where the large pieces of furniture will go (for example couch, TV unit, beds, bookcases, storage units, portable wardrobes). Communicate this with the moving team in person whilst in the new home so no one is wasting time trying to guess where everything goes. Draw up a super-dooper clear floor plan for the team and stick it to the wall of the corresponding room and double check all the heavy stuff is where you want it before the muscle leaves the premises. 
  • Plan out everyone’s meals for the first few nights, particularly on moving day even if its order pizza on Night 1. That way after the long, exhausting days, you don’t have to worry about hungry humans getting cranky or hunt for the coffee the next morning.  
  • Keep a pack of daily essentials with you (soap, toilet paper, toothbrush, change of clothes) so if the moving truck can’t deliver on time or everthing ends up being a shambles, you can still carry out your daily tasks. 
  • Take the time to celebrate the night you move in. You made it! Whether it’s a microwave meal, pizza delivered, or a quick meal at the pub, take the time to pause and congratulate yourself getting here. It’s the start of a new phase and it’s worth getting excited about!

Although moving is never fun, the brown boxes will come to an end and you can get excited about the next phase! I hope you have found at least one useful tip in this!

How to keep a pantry organised – my #1 tip

Keeping on top of it all

Kitchens are the busiest room in the home. From the breakfast rush to afternoon snack sessions or late-night chats, having a functional kitchen pantry, where you know where everything is, makes running a household much smoother.

There are a million ways to organise a pantry and plenty of cute and practical containers you can use to sort out your spices and oils. However, if you are just starting out with your organising journey, it can be hard to know where to start. If having a hundred clear containers with labels is the right system and investment for your home, then do it!

When it comes to organising your kitchen pantry, my number one piece of advice is to use categorised tubs or baskets.

This means that you have larger tubs or baskets for broader categories. Rather than having an individual container for every type of pasta (spaghetti, spiral, fettuccine, bow, etc) you simply dump all the packets into ONE single container. 

If you want to create a system where you have a container for each type of food, go for it. But it does mean that you will need to top up containers, rotate the contents when you add new packets and wash the individual containers. There is also the investment into each container and label. If you have the time and are willing to make the investment, go for it. You do you.

However, if looking at pantries on Pinterest will dozens of containers look great, but you don’t think it will be the right fit for your home, try using larger tubs or baskets to keep a category together. 

Here are some examples of categories to put into tubs/baskets:

  • Cereals
  • Grains, Noodles, Pasta and Rice (create separate categories if one category is quite large)
  • Kids snacks 
  • Parents snacks
  • Biscuits + Chips
  • Tea and Coffee
  • Sugars (if you bake a lot!)
  • Baking (baking kits, flours, cocoa, powders, decorations)
  • Meal sachets and sauce packets
  • Protein powders/supplements 

There are some items that are better put either straight on a shelf or on a lazy-susan. Glass bottles generally work better without having to pull out a basket given their height and weight. 

Items to put on Lazy-Susans (those mini-turn tables)

  • Oils
  • Vinegars
  • Sauces
  • Daily vitamins

Managing stock levels

When organising your pantry, you may find that the stock levels in your pantry either change differently week to week or remain quite similar. You may find that some categories will be larger one week and smaller other weeks. Just go with the flow. 

Having a tub or basket that doesn’t quite fit everything is something to be grateful for. If over time, you are finding that you need to split a category – for example, you may want to have Noodles and Pasta as separate categories as you always have a lot of stock for it. You will need to do a quick edit of your pantry organisation. Play around with keeping like with like, but don’t be afraid to change things up if it’s simply not working for you. 

If you have a smaller kitchen (or a larger family) and like to buy your staples in bulk, think outside the box of where you store extra stock. There is nothing wrong with putting extra cans at the top of the linen cupboard or moving less-used appliances out of the kitchen cupboards to make way for food storage. 

And there you have it! Instead of loads of cute labelled jars, opt for the larger tubs or baskets with simple labels. Less time messing around with rotating old + new food, yet still a sound system to keep the pantry organised.

7 Tips to host an easy-peasy dinner party at home

Welcome!

Welcoming friends and family through your front door and sharing yummy food is quite possibly one of life’s best and simplest pleasures. I love having people over for dinner where we can hear each other chat (unlike noisy restaurants these days!), eat together, and there’s no surcharge on drinks. 

But I get that hosting a dinner party in your home can feel a tad stressful and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time as a host or if the last one you hosted was a disaster! Rest assured, with a few simple tips, it does get easier and you will find little systems that work for you.

To get you started, here are the key things to do – some expected and some a little different – to have a wonderful night with your friends and/or family.

1. Choose the right mix of guests

Ah. I have failed hard at this one before. Having the right mix of guests can either make the night insanely fun or terribly dull. When planning who to invite, think about what personalities in your friend groups will work well together and plan ahead if you think there might be any landmine conversation topics to avoid. Brief your partner/flatmate/bestie on topics to avoid and to subtly steer the conversation in another direction if the guests bring the topic up!

I have hosted more than one dinner party where the friendship mix just didn’t work and keeping up the conversation was like pushing a cart uphill. Still all wonderful people, but sometimes certain personalities just don’t mix well. Since then, I choose guests who I think will get along easily together. If there is a couple or friend who is perhaps quieter or not one to start a conversation, I will try and invite a super talkative friend at the same time. Also, some of our friends LOVE intimate dinner parties, whereas others would prefer a big BBQ with everyone around to mingle with. Choose your battles and go for the guests that enjoy the dinner party format – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s 100% okay!

2. Choose easy-peasy food to serve

This is SO important. I prefer to just “assemble” food than cook labour intensive recipes these days, but unless you roast a chicken on the regular, testing out that Beer Can Chicken recipe you found on Pinterest can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. Choose recipes you know will work or (with zero shame) just get takeaway and pop it in your own dishes. 

When guests arrive, it is nice to have a little something for them to nibble on prior to the main course. I personally don’t bother with entree course anymore as 1. I don’t particularly enjoy cooking and 2. less dishes. However, having a few nibbles at the beginning creates a convivial atmosphere and is usually a great conversation starter. I try to have all the nibbles out and ready before guests arrive so it’s one less thing to do and means I can sit down for a chat with the guests before I crack on with getting main course ready.

Easy-peasy grazing/starter ideas:

  • Brie or camembert cheese
  • Blue cheese with quince paste
  • Dips (hummus, tzatziki, beetroot)
  • Biscuits (rice crackers are perfect for gluten free guests)
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Nuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dried fruit

For the main course you can do two things:

1. Make several smaller dishes – for example: sausages, mash, peas, gravy, salad.

2. Make a 1-2 dishes but in larger quantities – for example: Tacos, Pizza, one-pot recipes.

I would recommend the second option of making 1-2 dishes in larger quantities, but be aware that some recipes when doubled or tripled can take much longer to cook – and sometimes just don’t work. Choosing to take a pasta recipe that serves 2 people may not work the same way when you times it out to serve 10 people. Opt for recipes that you know will scale well or have been written to serve the number of guests you have. 

Easy-peasy main course ideas:

  • Lasagne (vegetarian or meat) + green salad
  • BBQ chickens + Roasted vegetables
  • A large warm salad of veggies + halloumi or another non-meat option
  • Tacos or mini falafel wraps (choose your own adventure with fillings)
  • Order a pizza and toss together a salad
  • BBQ meats + potato salad + green salad

Easy-peasy dessert ideas:

  • Box of fancy chocolates
  • Ice cream or ice blocks (mini magnums are the best!)
  • Watermelon + chopped mint
  • Cheese and biscuits (if you choose not to have cheese as a starter)

3. Prep the food in advance so you are not stuck in the kitchen the whole night

This goes back to choosing an easy-peasy food menu, but for every little thing you can prepare in advance, do it. This can be taking dips out of the containers and popping them into cute ceramics, washing a bunch of grapes, cutting up onions and vegetables, pre-heating the oven, putting the salad leaves in a bowl but holding off dressing them. Also, suss out what platters and serving dishes you will put food in so you can have them out and ready once you are ready to serve the main course. Doing all the little things when it comes to food prep will mean you have less to think about when your mind is elsewhere chatting to your friends with a glass of vino in hand.

Hubby and I split the time in the kitchen. I prep and serve the food and then he does the clearing and washing up. This means one of us doesn’t disappear for the whole night. It’s a simple system that works perfectly for us. 

4. Count the cutlery, wine glasses, plates and “set” the table

Rest assured that by the time serving main course rolls around, you will have enough to do. Stressing about where the 6th fork or knife ended up is something you can avoid well in advance. Layout your tablewares on the dinner table or somewhere easy to access so you don’t have to rustle through drawers and the dishwasher just before serving food.

Pop out the drinkware (water glasses, wine glasses, a jug of water) out of the kitchen as well so guests aren’t having to wander into the kitchen to get what they need whilst you are getting main course ready. 

Sometimes I set the table neatly and other times I just pop out piles of plates, cutlery and napkins – people can figure it out! Double checking that you have enough and getting it out of the kitchen and onto the table is the most important part. 

5. Clean areas of the house where guests will go

Doing a clean of the main areas in your home will not only to impress your guests, but also gives you a clean house when they leave! Win-win.

Areas to clean for guests:

  • Clean bathrooms
  • Tidy up living areas
  • Clean kitchen
  • Vacuum and mops floors

Areas not to bother with if you are tight for time (just shut the door)

  • Bedrooms
  • Home Office
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Any other areas guests are likely not to see

I also like to do a quick vacuum the next day after guests have left so the clean house lasts just that teeny bit longer!

6. Play around with the lights to create a cosy feeling

Create a cosy mood by flicking off the big ceiling light and using lamps, fairy lights, candles and soft glowing lights from other rooms. Harsh lighting can make for tired eyes so dimming the lights to create a restaurant/cosy vibe will make your guests feel more at ease. Get creative before your guests arrive and test out the best combination of lights so you can still see your food, but not as bright as you would usually have them. Mood lighting, not workspace lighting.

Once you have tested out a light combination, keep it! Everytime you now host dinner parties, you know the setup. Easy-peasy.

7. Sort out playlists  – music will carry any conversation

Choosing to have some decent tunes playing in the background is perfect to gloss over any awkward comments or quiet patches of conversation. Avoid jamming your own personal music tastes down the guests ear holes and go for a crowd-pleasing playlist. 

Make sure the playlist goes for a few hours so you don’t have to get up to change the music throughout the night. Pop on Spotify and let it run. I like Spotify “Chill” playlists – no idea what songs are actually on them, but it’s good background music!

You may need to adjust the volume throughout the night as guest conversations get louder, so just keep an eye out so that everyone can have a meaningful conversation and someone (a.k.a the party animal) isn’t sneaking over to push up the volume as the night goes on – that’s usually me!