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 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.

How to deal with a floordrobe

Floor-drobe (noun)

A collection of clothes that, realistically, should be hung or folded and put away in drawers, but instead reside at the bottom of one’s wardrobe or simply scattered on the floor.

Deal with (verb)

Finding a way to get it done that works for you!

Here are my 5 SUPER simple tips to deal with a floordrobe!

1. Ditch trying to be a Domestic Goddess and get a chair

If you are someone who is never going to be that person who comes home, changes into their comfy clothes, and then hangs up your work clothes, getting a chair or having a blanquette at the end of your bed is the next best thing. Having a chair handy in your bedroom means that you can at least pop all of your clothes in one spot with the intention of hanging it up at the end of the week (more on that below!). I personally will never be someone who hangs up their clothes every day (although I have created my dream job of wearing activewear every day which only needs a container to dump it all in!). If the idea of hanging up your clothes every day makes you roll your eyes and wonder who the people are who actually do that, don’t choose to fight a losing battle. 

Pop a chair in the corner of your room or a seat at the end of your bed and dedicate it to the not-ready-to-wash clothes pile. There is no shame in creating a system that WORKS for you. 

I tend to pop my clothes away either at the end of the week or a few times throughout the week to keep it all ticking along. Allowing a pile to get larger than the chair itself is a no-no though, as you are simply creating another problem. Agree with yourself that you will clear out the chair at least once a week, or if you rampage through the wardrobe trying to find that perfect outfit. 

2. Invest in flocked or hangers with grips (so everything doesn’t fall off all the time)

I have seen so many floordrobes that have been created due to clothing not staying on hangers. It really isn’t your fault if your floordrobe is due to hangers that no longer serve you. Donate your current hangers and invest in a set that work for you.

Flocked hangers are those coathangers that have a velvety texture to them. Floaty tops, tops or dresses with broad shoulder cuts and slips are notorious for falling off your standard grooved coat hanger. Flocked hangers are perfect for the modern-day wardrobe as they hold even the most delicate materials in place. You can pick up flocked hangers super cheap at your local homeware store (in Australia, Kmart is a great option). Count out how many tops, dresses, pants, t-shirts you want to hang to get an idea of how many hangers you need to purchase. I think the record number I have purchased for one home is close to 400!

An alternative option to flocked hangers is wire hangers covered in a rubber grip. Although not as effective as flocked hangers, wire hangers covered in some sort of grip-like material (think soft rubber) are perfect for heavy fabrics and winter coats. I also recommend wire hangers for people who are more likely to pull down on hangers than carefully take the clothing item off the hanger. Wire hangers are much sturdier than flocked hangers but can be a heftier investment.

3. Be aware that you will never “feel” like putting away or washing your clothes

But you WILL appreciate the outcome. Creating a little system of either what day you put away your clothes (eg. every Thursday night) or when the chair/designated holding area gets full will take the effort out of knowing when you should give your room a quick spruce. having a handy washing basket in your bedroom also means you can easily dump the clothes that need washing. 

If you are waiting for a time when you “feel” like putting stuff away, doing the washing, or some sort of divine intervention, rest assured you will be waiting for the better part of a year. If you end up waiting weeks to put stuff away, you essentially create another problem – you need half a day to put away and sort out your clothes. Opt for the eye-rolling, 15 minutes every week over the hours every few months.

It won’t ever get more interesting, but it WILL get easier. Create a few mini-systems that work for you!

4. Only fill the space you HAVE

If you are fighting a losing battle with space, it may be time to do a thorough cull of the stuff you own.

If you have one wardrobe and one set of drawers, that is the space you can fill with your clothes. Avoid taking over the 2nd bedroom and half of your kid’s wardrobe – you are only postponing decisions by moving stuff around. Set a limit on how much clothing you own at any given time by the amount of available storage you have. If you have ended up in a situation of waaaay too many clothes, a proper declutter session will give you clarity in terms of what you own as well as preventing you from buying more! You can check out The Decluttering Book for how to carry out a fool-proof declutter session. Once you know what you already own, you are far less likely to repurchase the same or a similar item. 

5. Reduce the clutter and donate clothes you don’t wear to people who need them

Having clothing sit in your wardrobe that you never wear (including the clothes that still have the tags on them!) simply creates both mental and physical clutter in your life. You can start a campaign to sell your stuff, but if you are way too busy, just donate the clothing. There are plenty of people around the globe who need low-cost clothing. By donating, the clothing you no longer love or use is helping out another human rather than collecting dust in a dark corner!

And there you have it: create systems that work for you, get some quality hangers so you aren’t pushing a cart uphill, JFDI the putting away and washing of the clothes (it’s always a pain!), don’t drown your room with clothing, and be thoughtful about getting rid of stuff you don’t need! I hope that helps you – even if you just take away one tip!

How to set up Secret Santa for adult families: reduce stress, save time

Intentional gift giving to save stress, time and money

Growing up we were super lucky to receive gifts from all of our relatives. There were so many cool toys, dolls, books and games. As we entered our teens the presents turned into gift cards which was perfect for learning how to manage money and plan what we were going to purchase. As we entered adulthood the presents started to get a bit, erm, crap. And we in turn gave the same. Boxes of biscuits, odd storage containers, and what can only be called “stuff” that rarely suited our personal or home style. And it’s no wonder. When you only see the extended family a few times (or perhaps just once) a year, it can be incredibly tricky for everyone involved to give a gift that someone will not only appreciate, but use.

Cue Secret Santa. 

For those who have no idea what Secret Santa is, it’s a system whereby everyone who is giving a gift pops their names in a hat (or in an Excel spreadsheet) and you each draw a name (you can’t draw your own). You then buy a gift for that one person and you also receive a gift from someone else in the group. Usually your names are kept a secret, but in our family we do pop our names on the gifts. Everyone gives a present and everyone receives a present. No one is left out.

Having Secret Santa means you are only buying one gift which is a WHOLE lot less stress when it comes to shopping and you can usually set a slightly higher budget as you are just buying for one person. It’s intentional gift-giving, with less waste, rather than spreading yourself and your budget wafer-thin to try and appease everyone!

8 Reasons to do Secret Santa

  • Changes the focus from Xmas being about gift-giving to spending time with each other
  • Better budgeting for everyone in the family
  • Less waste (literally in terms of wrapping paper!)
  • Everyone gets a gift they actually want or love!
  • People can opt in if they would like to participate or not (perfect if some years you rotate with different sides of the family)
  • No one is left out who opts into Secret Santa
  • All gifts are of similar value with a budget so it all feels fair
  • Less chance of the gifts being donated within a few weeks after Xmas Day

Note: Time spent together on Christmas Day is much more important than any gift. 

If you are keen to do Secret Santa in your family, here are some tips our families have learned from setting up Secret Santa in the last few years.

Agree that you will do Secret Santa WELL BEFORE Xmas Day

Christmas for most is all about traditions and memories made from them as the years tick by. For some, it’s just about the food. However, changing the gift-giving process can easily ruffle a few feathers as when you’re already on a good wicket, why change? People also hate change in general, so keep that in mind. 

If you are over receiving lots of crummy little gifts or useless trinkets and think that Secret Santa would work well for your family, start the conversation as early as possible. Or alternatively soon after Christmas when the memories of the unwanted gifts are fresh!

Avoid bringing up the topic 2 weeks before Christmas as most people will be way too busy to even think about doing something different at such short notice! 

Also, keep in mind that some people buy Christmas presents months in advance (think June or July). If this has occurred your family may be okay to hold onto the gifts or reorganise the plans that had for those gifts that year, but they may also straight say no as it’s too hard to change. If that occurs, just go with planting the idea of Secret Santa rather than actually doing it this calendar year. Re-address in it January or a few light-hearted chats when you see them over the holidays to win them over.

Get buy-in from the Matriarch (or key decision-maker)

If you’re heading up a campaign to make a major change in the Christmas Day proceedings you need to get the Matriarch or the key decision-maker in the family on board. Once you have their agreement it will make your life much easier to spread the word. If they are from an older generation this is perfect as they are often 100% on board with less waste as that is how they grew up. Chat to them about why you think it would be fabulous for your family. Millennials are usually often keen to get on board with Secret Santa as they are saving their pennies for their forever home. Once agreed, spread the word to the rest of the family, clearly explaining the process and get buy in from them as well. Take them through all the points you did with the key decision-maker in the family. 

If 95% of the family say no to it, then it’s game over. You need your family to agree to it. My advice would be to move slowly as it can feel like a big change to some members of the family. It may be that you start by planting the idea of Secret Santa this year and maybe it’s next year when you actually give it a test run. 

Once you start with Secret Santa you want to be clear that it’s a new tradition and not something you just do “some years”. However, after the first Christmas of doing Secret Santa most family members will LOVE that there is less stress when it comes to gift-giving.

Appoint your “Santa” (a.k.a the Organiser)

This is the person who will organise the Secret Santa every year. It’s not an overly hard job, but sometimes involves some people wrangling to confirm who is going to participate and then send out notifications of who has who. 

Put the word out and see if someone volunteers – or by default, it may be you. Opt for someone who is organised and will take the time and care to do a good job (and not make glaring mistakes so someone ends up with nothing on Xmas Day!). If need be it can be two people so you can double check all the people who have opted in and check that everyone knows who they are gifting to. However, avoid getting too many people involved. It’s not needed and there are plenty of other jobs to be done when organising Christmas Day!

Ask if people would like to be involved

Ah, this is such a good one! With more and more of us not needing stuff in our home or are on tight budgets saving for a home deposit (me!) it’s always a nice gesture to ask if people would like to be involved in Secret Santa. For people who don’t participate, they can still feel the joy of everyone opening their gifts – especially the kids. Respect that everyone has a budget. 

If you feel awkward about someone not giving or receiving a gift, that’s on you, not them. Focus on enjoying their company on the day as that’s the most important thing. Opting not to give a gift does not mean that they don’t like you. They probably just don’t need extra stuff or simply don’t have the money this year. For some people, gift-giving is their language of love so it can be tricky to understand why some people may opt out, but it certainly isn’t for everyone.

Ensure the Organiser knows who is giving to who (and keeps a record of it!)

The Organiser needs to know who is giving to who. Don’t keep it all secret in the back end. If Uncle Sam says his plane got delayed and can’t make it, you can quickly check who he is gifting to and organise a replacement gift so 2 year old Tommy has something to open on the day with everyone. 

When you know who is giving to who, you can easily manage any last minute changes. Not knowing can quickly snowball into a logistical nightmare. 

Also if someone forgets to get a gift you can hold them accountable and put the word on them!

Ditch random name generators. Be thoughtful about matching people

This is the best tip of them all. The Organiser needs to be strategic about who is giving to who. Ditch the secret part when matching up names and think about it. 

It’s all well and good if everyone knows everyone, but avoid matching two people together who barely know each other or matching couples together. It will make the gift-giving process a stressful one for people who don’t know each other and boring for people who are giving to their partners. 

Asking your 89 year old Grandfather to buy a gift for his grandaughter’s brand new 17 year old boyfriend can be a stretch.

Perhaps instead of Grandfather, choose one of the younger cousins who will have more of an idea of what 17 years old are into. 

You can use an online random generator as a start, but always double check the matching before you send the notifications out. Feel free to switch names around so it all flows better for everyone. 

You want people to be excited about who they are buying for.  

Make it fun and interesting, but not eye-rolling annoying!

Give everyone their Secret Santa names several weeks in advance

Aim to plan and agree who is participating in Secret Santa a few weeks out from Christmas. This will give people time to ask around the family who wants what and also check out pricing and options online and in-store. In the world of online shopping if someone wants an item that needs to be shipped from overseas, adavanced planning also means it will arrive in time for Christmas Day.

Giving people the details a few days before the 25th  ain’t fair on anyone and will set the process up for failure. Be a bit more organised and get the ball rolling at the start of December (at the latest).

Set a budget bracket

This is key. It’s a tad disappointing when your brother gets a gift valued at $150 and you get something worth $7. Set a budget range and be firm about it. No sneaking in extras for favourites (unless it’s the Grandparents who may not 100% understand the process – they tend to get away with it!). For ours, we set a limit of around $100, but I know some families agree on wildly different amounts. Setting a budget means we know how much we will spend coming into December and also means we know what we will be getting (yay!).

If you are finding that the whole family is having a tight budget that year, you can drop the gift-giving price budget right down. Or you can agree on something completely different like instead of gifts you will all go out for dinner or a picnic together. Or even come up with a completely different idea and just agree to buy each other a funny book. Think outside the box!

A common loophole: grandchilren

If you have a new baby or an only grandchild in the family they will often get spoilt with a few extra gifts. Especially in the first few years of doing Secret Santa. Once there are a few kids in the family this tends to change and everyone gets one gift, but just know that all the Aunties may buy the new baby or toddler gifts outside what you have agreed. Go with it on the day. If someone gets upset, just let them know in a light-hearted manner kids are a loophole (just don’t buy extra gifts for them yourself!)! If it is an issue, be sure to gently flag it well before Xmas Day next year. It’s never worth a discussion on Christmas Day. Particularly if it’s your first Secret Santa and some family members are testing the limits. 

Generally speaking, most people in the family won’t care if Grandma gives the kids a few extra obscenely brightly coloured toys.

And there you have it! Spend less, generate less waste, give intentionally. Shift the focus from counting your presents to spending time with your family. 

My Ride or Die Items for Organising your home

Items to make your home life easier!

I love a good recommendation. Products, services, local businesses, online groups, you name it. If someone has done the hard yards to test something out and is willing to share what they know, I am all for it. When it comes to organising your home, there are a few key items that I have loved using over the years. All of them reduce stress in your everyday and make life just that little bit easier. Here are my favourite items that get The Everyday Organiser through thick and thin. Tried and tested by me over the years.

 

1. Beach Bags – to carry everything in (except family members)

If you are a beachgoer or a dump-and-run kind of organiser, large bags are the handiest thing ever invented. You may love those massive IKEA bags (or THAT Balenciaga bag if that’s your drill) but they are a little bit toooo erm, blue. And those spaghetti strap handles that cut into your shoulders (ouch).

Well, your problem has been solved.

Introducing Project Ten.

I have to thank one of my ah-mazing clients for introducing me to this brand. Based out of Geelong Victoria, Jacquie is at the helm of Project Ten and creates these delightful and fun bags. Yes, you can have style with your beach and shopping bags, including these wee produce bags!

The sewing on these Project Ten bags make them super strong and the wide straps are comfortable to use over the shoulder – yes you can carry all your groceries in one trip. The actual bag material is durable, waterproof which makes for an easy rinse out (yasss!) and folds down easily – I tuck mine in the car boot. Plus there are a variety of different sizes and gorgeous designs to choose from to suit your household needs.

So if you are like me and having a million pockets in one bag makes you wince a little, these large-dump-and-run bags are for you. Banish ugly bags and get on board with this small business. 

Perfect for: gathering up stuff in one bag and getting out the front door!

Extra LOVE: Project Ten bags are now made from recyclable materials – go green with a little bit of colour.

2. A decent vacuum (or hoover)

But that’s not an organising item!  True. This will not come up as a search result on Pinterest.

But cleaning your home is the most time-consuming element of running a household.

I have used those cheap (and very cheap) vacuums over the years that “work” for the first few cleans and then slowly die every clean as the suction disappears and it starts to overheat. How?! Your vacuum should always have EXCELLENT suction and never overheat. If it sounds like it is wheezing and heading towards an early grave (no matter what that sales guy said), start saving pennies for a decent one.

My two favourite vacuum brands (sorry I couldn’t pick one – I’ve always liked bending the rules)

Miele 

I am a Miele fan at heart and I always will be. The durability and ease of using their vacuums have changed my life. There is nothing like running a vacuum and seeing it actually pick stuff up. From working in clients’ homes and using it on their carpets the first time, they are always amazed at how much stuff comes out of the carpets. Miele is the go-to brand particularly if you have pets and need to do regular deep cleans of your carpets.

The small, easy to pivot barrel ones are my favourite as it is small and compact and easy to roll around the house. So instead of buying 3 cheap vacuums over the next 5 years, save up and buy one which will last you for ten years.

Their customer service is also amazing. 

Dyson

Notably, this one didn’t come first. I have used several of these over the years and truth be told, I am not a raving fan. HOWEVER, the stick model is amazing for busy families and all the spills, accidents and crumbs that come with kiddies. It is also great for running around the house each week and the pivoting head makes for light work. There’s no cord, which is a huge bonus.

I have tried their other models, but find them to be quite heavy and to the point where vacuuming just becomes hard work (when it shouldn’t). If you dread having a heavy vacuum and want a lightweight, run-around vacuum, Dyson is the one for you. 

Tip: stay small and lightweight when choosing your vacuum cleaner. It will make life much easier.

3. Slimline coat hangers (flocked or wire)

We access our wardrobes every day (or at least the pile at the end of the bed). Having slimline coat hangers means you can fit more into a small space and they’re easy to access as they are not heavy or cumbersome like wooden hangers. It may seem insignificant, but having hangers that are 1-2cm wide will quickly add up, even in capsule wardrobes. Ditch the wider hangers for the slimline hangers of a few millimetres wide. Slimline hangers not only give you extra space but provide a uniform look for your wardrobe. I am always amazed at how just switching out the coat hangers can overhaul a wardrobe!

My two favourite types of slimline hangers are flocked and wire. In my wardrobe, I have a mix of both flocked and wire hangers, with only 1-2 larger hangers for the exy suit jackets. 

Flocked hangers are perfect if your wardrobe has lots of floaty tops, dresses, and silky fabrics. Your lightweight clothes will actually stay on the hanger instead of constantly falling off and settling at the bottom of your wardrobe. The velvet texture on these hangers keeps even the teeny spaghetti straps in place. Just keep in mind if you aggressively pull down on a flocked hanger, it can snap. To look after flocked hangers, avoid dragging clothes off the hanger. Great for adults, but perhaps not great for kids and teens who may not be able to reach the hanger completely and therefore may pull on their clothes to take them off a hanger. 

If you have more shirts, t-shirts, and pants in your cupboard, the slim wire hangers (like you get from the dry cleaner or as shown here from Target, with a grip cover) are incredible at taking up minimal space and are great for hanging pants. Heavier items like jeans and winter jackets are better suited to wire hangers as they do require a hanger that is stronger than the typical flocked hanger.

If your wardrobe is feeling a bit small and tightly packed, invest in switching out your hangers to free up room.

4. The Dymo Labeller

This little machine is a powerhouse.

Here are my 3 reasons why you should label items in your home: 

– Your brain hates making decisions. It longs for auto-pilot and will take shortcuts every day to try and minimise decisions. You’re a busy person. Make it easy on yourself.

– When introducing a new system in your home, it can be hard to keep it that way. Having labels on items creates a ‘rule’ that only that item and that item only goes into that container. This means you are less likely to shove socks into a container labelled ‘singlets’.

– It’s rarely just you in the house. You may have a partner, a small tribe, nannies, babysitters, cleaners, housekeepers, in-laws, aunties, uncles. When they pop over it’s makes life a lot easier when you ask them to get your little one’s long sleeve top from the 3rd drawer down, and that they open the drawer and see the label. It also means the washing and pantry items get put away in the right spot. This is what dreams are made of right? Support your home team or home office team and pop a label on it for them

TIp: You have my permission to go nuts and label everything!

Extra LOVE: Dymo Label Makers require no ink cartridges, just batteries!

5. IKEA drawers dividers – with labels

If your drawer resembles one of those toy machines in an arcade with a claw and you never can quite get what you wanted out of it (it NEVER works! #childhood) you need to meet the IKEA SKUBB box range.

These nifty dividers keep everything in its place and if you loathe folding clothes (great minds think alike), you can simply drop them into their own box.

Measure your drawers and look at the measurements of each SKUBB box. It’s a bit of a game of Tetris to get the best configuration but will make your soul sing every time you open the drawer.

Tip: choose all one colour for a visually cleaner look.

Extra LOVE: the SKUBB boxes have a fabric casing meaning they feel nice and have a little bit of flex so you can stuff that extra pair of socks in.

And there you have it! These are my personal favourite items that I use for my home as well as my clients. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!