NL: Taking it one step at a time

As we go on the path to natural living, please remember to do one thing at a time… because too many changes makes it more likely for you to ‘fall over’ and give up!! Too many changes at once is daunting! So if we take it one step at a time, you can implement and get used to each new change, maintain it and then add the new one!!

fruit

 

The first step of every change is always to plan 🙂

I recommend grabbing a pretty notebook and having a brainstorming session:

*Why are you making changes? What do you hope to achieve?
*What is your budget? Do your changes have to fit into your current spend or do you have a buffer?

Consider your time vs budget vs goals, for this will determine whether you make soap from lye yourself, or buy bar soap to save time/money/sanity. Is eating organically less important to you than eliminating sugar? Or are both goals equally important? Is it important to have natural skincare or do you want to focus on household cleaners?

Can you prioritize your goals?

For me:
*Eliminating sugar and most wheat is very important.
*I want to our family to eat organically and mostly clean/whole foods
*I am prepared to make most meals, snacks, baking etc from scratch.
*Our new eating plan needs to fit into our current grocery bill because I have no buffer in our budget for the changes.
*Then I would like to focus on household cleaners.
*I am prepared to make all our cleaners
*I would like to ensure all our body products are natural. I would like to try making them but if this is not cost effective or quite difficult then I am prepared to buy these.

WOW! That is step one complete!!

Spring Cleaning – Part 1

Spring Cleaning is the fantastic art of rejuvenating your home after winter! It is designed to be the annual ultimate clean to freshen up, prepare for Summer entertaining, and do those once-a-year jobs that we avoid but must do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First place to start is the declutter of the year! It is time to get everything out, reconsider it’s purpose in your home, and start afresh.

The Whole House Declutter – let’s start afresh!

It has taken me two weeks to declutter most of our home – it will not happen overnight unless you are minimalist!!! Allow yourself several days to dedicate, or a good number of evenings.

Make sure you have supplies – rubbish bags, boxes, a pen to label.

You will be creating three piles as you move around your home:
*Move elsewhere – a box you will fill as you rejuvenate each area of your home and decide that areas in your house have a different purpose. In this pile will be a box of ‘odd pieces’ – all those puzzle pieces and game bits that need to be put where they belong.
*Donate – boxes you will fill with items you no longer need and use but will be appreciated by someone else
*Rubbish – boxes or bags of items that no longer have any life in them

Now it’s time to start. Do a room at a time. Before starting, look at the room and think about whether it is meeting all your needs. Do you need to rearrange furniture? Do you need to repurpose the room?

*Start at the wall further est from the door, and pull everything away from it.

*Vaccum the floor.

*Put furniture back

*Refill cupboards/drawers/shelves with your items. As you go through clothing, is it the right size? Does it still fit? Does it look good? Is it in good condition?
As you go through books, are they in good condition? Are they still loved and used?
As you go through toys, are they still played with? Are they complete?
As you go through sheets and towels – do you have too many? Are they in great condition?
Basically, as you handle everything, you are thinking: is this still needed in our home? Is this still wanted in our home?

This is the opportunity to identify storage options, reallocate the functions of each room, and reassign where items in your home go. It is the time to reevaluate if you are changing rooms around.

Then you revacuum around the furniture, and move to the next room.

One room at a time – this may take you several days to do a room, or just an afternoon.

*If it is very overwhelming, Box everything. (I use this technique in extreme times of decluttering). This is useful when you look at a room and dont know where to start. You simply grab boxes, and fill them with everything in the room, so that you are left with the bare minimum in the room. It is the easiest way to start again and the simplest way to get moving if you are feeling very overwhelmed and dont know where to start. Now go through each box at a time and decide if it is worth keeping, donating or chucking. Work slowly and do it properly. Avoid creating too many piles as you sort, and make sure EVERYTHING from the box has a home or has been chucked before you move to the next box.

*If you are in doubt about items, box them. Label and date, then store. If in 6 months/12 months you still have not been in that box, then it is time to bin/donate the contents.

*Vision your rooms. Before you start, have a think on how you want your room to look. Then work towards achieving that goal.

 

Good luck with your decluttering!! It can be very very overwhelming but remind yourself of the ultimate goal!!!!

 

 

 

Controlling the Chaos

Controlling the Chaos

I was incensed to read a comment from a mother in a magazine, that having children is no excuse for a messy house. I’d quite like to know exactly how many children she has. And I’d also like to know the size of her bank account. Maybe that is a rude response from me, but the truth is that I know many mothers struggle with clutter, chaos and generally uncontrollable houses (I know I’m at the worst end of the scale!) and her comment just grated me! The thing is, that I doubt my mess would be half as bad if I had the money for a) a bigger house for my brood, and b) storage options that worked (you know, the ones that cost heaps of money, the ones you have pinned on Pinterest, the ones that have everything labelled and there is a place for everything). Because I know that if everything was organised and had a place, then I would have hardly any trouble keeping on top of everything!
I’d also like to know if she has any hobbies. It seems to me that mothers who don’t have hobbies have tidy houses. If you have a couple of kids, a dog, a small-ish house (which you love, but carry the burden of a mortgage) and a sewing table or scrapbooking alcove, then chances are your home is not as tidy as you would like!
We have a crippling mortgage, kids stuff everywhere, work stuff everywhere and hobby stuff everywhere. It is hard to keep everything organised when you are trying to store baby gear for your next babe. When you have toys for a 6 month baby and toys for a 6 year old child (and the toys for the kids in between!)
Contrary to what that woman probably thinks, most mothers with messy houses are not lazy, but simply overwhelmed. Not to mention the massive issue of being sleep-deprived and thus low on energy and motivation.

If you are finding the chaos simply overwhelming, frustrating or you no longer care, you are not alone. Tidy family houses are the minority!!
When you browse through your favourite home magazine, remind yourself that these houses, however real, have been tidied and then styled. Imagine if that magazine rang you and said they’d love to feature YOUR home in their magazine. Chances are you’d spend a few late evenings scrubbing, cleaning and tidying. Plus, take a closer look at your magazines. I’ve noticed alot of styling going on!!! They move the rug and desk closer to the bed, carefully arrange some shoes and a toy on the floor, and ‘casually’ sling a coat or blanket over the end of the bed. Thus when you look at the picture, you can see many things in this beautiful picture. But it’s not real!
Some parenting magazines have taken this on board in the last 18 months – have you noticed a few columns and competitions about mothers who get help sorting the mess?

If only we could all have a personal declutterer come and organise our homes! Right up there with winning lotto, aye?!