Good Bye Baggage

In the past I have written about how I wanted to reduced the amount we owned by half, then I discussed my minimalist wardrobe. A year on, I feel like there is so much more stuff I could throw away, pass on or donate to charity. I recently read that the average home has 300,000 items. 300,000 WHAT?! But, it’s not that hard to believe as I sit here looking around myself. I see shelves of books and board games, and I know that inside that draw is a huge pile of clutter that desperately needs sorting through. Go to the bottom of this post for my link to 20 things you can bin TODAY!

If it doesn’t give me joy or if I no longer use it, it can go.

We did so well at decluttering our home before we moved. But, as a busy family of 5 (with another baby on the way) it’s easy for the clutter, toys, clothes and just general ‘stuff’ to start creeping back up and into our home. Last week I decided to kick my own butt back into action and start to declutter again. I had a deadline. Friday.

Last Friday we had new carpets fitted in our lounge and bedroom. I knew that these rooms had to be emptied for the carpet fitter to come in and do his job. This was the perfect excuse to declutter these 2 rooms.

Our bedroom was home to a lot of out-of-date and unorganised paperwork. I managed to reduce the paper piles and store in a much more organised manner (it’s now down to just one tote bag). I charity bagged some shoes, clothes and jewellery and my husband organised his bits and bobs (WTF do men actually keep? So many small trinkets. I swear he is worse than I am). We popped to Argos and purchased some bedside tables. I decided this would be a good place to start, by hiding our crap rather than just having it piled up on the bedroom floor.

Make memories, not clutter.

I’m a sucker for scatter cushions on the bed. I genuinely have no idea why though. They’re just a pain in the arse to move every night and put back every morning. So, I decided to keep just one and the rest were for the donation bag. This pretty much just left our bed, bedside tables, a lamp, wardrobe and draws. Clutter free bedroom.

You may have noted that I don’t mention a TV in our bedroom. This is because our room is a place to sleep, read and do adult things in (IYKWIM). If we want to watch some NETFLIX in bed my laptop will come upstairs, for a limited time only. Less stuff to dust and it leaves our minds clearer for a better night sleep. Studies have found that electronics in the bedroom can cause disturbed sleep. Stuff that.

We gave our daughters the largest bedroom, because fitting 3 kids into a bigger room with so much stuff seemed easier. My husband and I don’t own much and taking on the smaller room seemed to make much more sense.

Spend less and appreciate more.

Our living room is a tough area to declutter. It’s home to some of the girls toys, my knitting and crochet items, books and games. It’s the room that we spend the most time in. But I still needed to tackle the clutter.

The fireplace was a magnet for things without a home. I decided to do a mine sweep of this area first. Goodbye Christmas Cracker shitty-gift! Goodbye broken Kinder Surprise toy (let’s be honest, it was never going to get fixed, was it?) and Goodbye small unidentifiable piece of plastic that probably came from something important, that I have now forgotten exactly what it is.

The new carpets were fitted and our rooms now look much better or should I say, homely. The bedroom still needs a new wardrobe and our lounge chimney-breast needs painting, and coving fitted to the ceiling. But, all in all, we are getting there.

I’ve found that the more I declutter, the less house work I have to do. It’s bizarre. I’m picking less stuff up, dusting less, and even hovering less. I have no idea why… but I just am. My eyes are less tired at the end of the day from looking at piles of crap.

All You Need Is Less

WHO NEEDS 50 TAKEAWAY TUBS? When are you ever going to prepare and store that much food? We live a frugal lifestyle, but even we can’t manage 50 tubs of food. WHAT CHILD NEEDS OVER 1000 TOYS? On average, a child plays with just 12 toys. Those 12 toys will live on the top of the toy box and played with time and time again, while the rest are simply forgotten. I like to do a regular toy purge, donating most to my local nursery and children’s centre. I aim to have a huge toy purge over the summer holidays. I shall watch what my kids play with and then chuck the rest.

We have a long way to go, but things are looking clearer. And it’s a lot of fun! Feeling inspired? Take a look at my (funny AF) list for 20+ items that you can bin today (including the ‘I Love You’ bear from your ex).

 

Could Your Home Be Making You Sick

This post about getting paranoid and chucking everything out of the home to live in an environmental bubble. I’m rather relaxed in my living space even if there are a few specks of dust or I have not hovered for a day or 2. However, as society gets more and more specific about our living standards, we have to consider the most important of them all: our health. The ways we’re living currently might not be the most conducive to good health. Let’s take a real look at the risks and what we can do to battle them.

One of our stunning vintage tablecloths that was given to us.
My house is like a living museum, most items are vintage (including the dust!).

It’s in the air

Perhaps the most common health concern in any home is the problem of air quality. We don’t think about it as often as we should, given the rising rates of asthma and other breathing conditions. Poor air quality in the home can not only irritate sensitive lungs but also be the cause of dizziness, nausea, headaches and ear, nose and throat irritations.

We simply need to put more effort into purifying our air. Air conditioning is a great place to start. They create airflow, which channels in the fresh air and pushes out allergens from the air. But you have to be concerned about where dust gets clogged up, as well. The HVAC fixtures of the home need to be cleaned regularly.

I love to keep houseplants which are nature’s excellent way of cleaning our air. Houseplants absorb nasty particles in the air and carbon dioxide, and transform the air into a far more pure oxygen- through the process of photosynthesis. Easy house plants to keep in the home include the Spider Plant, Monstera Deliciosa  (Swiss Cheese Plant), Peace Lily and Aloe Vera. These are all rather hardy plants, and from my experience, all thrive on some kind of neglect!

lanidng

It’s in the water

As concern that’s perhaps just as common is the rule that unwanted moisture can play in the home. For instance, it’s essential to maintain your heating and air conditioning because of the dangers that can be caused by water droplets building in there. For the same reason, you need to make sure you’re not blocking up indoor plumbing so you can inspect for leaks more regularly. Damp and mould can lead to dangers, one being the dangerous legionnaires disease- contracted due to stagnant water. A dehumidifier can be great at extracting any excess moisture from a room as well and should be used often.

Getting any drips stopped will also save you a tonne of money too, in the long run. A steadily dripping tap, tank or shower head is not only a source of old standing water, but that is pennies added to your water bill that soon all add up.

It’s in the chemicals

It might seem counter-intuitive that the stuff we use to make the home a cleaner, healthier environment might be harming us, but it’s not unfounded. Scientific proof has caused bodies such as the Environmental Working Group to be a lot more cautious about household cleaning products. Compounds in said products like dye, ethanolamines, citrus oil and the like can lead to irritation of the eyes, breathing problems and more. When it’s possible, it’s a better choice to use natural or even homemade cleaning products instead. They might not have the same factory-made smell, but the do the same job at much less risk.

We’ve been working hard at trying to reduce the amount of chemicals we use in our house for a while now, and it’s rather shocking to see how many chemicals are needed to create a kitchen cleaning product, when hot water and white vinegar or lemon does just as good of a job… and can even smell better too!

It’s all in your head

One of the most widespread health concerns nowadays is stress. Just because it manifests mostly in your head doesn’t mean that it’s not real and it’s not dangerous. Besides the obvious ill-effects on your ability to enjoy life, it is also linked with poor sleep, physical stress, back pain and more. The home should be a place to put stress aside, so creating a relaxing space where you really can let loose and put away the worries of the world is essential. On the other hand, a cluttered home with little space to simply chill can compound that stress. We tried to halve all of what we own and the progress has been incredible. We still have a long way to go (and trust me, it’s hard with 3 kids and another on the way!) but the less we own, the less we have to clean, dust and manoeuvre around, reducing stress along the way!

We all deserve a home that we can rest in without fear that it’s causing us any ill health. A bit of maintenance from time to time, the right tech, and a few changes in habit can make that a reality.