Minimalist Living In Your Own Home

         You may have heard the latest buzzword ‘minimalist’ floating around, people claiming to be one or to live in a minimalist abode and how it has changed their life and made modern living just that much easier. People have written books on it, given ted talks and seminars, but what is minimalist living really, and will becoming a minimalist really make your life simpler?

What does it all mean?

A minimalist is the word used to describe a certain style that pares down elements of design. The term minimalism originated in the art world, referring to painters and musicians that were stripping things down, only doing what they saw as the bare essentials and letting that speak out of their art. Over the years it has become a word used for anything that strips things back, minimalist clothing or design, usually referring to simplicity not lack of fabric!

In the context it is now used in, people are refereeing to themselves as being minimalists and living minimalist lives. When they say this they are talking about striping their lives back to the bare essentials. Minimalists talks about giving up a lot of material possessions, focus less on having ‘stuff’ and more on having space and the freedom that comes from that space.

So do you think the minimalist life could be for you? Lets delve in deeper and take a look at the first simple steps you can take towards having a more minimalist home without having to give everything away and more in to a caravan!

Cutting It Down

The first thing that springs to mind as we talk about minimalist living is obviously owning or having less. Do you often walk in to your garage and stub your toe on a box that you have no idea what is inside it? Are you laundry cupboards full to bursting with who knows what and do you have that one room with all of you craft supplies that haven’t seen sunlight for years? Having a lot of stuff can often lead to stress, always trying to look for places to put things, feeling guilty about buying new things because you have so much already.

Maybe once a year you manage to do a big spring clean and get rid of some of the clutter, but most of the time it’s just organizing things back into boxes that won’t be opened until the next spring clean. Living with less is one thing that the minimalist movement is founded on. Here are a few tips to get you started on the path to less.

Clothing

A very personal way to start is with clothing; you can do this for yourself without stepping on any ones toes. Fast fashion is something many of us fall victim to, and we will buy and buy to keep up with the latest trends, often cheaper clothing too so we don’t feel too bad for spending. These clothes often get used a few times and then go back in the closet where they stay and take up space, but still you look at your hanger and complain there is nothing to wear! Well it’s time to get real and brutal. A great place to start is by taking all of your clothes out and sorting them first into piles.

– Love (your favourites)

– Useful (Things like winter jackets, or exercise clothes)

– Staples (the items you find yourself wearing most days, jeans or work clothes)

– Like (those items you are not in love with but you still like)

Now if there is anything that doesn’t fit into those categories they go on the chuck out pile immediately. Maybe a pair of old sweats with holes in the knees that are your comfort pants, or an old t-shirt with a silly slogan on it!

Now take a closer look at each category. Start with your staples, do you wear jeans a lot but have 10 pairs? Well which do you use the least, or don’t fit quite right? On the chuck out pile they go. You can go through each group of clothing quite methodically and ask your self these questions.

– Does it fit well?

– Have I worn it in the last year?

– Do I like the colour/pattern?

– Do I feel good when wearing it?

For this to work you will have to be quite honest with yourself. It helps to envisage the nice clear space that you will have in your wardrobe when you have whittled away at your clothing stack.

Once you have cut away about everything you feel you can then reassess. If it looks like there is still a lot, and you feel the need to cut down further but don’t have the heart to throw anything else out, then I suggest this brilliant trick. Put everything on hangers facing the one way, everything you wear an item of clothing from your wardrobe put the hanger facing the other way. Over the next few months it will become apparent the thing you wear regularly and the things that are just taking up space and you can make further cuts accordingly. There are many methods like the ten item wardrobe method that people do use when redesigning their wardrobes, which are great things to look into if you need that extra push.

Ornaments/Decoration/Knick Knack’s

Now we’ve all been a bit guilty of keeping little knick-knacks that we are fond of, ornaments and decorations around the house. A lot of the times these things collect dust and look out of place and random around the house. It’s time to take a harder look at what is really there to beautify the home, has large sentimental value or what is just there because your aunt gave it to you for Christmas last year and you have put it on the mantle piece and forgotten about it. This is a great time to do a revamp of your home, decide on a particular design theme, if you haven’t already, and start to tidy things up. Look around of your desktops, benches and bookshelves. You can use a similar method to that of clearing our your clothes. Either take everything down and put it in the one place of go through your house room by room and look at each item to see if you really love it, if it hold great sentimental value or is in keeping with your design theme, or if it is in fact, just collecting dust. Clearing space will allow for less cleaning and having DE-cluttered benches has quite a soothing affect. This isn’t to say you must get rid of everything and have blank walls. But just pair down what you do have until it is back to the essentials of design.

Furniture

You obviously need furniture in a house, people need somewhere to sleep, a table to eat at and comfy chairs but do you have random furniture around the house that seems to be taking up space and hardly gets used? Some people have a habit at finding bargains or verge side collection finds and bringing them home and trying to make space for that cane arch that just seemed to be too good not to have even though there is no real space for it in their home! Take a look at what you use and what you need and also the quality of those products. If you are buying a cheap lounge set chances are it’s going to break down quicker and have you looking for other replacements. So take a good hard look at what is around you and what is essential.

Kitchen

The kitchen cupboard can become their own black holes. There are always so many different gadgets out their to supposedly make your life simpler, but that pasta maker gets used twice and the zucchini curler and yoghurt maker never even got a look in! Go through all of your draws that only keep the essentials that you use on a weekly basis. If you have only used something once or twice the chances are you will not use it again and all it is doing is taking up space and giving you a headache each time you are searching for something you do really need.

You may have old pans that have lost their stick but they stay in the cupboard just because you haven’t got time to throw them out. The kitchen is always full of strange one of devices, and there never seems to be enough shelf space, so take a further look and see what you can rid yourself of to free up more space.

Kids Toys

If you have kids, chances are you have a lot of toys and games that are floating around the house and seem to never be in their toy box but instead all over the floor. You can probably relate to that feeling of dread when you see your children pull out another game before packing up the last and knowing how much of it is going to end up under the furniture for you to try and sweep up. Kids don’t actually need every new toy or game and are often quite content with cardboard boxes and some simple Lego. Go through your kids toys and games and see what games are missing pieces and give them the flick. There may be games that they have hardly ever used too, so these can go on the give away pile. A great idea for toys is to keep them in rotation.

Put some of the toys and game sin a separate box to your main toy shelf or box and every month or so you can switch it up and bring out some other games putting the ones they have just had, away. So even though you are not buying anything new it feels new to the kids because they haven’t seen it in a month. This way you don’t have to deal with them pulling out every activity you have at once and making a huge mess. Let them be creative and make the most of what they do have instead of over stimulating them with every game under the sun.

Toys and Devices for Big Kids

Now that you’ve sorted the kid’s toy situation out, it’s only fair you do it for yourself also. Do you find yourself wanting the latest fads and electronic devices? First sort through your old things, do you have a model plane on a shelf in the garage that has a wing broken that you’ve been ‘meaning to fix’ for three years now? Get rid of it! Do you really need a tablet as well at your laptop and smartphone? Just like with your kitchen goods and furniture take a look at what you really need, but you use on a regular basis and what you think stimulates your body and mind in a healthy way. We can get so caught up in advertising for the latest fads, or maybe there is that special on gym equipment, but you actually find it really hard to be motivated enough to work out at home, how about save that money, get a gym membership if you really do want to stay fit that way, and then save your space and have more freedom to be flexible. Often our argument of ‘it will be cheaper in the long run’ doesn’t quite work out because we may lose interest quickly in our jet ski or be working so hard to pay it off we don’t have time to use it anyway. Renting things like boats and jet skis, even cars if you live in the inner city, can be a better way to go. Free up your bank balance by only paying for something when you really need it.

Is It For You?

So is it for you do you think? Would you like to be freer from stuff? Try out these first steps and see how if feels, you may find it becomes easier and easier as time goes on to live with less and you’ll have more time and money for the things that are really important. When you do go through your house, consider donating clothing or appliances to goodwill, to give people with less of the basics a bit of a helping hand. Living in a minimalist way does not have to be a strict lifestyle where you own nothing and never work to give you more ‘time’. It is much more about cutting out of your life the things you don’t really need that take up your time money and attention that could better be spent elsewhere. Take a look at your life, try out some of these steps and see how it feels for you and who knows where it will take you.

Goal Setting

    In life we can sometimes feel a bit adrift and all out to see. Things can happen suddenly to disrupt our daily life, a family crisis, a break up or getting laid off from work. These are an example of big things but here are also small things that can throw us off track at times and leave us wondering where we are going in life. These feelings can become quite overwhelming and can lead to some spiraling thoughts of self-doubt and unrest. One way to feel like you have a bit more of a hold on life and to feel like no matter what happens you have something to hold on to and look towards, is goal setting.

Goal setting is a really important way to have a clear vision of your own future, knowing what it is you want to achieve in life and having something tangible to work towards. Here are some hacks to help you on your path to setting goals getting to know what it is you want out of life.

How Does Goal Setting Work?

So how does this goal setting business work you may be asking? Well It works by creating a narrowed down version of your hopes and dreams and by really thinking about the things you are wanting in life and how to achieve them it gives you something to actively work towards.

Types of Goals

There are many kinds of goals you can set the more you think about things. There are you big long term goals which may be something like owning your own house, car, creating a successful business or having a family. Then there are your medium term goals, which could include getting a promotion at work, or finishing a University degree. And then after that you have your short-term goals, which can be small and simple such as finishing a project, getting into a course you want, traveling to Europe for a three month holiday, or swimming with dolphins.

As well as ordering your goals into long medium and short, there are also categories you can fit your goals into and those could be education goals, career goals, health goals, relationship goals and financial goals.

Where to Start?

So now you understand a little more about the kids of things you can set as goals, where do you begin? One great way to start is with a mind map or brainstorming. Getting a piece of paper and writing down as the things you want in life, that you may physically want, emotionally want, things you want to achieve. Remember these is your private thoughts and you can write down whatever you want no matter how silly them may seem. It’s important to be as honest as you can with yourself and your wants so that you can get a bigger picture and have a better starting place for setting goals.

Once you’ve written then all down its time to start organizing your thoughts. Firstly try to organize your goals into their length, is it a short-term goal or a long? Have some columns in a notebook and order them short, medium, long. Then get all of those random words and sentences you’ve written doing in your brainstorm and fit them into each category.

Once you have ordered them that way it’s time to get a little more specific with what kind of goals they are, physical, emotional financial etc. Putting these kind of labels on them can help you latter group certain goals together. You may have medium long and short financial goals that all fit together and when you are trying to work out how to achieve them it’s good to have them grouped so you can see that the achievement of one goal can lead to another.

Now What?

So you’ve got your goals organized into groups, kinds and types is that all? Are you done? Not quite! It’s all well and good writing down the things you want and want to achieve, but now comes the hard part of working out how to achieve them. If you have goals but no plan of action then you will find those goals quickly get put in the too hard basket and you’re back to where you started.

Plan of Action

It’s time for you to create a Plan of Action. This may take one day or a few weeks to go through depending on if you are only getting an hour or so a day to yourself to allow your mind time to ponder and take a closer look at your goals. A plan of action is all about looking at each goal individually and working out how you can achieve it. Start with your list of short term goals and take a look at each one more closely. In your health and well being section you may have a goal to get fit and a goal to eat well, you can look at these both individually but also see how you can connect them. You may just need to write down one paragraph after each goal. If it is ‘getting fit’ then you could write a few ideas like ‘look for a personal trainer’ ‘run thirty minutes a day’ ‘ride to work instead of drive’. If you know these things will be a lot harder for you than then seem on paper you could make a sub goal to enlist the help of a professional lifestyle coach or personal trainer who could help you both with your eating habits and your exercise schedule at the same time.

Long and medium term goals may take more time and thought to plan out and remember you don’t need to know exactly how to achieve your goals, that will come with time and by slowly working on them what is more important it to think about the steps you could take to get there. If you have a long term goal of owning your own house, but short term goals of buying jet skis, a new car, a holiday abroad then you would need to have a look at how your short term goals of what you want may affect your long term goal, for example by spending a lot of money on things you want in the short term may decrease your savings and chances of owning a house in 10 years time. Look at all your goals in each segment and see how they interconnect to give you a better idea of the steps you will have to take to achieve these goals.

Is it Achievable?

The more you look into your goals on a deeper level you will start to get a better sense of how achievable they are. It is good to aim big and high and have huge goals to keep you working towards and give you something to look forward too, but also have a look at if it is something you can really get done. You need to be able to set realistic goals and intentions. If you decided you wanted to become fluent in French but only gave yourself two weeks to do so then that is probably not an achievable goal and you may only disappoint yourself. If you gave yourself a year and part of that time you were spending in a French speaking country and also taking classes to study the language, then that is achievable. Make sure you have some short term goals in there that are easy to do so you will have a sense of accomplishment that can help spur you on and towards accomplishing bigger dreams and goals.

It is important to dream big but being somewhat realistic about the paths and steps you will need to take to accomplish your goals will help you more in actually seeing them come into fruition and that just thinking about them vaguely and hoping something will come form it all.

Keeping on Track

Now that you have made your goals and set intentions that are realistic and achievable you’ll be feeling pretty good and pretty excited about the prospect of achieving these goals, but after a week of so you may find yourself slipping into old habits and having life get in the way and forgetting or even giving up on some of your goals. So how do you stay the course and keep on the right track?

Having visual reminders of your goals around the home can be a great way to keep on track and reminded about what you are planning on achieving. There are many ways to do this, you could have a mood board with pictures up of the things that you want, this could be pictures of someone doing the job that you want to do, pictures of a certain car or holiday destination, pictures of health and fitness. An inspiration board is an easy way to remind yourself of your goals and keep them fresh and exciting.

If you prefer words then you can type up on the computer and print out and list of your goals in their categories and you could go even further and print out the steps you need to take to see them through.

Having a diary or planner can also work wonders. There are a lot out there that give you space for intention setting and list making on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and having to write down your different goals each week and then check in on them is a great way to keep up your accountability for these things.

Don’t Give Up

Now you have the basic tools you need to start creating and setting goals that will help you get the most out of yourself and out of life. You can always add to your list of goals and don’t be surprised if you find yourself heading in slightly different directions. Sometimes focusing on one thing can actually make what you really want clearer and you may find yourself on a different path than you started down but still heading in a good direction. Good luck, it may be hard at times but don’t give up. You can achieve most things you set your mind too.

Study Hacks

If you are studying then I don’t need to tell you twice how it seems like you are never on top of things. There is always study to be done even when you think your brain can’t cram anymore in. And if you have the stresses of having to pay rent and buy food, chances are you have a part or full time job also to juggle. Not to mention a social life! So how do you find enough time to fit it all in? Bellow are a few hacks that can help optimize your study time and free up more space in your life so you don’t have to feel guilty about attending that party on Friday night!

 It’s all in the timing!

You’ve often heard people identify themselves as a morning person or a night own, referring to when they feel most awake and productive. Well We can’t always choose the perfect time to study, we have to work around other commitments of course but sometimes you can adjust your schedule a bit more to suit you so it’s worth taking note of what time of the day you feel most productive and then use this time to get stuck into some serious work. Sometimes waking up that extra bit earlier you can fit so much more in and get a lot of study out of the way when your mind is fresh. Or perhaps you get your second wind in the afternoon.

  Sleep!

Sleep, yes I know what you’re thinking, when do you have time to fit that in? Well you need to make time because studies have shown that trying to study on a tired mind is counter productive. The best sleep you can get is at night before midnight. I may not sound realistic but if you can train yourself to become a morning person instead it’s well worth it. Getting enough sleep is vital to a healthy functioning brain, which means a smarter you!

Get your priorities straight!

Yes, stop procrastinating and take a look at what you really prioritize in your life. If study isn’t right up there then you either need to have a reflection of how interested you are in what you are learning or take a hard look at what you can cut out or reduce in your life to make study one of your top priorities. There is often a lot of time spend during the day in mindless activities, checking your phone or watching YouTube. If your social life is really important to you then instead of cutting it out entirely try cutting out that wasteful time binge watching TV or just ‘hanging out’ and use that time to be productive, that way when there is an event you really want to go to, you’ve gotten enough done so you don’t have to feel guilty.

Organize

Let’s get organized. This isn’t just about your study schedule but your life! Making a study schedule is a great idea. Get yourself a diary or create your own personalized weekly schedule and then get to playing tetras. Put in each day the most important things you need to get done and how much study time you need to achieve each day, then juggle them around to it all fits. Work it out on some scrap paper first; just getting it onto paper helps you have a better perspective of what is really important. Once it is all down and you’ve allotted time for things then make a good copy and keep it on your phone or a hard copy above your study desk.

Organizing your time is not the only important step; you also need to have an organized space to study in. Try to keep your desk clean and clear of distracting things. If you study in your room then have a good tidy once a week just to make sure the space around you is more calming and conducive to focusing on the task at hand. If you are in an environment where it is hard to study, maybe you have loud housemates or not enough space in your own room it may be best to find another work space. Public libraries are always great places to study, there is a pretty strict quiet policy enforced often by women you wouldn’t want to mess with. So it could be a great alternative as a place to be free of distractions.

Focus On Your Goal

Sometimes in the midst of studying and the stress of exams it’s easy to lose sight of why on earth you are subjecting yourself to this and not just spending your days in lounging in the sun. So to keep yourself motivated try making a moodboard, or if you don’t want to get overly crafty then get a few pictures that are your inspiration for the work you will be able to do once you have your degree. Any kind of pictures that help remind you of why you are doing what you are doing keep your goal in mind. You can put up great things to put up around the place or even keep in the front of your note books so that when you feel like your attention is waning and your desire is slipping you can take a glance and remember what it is all for.

Travel Hacks To Get You Overseas

Travel is one of the most rewarding and enriching things we can do for ourselves. Overseas travel gives you an opportunity where you can learn about other cultures and ways of life, and also learn about yourself by putting yourself in different situation and experiences a completely different way of life and having to rise above all the challenges thrown at you, especially if you’re somewhere where they don’t speak your native tongue. Traveling can really be one of the best things you do for yourself and will help to broaden your horizons. But what if it is your first time overseas and it all seems a bit overwhelming, where to begin? Well never fear, here are some hacks that can make planning and packing for your trip that much easier.

Planning Your Destination

If you don’t already have a destination in mind but you are itching to get out there into the big wide world. Start by thinking about what kind of experience you want to have. Are you wanting to backpack, stay in air bnb’s or in it for the more luxe adventure? Start by setting a goal.

Think about if this trip is more of a getaway and a way to unwind and just chill or if you are in it to push your boundaries and have more of a ‘local’ experience.

You can of course get inspired by other peoples pictures on social media, but always remember that their photos may not tell the full story of a place. Try instead to look at lonely planet travel guides and chat with people who have been to the places you are interested in to get more of a rounded knowledge of what a place is like first.

So you know where you want to go? What next?

When you have decided on a destination it’s great to do as much research as you can. I’m not talking about enrolling yourself in a class for the full history lesson! But it’s great to be prepared in knowing what to expect and when you are a bit more familiar with what is around it makes travel through the country a lot easier.

Reading up on guided and even trip adviser can be a great way to get some insight into what is around accommodation and attraction wise. But you should also spend a bit of time looking at maps from the area to get familiar. It’s no good wanting a seaside holiday but booking into somewhere that is actually an hour ride away from the beach!!

Booking accommodation

When you have decided what kind of accommodation you want and the area, spend a bit of time looking into the public transport or the availability and price of taxi services, the last thing you want is to be stuck in an area without an easy mode of transport. In Europe there are often a lot of good public transport options and trains for those longer journeys and in South East Asia you will usually be able to find taxi services are very cheap. So take the time to have a good look at what your options are so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Booking flights

Booking your flights can be an equally exciting and daunting process. First of all I would be looking at matching up your own availability with the seasons of the place you are wanting to visit. If you are desperate for a Scandinavian summer but can’t travel until Christmas time, then you should probably look at some other alternatives. A lot of places closer to the equator also have their wet and dry seasons. Usually high seasons are in the dry season so that can mean more expensive flights and more crowds but possibly better weather. Read some forums to make sure you are traveling in the dates that will suit what you are going to a place for or you could find yourself trapped indoors in the middle of monsoon season!

Now if you have specific dates you need to travel in then it is best to book your tickets as far in advance as possible to get cheaper deals. If you are booking for yourself online make sure to have a look at a few sites and airlines to try and get the cheapest dates. If your dates are a little more flexible than flight websites often have a great feature that allows you to look at the cheapest times to fly within a set month, this can really help get you a great deal. Airlines too often have last minute deals and specials, but don’t become too reliant on getting one or you may miss a good price entirely.

Flight connections

If you are booking your own flights online one thing to take special note of it your connecting flights. If you have a big trip planned and have to take more than one flight then take special care to look at the flight times. Some flights that may be suggested to you may only have a very small flight window for your connection and not all airlines will put you on the next available flight for free if you miss your connection. It’s good to give yourself a few hours a least to connect, especially if it is in a big airport, you’ll be surprised at how huge some can be and how long they take to navigate! It’s always better to have to wait an extra hour or too than to be completely stressed for time and running through the airport to get to your gate in time.

Some flight connections may require you to have an overnight stay. Not all airports allow you to sleep in them overnight. If they are a smaller airport it is most likely then will close after twelve at night and not open again until five in the morning. So do your homework about what is around you. Some airports do have airport hotels within the terminals if you don’t want to leave the airport, these can often be expensive but also sometimes worth it if you have an awkward time frame. Or you can usually find some hotels or accommodation between 1-3 km away. Just be sure to pre book and let them know what time you are expected to land so you don’t end up locked out!

If you are nervous about booking your fights over the internet and having to arrange your own connections then you can always go to a good old fashion travel agent. They can be great in getting you cheap deals but also tailoring your flights to suit you and the travel times you are comfortable with. Travel agents are these days not much more if at all more expensive than doing it yourself and you can rest easy knowing that if anything goes wrong you have someone to call and to help you out of a jam.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance often seems like that annoying thing we don’t really need do we? And if you are going to stay with relatives for a few weeks in the UK and are not taking any valuable items with you then maybe it is not on your top list of priorities but I can assure you it is worthwhile looking into. Shop around to find one that suits you and be sure to read the fine print, a lot of insurance companies have certain clauses on their insurance and won’t for example cover anything that is stolen at night from what they deem and ‘insecure’ place. So take time to have a look at what you really need covered. If you are traveling with a lot of technology, laptop computers and cameras then it is worth making sure you are covered for up to as much as they are actually worth. Another thing travel insurance is great for is any kind of injuries that may occur. Injuries can often come from accidents out of your control and it’s good to know you will be able to receive medical care that you won’t have to spend the rest of your life paying off! But take not that is you are into extreme sports some insurance companies will not cover you fro accidents that happen while skiing or snowboarding, or you may have to pay extra to be covered for those things.

Travel insurance can be great for the little things too, like having delayed flights or luggage, particularly if you are flying with budget airlines and they will mostly not cover the cost of your accommodation if your flight is delayed a day or two.

Your Tickets are Booked So…

Now your accommodation and your tickets are booked and you’ve worked out your travel insurance, it’s time to start packing. Depending on how much moving around you will be doing will depend of the amount of luggage you will need. One of the biggest pitfalls of packing for an overseas holiday is over packing!! If you are going to be traveling around a lot backpacking style you are going to have to give up your dream of a different outfit for everyday and get a bit more real! You never need as much as you think you will, if you’ve near the ocean you’ll often end up spending more time in your swimwear than anything else. So it’s best to look at where you are going and think of the essentials.

Warm/tropical climates

If you are going somewhere relatively warm then have a good look at what you will really need. It’s always good to take at least one pair of jeans or leggings even in a tropical country as you may get those occasional cold nights, and they are great from traveling in, remember airports are often air-conditioned! Take as well a long sleeve top and if you are going to the tropics bring a light rain jacket.

The general rule is to take just enough to last you three days without having to wash anything! Most places you go you will have access to clothes washing facilities and if not, there is always the shower to wash your underwear or t-shirts.

Another thing to keep in mind is the religion of a particular country. There are some places you go where they have quite strict dress codes so make sure you have appropriate clothing so that you can be respectful and also not uncomfortable. Long pants or a long skirt and a long sleeve top is always good to have on hand if by chance you are visiting a temple or invited into locals home where it is appropriate to cover up. You don’t have to fully adapt to another countries religious dress, but it is good to show you respect their culture.

Good footwear is also something to consider, even if you are not planning to do big hikes or a lot of walking, flimsy thongs or sandals will over not do, make sure you have a sturdy sandal or shoe that is comfortable enough to walk around in all day, you never know when someone might offer to take you on a picturesque walk, or you might get lost in the city and end up wandering around for hours. Blisters can be a traveler’s worst enemy.

Cold climates

If you are going to a colder climate or somewhere for the winter season you really need to be prepared as much as possible. Have a look at what the locals in the region wear, and even take a look on some online forums to see if people have any suggestions. It can be hard to pack ‘light’ for winter destinations but realistically you often need only one good warm jacket for outdoor use, one nice going out jacket and then some warm undergarments as well as your usual jeans trousers and tops. It can be hard to find the right gear especially if you are coming from a country that is currently in a different season so it may pay to shop internationally online beforehand. Keep in mind also that a lot of cold countries have excellent heating inside and often you will be traveling form warm place to warm place which is why it is good to have one ultra warm jacket that allows you to wear not too many layers underneath so you don’t have to sweat while you strip off layer after later each time you walk into a warm shop or home.

Personal toiletries

Your toiletries bag can often end up weighting way too much. With all your shampoos and lotions and makeup. It’s time to take good look at what you really need and strip it back. If you will be spending a lot of time outside then sunscreen is a must and insect repellent for tropical climates. Often you don’t need your whole big bottle of shampoo and you can transfer some of it into smaller more travel friendly bottles. Also keep in mind what is available in the country you are going to and the price. If you are traveling to a country you know you can get the brands of personal items you want then you won’t really need to take that much with you but if you are going somewhere a little more remote then it may be worth taking some items you don’t think you’ll be able to get, so you don’t get caught out.

Medical kit

No matter where you are going it’s always a good idea to take even a small first aid kit with you, so that if anything you’ll be able to sort yourself out to a degree and not have to spend a day searching for a pharmacy to get some band aids from! It’s always best to be prepared.

Luggage and flying

Remember to pre weigh your luggage beforehand. Some airlines have very strict policies on weight and will sting you if you are even one kg over. So make sure you have allowed for ample room and weight before heading to check in. You can usually add extra bags onto your flight up to a day before you leave if you need to. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

You’re ready to go!!

So now you’re all booked and your bags are packed you’re ready to get on a plane and enjoy the amazing experiences you will have when you’re traveling overseas. Always remember to keep friends and family posted on where you are and leave them with a contact number of your hotel or at least the name of the town you are in. You can also log in your travel details to government sites so that in case of any national emergency they will be able to find you. Enjoy the sights and sounds and be safe!!

Hacks Around the Home

There are so many new gadgets and gizmos out in the world to make our lives around the house a lot easier. Lights you can clap on and off, systems that automate your every household switch, ways to start your home heating up while you’re still at work!! Modern life is a fascinating thing, and you can buy something for almost every purpose you can think of!

But how about if you don’t have the money to spend on every new mod con? Well here are some hacks that can make your life a lot more simple around the house without spending the big bucks. Take a look and see what you can incorporate into your life around the house.

In The Living Room

Lets start in the family center, the living room. Here are a bunch of ideas that can keep your living area clean and organized but stylish at the same time.

Hiding your router

You can do this by creating a fake book display, simply get together around five to seven books that have a spine with a colour scheme that suits your home. You can purchase old book from a second hand store or garage sales for a very small price. Cut the spine off the books you with to have in the middle. Then for the books you wish to have each end cut them in a way that the spine and one of the sides is still there. Then make a box like frame, you could make this out of wood or even out of an old shoe box, and attach the book spines to it so from the front it looks like a row of books, but t really is a great place to hide your router. A fake book design like this is a great place to store other thins you need close by but that aren’t that attractive or in keeping with the style of your home. Give it a try!

Keeping track of your remotes

Remote controls are one of those things that are always going missing. They turn up in the strangest places, in different rooms, the pantry, the bathroom!! Or down the crack in the sofa you swore you’d checked five times already! So here are a few handy ways to keep track of them by creating a place just for them, that way everyone knows where they live and it’s easy to put something away when it has a home.

Make a book box

Back to books again. You can create a box by hollowing out the inside of an old book. This works better with thick hardcover books. You can either choose an old book you already like the look of, or decorate and paint it yourself in fun patterns. It’s best to use a Stanley knife to cut the inside of the pages out, allow enough space for your remotes, then using a strong craft glue, rub it over the outsides of the pages to help bind it together and create strong walls. It’s a fun and interesting way to store those remotes and add some extra décor into your home.

Velcro!

From those not so craft inclined there it the beauty of Velcro. You can buy it in long strips you can cut up or in circles you can just peel and stick. Peel off one side of the Velcro and stick it in a few places along the back of your remote. Then stick the opposing sides somewhere accessible but also a bit hidden like the side of your tv, or the side of your coffee table or TV cabernet. This way there are always on hand to take on and off and you wont be wasting any of your viewing time trying to search for them

In The Kitchen

There never seems to be enough storage space in the kitchen and draws are always cluttered. So here are a few easy to do yourself hacks to help maximize your space in the kitchen while keeping everything in order.

Plastic bags

There are always floating around and taking up space. Try using an empty tissue box instead to store them in. A tissue box already has a great easy access pocket and you can also either Velcro or glue it to the inside of one of your cupboards this will keep it from floating around and taking up much needed space.

More Draws!

When you have run out of draws and shelf space in the pantry, create your own!

You can do this by using a plastic shoe organizer and hanging it in the door of your pantry. It’s individual spaces are great for all those fiddly little packets that end up cluttering up your shelf space.

Another option is to put things in boxes on your existing shelves. Show boxes work really well for this, or if you like the fancier look, try some nice lined wicker boxes. With these you can organize things into groups so you don’t spend hours rummaging around trying to find that balsamic vinegar! Sort your pantry into groups and you’ll save time as well as making things a lot neater and better organized.

In The Laundry

The laundry is a space where a lot of miscellaneous items turn up, or things are thrown into the back of cupboards never to be seen again. Here are some ideas to help you organize a little better.

Ironing boards

The ironing board is something that is always getting in the way, either getting wedged in any small space or falling out of already full cupboards. There’s a simple trick. Get two coat hooks and attach them to the back of either your laundry door or the inside of one of the cupboard doors. You can then easily hook on the end of your ironing board. Easy to store and no chance of it falling out on you!

Dyers

If you’re a user of a dyer then you’ll love this simple hack. Just scrunch up a bit of aluminum foil and use it as a dyer sheet! It removes the static and you can use the same piece over and over, how good it that!!

In The Bathroom

The bathroom is where worlds tend to collide. Everyone wants their own bathroom space and things end up everywhere. So a very simple solution can to get every member of the family their own bathroom box! You can buy great little open boxes or baskets to suit your home, or even just reuse old shoe boxes. Once everyone has their own box then that is where their own things stay. Say good by to bathroom clutter and hello to a new clean and tidy space.

Showers

Now here is a cleaning tip that will change your life. To get rid of all the build up on your shower head, you don’t need to scrub away with awful chemicals, simply get a zip lock bag and fill it will distilled water and vinegar then use and elastic band to hold it in place over the shower head overnight and the next morning wake up so a clean and sparkling shower head! Almost no work necessary!

Speaking of showers, try hanging a bunch of eucalyptus from your shower. When you take a hot shower the steam will not only invigorate you and clean your lungs but also make the bathroom smell amazing.

In The Bedroom

Everyone’s bedroom is a personal space, which is why they so often end up so messy!! Clothes can often be the main offenders, trying to shove everything in to tiny draws then never knowing what’s on the bottom so somehow the top contents always end up scattered over the floor…Sound familiar? Here is one mind blowing, and seemingly strange idea at first. Try putting your clothes away vertically! Yes! This way you are able to see all the contents of your draws at once instead or riffling through and messing things up. Try it out, you may be surprised.

Denim

Now this one is a beauty for the denim lovers out there. You may have seen this in trendy stores, but it’s something you can easily do yourself. This is an amazing way to hang your jeans if you’re not a fan of folding and we all know how annoying pants hangers can be! So try some simple S hooks. You can pick them up from your local hardware store for not much at all. Just hand the hooks over your closet rod and then hook on your jeans using their belt loops. It’s as simple as that, saves space and you don’t have to worry about ironing them after having annoying fold lines.

Give It A Go!

Try these quick and easy hacks to organize your home better and see how you go. Once you get your brain thinking of hacks there’s no knowing what brilliant ideas you’ll come up with your self that are quick easy and cost effective.

How To Have Enough Time For Everything

We always seem to be busy because life is busy. There are never as many hours in the day to achieve what we want to. If you’re an adult then there are jobs that need to happen to make money to pay the rent.

clock to tell the time

Then there are the relationships that need fostering, with a partner or friends or family, and then if you have kids well, there’s them too!! And on top of that there is all the activities we like to do for us, you know, the ones that keep you feeling sane and like yourself. Sometimes there is study instead of work, or study on top of work with kids and rock climbing hobby!! And then there is the awful guilt that comes with procrastination, with scrolling a little too long down your Facebook page, or watching a few too many episodes of your favourite show instead of sleeping, oh yes!! Did I forget to mention you also need to sleep! It’s really all a bit much sometimes and we often end up doing more of the procrastinating because our brains need a break from thinking of the stress of all that other ‘stuff’ that needs doing.

So how do we get through life, fitting in everything nicely, having enough time to make the money we need, to spend time with the people we care about and to nurture ourselves and take care of our own personal needs too? Well it’s all about time management. A mug I once read said ‘You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce’ Truer words have never been spoken. We are all living on that same twenty four hour clock, and yes Beyonce may have assistants and managers and a ‘person’ for about every job and it may seem a little cruel to compare our own time management to hers, but still it’s the concept that matters. We CAN have enough time, it’s just about how we allocate it. So below I’ve put together some hacks to help you change the way you see time and be able to make the most of it so you can spend more time doing what you really love.

Morning Routines

Every day starts with a morning (provided you wake before twelve…) Morning is the best time to set your intentions for the day and start off on the right foot. We’ve tried to turn our day around half way through after that long unneeded sleep in or those two hours of aimless Instagram scrolling, and while it is possible, it’s also HARD. That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up properly as soon as you wake. Setting yourself a morning routine is an excellent way to become efficient and also put you in a good frame of mind for the day ahead. So first start by making a list of everything you currently do in the morning before work/school, then make a list of everything you NEED to get done in the morning. Eat, shower, get dressed, feed the kids, pack your lunch, exercise. This only works if you are being honest with yourself. But take a look as both lists and see the things that you can cut down. Maybe every morning you spend time on messenger talking to friends or online watching Youtube clips. Or maybe you press snooze three times on your alarm clock. Now it’s time to prioritize. Work out how much time you actually have in the morning, if you are getting up at a reasonable hour. Start to make a schedule from most important to least. You may find you really don’t have time for that 20 minutes of Instagram, but you could replace it with a 10 minute guided meditation to help center yourself instead. Go through your list and be brutal, but also allow enough time for everything so that you don’t feel rushed. You may have to get up half an hour earlier or you may find that if you prepare your lunch or breakfast the night before you can make time for that 30 minute run in the morning. When it comes to time management it’s all about priorities. Once you work out a good morning routine it’s important to stick to it as best you can, be army like about it especially for the first few weeks, it may be hard at first and feel like your mornings are so mechanical but within a few weeks you’ll start to ease into and you may even see you didn’t need as much time for one task as you thought and you could replace that with something a little more indulgent. Soon your mornings will start to sync in so well with you that it will no longer feel like a rigid routine and it just becomes your ordinary life, except you are no longer chasing the bus down the street or coming into work stressed because you didn’t get everything you needed to get done, done.

There are plenty of little hacks you can look into in your mornings, see what tasks you put together. For example if you like to read a bit in the morning but never seem to have time, but you spend half an hour in traffic on your daily commute, then try an audio book instead. Or if you catch public transport to work or school, then could be the perfect time to check your social media and emails, or catch up of your Youtube watching, instead of doing it in bed when you first wake up. Little hacks like these will free up a lot more time than you think.

Making Lists

Making lists sounds kind of boring and not so freeing, but trust me, it’s a great habit to get into and helps you with a sense of achievement throughout your day. The best time to start a list is either in the morning or the night before. You can use just a plain exercise book or notebook for this. Write down the days date you are making your list for and begin. Just put everything you can think of that you NEED to do that day down. Now we are not talking, eat, brush your teeth, type stuff, more the little things we may forget Eg. Post letter. Reply to email about cheese, pick up tomatoes from the store. Then you can go back through and put a mark next to the more important ones. Some tasks you may not get crossed off that day and then you can move them onto the next day’s page. Crossing things off a list for some reasons gives a huge amount of satisfaction, and what a feeling it is when all, or even most things are crossed off at the end of the day. Making lists can give you more time during the day as you don’t need to waste your time stressing and thinking ‘oh what was that one thing I needed to do today?’ It helps take a load off because all you need to do is look down and refer to the list for guidance.

Prioritize

As I said earlier, time management is all about the way you prioritize things. Take a look at your life and see what are firstly the things you enjoy most. Write them all down on a big piece of paper if you have to. Then make a list of all the things you HAVE to do, like work, study, cook, and grocery shop, the essentials of modern life really. Now make a list of all the things you don’t like doing, or that don’t bring much fulfillment to you. See where those list collide with your needs. Maybe you don’t really like your work but you need to pay rent so either you look for another job, or if for the moment you decide to stay put, then you need to obviously take time for it. Much like your morning routine system, have a look at the things you end up doing that are not serving you. Maybe you are spending time hanging out with friends you don’t even really like, well if you are then stop!! And use that time to be with people you really cherish or to spend valuable time with yourself with a hobby or interest you really do enjoy. Maybe you stay for after work drinks on a Thursday even though you don’t particularly want to but feel obliged, well, from now on tell them you have other commitments and use that time in a better way.

May also find you use a lot of time watching TV, well how about choose only 3 shows you absolutely love, instead of binging on shows that kind of annoy you because you can’t be bothered doing anything else.

Go To Bed Happy

When you start to free up your life and order it you’ll find you go to sleep peacefully and happily because you’ve been able to achieve things and make times for the things in life that really matter to you. And you’ll also rest easy knowing that the things you didn’t quite get around to are patiently waiting on the list for tomorrow!