My Top 5 Podcasts 

Podcasts are like blogging – still fairly new to me. I’ve had this app on my iPhone for god knows how long. I remember thinking why do I even have this on here. I never bothered to explore or discover, it was just “one of those apps Apple decided you need”.

Then I saw a question in a decluttering group about how people got inspiration to declutter. It certainly grabbed my attention and I started reading (because let’s face it, sometimes we need a little kick in the bum to stay motivated) and in those comments I came across a mention of podcasts, specifically A Slob Comes Clean & The Minimalists. I listened to these right from the first episode all the way through to the most recent – and I was HOOKED!!!

Right now I’m up-to-date on Intention, A Slob Comes Clean, Straight & Curly & The Minimalists, I’m currently working on Create & Thrive.

  1. A Slob Comes Clean – Dana White originally started her blog as Noni (short for anonymous) and has since moved to podcasting (as well as continuing her blog and has also recently published a book). This was the first Podcast I ever listened to and I generally listened to it while cleaning. She has a unique, honest view on cleaning and about her “Slob Vision” that just spoke directly to me.
  2. The Minimalists – These guys were my first introduction into minimalism. Now, my house is NOWHERE near minimalist. Not by a long shot. But I do love their message and it has encouraged me to keep going with the cleaning and decluttering. They have also made me realise that being a minimalist doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have anything out on display or you have like 30 items per person. There are all different “brands” of minimalism.
  3. Straight & Curly is for self-improvement junkies and was a recommendation in iTunes. They talk about a wide range of things and was the inspiration behind my Facebook hiatus over Christmas. I loved it so much that I think I will do the same thing every school holidays.
  4. Intention – this is only a fairly new podcast and I discovered them through Instagram. What really caught my eye, is that Intentional is my one word for 2017, so I HAD to listen to it. So far, I’m really enjoying it.
  5. The Create & Thrive Podcast – This year I am really concentrating on turning my hobby into a business and I joined Jess’ Thriver Circle. I’m giving my business my all this year and this podcast is full of hints and tips to help me on this journey.

So these are my favourite podcasts right now, I add new podcasts as I finish/get up to date on a previous one. Eg: I’ve just finished Intentional, now I’m moving onto catching up on the Create & Thrive one, then I will need a new one to listen to 😉 But I always pause my binge listening when new episodes come out of ones I’ve already gotten up to date with. So I’m always on the search of my next podcast.

What is your favourite Podcast and where do you listen to it? I’m curious about Serial, as I’ve heard it’s very good. But always open to something new 🙂

Christine xx

Operation: Dream Sewing Room 1

If I make it small, you can’t see as good 😉 

Yep. My sewing room looks like I’ve been robbed. I need to seriously declutter, tidy and organise this room, but it’s soooo easy to put off. Yesterday afternoon – I made a start.

I started by getting organised a Donate section, a take to school section (craft items going to the school chaplains program), a bin bag and finally, I went against everything and I made a “put elsewhere” box and got started.

Of course, Once I’d completed the 1 hour I could dedicate to that task, and the kids had gone to bed, I sat down and tackled Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. Ohhhh a peg board! I want that! I knew I wanted to move my embroidery machine around to make room for my laptop and to set an actual “office space” up, but, I had one cupboard in my future office section, that I’ve been trying to keep clean or sort out ever since I moved my felt in there, off the bench – you know, to make it tidy (hahaha) – but I couldn’t come up with, or find a solution…..

This cupboard has felt sheets, postage stuff, office supplies and god only knows what else in there. I even threw out all my scraps a while ago in an effort to fix the issue. Oh dear. Pinterest and google searches weren’t helping at all. Until I come across a site that mentioned the sheets are “approximately the size of an A4 sheet or slightly smaller”.

There was lots of mentions and suggestions about hanging files and filing cabinets but I thought, they aren’t stiff like cardboard and will easily bend if not full (like some of my paper tends to do) and they will end up piled in the bottom of the folder – that’s no good. Plus my filing cabinet is the other side of the room, I don’t have room to move it, I don’t want to have to keep getting up (lazy much?!) – I need my stuff easily accessible when working. Maybe I could attach something inside the cupboard???

And then it hit me! I had 4-5 large folders with 4 D clips in, that currently holds patterns… I was going to declutter severely down to one or 2 folders (because I have them accessible to me at any time if I REALLY needed them, and most of the time I can’t find the pieces needed or it doesn’t occur to me I already have the pattern printed, so I re-print the pages as I need them anyway).

Inspiration hit – And guess what?? MY FELT SHEETS FIT!! I found a Felt Storage Solution that works for me. I can lay the folders down or stand them up. I can sort by colours, and place a different colour sheet in each individual pocket and they are neat, tidy, accessible and functional! I can even put a label on the edge with all the colours in the folder – easily accessible and I can view at a glance.

See the fluff that gets on the felt sheets usually?

I’m feeling proud I’ve come up with a Felt Storage Solution that works perfectly for me, using what I already have. I still have a looooooooong way to go for this room. But I’ve made a start – and that’s the important thing.

And I still want that pegboard 😉

Christine xx

 

What’s in your bag?

When writing the draft for this I had “maybe clean out the bag first, or don’t and be 100% honest that it isn’t neat haha” so guess what I went for??

In the spirit of keeping my blog true to myself and to my readers, I decided to dump my bag and show you what you can find in there on a fairly regularly (let’s be generous and say monthly) basis.whats-in-my-bag-beforeYes, here is the 100% honest version of exactly what’s in my bag. The messy pile items vary day-to-day/week-to-week, but basically I had my sons thongs that were hurting his feet, so purchased new ones and was meaning to take these out when we got to the car. Done groceries and thongs were promptly forgotten, McDonald’s toy from the movie Sing, random receipts & rubbish, an old script, used iTunes voucher and Flybuys vouchers.

So after doing a quick, much-needed clean out, here is actually what SHOULD be in my bag on a daily basis (Note to self: throw out those receipts!!!):whats in my bag after.jpg

  1. My Handbag (obviously) ~ It’s a Chanel that my husband bought back for me from Dubai when he visited with his family, I had to stay at home with the kids as we thought they were too young to travel at the time, luckily we did as he had a 7 hour unexpected wait in Singapore so was travelling for over 24 hours – with 2 kids, yeahhhh NO! lol So I like to think it’s authentic, so we’ll go with that 😉
  2. Kikki K Planner in Large ~ This planner has everything I absolutely need in it. It’s basically my brain. Sometimes I will carry it in my bag with me, other times, it will stay in the car and I’ll take out what I need. I guess it depends on whether I am going to be sitting down (e.g.: going for coffee with friends, watching the kids play at the playground etc) as sometimes something pops up, or we are arranging the next meet-up or inspiration hits. This way it’s right there and I can write it down immediately. I’ll be doing a flip through planner set up post in the near future.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite & Handmade Carrier ~ I’m loving my Kindle. I do take this with me everywhere I go as I can read when I am able to. It saves me carrying around a book or 2 as sometimes I feel like reading a self improvement book, other times I love losing myself in some fiction. The Cinderella Kindle Pouch was made by myself on my embroidery machine. I LOVE it. It’s padded so it protects my kindle when thrown in my bag. Sometimes I just throw my phone and some cash in here and carry the pouch on it’s own.
  4. Laura Jones Wallet ~ I saw this design and fell in love. I umm’d and ahh’d about it because 1. I had a handmade wallet that was ok, but not perfect, but maybe I could make a new one that was and 2. It’s mostly white….. I must say however, that the white has held up remarkably well and I don’t regret the purchase at all. It has PLENTY of space for all my cards, I can put my phone in there and carry it as is if I want and it has a separate section for those not-as-often-used cards.
  5. Keys ~ What can you really say about keys, here’s my roller door button, I drive a Mazda 6 Diesel Sedan/Hatch, it also has my house keys. Ohhhh exciting.
  6. Finally, my iPhone 6 ~ Yes, I’m an Apple girl. I love my iPhone and have been using one since the 3 come out, and last year I upgraded to a MacBook Air for my laptop. I love the connectivity between devices. Unfortunately I no longer have a pretty case on my phone as a result of having this funny habit of dropping my phone and the skill to manage to drop it at just the right angle to smash my screen costing me $$$ 😦 (once I even managed to close my iPhone 5s in the door while it was in my jumper pocket, resulting in a shattered screen and a bent phone, yep, I have skills) So ugly Otterbox case it is.

So, there you have it. My real-life What’s in My Bag? post. The brutally, embarassing showcase of what happens when your a mum. So when you see the other posts that look like a flat-lay for a magazine, and wish your handbag looks like that, don’t be scared, you aren’t alone.

Today’s Challenge: Are you brave enough to take a brutally honest photo of What’s in Your Bag?? (Or am I completely alone in the mess?)

Christine xx

While the Kettle Boils

Following on from my post about 1 Minute to a Tidier House the other day, I thought I would “time” myself and see exactly how much I could get done while the kettle boils.

I took a photo, filled the kettle, turned it on and made a start.

It’s currently school holidays (week 6 of 6!!!) and kids have block  swimming lessons everyday starting at 9. So I did run out of the house and left everything after breakfast.


Kettle boiled, turned it off, snapped another picture. Now, it may not seem like a huge difference, but usually I would stand around, be all grumpy and upset at the mess, and then just wait until the kettle boiled.
Here’s a closer look at the benches. What I didn’t do while the kettle boiled that I really wanted to do was wipe down the benches. So guess what, before I poured my cuppa, I grabbed the spray, a paper towel and got to work! (I done this step after I took the pic because I wanted it to be an honest representation, not that you can really tell from the pictures)

So today I would like to set a challenge for all you readers out there. Take a photo, start your kettle and when it’s boiled, take another photo. Can you see the difference? Or if you aren’t a tea or coffee drinker, set the timer, any timer for 3 or 5 minutes and do the same thing, in any room of the house.

Christine xx 

PS: It’s official, Happy Little Housewife has joined Instagram. Find me by searching @happylittlehousewife1 or click here. I’m also on Facebook and Pinterest (Pinterest is an all encompassing account that covers my creative and family passions).

1 Minute to a Tidier House

I have spoken previously how 10 minutes twice a day can make a huge difference to your house, well now I want to touch on something that is kind of silly once you think about it properly.

Did you know it takes an average of 4 minutes to boil 1L of water? Some kettles can do it faster, and you may not always boil a full litre, but after you have filled the kettle, switched it on and put you coffee/tea in the cup, what do you do? Generally stand there waiting. Which is where I found myself last night.

I’d looked at that same ice brick at least 5 times during the last 2 days thinking I really must put that in the freezer. Did I do it those past 5 times. No. Then it clicked, you idiot! It will only take you literally 30 seconds to walk to the freezer and put that in. So I did it. And guess what, I rolled my eyes and thought you have spent more time thinking “I should do that” then it took to actually do the job. How annoying.

And then I started unpacking the dishwasher. 2 jobs done in almost the time it took to boil the kettle for a night time cuppa (hubby put the dishwasher on a little earlier last night, so it was dry by the time I was sitting down at 9:30pm to have my cuppa).

So I made a decision. If I catch myself thinking I should do xxx and it takes 1 minute or less, I MUST do it – straight away. If it is more of a “project” or will take 10+ minutes – e.g.: I need to file those recipes in my folder (true story), put it on my to-do list.

This morning I put this decision into full effect. Last night the kids had popcorn while watching a movie and spilt some kernels on the floor, I walked on them last night and groaned, then again this morning. I was waiting on the kettle as well as my eggs to boil and so I grabbed the broom and swept.

If you take little opportunities to complete those items that really don’t take very long, just as you are walking past or when you are waiting for dinner to cook. Those awkward pause moments that aren’t long enough to do anything “significant”, imagine the difference that could make to your house over the course of 1 day, 1 week or even 1 month.

Next time you catch yourself thinking “I should really do that”, try just doing that thing straight away. Don’t let it occupy your brain for longer then it would take to do the job.

Have you had an eye-roll moment after you’ve completed something really simple?

Christine xx

Decluttering 2017 items in 2017.

I saw a post by Amy on More Time Than Money about this challenge, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was intrigued, her post inspired me, so I headed over to Nourishing Minimalism and signed up!!

IMG_1228.JPGI look around at my mess of a sewing room (At the moment it looks like I’ve been robbed, especially after orders, Christmas, school holidays and general neglect). And I know that I am already going to be able to smash out these 2017 items. I will start here. Items will be sold, given away (Donated) or trashed. They will all count.

I’ve printed out 2 copies of the checklist, one is 2x A4 size pages, the other is 2 to a page so I can add it into my Kikki K journal to keep me on track. I’ve mentioned before how I feel less stressed with less stuff to maintain and I think this challenge will give me the kick up the bum I need to get a start.

 

Motivation is at a high, sewing room, here I come!!!!

Christine xx

The Newest Addition to our Family

DISASTER – our dishwasher finally gave up the ghost. After being temperamental and only heating on the odd occasion, the door finally stopped closing. Noooooooo.

And of COURSE I had a busy few days, so the dishwasher hadn’t been run the last few days. *Gulp* 3 days worth of dishes to hand wash. I wanted to cry.

Lucky for me, hubby was happy to go shopping and replace it (have I said how much I love him???) and we replaced our Electrolux Dishlex with a Westinghouse. Still stainless steel but super quiet and shiny. 

Stay tuned for an honest review next week after giving it a few catch up loads and while I work out what’s best for our every day load. I’m excited to play with our upgraded features and get back to a clean, no dishes on the sink kitchen.

Christine xx

Let’s Play a Game….

Let’s play a game. I call it race the timer. I look at my (sometimes overwhelming) to-do list and wonder how I’ll get it all done. So now, I use the timer thingy on my phone. Set it for 5 minutes and walk around the house looking at your list. Estimate how much time it will take. Don’t dwell too long, just look and say 5 minutes for this, or 10 for this.

List done? Timer gone off? Great. Now, get a garbage bag and set your
timer for the first room and GO. Race the timer. Did you finish before the timer did? Were you almost done and reset the timer for just 5 more minutes? I know I do. Sometimes I don’t do absolutely everything in my allocated time (even when I set it for another 5 minutes), but that’s ok, I move onto the next section. I only ever allow myself 5 more minutes.

I have found setting the timer forces me to absolutely 100% focus on the task at hand. I also make a note next to each section with reality. How long it actually took me. For example, this morning before I head down to my sewing room,

I needed to:

Unpack & Repack the dishwasher – 5 minutes 

Clean the Toy Room – 5 minutes

Decorate the Christmas Tree – 30 minutes 

What happened:

Unpack & Repack the dishwasher, put away toaster from breakfast, Put on load of dishes, wash the teflon pans, put away Miss S’ school bag from yesterday – time: 10 minutes

Clean the Toy Room, put away blocks, pencils, lego, and put all stuffed animals back into Mr L’s room – time: 10 minutes.

Decorating the Christmas Tree, plus putting up extra decorations, sorting and decluttering broken, scratched, ugly baubles, ensure the tree looks good from all angles (because you never know when someone will look behind the Christmas tree Durrr lol), wonder where the other 2 stockings have gone, and do a quick pickup – time: 40 minutes.

Are these areas perfect? Not really. BUT my house now looks so much better then it did when I started and all within an hour. The dishes are clean, the tree is decorated (minus the star because that’s the kids job, and even though the kids started decorating the tree yesterday, they can only reach so high and got bored quite quickly), the toy room is tidy. A quick vacuum and these areas will look so much better.

You may only have 5 minutes. You may only want to spend 5 minutes in the kitchen. But play my game, try it once on one item on your list. You may be surprised by how quickly you get things done, or how you just want to spend “5 more minutes” to complete the task at hand.

Previously, if I had a spare hour, I would have probably spent it all in the kitchen or lounge or bathroom and only one area of the house would be clean. But I still would have had the rest to complete and at the end of the day I would be disappointed I didn’t get the rest done. But now, I’ve made an impact in 3 different areas of the house because I was focused on the task at hand.

How much could you get done if you played my game and set a timer?

Christine xx

Toy Room Bombsite

Toys, toys, toys. I’m pretty sure they just explode in our household. It’s literally a ticking timebomb. Neat, neat, neat BAM messy! 

So last week I spent an hour cleaning, sorting, dusting and throwing – and then another 15 minutes sharpening pencils.


This was the mostly before photo, I started cleaning and then snapped this photo.


A week later and I’m happy to say that it still looks pretty much like this! I honestly keep forgetting the value of a 5 minute pickup and getting the kids involved. Yes, at 5 & 3 they do complain, but not as much when I get in and do it as well. And it’s not actually taking 5 minutes as I am now constantly reminding them: put that away before starting to play with this. And it’s working! HALLELUJAH!!!! 

I know my parents have gotten quite upset with my new “no toys at Christmas” rule, asking what in the world should they buy them. But this mess is the result of not caring. It’s the second major clean up in the last 3 months and I’m not sorry there are less toys. The kids have barely batted an eye at the missing toys and I highly suspect they haven’t noticed. 

I’m looking forward to a less messy, not so toy filled Christmas and getting back to what I love about Christmas – family, memories, traditions and food…. 

When Routines “Fail” – or do they??

This weekend was super busy, Gymnastics classes for both kids and myself, I went out with some lovely school ladies for a High Tea raising money for the Breast & Prostate Cancer Foundation on Saturday, then Sunday the kids and I browsed the markets, went grocery shopping, had swimming lessons and then had an impromptu play date at the beach. I don’t even know what happened Monday (I do know that we had 2 school friends over for a play Monday afternoon after school) & Tuesday – no clue, but today….. Today, I woke up and looked around my house and all I saw was MESS! Aghhhh. How did that even happen? So I had 2 options.

  1. I could beat myself up, get cranky that I failed, yet again, at keeping the house clean OR
  2. I could take some photo’s, and get back into my regular routine.
Kitchen’s a mess again – bugger!

Guess which option I chose? Yep. I took some photo’s (because – blog) and decided to just get into it. So I started with an extension of my 10 minute morning routine. It did take a little longer then normal, because I never got around to finishing unpacking the groceries Sunday, so had a rockmelon’s exploded mess on the kitchen tiles – ewwwww. (The photo was taken AFTER I had cleaned up that mess)

I still had a bit of time before the school run, so I started to put away kids clothes and quickly picking up their room and making beds. I also managed to tidy off the bathroom cabinets by putting stuff where they belong and changing over the towels and bathmat (a normal Monday job, which I didn’t get around to doing this week). All in 15 minutes.

With school drop off done, I went for a walk to clear my head, put on a podcast and walked my (not so) little butt off. Come home, changed over my load of washing and had my yoghurt for morning tea while starting this post.

img_0213
I swear my laundry exploded. Dirty clothes and towels on the floor/in front of machine & clean clothes waiting to be put away on bench.

So time to tackle the house. 3 loads of washing done and hung out, all other clean clothes put away. Fresh towels and mats in the bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Kitchen bench cleaned off and groceries finished being put away. Floor swept and mopped. Lunch made for hubby & me – and I’m done.

Now, I’m certainly not perfect, and I’m definitely NOT wonder woman. My lounge, dining room & toy rooms still need to be picked up and vacuumed, my sewing room and the spare room still resemble being robbed, but that’s ok.fail quote 2.jpg

Today I made progress. I exercised, have made healthy choices with my food, I’ve written this blog post and my house is that much more cleaner from the effort I have made today. And that’s what this journey is about. Progress. Moving forward.

So no, my routine did not fail. I certainly did not fail Looking back, I made the right choice, I got on with it. Thank god I had those routines in place, because this task wasn’t so overwhelming. But if you haven’t got your own personal routines in place yet, don’t aim to do the whole house, top to bottom and decluttered all in one day, because you won’t. But in saying that, don’t think ‘well I can’t clean it all up so I won’t bother doing anything’. Do something. Make progress. Start. Because tomorrow, it will be just that little bit more easier, more cleaner and tidier and much easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And if you’re needing more inspiration, or you really get in and clean but never notice a difference – take some before and after pics (see below). Most people have a digital camera or a camera on their phone. It’s amazing to see it in your face even if you feel like you’ve made no progress, and the beauty of it is you can delete these pictures afterwards. (or show hubby when he says “what did you do all day” hehe)

Christine xx

kitchen-before-afterlaundry-before-after