Slow living

Downsizing to a smaller place for a bigger life

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

– Graham Hill, LifeEdited

Six months ago we started living closer to our values and moved from a big house in the suburbs to a narrow 75 square metre workers cottage that shared a wall with our neighbours on both sides, just a few streets back from the beach.

Our families thought we were mad to downsize just as we were expecting the pitter patter of more little feet, but the way we saw it we were gaining so much with a more walkable bayside suburb, a tighter community and a smaller cost of living and environmental footprint.

Continue reading “Slow living”

Storage

small space living storage

The best storage solution is none at all.

Often we think we need clever storage solutions to have an organised home, when really we just need less stuff… When it comes to storage ideas for small space living, I believe the first step is to declutter like a boss so there is less to store and you are left with only your favourite things.

I find when you love the the things you own, your useful items become your design aesthetic, especially if they’re made from natural fibres… household tools made from wood, natural grasses, horsehair, linen etc often look good enough to be left out on display so there’s no need to hide them away in a cupboard. For example we store our broom on a peg rail in the kitchen, and our spare white bedsheets live stacked in a wire basket on the shelf in lieu of storage space.

It’s easier when everything matches… for example The Minimalists recommend choosing a favourite item in each category and having a few of them.. so for example rather than having a bunch of different pens, find the best pen for you and buy a few of them (and donate the rest), we do this with things like towels, facewashers etc… I have even started applying it to jars that I save to store pantry foods bought in bulk, so that there is consistency in the design, kind of like the way mass planting works for landscaping. Somehow with less different kinds of things, it’s easier for the eyes to ‘rest’.

Baskets are another good idea with small space living, especially for little people. I store Ol’s clothes in woven baskets on the floor of his bedroom so that he can easily reach them and dress himself in the mornings (plus I don’t have to fold his clothes…. bonus!).

When it comes to rails I’m all about brass s hooks which work to create extra hanging space on towel rails and clothes racks.

Vertical storage is also another goodie as touted by Marie Kondo… storing things like cutlery vertically in baskets makes them easy for little hands to reach and frees up valuable drawer space in a small kitchen.

By overall, if you’re looking for storage ideas, I would start with…

less

Sustainable sustainability

Simple living

Once you make the mental shift towards sustainability, you’ll find that slowly everything will just fall into place.

When I first had Oliver I began to think about the world that he would inherit, and how different it was to the world I was born into as an 80’s child with wooden toys and landline phones and long bike rides before sunset.

By comparison Ol has been born into a much faster era made up of overstimulating technology, plastic toys and extreme advertising.

As much as I can I try to create family rhythms at home that are based on my childhood, and even my mum’s childhood as a nod to my Nan, however these days reaches of technology and plastic are pretty prolific…

When I grew up we collected shells on the beach, now we collect plastic

As part of this journey I stumbled across Zero Waste legend Bea Johnson’s interview on CGTN America (in a late night YouTube rabbit hole no less) – an unforgettable clip about how Bea and her family live without contributing waste to landfill.

Now I can say, years later, that once you set your sights on this sustainable way of life, it’s the little habit shifts that, over time, will bring you to a place where you know you are living true to yourself and your values.

I wouldn’t worry about the slip ups here and there; there will be times when you forget to order a milkshake sans straw, but this is the thing – we’re aiming for progress over perfection. It’s okay if you occasionally buy a block of chocolate when you need a treat, or you order a takeaway coffee when you get caught out without your own cup at the park (and you’re desperately in need of a coffee), these things will happen and I believe they can happen without guilt or judgement.

My take is that sustainability has to be sustainable… for the long term, forever.

So give yourself a break – what’s important is the little habits that add up to a mindshift, and the small changes that add up to a movement.

Because once you arrive, one day you’ll just notice that you haven’t put your bins out in a month or so, or been to a supermarket for ages, and that it’s normal to bob down and pick up rubbish on the footpath, and you won’t feel odd bringing your own containers to the deli… eventually living sustainably will become…

effortless.

On simplifying life

How to simplify your lifeThese days I think we tend to overcomplicate life – taking on too much, without ever taking the time to step back and reflect.

By being busy we feel as if we’re achieving, but at times it can begin to feel like a bit of a treadmill. I’ve listed below a few quick ways to get back to basics and pair things back to achieve a bit more clarity.

+ Turn off the TV. You will be amazed at what you can do with those spare hours each day, even if it means just spending more time with the people in your life… you can take back so much time just with one switch. Continue reading “On simplifying life”

Christmas

Simple Christmas

These days I find Christmas pretty overwhelming and each year I dream about taking the boys away to a secluded cabin on a lake somewhere and avoiding it altogether. In my dreams we fish for flatties during the day and play cards at night, we have long sleep-ins and read books out on the deck in the morning sun, me sipping hot coffee while the boys feed bread to the local birds…

Failing that dream ever coming true, I’ve been trying to work out ways to help the boys to focus on the important things and enjoy the magic and meaning of Christmas, and have worked out a few things along the way:

1/ Involve the kids in the act of writing cards, and have a conversation about the person and what kind and meaningful words you can write together. Continue reading “Christmas”

Life Coach Shannah Kennedy

Lifestyle podcast to plan your best life

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

– Leonardo da Vinci

Six years ago I met the lovely Shannah Kennedy and we spoke about this quote, my all time favourite…. so you can imagine the smile on my face when I later saw it in her signature book – The Life Plan.

It has taken a long time to get here but I can honestly say that meeting Shannah changed my life, and today I am living my best life, intentionally and simply.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but it made sense that the remarkable woman who set me on this course was my first guest on the Simple Origins podcast…

The podcast talks about the importance of simplifying, boundaries, positivity and reading a good book. Here are a few of Shannah’s must-reads:

You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay
Extreme Art of Self Care – Cheryl Richardson
Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy
The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
The Judgement Detox – Gabrielle Bernstein
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Enjoy x

The little votes

Ethical clothing

When you think about it, the most powerful vote you have isn’t the one coming up in the next election, but rather all the little ones you make every single day, with your dollars.

Every single time you make a purchase you are choosing to condone that brand’s behaviour, whether they’re a small family business or a large corporation, you are saying ‘yes I agree with your practices, keep doing what you’re doing’.

This is an incredibly powerful thing; you have the power to support those humans who are trying really hard to change the world and do the right thing, and you also have the power to starve the multinationals and bring about change for the better… Big brands are always trying to work out what their customers what, and nothing speaks louder than dropping sales. Continue reading “The little votes”

A simple pantry

zero waste shopping Australia

I have always believed that your name can often influence your life; my friend Fabian’s name means bean counter and he’s a gardener, another friend Crystal has a salt business, and since I married and changed my surname to Jarred, I have developed a strange obsession with jars.

I particularly love the angular jars with gold lids that so often contain pickles and relishes, and have roped in both my mum and sisters (all condiment queens) to set aside their prettiest jars for me. From a sustainability perspective, I believe recycling should only ever be the last resort and that reuse is always a better option.

The trick to removing that sticky label glue is Tea Tree Oil (or any citrus-based essential oil that you happen to have on hand, Eucalyptus likey works just as well). Continue reading “A simple pantry”

A simple guide to essential oils

Spring scented flowers

In the name of simplicity I tend not to blend my essential oils too much, preferring to just use them straight for specific purposes, here are a few of my favourites:

+ Lemon essential oil is the secret trick to removing the sticky label glue from jam jars. After scrubbing the label off simply add 10-15 drops to a cloth and rub away the glue from the jar. I also like it for a cleaning scent for bathroom/sprays (although be careful not to use citrus on wooden floors).

+ Jasmine. I use Jasmine as a perfume for spring days when the sun returns, or any time of year really… it’s a lovely scent to rub on your wrists with a little carrier oil – almond or jojoba. Continue reading “A simple guide to essential oils”

Frugal gardening

How to take flower cuttings for a potted gardenThe other day I was giving my niece a tour of our potted garden in the back courtyard and as I recounted a special story behind every plant it occurred to me that all of my favourite plants stem from my childhood.

They reminded me of fairy hunting adventures in the rose garden surrounding our farmhouse, or of my dad fondly recalling how his mother always had a Daphne bush by the back door.

Mostly though, my botanical preferences were subconsciously instilled during holidays spent at my maternal nanas house in Wangaratta, who was also a Daphne fan (I imagine they featured in a lot of Australian backyards in the late 1950’s, kind of like lemon trees). Continue reading “Frugal gardening”

A simple washroom

Simple laundry organisationBeyond going without a dryer and using natural washing powders, I have discovered a few washing rituals that help to make the laundry a more sustainable place:

+ Have a washing day. Rather than doing little loads all week, I find it a bit less taxing to wash larger loads all at once. I tend to have a washing day at the start of the week while Ol’s at school so I don’t spend the time I have with him worrying about the washing, but rather focusing on much more important things… like building train tracks…

Continue reading “A simple washroom”