Creating a simple home

By living without excess and surrounding yourself with just enough of the right things, you will feel an amazing sense of satisfaction.

Simple Home, by Mark & Sally Bailey

I think creating the style of home that suits you is a similar journey to curating a wardrobe – working out your most flattering cuts, colour palette, and consistency without following the trends that will quickly date… like a collection of clothes, a thoughtful home is not something you can create all at once, but a journey over time where you happen upon that perfect jacket/pair of jeans/throw blanket.

For me, there are a few elements that make for a simple retreat that is so nice to come home to, where you can hide away from the outside world to cook around a warm stove, listen to soft music, light candles and curl up in your comfiest clothes.

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A simple guide to reusable nappies

A few years ago, back when I was single, I rented a house in Richmond with a girlfriend and convinced her that if we put a door on the formal lounge room we could get a 3rd housemate in to reduce our rent.

As fate would have it a gorgeous vivacious girl named Meredith came to rent that room, after splitting up with her boyfriend, who she later reconnected with and married.

Back then I wasn’t that eco-aware, beyond doing my bit to recycle and turn the lights off, but Mez always had the big Sukin bottles in the shower, and was always a little bit earthy.

Fast forward a decade and it was Mez who I turned to when trying to navigate the possibility of cloth nappies. Here’s the advice that she gave me after years of trial and error:

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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 – Graeme Hill, LifeEdited

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

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 foot print.

In a lot of ways the move had been inspired by Canadian environmentalist Graeme Hill who I had been following for years, and today our lives are completely different… all the better for knowing Graeme.

We walk and cycle more often, we’re tighter with our neighbours (given that their front door is literally 5 metres away from ours), Ol can now scoot with reckless abandon as there are few driveways to worry about and there is little traffic around.

On weekends, rather than mowing the lawns and cleaning the house we might take Ol to the beach, or to the park to kick the soccer ball, or down to the pub for an early dinner, where it’s likely we will run into another local family that we know from Ols kindergarten or who we might have met out the front of our tiny house whilst drawing trains on the pavement in chalk.

We have truly traded ‘stuff’ for community and by living in a smaller house we’re out more often, choosing experiences over ownership, and memories over things.

Making do with what you have on hand

Making do

“What’s on hand may be even better: Rather than buying something new, look for things you already have in the house. Using things for unintended purposes, like a carafe as a vase or a white porcelain dish to hold small objects – can give your room an unusual and interesting touch” Muji Global Tip 07 for Living a New Way

This tip from Muji pretty much sums it up perfectly. Every time I have a problem where the obvious solution is to rush out and thoughtlessly buy a quick fix I always take a few days to think over what the solution might be and to go through what I have on hand to see if I can come up with a solution. Continue reading “Making do with what you have on hand”

Simple ways to reduce your footprint

Zero waste reusables horizontalSince having children I have become a lot more aware of the environment and making sure that we leave this earth in good condition for generations to come.

At first, working towards Zero Waste might seem overwhelming, however every little effort collectively makes an enormous difference. Even if you do just one thing, start shopping with a reusable bag or using a Keep Cup rather than a disposable coffee cup – every little plastic bag and coffee cup saved really does add up when change happens across millions of people.

Here’s a few relatively effortless ways to reduce your environmental footprint:

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A simple garden

A Simple GardenAfter years of getting overexcited by lovely books such as The Italian Way I have learnt that in order to make peace with the possums in our neighbourhood, I’m best to keep it simple and grow only herbs and lettuces. Herbs are so easy to grow (and exey to buy), and lettuces are a goodie to grow at home as they are often on the Organics Dirty Dozen list. Anything else I figure local farmers are probably much better poised to grow for our family. Here’s a list of the herbs that I grow:

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A simple cleaning routine

Simple Cleaning copy_smlWhen you break it down you only need about five basic cleaning solutions to keep a natural clean home, I tend to refill nice spray bottles that I’ve bought in the past and I keep the labels on to make it clear which is which. Here are a few of my favourites based on the below pantry essentials to have on hand:

  • Bi-carb soda
  • Vinegar
  • Vodka
  • Vanilla essence
  • Essential oils

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