Storage

small space living storage

The best storage solution is none at all.

At times one might feel the need for clever storage solutions in order to have an organised home, when really what’s required is just less… When it comes to storage ideas for small space living, I believe the first step is to declutter the Japanese way so there is less to store and we are left with only our favourite things.

I find when we love the the things we own, our useful items become our 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.

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A simple pantry

zero waste shopping Australia

I have always believed that your name can 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 an obsession with jars.

In particular I’m quite fond of 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. 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 happens to be on hand, Eucalyptus likely works just as well).

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Essential oils

Spring scented flowers

Over the years, I have developed a few  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. It also makes for a nice cleaning scent for bathroom/sprays (although take care not to use citrus on wooden floors).

+ Jasmine. Makes for a simple perfume on spring days when the sun returns, or any time of year really… it’s a lovely scent to rub on the wrists with a little carrier oil – almond or jojoba. Continue reading “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 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).

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A simple washroom

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

+ A washing day. Rather than doing little loads all week,  a less taxing strategy is 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 playing trains…

+ Choose reusables and natural materials. Forgo the cleaning wipes for a few thick cloths and a bit of home made spray, plus I always try to choose wooden scrubbing brushes over plastic ones when it’s time to replace the old ones… I don’t feel so bad throwing an old wooden brush away knowing that it will take about 5 years to biodegrade, over about 500 for a plastic one. One of my favourite sayings in life is that the truth is in the feeling… whether it’s a job that you love, a person you love to spend time with, or just picking a wooden scrubbing brush, it applies to all manner of decisions…

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A simple bathroom

Back to basics beauty

Just in the same way simplifying the way we eat allows the body to work as nature intended, I find keeping things simple in the bathroom helps to give your skin a bit of breathing space to decompress and get back to its natural rhythms.

There are some basic ways to simplify your beauty routine but sometimes it can be as simple as choosing a lovely old-school bar of soap, using a face washer rather than wipes, and buying your shampoo and conditioner in refillable bottles at the bulk store.

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Making a rental house a home

How to make a rental house nicerSometimes it’s the little finishing touches that make a home feel cosy; like a sheepswool draped over an armchair, a fresh bunch of flowers by the night stand or a few tea light candles above the fireplace.

Sometimes even a very basic bathroom can be made to look so much better with just a small vase of flowers and some fresh linens.

In fact, beyond our furniture, it’s often the little ‘accessories’ that actually determine the feel of a home. Over the years I’ve developed a few favourites… Continue reading “Making a rental house a home”

A sustainable kitchen

Simple home, sustainable homeRewind just 50 years when kitchens consisted of dry goods in jars, bulk meats stored in large freezer chests and imperfect looking fruit & veg – often grown organically, and we begin to realise that Zero Waste is not so much a futuristic idea but more of a homage to a more simple era.

If we take this lens to our kitchens today it’s easy to see the steps to take just by asking ourselves, what would our nan’s kitchen have looked like?

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A sense of community

Outsource to live simply

The other day I had a spare container and decided to pop into Donnini’s, a pasta shop I had walked past a hundred times on my way to the green grocers without ever stopping in… I’m not sure why not really, habits I suppose. Anyway I was making a pesto sauce and decided to buy a few nests of freshly handmade tagliatelle for us to have as a quick weekend lunch when I got home.

At just over seven dollars to feed our family lunch, I wondered why I had ever attempted to hand make pasta in the past… Why is it that we think the best option (particularly from a health/environmental perspective) is to make everything ourselves from scratch, when there are craftsmen nearby making much better food than we could, that we could easily buy from them in a sustainable manner. Continue reading “A sense of community”

Creating a simple home

simple home design ideas

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.

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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