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.

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”

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”

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”

Family travel

Travel tips for a minimalistNothing feels more freeing than travelling light, which is particularly true when you’re navigating airports with little people.

For me, packing twice and laying everything out on the bed in full view helps to eliminate the double ups and identify what would likely come home still folded and unworn.

I also start with packing my favourites, thinking through the various occasions as I fold – beach/pool, dinner, short walks, slow mornings..

Over the years of packing carry-on with little ones in tow, here’s what I’ve learnt:

Continue reading “Family travel”

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.

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.

Continue reading “Creating a simple home”

Simple thoughts on usage over ownership

Minimalist inspirationIt’s rare that I get the chance to sit and have a coffee alone, but the other day Sam fell asleep just before I was about to drop into the green grocers and I took the chance to sit for a few moments at the back of Husk in Hawkesburn Village.

I sat there admiring the newly-tiled courtyard, after having walked though the shop listening to the creak of the big wooden floorboards, in awe of the open fireplaces and white washed walls and thought… ‘one day I would love to have a house just like this.’

Why is it though, that in order to enjoy something, our first thought is to ‘own’ it? For the cost of a four dollar coffee, I can enjoy it now, and every Saturday for the rest of the year if I wanted to.

I hope that one day we start enjoying things in that moment; appreciating that we already have it to enjoy, because really, isn’t that the key to having it all? Realising that you already do…

A simple guide to baby gear

It’s funny how you can know someone for years and never really connect, yet with others you meet once and become friends for life from that moment on.

My friend Gemma is one of those ones that I got chatting to one night at a party in my mid 20s and before long we were spending every weekend together; gossiping around The Tan on a Saturday morning, heading out together later that night and meeting up again for a roast of a Sunday afternoon.

I had always admired Gemma from afar; she was one of those girls who seemed to have it all figured out. She was beautifully spoken – a trait she gained from her mother and later honed as a journalist, and always seemed to be so well put together wearing ‘outfits’ rather than just clothes.

Anyway, Gem recently confined in me that she and her hubby were expecting later in the year, and asked about what baby gear she would need, which got me thinking about the true essentials.

You can actually get away with one tenth of the baby kit that so many of the parenting websites would have you believe you need. Here’s a quick list that I put together for Gem. Every baby is different, so if you find that you need extra kit beyond this list, you can always buy it once the bub arrives. Continue reading “A simple guide to baby gear”