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”

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 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?

Continue reading “A sustainable kitchen”

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”

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”

A simple weekly shop

Zero Waste Shopping Tips.jpg

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

– Michael Pollen, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

My nan used to always say that what you spend at the greengrocer, you save at the doctor’s.

I have been going to the same greengrocer every week for the past six years – he has seen me single, pregnant, with a baby and now a son who tottles around the store with his little trolley opening blueberry packs and stealing nuts that fall into the dispenser tray.  I think Bob is about 70 odd and he’s told me before about watching kids grow up in his store… in fact I’m pretty sure that some of the boys who help carry my shopping back to the car are probably customer’s sons who were offered a job when they turned 15.

Shopping this way is good for everyone; the fruit & veg isn’t plastic wrapped like the supermarket’s and I know that the person who buys the fruit at the wholesale market has actually tasted it and had a conversation with the grower. I can do almost my entire shop here waste-free, save for the odd milk carton or yoghurt tub, and it’s cheaper overall when you consider that I’m not buying much packaged food and instead making most meals from scratch. A quick stop to the butcher and the bakery next door and I’m done.

Continue reading “A simple weekly shop”

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”