Guest Blog: Making Space for what Really Matters

Lifestyle

I am delighted to bring you Leanne Baker from @organisingthe4ofus Leanne’s positive outlook on life, honesty and integrity is something we all aspire to. Not only is she an organisational queen, entrepreneur, high school maths teacher, wife and mother to 2 gorgeous boys, she also dedicates time from her day to support others in making time for things that matter. Sharing daily systems and practices that she implements daily to cut the ‘fluff’ in life and get back to the things that bring joy.

I am delighted that Leanne has agreed to share her 3 top strategies to help her keep on top of work and mum life. Welcome to The Dream Team Leanne!

Thank you so much for asking me to write a guest post for you to share my top tips to help you create space in your life for what matters most to you.

I am always pleased to share some of the strategies and tools that I use in my life, and I really hope there is something you can take away from this post, and include in your own households.

Read on to learn about 3 of my favourite strategies that I use to help me feel organised and have more free time to spend with my family creating memories.

This is one of my favourite tips, and if you have seen my Leanne Baker Daily planners, you will know that every page has a space for you to write your List of Three! You don’t need one of my planners to use this strategy though – just a piece of paper, or your phone will do!

Spend a few minutes each night thinkingabout what you need to do the next day. Write up a “List of the Three” – the three most important tasks you need to get done tomorrow.

If you have a really long list of “to-dos”, pick three to work on each day until you work through them.

Write up your List of Three in order of the most to least important.

If you spend a few minutes in the evening doing this, then the next morning you already know exactly what to focus on when you get up.  As soon as you have a chance (yes I do mean before you start to scroll on your phone! Or perhaps it won’t be until after work) – whatever works for you, pick the top task on your List of Three and get started. Try not to procrastinate, or question it – just start!

Focus on the first task and nothing else. Block out other distractions, and stop thinking about what else you think you need to do – fully focus on No. 1 of your List of Three.

Remember to be flexible, and if you do get interrupted (family, emergency etc…) take care of the interruption and then get back to your task, or it’s ok to reschedule it to another day.

Then move on to No. 2 and No. 3.

If I have a big item on my List of Three for tomorrow, then I will add two smaller, shorter ones to go with it. For example the other day I needed to clean up the back yard and hose down after the dog, before the gas-mancame to refill our gas cylinders. I knew that this would take up around 40 minutes, so my other 2 items were quick and easy. The whole idea is to set yourself up for success not for failure.

I strongly recommend that you don’t put three big items on your List of Three on any given day. This will increase feeling overwhelmed, not reduce it, which is the total opposite of what we are trying to do here!

If you have a hotspot in your home where mess regularly accumulates, then I suggest you include tidying up that spot on your List of Three regularly. For us, this is the Dining Room table – so you will find that regularly on my List of Three!

This is probably one of the most regular tips that I share on social media. If you have been following me for a while you will know all about this strategy. It’s actually really surprising how much you can get done in a 15-minute block, when you are focussed and get stuck in!

Set a timer on your phone, or the oven or microwave for 15-minutes daily, every dayand whizz around the house and do a quick, general tidy up, resetting your home putting everything back in place and restoring order.

One important note – this is not about cleaning your house, it is a general tidy up and re-setting of your space. This means picking up anything that is out of place and putting it back in its home, for example, items of clothing, or toys on the floor, items on the bench-tops, or on the dining table (this is our worst spot for collecting random items).

Choose a time that suits you – this might be when you get home from work, after school pick up, or just before bed. You don’t necessarily have to do it at the exact same time every day, but if you link it to another activity, such as just before bed, or as soon as you get home from work/school etc …this will help you embed it as a habit. You can use a habit tracker to mark off your progress too!

Try it once a day for the whole week, and develop this into a habit – just watch what a difference it can make to your household. This is a real game-changer!

One of my simplest and proven strategies for starting the week off on the right foot and feeling prepared for what might come at us during the week is to spend some time getting set up for the week ahead.

‘Set me up Sunday’ is all about setting yourself up for success for the week ahead.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t have to be done on a Sunday if you work or choose to rest and recharge on a Sunday.  You might choose to set yourself up for success on a different day of the week, and of course that is perfectly fine.

In our home, Sundays are a mix of recharging and preparing for the week ahead. If I spend an hour on a Sunday preparing for the week, that hour pays back over and over again.

Sometimes what will help is meal prepping, conquering the laundry piles and doing some power cleans, other times it’s a call to a friend, a Sunday nap and a rest day.

This week since we had a really busy week, Sunday was for catching up on washing the dishes, and laundry – ready for the week ahead. Then we went out and had some fun together as a family!

Is there one thing you can add into your Sunday routine to set yourself up for success?

Thank you Leanne for helping us to stay on top of the juggle and beating through the struggle. To find out more about Leanne, her planners, her amazing Project 14 program, head to Leanne Baker Daily and follow Leanne on Instagram @organisingthe4ofus

Beautiful Laundry Hampers

Decor, Styling

Making the mundane beautiful, a laundry hamper is a simple way to breathe a bit of life into the laundry, bathroom or bedroom where clothes need to be collected. They don’t need to be expensive, but I tell you what, these beauties below sure do beat the old ‘plastic fantastics’. Made from a variety of fabrics and materials including linens, wicker, sea grass and hyacinth, they add warmth and texture to your space. This extensive list also includes a variety of different options to suit your lifestyle, whether you prefer solid hampers, baskets or laundry bags, there is sure to be something here that will work for you.

The laundry hampers below work to different price points as well. Some ranging from extremely affordable, mid-range, right up to the high end luxury hampers. There is something here for everyone’s budget.

I’ve curated my top picks below when it come to adding a bit of style and luxury into your laundry hampers. Each link is clickable, so feel free to do a little online shopping, and be sure to pop back here (or on Instagram) to let me know what you think!

I hope you are able to find something you love. Because home should be the one place you never want to leave.

Much love,

Top Tips for Packing + Moving

Building, Home

By now, I would consider Dave and I professional packers and movers. We have moved 4 times in 4 years, so I guess we have kind of earned that title! And from this self proclaimed professional packer (try saying that fast five times), I am here to offer up my 14 Top Tips For Packing + Moving!

Time is everything…and give yourself plenty of it! Packing ALL OF YOUR EARTHLY POSSESSIONS into little boxes is no easy task. Moving house can also be a really emotional time. So don’t put extra pressure on an already stressful situation by leaving it to the last minute (says the queen of procrastination…..).

In life we’re always told to THINK BIG. DREAM BIG. ACHIEVE BIG. But with moving I am here to tell you the opposite *gasp* and…….think small! Break the packing into small, manageable tasks. Plan to pack a certain cupboard at a particular time. Once that’s done, pat yourself on the back (trust me, you deserve it!) and move onto the next small manageable task. Before you know it, you will have completed a whole room. And then the next room and the next and then the whole house! If you’re a real freak like me, you can make yourself a planner with specific rooms you want to complete on certain days. I tell you, there is NOTHING more satisfying than ticking that bad boy off, room by room!

I ‘aint no Marie Kondo, but girl….it’s time to let go of the things holding you down and stressing you out! I have a little rule of thumb, and it’s got nothing to do with holding an item close to my heart and whispering things to it (thanks Marie, but no thanks): if I haven’t used it, worn it or needed it in the past 12 months, it’s time to say goodbye. Obviously there are certain exceptions to the rule – sentimental items and things that I genuinely love stay etc. But there is no way in hell that I am sweating and swearing and lugging boxes of things that I don’t love or need from one house to the next. It goes before I go (before I move from the house, I mean. I’m not planning on dying any time soon).

I know what you’re thinking…..”Now hold on for a hot damn second, crazy lady….you’re telling me to orgainise BEFORE i move? BEFORE? Are you insane?” (my answer to that is, technically no, but my husband might tell you different..) I feel like moving to a new house is a chance to have a fresh start. Start anew. Turn over a new leaf. SO when i say to get organised before you go, i mean to start planning your storage solutions in the new place. If you are able, spend a little bit of time in the new place with a measuring tape and a clip board. Have a think about where certain items will be stored. Do you want them tubs or loose in the cupboard? If you’re thinking tubs, definitely measure the height of your cupboards to then be able to find a storage solution that works for you. Trust me, there is NOTHING more annoying than thinking you have found the perfect tub to only find that it doesn’t fit. So do the leg work before you get there!

It took me a little while to figure this out…buuuuuut……find smaller boxes, rather than large ones. Why would you want to do that? Smaller boxes will fit less!I used to pack everything into larger boxes, thinking it would be handier to pack a lot away in the one go. However, try lifting a HUGE box of books. 2 smaller ones are much more manageable to carry yourself.

So where do you find your boxes from? There are a few places you can try. Friends and family that have moved before you. I can guarantee that they’d only be too happy for you to take them off their hand. Also, if you contact the bigger homewear chain stores, they are happy for you to collect their boxes after they have stocked their shelves…their boxes are always really sturdy and it’s so much better for the environment to re-use.

Get groups of things together. Collect up all your faux flowers for one box. All your trays for another. Your coffee table books in another. That way, when you are unpacking, or looking for an item in particular, you will know that your Tom Ford book is inside the box labelled ‘coffee table books’, rather than searching through 17 different boxes that have all sort of assorted books in them. Also, putting your items together is also a good way of you to take stock of what you have. Do I really need another Chanel coffee table book when I already have 5?

(p.s. the answer to that question is ALWAYS YES!)

May sound obvious, but always wrap up your precious pieces, even if you’re only moving around the corner. It would be so sad to get to your new place, excited to unpack your special things, to find them in a shattered mess in the bottom of the box (not to mention glass poking through a box when you’re moving it is never a good idea). Wrap it in whatever you think will keep them protected. I never pack a box of towels or tea towels or blankets. I always use the bigger towels or blankets as buffers between furniture or paintings, or for my tea towels, I use them to wrap smaller items. You’d be surprised how much you look for this stuff on your actual moving day, for a bit of protection on your furniture. If I was given a $$ for every time Dave asked me ‘Have you got something I can use to pop here….” I would be a very rich woman indeed!

You can also start collecting newspapers to wrap glasses etc and can buy bulk bubble wrap from wholesale packaging stores, rather than Bunnings or Office Works – they tend to charge more. Shop around! And remember to save it for next time, that stuff isn’t cheap!

After you’ve taped up your box, label it straight away. Write straight onto the tape (i’ll explain why in a minute). Write where in your house it is going e.g. Living room, master bedroom, bathroom etc and what is in it in smaller writing underneath. If you write which room it is going into, friends or family that are helping you cart boxes won’t be asking where you want it to go. Also, tape up and label straight away. Honestly, in the time it takes to tape the box and reach for the permanent marker, I can tell you that I’ve completely forgotten whats inside (that might just be me. Baby brain 5 years later is still a thing, right?). Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’ll remember based on the size and shape of the box. You’ll have a mountain of them!

Back to writing on the tape. If you’re a habitual mover like us, this won’t be your first, or your last rodeo. You might need to use your boxes a few times over. Writing on the tape means that you can pull it all off when you’re flattening your boxes to store them. When you come to use them for the next move, you don’t have a whole scribble of ‘where’ and ‘what’ from last time. Feels like a fresh, new box.

You’ve got yourself some full boxes and some emptied rooms, whoop whoop! Now what to do with them? You’ve got a couple of choices here, and which ever option you go with will be what works best in your personal situation. I like to move boxes out to the garage as soon as they are packed, to make room for the next box. Completely emptying a room, and looking around to see just the furniture left feels like you’re really getting somewhere, achieving things and making a difference. When you put them in the garage, try to collect them room by room. E.g. All the pantry stuff here. And all the toy room boxes there. That way when you come to actually move, you’re not jumping from one room to the next and all jumbled all over the place. You’re making trips to and from the same room without having to think too much.

However, putting boxes in the garage might not be an option. So I would suggest stacking them in the middle of the room. You’ll be able to clean around them (vacuuming and wiping down skirting boards is SO MUCH FUN, right? *insert sarcastic tone here*.

Here I am….stating the obvious…but don’t stack your boxes too high. Or too heavy. Put the bigger, heavier ones on the bottom and the lighter,smaller ones towards the top. There is no greater feeling of panic than when you see the Leaning Tower of Boxes start to crumble and tumble.

Start shopping in your pantry for dinner ideas in the weeks leading up to moving. My hubby had a bit of a thing for curried sausages a while back, so when it was his turn to do the grocery shopping, he’d always buy a jar of ready made curry sauce (don’t know why he bought it, don’t even use it). However, I’m not chucking it out, so one of this weeks meals is going to be curried sausages. The less stuff I have to box up and move, the better. Check out what you have in your pantry and in your freezer and start using it up!

When it comes time to actually move, you’ll want to try and have most of the things in your fridge used up. But there will always be that pesky half bottle of milk and tub of butter that is not worth throwing away, and will be SO HANDY when you wake up on your first morning in your new place looking for tea and toast. We have one of those plug in portable Engels that you can use for camping etc. We’ll have our fridge empty and the left over bits popped int the smaller Engel. If you don’t have one, grab an Esky and some freezer blocks and you’re good to go.

Remember though, some fridges need to stand a while after moving them, before you can plug them back in again, so you’ll need some kind of back up to keep things cool while you wait.

We have moved a few different ways. And I sure as hell know which is best!

1. Do it yourself. Dave and I have moved everything from one house to another house all on our little old selves. And we had a LOT of furniture! We are a little insane, and hate asking people for help, or hate to inconvenience anyone. We started at the crack of dawn and were pretty much finished by about 9pm. HOWEVER, it was bloody hard work and we almost got divorced on at least 12 different occasions. Dave also had a bed frame fall from quite a height straight onto his head ( I sit here giggling to myself cause DAMN it was funny! Unfortunately for both of us, it didn’t knock any sense into him, and he also didn’t find it as funny as I did. I honest to god was IN HYSTERICS. (now that I think about it, this might have been one of the times we almost got divorced). If you know me well, you’ll know that I laugh out of control when someone hurts themselves. Yes. I am evil. But DAMN that shit is funny! Also unfortunately, he thought he might have knocked himself out for a few seconds, and possibly need to be taken to hospital. Thankfully he did survive and got to spend his first night in his own bed in the house he had spent 6 months building. Couple of takeaways from this experience. 1. Don’t be an idiot. Ask for help. 2. strap tall objects to side of truck. 3. help husband rather than wet pants laughing.

2. Ask Friends and Family to help. No brainer. See above for cautionary tale.

3. Hire Removalists. I have just discovered this one for this move….you can hire removalists by the hour, rather than by the house. I am going to be moving all the manageable boxes by my self during the week, and getting the removalists in to do the bigger furniture pieces, fridges and beds for a few hours on the morning of our moving day. They’ll come around to your house and give you a quote of how long they expect it will take and how much. It’s definitely worth looking into this one!

Moving is a HUGE task. It can be overwhelming, stressful and a very emotional time. The chances of forgetting to do something important can be really high. So I’ve thought about how I can help you out with this…and I’ve come up with a moving checklist! (you know how good it feels to tick things off, right?!).

You can click below to download. Make sure you tag me in your Insta stories when you use it – I would love to see how it is helping to make your move a little smoother and a little less stressful!

Embrace this new chapter in your life and make the most of it! It’s a new place, a new beginning, and literally, a new door opening for you!

Happy packing!