Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Christmas Tree and Decorations!

We put our Christmas decorations up today so I thought I'd show you a few pictures!

We keep it pretty simple - the tree, the pretend fireplace and then a few decos outside at the front of the house (let me know if you want to see those outside ones).

Watch the video below to see our Christmas decorating this year:

Are your decorations up yet? I'd love to see them - link to your blog below or come over to the Facebook page and show me a picture or two!

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Credits: This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.

Beautifully Organised: Our Christmas tree and decorations 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

5 small ways to begin simplifying your life

Prefer to listen on the go? Access the podcast here.

I know a lot of us love the idea of living a simple life. I fell in love with the concept the minute I discovered it.

To me simple living meant less to do, more time to enjoy life, less to worry about.. It was about letting go of being 'busy' and enjoying a slower pace.

It was a beautiful idea and I wanted it to become my new reality immediately. No more rushing and hurrying, no more barking at my children to get ready quickly, no more competing with others on 'who was the busiest'. I couldn't wait to feel at ease, rested, relaxed and peaceful with my new lifestyle choice..

But I remember how stressful it was when I first started thinking about simplifying my life. The whole thing was too overwhelming.

I had no idea where to start. I felt like I needed to simplify everything and I needed to simplify fast! This just made me feel more busy and stressed than ever - the opposite of what I was aiming for.

I had to let go of the need to be perfect at it, and instead just simplify my approach to simplifying ;)

So started with just one small step, one way to simplify, and once I got used to that change, I moved onto the next. Then the next, and the next - never moving on until the current step had become more of a habit.

I still have a fair way to go, but life now is quieter, more peaceful. I'm slowly giving up the reward of doing 'busy' well. Even my organising tasks are focused on freeing up my time rather than being able to squeeze more into my days.

I love this change and the effect it has had on me as a mother and a person.

If you want to simplify your life and you're feeling overwhelmed at the idea, I have a list below of what I started with - you can try it if you like! Let me know how you go.

5 small ways to begin simplifying your life.

1.  Declutter one bag of something from your home each week. Clothes, toys, expired pantry goods - your choice. Throw it out, give it away, sell or donate.

2. Limit your daily To Do list. I used to say "Eight items, max or you'll always feel guilty about not finishing your list." Now I say three. Sometimes, one.

3. Shower at the same time each day. Once you develop a pattern, everyone in your house will just accept it as the new norm. Now you never have to fit it in around the kids. I shower at night and enjoy my time under the hot water when my thoughts are my own.

4. Put your phone away when you want screen free time. Have as much screen time as you want, but when you feel like you should take a break, don't just put it down. Put it away - in a drawer, or in your bag, so you're not tempted to 'just pick it up and quickly check it' and get stuck on it for another half hour.

5. Add buffer time to everything you commit to. If you know school drop off takes from 8.30am to 9am, don't schedule your next task for 9.30am. Give it at least an extra half hour so you don't have to rush from one thing to another. If you have arranged to meet a friend for an hour, schedule it into your calendar with buffer time on each side so you have plenty of time to get ready, drive, park, walk from your car to your meeting point. If you think it will take you 15 minutes to drive somewhere, give yourself a half hour to do it. Now you can slow down, and you'll feel less stressed and less busy.

If you have any other ideas on simple ways to simplify, I'd love you to share them with us below or on the Facebook page. Your tip could be the one that really helps another busy mum to not have to be so busy anymore.

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  • Linking up with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays (IBOT)
  • This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links

Thursday, November 19, 2015

3 things organised people do every day

Prefer to listen on the go? Access the podcast here.

I think most of us know someone who seems naturally organised. They go about life with everything falling into place, effortlessly moving from one day to another without ever looking overwhelmed or flustered. They're always on time and they never forget anything.

I'm not one of those people.

I need to be organised because without it, I forget everything. I over commit, I feel overwhelmed, I get lazy, I get frustrated and I have a tendency to think things will take a lot less time than they actually do, which often leaves me running a few minutes late if I don't stay on track with my 'organised habits'.

So for me organising (especially as a parent) doesn't really come naturally. I thought I was naturally organised, before I had children. Now, looking back,  I realise I only felt organised because I had a lot less to juggle!

Getting my life and home organised has really been a journey, one that I think will continue forever, one step at a time, and my biggest goal is to use it to simply make my life easier.

So if that's you too, don't stress about it. Just pick one thing at a time, get organised with that, and then move onto the next. Over time, these things add up and you'll find your days are a lot more organised, and easier :)

Here are 3 things I focused on first that really made a difference in my life and got me more organised pretty quickly. Looking around, I think a lot of 'naturally organised' people do them too.

1. They tidy as they go. At first glance this looks way too time consuming - who wants to tidy all day when you can just do it all at night after the kids go to bed? But realistically, moving through an untidy house all day can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated (especially when it's not your mess). 

Get into the habit of picking up a couple of things whenever you walk through a room and putting them where they belong as you move throughout your home. It might be dirty clothes the kids have left on the floor going into your laundry basket. You might pick up stray toys and put them in a put away box. You could bring dishes with you into the kitchen or put a hairbrush away as you walk past your bathroom.

Now I know in a perfect world you'll be teaching your kids to put these things away after they use them so the mess isn't there in the first place. But let's be real - if it was that easy, you wouldn't need to read this article, and I wouldn't have to write it. My kids are lovely, well mannered and normal children who get caught up in the excitement of getting things out and playing with them, but completely forget about about putting them away they just move onto the next exciting thing if I'm not there reminding them to pack up the first. So we're working on that. But in the meantime, I want to be able to enjoy a tidy home after I get back from a busy morning at school drop off - so this tip helps a LOT. Plus the more the kids see me do it and do it with me, the more natural it will be for them to do it as they grow up.

2. They put on a load of washing. At least one load, every day means you'll never have to do a full day of laundry ever again. You'd be surprised at how easy this becomes when you get into a rhythm. You can wash different items all together on a cold cycle or you can sort everything into daily categories like I like to do - kids clothes, dark clothes, light clothes, sheets, towels, tea towels, etc. However you do it, do one load each day. I've got some more easy laundry tips in my free online class if you want to take a look!

3. They plan for tomorrow. This is a five minute task that will save you SO much time the next day. I like to take a few minutes after the kids have gone to bed, sit down, look at my calendar and get myself familiar with what I have on the following day. It gives me a sense of calm, no matter how busy the day is, and when I'm writing my To Do list for the next day I know I haven't forgotten anything important. Then I gather up anything I need to take out and about with me, put it into my go bag and half of my work for the next morning is already done. Bonus: My head is clearer and I sleep SO much better :)

That's it! Those are the 3 things that I believe organised people do every day.

Your turn! I'd love to hear what YOU do to keep yourself organised and make your own life easier. Comment below or come chat on Facebook and share your tips.

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Credits: This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How to declutter your kids toys before Christmas

Now that we have your Christmas planning sorted, the lead up to Christmas is the perfect time to declutter toys!

Prefer to listen? Access the podcast here.

For your kids, it's a great time to clear the way for any new toys that arrive on Christmas Day, and for you it's a great way to clear some spaces in your home, making it easier to keep clean and tidy for when you have people over in the holiday season.

Plus, for me there's a sense of calm and contentment that comes with the act of clearing out toys that are broken or no longer played with. I often find whenever I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed, a good declutter session helps me feel much better!

So in case the same is true for you, I thought I'd show you how to declutter your kids' toys before Christmas! I have a really simple method that has worked well for years and can be done quickly and easily. If you have 15 minutes, you can make this work for you! 

Why 15 minutes? We talk about that more in my Less Mess, Less Stress.. and More Calm course, but basically it's the timeframe I use for any decluttering in my home. 

If you keep the timeframe short, you'll be more motivated and work faster to get more done before your timer goes off. You'll work on one small space at a time (e.g. one shelf, not one cupboard), and you won't fall into the trap of getting everything out and surrounding yourself with clutter, only to get tired or have to leave halfway through and have a bigger mess all around you. 

15 minute blocks mean you can tackle and finish one space at a time and feel accomplished and proud of your results! This will motivate you to do it again and again, and in time decluttering becomes a simple habit, not an overwhelming chore.

How to declutter your kids toys before Christmas

1. First, find some time to declutter without being interrupted. 

Yep - I recommend doing this alone - don't involve your kids in your declutter mission. 

You know why - every time you try to get rid of a toy they'll be devastated! They'll be sad, you'll feel guilty and nothing will get done. 

You are the parent - you know which toys are broken and you know which toys don't get played with. So find 15 minutes where the kids are busy, distracted or out of the house and get to work. 

2. Next, pick a small space to work on. 

A shelf, a toy box, a drawer. You choose, but choose just one small space for now

You're going to set the timer on your phone or microwave for 15 minutes and do as much as you can within that timeframe.

3. Keep it really simple when sorting. 

As you go through the space you have chosen, sort it into the following piles (or bags, or boxes):

  • broken & rubbish
  • 'missing pieces'
  • good condition and played with regularly
  • good condition and not played with in the last 6 months

4.  Now that you've sorted, you can action each pile.

  • Throw out the rubbish and broken items. Quick and easy!
  • Pack all 'missing pieces' together in one box or basket and add a note to it with a list of all the toys and games the pieces are from. Put this box up on higher shelf where you can reach it easily but the kids can't. As you come across the other pieces, you'll throw them in together and then sort out the basket in a couple of weeks - once you've done this method a few times and decluttered each toy space.
  • Put away the toys that are in good condition and are played with regularly. These are the keepers! 
  • Gather the toys that are in good condition and haven't been played with in the last 6 months and donate them. If you can't bring yourself to donate them because you are worried the kids will be heartbroken and beg for them back, just put them in a box you can't see through and seal it up. On the front of the box, stick a label with the date 6 months from now and then go put that box away in the garage or somewhere no one can see it. If the kids ask for one of those toys, tell them you aren't sure where it is and offer to look for it the next day if they remind you. If they don't remind you, don't mention it again. Repeat. Then the next time you see the box, check the date - if it has been 6 months and you haven't had to open the box, donate it without looking at what is inside - you don't need it.

Now it's your turn! Grab 15 minutes today or this week and declutter the toys from one area of your home. Then comment below or on my Facebook page and let me know how you go!

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Credits: This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links. The Less Mess, Less Stress.. and More Calm course is my own - find out more about it here.

* Linking up with Anne at Domesblissity

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's time to start planning for Christmas!

It's that time of year again - only 50 days till Christmas!

Yep, Christmas is getting closer and closer.. and now that we're in November, it's time to start planning.

I know, it's still ONLY November - but if you've been a Beautifully Organised reader over the last few years you'll know I like to start Christmas planning early for 1 main reason - it makes the holiday season MUCH easier!

Since I started using a Christmas Planner, the holidays are a lot simpler. I have more time to really enjoy gift shopping, present wrapping, Christmas card writing and making Santa letters with the kids.

It also reminds me to be more festive and make time for our other Christmas traditions - even the little things like watching Christmas movies together. Things I always wanted to do before but would forget about and run out of time to do.

If you're like me and get overwhelmed easily at Christmas, you can use my planner to get all of the things you need to remember out of your head and onto some pretty pages.

It's lovely to look at, easy to use, and will take you step by step through your Christmas preparation so you can just relax and coast through it all.

It even includes calendar pages for November and December that have 1 simple planning task assigned to each Sunday, which means you only have to do 1 task each week for a more organised Christmas this year!

You can get the planner for half price - just $9.98 USD - until November 15, 2015A little thank you for being with me this year, and also a little nudge to get you organised now instead of leaving it to the last minute this year xx

Just enter the coupon code EASYCHRISTMAS when you purchase and the discounted price is all yours. 

Then all you have to do is download it, save it to your computer and print out each page as you need it. Easy :)

(and you can keep it on file and use it every year - even better!)

Also - I'm thinking of posting my completed planning sheets on Instagram each week.. Let me know if you'd like to see that (and post yours too)! 

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