Sunday, July 4, 2021

Simple living books you'll love

There's something a little bit magical about simple living books.

They are full of great ideas, they get me inspired and motivated to live a little more simply.. and even the act of sitting down with a cup of tea and reading them makes me feel happy and content :)

I thought I'd share my favourites with you so you can check them out and add a little more slow living contentment to your life too! 

These are perfect for your home and also for gifts.

Here they are, not in any particular order, and I'd love to hear your recommendations too!

Please note, these are affiliate links for Book Depository, which means I receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking. Book Depository has free delivery world wide and I have found them very reliable.

This book started off my simple living journey. It's a small book and a quick read and it's just lovely. 

I've been a fan of organising for years but this little shift from being organised to living simply has had such a positive impact on my life and it all began with this book.

Rhonda shares what simple living means to her and tells the story of her simple living pathway, including her insights on  learning traditional skills, reducing her spending and environmental impact and focusing on the simple things that make life worth living- family, friends, and a home-cooked meal.

Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel

This is a more in depth look at Rhonda's simple life. If you’re looking to make your home your haven, this book will guide you through it. It’s helped me slow down and simplify my life and provides a little calm and comfort in a world that is currently facing uncertainty.

Rhonda gently encourages readers to find the pleasure and meaning in a simpler life, sharing all the practical information she has gathered on her own journey and I just adore the whole book.

The Simple Home by Rhonda Hetzel

As you can see, I'm definitely a member of Rhonda's fan club! This third book rounds off Rhonda's simple living series and the beauty of this one is it takes you month by month through the Australian year and shows you what you can do each month to make your life a little more simple, sustainable and cosy. It's beautiful to read and makes the idea of living a simpler life much, well.. simpler! 

I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

Get ready for one of the most fun, inspiring books you'll ever come across when it comes to simplifying your approach to cooking, eating and reducing your food waste!

I cannot speak highly enough of Sarah's approach to food and documenting her way of life in the kitchen.

It's such a beautiful book and enjoyable read, you'll want to keep it on your bookshelf and reread it over and over again.

In this book Sarah teaches shows us her with Flow, a crafty kitchen process that shows us how to cook simple and delicious food in less time, for less money and with practically no waste. 

Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary

If you're constantly feeling like you have to "keep up with life" and it's making you feel anxious and rushed, this is the book for you.

Brooke shares how she put the brakes on her busy life and embraced a slower, simpler way of living. 

A standout for me in this book is Brooke's reimagining of routines (which makeyou feel boxed in and stressed) into rhythms (which help your day flow smoothly and calmly).

You'll love it.

And that's it! Those are my favourite books on simple living - I  hope you enjoy them too! If you love any of these books, let me know on Instagram by tagging me! 

How to tidy your medicine box (or cabinet) easily

I gave our medicine box and good declutter this week and thought I'd share the simple steps with you in case yours needs a clear out too!

Decluttering and organising any space can feel overwhelming when you're looking at the "before picture":

But honestly, when you follow a simple step by step plan and just focus on one step at a time, it's so much easier than it feels at the start, and you end up with a space that makes you happy and makes your life a bit easier!

Here are the steps I follow to declutter, clean and organise our medicine box - you can watch the video below or keep reading underneath for each step!


1. Take out each item one at a time, close any open boxes and check the expiry date. If the date is fine, put item to the left on counter. If the date is expired, put the item to the right.

2. Wipe down the box so it’s clean and dry (I use a cloth for cleaning and a tea towel for drying, you can use wipes and paper towel if that's easier, we're just trying to reduce single use waste)

3. Put everything back in neatly, like items together 


And now a couple of bonus tips:
  • Odd shaped things can go in a smaller box inside so that they don’t fall over and mess up the box
  • In Australia, expired meds can be dropped off at your local chemist and they'll dispose of the medicines safely for you rather than having them sit in your bin for little fingers to find or go to landfill

I hope that helps you organise your medicine box or cabinet! If you do yours, take a before and after pic and share it with me on Instagram by tagging me! 

Monday, January 4, 2021

20 Super easy ways to save money

(In random order)

  • Wait 48 hours before you buy that thing you’re looking at - most times you don’t actually need or want it anymore
  • Make simpler meals from basic ingredients (don’t spend $12 on new spices for one recipe)
  • Don’t drive when you can walk or ride your bike
  • Get your books, magazines, movies and music for free from the library
  • Shop second hand (op shops, Facebook marketplace, share shops)
  • Snack on homemade snacks or fruit & veg instead of pricey packet snacks
  • Eat your leftovers
  • Put an easy dinner in your freezer ready for nights you don’t feel like cooking. A $3 pizza from Aldi is cheaper than a $40 pizza delivery
  • Cut up your credit card and close the account once it’s paid off
  • Ignore AfterPay
  • Save your coins, deposit them into your local ATM once a month and transfer that money to your holiday/investment/savings
  • Buy the cheaper brands. There’s no special factory for no-name brands, it’s made at the same place as an expensive brand. Only the label is different.
  • Wear your clothes at least twice before you wash them. Half the washing = half the water and half the laundry powder and it adds up over a year. You don’t smell bad, I promise!
  • Wait one more day between hair washes and save yourself the water and shampoo
  • Grocery shop with a list and a budget (and shop with cash to make sure you stick to it)
  • Just keep one streaming service - you don’t have time to watch them all. Switch them month by month if you like! Even better, try the free ones first - 7plus, ABC iView, SBS on demand, 10 Play and 9 Now all have a huge range of shows to watch including some of your all-time faves
  • Take your leftovers to work for lunch and save $10+ a day. Put your leftovers aside before you serve dinner so you know you’ll have enough for lunch tomorrow
  • Unplug your phone charger when you’re not using it and turn your TV off at the wall
  • Ditch your gym membership and go for a walk outside or do a YouTube workout
  • Ask “Is that your best price?” The worst they can say is yes!
I'd love to hear your money-saving tips too - share them with us on Facebook!

x Marissa

Sunday, January 3, 2021

My simple morning routine with a baby and a toddler

I saw a mum ask in a Facebook group this week:

"How do you handle your mornings with babies and toddlers? I can't get up early anymore to get things done or get "me time" because they wake up so early too. I'm finding it hard to get anything done and yet the morning drags on. I spend so much time on my phone and I feel really burnt out."

My kids are older now so mornings are MUCH easier, but I remember what it was like to manage a toddler and a baby and keep the house running and it was NOT easy. And I felt the pull to my phone as well!

What worked best for me to get things done and lesson burnout was to simplify the mornings as much as possible and not cram too much into them, and to follow the same simple routine pretty much every morning:

* Make the bed as soon as I get out of it

* Have breakfast with the kids - we all eat together, toddler in toddler chair, baby in high chair from 6 months

* Make our lunch boxes next and put them in fridge for later  - the kids had full tummies after breakfast so would play well for about 15min which gave me time to make 3 lunch boxes (yep, one for me too!)

* Get everyone dressed, teeth and hair done, shoes on

* Play / read a book together / tv show for the kids while I put a load of washing on

* Next was about and about time to save my sanity! We would go for a walk outside with the pram or head to the local shops and take the lunchboxes with us. I'd also take a picnic blanket if we were going to the park, and if we were at the shops we usually had lunch in the parent room. Not glamourous but very handy! I could eat and also feed the baby while my toddler played with the toys.

* Then it was back home for nap time after lunch and I'd hang the washing and do the morning dishes before trying to relax for a bit.

It wasn’t an exciting routine but it was simple which made it do-able!

Other small things that made a big difference to our mornings:
  • I had to put my phone on silent in my bag and zip it up so that I wouldn’t gravitate to it 
  • Lunches were simple ones like leftovers or a sandwich + fruit + packaged snack like a rusk/muesli bar/pretzels 
  • My babies were bottled fed so I'd make up 6 baby bottles of water at once and keep them in the fridge so I could grab them and make them up quickly with formula when needed. When we were out and about, the bottle would go from cold to room temp and was fine for me to put the formula into at lunchtime and give it to the baby straight away - no need for heating and waiting while we were out.
  • We switched to night time baths and showers for everyone so that it was one less job in the morning - and much more relaxing at night
That's what helped me stay sane when my kids were young, I'd love to know what worked for you. Come and let us know on the Beautifully Organised Mums facebook page!

x Marissa

How to like cleaning

We all love to relax in a nice clean home, right?

The problem is cleaning is NOT fun. There’s never a perfect time to do it, so it’s easy to procrastinate on it.. which only makes it worse because when we don’t clean regularly all the mess and muck builds up.. and then it become a HUGE job that feels really overwhelming!

We know cleaning regularly is easier, and we know that if we enjoy something we’re more likely to do it.

So how can we make cleaning more likeable?

Here’s what works for me.

Listen to something you like while you clean

Listen to music 

Listen to a podcast 

Listen to your favourite YouTuber (lots of videos are people talking - you don’t have to watch, you can just listen

Get motivated before you start cleaning

Watch a Clean with Me video on YouTube before you start cleaning, they are really motivating!

Watch an episode of Hoarders before you start cleaning

Make it a challenge

Set your timer and see how much you can get done in 15 minutes

Make it easier

You don’t have to clean the whole house from top to bottom each day - assign one room each day for deep cleaning in four easy steps (rubbish out, put things away, spray and wipe surfaces, sweep / mop / vacuum floor)

Delegate - Ditch the huge washing basket and give each family member a small one with their name on it. They can do their own laundry (yep even primary school aged kids can do it with a small basket and a stool)

Make it nicer

Create a cute cleaning caddy to carry around from room to room

Wear a cute apron and gloves

Get a good quality duster

Buy a nice looking spray bottle for your surface spray

Teat yourself to a top quality vacuum that works well and is light and easy to carry

When to clean

The earlier the better - clean when you have more energy earlier in the day

As you go - Wash dishes as you cook, pick up something to put away as you walk through a room, clean the bathroom while you run the bath

Change your mindset

Stop thinking “I hate cleaning” and start thinking “I love relaxing in a tidy room”

Say it to your kids too!

Reward yourself

Wine and chocolate work for me! Okay, maybe wine later in the day ;)

Chill out with Netflix

Read a book or magazine

Order dinner in

Go to a movie

Seriously, do something nice for yourself and call it a reward, it means you don’t feel guilty about chilling because you absolutely deserve a break!

Outsource the stuff you hate most

If you have a little extra cash, feel free to hire someone to do the stuff you hate like cleaning the oven. doing the floors every fortnight, cleaning the bathroom, washing the windows, washing your car, mowing your lawns… anything you really don’t want to do!

It’s okay to outsource, you’re helping someone else with their income, they are good at their job, and you already do ENOUGH.

Hope that helps! If you have a tip to share, I’d love to hear it! Join us on Facebook and let me know your tips & tricks for enjoying cleaning more.

x Marissa