Simplifying our home

scalesI find it really interesting how people use the space in their houses, particularly blended families like us.  We have seven children and adults every second week, but every other week it is just my husband and I, rattling around in a very large home.

My husband has recently taken a break from work, and it got us thinking. We wanted to use the time to plan out a more simple home to meet our needs, as well as take care of a few renovation projects that were long overdue – our home is showing age and wear in a number of places (bit like me, really….)

To overcome the feeling of too much space every second week, and to create a cosy simple home, we are renovating our living area and kitchen to create a relaxed living space, that together with a our bedroom will be like a little one bedroom apartment. We have organised the zoning of the heating and cooling to move from large house to small apartment; and we are creating a family living area for the big house and a smaller cosy living area for just the two of us.

So with much excitement you can watch our progress over the coming months. We have started in the living area and have pulled up our slate floor, replacing it with a smaller space gas heater.

Here are some before and after photos:

IMG_3979

This was a rarely used area of our house that seemed to be the room for the front door! We have installed the fire and the television with a sound bar, to remove the need for a large stereo and cabinet. Work to date looks like this:

fire place

The fire is calming and relaxing. The set up will enable us to enjoy many warm nights by the fire and appreciate the space. And my husband as the head space to really think about each piece of the renovation plan, building and modifying the home to meet our needs.  It’s fascinating really – while we were both busy work with a crazy out of control life, the house was where we put our bags and keys and lay our heads at night.  Now, with only one of us working, it feels so luxurious to think about each individual room, it’s purpose, personality and to make our house a home.

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Organising to simplicity part 4

The final post in the series for now is my ensuite.

I have seriously reduced the products that I need for my hair, face and feet. I’m also becoming more conscious of the chemicals that I put on my face, in my hair, and so I am slowly moving to more natural products as I use up old products.

For example, I am slowly moving my skin care over to Aesops, which I love.  I have made my own deodorant and lip balm following some youtube videos by Carrie LeighAnna – see DIY Deodorant youtube video.

So again – this is a journey.  The journey for me began with throwing out the things that were really old, out of date or no longer relevant to my hairstyle/make up look of today, which has been simplifying significantly.

Then I packed away doubles of whatever I have and created a list of those items in my purse so I don’t forget and buy more.

So the dread before shots:

hair drawer before

 nails drawer before make up drawer before

Stage 1 of my clean up got me to here:

hair drawer after make up drawer after nail drawer after

Pretty good effort.  I organised my multiples of everything and got a system going.  But…

I still felt controlled by my stuff.

I still had way too much of everything.

So my efforts now are even simpler again – and I’m sure this will reduce even further with the next cull.

I only have minimal make up in a make up acrylic organiser. I have two mascaras, two eyeliners, four different eye shadows and four different make up brushers in the drawers.  I have my Foundation, eye cream, toner, home made deodorant and lip balm on the top of the organiser.

make up tray

My bath products are right near the bath tub.

bath products aesops bath

And my hair, blow-dryer and nails drawers are looking a whole less busy.

hair draw  feet drawer

And I feel like I could simplify a lot more from here.  It’s a work in progress. I’m aiming to get everything down to two drawers and the acrylic organiser.

What is your next household simplicity project?

Organising to simplicity part 3

The third part of my breaking up with organising series – this is all a work in progress, and I will continue to update as I simplify.  Today’s photo series are focused on my study area – and I apologise in advance for the dark before shot.  Nonetheless – easy to see it is clutter heaven.  This is where I process our admin and do our scanning/filing – more scanning and less filing these days as I try to cut down on the paper I store.

You can see there are some attempts to organise (containers for things, desk top filing units) but it wasn’t a picture of simplicity.

before photos study

And here is my after attempt – less stuff, less to organise and more peaceful.

IMG_1591

 

Organising to simplicity part 2

Part 2 of my breaking up with organising series – this time, the linen cupboards in our house.

Six beds and seven people equals at least double of that, in sheets, towels, beach towels and extra bedding for guests.

You can see in the first set of photos, a decent attempt at getting organised (still lots of things, now in neat boxes)

 linen before

linen before linen on table

Revolting amounts of excess linen here…

The first attempt after shots (not bad – a few less things and neater in boxes):

linen after 3 linen after 4 kids linen before2

And in the second attempt earlier this year – less things, in neat boxes.

linen after kids linen after2 kids linen afterlinen spider 

And one little scary creature that I found while tidying again EEK!