Ah January…famous to me for one of 2 things…planning or decluttering! All those grand plans to make more memories, do some DIY and finally finish the house. The New Year seems to get everyone geared up and I love seeing everyone excited about the year ahead….Bring it! Continue reading
In Scotland we already have a regulation which means retailers and businesses have to charge 5p for carrier bags. This same regulation will hit England this October. This applies everywhere from supermarkets, clothes shops to even McDonalds. So are you ready to reduce & reuse?
I have to say, with a year of the ruling under my belt, you’d think I’d be use to being prepared for each shop by now. Despite everything, we have yet to get into a good routine and make sure that we have bags when we get to the checkout.
However we were contacted by the lovely people at Trolleybags to try their innovative bagging system, which is made in both standard (£19.99) and express (£16.99) trolley size and I jumped at the chance. I’m a bit of an organising geek, so the ease and compartmentalising of the system really appealed to me. I’m actually quite excited to introduce this to you, as I just love when something works and really makes you more organised.
We took the new express size for a trial run and even though we weren’t scanning as we were shopping, we found that placing the items in the bag system whilst shopping made for more efficient packing at the other end. Plus Mr found that he could get more in the trolley as everything was securely stacked and not just chucked in aimlessly. We even got quite a few admiring looks from other shoppers.
The trolleybags are attached together with velcro and can be detatched easily for loading into the boot of the car. Again we found that this added better security as the bag fit neatly in our 4×4, so no more escaping apples on roundabouts!
Once emptied and reattached, they are easily rolled and stored for your next trip. No more scrunched up tatty Tesco bags for us!
To head off my 2nd blog anniversary, trolleybags have kindly offered up a set of express bags for one lucky reader. All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below…Good Luck!
Disclosure: We were sent the trolleybags to review, but all options are 100% honest
Things have been so busy lately at the Life With Munchers house. Renovations, work, cleaning and blogging have had me running around on autopilot for months now. But if there is one thing that I always try to make sure is that the weekend is for family and me time. It’s all a bit of a squeeze (especially when something like a renovation upsets the balance), but I find we all work well together to try and achieve this.
With both the hubs and I in full time work, Munch goes to nursery 5 days a week. There isn’t much in the way of quality time in the morning, with us all rushing to get out the house, so we like to make the most of a time in the evenings. Right up until bath time, we are running around playing ‘tag’, trying to cram as much family memories in as we can.
Once Munch is in bed (currently 7.30pm) the week nights are used for cleaning, blogging and general ‘me time’. I find the way to get anything done is to create a habit. I know this works for me and I usually stick to it long term if I can just get into the habit in the short term. So it might sound a little regimented, but here’s my typical evening activities, all in aid of a free weekend for all:
Monday night – TV night. I love my soaps.
Tuesday night – Hair wash night & cleaning
Wednesday night – Blogging night
Thursday night – Hair wash night & cleaning
Friday night – Blogging night
Saturday night – Date night
Sunday night – Me time (you can find me washing hair, tanning and doing my nails)
Hubs sorts out the food shopping, cooking and laundry, which I’m very grateful for. If he didn’t do that, then I’d be beyond snowed under.
One thing that I’m sticking by this year is ploughing on and not going to bed without having made sure I’ve put clothes in the right place, or cleaned away dishes etc Can I be bothered….absolutely not! But I plough through and do it. It makes the cleaning tasks so much easier!
Then I can live for the weekend and enjoy it. It’s a tight ship around here, but it’s that reward at the end of the tunnel that makes it all worthwhile.
As you know, I am a big fan of de-cluttering and organising. It makes for overall daily time saving, which in turn can be spent with my family. So I’ll hand over to Drew from Big Yellow Self Storage, who is a bit of an expert when it comes to de-cluttering.
Decluttering the home is a liberating exercise, if hard work. We all need to have a rid out every so often since clutter is one of those things that creeps up unnoticed. Before you know it your home is filled with stuff you don’t use and there’s no space for the things you do. Here are a few tips to help you get (and stay) on top of clutter:
The Three-Pile Strategy
Major decluttering tasks need a systemised approach otherwise they can overwhelm you. That feeling of being overwhelmed comes from not knowing what to do next, so by putting a system into place you know exactly where you are and what’s next in the process.
Pick a room and earmark three distinct areas (keep, bin and donate/sell) for items from just that room. Don’t try to declutter more than one room at a time otherwise you’ll end up running from room to room and create a muddle. Be ruthless about what goes into each pile. When everything is assembled in the allotted space, deal with them accordingly, again working one pile at a time: First, throw out the trash; second, find homes for the ‘keep’ items, and thirdly set about the selling/donating of items.
Be firm about selling, donating or recycle. Don’t let those items creep back into general storage in the room.
Use Hidden Spaces
Hidden spaces include:
• Wardrobes that could hold shoe organisers or plastic baskets for small items like scarves or even larger folded items that might otherwise fill up drawers.
• Under beds, where plastic storage boxes can house either bedding, toys or rarely used sports equipment.
• Kitchen drawers, where the addition of a drawer divider could provide more organised storage for small utensils.
• Behind cupboard or pantry doors where hooks can provide housing for gym bags, vacuum cleaner tools, outdoor clothing or laundry bags. If items are lifted up from the floor, there is instantly a feeling of more space.
Look Up for More Unused Space
The vertical space in rooms is often overlooked. High floating shelving a foot or so below ceiling height provides a frame for the room and can be used to display all sorts of items from books to ornaments and collections. One advantage of putting up high shelves for precious items is that they’re mostly out of sight — and definitely out of reach — of curious little fingers.
Organising Kids’ Rooms
Children’s bedrooms can quickly become clutter magnets. Here again shelving can become a best friend. Position them low so they’re within child reach and provide colourful storage boxes to house collections of small toys. Label each box with clear, bold letters that can become a game for very young children just learning to recognise letters and words.
Cabin and Captain beds can help reduce the clutter and also provide children with play or homework areas all within the same footprint as a standard bed. Another idea is to use an ottoman bed that provides plenty of hidden storage beneath the mattress base. These are ideal for those little used, larger items such as seasonal sports or garden games equipment or larger indoor toys and games that don’t get used daily.
Decluttering can be hard work, and stressful for some people. One way to minimise the need to regularly declutter different rooms is to be strict about zoning off areas of the house for specific tasks.
If, for instance, if you work from home, create an office area and make it a rule that office equipment, such as pens and staplers, don’t get removed.
Extended, off-site Storage
A new idea that’s catching on fast is to utilise self storage facilities for those items you want to keep but have no room for at home. Examples include garden machinery that’s only used during the summer, spending winter cluttering up the shed or garage and slowly rusting in the damp conditions. With self storage room sizes starting from around the size of a large locker and going up from there, it’s a cost effective solution that allows you to hang onto precious or expensive items that otherwise take up valuable space at home.
By being systematic and making decluttering a regular priority, it’ll go that much faster and be much less of a chore. As an added bonus, even the smallest of houses will feel more spacious and comfortable.
I love a New Year. It’s a fresh start. A chance to hit the reset button and leave all those bad habits behind you. I have taken a leaf from Matt’s De-cluttering post and this year I’m going to get myself back to my uber organised way again.
Since Munch arrived in 2011, there just didn’t seem to be the time. Although everything had a place, I found that after a tough day I’d be more than too happy to leave clothes where they fell or not tidy up the kitchen before bed. Before you know it, a few days had passed and that momentary lapse in effort became an impossible mountain of clothes to climb. Well not this year!
I’m taking a stand. I don’t care if it’s midnight and I still have to hang up my work clothes and put the dishes in the dishwasher…it’s getting done there and then!
A month in and I’ve done remarkably well. There are no clothes on the floor, which in turn makes the weekly clean oh so much easier. I’ve perhaps been spurred on by the ongoing renovations and especially the rooms that are finished and look super shiny…I want to keep them that way!
The knock on effects are astounding. I’m one of those people who can’t switch off if there is stuff still to do. So by doing and not dwelling this month, I’ve had so much more positive mental attitude. I’m happier and less drained from the weight of my mental ‘to do’ list hanging over me. Also (as I said above) the weekly clean is no longer a chore that requires a major tidy up prior to it. It’s seen as more of a ‘finishing off’ and ta da!
Matt’s task for January was to get rid of the old and I have definitely ticked that box. As each room is completed and unpacked, I’m also being ruthless with what stays and really thinking about how best to store, stack and file it (more on that in another post).
So I’ll be leaving January with some great foundations to build on. Bring it on February!!!