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10 things to do at home during lockdown

We are currently in Lockdown here in New Zealand due to the Coronavirus, and we are not the only ones. Many countries are also in the same position which means that for a lot of us, we are stuck at home, most of the time. For some it will be a blessing, for others, a curse. Here, I have a compiled a list of 10 things to help you survive this stay at home crisis, and to utilise the time we have been gifted.

Connection and support

Psychologists say that the one thing most associated with emotional resilience is social connection and support. Our mental wellbeing is paramount to our survival during this period. You will need to check in with your family during this potentially stressful time, be kind and support one another. To connect with friends and family outside of your bubble, set up a Messenger or WhatsApp group. Arrange ‘virtual time’ such as a regular coffee catch up, a cocktail hour or even dinner together. It’s important to stay connected and support our loved ones and community – now more than ever.

Check in with your elderly neighbours

I live in a street with a number of people over the age of 70, the age that is the most at risk it seems. We have a member’s street Facebook page, where we can offer or ask for help and it is working well so far. This is a great time and opportunity to share any resources you might have, such as books, puzzles etc, to help pass the time. Again, WhatsApp and Messenger are great for keeping in contact too. For those neighbours who don’t use the internet, we check in on them regularly (keeping a safe distance of course!) to see if they need any supplies or errands to be run. I feel more connected to my neighbours now than I ever have and that in itself, feels great.

Structure

The first thing to do is to create some structure in the day. Of course you will especially need to do this if you have kids! Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively manage themselves and their environments and makes them feel safe. If you’re a bit stuck and need some help, Pinterest is a great place to search for this kind of thing – it’s a fantastic platform with loads of ideas and inspiration. Also check out the App Store and of course Google. Whatever you decide to do, I suggest creating a weekly family calendar, where everyone can see what is happening at each time of the day.

Meal Planning

I am a huge lover of meal planning, especially at the moment. I don’t want to be going to the supermarket too often during this time and by planning in advance, it means that I have everything I need to make a meal. I write all of the meals on our whiteboard and we can choose what we want each night. I promise you it will save you time, energy, money and creates less waste. If you need a helping hand there are free apps such as Foodplanner and Veganized. If you are not a fan of cooking, there is always My Food Bag and Woop for example, who will deliver your menus and produce directly to your front door even during lockdown.

Organising/decluttering

I would have thought that now is the best time ever, to declutter and organise your home, especially if you can’t work from home and therefore have more time on your hands. HOWEVER….. I recently read an article on RNZ that said that we all need to be mindful if we are throwing things out. Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil said “It will only create more rubbish for the team to sort through and add pressure on the staff….” Not only are charity shops in NZ currently closed at the moment anyway, but kerbside recycling in some areas is not operating either. If you are keen to get stuck into some decluttering all the same, just be mindful of what you are getting rid of. If you have a spare room/area in your house, use that to store your charity items until this whole thing has blown over. And recycling? I’m going to continue to recycle but will wait until it is safe to move it on again. Need some help? I have written a number of articles here on the blog page that are designed to help you, so check them out.

Cleaning

When I’m working with clients, I tend to clean as we go – keep this is mind if you are going to get stuck into some decluttering. I for one, am using this time to get into some deep cleaning Here are some ideas:

Pull out the fridge and dishwasher and clean underneath them

Clean walls and wall switches

Wipe down doors and cabinets

Vacuum under the bed and other hard to get to places

Clean your oven

Clean and sort under the sink

Shannon Lush has some great tips here on how to keep you and your home clean during lockdown too.

Paperwork

One of the most dreaded categories for most of us…… it tends to build up so easily doesn’t it? And  creates stress and overwhelm, especially when there is no system in place. Use this time to chip away at it – schedule in time to do it each day or week, or perhaps you would prefer to do it in one foul swoop. Choose a time that will work the best for you and when you are less likely to get distracted. The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your paperwork wherever it is lurking in your home and I mean ALL of it. Then it’s a matter of sorting it – I tend to lump categories together in the beginning to make it easier. Manila folders and post it notes work really well for the sorting stage – it means that if you want to come back to it, you can, easily. Now it is decision time. Make piles of keep, recycle and shred. Once you have done that it is time to create a filing system that will work for you. If you get stuck, check out the book ‘Paper Flow’ which has been written by a Professional Organiser. It’s super easy to read and has simple strategies and tips on how to organise your papers. The next and most important step, is to schedule into your diary WHEN you will action your paperwork! If you don’t do this, the very systems you create will fall apart super fast.

Projects

Photo organising, sorting out the garage, repairing, mending, re-styling, up cycling and the list goes on……how many of us have projects that we have been wanting to tackle but haven’t had the time to? Now would be a great time to action these. Create some space in your week to get stuck into your project(s) – you could even use your family calendar here. You may need to settle your kids into an activity in order to free up some time to do this, depending on their ages.

Home work outs/meditation

Where would we be without the internet?  It is one of our best friends at the moment as I am sure many of you would agree. Whether you are into yoga, pilates, gym workouts or meditation, there are so many platforms out there which allow you to keep fit, focused and positive, in your own home. The benefits of exercise are endless. Among other things, it promotes the release of endorphins and helps to keep your immune system working effectively – super key right now. You Tube, App Store, Facebook and Instagram are awesome go to platforms that I enjoy.

Participate in social media challenges

I for one, LOVE to have fun. Get involved in fun social media challenges – set up your own or join in on a friends. Themes could be: A costume of the day, creative ideas, 3 grateful things, acts of kindness, funny stuff, you get the idea. It stimulates you to be creative while passing the time and connecting with others.

So there you have it. I hope these ideas inspire and help you to not only make your days more enjoyable, but to keep you sane in these unknown times!

Enjoy, stay well, stay safe and be kind 🙂

 

 

 

 

Spring with Your Home and Garden

Spring has sprung and I’m EXCITED! With Spring comes the promise of summer, of which I am a lover of.

This September, I’m delighted to share with you my feature article in the latest issue of Your Home and Garden magazine….. yippee! My ’10 healthy habits for a clutter free home’ are there to inspire, motivate and get you thinking about a few simple habits you can create to tame your clutter once and for all.

So grab a cuppa and a cosy spot where you can read read the full article here…..

I’d love to hear which habit inspires you the most so feel free to comment below and happy reading!!

Create new habits and make 2019 your best year yet!

It’s a New Year, yay! And a great opportunity to make a fresh start. I decided to make my first blog this year about habits, as it is the number one issue that many of the people I work with face. Once I have helped people to create systems in their home that are tailored specifically to them and the people they live with, it is down to them to create and work on new habits in order for the systems to work. But new habits can take time and effort to create and backsliding often happens. I hope that this blog inspires you to make change and create new habits this year!

1: How long does it take to create a new habit?

It takes 21 days to build a habit, doesn’t it? It’s the long-held belief of almost all people. This can vary for each person, their circumstances and each habit. Some habits are tricky to implement, while others are easier. My advice is to focus and commit to one specific habit for a month. By working on one habit at a time, it will be easier than trying to implement several habits at once. Take some time to think about which habit you would like to begin with – brain dumping onto paper can be helpful.

2: How do you create a new habit?

Have you ever heard of habit stacking? The phrase ‘habit stacking’ was coined by Wall Street Journal bestselling author S.J Scott. In his 2014 book ‘Habit Stacking’ he recommends that you “build routines around habits that don’t require effort”. He suggests that one of the best ways to build a new habit, is to determine a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new habit on top of it. For example:

  • After making my bed each day, I will meditate for 10 minutes
  • Once I have finished eating dinner, I will do the dishes
  • After cleaning my teeth, I will floss them

Why does habit stacking work? Your current habits are already built into your brain. Some of them you do without even thinking about it, they have become second nature to you. By stacking your new habit on top of a current habit that is already created in your brain, it will be much more likely that you’ll stick to the new habit. Brainstorm a list of habits you already have and take some time to reflect on these. Then think about where your new habit can be stacked.

3: Be accountable

Have you ever heard of the ‘Hawthorne Effect’? It refers to the fact that people are more likely to follow through with a commitment when they are being observed (read more about it here….) You have probably experienced at least once in your life, that as soon as you talk to a friend about something you are going to give up or implement, you are instantly accountable. For a new habit to form, you need to be reminded constantly as you build that habit. So talk to a friend about your new habit! Let them know about your efforts and goals. Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.

4: Reward

Building new habits can be tiring at times and it is important to celebrate our achievements, no matter how big or small. When we reward ourselves, it:

  • Makes us feel good!
  • Boosts our self worth
  • Increases self esteem
  • Helps us to stay motivated
  • Increases our ability to achieve our goals

Take a moment to think about some rewards that will work for you. These can vary from small to big, depending on what you are trying to achieve. They don’t have to cost the earth and is ideal if it is something you really like and enjoy. Examples are: Go for a walk in nature, meet a friend for a coffee, buy yourself some flowers (one of my favourites!) listen to one of your favourite podcasts, read a chapter of your book, go to an art gallery, book a meal out with friends.

So there you have it. What new habit are you going to create today to make 2019 your best year yet?

 

 

 

 

 

The lowdown on downsizing

It happens to most of us at one point in our lives, whether we like it or not. For many, it is a very overwhelming task that forces us to face our stuff. Now for those of us that have not faced our stuff on a regular basis, the thought of letting go of a lifetime of possessions is daunting and unthinkable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was recently interviewed by the NZ Woman’s weekly on this topic and I explained how it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in life. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how this process can be made SO much easier.

#1 Live in the moment

Downsizing doesn’t mean that you will loose everything you own. Sure, you won’t be able to take every item you own with you – it is just not possible. It forces us to make many decisions which can be very difficult, depending on our circumstances. Taking only the things we truly love and use now and which add value to our lives, causes us to live in the present. And what a wonderful thing that is! Having only those items in our homes that make us feel good, are the ones to surround ourselves with. Not the ones that cause us to feel any kind of negative emotions, which is distracting to say the least. Viewing downsizing as a positive experience where we can pare back and be honest with ourselves is truly liberating.

#2 Plan well in advance

This is one of the biggest problems I see – people just don’t give themselves enough time to prepare in advance. And believe me, the process takes a lot longer than you think it will. The more things you own, the more time it will take to make decisions. And if your belongings have not been reviewed regularly, the harder it will be to make those decisions. The more organised you are prior to the big day, the less stress you (and family members) will encounter. If you are pushed for time, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional to help take the stress out of the process.

#3 Ask for help

One of the hardest things people struggle with is letting go of possessions. If it’s all too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Whether it’s from a family member, objective friend or professional, it’s okay to reach out if you are struggling at any point during the process. It is so much easier making decisions when you have a support buddy to help you and speeds the process along when you are feeling stuck.

#4 Ask the right questions

It is important to ask the right questions throughout this process. “ Do I love it?” “Do I use it?” “Does it add value to my life now?” are key questions to ask. Our situations change over time and items may no longer have the value they once had. We move on from things as we change as people – this is very natural and a part of life. Embrace who you are now and be honest with your decision making, remembering that you simply cannot take everything with you anyway.

#5 Capture your memories

There are so many memories behind our belongings. Most items in our homes have stories attached to them. I find that once the story has been told, it is easier to let go of the item. Take photos of treasured items and record their stories. These can be passed down through generations and the legacy lives on. Remember that our memories are inside us and will be with us forever. We don’t always need to keep the item to remember the experience, but having a photo triggers our memory and allows us to reminisce.

By following these tips, your downsizing experience can be a truely positive life change. You will most definitely go through many emotions as you face your belongings. But what might seem like an overwhelming task to begin with, can turn into a wonderful opportunity to create new memories and a new start in life!

 

 

 

 

A practical guide to organising your pantry

The kitchen is the hub of every home and is often the busiest area in most households. The pantry is SO often neglected – items build up and create disorganisation and chaos. It is frustrating trying to find what you need which happens when it is disorganised and filled to the brim. Here on Stuff I am sharing how you can have an organised pantry using these three simple steps! 

Have a read and let me know how you get on 🙂

 

 

Let it go…..

Downsizing happens to all of us at LEAST once in our lives. It can be a stressful process, filled with overwhelm and anxiety and not knowing where to start is very common! In Peter Walsh’s latest book “Let it Go” he walks you through the feelings that you will experience and gives sound and practical tips and strategies that will help you to downsize without feeling stressed and to stay in control.

I recently chatted with Carly Flynn on Radio Live about Peter’s book and the benefits that you can gain from downsizing – you can listen in here:

Let it Go will help you to identify your stuck points, make a solid plan that fits with your goals, and stick with it.” David Tolin, Phd.

 

Happy listening 🙂

Create more functionality in your kitchen

The kitchen once had a single purpose – a place to prepare food. Now, they are the hub of every home, due to the hive of activity that now takes place there. The island bench is often the centre of activity – it is not only used for preparing meals and entertaining, but also where kids do their homework, paperwork is sorted and organised and family schedules and planners are displayed. (more…)

5 secrets to an organised home

No matter what space you organise, big or small, you will need to commit to a simple maintenance routine. If you don’t, your systems will potentially fall apart and all of your hard work to will go to waste! Here on Stuff I am sharing my 5 secrets on how to keep your home organised in both the short and long term and stay in control. (more…)

Tame your laundry once and for all!

Doing laundry is not one of the most exciting tasks to do at the best of times, but let’s face it, it has to be done, whether we like it or not. An organised laundry that functions well will not only make your life easier, it will save you time and help you to get the job done efficiently and with ease. Featured on Stuff here are some smart solutions to help you keep on top of your laundry and to make this task a much more enjoyable one!

This is the fourth article of a series I am writing for Stuff Magazine 🙂

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