Home » Blog » Being a Homemaker

Category: Being a Homemaker

How to Survive Until Pay Day

If you are anything like me, pay day generally means “Let’s go out for supper” or “I can buy the fancy groceries now”. And then two weeks later, you’re counting your coins or having to choose between eating and putting in petrol.

Whenever I have zero money, I start regretting past financial decisions. “I can’t believe I bought that dress two years ago” is a thought that has crossed my mind multiple times.

Most blog posts about  saving money are going to tell you  to budget correctly. While that is great advice, it is a preventative strategy. Today we’re talking about how you can get through the month when you already have very little money. Budgeting is really important but if you’ve already blown your budget and there are a few days left of the month, this blog post is for you!

So, here are some ways you can save money and spend wisely when you have very little left to spend:

Socialize for free

And no, I’m not saying you should ask your friends to pay for you. I’m saying you should do things that are free. Invite friends over for a games night instead of going out for drinks. Go for a walk with your bestie instead of sitting down for coffee. Put together a picnic instead of going out for a meal. If your friends are wanting to spend time with you, don’t make up a silly excuse so you won’t have to tell anyone you actually can’t afford to hangout. Rather come up with something creative, because there is bound to be another friend who would benefit from a free activity.

Carpool

Save petrol money by sharing lifts with work colleagues or friends who are going to the same place as you.

Plan ahead

If you know you are getting paid in three days, for example, prioritize the important things: like food and petrol. Create a mini budget for the next couple of days and stick to it.

Only buy the basics

You don’t need a takeaway coffee. You don’t need to pay for a bag of grated cheese when you can grate it yourself. You don’t need that new t-shirt. Only spend money on the things you really need.

Sell something

If you’ve got an unused guitar in your cupboard, now might be the time to try and sell it online. A little bit of extra money for something you don’t even use may be the only way to get through a sticky financial situation.

Rewards programs

This is another one that requires a little bit of thinking ahead. If you’ve been accumulating eBucks, you could use them to fill up your car with petrol. You may also qualify for a free coffee if you’ve been stamping your Woolworths card.

Add carbs to your diet

Tim Noakes would hate me for saying this, but the whole banting lifestyle just isn’t affordable. I believe in eating healthy foods and limiting my carb intake, but when it comes to the end of the month, sometimes the only thing you can do is bulk up your meals by adding carbs. A pack of mince could be one meal for two people, or it could be two meals for two people if you add pasta or rolls. Earlier this week we used one pack of mince and a few other ingredients to make supper for two nights. This is what we did:

Nachos

We cooked our mince with garlic, spices and one can of tomato and onion mix. We bought a cheap bag of Doritos and used them as the base of our nachos. The added extras were: one avo plus a little bit of yoghurt to make a delicious guacamole; a basic corn salsa and a little bit of cheese.

Mince pasta

The second half of our mince mix was added to a basic macaroni and cheese recipe (pasta + cheese sauce made from scratch).

I’m keen to hear how you’ve stretched out your money and made it to the end of the month. Leave a comment in the comment box below and share your wisdom with me!

WIN with Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook

You found the love of your life,
there was a beautiful wedding day,
and now you’re sharing everyday life together.

But between growing up and getting married
you somehow skipped
the “learning to cook” thing. 

You’re living your happily ever after,
but it doesn’t taste very good.


However you split the division of labour in your home, if you’re the one doing the cooking, it doesn’t feel very good to know that the best meal you can put on the table came in a package from Woolies.
It’s sad to know you can’t make your love’s favourite meal and you’ll never be able to whip up a lazy brunch, romantic dinner, or supper for the in-laws. 

If you’ve never learned how, cooking can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. It can seem too confusing
and time-consuming. Too many instructions you don’t understand, ingredients you don’t recognise and who is going to show you how to do it? The thought of attempting a new meal feels like just too high a risk
if you can’t be sure it will work out right, if you’ll get stressed and frazzled trying to figure it out alone,
and there’s the possibility of your spouse going to bed hangry.

So you end up reverting back to your default meals,
even if they are unsatisfying, boring and unhealthy.

Here’s the thing:
You CAN learn to cook.
You can learn in the comfort of your own home,
in your own time,
with all the support and coaching that you need
so you can go from zero cooking knowledge to feeling confident in the kitchen.

That’s why we’ve created THE HOMEMADE COOK, an online cooking course for non-cooks. 
This online course will coach you step by step, and give you all of the information you need to succeed in the kitchen. With carefully chosen recipes, easy to follow video tutorials,
and fundamental skills explained. We’ll even show you which ingredients to buy in our South African shops
and which basic equipment items you won’t survive without. Everything picked specifically for the South African context. Nothing will be too confusing or overwhelming for you to try.

Here’s what previous course members had to say:
“There were SO MANY things I didn’t know, that I didn’t think it was possible for me to learn to cook. This course made it feel like I could do it!”
“This course has helped me feel like it’s actually easy to follow a recipe.”
“I’ve been able to take the skills I learned in this course and apply them to other meals. It made them taste delicious!”
“Yet again you’ve given me another meal I feel comfortable making. My husband loved it and I’ll be happy to make it when my in-laws visit.”


Let your happily ever after taste a whole lot better.
Sign up for one of the The Homemade Cook courses now. 

There are three course options to choose from:
– BASIC INTRODUCTION TO COOKING– a complete beginner course with 8 easy weeknight meals | R1200 | 4 weeks | starts 13 February 2017
– PRIDEWORTHY MEALS – 4 classic meals to impress, made possible for beginners | R600 | 2 week course, access for a month | starts 20 March 2017
– PASTA, PASTA, PASTA – short course of three fabulous easy meals from the Basic Intro and Prideworthy Courses | R450 | 2 week course, access for a month | starts 13 February 2017
We will teach you how to vary the meals so your newfound skills will open up a whole lot of other possibilities.

More from previous course members:

“I’m so impressed with how the course is laid out. It’s really professionally done. The online learning environment works so well, even for a cooking course.”
“It changes everything, now that I know how to cook. I don’t have to buy expensive lunches at work anymore, and I can get out of the rut of convenience meals.”
“Now I actually have meals I can confidently make when my in-laws come to visit. I’ll just need to practice them a couple more times first 😉 ”

COMPETITION:

You could win one of The Homemade Cook’s online cooking courses for non-cooks, starting 13 February. The PASTA, PASTA, PASTA course has three straight-forward meals – a quick beef stir fry with noodles, a flexible pasta recipe (which has infinite variations), and the classic lasagne, made possible for complete beginner cooks. The 2 week course (with access for a month) includes easy to follow video tutorials, step by step recipes, and explanations of fundamental skills. It even shows you which ingredients to buy in our South African shops
and which basic equipment items you won’t survive without. The course is valued at R450.

Enter by filling in the form below:

For more info and details on our other courses for beginners starting 13 February see The Homemade Cook Facebook page or email hello@thehomemadecook.co.za.

Terms and conditions:

This competition is run by Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook. 
Employees of Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition. 
There is no entry fee for the competition and details of how to enter can be found on all of Lovely Pretty’s social media channels. 
Closing date for entry will be Wednesday 8 February 2017. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted. 
No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. 
The rules of the competition and the prize for the winner are as follows:
– This competition is available to anyone residing in South Africa.
– The prize is the PASTA, PASTA, PASTA online cooking course, run by The Homemade Cook. 
Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice. 
Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook are not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition. 
No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. 
The winner will be chosen at random and will be notified via email within 7 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. 
Megan, from The Homemade Cook, will notify the winner of when and where the prize can be collected. 
All decisions related to this competition are made by Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook and no correspondence will be entered into. 
By entering this competition you will automatically be signed up for Lovely Pretty and The Homemade Cook emails. Your details will not be shared with others.

How to Survive Without a Dishwasher

I’ve heard people say: “Save your marriage. Buy a dishwasher”.

But what if we don’t have the space or the cash? Are we destined to a life of messy kitchens and strained relationships?

Today Megan from The Homemade Cook is sharing a few tips to help you keep your dishes under control and avoid gross smells and salmonella without hating your life.

 

  • Do the dishes together

 

Most unpleasant tasks are magically made less unpleasant and less tempting to avoid when someone else does them with you. Even if it means both of you are a little miserable, at least you have company! Use it as an opportunity to catch up on your day, or put on some great music and dance together.

 

  • Do the dishes before going to bed

 

Imagine padding through to your pretty clean kitchen on a Sunday morning and whipping up a batch of choc chip pancakes still in your pjs. Way better than waking up to last night’s dishes and scummy noodles in the sink!

I certainly don’t get the dishes done every night, but when I make the effort my mornings are way happier. Fresh start and all that.

 

  • Loosen with water

 

I’m certain that by splashing a little bit of water into the pasta sauce pot/mixing bowl/serving dish as soon as they are empty I cut my dishwashing time at least in half. That time between finishing prepping the meal and when I actually wash the dishes does the hard work for me, allowing the water to loosen up the dirt rather than that time allowing the gunk to dry hard onto the dish. Then all I have to do is wipe with a little soapy water rather than scrubbing and scrubbing.

The best is to do it as soon as I serve the meal (before we eat!), even while the pot is still hot. But be careful here! Immersing a hot pot into cold water or pouring a lot of cold water into a pot can cause the pot to warp from the sudden change in temperature. I get around that by using some warm water from the kettle or by using only a small amount of cold water. Just splash a little in and leave it on the cold stove.

 

  • Drip dry

 

I’m a big fan of leaving my dishes to drip dry. If I have the washing water hot and rinse off the particularly soapy dishes then I don’t have the problem of them drying with marks. And if they do, a quick wipe when I’m putting them away the next day is FAR more pleasant than standing there drying, drying, drying.

The only times I don’t drip dry are when I have company when I’m washing, or when I have a massive load to do and need the space (and even then I only cloth-dry the urgent ones!). Drip drying is the way to go.

 

  • Wipe the sink clean when you’re finished

 

Doing this makes it more likely that you’ll give your next dirty plate a quick rinse and place it on the drying rack, rather than letting it clutter up your lovely clean sink by lying there dirty.

 

  • Make it a dinner party tradition

 

Make it a tradition that dinner party guests help you do the dishes before they leave. This makes dinner parties a joy rather than a chore (see Sunday morning above).

Some of my happiest dinner party memories are of the laughing, chatting and singing that happens while washing the dishes afterwards. And it’s always more fun to wash a friend’s dishes than it is to wash your own!

Feeling awkward? Here’s how I do it:

I just happily say “In our house it’s a tradition that we wash the dishes together before you guys leave. So you can’t leave until they’re done” *cue bright, winning smile*. The important thing is to say this BEFORE guests are ready to leave. Otherwise you’ll have unhappy slave labour! But if you time it after coffee/dessert, in a lull in conversation, then it can feel like a pleasant, natural transition to a different phase of the evening. Quite often we end up sitting back down again for another cup of coffee (or, in my case, Rooibos Earl Grey) before the guests actually leave.

 

  • Hand-washer’s best friends

 

You don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment for dish washing. All I have is a scrubby sponge, a long handled brush (for scrubbing away the very icky stuff before I get in there with my sponge), and metal scourers (for when you burn a pot so badly that the loosening-with-water trick doesn’t cut it!). Just make sure to never use metal scourers (or anything metal) on non-stick pots or pans.

Sunlight liquid is my favourite. There are special cleaning products for very dirty pots; all I use is dishwasher powder (!) – sprinkled into the pot the grains somehow help with scrubbing.

If saving space is a concern, I suggest you use a dish drying mat (like this). I use it instead of a drying rack; it hangs away nicely when I’m finished.

If you have any hand-washing tools you love, please let me know in the comments below!

My Mom has a sign in her kitchen which reads: “Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell – while others may be going hungry, we’re eating very well!” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could approach our dirty dishes with gratitude? (Hard as that may seem sometimes!) I really hope that these suggestions help you keep your kitchen a happy, clean space that you can enjoy!

You can’t cook? We can take you from takeaways and convenience meals to “I can do this!” Megan has created The Homemade Cook, online cooking courses for South African non-cooks. Visit the Facebook page for more details. Fill in the form below to request a free trial – valid only until Monday 30 January 2017.

Kitchen Cheat Sheet – Free Printable

One of my new favourite things to do is discover new recipes. I find myself on Pinterest often, just pinning recipes of things I’d love to cook. My husband and I also have a growing collection of recipe books that we love to flip through.

kitchen-cheat-sheet-free-printable

The only problem with loving celebrity chefs from all over the world is that some recipes use the metric system, while others use the imperial system. Things like this make me wonder why we need different measuring systems. Why can’t the whole world just measure everything in the same way?

The truth is, different countries use different measurement methods and the result is a lot of amazing recipes that are sometimes difficult to follow if you don’t have a measurement converter.

So, I’ve designed a Kitchen Cheat Sheet just for you. Print it out, stick it on your fridge and use it next time you come across a confusing recipe:

free-printables

Get your free Kitchen Cheat Sheet printable >> right here <<

kitchen-cheat-sheet-measurements

Other blog posts you will love:

Are you spending quality time together?

How often you should clean things.

How to drastically reduce your grocery bill.

A newlywed checklist of things to do after the wedding.

How To Eliminate Clutter In Your Home

About a month before getting married, I moved out of my parents’ house and into the house I now share with my husband. Part of that process involved throwing out all the unnecessary things that caused clutter in my bedroom and creating a clutter-free home.

Well, we’ve been married for almost eighteen months and I’ve decluttered multiple times. I can’t believe the amount of stuff we’ve accumulated. Sometimes it feels like clutter will always be a problem and other times, when our home is looking particularly sparkly and tidy, I realise that clutter does not have to be in my life. I don’t like it and I’ll do what I can to get rid of it.

Before attempting to get rid of clutter, here is something to remember:

Decluttering isn’t a once-off task. 

Clutter finds its way into our lives on a daily basis. Nice new magazines that you read and then no longer need, paper clutter that comes through the mail, things that we think we’ll use every day and then don’t. Don’t think that you can declutter once and you’ll be clutter-free forever. Commit to maintaining a clutter-free home and you’re on the right track.

how-to-eliminate-clutter-in-your-home

So here are a few things you can do to eliminate clutter in your home:

Get rid of old things

Old magazines, expired medicines and food products, unread books, old cellphones, outgrown clothes, mismatched socks, mismatched storage containers, duplicate appliances and cleaning items, worn towels, broken jewellery, old mail, unused toiletries, old make up, spices you never use, scratched or unwatched DVDs, and so on. Get rid of things that cause clutter by not even being used.

Give everything a home

By not having a home, the items in your house will start to find themselves on kitchen countertops, bedside tables, desks, the floor and other places that really need to be kept tidy. If everything has a place in your home, it’ll be easier to move it from the countertop to its rightful place, thereby eliminating clutter.

Limit the amount of hangers you have in your cupboard

If you only have forty hangers in your cupboard, you can only hang forty things in your cupboard, thereby eliminating clothing clutter. This will encourage you to think twice before buying new clothes and/or give clothes away more often. This process is made even more simple, by asking yourself one question: “If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?”. If the answer is no, you can donate that item.

Find out where your clutter is coming from

Junk mail, too many new purchases, or laziness that results in the build-up of things you really do use a lot. Is there anything you can do to eliminate this clutter? For example, automate your bills so that they can be received via email and paid online. Put a restriction on things you buy and how often you’ll buy them so that you are bringing less into your home. Perhaps you need to have a regular decluttering schedule – every day when you walk into the house, empty the paper clutter from your handbag and throw away any bits of paper and trash that you don’t need.

Find ways to get rid of books

Donate books to the local library, give books to family and friends and sell old textbooks. When it comes to recipe books, only keep the ones that have a large amount of recipes that you use. If you only use a few, photocopy them, put them in a file and give the book away.

Make your bed every day

There is something really powerful about starting your day by making your bed. Tidying up your room sets the tone for the rest of your home and the rest of your day! If your bed is tidy, you’ve got space to organize and fold things, and all your messy things start to look out of place when your bed is neat.

Get rid of excessive dishes

Glen and I have ten dinner plates, so that when we have friends over we can feed them without asking them to bring their own plates (because that is weird). The problem is that sometimes we get lazy and instead of cleaning a plate, we grab one from the cupboard. By having fewer sets of dishes, cutlery and glasses, you are forcing yourself to clean up instead of grabbing something clean and then creating a pile of dishes to be cleaned later on.

Start using the “touch it once” rule

This is how the rule works: when something comes into your home, there are a few things that could happen while it’s still in your hands:

  1. Throw it away
  2. Store it away
  3. File it away

What we usually do instead is move things from one countertop to the next, creating clutter in every room of the house.

Here are some examples:

When we receive wedding invitations, the date is put into our calendar and we either put the invitation on our fridge until the wedding is over (and then throw it away) or we throw it away immediately. The date is already saved in our calendar, after all, along with registry details, the address and that sort of thing.

The only birthday cards I keep are the ones from my husband. It’s something I’ve one since we started dating, so I make a point of putting his cards and letters into a box I’ve kept for the last seven years. All other cards are read, appreciated, and then thrown away.

When we buy new medicine, it gets put straight into our organized medicine box. Our box is categorized, so different types of medicine are grouped together (things for colds and flu, things for sore throats, things for sore tummies, etc).

join-the-declutter-challenge-2

You know what they say; a cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. If you are serious about getting rid of clutter in your home, join the Declutter Challenge. Starting on Monday 24 October, you’ll get an email each day with an area to declutter. I’ll send you my before and after photos, so you can see what I’ve done. The idea is to spend five minutes each day for five days getting rid of some unneeded clutter! If you’d like to sign up you can do that right here.

How To Drastically Reduce Your Grocery Bill

For me, September was the month of getting organized. I created a spring cleaning calendar, which inspired me to clean parts of the house that I’d previously ignored, and I’ve started being more intentional about how we are spending money.

Related: Your Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide

Glen and I are pretty good at saving money where we can and we tend not to indulge too much, bar the occasional late night trip to find dark chocolate (which, surprisingly, hasn’t happened in a few weeks). Even though we’re doing pretty well at saving, I’m still trying to cut down on our grocery bill and I’m doing a pretty good job at it!

So, this is what we’ve been doing and how we have saved a ton of money:

how-to-drastically-reduce-your-grocery-bill

Make the most of store sales

A lot of stores have their “Best Before” dates a few safe days away from the food actually being too gross to eat. Once those items reach those dates they get put onto a Sales shelf and their prices are reduced. If you are looking for something in particular, check out the Sales shelf and see if you can find it at a better price.

Buy what’s in season

There’s a reason I get excited about avocado season. It’s because when they’re not in season they are just way too expensive to justify spending money on. If you’re shopping for what’s in season you are going to be spending less and eating what nature intended.

Make a list and plan properly

This is a point that I cannot stress enough. I know people who shop daily and buy what they feel like eating. Those people spend in a day what I spend in a week, so I think I’ve got a better system. All you have to do is make a list of what meals you are eating in a given week (or month, if you are able to shop monthly), create a corresponding grocery list and only shop for those items. If you are consistently putting things into your trolley that you don’t have on your list, you are going to spend more.

Related: Meal Planning For Newlyweds

Related: A Weekly Planner (Including a Meal Planner)

Know what’s in the house

Before you go shopping, you need to know what you already have in the house. Last week I made the mistake of having to go to the shop three additional times because I kept forgetting that we didn’t have butter, honey and then cheese. It was annoying, a waste of time and I ended up spending extra money each time. Keep track of what you’ve got in your kitchen and you won’t accidentally buy something you already have.

Don’t shop hungry

If you go to the shop on an empty stomach, you are going to put more food in your trolley. It’s a proven fact. You are also probably going to give in to the temptation to buy yourself a shopping snack to nibble on.

Pay in cash and keep a tally

If you’re paying with your credit card you kind of feel like you’ve got an unlimited budget. If you take cash with you, you know it’s going to be awkward if you don’t have enough money once your bill is rung up. So, use that handy calculator on your phone and keep a tally as you shop.

Use coupons

OK, this one only works if you do it right. If you are already planning on buying something and you have a coupon for it, then use it. The coupon method becomes a nightmare when you start buying things because you have the coupon, not because you need them.

Don’t buy convenience items

Do you really need someone to shred your cheese and peel your onions? Probably not. If it’s faster and easier, it’s probably going to be a lot more expensive. Buy whole butternut and cut it up yourself. Buy whole carrots and peel and chop them instead of buying baby carrots. It doesn’t take that much longer and it’s worth it!

Buy store brands

This is something I do often. In my opinion, most peanut butter brands taste pretty much the same, so I’m not going to be true to one brand if I can buy the cheaper one that tastes the same. The same goes for milk, cream, rice, pasta and mayonnaise. Don’t be fooled by brand loyalty if you can get a better deal on something that tastes the same.

Compare prices on the shelves

The reason I often buy store brands is that when I compare the prices, those are usually the cheaper options. When you’re buying yoghurt, for example, take a look at all the options and compare their prices before making your decision.

Cook from scratch

Baking your own bread, rolling out your own pasta dough and making your own jam is not only more fun, but it’s also way cheaper. Save money by doing it yourself whenever you can.

Plan one meatless meal per week

It’s no secret that meat is pretty expensive. Plan on having one meatless meal each week and get your creative juices flowing. Being able to indulge in fancier, meatless options means that you can save money and still have a gourmet meal.

Cook double batches for another meal

You can either put your second meal in the freezer and save it for later or you can portion it up for another lunch or dinner. These meals will come in handy when you’ve accidentally forgotten to thaw your meat and are tempted to get takeaways.

Check out some freezer friendly meals here: Befriend the Freezer

Don’t buy processed food

Anything frozen for your convenience, or coated in preservatives isn’t healthy and it isn’t budget friendly. Rather buy fresh produce and fresh meat and make something healthier and more affordable.

Stop making dessert

This wasn’t a huge deal for us, because we don’t really eat dessert. We do like our dark chocolate and we’ve been known to make late night trips to the shop to get some, but we don’t really bake desserts and make puddings. If you are a dessert person, rather opt for fresh fruit and yoghurt on the side. It’s healthier and cheaper.

Shop weekly or monthly 

I alluded to this earlier and it’s something I’m pretty adamant about. If you shop daily you will spend more money. Creating a plan, using your handy shopping list and doing a weekly or monthly shop means that you always have something to eat in the house. You won’t have to have that “What do you want for dinner?” conversation.

Grow fresh herbs

If you’ve got fresh herbs in your garden, you’ll always have a source of flavour that isn’t found in sugary packets. We’ve got a flourishing rosemary bush, a new basil bush and a beautiful lemon tree.

Keep your fridge organized

You don’t have to get all Pinteresty with cute labels and fridge organizing gadgets. The point here is to give everything a spot so that you can look into your fridge at a glance and see what you’ve got. This will come in handy when you go shopping and you need to make a grocery list.

Related: How To Be More Organized

Start stockpiling

Create a little pantry where you can store items that you buy in bulk. Things like flour, cereal, tinned items and anything else that can be used in meals to come. You’ll end up saving money later on when you only need to be a few ingredients because you already have the rest.

Related: Simple Ways You Can Save Money

How to be more organized

Something I love is to be organized. I have calendars, lists and routines, and being organized is something I am pretty good at. When I don’t have my diary with me, I feel like I don’t know what’s happening and when my house is a mess I feel like my mind is a mess too. So, being organized is quite important to me, because it helps me to be productive and get things done. If you are trying to become more organized, there are a few simple things you can do to set up a routine that gets you in a “productive mode”. I hope today’s blog post helps you do just that!

how-to-be-more-organized

Create a morning routine

The way you start your day will determine how productive and organized you are throughout the day. By creating a routine, you are less likely to rush out the door with an empty stomach and a forgotten pile of important documents left on the kitchen table. So start getting into a routine that works for you. Eat a healthy breakfast, spend a bit of time reading, praying or exercising, and give yourself enough time to get ready for the day. You are now ready to begin your day with a clear mind.

Become a list person

I have a daily diary that includes my appointments and to-do lists. There are also really great online tools and list apps. Find a method that works for you and use your app, diary or notebook to keep track of important tasks.

Here are a few benefits of list making:

– You’ll feel less stressed and overwhelmed

– You’ll create order

– You can manage priorities

– Your list keeps you accountable

– You’ll be more productive

– You’ll be more consistent

– Your levels of motivation will increase

Create a filing system

This can be an online system, like Google Drive or DropBox, or a series of hard copies of documents, filed in your home office, or a combination. The point is to keep track of important documents (your ID, marriage certificate, university degrees, bills, receipts, tax forms, and so on) so that you don’t spend hours sorting through piles of paper.

Each day or week, set aside a few minutes to file away papers and throw away anything you don’t need to store.

Give everything a home

Cleaning and tidying will be much quicker and easier if everything in your home, office and handbag has a place. If you see something that doesn’t have a home, either create one or throw it away. This is the best way to avoid a cluttered, disorganized mess, or hours of unnecessary searching.

Set goals and deadlines

Nothing makes me feel more organized than knowing I am working towards a specific goal. Whether you are wanting to lose weight, write a book, start a business or plan a dinner party, there are big goals and smaller goals to be achieved. Keep track of your goals and give yourself a deadline. You’ll feel more motivated and will be less likely to procrastinate.

Declutter your mind and your home 

Clutter isn’t good for your space or your mind. Get rid of paper clutter by using your filing system, put things away in their homes, and write things down so that your mind is decluttered too.

Create an evening routine

Pack your bag for the next day, set out your outfit for work, pack a gym bag, get your healthy lunch ready and make sure your morning stress is minimized. Write out tomorrow’s to-do list and spend time reading or praying before you go to bed. Make sure you get an hour of “no screen time” before you go to bed so you sleep better.

Download your own free Weekly Planner printable >> right here <<

freeprintables2

 

How Often You Should Clean Things

We are halfway through September, which means that the official Spring equinox is on its way. If you haven’t already started Spring cleaning, don’t despair. I’ve got loads of cleaning tips for you!

Related: Your Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide

I totally get that Spring is the time of year to do a deep cleaning of the house. It’s what I’m trying to do and it’s something my mom used to do as well! My only problem is knowing how often to clean everything during my regular cleaning schedule. If you’re in the same boat, you’ve come to the right place!

how-often-to-clean-everything

Things you should clean EVERY DAY

  • Make beds
  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe kitchen counters
  • Sweep kitchen floors
  • Wipe bathroom surfaces
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Wipe down shower

Things you should clean EVERY WEEK

  • Mop kitchen and bathroom floors
  • Scrub bathroom surfaces
  • Clean mirrors
  • Dust furniture
  • Vacuum floors
  • Change bedding
  • Throw away expired food
  • Clean inside of microwave
  • Sanitize sponges
  • Do laundry (can be done more often if need be)

Things you should clean EVERY MONTH

  • Vacuum air vents
  • Dust and clean light fixtures
  • Dust blinds and clean curtains
  • Clean dishwasher, washing machine and vacuum

Things you should clean EVERY 3 – 6 MONTHS

  • Wipe down inside of fridge
  • Wash shower curtain liner
  • Clean under and behind furniture
  • Clean patio furniture and surfaces
  • Wash pillows and duvets
  • Vacuum mattresses
  • Clean drains
  • Clean inside of oven
  • Clean out freezer
  • Clean car

Things you should clean EVERY YEAR

  • Clean fireplace and chimney
  • Deep-clean carpets
  • Wash windows
  • Clear out gutters

 

10 Creative ways to use the wall above your bed

Glen and I put effort into keeping our home clean, decluttered and just generally a nice place to live. Specifically now that Spring is here and we’ve got our Spring cleaning calendar [You can get your own right here] we’re keeping our home relatively clean. However, there are a few spaces in our home that need a little extra work. There’s always that one spot that seems to gather clutter because it’s just so easy to take piles of paper and dump them in a hidden space.For us, that space is our home office. No-one but us really goes in there, so it can stay messy for days at a time.

The other space we haven’t paid a lot of attention to is our bedroom. We keep it pretty clean – aside from the odd pair of shoes kicked onto the floor – but we haven’t done much to make this space something special and pretty. We’ve got boring white walls, white curtains and until recently, a white duvet cover. You’d think we would prioritize that place we spend 8 hours each day, but we haven’t.

It’s so easy to make sure your lounge, dining room, kitchen, and even bathroom look good, because that’s where your guests are going to hang out. No-one else gets to hangout in your bedroom so it requires less effort. I say “No!”. Glen and I have come up with a few ideas of how we can make our bedroom more awesome, and we’re starting by personalizing that space on the wall above our bed. So, here are a few ideas for you if you’re in a similar space and you want to make your bedroom awesome!

10 creative ways to use the wall above your bed

1. Create a mural

OK so this one isn’t a “quick and easy” thing to do, but if you are creative and you love painting, this might be right up your alley! Take a look at this bedroom wall makeover by Pam Lostracco.

bedroom wall 2

2. A romantic quote

Pick something really special and romantic that you both love, have it printed and framed and put it on the wall. It’s not too difficult and it looks really pretty! You can buy the prints in the photo below right here on Etsy.

bedroom wall 3

3. A beautiful painting

Whether you painted it yourself or bought it for the purpose of displaying it in your home, a beautiful painting is the perfect way to add colour and creativity to your bedroom. This one found on House & Home is so lovely.

bedroom wall 4

4. A family photo

Wedding photos, photos of your kids, abstract photos of people you don’t even know. Whatever you choose, pick something pretty, blow it up and put it on the wall. I really like this one by Design Milk.

bedroom wall 6

5. Wedding vows and significant dates

These are pretty, simple and so lovely. It’s also a wonderful reminder of your anniversary date (for those that forget easily) and those lifechanging promises you made to each other on your wedding day. I love this one by The Tomkat Studio.

bedroom wall 7

6. A gallery wall

Why choose one photo or painting when you could choose  few of your favourites and display them all? This one by One Kings Lane is eyecatching and pretty.

bedroom wall 8

7. White space

If you already have colourful, vibrant bedding you don’t want to hang something on the wall that will clash with it. I love the idea of a simple quote in a pretty font with a lot of white space around it. This one is by Sugar and Cloth.

bedroom wall 9

8. Pretty frames

So, you can’t think of anything to put in your frames, use them as the artwork! I just spotted this on Live Give Love and I think it’s a really lovely use of frames.

bedroom wall 11

9. A statement mirror

Or you could pick three pretty mirrors, like this one on My Hole In The Wall.

bedroom wall 12

10. Something unexpected

Why stop at artwork or quotes when you could have something a little different above your bed. This is by Cuckoo 4 Design and I like it!

bedroom wall 10

9 Things You Can Clean With Vinegar

As you might have noticed, I’m really getting into this whole spring cleaning thing. Over and above our usual cleaning routine, Glen and I are doing a bit of a deep clean of things in our home. We’ve cleaned out the oven, washed our bedding, organized our medicine cabinet and we’ve got big plans to tackle our carpet stains, our super messy laundry room and home office. Are you with me on this?

nine things you can clean with vinegar

1. Carpet Stains

For light stains, mix 2 tablespoons of salt with half a cup of vinegar. Apply your mixture to the stain, let it dry and then vacuum.

If your stains are a little tougher, create a paste made up of 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Rub this into your stain with a dry cloth, let it sit for two days and then vacuum.

2. Drains

Pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Don’t be surprised when it starts to get foamy. Once the foaming stops, flush the drain with hot water, wait five minutes and then flush the drain with cold water.

3. Stinky toilet bowls

Pour two cups of undiluted vinegar into your toilet, let it overnight and flush in the morning.

4. Tiles

Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and use that to scrub your tiles. Finish off with a warm water rinse.

5. Mildewed towels

Throw your towels in the washing machine, don’t add any washing powder, but instead pour one cup of vinegar into the wash and let it do its thing.

Related: Get your 30 day spring cleaning calendar right here

6. Mirrors and Windows

Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water and 12 drops of lemon essential oil. Pour it all into a clean spray bottle, spray onto your mirrors and windows and wipe off with a clean towel.

7. A grimy oven

Sprinkle the base of your oven with baking soda and spray it with vinegar from a spray bottle until it starts to get foamy. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply this to grimy parts on the side of your oven. Spray this applied paste with your vinegar and allow it to sit overnight. Wipe your oven clean in the morning.

8. A wooden cutting board

Wipe down your board with vinegar and finish off by rubbing a cut lemon over your board to sanitize your board.

9. Tupperware

Dampen a cloth with vinegar and use it to wipe out smelly plastic containers.

Related: 12 cleaning tips from real people who clean