Monthly Archives: January 2012

Imagine

{via Gus and Lula on Etsy}

This post originally appeared when Slow Your Home first launched. It’s an idea that still takes my fancy, so I thought I’d show it the light of day once more. Enjoy!

OK, confession time. When I do the ironing, I like to geek it up and listen to podcasts on my iPhone. It makes a fairly boring task enjoyable, and I get to catch up on blogging podcasts, as well as listen to some awesome lectures.

The other day I was listening to some of last years’ TED talks and came across one by Rachel Botsman. It was all about the idea of sharing and how she believed the way of the future was in shared knowledge and shared belongings as opposed to hyper-consumerism (her words, paraphrased poorly).

It really set my mind racing…

How cool would it be if everyone in your suburban block grew one type of produce (herbs, tomatoes, apples, lettuce, leeks, whatever) in addition to anything else they may wish or have time to grow. Then, every couple of weeks you have a produce swap. You take some herbs and some eggs, some leeks and some kale and swap them for bundles of juicy tomatoes, or cucumbers, zucchinis, whatever.

If I let my imaginative and entrepreneurial brain run away from me I see a co-op, rows of homegrown produce, huge tubs of bulk staples and a program for renting out your underused domestic items.

Did you know that on average, a domestic power drill is used less than an hour its entire life? To quote Rachel again:

“You need the hole, not the drill!”

What if co-op members stored their drills, saws and other bits and pieces at the co-op and rented them to other members for a small fee? Make a little bit of cash from the things you own but use really infrequently. Cool.
I really do understand that these are idealistic and naive suggestions. But we have to do something, don’t we? We can’t keep buying more than we can afford, keeping more than we need, wanting what we don’t have and measuring ourselves by our stuff. It’s just not feasible. Or sustainable. And it won’t make us any happier.

What do you think? Slightly insane ramblings of a woman up past her bedtime? Or is there a nugget of potential in there? I’m going for the nugget, personally.

Brooke x

 

Only Be As Organised As You Need to Be.


Are you a naturally organised person?

Me? No. Definitely not.

I have always been a last-minute-finisher kind of person. And it’s really only been since the kids were born that I’ve started to realise the benefits of being organised.

But there’s a danger lurking in that organisation.

An insidious, spontaneity-sucking, stress-inducing, shadowy devil.

And it’s name – The Joy Vampire.  (And here ends that particular metaphor.)

If you over-do the organising, if you schedule the bejeesus out of your days, weeks, months, school terms, you risk losing one of the biggest joys in life – spontaneity.

The feeling that grabs you on a Sunday morning, saying, “Let’s blow off the chores and go to the beach“.
The feeling that leads you and your daughter to fling paint with wild abandon.
The feeling that says its not only OK, but encouraged, for you to call your friend and organise a coffee/chocolate morning tea in say, oh, ten minutes time.

So my tip (as passed on to me by one of my sisters):

Only be as organised as you need to be.

For you, that may mean a to-do list, a daily routine and a weekend each month strictly for chores. Or it may mean knowing what’s for dinner by 5:00PM each afternoon. It looks different to everyone, and there’s no point in comparing.

For me, it means:

  • a list (in my head) of things I LIKE to get done in the mornings. But if these things don’t happen, I’m learning to accept it and not let it spoil my day.
  • a general list of tasks to do each day (EG Monday is change linen, sweep and vacuum floors, laundry)
  • trying to avoid having housework to do on the weekends, so that those days are ours as a family
  • most importantly though, it means understanding that its no tragedy if these things don’t always happen. Do it when you can, so that when you can’t, the house won’t fall into complete disarray.

It sounds like a simple thing to do, doesn’t it? And the tricky part is that what this looks like will change, depending on where you are in your life.

If you have little kids, it may be helpful for you to be more organised than someone with older children, or someone who lives alone, or with a partner or housemate. Regardless, it only has to work for you and your family, so what this looks like to anyone else should barely matter.

That being said, I’m quite nosy and would love to know if you have a system that keeps you on track of your home organisation? Or do you wing it and do what needs doing at the time? Or are you quite strict with your schedule? A mix of all three?

Share your sage advice, folks. I’m always picking up juicy tidbits of wisdom from you!

 

5 Reasons to Delay Buying a Lounge

 

{via Pinterest - original source unknown}

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

You need something. So you go and buy it. It may not be exactly what you wanted, but it was convenient/affordable/on sale/offered to you/a one-off.

You live with this thing for a while. It does its job. But then it starts to annoy you. It really wasn’t what you wanted in the first place. And now that you’ve been living with it for a while, you remember why you wanted your original item.

So you live with it for a little longer, but eventually cave in and buy what you really wanted in the first place. Then you’re stuck with the interim thing as well as the end-thing. Clutter ensues.

Sound familiar?

 

Sparky and I used to be people who rushed into buying things. Sometimes we still are. For example, when we first got married and bought a house, we needed a lounge. So we bought one. It was fine, if not a little ugly. We could’ve found a nicer option in our price-range if we had been more persistent. Instead, we went to a big box store, bought a lounge and were done with it.

Now we have a perfectly functional lounge that I’m not willing to get rid of (wastefulness 101) but we don’t really like.

 

Fast forward. We’ve been in our new (old) house for over a year. We have another living space that needs a lounge. And yet still, we haven’t bought one. Why?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

 

Where we really used to worry:

  • what would people sit on?
  • what would people think?
  • that we were poor?
  • boring?
  • style-less?
  •  lazy?

 

Now we understand:

  1. people will sit at your dining table to chat – it’s hardly the end of the world
  2. who cares what people think about our lack of lounge? As the saying goes, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those wo mind don’t matter.”
  3.  the mantra of “buy once, buy well” rings very true to us. And we will buy a lounge, when we can afford a good quality piece that will last. And last and last and last.
  4. currently we’re not prepared to go into debt for something we don’t (truly) need
  5. there are many benefits to slow decorating – we now understand our style and the flow of our home much more, meaning we’re far less likely to buy something we later regret

 

There’s so much to be gained by holding off on unnecessary purchases, that what used to feel like a sacrifice now feels like the best way to go about mindfully spending our money. Because we all want to save that where we can.

This idea works perfectly well for other, smaller purchases too:

 

 

Play Time: Water Play

Stinking hot summer days often mean cranky-head kids, cooped up inside for hours while the sun beats down.

This play-time activity (you can see the previous posts here) is great any time of the day if you have a shaded area in your backyard, or in the late afternoon if not.

Water play is basic and probably needs no introduction, but it’s usually the simplest activities that give our kids the most mileage. (Balloons and a cardboard box, anyone?)

You need:

  • water
  • hose/sprinkler
  • various buckets
  • cups, bowls, strainers etc

 

Let the kids have at it.

Simple is good.

 

Happy-Making: Be Kind (to Yourself)

{via My Little Buffalo on Etsy, via Pinterest}

Gratuitous personal note: It’s been a bit of a week here at Slow Your Home HQ. Long hours, teething babes, early starts. But the new year brought about new ways of thinking for us, and our new mantra is, “Be Kind to Yourself”.

It is physically impossible to do it all, and mentally irresponsible to try. Who loses out when you’re trying so hard to be everything to everyone?

You.

And if you’re strung out, stressed out, checked out and phoning it in, everyone loses. No-one gets the best of you.

So this weekend, be kind to yourself. You’ll reap the benefits.

 

Additionally, here’s some incredible things to think on over the weekend:

Learn to Sit Alone, in an Empty Room {via Zen Habits}

Be Wonder-full {via Be More With Less}

An Incomplete List of Things to do Daily for Happiness and Health {via The Happiness Project}

{via Lyla and Blu via Pinterest}

Have a wonder-full weekend, folks. And let me know how you found it, being kind to yourself.

xx