Monthly Archives: March 2012

7 Beautiful Ways to Reuse Empty Glass Jars

{via Sabi Style}

I keep glass jars. Like a crazy person.

Just last week, after cleaning out the pantry, I spent 20 minutes emptying, washing, soaking and scrubbing a dozen empty jars. Just in case.

This flies in the face of my “less is more” philosophy, I know. But they are just so incredibly useful.

Here are 7 of the best ways to re-use your empty glass jars:

(And maybe just make your home prettier at the same time.)

{via Pinterest}
{via Pinterest}

1. As a vase.

This is a fairly standard tip, is surprisingly useful and truly beautiful.

2. Protect ripening strawberries from possums and birds.

Simply pop a clean glass jar over each bunch of ripening strawberries. This allows the warmth and light to reach the berries, but keeps many of the strawberry-loving wildlife out. (This tip is via a beautiful gardening book I received for my birthday, called Harvest by Meredith Kirton).

{via Going Home to Roost}

3. Paint and use to store pens, paintbrushes or tools.

Simple, recyclable and so much prettier than any store-bought storage containers. (via Going Home to Roost).

4. Kids craft storage.

Small herb shakers are perfect glitter dispensers for kids craft. When your cinnamon or cumin is empty, clean out the jar and fill with glitter, sparkle stars or tiny beads. (This tip was found via a comment from Kathryn on Planning with Kids.)

Glass Jar Lantern

5. Outdoor lanterns.

Another simple, reusable way to bring character to your garden, patio or pergola. You can make them with or without the handle. (I made these ones for Sparky’s birthday party last year.)

{via Apartment Therapy}

6. Plant hangers.

A little bit 70s kitsch, and a lot awesome. I’m a big fan of succulent, or any plant indoors, and these (via Apartment Therapy) are a great way to green up your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

{via Birdoosh}

7. Dry goods storage in the kitchen.

Jamie Oliver does it, and so does Deb from Birdoosh. How pretty do your dry goods look lined up in glass jars? Just ensure you thoroughly clean and sterilise the jars prior to using them as food storage. And any lingering odours can be removed by leaving a tablespoon of bicarb soda in the jar and lid overnight.

Do you have a favourite way to re-use your glass jars? I’d love to hear your tips, as I’m loathe to throw something so useful into the recycling bin…

The Clutter We Are Blind To.

So this was under our bed. Ahem.

Look around you. The room you’re sitting in. Is it reasonably tidy?

I’m in our TV/play room. At first glance I’d say, “Yeah, it’s tidy. The usual pillows on the floor, drink bottles, toys and blankets. Tidy-ish.”

But I want you to look. Really look at each surface in that room. Each table, each shelf, each piece of furniture, the floor. Under the table, under the lounge, on the floor. Little piles of things that have nowhere else to go. Or that have been left out of place for so long, you figure that must be where they belong.

Our tidy-ish room is, in fact, strewn with clutter. Clutter that I didn’t even see at first.

We become so accustomed to being surrounded by it, that we struggle to even identify clutter. But it’s there. Subtly stressing us out. Quietly creeping over the flat surfaces in our homes. Stacking up in corners or drawers or behind books on shelves.

If we can’t see it, then it’s not a problem. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

How are we expected to rid our lives of this clutter we’re blind to?

There are two ways to identify and clear this invisible clutter:

1. Take a photo.

Take photos of the room or space you want to declutter. Spend a few minutes capturing the room from different angles, as well as specific shelves, cupboards and flat surfaces.

Then study the photos for clutter.

You will be shocked by how much clutter we simply don’t see in our daily lives. For whatever reason, when we look at a photo of the exact same space, we can clearly spot the clutter.

Once you know where it is, tackle one small part of the room at a time. And don’t move on until that space is completely clear of crap.

2. Use the laundry basket method.

This post covers what is quite possibly the most useful trick in tidying your house – quickly.

Grab your basket, find a cluttered corner, cupboard or shelf and take away absolutely everything that does not belong there. Everything.

Once the basket is full, take it to your dining table and sort the contents into:

  • rubbish
  • room-by-room (ie a pile for your bedroom, the bathroom, linen cupboard etc)
  • parts of a set (use the opportunity to put the pieces back together)
  • recyclables
  • donations

Then put everything in place before moving on to the next part of the room.

Both of these methods will help banish that invisible clutter. And you will feel inexplicably light. Because even the clutter we can’t see weighs us down.

So what room do you most need to clear of invisible clutter?

These posts have some great tips for decluttering, if you’re in need of some additional motivation:

How To Start
Do You Have a Declutter Mantra?
Tips on Tackling the Toybox

Happy-Making: Let Your Feelings Show

{Underwater Ink by Alberto Seveso via Pinterest}

When Sparky opens the front door at night, coming home from a long day at work, Isla flings herself into his arms, shrieking, “Daddyyyyyy!” She is joy personified.

It is beautiful and real.

Some nights I want to do the exact same thing. *

But I rarely do.

I either keep doing the washing up, continue tidying the bathroom or greet Sparky at the door with a weary, thin-lipped smile (you know the one) and a peck on the lips.

Why don’t we express those real, enormous, explosive feelings? Why is that only the domain of children, footballers or the cast of Glee?

This weekend, keep a close eye on your feelings. If you find yourself clamping down your joy, or pretending you don’t want to fling yourself into the arms of your loved one – let it go. Let your inner child exclaim. Jump. Dance. Sing. Love.

And do it all openly.

I hope you have a wonder-full weekend, whatever you’re up to. And, please, take the time to do at least one of these things I learnt on holidays.

*Except for the “Daddy” part. ‘Cause that would be weird.

13 Simple Living Lessons (Learnt on Holidays)

Hello! The prodigal blogger returns.

I was sneaky, folks. I took a break, just as I said, but we also secreted ourselves away for a much-needed holiday. The four of us and Byron Bay. Oh, delightful beach haven.

Have you ever realised what holidays teach us? (Aside, of course, from where the best fish tacos are sold or what time of day the beach is most stunning.) They teach us a great deal about living a simpler, slower, more mindful life:

1. Give yourself completely over to play: Play is something I struggle with. But the joy and physicality of making a sandcastle or a shoreline pool is a wonderful reminder that single-tasking, particularly in play, is so wonderful. It’s restorative and takes you back to your own childhood. And I think all of us would benefit from more of that.

2. It’s OK to be purposeless: Wander aimlessly. Sit on a park bench and do nothing. Take yourself off to a nice, quiet coffee shop or bar and enjoy your own company. People-watch. Leave your phone at home. Give yourself no agenda. Learn to be OK with aimlessness. Life is crammed full, we need to let our thoughts out sometimes.

3. Take time to read: So many of us don’t read. Read for joy. Read to learn. Read to escape. Read to relax. Read to broaden your horizons. Just give yourself the gift.

4. Take time to rest: Lie still. Sleep if you want to. Take turns with the kids if need be. Restore yourself.

5. Take time to stroll: You will discover things. About yourself. About your kids. About your life. About your surroundings.

6. Eat good food, joyously: When you’re active and outdoors and engaged with the world around you, your appetite kicks up a notch. Satisfy it and fuel your body with good food. And leave the calorie-counting at home. If your focus is on good food, well prepared, then you aren’t going to pig out on deep-fried fast food anyway.

7. Come together as a family at the end of each day: We had daily happy hours on the verandah. Post-beach, post-showers, pre-dinner. Just us and the kids and a drink each. We spoke about the day, had a laugh, enjoyed each other. And it was a wonderful anchor to the important things.

8. Be active every day: We played at the beach, we walked to the coffee shop, we surfed, we stretched on the sand, we walked to the shops, we chased the kids, we went to the park, we kicked the ball, we made sandcastles, we swam, we body-surfed. None of it felt like exercise, because we were engaged. It was all just a part of our day.

9. We need so much less than we have: One small bag each. High chair, pram, surfboard, toys and books. That’s what we needed to fill two weeks. We have so much, but we need so little. Is it time to declutter your life?

10. There is joy in simplicity: Fresh air, time to rest, good food, great company and time to yourself. These are the things we need in life.

11. The benefit of a routine that suits your family: It only took a few days to find our groove. You instinctively know what your family needs, and having a routine in place that allows those things makes each day so much simpler.

12. The need to be flexible: Anyone who has travelled with kids will tell you that things never go as planned. Much like life, really. So be prepared to be flexible. Allow your plans to be elastic and let them flex and stretch with the day.

13. The happiness of return: Isla was beyond excited to head home after two weeks away. It is a sure sign that life at home is going in the right direction when your thoughts turn happily to home. To be surrounded by your support network and to return to your community is a wonderful thing. And brings home just how fortunate we are.

It is truly wonderful to be back. Thank you for allowing me to take the time I so desperately needed. Over the coming weeks I’ll be back to regular posts on slowing your home, so you can love your life.

In the meantime, let me know, what have you learnt about life on holidays?