What to put on hold when travelling

world-1264062_1280Another aspect of travel that I assist clients with is considering what needs to be put on pause or taken care of back home while they are having the time of their life elsewhere. Taking care of these things in advance ensures that there are no nasty surprises upon your return.

Bills – Rent, gas, electricity, phone, or credit card payments, these recurring bills need to keep ticking over. Setting up direct debits will ensure that no payments are missed and helps you avoid late payment fees on top of it all.

Account contributions – if you have regular debits occurring between personal accounts remember to put these on hold if you’re a) taking your leave at half pay or b) taking leave without pay or c) funneling all your money towards gelato and pizza.

Memberships – It’s worth speaking to any places that you have memberships with to see if they have policies in place for temporary suspension or discounted fees while their members are away. A quick phone call could be more money you spend on gelato!

Appointments – Consider if any of your regular life maintenance appointments need to be moved forward or pushed back to accommodate your holiday. I adore heading off on a holiday with a fresh hair cut and I like having a massage locked in for when I get back on home turf.

Mail – Hold routine deliveries mail (newspapers etc) and arrange for non-routine pick ups by a friend or family member.

Email – Like above but electronically. Unroll yourself from newsletters and catalogs to save yourself from an out of control inbox when you get home. A great app for this is at https://unroll.me/

Library reservations – Been waiting to see a DVD or read a popular book from the library? Don’t come back to find that while you were away that the item sat on the shelf under your name and now you are back to the end of the line. Put your reservations on hold so you don’t lose your spot in the queue and then reactivate when you return.

Eat or freeze – Store perishables in the freezer or eat your heart out before you leave so there’s no waste and no funky smells when you come back.

Keys – I can guarantee that you won’t need your keys while on holiday. If the same person is dropping you off at the airport and picking you up, or if there’s a way you can leave your keys with someone and see them on the way home, that’s one less thing you need to carry and one less thing to worry about losing.

On top of these things, thinking about an average fortnight will uncover what else will be affected while you’re away. There’s a lot to being human!

The streamlined bathroom


If your bathroom is looking like an aisle you’d find in Woolworths or maybe even the ground floor of a David Jones, it might be time to do some decluttering.

So, my first question would be what do you use daily? When you are getting ready for a fairly typical day, what do you pull out? Better yet, put aside every item you use as you are getting ready one morning. This will give you a clear image of what it is that you require everyday. In this part of the sorting process, have a look at products that stay in the shower or along the bath tub as well.

Repeat for night time too. Do you have products that double up for day and night or is turning in for the night a completely different ball game?

Now that you’ve got your main players put to one side it’s time to look at the rest.

Firstly, pull out all the duplicates of products that match your current routine. Make note of what is already open and also how old each item is. These two factors combined can greatly affect a product’s quality, so consider tossing those opened products with the help of these handy guidelines:

  • Acne treatments: Three months to a year.
  • Body lotion: One year.
  • Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel: About three years.
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months.
  • Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years.
  • Lipstick and gloss: Eighteen months after first use.
  • Foundation and concealer: About a year.
  • Eye shadow: About two years.
  • Blush and bronzer: About 18 months after first use.
  • Perfume: About two years.
  • Nail polish: One year.
  • Hairstyling products: Three to five years.
  • Lip balm: One to three years after first use.

With what’s left, ask yourself, do you have room to have a back up stock area? If so, you can keep as many as will fit comfortably in that space. I don’t believe in throwing out things that you will definitely use later but I also believe that they should not be having a negative impact on your living or storage space. Take a look at the stock level, maybe even take a photo so that when you are out shopping you will remember not to buy anything until your stock level is VERY low or even better – at empty.

Turning our attention to special occasion products now (parties, weddings, etc), have a think about things you may use for such times. Have a look at those goodies and as above, see if you can recall how old they are and determine if you’ll use them again.

On to the rest! Start putting like with like. What categories are starting to take shape? Travel sized things? Gifts from well meaning people but you’ve never felt the impulse to use? Samples dating back decades? Duplicates bought because the original item went walkabout? Whatever the categories, ask yourself how long you’ve had it for, does it fit in with your current routine and do you intend to use it within the next month (say travelling)?

If items are unused and unopened you can donate them to charities or, as one client I had found out, items that are decades old can sometimes be sold to collectors.

So hopefully now, the most busy room in the house is now looking and feeling more like a great place to start, freshen up, and end your day in – good work!

Carry On Ready


The client that I helped get ready and fabulous for Europe asked for a checklist of what to take carry on wise which I thought I’d share with you this week.

When I fly international, I always have these things in my carry on:

1.    My travel wallet that holds all my documents

I adore my leather travel wallet from kikki K – in here I store my passport, ID, bank and other important cards, hard copy of my itinerary (never know with WiFi access or what not), international currency and when I get it – boarding passes and luggage tickets. And a pen for all those landing and boarding cards as well as a few small sheets of paper.

This is a good spot to say – make copies before leaving home. Copies of your passport, cards, itinerary, tickets, anything! Take a photo and save it in the Cloud, make photocopies and leave them at home. Take photos of your luggage and its contents in case anything should tear you apart. Also, if leaving your car in the airport’s car park – take footage so you have evidence of the state you left it in and can remember WHERE it is. If hiring a car also take footage – the peace of mind that you have evidence of how you received the vehicle gives such peace of mind.

2.     Chargers, cables & adaptors

With my phone being my entertainment, my camera, my connection to the world, and my travel journal, I just feel more comfortable that all attachments related to it are within reaching distance. I’ve had flights delayed etc and it takes the sting out knowing that I can still tourist it up without fear of my tools running low on fuel.

3.  A wrap (or large scarf)

I am always ALWAYS cold on planes. So a scarf is a must. It’s my blanket, my tent if I need to cocoon from the world, sometimes a pillow, and then just a jazzy accessory when in the airport and for the rest of the trip.

4.     Medication and essential toiletries

I have pain relief and tummy settling pills on me pretty much everyday – so carry on is no exception. And especially if taking medication to a time table, it’s good to have it on hand rather than assuming you’ll be reunited with your luggage on time.

In regards to toiletries, I like to just have enough (within liquid limitations) to wash my face, brush my hair, clean my teeth (best simple pleasure ever!), smell nice, and put on a bit of makeup to feel half alive and maybe even photo ready.

5. A collapsible water bottle

These bottles are amazing. They flatten to almost nothing when empty, but when full can stand upright. I carry it through security empty and then fill it up at the bubbler stations. Very handy for those long waits or when you need to take medication.

6. Gum, lip gloss and hand lotion

On planes I am not only always cold but dry! SO dry! I’m constantly applying lip gloss, hand lotion and if not drinking water from said bottle above, am chewing on gum to get my saliva going.

7.     One spare set of undies

It just feels so nice at the end of the flight to change into some fresh undies and if your luggage does go missing, having another pair on hand to have in rotation will be a life saver.

8.     Something to eat

It’s hard to know when hunger will hit or to predict how filling air plane food will be. You can save yourself a bit of money at the airport and not worry about converting to local currency during a layover, by having a trail mix and some other goodies in your carry on.

And there you have it! Carry on ready!

Packing for a long trip

Recently I assisted a client in packing for a well deserved month long trip to Europe. My client wanted to feel put together, confident and prepared for city walking tours, museum and gallery days, and lovely dinners and evening strolls.

The secret to packing for a trip over two weeks long is that no matter how long you are going for you actually pack the same amount. Pack for two weeks with the intention of doing washing (of some variety – hotel laundry service, local laundromats, or good ole over the sink type washing if not stopping with a friend along the way). Because you will be washing as you’re on the move – consideration of material and washing care is a must. Natural fibers are best too as they usually bounce back after a night of airing.

We began planning my client’s two weeks worth of packing by taking stock of what outfits made her feel fantastic in her everyday life at home. This gave us a starting off point and we were able to look at the elements of those outfits and tweak to ensure that they were suitable for the demands of the itinerary. One outfit looked great but the ballet flats she usually paired it with were not going to withstand an all day walkathon. Going through her shoes we did find a pair of shoes hardy enough for long treks and that still made her feel good.

These we declared her day shoes and as shoes are generally the heaviest and bulkiest of items, we ensured that they went with the other outfits as well. It was here too that we had a play with what items could be swapped in and out to create a variety of looks (nothing worse than getting sick of every combo and item in your suitcase when travelling).

For my client’s night time events we first chose a pair of shoes that were dressy enough for dinner but would also work as an alternative day shoe to shake things up. Using the night shoe as a guide we then picked a dress that would travel well (minimal creasing) and that could be layered with other items to contribute to more looks.

My client’s overall packing list was:

  • Underwear – enough for one week, and wash
  • 2 bras
  • 2 sets sleepwear
  • A lounge wear set
  • Workout gear – 2 outfits and running shoes
  • Clothes:
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair tan pants
  • 1 pair black pants
  • 4 solid t-shirts that go with above pants
  • 2 patterned shirts
  • 1 dressy shirt
  • 2 button down shirts
  • 2 singlets
  • 2 dresses (one night and one day – bonus that the day dress can be worn with tops)
  • 1 solid jumper
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 wrap in neutral colour that goes with everything
  • 1 wrap in crazy print that goes with nothing so funnily enough goes with everything
  • 1 day shoe
  • 1 day/night shoe

And there you have it! Bon voyage!

Bonus tip:

  • Create compartments Packing cubes are freaking marvelous! If you have distinct parts to your trip (such as a wedding and general travel), packing cubes will keep your suitcase organised and save you from having to pack and unpack those specific items until they are needed.

Life Changing Books


Books have to really make an impression to claim a spot in my home.

My process starts with borrowing books from my local library or from friends. I make note of any segments or quotes that were useful or beautiful which I then keep in a folder in Evernote.

If months later, lines or content from a book come back to me I borrow it again. And if that round of borrowing doesn’t satisfy me I will then, and only then, buy myself a copy.

This not only curbs how much I buy and own but also ensures that only very meaningful books make it into my home.

I know that many people are very attached to their books and that it can be one of the most difficult categories to declutter. If you feel that you have too many books and are thinking that it may be time to move some along, here are some handy hints that should help make the process less painful and instead a joyful stroll down memory lane.

  1. Start the process; 10 minutes a day or one book at a time sounds small but it’s a step in the right direction;
  2. Separate your favourites from the others and set them on their own shelf;
  3. From what’s left, only keep the books that you will read again and once you’ve identified those ones, question if you really will;
  4. If you’ve never opened a book, don’t open it now! Just pass it along! Immediately! If that’s too harsh for you, think about how long you’ve owned the book – if it’s been over a year then it doesn’t get to stay;
  5. Trust that you can get access to a book again if it does turn out that you need it or want it in the future – libraries are extraordinary and then there is always the internet!
  6. Let your space determine how much you are allowed to keep  – keep pruning until what remains fits nicely into the designated area.
  7. Take the books you’ve passed on and donate them to your local opportunity shop or charity book fair.
  8. And lastly, consider what your strategy might be for future book purchasing.


Need further help?

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To donate or not?


I often hear “No one would want that… would they?” when people are going through their possessions in the aim of cutting back.

As long as the item is in good condition and can genuinely continue doing its function elsewhere, my answer is “You just don’t know”.

For example, take this grey light pinstriped blazer that I picked up at my local Op shop – it was tailor made in Vietnam and just happens to be my size. Not only that but the sleeves hit my forearm at just the right spot and it was exactly the colour I was looking for. Made my day! I couldn’t believe my luck!

If the owner before me had not donated the blazer because they thought it was too specific to their measurements and taste, I’d never have found it. So if it’s time for something to leave your life and it ticks the good condition box, why not let it try and find another home out there? You just don’t know whose day you may make!

Minimalism – only the necessary, not the unnecessary

window-1449251_1280Minimalism sometimes gets a bad rap. It isn’t about having next to nothing and doing without, it’s about having enough and only the necessary.

It’s about not holding on to five pairs of black shoes when two will do.

It’s about getting through one makeup product before purchasing another.

It’s about making things work for you rather than you working to continue housing them or upgrading them.

It’s about loving all your things rather than forgetting you own half of them.

If you’re interested in getting deeper into this topic I can completely recommend the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things which is available on Netflix.

You can check out the trailer here to get a sneak peak!


Strolling through Daiso December 2016


Daiso is one of my all time favourite stores. It offers a great range of affordable Japanese products that often are only $2.80 unless otherwise labeled. A stroll through the aisles will often result in me coming away with a great range of solutions to problems or irritations that have been bubbling away in the back of my mind.

My most recent stroll unearthed these gems:

Tube squeezer – love love love! This squeezer gets every last bit out of product tubes. Toothpaste, makeup, creams… even art supplies!


Tension pole – the sky is the limit for this remarkable item. They can change storage areas (large or small) and can screen off unsightly areas or offer privacy. For more ideas see this great article from Apartment Therapy.


Wet wipe lid – keep your wipes moist and ready to go by applying a wet wipe lid (if it doesn’t originally come with one!).


Lint remover – freshen up clothing by using this lint remover which gently whirs over the material taking away any unsightly lint.


Extra Large Nail Clipper – I’ve been looking for a decent sized nail clipper for ages. And this one is perfect. I don’t have to clip several times to get one nail done plus the design is super cute!


Banana cutter – for that perfect cut banana look in a jiffy to throw over muesli or an ice-cream sundae this gadget is pretty nifty.


“I can make it work…” is a dangerous phrase


Slade, you deep mustard cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, meet my readers. Readers meet Slade.

I fell in love with Slade in March 2016, it was the colour that did it for me but like a romance doomed to fail from the beginning – dear Slade is up for donation in November 2016.

I should have known really. I was standing in front of the store mirror – admiring the colour – and rather than feeling completely awesome, I kept thinking ‘I can make this work… yep, I can make this work, with this kind of top… maybe that dress…. it won’t look soooo… textured?’

So I bought dear Slade, and we had a few nice times but it just never felt right and after a particularly daggy feeling day together, I broke it off. Enough is enough. I added ‘mustard’ as a keyword to my clothing shopping list and then popped Slade in the donation bag.

Lesson learnt – ‘I can make it work’ is a dangerous phrase of mine and I’ll try and resist it in the future. I’ll dig a bit deeper and see what it is that I do like about an item and instead of trying to make it work I’ll wait until the best option comes my way.

Does this line of thinking sound familiar? What’s your tell tale signal to yourself that you’re not making the best purchase that you could?



All that junk inside that…drawer!


Do you have a dumping ground that just happens to be in a drawer? Do you remember what’s in it? Have you seen the bottom of said drawer recently?

If you answered YES, NO, NO to the above questions it may be time to give the following a go.

Firstly, lets rename it. Words are powerful and labeling something, a junk drawer will attract just that – junk! So, lets take a step back and think about what you want for the space.

Once you’ve had a think about that and decided on a theme for the drawer, pull everything out. EVERYTHING. Give it a wipe down, give it a thorough clean – go on! It deserves it!

Pull a garbage can close so you can toss out very obvious things. Put aside things that need to be housed elsewhere and make a pile of the things that will return to the drawer now that it has a fresh purpose.

Once finished, start placing things back into their newly vamped home. Use containers (takeaway food containers are great, as are jars) to keep things orderly and then voila! Your new drawer has purpose and I predict, will no longer hurt your eyes. Junk no more!

Now that you’ve successfully completed an overhaul of this space, there’s no reason why the same principles can’t be applied to other organising projects that you may have been wanting to tackle. Successes keep you going – so keep this one in mind and give yourself a well deserved pat on the back!


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