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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Managing Memorabilia


I’m a sentimental sort. For over a decade now I’ve kept a wall calendar as a way of documenting my life – where I’ve worked, who I’ve lunched with, what movies I’ve seen, where I’ve travelled, sick days, that sort of thing. I’ve also for as long as I can remember collected and kept memorabilia. Movie tickets, theatre and exhibition tickets, theatre programs, festival and hospital wrist bands, business cards of places I’ve been, you name it. At one stage I had many overflowing boxes of memories – yep! Confessions of an organiser here!

Years ago I went through my memorabilia collection and weeded out items that had lost meaning to me. It helped make the collection have a structure but there were still a lot of loose pieces of memorabilia that, out of context and so far from their origin, would mean little to me in several years.

It wasn’t until I was inspired by a friend’s method of stapling her tickets and business cards to her wall calendar that I combined these two habits of mine and the change in connection to my memories was phenomenal.

My process for the past three years has been:

A) throughout the month I keep tickets, business cards of places I’ve eaten at and miscellaneous items (notes from people – funny receipts);

B) at month’s end I sit down and enter the details using my Google calendar as reference; and

C) I then collage and staple the mix of memorabilia to the calendar pages (see above photo).

If you’re wondering about what I do if there’s an exceptionally busy month – well, I get strict. If something won’t fit on the page or will cause the calendar to bulk too much it gets tossed or I have two things from one event (for example – if I have a show booklet and a ticket I will keep the ticket and not both because the ticket will fit better). So far this policy hasn’t failed me yet and my calendars have remained bulk free and easy to store.

I find that this process gives me time to reflect about the last month and I get to visually see where an event fit in my life timeline (especially if something significant occurred). An additional bonus is that I rarely forget a great restaurant’s name anymore!

Are you a sentimental sort? What are your solutions?




Freezing milk and other things my Mum’s taught me

glass-1587258_640These life hacks come directly from my Life Hacking Queen of a Mum:

  • You can freeze milk if you don’t think you’ll use the whole carton. When you’re ready to use it again simply pop it in the sink to defrost or sit it in some cold water or defrost in the microwave on low (depending on how desperately you need that coffee or tea!).
  • You can also freeze cheese… especially cooking cheeses, such as Parmesan, bags of shredded pizza cheese, actually, you can freeze most things – your freezer is your budgeting and non-waste friend!
  • The best muesli mix is one that you make yourself (and not just because you can mix in Cocoa Puffs or Honey Nut cereals). Buy a few different packs of cereal and mix all together with some supermarket home brand rolled oats. Bonus tip: Use laundry pegs as clips on opened cereal bags to keep them fresh.
  • Ants hate lemon rind – if you find you’ve got a production line of ants racing through your kitchen drop some lemon rind pieces along the track and they’ll soon get lost.
  • Vinegar and Bicarb Soda are a great cleaning team – most cleaning problems from stains to mold can be solved with this duo.
  • Soak a white jacket in vinegar if red wine has splashed on it (even if it’s days old) – I swear it will be gone in a day’s soak!
  • A cooked chook from the supermarket can be used for an amazing number of easy and delicious meals. One being to serve with a ready-made curry/pasta sauce to tantalise your taste buds.
  • Use a matchstick to quickly singe an end of something, such as skirts, shoelaces, threads – instead of having to sew.
  • Hang your clothes to dry on the line by the edges to avoid lines drying deep into your clothes; or even better – use a clothes hanger which you can then pop back into your wardrobe as is.

Shop your wardrobe


A recent bout of ‘I have nothing good in my wardrobe’ and ‘I hate everything I own’ (yes, even after what I consider a very successful style journey, I have those days too) led me to revisit my method of finding new and interesting outfit combinations.

Possibly the biggest hurdle is to get out of the rut in the first place. My instinct is generally to Google pretty much anything that I am struggling with and this time was no exception. Jumping online I typed in the exact phrases above and the results provided me with just the right information to kick start my imagination.

A very helpful suggestion was to take out everything you own, get it out of the wardrobe and piece by piece look at each item, really focus on them for a moment before putting each item back in place. This has the effect of refreshing your relationship with the items (because they are out of ‘context’) and reminds you of what you actually have to play with. I’ve done this often in the past but ruts have a funny way of making you forget earlier successes.

Having looked through all my pieces I then took on another suggestion from Google and poured over my favourite stores’ websites and look books. Jumping on Pinterest and browsing ‘layering outfits’ or searches specific to a certain colour top or jacket was also useful as I took notes whenever the thought popped into woman-1326707_1920.jpgmy head ‘I can do that with that…’

In the end I had two A4 sheets worth of ideas. Over the next couple of weeks, what changed for me was that getting ready in the mornings was exciting again. Each day I would pick one idea off of the pages and see whether it worked or not. If it didn’t, I made notes about why I felt it didn’t quite hit the spot and that ended up being of value as well.

Note: Allow extra time for getting ready if following this method as sometimes the first option isn’t so great in practice – or better yet, try the combo the night before.

This process sounds simple and at some level I knew what I needed to do the moment that I began lamenting my situation, but it’s the reminder to go to the beginning and to refresh every time you find yourself in a rut that kick starts the creative flow once more.

So consider this your reminder if you are feeling pigeonholed by your clothes – shop your wardrobe and climb out of your rut!


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Phone Home Screen Refresh

smartphone-1138914_1920Smart phones can become easily cluttered, what with all the apps available for download and the important role that they play in most people’s lives.

Every so often I like to clear my home screen to refresh my relationship with my phone and to take stock of my apps.

This is a technique that I’ve used on my Samsung phones and I’ve trialled it on a couple of iPhones as well.

  1. Before clearing anything, make sure that everything on your home screen is available in the Apps menu (maybe even take a screen shot just to be safe).
  2. Hit the Menu key to take you to the edit Home Screen Tabs and remove all the Home Screen pages (this will give you a blank screen when you next unlock your phone).
  3. Enjoy the momentary blank canvas that is now your phone.
  4. Start filling in the canvas – as you go to message someone, take a photo, flick through Instagram or add an event to your calendar, whatever the action may be, add that program’s widget to your home screen.
  5. Over the course of a few days your home screen will soon support your most important apps. Plus there’s the added bonus of feeling like you have a new phone for a little while again (or so I always feel anyway).

This is also a great opportunity to go through and uninstall any apps you haven’t touched in a while, this frees up storage memory and allows your phone to work that little bit faster.

Have a go and let me know how it felt!