10 Ways to Simplify Life

Have you ever thought life just feels way to stressful?

You spend all day working only to come home to a home that feels ‘heavy’ rather than the sanctuary that it should be. You know that feeling that I am talking about right? Your house can be clean but still feel weighed down by clutter and the stress of all the housework that needs to be done!

I can’t promise that I have the solution to a clean house! However; I promise that simplifying life can remove some of that stress you carry and bring some peace back to your home and your life! Removing the physical and mental ‘stuff’ that doesn’t serve us in life also makes room for the things you truly want to add into your life. More time. Less stress.

I’m a mum of 2 and a Tiny Home dweller! Yep that’s right! We have 2 kids 4 and under and together we embrace a simpler life after downsizing from a big house that I could just never keep up with.  (If you’d like to learn more about WHY we went Tiny you can get my free ebook at www.mecoblue.com/ebook). To say it was a big change would be an understatement! In the 6 months of research and 12 months of DIY build time there was a lot we had to learn and change about life in preparation for our transition.

Here are my top 10 tips to live more simply right now. Things you can change to fit into life exactly where you are.

  1. Simplify your wardrobe! Capsule wardrobes are amazing! The idea is that everything in your wardrobe works together to make a plethora of outfit options with minimal clothing items. So; no more tops that ONLY go with that one skirt ladies! Jump on Pinterest and have a look at ‘Capsule Wardrobes’ and ‘Project 333’ (33 items of clothing for 3 months). You will be amazed how much personality and flare you can pack into a small wardrobe. Plus, less clothes mean less washing too so that is a bonus.
  2. Put away the extra cutlery and crockery. Try keeping out just one set per person. For us this is a bowl, plate, knife, fork, spoon and a double walled glass that serves its purpose for both hot and cold drinks. Yep – you are going to have to do the dishes more frequently! I promise the kitchen will be so much faster to clean up when you have less things out to mess it up and you are forced to wash more frequently!
  3. Always carry a water bottle. Enjoy an outing intentionally rather than buying drinks every time. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a coffee or a smoothie for example! Why not take the time to dine in, put the phones away and have a conversation! Then the rest of the time carry your water (or tea/coffee) with you. Not only will you save money and drink more fluids but you will save countless plastic bottles and lined paper cups from landfill!
  4. Consider the role of single function items in your home. Do you REALLY need that egg cooker? Or does a saucepan do the job just fine? Wherever an item serves only 1 purpose ask yourself if there is something else that can do the same job. If the answer is yes consider if it should be cluttering up your space.
  5. Step back from consumerism. This one takes some habit breaking! Learn to be intentional and mindful of what you buy. Whenever you make a purchase ask yourself “Do I need this? Will it add value? Will it enhance my life enough to trade my money and time” (yes time!!! You had to trade your time at a job to earn that money you are about to spend!). Being intentional with what you bring in will help keep your space simple and reduce impromptu purchases that tend to have short lives in our homes before ending up as landfill.
  6. Learn to look for preloved things when making purchases. I always try to buy second hand when I can. Part of this is the act of deliberately seeking something out naturally qualifies its necessity for me. There are so many ways to buy second hand! Facebook groups and marketplace, gumtree, garage sales, markets, op shops and more. See what is around you!
  7. Declutter your home – especially your work space. This one can take some time to really see progress! There are so many ways to go about decluttering! Kon Marie method is popular! So is the advice of Peter Walsh and dozens of declutter groups on Facebook! Whatever method you choose I recommend thinking about what adds enough value to your life to keep rather than searching for what to get rid of. It’s a simple change of thought but it makes a big difference! A clear workspace will help calm your thoughts and allow you to be more productive too!
  8. Stop and enjoy the view! We live in an amazing world! When was the last time you sat outside and spent time just appreciating nature? Sometimes that view on the drive is just so spectacular its time to pull over and just be grateful for what we have.
  9. Take time to talk without technology or distractions. This is one I still have to be conscious of! Simply putting your phone away and turning the TV off when having a conversation is so refreshing! We are habitual beings and many of us are suckered into our technology! Time to put those screens away and just enjoy each other’s company instead!
  10. Reduce your waste. A really great place to start is to learn to compost! This alone will probably reduce your waste by 50-70%! Then swap to reusable bags and coffee cups. These changes are super simple and easy to do! When you are ready for more there are so many changes and swaps you can make. The biggest one you can do is to simplify what you consume! Try refusing items that come in packaging wherever possible! Maybe that means you swap to a carrot and an apple for morning tea rather than a muesli bar every day?

Bonus for families –

Reduce the toys! There are so many studies that show that kids actually thrive on being bored! It turns on their creative and inventive brains! Plus; too much choice can be overwhelming for kids – you will probably find they play more and fight less with less toys! Maybe you could try putting away anything with batteries for a month!

Simplifying was a part of our journey towards Tiny Living. If you would like more information about the Tiny House lifestyle why not come and check us out at instagram.com/mecobluetinyliving or come get your dose or Tiny House inspiration at pinterest.com.au/mecobluetinyliving/

For more free resources, click here.

See you there

Sarah x

Ways to Simplify Life

7 Day Tiny Living Workshop - Meco Blue

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Why Our Family is doing a 3 Gift Christmas

Somehow it happens every year. It’s Easter, mid year holidays, I start thinking about Christmas in September and then suddenly BAM its December with Christmas RIGHT around the corner.

Sound familiar?

I’ve seen a lot of people getting stressed at the moment trying to plan out their perfect Christmas. Posts popping up on Mums groups about how many presents to get, what the budget should be, how many stocking stuffers to do, how to manage big family events and more. There is a lot of stress for so many when Christmas can and should be such a special time.

A few years ago I stumbled across a lovely little guideline for our Christmas giving and its something that has actually really helped me simplify presents.

I actually found this concept at around the time that I started reading about culling the toys. There was study after study and blog after blog talking about the benefits for kids of living a minimalist lifestyle. I saw so much about how simplicity inspires ingenuity and creativity in kids rather than overwhelming them. I saw so much about the benefits that I knew that combating the busyness and consumerism of December with intentional giving was important.

Finding this 3 gift guideline has helped me find that balance in giving and in consuming.

And it has helped bring joy to the way that I plan the gifts for our children too.

There are a bunch of different ideas out there about simple 3, 4, or 5 gift Christmases. Please feel free to read about what we do and then apply a different guideline if you wish.

In our family our minimalistic 3 gift giving is also a very special representation of love too.

Each child gets one thing for the body. This is representative of Myrrh. This gift has been anything from bat wings, superhero capes, shoes, or headbands over the last 3 years. (This year the girls have ballet slippers and a backpack but shhhhh). This one is the gift I find the easiest to fill a need too. Maybe your child needs a new going-out outfit, basketball shoes, bathers, a water bottle, shin guards or a hat. It could also be exercise or sports vouchers/lessons too. You get the idea.

Next up – Something for the spirit. This is representive of Frankincense. I’ll admit, this is one that I have found I think about for a long while thinking about an age appropriate idea for small kids. One year we did a kids CD and the following year it was a 1st Bible. You could also pick wall art, movies, journals, devotionals, nativity sets or books. If you are moving towards gifts of times and experiences rather than ‘stuff’ this could be tickets to camp, retreat or event.

Lastly is something precious. This is something that represents gold. Most of the time this is the EASIEST thing to pick. Watching your child throughout the year I bet you have an idea of what really makes them excited! Maybe it’s a scooter, or a dollhouse, a toy truck, tools, some art stuff, horse riding lessons, pottery classes, or a ticket to their favourite ballet. This is the gift that I really love thinking about as it really helps me pause and reflect on my child and their passions. What is it that brings them pure joy!? Digging into this question also leaves me smiling at the precious peculiarities of themselves.

When it comes to wrapping that is another tradition in itself. The last 3 years I have re-used the same gift tags I made out of a manila folder – so simple but so beautiful! The front of the tag has their name and the back of the tag has a note about what that item represents. Our new tradition is to wrap with fabric (google Furoshiki to see the Japanese origins of this tradition!) and tie off with ribbons or strips of material. Alterntatively newspaper with twine is a lovely rustic look too.

To be able to give is such a privilege.

In a world full of consumerism, marketing, and greed there is still such a beautiful opportunity to be intentional with giving too. That’s why I’ve loved using this little template when giving to our kids as I pass on a mindset of simplicity and gratitude.

 

 

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Forget Fear, Take The Plunge

Do you know that feeling of fear as you consider a big decision? That feeling of standing at a fork in the proverbial road and not really knowing which way to go.

You peer down both paths and honestly you probably can’t see that far ahead. So instead you choose to stand there hoping someone else comes along with a map to highlight which way to go.

1.5 years ago this was us. We stood there holding our dreams in our hands and we had to make a choice which way to go.

This dream of ours was growing. We’d planted the seeds as we decluttered and as we learned to reduce our waste. Every time we looked around our space and felt lighter our dream solidified itself. And it grew with every moment we wished for more time, more freedom, less stress and more self-sufficiency.
We had a choice to make.

Stay as we were in a big house with all the luxury, lots of space, all the comforts but very little money left each week knowing that our chance of not only being able to buy land but being able to buy land AND develop it into a homestead was going to be nearly unattainable.

Or

Take a risk. Invest some money. Do something that directly changes our future.

Man it was a scary decision. And not one that everyone who loved us really understood. We looked at the paths in front of us and walked towards the one that our dreams pulled us down.

It was scary.

But you know what would have been scarier?

Regret.

Looking back and knowing we stood there with a chance to change our lives and knowing we were too scared to take a risk.

What life choices are standing in front of you today? Which way do you really, truly want to head? What’s holding you back?

I’d love to extend the offer to you to jump on the phone for a free ‘virtual coffee chat’ and we can dig into this a bit together. To apply click here

Have an awesome Friday.

Sarah

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How Tiny Living Has Affected Our Family Relationships

Do you know what the number 1 objection people had when we first started talking about living in a  Tiny House?

Space! Families need space they said.

Admittedly it was something on our mind too. To one way of thinking we were looking to Tiny Living to improve or solve a lot of our problems. My stress trying to keep up with cleaning. Our ability to save and do something to improve our future. As well as the time we could spend together. There were definitely aspects that made me nervous however!

One of the things I was really nervous about were relationships. What happens when you cram a whole family including all of those various dynamics into a small footprint. My fear was literally “Aren’t we all going to go a bit nuts?”

Well I’ve been doing some reflecting this week. We’ve been living Tiny for 6 months and its been super interesting thinking back on the time we have spent in here.

Well a couple interesting things have happened.

Lydia who suffered really badly with separation anxiety after an interstate move at 18 months has come in leaps and bounds. She was still sleeping in our bedroom when we moved out but she has transitioned to her own space beautifully. She is confident and an amazing communicator. She thrives on the closeness and knowing Mummy and Daddy are RIGHT THERE if she needs us.

Abi is 1 soon and just adores her big sister. She loves crawling over the walkway to go visit her big sister in her room. I’ve really loved watching them play together. They play in our little lounge room actually better than they do in a big lounge room generally. I think there is something amazing about the adaptability of kids and their ability to invent games.

Small spaces have also forced our family to communicate.

We spend so much time sitting around our family space with a hot drink talking. Normally the kids will play on the floor, I’ll get comfy sitting on the stairs and Jeremy will sit at the table. We naturally spend a lot more time just talking. Maybe because there isn’t so much stuff cluttering our time and energy?

There also literally isn’t the space to go sulk or give each other the cold shoulder. Sure we still have disagreements (we had one on the weekend) and this is something we are always working to improve on. Sometimes we need to spend time thinking it over before we talk about it and hug it out. Honestly though I think we communicate a whole lot better than we have in a really long time.

Meals and evenings are far more of a family affair again.

We eat at the table and night-time TV habits have really changed as we don’t have a TV in here. Sure, sometimes we will pull the laptop into bed and watch 30mins of something together after the kids are asleep but the habit of zoning out infront of the TV every night has been forced out of our lives. It was an easy habit to fall into during the build as we were both feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed as we faced the huge learning curve and challenge of DIY building and downsizing drastically.

6 months in and I’m still learning.

We are still adapting our space and learning how to adjust to different phases of life.

Honestly I don’t think I could ever live in a huge house again.
I love the closeness.
I love the togetherness.
I love the small space and the fewer possessions.

DIY building and the huge downsize bought a lot of hurdles and struggles to work through. Its been worth it though.

Our Tiny Home has made us strong.

Sarah

Ps.
Make sure you are in our chatter group to hear first all the new stuff I have coming for you guys! Its gonna be epic!!!

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What Life in a Tiny House is Like for Kids

It’s a wet, rainy day here and I thought I’d take a moment to share some photos of what life in a Tiny House is like for kids.

Truthfully – there is no such thing as bad weather! Mud and rain are fun too!

Bbbbuuuuutttt with a 2.5kg washing machine, mud being walked into the house, a business to run and an interstate move to prepare for I have to be honest and say I don’t want my kids getting wet and muddy right now o.o

Yep I said it.
It’s me that doesn’t want to deal with mud.

But we still find ways to have an awesome time! Kids are highly adaptable and find ways to have fun in a Tiny space too!

Tiny House for KidsLydia often uses the bottom step as a desk/table!
This is our ‘low supervision’ craft kit for 3/4 yr olds.

Its got paper, pencils, crayons, tissue paper, glue stick and crinkle scissors.

Abi (1) is quite happy with just paper and pencils right now.

The basket hangs up out of reach (so we don’t end up with pencils scattered everywhere for someone to slip on!) and comes down when I’m working on the computer or taking Abi for a nap!

I’d normally have playdough in there too but I need to make more 😉

I also have a collection of paint with water pages (you know the ones that you just brush with water and the dots turn to paint?), felt, coloured paper, beads and paints that come out when I have more time too.

The girls will also play in the kids corner (go check out the video in the Facebook group if you’d like to see the set up 😉 ) with books, pillows and blankets.

Or they will build towers together with blocks or duplo.
Or maybe they will just roll play and giggle together!

Sometimes we bake together or I’ll put on music and we dance even in the Tiny Space.

We don’t have a TV in our Tiny house but pulling out the iPad on occasion will typically buy me about 20 mins of quiet.

Sometimes though when we are feeling a bit cooped up and need some time out of the Tiny house there is a card up my sleeve! A list of other ideas!

  • Visit family or friends. Even if they are at work during the day you can ask if they are happy for you to use the lounge room and access the TV.  A change of scene can be super helpful!
  • Library or play cafe. There are often free nooks you can use for an outing! Even better if you can access a coffee right?
  • Run errands! Grocery shop, visit the post office, go to a shopping centre or whatever you have been putting off doing. I know it can be a pain running errands with kids but sometimes its actually the outing that you need!
  • Or you could go to a park and hunt for painted rocks (especially if the sun is shining!)
There are so many ways to spend time as a family!
We love playing, dancing and living in our Tiny House, even when it’s wet and cold! The togetherness is just such a different vibe to in a big house!

I hope these ideas have been inspiring for you!
Have fun today!

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Getting Stuck Into Spring Cleaning and Decluttering

We are now well and truly into spring with summer coming just around the corner!

The air is fresh and sweet (except for yesterday when it was bitter and cold – thanks surprise winter day!)

The birds are singing. 

So many people are getting stuck into Spring Cleaning and Decluttering!

That feeling of clearing out stuff that has been un-used and un-appreciated is awesome!

Are you getting into any sorting projects?

I would love to know what is your biggest hurdle when it comes to downsizing or decluttering!

Is it the decluttering of stuff? If so what about decluttering overwhelms you?

Is it the cost of moving and downsizing?

Is it fear?

I think this is a hurdle for many people – and sometimes there are a few mental blockages to work though!

Firstly – When decluttering it can be really powerfully to selectively choose what to KEEP rather than trying to work out what to CULL. Simply changing that thought pattern helps enormously! (If you are looking for a plan of action check out my free printable challenge here – If you want MORE why not grab my decluttering module here )

Secondly – If you want to downsize your physical space but have a hurdle there its important to identify your fears. Then you can start to unravel them and combat them with truth!

For instance – What is the true cost of NOT changing (eg rent, mortgage, stress etc)?  How much space does your family REALLY need?

Once you take some time to re-program a few of those thought patterns things will become easier and clearer!

Good luck with your Spring Cleaning!

May the spring breeze motivate you, calm your thoughts and help carry you towards your goals

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