Mess and Minimalism – Living your Best Life

There’s been a bit of a theme lately. Somehow Minimalism has become this construct that is defined by white walls, perfect décor and a perfectly tidy home that looks like no one actually lives there. Social Media and Pinterest have created this standard of perfectionism that most of us will never achieve – and the process of trying to achieve that standard leaves us feeling like frauds and failures.  

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Have I hit a nerve there?  

What I’m seeing is people (but mums especially) getting so caught up in trying to achieve this perfect magazine worthy home that they miss the whole point of the exercise.  I know because I have been so guilty of this. 100% have I got caught up in wanting my home to be perfect so much so that minimalism (or the process of minimising) became a  burden.  

So what is the whole point?  

In my opinion – minimalism is a process of learning to be intentional. To ask yourself what it is that deserves to be in your life. What truly adds value or brings you joy. Its learning to work out what is important to you. And then it is about getting to a place you can release the rest of it. Its about turning your back on the programming to consume and be deliberate about what you let into your life. This process should actually help us feel calmer, happier and less stressed. It should remove the surface clutter than doesn’t deserve to be taking up our emotional, physical and mental space so that we have more time and energy for the things that matter.  

For most people the things that matter are not things at all but people and the relationships that we have with those people. It is also about getting our time back and having freedom to work on the projects than interest us the most. So it’s a little counter-productive if we end up stressed out by this mission to achieve that white walled, mess free, magazine like home.  

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Now don’t get me wrong, lots of clutter and mess overwhelm me. I remember walking into my home and feeling like the entire weight of my home settled on my shoulders. I could never ever get on top of the cleaning – it really felt like by the time I finished just one area it needed doing again and that was only a small portion of the home. I couldn’t live like that anymore. We HAD to cull our things. That process led us towards Tiny House Living as well which I’m so thankful for! We have been able to gain so much freedom!  

However – life can still be messy. But you know what? That’s part of what makes it beautiful!   

Play makes mess. Creating amazing meals makes mess. Getting all the clothes clean can make a mess. Being creative makes mess. Exploring the outdoors makes mess!  

And that’s ok!  

At some point we need to learn to find balance and embrace the mess. We put the hard work in to select what deserves its place in our home and let go of the things that don’t add value. At some point the scales tip and it becomes easier to get the house tidy after mess. But that doesn’t mean its going to be clean ALL of the time. Because your house is your home not a magazine backdrop and you are busy living your BEST life.  

If you are striving for Minimalism and feeling really stuck I’d like to invite you to check out my module on Decluttering and Minimalism so we can break through some of these blocks together.

 Sarah

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What If – Addressing Hesitations

You know that moment you are standing on the edge of something really awesome ready to jump in but you remain there frozen thinking to yourself… What if? 

What if I hate it? 
What if this is a huge mistake?
What if what if what if 

I have to be honest with you and tell you we had that hesitation when we made the decision to “Go Tiny” 

Truthfully I think the moment I stood there hesitating the most was actually after we started our project. 

You see I had just spent days on the phone trying to get insurance only to find out NO-ONE would cover a DIY Tiny House on Wheels while under construction.. so we had no insurance. And then we had a huge rain and the water leaked through the tarp onto our sub floor. 

So there I was going “Oh Shit.” 

And about that same time when we finished the subfloor we got on the trailer and marked out the floorplan. Interestingly standing on the trailer with no walls and the whole wide world in our view, our house felt tinier than I can express to you. 

I stood there and my heart sank. 

I literally thought the words “What have we done?” 

We had invested money into our trailer, engineered building plans and materials. We had already forked over half of our build budget and suddenly I found myself Thinking “What if we have just spent all this money and we literally hate it? What if we have just made a HUGE mistake?” 

I’ve been there. 
I know how freaking scary it is to stand there and wonder if investing money is the right choice. 

The thing is there literally is no “Right” choice 

Everything in life is a risk. 
You could buy a house and then the market could crash 
You could buy shares and the company could go bust
You could invest into super or bank accounts and STILL lose everything 

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So it is time to 1) make sure we are looking at money with gratitude not fear 2) accept that it IS renewable (even if it takes hard work – it is always possible to go make more) and 3) get really clear on WHY we are spending it. 

We can combat that fear, hesitation and “What if” with reminding ourselves of our goals and our intentions. 

For me when I stood there going “What the heck have we done” we sat down and went back to our list of whys. All those things that we wrote down about WHY we wanted to Live in a Tiny House on Wheels

-Less stuff
-Less cleaning
-More Time
-More Freedom
-Steps towards Self-Sufficiency
-The ability to move our house with us onto land when we buy it 

Sitting with those reasons and intentions helped settle my fear. 

I was still nervous if we would like Tiny Living. But I knew that there was so much benefit it was worth at least trying it. 

And truthfully it has been amazing. 

Yep – there is still a house to clean. But now it takes me 20-40mins to tidy compared to a few hours or even days to tidy just one room. 

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Yep – it is small. But it is actually so much bigger than I thought it would be that day that I walked it out on the trailer. It is our home. Its is where the girls play. Its where our baby learnt to walk. It is where I work at the table and feel proud of what we created. Amazing meals come out of our kitchen. We all enjoy snuggles in bed and reading stories. And outside time has become a part of every single day which is so important. 

No. I don’t hate it. 
Not even a bit. 

There are days I feel overwhelmed by the noise or how quickly the floor gets messy. 

But I wouldn’t take our decision back for anything. 

We are so much closer as a family. 
I know I am so much more aware of our culture of consumerism and much more intentional with what we buy.  

I’ve gone from being someone who would hide away at home for an entire week dwelling in my own thoughts to someone who frequently plans the week around outings and friendships.  

And we have loved living in our Tiny House. 


 

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We are 18 months in – Now its your turn

This month finished our first 18 MONTHS Living Tiny! Yep we’ve been living our version of freedom, intentionality and simplicity for 18 months while sharing, teaching and inspiring others to do the same. I have to confess that we really didn’t know just how big (pun intended) would be when we decided to go Tiny.

The research, planning, designing and building was such a learning curve! But we really didn’t truly understand what life would be like in a small footprint. I think many people are in the same boat. They are keen, but are really unsure about if they could do it. So I have shared. You have watched. People have asked questions because they really want to know HOW they could do the same! So many DMs, phone calls and questions. Each one from someone who has felt drawn to Live Tiny but has not known where to next.

Stop putting it off! You want it. You CAN do it (We did!). Honestly there is never going to be a perfect time. But there is a reason that your dream is there.

There is a reason you are here in front of me with my mission to help you move into your Tiny Living lifestyle. Its time to listen to that little voice inside of you and show up for yourself.

And for the record.. Tiny Living with kids is possible! Tiny Living without being a perfect minimalist is possible! Your version of Tiny Living is about YOUR needs, goals and values not a picture-perfect image you saw on Pinterest.

Nothing changes without change right? Make the decision now that you don’t want to keep living to work to pay bills and repeat. Make the decision now that YOU want to take a leap and trust your dream is there to pave the way to a life that aligns with your values and gives you freedom back. Or I mean you could do nothing and keep things the same? (yawn..) I’ve got the answers to your questions. You can take on this project with experience rather than facing costly mistakes! Coz seriously do you want to do this the hard way or the fun way?

Link to my course Talking Tiny is

www.mecoblue.com/talking-tiny-registration/

Lets move forward together. . .

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My Favourite Things in our Tiny House Kitchen

When we designed the Tiny House we knew we wanted a functional kitchen. We eat mostly home cooked meals and I spend a fair chunk of time in the kitchen. As such the space is carefully planned and each item in the kitchen has earned its place.  

I thought I’d share a few of my essential things!  

  • My big blue enamelled cast iron casserole dish! This gets used on the stove as a pot as well as in the oven. Honestly I owned this for a long time before moving into our Tiny and it wasn’t used much. It was hidden in the back of an awkward cupboard, and given its weight, wasn’t pulled out very often! But it has become a favourite! It only takes cooking a casserole in the oven to warm up the house nicely on a cold night.
  • Glass cookware with lids! Gone are the days of cupboards full of coloured plastic containers! Our space is precious! Using oven safe glass cookware that can then double as storage in the fridge or freezer with a lid is much smarter for us. Plus it’s a lot harder to lose leftovers in the fridge if you can see the contents! 
  • Recycled glass jars. I use glass jars for everything from pantry/fridge/freezer storage, snack boxes, coffee cups and drinking glasses! They are so easy to come by from every day grocery shopping and so multi purpose. Plus its always better to re-use rather than buy  brand new (even an eco friendly option)!
  • Chopping board big enough to bridge the sink. Originally the plan had been to use the sink cut away to make a board that slipped back into the sink and created extra working space. But unfortunately this was not possible after an issue during installation. So instead a nicely sized bamboo chopping board is perfect!
  • Wall mounted drying rack! This has been a perfect solution for us! Mounting the drying rack to the wall above the sink meant it wasn’t taking up the limited working space and it actually becomes the storage location for our plates! Win Win

There are many other things I have found amazing in my tiny kitchen like a multi-function cooker, beeswax wraps, glass mixing bowl that is used to make and serve anything, my kettle and my thermos. However the above mentioned 5 things are my essentials. The things that are the most useful to me in my small space as I go about making delicious food for my family.  

Sarah  


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What You Need to Know About Financing A Tiny House on Wheels

The 3 big hesitations I hear from people about their dreams to build a Tiny House are 1) “But I have kids” 2) “Where can I put it?” and 3) I don’t have the money. 

To the first hesitation – I say sooo? Kids are actually highly adaptable! They actually thrive on less (note I’m not talking about neglect here! I am talking about intentional lifestyles and minimalism.) Kids thrive on more time outside and more time with YOU.  

To the second hesitation – see my video here  where I talk about out experiences. There is no 1 national or even state wide classification or policy for Tiny Homes. Every council has a different interpretation of and so its impossible to make any kind of blanket statement. However there are options and there are councils getting on board with the Tiny House Movement. 
For now though I wanted to take a moment to talk about the other big hesitation – finances. There are different options to consider that may or may not be applicable to you. 
I want to start by stating that at this stage in time most banks are not ready to offer a mortgage on a Tiny House. It is a totally different set of liabilities for them and it really doesn’t belong in the same box as a mortgage. Some people have had success with securing a caravan loan for a pre-built Tiny, but I haven’t heard of anyone managing this for a DIY build through a major bank. Some have taken on personal loans knowing that despite this being a high interest rate they will be able to pay it off quickly and end off much further ahead once they can get rid of their rent bill. Another option may be to find out if your chosen bank offers any kind of loan that would accommodate a vehicle undergoing major conversions in the case of a bus home.
While writing this I actually came across a Tiny House Mortgage Broker and a Tiny House finance specialist! I am not affiliated with either company and I am not aware of the underwriter for these companies, however this is another option to finance your Tiny House!  
In any of these situations it is also vital to be aware of your ability to service a loan during the build time (if applicable).  
Another option is to enquire about financing through a Tiny House building company or through a trailer maker. This is an alternative to a bank loan that allows you to commit to your plan without all the money up front. Be sure you are away of all of the terms and conditions as well as the companies reputation. If you are trusting someone to build your home you need to know they are going to build it WELL!  
You could also plan to build it bursts. So save (or get a small personal loan) do to ‘phase one’. For example you could plan a phase to buy your trailer/bus/van, then a phase to get your build to ‘lock-up stage’, then another phase to finish the interior, and then a final phase to finish it. You can save for each burst and tackle your project in pieces. This still requires careful attention to your spending and a desire to put that money aside! But it means you can start working on your project ASAP rather than trying to save the whole chunk (I guess I could liken this to saving your home deposit rather than having to save the whole purchase value).  
Another option is to jump in head first and put that chunk of money you have been stashing away for a home mortgage and build with that. More or less this is what we did. We had a chunk of money there ready to buy land. In fact we actually went looking and seriously considered a piece of land with a hilltop view. But we took that chunk of money and built our home instead. This fitted with our goals, dream and values so much better and we know it was the right decision.  
Whatever option you choose you are acting on your dreams. Crunch the numbers. See what works. Find extra ways to bring savings in. And always have your eyes open with your creative cap nearby – you never know when some kind of bonus, initiative or grant might just pop up and be just the right fit for you in your unique situation as you take your steps on your Tiny House Journey.  
Sarah


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Tips To Sell Your Unneeded Things

Every week I dedicate some time on Monday to Minimizing. 

I don’t want to be decluttering forever and I’m pleased with how much less ‘stuff’ comes into the house now! But for now, even in our Tiny House, there is still a need to intentionally sort through our things and really consider what deserves its place in our home. I find it helpful to focus on what to keep rather than finding things to cull.  

If you are at the start of your Tiny House journey this may be a huge task for you right now! I remember very vividly the HOURS that went into sorting through everything we owned and downsizing into our Tiny.  

As you go through and sort things you may be left trying to work out what to do with everything!  

First up I recommend sorting things into Piles 

  • Recycle 
  • Bin 
  • Giveaway 
  • Sell 
  • Keep 

You will likely also need a ‘Maybe’ pile as it can be overwhelming know exactly what should stay and go the first time around. Once you have sorted all your piles deal with the recycling and the bin piles straight away. Check if your local second hand stores are taking donations before you take it around – if they aren’t taking donations try a local women’s shelter, church or list for free on Facebook or Gumtree. The reality is sometimes that our stuff only has value to us and its possible no one will want it. Try as much as possible to seek out willing recipients where possible.  

decluttering

Selling your extra stuff can be a really good way to make some extra money and there are a ton of options to do so. Garage sale, Car Boot sale, FB Marketplace, Buy/Swap/Sell groups, Gumtree, eBay and many more!  

If find garage sales probably give you one of the lowest prices for each item on average (everyone wants a bargain!) but it can be a really fast and effective way to move a lot of stuff at once rather than listing them individually (or as groups) online. If you don’t have enough for a garage sale you could look at a car boot sale or team up with others in your local area to have a big group garage sale!  

My tips!  

Sell big things locally on Marketplace or Gumtree. I’ve found these tend to be the places that bulky things go fastest! We once listed a fireplace on Gumtree and in under an hour I had 13 people asking to collect it! I was really surprised as its one of the most expensive second hand items that I had sold second hand. But watching the patterns that emerged I found local listings to be the fastest and most effective way to sell big ticket items. 

Pick the little/post-able things to list on Ebay. If you want to spend the time doing lots of listings Ebay can even be a great place to move $2 items. But I think its helpful to look at what your time is worth too and if you really want to take the time to do that.  

Make sure everything is as clean as you can possibly get it. I promise a clean item will sell better than if it is dirty!   

Set up somewhere with nice lighting and take all your photos at once. Have a plain background like a blank wall, or clean dining table, or even lay things on a white sheet. Make sure the shot is uncluttered. Mess is distracting and will make your item look dirty and this will devalue your item.  

Try to take nice pictures even if you are just using your phone.

This video has a couple simple tips on phone photography 

Its helpful to do a Facebook search for any groups specific to that brand (eg Bonds baby clothes, Montessori toys, Planner BST etc). Generally, I find things go fastest when advertised to a highly interested audience. The extra few minutes to find the right group can make a big difference in the sales!  

decluttering

And my final tip is to have a rule about how may times you are going to list something. I list things up to 3 times. If they don’t sell its time to give it away and move on!  

Hope this helps!  

Sarah  


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Make Action: What have you done today?

So what have you done today?

I know I know.
As a Stay at Home Parent that question can be a little triggering right?

Sometimes it feels like we run around like wild things all day trying to keep things running. Only to sit down at the end of the day and go “What happened??? What did I actually accomplish today??”

I think this is more prominent for Mum’s because of this continual awareness around us of ALLL the things that need doing. So while folding up the washing you probably end up seeing the crumbs on the floor and vacuum the floor or remember the bill that needs paying and end up filing all the paperwork.

Sound familiar?

My favorite quote lately says “Do something today that your future self with thank you for”

So what about if we start putting the blinkers on to all the distractions for just 15mins a day and focused on doing 1 thing that will move us towards our goals and our values. Something that our future self will be thankful for.

Yesterday I did this in 2 ways

1- I took myself for a massage. Not the kind you wear cucumber on your eyes and walk away feeling all refreshed though.. this was the kind that HURTS as they work into all of that pain and tension. Something you might not know about me is that I was in a 4 car smash at 19 and I’ve lived with chronic pain ever since. Pregnancy was hard – and this is why hubby had to take in a lot of the DIY build while I pulled back to project management, planning, designing and prepping! Anyways – this means I carry a lot of pain and damage. So much tension, in fact, I popped a rib out a few weeks ago 🤦♀️ so a massage was in order and my future self will thank me! But this self-care kinda really hurt!

2 – it was also my first day of study! I’m excited but also quite nervous about juggling everything.
I’ve also signed up to help admin a local community group AND joined the volunteer fire service as well 🤦ahhhh!
But I know each of these activities are things that ignite my passions, teach me new things and in the case of study it’s going to equip me to run mine and my husband’s businesses better. 2019 is going to be a big year. But it’s going to be a year we look back on with gratitude knowing or hard work propels us!

Sometimes saying yes is really scary!
But if we don’t do things today to better our futures one day we will look back with regret!

All that ‘stuff’ that needs to be done will still be there for you in 15mins! Leave it alone and go do 1 thing that moves you forward!

What are you going to do today for your future self?

Stuck??? Let me help!

I know you want to do something your future self will thank you for… So go write down your goals and make a freaking plan!!
You can grab my goal setting workbook here
Or jump on the phone with me and let me help you out with this! Send a reply email to book your spot!

Have a productive Night/Day

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Claim Mondays for Minimising

I hereby claim Mondays for minimising! 
First up I want to say though that NO amount of decluttering is going to fix things if you don’t work on reducing the stuff that comes IN to start with. 

Ok so getting back to Minimising Monday! 
Today – I challenge you to go look at your wardrobe. For families just start with yours and do the kids after. 

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is that it’s a small collection of clothes that you will wear in a huge number of combinations because 1) they work well together and 2) THEY FIT so you actually reach for them instead of leaving them crying in the back of your wardrobe. 

Start by pulling out anything that doesn’t fit, that you never wear coz you actually really hate it and anything that belongs in the rag bag 😉 

Then jump over to Pinterest and have a look at the Capsule Wardrobe boards that I’ve set up for you as templates to get some ideas of what is going to fit your style. I’ve got some set up for men, women and kids!

Personally, I take one extra step and check the labels to make sure that what I am keeping is natural fibres or as close to it as I can get.

For the sake of keeping this email short, I’ll be recording a podcast on some details of reducing a wardrobe later this week – I’ll drop a message when that is uploaded.7 Day Tiny Living Workshop - Meco Blue

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What’s The New Normal For You and Your Family?

A funny thing happened recently!

I took my kids to a local market. 
You know the sort with fresh produce, stalls, entertainment and food vans? 

We got a pretty epic lunch in compostable packaging (YES!!!! Lets hope to see more of this!!!) 

And then we went for a walk around the markets. 

As we got to the back of the area and as we turned around Lydia (3) saw the back of icecream van. 

Most kids would be like “ICE-CREAM!!!!!” right? 

Not Lydia.  She saw the food truck and went “Look mum its a Tiny House JUST LIKE OURS!!!” 

Hahah!! Funny kid. 

That just goes to show though that Tiny Living has become the new normal. Its recognizable to our kids and its something they get a kick out of when telling someone about their house/bedroom. 

What’s something you have changed in life that has become the ‘normal’ to your kids? Maybe they think ice-cream is made of frozen fruit in your blender? Or maybe they think that Friday night is home movie night? 

I’d love to hear about what’s normal for you that others might see as unusual! 
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Have you ever broken something special?

Have you ever broken something special?

Me too! That’s actually been a challenging aspect of living Tiny. Everything we have kept has been kept because it adds value. Its the favourite of each category.

This week I broke my Pyrex mixing bowl. I’ve had it for a long time and it was my favourite! I loved the way it feels. The way it looks. And how many ways I was able to use it.

It go bumped out of the cupboard and it smashed.

In that moment I was frustrated that all my favourite things break because my home is literally full of all my favourite things. Everything here has earned its place. So when something breaks it can be upsetting.

But as I get further on my journey with minimalism and I grow more personally I’m able to realise that it doesn’t matter. As I pull back from consumerism most of my stuff doesn’t have the same emotional weight. I appreciate my things – but I’m learning to place my energy elsewhere.

So there is the moment that I feel upset.
And then follows another line of thinking.

Its ok to feel upset. Its ok to have emotion and to feel frustrated.
But then it is time to let it go.

Its just STUFF!

The reality is most of our stuff can be replaced.

You know what can’t be replaced?
Your Time
Your Health
Your Family
Your Energy

These are the some of things that matter!

So next time something breaks I want you to take a deep breath. Acknowledge the feeling. Then chuckle to yourself that its one less thing to sort and find something else in life that REALLY matters to be grateful for.
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