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How to Remain Minimalist when all you want to do is buy more Scatter Cushions

So, almost 10 years after getting married, while pregnant with our third child and 1.5yrs after returning from overseas, we fiiiiiiiiiiinally have our own real grown up home (thanks hubby). And being pregnant, I’m in overdrive on the nesting and wanting to make our home, a HOME. Unpacking boxes from a) our childhoods, b) Durban living and c) Vancouver, we are surrounded by awesome stuff (and some not so awesome) and all I can think about is un-stippling the walls and buying scatter cushions.


This is our baby’s room. And that’s me 3rd trimester pregnant, not panicking at all. 

Hubby is a DIY one. Thank you God. Really. I’d happily choose DIY man over chef man. He is so handy I have lists FOR HIM, and sometimes get a little panicky if I imagine him dying… random but true. Because, well, he does a LOT. (Here is what is running through my head on an average day nowadays)…

  • We need a king size bed before baby arrives, which means we need the base from our 4 year olds’ room, which means we need bunks for the boys (hubby to make) so baby can have our toddlers cot. Reshuffling the whole family. No biggie.
  • We need to un-stipple the walls, pronto.
  • We need a headboard (hubby to make), with matchy matchy bedside tables (hubby to make as well).
  • Did I mention un-stippling the walls?
  • We need frames around all the mirrors in the house (hubby to make).
  • A complete re-haul of the kitchen (oh you know, as you do).
  • I need scatter cushions.
  • I’m desperate for a frame jewelry display (hubby to make).
  • Replace all lights switches and redo lighting throughout the house.
  • and and and and aaaaaaaaaaaand.

And allllll I can think about is how tiny our pillows look on our new king bed (which we now have – YAY) and how I need scatter cushions to make it look better. Never-mind the built in desk and shelves which have been ripped from the boys’ room, and the half un-stippled walls in the baby’s room and the double bed sitting in the family room waiting for it to be made into a murphy bed in the guest room (which is not yet fully unpacked) and and and aaaaaaaaaand. (Sounding familiar?) So often I just flop on the couch and watch Wimbledon with a bowl of pre-made cake icing and a spoon.

And while there are HUGE house projects on the go – I’m having a split personality moment between not buying unnecessary nonsense and ‘stuff’, and wanting to remain SO minimalist the rooms echo, and spending my retirement annuity on frames, new towels, pot plants, mason jars, fancy light fittings and the latest Breville coffee machine. So while I convince myself daily to NOT buy scatter cushions (and rugs and a new fireplace which is becoming more and more urgent), I’m enforcing – military style – many of fellow blogger Joshua Becker‘s thoughts surrounding keeping the home clutter and stress free. Think Zen.

So here they are. I feel like we’ve been given a clean slate with our new house so minimalist already, that building great habits (maintaining minimalism) can only better things. Even when I DO find the perfect scatter cushions.

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15 Clutter Busting Routines for any Family: (Joshua Becker)

Disclaimer: for us non North ‘Mericans (not facing the most un-believ-able political circus), don’t be put off by words like junk-mail, garbage, coat closet and trash. You know what they mean.

1. Place junk mail immediately into a recycling bin. Take note of the natural flow of mail into your home. Placing a recycling container prior to your “mail drop-off zone” can catch most of that junk mail before it even reaches your counter. And as an added bonus, you’ll begin to look through less of it too (think advertisements).

2. Store kitchen appliances out of sight. Toasters, can openers, coffee makers… they all take up space. And while it may not seem like much space by looking at them, the first time you prepare dinner on a counter without them present, you’ll quickly notice the difference. If you think it’s going to be a hassle putting them away every morning, don’t. It takes less than 6 seconds to put each appliance away… once you’ve found a home for it that is.

3. Remove 10 articles of clothing from your closet today. Go ahead. If you are typical, it’ll take you roughly 5 minutes to grab 10 articles of clothing that you no longer wear and throw them in a box. Your remaining clothes will fit better in your closet. Your closet will be able to breathe again. And if you write “Goodwill” on the box when you are done, you’ll feel better about yourself as soon as you drop it off. Most likely, you’ll find yourself inspired to do it again.

4. Fold clean clothes / Remove dirty clothes immediately. The way I handle clothes these days is one of the biggest clutter changes I have made in my life. Unfortunately, I used to be a “throw-them-on-the-floor” guy. But now I handle each one right when I take it off. Dirty clothes down the clothes chute. Clean clothes back to the hanger or drawer. That’s it. It’s really that simple. How do the dirty ones magically appear clean and folded in my closet you ask… I’m not sure. You’ll need to ask my wife.

5. Kids’ bedroom toys live in the closet. Not on the floor. Not on the dresser. But in the closet. And when the closet gets too full of toys, it’s time to make some room. Hint, it’s usually safe to remove the toys at the bottom of the pile.

6. Kids pick up their toys each evening. This has countless benefits: 1) It teaches responsibility. 2) It helps kids realize that more isn’t always better. 3) The home is clean for mom and dad when the kids are in bed. 4) It’s a clear indication that the day has come to an end. Gosh, you’d think with all these benefits it would be easier for us to get the kids to do it…

(I have to butt in here. Growing up, my hubby had what his family called ‘Tidy Up Time’ at 5pm every night. He was 1 of 4 so you can imagine the mess. This is one of his most scarring memories as a child and he HATED it. Now that we have noise-making mud balls of children ourselves, and we’re moving from big block Duplo to small block Lego, he is ready to reinforce it. Too funny.)

7. Fill your containers for the garbage man. Use every trash pick-up day as an excuse to fill your recycling containers and/or garbage cans. Grab a box of old junk from the attic… old toys from the toy room… old food from the pantry… old paperwork from the office. If once a week is too often, do this exercise every other week. You’ll get the hang of it. And may even begin to enjoy trash morning… okay, I won’t go that far.

8. Halve decorations. No seriously, I mean it. Grab a box and walk through your living room. Remove decorations from shelves, tables, and walls that aren’t absolutely beautiful or meaningful. You may like it better than you think. If not, you can always put them back. But I’d bet my wife’s old high school yearbooks that you won’t return all of them.

9. Wash dishes right away. Hand washing some dishes takes less time than putting them in the dishwasher. This applies to cups, breakfast bowls, dinner plates, and silverware. If hand washed right after eating, it takes hardly any time at all. If however, hand washing is just not an option for you, be sure to put used dishes in the dishwasher right away. Nobody likes walking into a kitchen with dishes piled up in the sink or on the counter… and it’s even less fun eating in there.

10. Unmix and match cups, bowls, plates, and silverware. Uniformity makes for better stacking, storing, and accessing. If there is a souvenir cup or mug that is so important to you that you can’t live without it, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t keep 5 of them. Mom, any chance you are reading this?

11. Keep your desk clear and clean. Drawers can adequately house most of the things needed to keep your desk functional. And a simple filing system should keep it clear of paper clutter. The next person who sits down to use the desk will thank you.

12. Store your media out of sight. Make a home for dvd’s, cd’s, video games, and remote controls. They don’t need to be in eyesight, you use them less than you think. And if you remove them from your eyesight… maybe you’ll use them even less.

13. Always leave room in your coat closet. There are two reasons why coats, shoes, and outerwear keep ending up scattered throughout your home rather than in your closet. The first reason is because your coat closet is so full, it’s a hassle to put things away and retrieve them quickly. Leave room on the floor, on the hangers, and on the shelves for used items to be quickly put away and retrieved. The second reason is because you have kids… but you’re on your own with that one.

14. Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bedroom dressers, tabletops… After you clear them the first time, keeping them clean takes daily effort. Receipts, coins, and paper clutter just keep coming and coming… it’s just easier the second time around.

15. Finish a magazine or newspaper. Process or recycle immediately. If you’ve finished the paper product, process it and rid yourself of its clutter immediately. Good recipe in there? Put it in your recipe box and recycle the rest. Good article that your husband will enjoy? Clip it and recycle.  Article that your friend will enjoy? Clip it, mail it, and recycle (or better yet, search for it online and send it that way). Coupon too good to pass up? Cut it out and recycle. Stacks of magazines and newspapers serve little purpose in life but to clutter a room.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh – are you feeling all light and breezy like me?

Featured Image credit: www.thedormyhouse.com

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Keeping bugs away, Pure Beginnings’ way

We were recently up in Durbs doing some work and visiting friends and our little gorgeous terrors were their usual gorgeous terror selves. One afternoon we went to see our friends’ beautiful new home and our eldest needed the bathroom. (Why is it, that they still need to tell us each time they go?) Anyways, so I pointed out the bathroom feeling quite chuffed he was old enough to go through the routine of ‘lift seat, pull down pants, aim well, flush toilet, wash hands… aaaaand you’re done’ all by himself. It’s the small things guys, the small things.

Next minute I hear some strange wailing from the bathroom. I pop my head in and my littlie is balancing his (fortunately dressed) bum on the basin edge, tears streaming down his cheeks and his facial expression matching that of a deer in the headlights. “Sohhh-ryyyy, sohhh- ryyy” coming from his mouth, I look to the floor and there lay a smashed ceramic liquid soap dispenser with liquid soap spilling all over the tiles. My poor child, so obedient on the post-pee hand washing, had struggled with the pump and it had caused the whole bottle to slide off the counter and smash on the floor. Oh man, it was a little heart-breaking. Shame, it turns out it was a tricky one to use and needed replacing – or so our wonderfully forgiving friends said.

I was quite proud though, that my almost-4-year-old had taken the hand-washing so seriously. Fighting what felt like a plague of bugs pre-Durbs, I was going overboard with juicing my fave health booster juice (orange, carrot and ginger) and dealing with snotty noses, coughs and general gross-ness, I had almost forgotten about the importance of hand washing

I stand with the whole ‘don’t over sanitise’ tribe, and love dirt and mud and getting messy. But I absolutely believe in washing ones hands as well. Kids need to be exposed to all sorts of things, and while I don’t believe in extreme hospital hygiene measures at home, I do recommend a healthy hand washing routine, especially after the toilet, and most certainly during winter.

Kids hygiene hand wash

And that’s why I love Pure Beginnings’ Hygiene Hand Wash. It:

  • is anti-bacterial*, and protects against the spread of germs (*laboratory tested to kill over 99.9% of bacteria in accordance with SABS standard SANS 5261),
  • is free of triclosan and other harmful chemical ingredients,
  • contains Organic Rooibos Leaf Extract – rich in anti-oxidants,
  • has powerful soothing and healing properties,
  • and then it’s just super cute and looks great in any bathroom (and with the EcoCert certified plastic packaging, it won’t smash).

All round this is a win win! My kids think it is adorable, it keeps them bug free, and it has no nonsense in it. No ‘nasties‘ as they like to call it – no parabens, phalates, sulfates, petrochemicals or formaldehyde, among others.

Next time you hit up your local grocery store for your new liquid soap, have a little rethink about what is in it, what it then on your hands, and what you do and touch every day. Ermmm… safe to say, I think you’ll want to wash hands the Pure Beginnings way.