Transitioning to a Minimalist Lifestyle

We’ve written before about some of the keys to living a minimalist lifestyle. In that post we talked about the importance of keeping floors clear, having only the most essential pieces of furniture, etc. What we didn’t talk about, though, was how to go from the cluttered (we’re guessing) lifestyle you lead now to the minimalist lifestyle you desire. Let’s change that now.

For a lot of people, the idea of going from a “more stuff=more happiness” to a minimalist lifestyle seems great until they realize exactly how much downsizing is actually involved. That’s when they start to feel very possessive of all of the stuff they’ve collected. It’s only natural. It took time to find all of those decorations! And your mother in law will give you a really hard time when she visits if you don’t serve dinner on the china she insisted on giving you even though it’s the ugliest stuff you’ve ever seen.

Here’s the truth: making the transition from a “stuff” based life to a minimalist life isn’t as much about ditching a bunch of your stuff (though that certainly is part of it). It is more about figuring out what matters most to you and what you most need to have on hand every day.

Start With Basic Needs

Go through your current home. Touch every single thing you own (seriously–every last thing) and when you do, ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do I use this every day?
  • Do I use this at least once every three months?
  • Do I use this at least once every year?
  • Does this have sentimental value?
  • Will you be written out of the will if you get rid of this thing?
  • Does this make me happy every single time I look at it?

 

The only things that you should keep actually on hand in your new, minimalist, home, are the things that you actually use every day and the things that make you happy every single time you look at them (these tend to be decorative items).

Put the things that you use at least once every few months and the things that have tremendous sentimental value/things that will get you written out of the will if you get rid of it/have to have it on hand if someone comes to visit (like the china your mother in law gave you) into a small and local storage space. That way you can easily get to them when you need them.

For things that you don’t need quick access to, but still want or feel like you need to keep (holiday decorations, for example), a portable storage unit (sometimes called a pod) is your best bet. The site www.unitedmayflower.com recommends a portable storage unit for people who are trying to declutter because the pods are delivered and picked up. That means you don’t have to find a way to transport potentially heavy things like heirloom furniture to a storage space.

Everything else can be sold or donated (which will be handy come tax time).

Space Savers to Keep You From Panicking

One of the things that causes most new minimalists to panic is the idea of getting rid of their media collections. But remember: eReaders, mp3 players and cloud storage make it possible for you to store hundreds of books, music, shows and movies in a few small devices.

To save space in the kitchen, try hanging your pans on the wall. If you arrange them carefully, you can create a great and functional art piece that frees up space in your cabinets.

Captain-style bedding (where there are drawers under the bed) is a fantastic way to extend your clothing storage without requiring bulky dressers or a large closet.

The process isn’t going to be easy but trust us: once it’s done and you look around your clean and open minimalist space, you’ll be glad you did all of that work.

 

 

 

Living Rooms: Create the Perfect Den for Laziness

If you’re anything like this writer, your favourite activity will be sitting in your living room, in your pants, slobbing on the settee and vegetating to the latest season of Game of Thrones. And being the most frequented part of your home, you’ve got to make all that slobbing as comfortable as possible.
So, what interior design choices should you choose for optimal comfort and style?
The seating of gods
Have you ever sat in a truly uncomfortable seat? It’s like Chinese water torture, suffering an uncomfortable illness or having to sit through a full season of Geordie Shore –awful.
And the cheapest seats never make do for comfort. Instead, they make you feel like you’re sitting on a layer of cardboard atop a stone.
Really, especially if you’re looking for unadulterated comfort, shelling out a little extra is well worth the dough. Try celebrity recliners for fully adjustable bliss, and couple them with a settee that really hits the spot.
When you’re positioning your seating, be sure not to make your telly the main focus. Foster a naturally sociable area by placing chairs and settees opposite each other in an almost-circle.
Good seating is paramount in a front room, so spend wisely and well.
Television decision
Buying a telly has become so complicated nowadays, hasn’t it?
Gone are the days when you proudly asserted your ownership of a 32-inch – now you have to know exact screen resolutions, number of HDMI ports, whether your SCART plug doubles up as a toaster and if you have dongle support (seriously, does anyone actually know what a dongle is?).
Here are the basics you need to know:
• 1080p is the highest screen resolution available.
• Having at least two HDMI sockets is preferable.
• A good quality television will have a set-top box built-in.
• Higher quality tellies will have features like Netflix and internet access built-in – although they aren’t vital if you’ve got a USB port and a laptop.
But most of all, don’t let your huge telly cramp the style of your room. Few people want a black hole as their living room’s focal point.
A touch of class
You can have mounds of Blu-ray’s, stacks of DVDs and games dotted around your sitting room, but you also need some class to impress your guests.
Invest in adequate shelving to hold a varied array of ornaments and decorations, and consider placing some pictures – whether it’s works of art or family photos – to give the place a personal touch.
The best thing about slobbing around is feeling entirely comfortable, and having your personal bits and bobs is a big part of that. But when you’ve got guests around, having a well turned-out and cultured look about your home is the key to creating a sociable atmosphere.

Picture via.

From tramp to luxury: Entrance Design Tips

It could be the rotten frame, the door barely clinging to its hinges, the sullen mat or the fact that people keep throwing money at your doorway, mistaking it for a sleeping tramp, but something about your entrance needs a makeover.
Indeed, your entrance design can be easy to neglect when you tackle the rest of your home – but without a classy walkway to your door, you’re setting a disappointing precedent to guests for the interior of the house.
So, how can you turn that front entrance from a sleeping tramp to a luxury walkway?
Morph your mat
It might only be where you wipe your feet, but door mats are also the way to initiate a positive feeling in your home.
Seek out a durable, machine washable mat with an eye-catching pattern to make your entrance stand out. Also ensure it can scrape dirt from your soles effectively. Essentially, don’t vie for the cheap, Poundland option – buy a luxurious mat that will last longer and capture dirt quickly.
Be a-door-able
Your door is the focal point of any entrance, so you hardly want it looking like the police have kicked it in a thousand times. Instead of a door from the set of The Wire, you should invest in a sturdy, heavy door specially designed to weather the elements.
But if a completely new door and frame is out of your price range, consider giving it a fresh lick of exterior paint or varnish. Just make sure you screw the door off its hinges and take it inside before you paint it – the last thing you want is rain ruining your paintjob before it’s dry.
Look to the countryside
Have you ever been to the countryside and looked at the exterior of those wonderful cottages you could never find in the city?
Butterflies flutter around trellised creepers, a long cobbled pathway leading to the entrance takes you through rose beds and mesmeric colours, and a white picketed gate reflects the sunlight with a glimmer.
In essence, it’s perfect. And while you might not be able to capture that exact tone in your urban gloom, a few hanging baskets and a tidy garden with some flowerbeds can increase the delight-factor in your garden no end.
Make it match
So many homes suffer from a disconnect between their exterior and interior, causing a jarring shift in tone when you move from one area to the other.
Yet if you can marry both, you’ll have a home to be admired.
This doesn’t have to be difficult or even particularly intricate. Provided you keep both areas clean, well-designed and regularly updated, your outdoors and indoors won’t be drearily mismatched.

Picture via Pinterest.

4 Feasible Ways To Link Fitness With Home Extensions

[Image Source  - https://www.flickr.com/photos/wanhoff/455500490/]

We all want to get fit, in one way or another – but how many of us actually do? Figures suggest that we, as a nation, squander £37m on gym memberships that we don’t even use, so why don’t we go? Whether it’s having to stay in with your kids or not finding the motivation to uproot yourself out of the house and drive all the way to the gym, there’s always reasons we never get round to it – some more valid than others!

We’d all love to be able to do more at home – it’s so much more convenient, there are less people hogging the machines and you don’t feel so self-conscious, particularly if you’re new to the gym. This guest post runs through four ways to really make your home fitness friendly if you’re thinking of major renovations.

1. Home Gym

Your first instinct, when thinking of fitness in the home, is going to be to jump straight for replicating the feel of a commercial gym but with the convenience and comfort of it being in the next room – and it’s not a bad jump to make.  If you’re already adding new space it’s perfect; it’s vital for a home gym to be somewhere totally separate to the rest of the house. Much like a home office, you won’t be motivated for long enough and you’ll struggle to stop being distracted.

The minimum cost of a home extension, according to Trade Advisor, is around £15,900 – and they can rise towards the £50,000 depending on size. A smaller extension would be more than enough for a home gym, keeping the costs down, and all the equipment in The Independent’s top 10 home gym equipment list comes in at well under £2,000 – which means kitting it out needn’t cost the earth either.

2. Swimming Pool

Before you click off and assume that home swimming pools are completely unaffordable, just keep reading. Remember the previous section and our home extension minimum being around the £16,000 mark? Swimming pools are not too far behind – with the Society of Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA) estimating between £15,000 and £25,000 for a typical home pool.

This means that, far from being a dream luxury that only the very rich can afford, for some it’s potentially just a toss-up between extending your kitchen and garage or having a swimming pool installed. There are plenty of specialist firms too, such as Edge Leisure, who will carry out design work as well as manufacture and installation to ensure it fits your garden space adequately.

3. Expanded Living Spaces

You don’t have to be rolling in cash or getting armed to the teeth with high-tech gym equipment to make some dedicated space in your home. Whether you’ve got two separate living rooms or a spare bedroom which sees next to no use, there’s usually scope in a reasonably sized home to open up your usable spaces and break down the walls – literally.

Say you really want to get into yoga, or simple muscle building exercises like push-ups but you just don’t have the room in the living room. Getting a partition wall knocked down can cost, on average, as little as £1,100 according to industry reference site Building Sheriff – giving you plenty of room for a living area as well as a workout space.

4. Home Saunas

Sounds ridiculous? Far from it. There are plenty of manufacturers offering free-standing home sauna units, which can easily be incorporated into any home extension plans – and they don’t have to cost the earth either.

Most models come in at well under £1,000, making them one of the more affordable fitness options in our top four – although YourSaunaAndSteamRoom.co put the average modular four-person and larger models at around the £2,500 mark.  However much you budget to spend, and however large you need your sauna, just be sure to stick to reputable brands, such as Helo, rather than skimping on a no-name option.

Armed with these four fitness changes, it’s easy to get ideas for your home’s next health-inspired extension or renovation. It might require some investment, but it can be worth it in the long run – no more excuses, get exercising!

 

This guest post was written by Tom McShane – a UK-based marketing blogger working in conjunction with swimming pool specialists Edge Leisure

 

 

 

 

Are You Prepared to Move to Australia?

Many of us dream of moving to another country. Some go one step further and actually start focusing on how and when to do it. Australia is a popular choice and for good reason, since it offers major cities alongside far more barren landscape that is hard to resist.

If you have been thinking about making a move for a while it is a good idea to focus on the practicalities of it before diving right in. We’ve listed a few areas to think about below.

 

Where will you live?

Even once you’ve decided on Australia you still have to focus on finding the specific location you’d like to live in. This could be dependent on your job as well as the cost of accommodation in particular locations. It is worth doing some research prior to making a firm plan.

Will you take everything you own with you?

Sometimes it is better to jettison everything you own and simply head out to Australia to start again. However this doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to take possessions with you you’ll need to find out more about international removals to Australia well ahead of time. The cost will depend on how much you have to transport so it is wise to have a good clear-out before you start packing. If you don’t you could end up moving things you really don’t have any desire to keep once you get to your destination.

What about your job?

Some people are fortunate enough to have transferable skills that can be taken to another country and used there. You’ll be in particular demand if you have skills in certain areas, such as the medical profession for example.

In some cases it might be possible to arrange an internal transfer with your existing employer. This might work if your employer has multiple centres and locations in different countries. You don’t know unless you ask so it is worth doing just that to find out more. In this case you may find part or all of your relocation is paid for too, which offers yet another bonus.

Will you be happy to leave your family and friends behind?

There are plenty of ways to keep in touch nowadays alongside actually seeing people face to face. However you must consider whether you would be happy to make such a major change in your life. Some people simply cannot leave family and friends behind, knowing they will only see them once in a while. Others feel free in doing so – it all depends on your individual situation.

It’s obvious that moving to Australia is perhaps more than just moving to the other side of the world. This means you have a lot of thinking to do before you dive in and give it a go. Focusing on the above areas will be a good start, and they could make all the difference to how successful you can make your relocation.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Interior Design Hacks For Stunning Living Room Décor

Your living room is perhaps the one area of the home where you and your family will spend the most time together,  so it only makes sense that its decor is warm, inviting and is able to provide a bespoke level of comfort. Depending upon the room in question, this can be a difficult challenge and you may find yourself torn between different design options. This latest guest post takes a quick look at some of the most effective tips and tricks that will allow any living room to leave a lasting impression.
In Living Colour
One of the first variables to consider is the desired colour scheme. Warmer and darker tones such as sienna, brown and mauve are ideal for larger rooms, as they will help to counteract a feeling of overwhelming size. In the same manner, lighter tones and pale pastels are perfect choices for a smaller area; they can provide the illusion of space. In regards to either choice, it is wise to keep the colours from being overly intense, as doing so can actually detract from other aspects of the room.

Light Up the Room
The placement of natural and artificial light is another key consideration. Rooms with larger windows should take as much advantage of exterior light as possible – try to avoid placing furniture in front of or near a window that might obstruct natural light. However, you may find that your room lacks enough windows to provide bucket-loads of natural light.

 

In this case, your choice of lighting will depend upon the style that you wish to portray. Traditional or Victorian decor can be complimented by the use of table lamps or free-standing fixtures. A more contemporary ambiance can be achieved with the use of wall lights. These will take up little space and are perfect if your room is rather diminutive in size. Thankfully, there are a host of lighting styles to choose from.

Flooring Tips

Although this factor is frequently overlooked, the type of flooring can be considered one of the “make-or-break” areas within your room. Carpeted floors can offer a warm and cosy feel to larger areas while wooden floors will imbue a sense of “cleanliness”. In living rooms, both options can be made possible by exposing any wood flooring (if it exists) and strategically placing a few plush throw rugs nearby.

 

If original wood floors are not present, modern do-it-yourself options abound and are quite cost-effective alternatives. If you have pets around the home, a wood floor is one of the best ways to maintain a clean and sanitary living room.

The Timeless Quality Of Solid Wood Furniture

One of the most beneficial aspects in regards to solid wood furniture is that it is just as appropriate for contemporary designs as it is perfect for traditional living room decor. Also, there are countless wood types, finishes and tones to choose from.

 

Not only is this option beautiful, but it is also very functional. Pieces such as solid oak displays, dressers and end tables are built to last while they will also provide a natural appeal that composite materials can never accomplish. Thankfully, quality suppliers such as Furniture4YourHome will offer a nearly limitless number of choices and as this furniture can also be painted, colour is always an option.

These are some of the top-rated tips that will provide a sense of life and uniqueness to your living room. Of course, combining one or more of these methods will make for an even more striking impression. Above all, it is important that your room boasts a personality which matches the rest of your home. The end result will be an area that is inviting, comfortable and visually appealing.