Sunday, September 1, 2013

eleven | practicing simplicity

this tiny pot of thyme is growing beautifully on the table; simple, cheap, edible decoration

Live a less-distracted life : embrace the seasonal clean as a ritual, not a chore

It's the second day of spring and I'm relishing in the opportunity to clear the physical clutter, simplify and create space. In years past I have found the process a little daunting as I venture from room to room and take note of just how many cupboards need attention. But last year I adopted a methodical approach and always accompanied my cleaning with music and wafting spring scents. The key is to take it slowly but do it daily (even if it is only 15 minutes). Remember, you have an entire season to declutter; it doesn't need to get done today.

Some things to keep in mind:
  • getting rid of physical clutter allows you to focus your energy on the things you need and the things that make you happy
  • if something is bothering you get rid of it now, don't wait till tomorrow
  • turn on the music; it's an excellent motivator
  • burn beeswax candles - a natural air purifier, beeswax helps to rid the home of odours, dust, pollen, mildew and mould and leaves a subtle, honey scent in its wake. I buy Queenb - always made from Australian bees. Yes, beeswax is more expensive but it's natural and safe, unlike paraffin and soy. 
  • burn essential oils - I have a few oil burners (one electric and two that require tealight candles) and I have one on daily. At the moment I'm using eucalyptus, lemon and frankincense (a few drops of each in water) to dilate the airways and refresh the home. Sometimes I burn peppermint or orange and clove.  
  • expensive cleaning products aren't necessary. One of my favourite concoctions is hot water + bicarb soda + vinegar + lemon - a great way to clean walls, ceilings and surfaces (I don't use it on wood, though). However, for the bathroom I only ever use this and for the kitchen, this
  • when it comes to cleaning out my wardrobe I have one rule: if I haven't worn it in a year, it's going to the op-shop
  • the children's clothes have always been a bit of a dilemma for me but last year I decided that keeping all of their clothes was silly - someone else could be wearing them and they take up a lot of space in the cupboards. So, I keep the beautiful and sentimental pieces (I pop them in big plastic boxes with the size clearly labelled on the front) and I pass all the other clothes on to friends or the op-shop. I truly believe that when it comes my time to have a baby again, there will be at least one (probably 10) people ready to pass wondersuits and singlets on to me. It's the law of baby clothes. 
  • pack away your woollens. I use space bags for my knits and wool throws and stack them in the cupboard, surrounded by tonic's eco sachets. To be extra careful and keep the moths away I also add a few drops of clove oil onto giant sticks of chalk - works wonders!
  • use up the staples in your pantry and buy fresh for spring. 
  • cull the toys. This is probably best done when the children aren't around, otherwise they go through separation anxiety with every. single. toy that goes in the op-shop bag.
  • take the op-shop bag to the op-shop - immediately. 
As you rid your home of clutter it's also essential that you're mindful of what you bring in. You don't want to make space and then fill it with more (new) stuff. When you are buying, collecting or gathering, take the time to ask yourself whether it's necessary, whether you need it, whether you want it. 

So: happy spring cleaning!

For those of you in the north, as you venture into autumn, it's comforting to settle in for the cold months ahead. Unpack your woollens and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the wash for a thorough clean. Collect books to motivate and inspire you, start a project, embrace warming teas and foods. Create a beautiful nest and enjoy a little hibernation. 

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