Friday, 3 January 2014

How to live in a small home.



Hello Dear Reader,

I'm still getting used to my house. It like having a new car, it's a car but requires different pressure on the throttle and finding where the clutch bites or which gear to drop when driving up that hill on the way home. There are some fundamentals I have taken with me and used in every house I've ever lived in.

An untidy house or at worst, a dirty house messes with my head. I can't think straight unless the house is clutter free, organised, clean, smells nice and I know where everything is. I still have boxes that I haven't opened yet as I haven't clearly thought through where I'm going to put everything that is already out of a box. If I haven't missed what ever is in those boxes in a few months then I'm just going to recycle what ever is in there! I'm developing new systems for the house I'm in and I have a few already that I'm writing down so I own them and I can use them every day.

1. Get rid of anything and everything I don't use almost every day. I live in small house and a whole lot has to go. Daily, I look for something I can get rid of and take it to the car. This means on my way somewhere or on my way to work, I can take it to the recycling bank. Even if it's just one book or one baking tray, if I keep doing this every day, then I will have more space in no time at all.

2. Decide what every cupboard is for. I have a lot of storage in my attic bedroom. I need to work out how to use it to the maximum. I think it's perfectly OK to have a stacking box with the bread machine, the food processor and so on in my bedroom. I don't use those items every day so I can store them in there. I also think it's OK to use stacking boxes to store long life food items in a 'kitchen' cupboard in my bedroom. I also think it's OK to have a tool cupboard in my bedroom. We have the most storage in the eaves of our attic bedroom so it make sense to choose a cupboard and decide what's going to go in it.

3. I've already rearranged the kitchen cupboards and I have condensed all my pots and pans into one cupboard. Anything I didn't use every day was recycled to the charity shop. I didn't keep the Kenwood Chef so some lucky soul would have been able to pick that up in the Sally Army shop. In fact, they often give electrical items away to anyone who needs them. I now have one larder cupboard, one for glasses, one for crockery and so on. The fridge freezer has gone into the cupboard under the stairs and DB has made air vents so it doesn't over heat. To keep the kitchen clean and tidy I have a ruthless turn round system on loading and emptying the dishwasher and keeping the worktops clutter free and easy to wipe down. The next job is to cull the mug cupboard and I will be off to the charity shop tomorrow with anything I can get rid of.

4. A small house gets dirty easily and it needs a surface clean every day. I start at the top and work my way down and just wipe over all surfaces with a damp cloth every day. I also vacuum the house every day and by using an extension lead means I can plug it into the downstairs hall way and clean every room in under ten minutes. I'm sweating and ready for the shower afterwards but the house gets a peripheral clean every day. I also keep cleaning supplies around the house. The upstairs cleaning resources are in a bathroom cupboard. A quick sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda around the sink and shower and a wipe and a rinse means the bathroom gets a clean every time we use it. I use Ecover products once a week but the rest of the time it's just cheap old favourites. I keep a 'squirty' bottle with water and half a cup of white vinegar, half a cup of Ecover washing up liquid ready to clean surfaces such as skirting boards, door frames and floors. I clean every day so a quick wipe down is all it needs.

5. Keep it tidy. We haven't quite managed this yet. Some cupboards are still disorganised. Some rooms still have boxes in the corners. Needless to say, the mess is still messing with my head and it's still work in progress! I keep the kitchen, laundry, bathroom and my bedroom tidy and I'm working on the rest.

Over to you Dear Reader. Help me out here? I need all the advice you can muster for living in a small space. Share with me you sorting and tidying ideas. Share your systems that keep your house running smoothly. Also, what eco cleaning products do you use? What do you make yourself? Has anyone ever used soy scented candles? Who uses essential oils around their homes? Does anyone have an oil burner to scent their home?

Thanks for your help and advice. As I said, I'm still learning to drive this house.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx


50 comments:

  1. Great post!
    My tips are pretty much the same - a place for everything and everything in its place.
    We downsized from a larger rented home to a smaller mortgaged home and I found that I needed to prioritise things that I used daily/weekly and things such as Christmas decorations had to be reduced dramatically as they serve such a small amount of time.
    I have to keep on top of the washing and not let it build up as there isn't much space for drying clothes and I try to avoid using the tumble drier (mostly because it lives in the shed!).
    I tended to decide on a cupboard as a home for 'entertainment' or 'paperwork' and then everything under that category was put in one place. If I started to get too much for the space, rather than find more storage I would have to re-sort and get rid of some.
    Love your blog as always x
    Will be adding a manual link to your blog from my blogroll page (until I can find a plugin to do it properly)
    Stacey at Mortgage Free Journey xx

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  2. I think you are on the right track, only keeping what you are using. We own too many things that we don't use and I am going to take leaf out of your book and pass on things I'm no longer using.

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  3. We moved from a large 2 bedroomed flat with great storage and 2 sheds to a tiny 2 bedroom (cupboard) bungalow with 1 shed and not 1 single built in cupboard, 18 months ago. When the boiler was replaced, the immersion tank went so we gained the lower half of the airing cupboard as storage. Our hoover finally has a home! We put hooks in the wall under the shelves in the top half and we hang cloth bags that contain bits like rags, cool bags, shopping bags and also brush and dustpan etc. We put high shelves above the coat rack and have baskets containing our hats, gloves and scarves (his on the top tier) and a high level shelf in the hall for his shoes (I can't reach up there!). Over the years I have collected or made attractive storage baskets and boxes (shoeboxes, painted with emulsion, pretty pictures stuck on and varnished) so they look lovely on shelves. DH built a wood and mdf corner shelf unit in our sitting room; it's about 6'6" tall and 6 ft wide and stores tons of stuff. It cost £100 in materials but was so much cheaper than buying freestanding units and more effective use of space. If we ever move again, he can dismantle it, make good about a dozen holes and remake it elsewhere. He is not a professional tradesman but I think he did a fab job (and I'm a master carpenter's daughter). (Please excuse wifely pride!) We too store stuff under the bed, at present 5L of vinegar, loorolls and teabags, plus shoe and boot storage. When we moved we found we couldn't fit in a bedside table one side, so he has a corner shelf he designed and made from scrap mdf from the last house. It has a quarter-circle hole cut in the back corner so the lamp flex can feed through it.

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  4. We live in an absolutely teensy flat, so every inch possible is used for storage. I keep wrapping paper under the sofa (the long rolls lie flat and undisturbed - apart from when I pull out the sofa to hoover, when I move the wrapping paper first!) and you can't see them behind the valance. The 'coffee table' is an old trunk where I store all my papers. It's usually covered in a small tablecloth I brought back from working in Cuba, and piles of books, so you wouldn't really notice but they're easily moved to access stuff from the trunk. We keep our drinks in the (empty) fireplace: a winerack with a shelf above it which acts as a (stationary) cocktail trolley. Maybe looks a bit odd but I like it! We've made shelves for every alcove and instead of drawers under the bed (which actually aren't very space efficient) we have six large plastic boxes, in which we keep all our sheets, towels, pyjamas, running clothes etc. The ones on the outside slide in and out on the carpet just like drawers, and the less accessible ones in the middle hold spare duvets, mattress protectors etc which we need to access less frequently. (I made another valance to hide those too as they're not very pretty).

    The worst thing is empty surfaces, which become deposit-stations for random floating stuff, if you're as naturally untidy as we are! Our desk is usually covered in newspapers and post-to-be-dealt-with. I read about someone who removed all the empty surfaces in her house to prevent clutter forming, including getting rid of the mantelpiece. Sounded a bit mournful to me but it would definitely make our house tidier!

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  5. Since downsizing, if we're contemplating getting something for the house my first thought is "Where are we going to keep it?"

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  6. We use an oil burner,onlywith essential oils though and not fragrances(which are cheaper but synthetic).To keep it affordable we use tea tree or eucalyptus ( which double as health care products too). I also recommend any citrus oilsas they are heaven in a bowl.

    Decluttering is such a bizarre and wonderfully fun task.You think you have gotten rid of everything , then something else rears up.You then wonder why you didn't get rid of that before...and how you thought you possibly needed to keep it. It is ongoing and freeing. I will be interested to see if you dump the unpacked box...out of sight and out of mind and perhaps not necessary.....

    Soy candles are lovely,a little on the exxy side, so good if someone wants tobuy you a gift..I may be wrong, but I think they burn quicker than the normal candles...lovely accent though.

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  7. No advice for some living, but I vouche for decluttering one thing a day. It seems slow but it makes such a difference. I have been doing I this year, copying the blog 365 Less Things by Colleen. She started this several years ago and photographed her daily declutter. She also wrote about minimalism, materialism, how to declutter etc. her blog format has changed recently. Well worth reading the early years. Colleen, like you Froogs, has just downsized into a much smaller home. She has great ideas on how to live happily with less stuff.

    Heartily recommend her blog! Google it and have a read.

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    1. Hi lucindasans, I too followed the blog '365 Less Things' and can vouch that by just getting rid of one item a day, it really works!! I also photographed everything I got rid of just as a 'morale boost' really but a strange thing happened. Looking back, not only did I realise I had gotten rid of over 1000 items, but when looking at the photos, it just dawned on me W'HY?'..why had I needed all this stuff? Now, my mind is clearer, and it has changed my buying habits. I actually don't want to buy much these days and if I do buy something new, another item has to leave the house. This way the clutter is kept to a minimum.
      For anyone thinking about starting, just begin with say, any broken items. Just one item a day. Commit to that and before you know it, your life will change

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  8. I use essential oils on the bag of my Henry. A drop or two on the bag lasts ages and makes the house smell lush when you vacuum. I also use a drop or two in water, in the top of a tart burner - that's a tip from my friend Ali! You still burn a tealight, but instead of using and expensive lump of wax, you just heat some water up til it's steamy and the scent wafts around a treat.

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  9. Yes! we have a little two bedroom house (and the second bedroom is rented out) so every space must be used well. I am still in the phase of decluttering (and we've been here for almost a year) - my guiding principle is "if I broke it, would I replace it?" If not, it's unlikely that I need it.

    We have a stockpile of food in the laundry cupboard - but only tins and food that won't attract any pests. The last thing I want is to find weevils or any type of bug in the vicinity of linen or clothes.

    We are saving up for built ins at the moment so we can use some of the space up towards the ceiling without it looking like piles of clutter on top of cupboards. We also added a little storage outside the house - a shed and some extra cupboards in the outdoor laundry.

    I think it takes a few goes of trying something out, rearranging furniture, trying something new until you find the groove of a new home.

    We were given a beautiful scented candle (sweet pea & jasmine) when we moved in, so I keep it in the bathroom and light it once a week while I have a bath. It smells great so I sometimes light it when we have guests over as well. Other than that we don't want to spend the money on smelling candles or infusers, so we throw open all the windows every day and I've been baking. Isn't that the best scent a home can have anyway?

    x

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    1. Definatley the baking smell is best, makes you feel at home instantly! I was making jam today so my house smells of Strawberries! Just lovely :-) x

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  10. downsized to a tiny bungalow 7 years ago, still working out how to live with such limited space so probably got nothing useful to contribute on that basis. Re eco products, a bottle of very cheap lemon juice from Aldi and a few drops of essential oil makes a good substitute for commercially produced laundry conditioner.

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  11. We own a small vacation home. Every time I notice something that we've never used, or not in a long time, I declutter it. It is an ongoing project to keep the cupboards from overflowing. My cups and mugs are getting away from me, so I'm either going to get rid of some or rearrange the cupboard so I can hang cup hooks. I sometimes find that rearranging will free up storage space, even if you keep it all.

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    1. Good idea _ i'm going to put hooks under the kitchen cupboards for the mugs - this will free up the mug cupboard xxxx

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  12. Brilliant post. We are still doing exactly the same. finding where things need to live to make them handy and useful and if they are neither they will be ruthlessly culled and car booted during the warmer weather, with the money raised being used to help pay the 10% overpayment we are allowed on the mortgage this year.

    One thing I do to make my house smell fresher is to put a couple of drops of essential oil on to a tiny piece of loo roll (lavender is my favourite) and then when I start hovering I hoover this up first, then as you work your way around the house the hoover spreads the scent of lavender around rather than a dusty musty smell that you sometimes leave behind when you have had a house full of damp dogs. Tipping the dust from the hoover straight into the bin afterwards means that any remaining scent is in the bin helping to diffuse the dusty smell.

    Off course windows wide open for a while is the best and cheapest air freshener there is whenever you can, if you've sealed up the draughty windows then opening the front and back doors for 10 minutes is as good, obviously though don't do this when the heating is on or you will be heating the street as well as the house.

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    1. I bought some lavender oil, popped a drop on the dyson filter and it makes the house smell lovely when I vac around.

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  13. We built our own four bed family bungalow two years ago and I'm still not organised. My excuse is the boys, hubby, 8yo, 6yo and 6mo! I am the only one who lifts, cleans, cooks etc and it is very overwhelming at times. I will be following this post and comments with great interest as I need help!! I don't know where the "stuff" comes from?

    I keep an oil burner in my kitchen/living room and my bathroom and use the wee yankee tarts as my local shop sells the out of season ones at 80p each , then I break them in half as half is more than.enough for a good fragrance. My Mother-in-Law bought me a Yankee Candle set for Christmas with a lovely homely warming Cinnamon fragrance and as my hubby "hates those smelly auld things" the candles should last me a good long time.

    As somebody above said, I think it takes you to try out your home for things to make sure it works for you.

    Love your blog and am feeling proud today as I have filled my freezer with sliced roast beef, veggie soup (bottom of fridge stuff), bolognaise, milk and various other be prepared morsels!!

    I have also made a budget for this month and plan to keep it going from now on. I have 1 credit card but have already paid twice this month what I normally pay to try and get the balance cleared asap and whatever is left at the end of the month will also be transferred to it.

    Anyway enough of my rambling lol - good luck with the organising x

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    1. Didn't mean to sound as up my own arse as that first sentence does lol! Read it back and went Oooooo get you Mrs Snooty Pants lol! Just meant more space to fill with junk and clean :-)

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  14. We just don't have space to keep a lot of unnecessary stuff, with 4/5 of us in a 3 bedroomed house, so I regularly have a sort out and declutter. My partner is a mega hoarder but doesn't live with me, so luckily all the junk stays at his house :). But my lot are sooooo untidy! This makes cleaning so time consuming as I have to tidy up first. Working full time whilst trying to make some extra money on the side, running a house by myself , whilst budgeting like a mad woman means I just don't have time to clean every day. I am sure you must have a few extra hours in your day somehow - how do you do it? So, no tips from me. I will be watching you!

    Jane
    shoestringcottage.wordpress.com

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  15. We have move to a smaller house i love to use old suitcases for storage one has wrapping paper and birthday cards i pick up when i see them cheaply or the Christmas cards i get in January for next Christmas, i keep out of season clothes in one of them , they look decorative too on top of the wardrobe or stacked in a corner i am planning my new kitchen to have lots lots shelving on the walls that dont have cupboards and putting the items i have that are decorative and useful out on display such as my large mixing bowls , wine glasses etc this will free valuable cupboard space in my small kitchen , we have a downstairs toilet so we have had the washer and the dryer in there and the freezer under the stairs , its amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.

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  16. We are five in a three bedroom home. Clutter is everywhere. I am constantly downsizing my stuff and have stopped buying magazines and books and use my Kindle instead. I do have too many cookbooks. When I buy an appliance I try to buy a multipurpose tool. For instance my new food processor runs a vitaliser from the unit and also acts as a scale. But I live with my parents who hate to let things go and it is a constant and losing battle but I do try.

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  17. I don't know if I can share websites or not so will post this at your discretion.

    For sorting and tidying and to run your house smoothly; I came across a great website www.theorganisedhousewife.org.au She is doing a Declutter 52 things in 52 week challenge. She had great tips and ideas for organising your home, not all of them will be applicable but some might help.

    She had lots of child friendly recipes which are really helpful to me.

    Out of interest Froogs did you do a daily clean down when your kids were younger or when you were in your previous home? I think my priority is to get mine decluttered and organised first then try keeping it a bit more dust free lol!

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    1. Hi Catherine - I was a SAHM when the children were young. I used to clean and tidy every day. I used to use their nap times to get the cleaning done. I always got them to help me and made it a game. I've always cleaned through every day. I can't think straight in a mess.

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    2. I'm going to try making cleaning up a game tomorrow! Thanks for the reply :-)

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  18. I live in a tiny house (624 square feet) with lots of windows and almost zero storage. I will come back and read every bit of advise your readers leave in comments!
    I do use essential oils as part of my all-purpose cleaning liquid (small spray bottle with a few drops of dish soap, a few drops of peppermint or citrus or tea tree oil, and then about half and half water and rubbing alcohol (or just water, if I'm doing a big job like really dirty windows and will be using a lot of spray), I use this as a cleaner for everything from kitchen counters to the bathroom sink, spot-cleaning floors, and dampening a cloth for dusting shelves.

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  19. We're in the same position and moved to our new home in December, and although it's still a 3-bed property, it's half the size of our old place, with very little storage. I don't work well with clutter & I need areas to be clutter free and organised. Plus I have a terrible memory so if something doesn't have a 'home' I know I'll never remember where it is!

    My problem is my impatience & perfectionism. I want everything neat, sorted and organised NOW and I have to keep reminding myself that I should be enjoying the process of finding places for things and organising things into a way which works for us (rather than getting stressed and cross). The only way which works for me is choosing one small area and sorting through that, then moving onto the next, then the next and so on...

    ...my craft room is the area I can't wait to get started on, but that's probably not for a few weeks yet.

    Like you I worked on clearing out and organising the rooms we use the most first, the playroom, living room, bathrooms and the kitchen. Now I've organised our bedroom I find I'm getting a much better night's sleep and can switch off from the mess in the other rooms.

    What I do love is that cleaning takes half the time now we're in a smaller place. My MIL gave me a rather large box of cleaning products when we moved so I'll be working my way through that for the next while, but usually my cleaning cart consists of white vinegar and not a lot else and I find I just whizz through downstairs these days!

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  20. Kitchen Cupboards - when I go shopping, go to a till where there is one or two in front, this gives you time to arrange your shopping into sections. When gone through till pack into bags for each cupboard, i.e cans in one bag, tea sugar coffee in another, fruit and veg in another, freezer stuff, whether it is fresh or frozen but going in the freezer in another and so on......... easy for unpacking when you get home.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

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  21. I'm a prolific photographer and have stacks of albums from the pre-digital era. I was intending to weed these out anyway but the roof has leaked in the recent storms and some of them are soaked. I've decided to keep a few representative pix from each decade/phase of family life, file them in envelopes and bin the rest. Thank goodness for digital photography - no need to print everything now. I still make the occasional paper album of a special trip, usually a pilgrimage to somewhere interesting (I was privileged to be in Syria six months before the present war so that album is very precious) but these take up much less space now.

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  22. Interesting and helpful post! I'm clutter clearing this year as I now live in a small apartment after years in a big house and have far too much stuff - everywhere.
    Yes, I do use essential oils around my home. Some purify, some help ward away colds, some just smell good. Be sure to get the natural and organic kind, the others can even be unhealthy to breathe in. That includes artificially perfumed candles which should be avoided. The best way to learn how to use natural essential oils is to buy a good book on the subject or even take a course, like I did. Some of the oils can be very expensive, but often 1 drop is all that is needed, so they go a long way.

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  23. I also use the spray bottle with vinegar and dish liquid to clean my bathroom, spray on leave for couple of minutes, wipe off and rinse. Very little effort indeed. I was also recommended floor wipes, no way they would cost me a fortune so I am back to a squirt of dish liquid and very hot water for floors and skirting. I love the idea of storing rarely used, but required, equipment in stacking boxes. I like to open windows as much as possible to freshen the house but when not possible a cotton wool ball with a few drops of essential oil laid on the radiator, if they are on, gives a nice scent.

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    1. I've filed the cotton wool idea xx

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  24. I'm an aromatherapist and have loads of essential oils and blend them accordingly to wants/ needs of our household. We have several (maybe 4/5?!) oil burners (tealight ones) I make sure the burners are all decorative AND useful - ie: they have big bowls on top! :) I also have 2 electric diffusers for using with oils - one is a heat one and the other blows them around with cool air. Both are suitable for leaving plugged in at night in a bedroom if necessary - fantastic for using with children. I also like the air one for using in the kitchen at times to blow something light and citrusy around after heavy cooking smells :)

    I used to use ecover products but found that they often weren't effective enough in high traffic areas (eg: toilet cleaner) I'd rather use a water/ vinegar/ ess oil spray for cleaning/ leaving sprayed on daily and an occasional splash of cheap value/ basics bleach every couple of weeks. I also found ecover lemon washing up liquid hurt my hands and set off my dermatitis - it did the same for one of my friends, too.

    Cleaning product wise I try and stick with bicarb/ soda crystals/ ess oils/ vinegar/ washing up liquid (but not an eco one)/ lemon juice in the main but do also use cheap bleach occasionally. I sometimes make my own laundry liquid (from handmade 'natural' soap scraps left from making bars of soap or even little bars of soap from hotels) but am currently working my way through a supply of very cheap branded liquid bought at clearance from a closing down sale - probably about 1/4 of the price it was on sale for. Oh - I also use a commercial stain remover on biological stains (usually blood) if they don't come out first time

    Clutter wise - there are 6 of us (2 adults, 16yo DD and 3 boys - 13, 8 & 4) but in a large 5 bed, 4 reception room house - so we have masses of stuff but lots of places for it to hide!! This is not necessarily a good thing! ;) I do try and clear out toys every 4 months or so, same for clothes - but I do keep clothes/ toys to hand down to the younger ones if they're in a fit state. I now regard all fiction of mine as disposable and will pass on to my mother/ mother in law/ WI once I have finished with it. I also make a decision on unwanted gifts quickly - if they are not totally suitable for regifting to a specific person then I will pass on/ sell on asap.

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  25. We live in an small old house so we've utilised some of the nooks and crannies with shelving and then putting items into tidy storage boxes - a passage way that is really just dead space has 4 shelves which house baking ingredients in pretty tins and jars, a full shelf of preserves, jams, chutneys and pickles all with pretty labels and lid covers and the bottom shelf houses all the small kitchen appliances that I use on an occasional basis and I've edged the shelves with old lace to make them more of a feature - to be honest it makes a dead area far more usefull and it looks like an old fashioned pantry xx

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    1. I have some vintage lace, I'll have a go xx

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  26. Lavender oil in bicarb of soda(leave a few days to dry out a bit), sprinkle the carpets prior to vac. The lovely scent will linger & last for days!

    X

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    1. Like many have stated here you can't beat good ole white vinegar,lemons, bicarb.,olive oil, essential oils(citrus,rosemary,teatree,bergamot, lavender,eucalyptus,geranium are especially useful & invaluable in the home & personal hygiene etc.

      Valerie W has published a couple of gems(did havea couple of books which have mysteriously vanished:-( including the fragrant pharmacy that are useful:-)love your blog & this interactive post, keep up the excellent work!

      X

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  27. Ok finally a post where we are exactly in unison- I live in a house the some of a postage stamp! I like it because it is easy to clean and forces me to regularly declutter. I do have excellent built in storage though. Like you I am a clean and neat freak, mess and clutter upsets me and I cannot do my best thinking with it. before I leave the house and before I go to bed I wipe all surfaces and vacuum. I use baby wipes but I think this is not frugal, but they are very handy. Yesterday I loaded the car up with toys clothes manchester napery and took it to the Salvation army depot. It felt great and there is loads more I can get rid of. I am a big believer in empty surfaces because they are easy to wipe/clean. I stay on top of washing and washing up. I have no dishwasher and I do a lot of cooking and entertaining and I am a wash up fast freak. I never ever let the washing pile up, and do it every day. I do however use the dryer because I like to get everything washed dried and put away in about an hour. I use essential oils and oil burners all the time.Luff this post x

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  28. We live in a tiny house, we like it that way, when the children left home we moved from a four bed to two. A lot of decluttering, we have a wood burner, which creates a lot of dust, but ha ho, we are down to bare minimum of everything, but like it that way, I make our washing powder, less than a quarter of the price of shop bought, I use bicarbonate of soda with vinegar, and washing up liquid, (Ecover) essential oils with washing up liquid and water fir the floor,

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  29. Great post!! We have one soy candle that is ginger scented, from a local lady. We love it. We also have an essential oil "burner" and use essential oils in the floor mopping water and in the Washing machine. Always only a few(!) drops! We use eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, bergamot, grapefruit and pine. (Obviously not together..) my mum back at home loves sandalwood. It's Good but it doesn't smell fresh and clean to me. Most of the oils above are also desinfectant. I hate all the dust that so quickly accumulates in our small apartement, but hoovering every day would be a waste of electricity in our case, I try to dust the floors with a damp towel. I wish I was as effective as you are in cleaning! Working towards that. 'Cause tere is no better place than home!

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  30. Thank you for inspiring us and explaining things so clearly! I grew up not learning to cook or clean ( my mum has many other wonderful skills!) And at 37 years old i've learnt a lot from reading your blog. Thank God and thank you x x Marian

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  31. As usual your post has shifted my off my a** and into the kitchen. I have at least 6 pyrex casserole dishes that are no longer used as the kids have grown up and left home, 5 are now in a box for the daughter to check over and if she does not require them off to the charity shop they will go. Also found numerous individual ramekins (why ever did I need 10, there were only over 4 of us) they shall go the same way. Thank you

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  32. I live in a tiny 700 sq ft house and run my business selling vintage online out of it. Its a huge challenge to keep everything organized and its a daily process.
    I use soy candles---they burn cleaner than conventional wax. In fact, I make them myself, and its easy and considerably cheaper than buying them. You can get bulk bags of soy wax shavings and your choice of essential oils and have candles forever. Simple process of melting the wax in the microwave or on the stovetop, mixing in the oils, pouring and then setting a wick. You can use old jam jars, old teacups or what-have-you for the containers. Lots of easy tutorials on the internet :)

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  33. I`m also in the process of culling things in the kitchen. Too many baking things, too many cooking dishes etc. The hardest thing is getting rid of things from my late Mum or M-I-Law`s kitchens, but there`s a limit to what we can use.

    A drop of lavender oil on a radiator helps to hide cat and dog smells.....!

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  34. There are a few useful tips for kitchen storage in this link: (I hope it's okay to include links?)
    http://www.thekitchn.com/no-pantry-tips-for-keeping-cou-140436

    We store things in low, large plastic containers under the beds - toys, yarn, paperwork, material, out of season clothing. Walls can be used for hanging things in the kitchen (pots and pans, serving utensils, baking utensils, strainer, etc) and bedroom (scarves, belts, jewelry, hats). Bookshelves can hold more than just books. We use a cookie jar to store the charging cords for the phones and cameras. Baskets can be used on a counter or under a coffee table to hold books, games, paperwork, etc. neatly.

    Good luck with your decluttering. That is absolutely the first step to being neat and organized in a smaller space.

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  35. Our main bathroom is small and with 3 of us using it I hung an extra shower curtain rod behind the one holding the shower curtain. I have a 3 plastic basket (I think the original use was for veggies in the kitchen)hanger hooked on the rod. Each person has a basket to keep their shampoo, razor and supplies in. This works great but I am thinking I may be on the look out for something I can throw in the washer from time to time. I can also hang 2 towels on the rod to dry. I cleaned out the linen closet long ago of extras and this frees up more shelf space. I hate things around the tub surround and on the vanity. This looks so much neater. All the bathrooms have a shelf above the door. I store the extra toilet paper, candle and cleaning wipes container up there. I put 6 inch lifts on the bed legs and have so much more room to store under the bed. Recently I scoured thrift stores for old dresser drawers and attached wheels/casters to them and slide them under the beds for easy access storage.

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  36. I have a rule of 1 in - 2 out . if I purchase 1 of anything, 2 items have to go out. That helps keep the clutter down in a big way!
    I also store things in an unconventional way. I have a big chest of drawers in our home office and I store all of our extra stock of canned goods in the drawers as sort of a back up pantry. I also have a filing cabinet in the closet and I place food items in there as well for extra food storage.
    I have a rack over our washer and dryer and I place all my kitchen appliances on it that I don't use every day but still consider essential.
    As for deodorizing the home I place a drop or two of essential oil in my humidifier when I am running it to make the air smell fresher.
    I suggest reading Be More With Less-Life on Purpose.by Courtney Cox and Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker. They both have wonderful blogs about paring down.

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  37. Hi Froogs, I have purchased one of those plastic drawer units (around £15) and it fits nicely in the bottom of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom. I keep all the 'extra' kitchen bits there to free up space in my kitchen cupboards. For instance if I have an extra bag of pasta - I keep the spare in the drawer unit so that I only need to house one bag of pasta in the kitchen. It is like my 'top-up' larder! There is some room on the top of the drawer unit and I keep the spare toilet rolls and kitchen towels on top! Hope this helps!

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  38. Found this really interesting as circumstances mean i am giving up as a childminder downsizing from a three bed semi to a one bed flat (ideally a 2 bed). Its really scary as I won't be working and not sure how on earth I am going to start to declutter mind you all childminding resources will not be going with us.Will follow this with interest

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  39. There are 5 of us living in a 900sq ft 3 bedroom cottage. And I have developed a few rules.
    1. What comes in, must go out.
    If I buy clothes for the children, an equal amount goes out to charity.
    2. Everything must be both pretty and functional. Especially in the kitchen. I think long and hard before I make a buy. An item really has to deserve a place in our home. Our dyson as broken and I'm going to replace it with the smaller portable version that can now stored in the hot press.
    3. Constant decluttering, everyday.

    We have lived in a much bigger house but I now prefer the smaller one. It keeps the family tighter and is easier keep although it takes cleaning everyday. I don't feel owned by possessions or the house. I am surrounded by things that are important to me, instead of just stuff.

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