[Organise My House] A nappy change system for the car

Create your own nappy change system for the car!

Using a Huggies wipe dispenser (which I bought from Coles for $5 on special, and comes with 80 wipes which I used before creating this system), attach a half-full packet of wipes to the lid using a hair band or rubber band, and poke the first wipe through.

Underneath I have nappy bags, sanitiser, a change of clothes for both girls (a t-shirt for Miss M and an old Bonds wondersuit for Miss O), a spare dummy and 2 nappies (I took the photo before placing the nappies on top).

This set up is perfect if you've forgotten the nappy bag, and just want to duck to the shops quickly without your nappy bag.

For those without kids in nappies, you can easily store just a change of clothes in here, and wipes in the top (because as we know, wipes always come in handy for kids of any age!)


[Clean My House] Two Strategies for Tidying Up

Is tidying up each morning or evening something you dread?

Here are two tips that work well for us!

1. Set your timer for 15 minutes of a morning or evening to tidy up. 15 minutes does not seem overwhelming, and by setting the timer you are keeping the commitment of 'just' 15 minutes with yourself. It is actually incredible what you can achieve in 15 minutes. Make it a game and get your kids and family involved (the idea of just 15 minutes is from Leanne at Organising the Four of Us).

2. When you are tidying your lounge room for example, which may have items the kids have dragged in from every other room in the house, use a washing basket to chuck everything in that needs relocating to another room. Rather than running back and forth between rooms, you can carry the basket to each room, and put the items away. It works a treat!


[Organise My House] Organising My Pantry

Use medium to large size tubs or baskets to organise your pantry.

I have -

Up the top:
- An oils & sauces tub
- Two 'extras' tubs (used for any extra items needed to replace pantry items, eg. extra tea bags)

On the bottom: 
- A weekly meals tub (for any items that will be used in my weekly meal plan)

The idea for the oils, extras and weekly meals tubs came from Leanne at Organising the Four of Us.

The tubs I've used were about $6 from IKEA.

I've used Kmart 'tupperware,' which were $9 for a pack of 4 (in various shapes and sizes) to organise my pantry items. I've had these containers for a few years now and they are still in good condition, and keep everything fresh!


[Clean My House] A Cleaning Caddy

Purchase (or repurpose) something you can use for a cleaning caddy. Organise it so that all of the cleaning products you need are in the one place. This is super handy for cleaning the bathroom for example - I have toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, homemade all purpose cleaner, shower cleaner, paper towel, a Norwex dusting glove, a scrubbing brush, a toothbrush (for cleaning), gumption and spare bags for the bathroom bin. I just grab my caddy and head to the bathroom, and everything I need to clean is there, making cleaning a lot more efficient. I keep my caddy in my cleaning cupboard in the laundry.


[Clean My House] Cleaning Your Thermomix

I created this image based on Thermofun's method of deep cleaning your Thermomix bowl. If your bowl is dull, marked, or has leftover residue, the high levels of citric acid in the lemons will remove this and leave your bowl sparkling - and your kitchen smelling amazing!

You will only need 1 lemon, and 350g of water.

Place your lemon into the Thermomix bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 10.

Then add the water and cook for 10 minutes on Varoma, speed 2.

Once completed, wipe your bowl out with a clean cloth.


[Organise My House] Storing Tea Bags

Store tea bags in a tea box! This really sparks joy for me. I bought this from eBay a few years ago for about $15, and I have seen them at many homewares shops. I love that they are displayed in a colourful, neat and accessible way.


[Organise My House] Storing Scarves

I store my scarves on a ladder, which is displayed in our Master Bedroom. I purchased this bamboo ladder on clearance from Myer for $40 about 8 years ago for this specific purpose. Kmart have a similar version (which is thinner) for $25.

I love displaying my scarves like this as it's easy to choose one each day in winter, and they just look so pretty - it definitely is something that sparks joy for me! 


[Organise My House] Storing Craft Paper

I was storing my coloured and patterned paper for craft in an A4 snap lock bag, but I've transferred, organised and labelled (who else just loves their label maker?!) them into a paper tray (that was originally from Big W for about $15, and that I've used over the years for teaching). It just makes so much more sense now - I can easily see and access what I need!


[Organise My House] Hair Items

Our systems for storing hair items for the girls is very simple but has worked well for 2.5 years now. 

I keep all hair clips and ribbons on a canvas board with ribbon I made (about 10 years ago now!) - buy a cheap canvas and using a staple gun attach material for the background, and then I used 4 pieces of ribbon which run vertically, and which I can attach clips and ribbons to. 

Using a little IKEA tin, I store dummy clips, combs, brushes and hair bands, as well as a little purple container of random mini clips. A pill box holds our hair bands.

I created my own nit-prevention/hair spray from adding some conditioner, water and a couple of drops of tea-tree oil to a spray bottle from Woolies. 

Each morning after I change the girls, they sit on the change table and I do their hair - I just grab the tin, and then we choose a hair clip. Easy!

[Clean My House] Cleaning the microwave

How to clean your microwave in 4 easy steps:

1. 3/4 fill a microwave-safe bowl with water

2. Cut up a lemon or two and squeeze the juice into the water, and add the rind to the water as well

3. Put the bowl into the microwave and set timer for 4 mins on high

4. Once the 4 mins is up, you should be able to just wipe the inside of the microwave clean with a cloth! Your kitchen will smell delicious too!

Our Bathroom Storage Systems

Here's a quick look into the storage systems we have in our bathroom that work quite well (since downsizing from two bathrooms to one!)

Our bathroom vanity has quite a bit of storage, and the drawers are very deep.

I just purchased the 3 little glass containers on the window sill from The Reject Shop for $1.50 each to hold earbuds, cotton wool & floss sticks - I love them!

In the main cupboard, I have extra items, extra makeup, everyday makeup, my hairdryer, hair accessories & my toiletry bag (always packed and ready to go (Brendan keeps his in here normally too). Placing like items in baskets always neatens up a space.

My hairdryer storage: I have just started using a little metal tub from IKEA (thanks to Leanne from Organising the Four of Us for the idea!)

My extra makeup is in a basket behind my extras basket.

In the top drawer of the vanity, we have extra toothpaste, extra razors, extra soap, my hairbrushes, floss and Brendan's electric shaver (our toothbrushes & toothpaste are kept on the sink).

In the bottom drawer, I have my travel hair dryer, personal items in the box, spa products (special items for a foot spa) & and the girl's toiletry bags.

In a small set of shelves next to the toilet & shower, we have a basket with nail polish, perfume and hair gel. The basket underneath has personal items and on the bottom are extra toilet rolls. Jewellery & items that are used daily are on top of the set of shelves.

In the top basket is nail polish, perfume, hair gel and foot creams.

On top of the shelves:

In our shower:

I love our kids toy storage from IKEA. We have culled most bath toys because we don't have a bath (we use a large plastic tub) and so many of them got mouldy - now I don't have any bath toys that can't be cleaned (I chuck them on the top rack of the dishwasher or in the washing machine to clean).

I love the girl's toothbrushing charts from Typographically Speaking (Facebook).


My journey with PND: 10 months on

I thought if I didn't have post natal depression after my first baby, then I'd be fine for subsequent babies too.

I wasn't.

I thought my second baby would be easy because I had already had a baby and I had an easy pregnancy.

It wasn't.

I thought my second baby would be a boy because my pregnancy was so different.

She wasn't.

I thought I'd be able to breastfeed my second baby because I breastfed my first for 14 months.

I couldn't.

I thought I could get through post natal depression without medication.

I couldn't.

I thought when my doctor said I might only need to be on anti-depressants for 6-months, that it would only be 6-months.

It wasn't.

I thought being on medication, every day would be easy again.

It wasn't.

I gave birth and nothing was anything like I expected. I gave a very raw account of my journey with PND back in March, when Miss O was 5 months old and when I expected I would almost be ready to come off my medication.

But moving your whole life to another town when you didn't expect to be doing that anytime soon (or ever!) definitely causes stress to the most stable of people, and I needed to remain on them for longer than I originally anticipated.

The last 5 months have seen plenty of ups and downs. I'm really happy in my new town and have made lots of new friends, but I still miss my old town, my family and my friends.

I have found a good counsellor and a good doctor here, and I was able to firstly lower my dose and then come off my medication altogether. That was not without it's challenges either, but I am finally standing on the other side!

I'm not saying that the other side is reached when you are not on medication anymore (some need medication for much longer or even their whole lives, and that's perfectly ok!), but the goal for me was to be balanced in my emotions and I finally am having so many 'good' days that a bad day is just a blip on my radar now, and I have so many strategies to help pull myself out when these days hit.

- I look after myself and ensure each week I have time just for me

- I have the girl's in day care so that I can spend one-on-one time with them/time alone (I'm an extrovert but definitely need my alone-time!)

- I go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine each day

- I try to eat well, drink plenty of water and exercise

- I listen to happy music! The girl's and I often have a dance as we are getting ready of a morning

- I ask for help and am open with how I'm feeling

- I am kind to myself. If I've had a bad day, we have an easy dinner - and hubby completely understands!

- I try to keep the house tidy and organised: for me, a clear space = a clear mind. If it's a day with little motivation, I just put on one load of washing, pack the dishwasher/wash the dishes, make my bed and do a quick tidy of the lounge room.

- I get out of the house if I'm feeling flat - we are lucky to live a very short walk to a lovely park.

- I know to seek professional help before things get out of control

- I don't feel guilty if we need a survival day (cereal for dinner anyone?) and I remind myself that I am a good Mum

Life with two young children (Miss M and Miss O are 21 months apart) is hectic and crazy.

But so many times I catch them giving each other a hug, or holding hands while in their car seats, or playing dolls together, or chatting away to each other, or sharing food, and it is just beyond beautiful.

My heart is full and the love for my two gorgeous girls is indescribable.

I feel so blessed.

[Organise My House] Storing Spices

How do you store your spices? 

There are some excellent ideas for spice storage around; I have personally used 3 types however my current set-up is my favourite and the most practical. 

When we moved into our new place, our kitchen was much bigger than the last place, and had more drawer space. We have quite a shallow drawer under the microwave, but it is just perfect for spice & cling wrap/snaplock bag/bin bag storage. I purchased 3 spice storage racks from Kmart for $3 each, which angle the spices so they can be easily seen, and easily grabbed when you need them. I have (mostly) put them in alphabetical order so that they are easy to find. This is a perfect idea for renting when you can't attach anything to the walls. 

Initially when I didn't have many spices, I stored them in a little basket, but had to label the top of each one so I could see what was what. This wasn't ideal once I acquired more and more spices as they wouldn't fit! 

At our last place I purchased upright spice racks from Kmart for $4 each and my hubby installed them into our tall laundry cupboard (as there was no room in the kitchen) and they looked great, but were a little hard to get out, and it meant I had to leave the kitchen to go and get what I needed (all good until you need like 15 of them haha!) but these would work perfectly on the back of a pantry door! [The iron holder was from a cheap shop for about $3, and the small white spice containers were from The Reject Shop for about $1.50 each].  

If you can't find these particular storage systems at Kmart, try Big W, The Reject Shop and Howard's Storage World as I have seen & heard of different spice storage there as well. 

[Clean My House] Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Create your own homemade, natural All Purpose Spray!

My friend Claire showed me how to do this after I asked her why her homemade kitchen spray smelt so good!

Repurpose a used spray bottle (my friend gave me this one, you can find the original in Coles and I just love the spray head on it!) or you can buy cheap spray bottles from supermarkets, Kmart, Big W, The Reject Shop etc.

Fill the bottle 3/4's with vinegar and then cut a lemon (or orange, or both) in quarters, and then remove the rind (outer skin) from the flesh. Place just the rind into the bottle. I also added a few drops of DōTERRA lemon oil and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to cut through grease.

I just love that this spray smells clean but not just like vinegar, and that I can use the lemons and oranges from our trees out the back! Spray anywhere you'd use an All Purpose Spray, and for an extra clean, sprinkle bi-carb soda on the surface, then spray, and leave it for a little bit before wiping.

I like to use Norwex cloths, are they are easy to chuck in the wash after a few days.

I keep my spray either under the sink or in the laundry in my cleaning caddy.

Vinegar is a preserver and the lemon or orange rind will last in vinegar indefinitely, however you could choose to leave the rind in for at least two weeks to let the flavours infuse. The lemon rind in mine still look exactly the same after a good month.

If it is still too strong for you, you could leave the rind to infuse for two weeks, then tip the rind and vinegar out, and distill with half water (so leave half the citrus-infused vinegar, then add water to fill, plus a squirt of dishwashing liquid to help cut the grease.

[Organise My House] Displaying & Storing Kids Artwork

How do you display and store your kids artwork?

At the moment I am using 2x $2.50 Kmart clipboards secured to the wall in the girl's room with a removable hook. Miss M loves changing her artwork over when she brings them home from daycare, playgroup and any we do at home! 

Kmart actually sell frames that you can open to easily remove & change artwork, and are only $12 each! Hopefully I can find some next time I'm at Kmart!

I'm currently storing Miss M's best artworks in two display folders - an A3 size and an A4 size.

In the future I plan to purchase a tub for each of the girl's that can be used with files (like a filing cabinet without the cabinet) and allocate a file for each daycare/preschool/school year for artwork, reports, school photos etc. This idea came from the very talented Charlene at Teacher by Trade, Mother by Nature. Check out her link here about she created hers, and don't forget to follow her on Facebook!


[Organise My House] Storing Quilt Covers & Sheet Sets

Store spare quilt covers and sheet sets (fitted & flat sheet) inside one of the pillow cases to keep them all together.

You can then stack your sheet or quilt sets in your linen cupboard according to size. This means that everything will stay together, it's neat, and it's easy to find the exact sheet or quilt set you're looking for!


An organising project: Brendan's clothes

A few days ago I tackled Brendan's chest of drawers and wardrobe.

I'm going to trial the Konmari way of folding for his drawers (tops, singlets, shorts), and I've used 3 small drawers (one up the top of the chest of drawers, and two in the bedside table which is in the wardrobe now) for Brendan's random items, to hopefully keep the top of the chest of drawers tidy!


[Organise My Home] A Kid's Toiletry Bag

Miss 2.5 loves her mini toiletry bag I created for her, so she can be just like mum & dad!

I have used a $3 Kmart zip-up bag which is waterproof on the inside. Miss 2.5 has her toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb & a mini/sample bath wash. These all fit perfectly with room to spare! We keep it in the bathroom drawers always ready to go for when we go away.

[Organise My Home] Storing Medicines

I've used this for a couple of years now, after seeing it in action on Organising the Four of Us' Facebook page. Our medicines used to be sitting in a cupboard and would constantly become messy (which is less than ideal when you need to find something quickly!)

I bought the large drawer and two small drawers from Kmart for $10 each. The top drawer has bandaids and cream, the second drawer has items for colds and headaches and the large drawer is for kids. They are stored up high at the very top of our pantry cupboard in our laundry.

If I ever have too many items, I usually use that dilemma as a good excuse to go through each item in the drawers and get rid of any that are out-of-date or that we don't need or use anymore.

[Organise My Home] Storing Batteries

I've had this little pink container with lid for a couple of years now and it's one system that still works perfectly for us. It was about $3 from a cheap shop, and is the perfect size for storing all the different batteries we need (for kids toys, remotes, my digital kitchen scales etc.) as well as removable hooks, picture hooks, mini screwdrivers, child locks - the possibilities are endless!

I store it with my recipe books in a cupboard in the kitchen (my girls can't open this cupboard, or the container) so it is always accessible.

[Organise My Home] Storing Puzzles

I like to store puzzles in clear A4 document wallets.

We found these at Big W, but I have also spotted them at Kmart, The Reject Shop, supermarkets and office supply places. I think ours were about $5 for a pack of 5.

Miss 2.5 can open and close them herself, and understands that each puzzle needs to stay together and be returned to a document wallet. They stack nicely on a shelf in the built-in in their bedroom, so they are easily accessible too!

The puzzles were all from Big W, Kmart and The Reject Shop for between $3 and $7 each.
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