How ditching minimalism saved my sanity

How ditching minimalism saved my sanity

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

For the last couple months, ‘minimalism’ has grown exponentially. It’s all over Pinterest, Instagram, blogs. If your office desk has more than an all-in-one computer then you’re not succeeding as a minimalist. But, as busy working parents, ditching minimalism might be the way to save your sanity.

Most extreme ‘zero waste’ minimalists act in complete opposition to the concept of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ where they ditch material items for the sake of not having an accumulation of items.

Trawling through many Facebook groups, and searching Pinterest and Instagram, I found there are so many rules associated with ‘minimalism’ and if you don’t implement each and every one, #areyouevenminimalist?

Some of the more extreme rules include only keeping 100 items in your house. My kitchen alone has 100 items and they’re all useful to me!

And how do you keep that 100 item or less if you have a baby in the house that goes through 4 sizes of clothes in their first year, on average? Trying to stick to the many rules of minimalism is a headache and a half for young families.

Why minimalism is an unattainable goal for my family

What parent doesn’t dream of a house with less clutter? How much easier would that make housework? Especially as a busy parent? How much easier would it be to implement your natural cleaning goals if you had less “stuff” to clean?

Obviously, I wanted to rid my house of excess ‘stuff’ to make my cleaning routines less time-consuming.

But while I was preoccupied with implementing minimalism and trying to clear out anything that wasn’t necessarily needed, I wasted so much more time on housekeeping … and I was hoping to save more time!

I noticed a massive downturn in my mood when I spent three months trying to achieve a Pinterest-level minimalism in my household.

But, with a three-year-old, having another baby later this year, and a husband that has several hobbies, minimalism in terms of ‘minimal material objects’ is almost impossible in my house.

How can families attain this level of minimalism and remain functional?

I was miserable trying to achieve minimalist perfection akin to those cold, styled interiors scattered all over Pinterest. And then I came to the realisation that our family home is not a display home.

Once I accepted that Konmari methods of decluttering were never going to work and that my house was always going to have more stuff in it than the Scandi-decorated apartments on Pinterest, I became happier.

So ditching minimalism was better for my mind, but what about my home?

However, what I did take away from my dabbling with extreme minimalism was that it comes from the idea of ‘living with intention’.

I found a quote on Pinterest that articulates how I feel about ‘intentional living’ better than I could.

“The goal of minimalism, let’s remember, is not just to own less stuff. The goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so that we can accomplish more.” -Joshua Becker

To me, this means ensuring that everything we purchase or use serves a proper purpose.

We are already ‘intentional’ with our day to day purchases.

When I switched my mindset of minimalism from being about material possessions to being about a psychological and emotional ‘intention’, then I realized the benefits that an ‘intentional living’ style of minimalism could have.

But what about the clutter and chaos?

In terms of reducing our physical possessions though, something had to give. Clutter and chaos were driving me batty.

I discussed my concerns about all the clutter in the house with my husband. The root of the problem for all of our clutter comes from an accumulation of “stuff” over many years that we have not disposed of if we weren’t currently using it.

We both agree that the excess clutter was negatively impacting our moods and contributing to feelings of chaos in our house.

We both agreed we could use a clean out of excess ‘stuff’ and that we could maximise our storage potential.

Since shifting our goals to a more attainable level, we’ve been able to clear out home the excess clutter without sending ourselves batty and going without all for the sake of minimalism.

Where do you start with decluttering?

Draw a line in the sand.

What are your criteria for an item remaining in your home? What purpose does it serve? Has this item served its purpose in ‘x’ amount of time?

For my husband and I, if we hadn’t used or looked at an item since we moved into our home 4 years ago, then it clearly wasn’t important enough to keep. This was our line in the sand.

One thing that I will agree with minimalists on, it is easier to declutter based on the type of item rather than room by room.

For example, we spent an entire day going through everyone’s clothing and bagging up old, outgrown or no longer used items of clothing ready for donation, and another day going through toys.

My daughter still has many books on the bookshelf because she loves different books. We donate toys and books that she outgrows which helps keep on top of clutter.

I am also an avid reader so I reached a compromise with my husband. I am boxing up and selling/donating all of my old uni books but keeping all my fiction classics.

No more keeping my uni books for ‘just in case’. Let’s be honest… I won’t complete my law degree so there’s no need to hold on to the old textbooks.

We moved most of hubby’s collectibles to his man-cave and with the free room, we can now get rid of a whole bookshelf because my condensed book collection takes up the cube space in the lounge room (rather than an entire bookcase) where the collectibles used to live.

We also looked at the best way to set up my sewing space. I used to sew on an old pool table with a board on top to keep it level. The pool table also housed my fabric stash for projects, my work-in-progress projects and all my notions. It was a cluttered chaotic mess.

We did away with the pool table and created a work bench out of cube units and melamine table tips which had ample storage underneath so all the fabric can be out of sight. I’ve also utilised a peg board on the wall to hang sewing accessories in a neat but accessible way.

What’s next?

Now that we have a starting point in the house for keeping it decluttered and organised, we can implement systems that make maintaining and cleaning the house a breeze.

I am a strong believer that my starting point is the key to a quick and efficient housework system that helps busy parents like my husband and I.

Once the foundation of a decluttered house was laid, we spend minimal time on cleaning And we have lost the feelings of overwhelm.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with decluttering, just remember the distinction between decluttering and minimalism.

Next, have a plan of where to start. You can download my free guide here, with categories of items and how to decide what’s staying. I’ve included a FREE downloadable checklist of items to declutter at the bottom of this post, if you need a starting point.

Once you have your plan, go for your life. Enjoy the extra energy you feel as you clean out.

I also wrote another post about what you can do to continue the momentum of simplifying your life.

Woman with her head in her hands surrounded by clutter

Have your family gone through decluttering? Where did you draw the line on what stayed and what was removed from the house?

If you’re a family have has been able to convert to a minimalist lifestyle both in terms of reducing physical possessions and the intentional living mentality, I’d love to hear your experiences on getting there and how you find your life now. Comment down below with your experiences.

Ditching minimalism
My top 5 essential oils for everyday use

My top 5 essential oils for everyday use

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

If you’re only just getting into essential oils, you can get a sense of overwhelm about essential oils for everyday usage.

I ended up purchasing a kit that had 32 types (check it out here) because I had #fomo (Fear Of Missing Out, for those who don’t speak hashtag slang) and thought I would like to have the most common oils on hand for whatever I needed.

I certainly don’t regret purchasing the Plant Therapy Top 32 Essential Oil Set, but there are definitely some oils that I reach for more than others, based on the needs of myself and my family.

Plant Therapy Top 32 Essential Oil Set

If you don’t want to purchase a kit and then some, I think you’ll find my narrowed down list really helpful.

What essential oils do I reach for most?

#1. Grapefruit Essential Oil

While grapefruit essential oil is not part of the kit I purchased, I love the smell of grapefruit and ended up purchasing this oil in addition to my Top 32 Set. And rightfully so as I consider it my TOP essential oil for everyday use.

Most common use:

I use Grapefruit essential oil in the diffuser, sometimes blended with lime and/or peppermint essential oils to create a fresh environment. Plant Therapy Grapefruit essential oils | Naturally Busy

Effects:

Grapefruit essential oils are fantastic for uplifting your mood.

Other uses:

Topical. Grapefruit essential oil is fantastic at clearing blemish-prone skin. However, please note that, as with any citrus essential oil, grapefruit can cause photo-sensitivity and therefore follow the directions on the label (regardless of brand) and ensure the correct dilution is used.

#2. Tea Tree Essential Oil

As an Australian, I have used tea tree essential oil for as long as I could remember. Tea Tree may be known as Melaleuca in other countries. It is easy to use tea tree essential oils for everyday use around the home due to its versatility.

Plant Therapy Tea Tree Melaleuca essential oil | Naturally Busy

Most common use:

Topical. I have terrible acne, which has continued into my adult years. When I have a particularly terrible cystic zit on my face, I will add 1 drop of tea tree oil to a pump of my regular moisturiser and use before bedtime.

Tea tree has amazing acne-fighting benefits and I have noticed a decreased lifespan of zits when I use this.

You can also dilute tea tree essential oil with fractionated coconut oil and use as a spot treatment for zits.

Effects:

Tea Tree essential oil is anti-microbial so it’s fantastic at purifying the air and cleaning.

Other uses:

Tea Tree essential oil is a fantastic addition to cleaning products. It’s an effective mold killer, as well as killing bacteria.

Tea Tree also acts as a natural deodorant so it’s perfect in personal care products.

Tea Tree, due to its antiseptic properties has long been used as a natural treatment for cleaning cuts and wounds.

#3 and 4. Orange and cedarwood essential oils combined

Orange and cedarwood essential oils are a heavenly combination.

Plant Therapy Sweet Orange essential oil | Naturally BusyPlant Therapy Cedarwood essential oil | Naturally Busy

Most common use:

Topical and/or diffused to create a relaxing environment that is conducive to sleep. Mix equal parts in fractionated coconut oil and put in a roller bottle or add equal drops of each to your diffuser in the bedroom.

Why not lavender for sleep?

I love lavender but my husband is not a fan so I had to find an alternative blend that was conducive to sleep.

Effects:

Both orange and cedarwood essential oils create a relaxing environment that makes getting to sleep easier.

Other uses:

Both orange and cedarwood essential oils can be great additions to skincare. Both of these oils are beneficial to your skin.

Orange essential oil is also a mood uplifter, which is why it makes sleep easier as it relaxes you

#5. Germ Fighter, Thieves or On Guard blends

This blend has a different name depending on which company you use. Essentially, this blend or synergy supports a healthy immune system by destroying airborne bacteria.

I have used Germ Fighter, Thieves and On Guard throughout my oily experience and while I can’t find any difference in effects between the three, I prefer to smell of Plant Therapy’s Germ Fighter because I LOVE the strength of the cinnamon. However, my mum prefers On Guard by doTerra because it smells sweeter. So I guess it really comes down personal preference.

Plant Therapy Germ Fighter essential oil | Naturally Busy

Most common use:

I use this blend in my home-made cleaning products to kill bacteria.

It works well as a mold killer so I have it diluted in white vinegar and water to spray in my bathroom.

I also add a couple drops to my mop bucket when I mop my floors to ensure germs are killed, as we have pets that could bring lord know what in from the garden.

Effects:

This blend is an immune-booster by warding off germs that can make you sick.

Other uses:

Diffuse this blend to get the same effects consistently throughout your household, not just when you clean.

Check out Amazon, Plant Therapy or AliExpress for some glass roller bottles so you can make your blends up.

I also LOVE this diffuser I got from Groupon.

Groupon Essential Oil Diffuser | Naturally Busy

Plant Therapy has a few diffusers to select from but I am yet to try them out.

There you have it. My top 5 essential oils. It was really hard to narrow it down to 5 oils though. Other honorable mentions include Peppermint, Endoflex (a Young Living blend that balances hormones), Lemon and Lavender.

What are your favourites that I didn’t mention?

5 must have essential oils

Top 5 essential oils for everyday use | Naturally Busy
My top 5 essential oils for everyday use | Naturally Busy
5 easy ways busy parents use Sundays to maximise productivity for the week ahead

5 easy ways busy parents use Sundays to maximise productivity for the week ahead

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Do you feel that if you don’t get everything done in preparation for the week ahead of you, you’re just setting yourself up for a week of chaos, with kids, work, school etc? There’s nothing worse than feeling chaotic. Here’s how one productive day per week helps my family go through the week calmly and easily, without too much stress.

Start by making a list of common bugbears that could be prevented by forward-planning and then block out some time, dedicated to ensuring that these are tackled in the lead-up to a busy week.

It doesn’t have to be a Sunday… it doesn’t even have to an entire day. Just dedicated time each week to prepare for the week ahead, both practically and mentally. Once you nail a weekly routine, your time management skills in all other areas will grow exponentially.

Any of my closest friends and family know that Sunday is a ‘Do Not Disturb’ day for me.

I don’t like to make social plans unless absolutely necessary. As a full-time working mumma, I NEED at least one full day to prepare for the week ahead, both mentally and practically.

Sure, I can mentally wind down in the evening. I could also scramble each evening throughout the week to get loads of washing washed and folded, before and after work. I could add two extra chores to my weeknight evenings. I could prepare and cook each healthy dinner on the night that we intend to eat, rather than plan ahead, but then dinner wouldn’t be served until later and then we have a stroppy toddler to contend with.

All of this would leave me feeling chaotic and stressed out. I don’t like feeling chaotic stressed out. It makes me anxious which gives off a bad energy for the other members of my family. It leaves me feeling anxious for the week of work ahead, especially when my Monday-Friday job can be chaotic as situations arise at the drop of a hat.

‘Do Not Disturb’ Sundays work best for my time management.

This doesn’t mean we aren’t flexible to have visitors or make a small outing but if I can’t at least prepare one extra meal for the week, do any routine cleaning or gardening, and get the washing done, then I am not going to enjoy any other activities that we end up having lined up.

Why? Because my mind wanders to the hamper of unwashed clothes that need to be speedily washed, dried and folded before we go to bed that night.

What do I do on a Sunday that makes Sundays so important to a cohesive week?

#1 Meal preparation

I look at my meal plan for the week (that I write up on Saturdays) and find whatever I can get done on a Sunday for week time meal preparation.

Usually, Sundays result in Sunday night’s dinner, then the meat and vegetables are put in the slow cooker pot for Monday night’s dinner, and the vegetables for Tuesday’s dinner are cut and stored in the fridge so that making healthy meals after work is as easy as possible.

You can get my meal planning and preparation guide here to help you prepare healthy meals for the family as a busy mum.

#2 Washing

I NEEEED a full day to get all of the family’s washing sorted. If the washing goes undone, my time management for the rest of the week flies out of the window. I go to work so early in the morning, (I leave the house by 6am to get to work by 7am) so hanging up washing is rarely done before in morning, especially in winter, when it’s cold and dark.

So a load or two might be done during the week when I can hang it out before bed, but the majority of the washing needs to be washed and folded on the weekend so we aren’t scrambling through wash baskets throughout the week.

To make our clothes washing system efficient (because I HATE folding), we have configured our laundry room to allow us space to fold the clothes as we bring them in so that we aren’t looking for other surfaces, out of the way from the toddler tornado that has a penchant for knocking over nicely folded piles of clothing.

We have a standalone cabinet that provides ample storage underneath for additional linen, and then a wide benchtop which allows me to fold washing as soon as it comes in.

I have found that since we implemented this system, washing and folding is so much less painful, especially as I detest the washing and folding process.

#3 Additional house projects

Although our house is great in terms of liveability, there are many additions that we want to make to our living space, in addition to the general household and garden maintenance, which means Sundays are perfect for little projects.

I like to spend a bit of time each weekend pottering around the house getting little tasks checked off the list of things we want to do to our house. One weekend, we spent an hour installing a curtain rod in my daughter’s room and hanging block out curtains that my sister gave us (thrifty win!) because she didn’t want them anymore.

In the summer, we spend time sorting out our backyard and garden. I want my daughter to experience a beautiful backyard and be able to entertain herself with the beauty of nature when she is older, rather than being confined to the house because the backyard isn’t something she can enjoy.

#4 Enough time to unwind mentally

By taking it easy and doing all my preparation for the week at my own pace and not feel that it has to be cramped into evenings or a few hours on one weekend day, I get to prepare mentally for the week as well and not feel rushed and anxious. If I start the week rushed, anxious and stressed then it does not bode well for the rest of the week ahead.

By pottering around the house, with no pressure to be social or to entertain people, we can ensure that E has her routine nap and prepare herself for a week at daycare and grandma’s, both of which are fun, but tiring for a tiny toddler.

#5 Spending time as a family

As working parents, my husband and I don’t get to spend much time together with our little girl as a family, because we divide and conquer throughout the week; with him doing the morning daycare run and myself doing the afternoon.

So blocking Sunday out most weekends allow us to spend decent time together, as a family. We start the day with Pancake Sunday  (where Adam cooks breakfast) and we follow this through with a Skype call to his parents that live interstate.

Then we both help clean and play with E. We all potter around and sometimes meal preparation and house projects are an entire family affair. I often feel the ‘mum guilt’ of not spending enough quality family time with E because of work so Sundays together as a family helps assuage some of that guilt.

How do you prepare for a busy week?

Now you’ve heard about why I’m antisocial on Sundays and why I think they are the most important day to a productive week, let me know what you do on a Sunday. Do you use Sundays to set your week up? If you don’t, how do you prepare for a week of busyness? Tell me all of your tips and tricks to improve my Sunday routine.

Don’t forget to download my free meal planning guide to help you have a more productive week.

5 easy ways busy parents use sundays to maximise their productivity for the week ahead
5 easy ways busy parents use sundays to maximise their productivity for the week ahead

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