Friday, 10 June 2016

7 Cheats to Help You Clear Clutter - Guest Post


As much as I don't want to be a hoarder, I do tend to accumulate things. Diana has written a great guest post on how to declutter and clear away to give you that organised feeling we crave in the home. Enjoy!

Before you decide to bring something home to keep, ask yourself if you’ll eventually consider it as just another knickknack in your haystack of orphaned stuff. Yes, hoarding can be a rewarding compulsion, but living space is best reserved for the essentials. This is arguable if you have money to burn, but like novelty souvenirs, clutter is often something you can do without. As far as mementos go, a picture can paint a thousand words and will also occupy just a few megabytes of space.

Here are 7 tips to help you declutter your home and reclaim lost territory.

1. Define What Qualifies as Clutter

This is the hardest part, because recognizing something as clutter is accepting it doesn’t belong in your house. Decluttering is like spring cleaning, but often involves items with sentimental value.

You have to think of it as shedding skin--something has to go and make room for better things. If you can group stuff in piles of wants and needs, it can help you visualize how much room you’ll regain in the aftermath. Having clutter is like having an unassembled mess of IKEA furniture--you need to know when it’s time to move on and let it go.

2. Divide and Conquer

Decluttering the entire house can be overwhelming, so it’s best if you sort in sections, such as one cabinet or room at a time. Years of hoarded stuff blur the lines between what’s necessary, trivial, or disposable, and you may not have time to sort everything in one sweep.

3. Make the Most out of Reclaimed Space

Once you’ve regained space to spare, you need to organize things. It’s time to compartmentalize.

You’ll be amazed to see the space you’ll recover with proper storage. If you take pride in cramming stuff into a suitcase, then you can apply the same principle in decluttering. Who would’ve thought there’s plenty of storage space underneath the bed? This is also opportunity to think in terms of shelves and stacking boxes.

4. Have an “Undecided Bin” for Stuff You Might Need

If you’re undecided regarding the usefulness of some items, it’ll help if you dedicate space for these. This will ease the transition.

Don’t let your recycling bin exceed maximum capacity, though. For example, you’ll get around to using that exercise ball, as you can and should exercise. In the meantime, let it sit in limbo while you muster up the courage to get off your bum.

5. Focus on the Task at Hand

When you’re decluttering, it’s best to have an honest assessment of your belongings. But you can’t declutter with a preoccupied mind. It impairs judgment and you may dispose stuff you need.

If a cluttered desk is evidence of a cluttered mind, then decluttering is a task you’ll botch with a distracted mind.

6. Keep the Fire Burning

Give yourself credit if you did great with the task, but realize that clutter will stack up if you’re not deliberate with future acquisitions. It’s a perpetual effort.

Learn from mistakes, and be ruthless when it comes to sorting out your stuff. You didn’t expect to receive two coffeemakers for your birthday? Re-gift one of them, preferably to an astronomically distant relative (re-gifting is a necessary evil when you receive unnecessary gifts).

You should also think things through before making each purchase. Do you want it or need it? Can you afford it?

7. Find Your Middle Ground

In your epic struggle against clutter, it’s possible you’ll end up becoming the hoarder’s worst nightmare: the minimalist. While this is in many ways a good thing, hoarding stuff has its fun side, when it’s done in a controlled and calibrated manner.

You’re justified in buying clothes and shoes for special occasions, in the same way anyone has the right to spend hours watching cat videos online. Just make sure you declutter often, or in the case of watching cat videos, close all those browser tabs when you’re finished.

Staying on top of clutter comes with a learning curve. Give yourself slack whenever you slide back to your hoarding habit. It takes time, but everything you decide to lose will be rewarded with roomier living space and a calmer spirit.

About the writer: Diana is a content writer for Zero Commission, an Australian real estate company that helps homeowners sell their houses while keeping the commission all to themselves. Their customers save on average $14,000. Learn more on their site.

Zero Commission’s blog is filled with how-to guides to help Australian homeowners sell their house fast. Check out articles like 5 Signs Your Home is Overpriced, 5 Feng Shui Tips to Sell Your House and How to Show Your House to Impress Buyers. 


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Luke and Elliott Find That Music Rocks With Battlebird

It is the classic parenting story. A father feels for his son's struggle with shyness and finding his feet in the schoolyard, so he decides to share his love of music to help his son build confidence. Two years on, and Elliott is now eight years old. Elliott and his Dad, Luke, also known as The Kid and Lucky Luke, and their trusty robot DJ Scooter have teamed up to create BATTLEBIRD, the galaxy’s finest time-travelling, space-hopping, pop-rocking kids band.
 

Luke says “Elliott was struggling a little bit at his new school and I found it pretty heartbreaking. I had a feeling music may bring him out of his shell as it did for me when I was younger so we started goofing around in the garage writing music, making video clips on an iPhone and an old MacBook and before I knew it we’d pressed a handful of EP’s and performed live at the local Moruya Arts Festival (2015) in front of 200 people with Elliott’s classmates joining us on stage.”
 
With their song ‘Ho Ho Ho Let’s Go’ featured on the ABC Kids Christmas album Volume 2, and their debut album Life is Good’ due out on March 25, Battlebird are set to blast the airwaves past and present with their very unique sugar-rush style of Intergalactic boomboxpop! - they can’t, don’t, won’t stop until the battle is won…
 
The CD also comes with a five track DVD.
You can buy it here and follow them on Facebook here, and jump over here to their website.
 


BATTLEBIRD ‘Life is Good’ - Album with 5 track DVD

Available March 25
 
The coolest musical collaboration of 2016 is looking set to come from none other than an Aussie Dad and his eight year old son.
 
I had to include one of my favourites from the album, which is track 5. C'mon C'mon C'mon.
 
 

Friday, 4 March 2016

What Does Your Ideal Life Look Like and Are You Living It?

 Are you living your ideal life? We all imagine what our lives will look like. Notice that I said "Ideal", not perfect .... be realistic. This is not the time to say "No, my prince charming did not come on a horse and swoop me off to his Castle". We are not living in a fairytale! So, when you look at the aspects of your life, right now, would you say that it is ideal?

Your definition of ideal should not involve comparing yourself or your life to others'. Ideal should involve your feelings and what you rate as important for you. An ideal life should be about all the pieces of the puzzle fitting neatly together. Ideal should feel like everything is balanced, because you have worked out what is most important to you and you have let go of things you don't rate. 

If we were to break down the areas of our lives they may include our home, our schedule, our job, our friends, our financial situation, our kids, how we parent, our attitude, our relationships, our fitness, our health, the way we deal with situations, our contribution to our community and the world ... The list could be quite long, but what matters for one may not even appear on someone else's list.

Life moves fast and we don't always have control over the way things go, but we often have choices. As we grow, our ways of looking at things often change, as our idea of ideal can change too. 
That's OK. 
What we think is an ideal life as a child, or teen, or young adult, may be very different to our idea of ideal when we have experienced life and have some knowledge of the world. Definitions change!

When you look at all of the aspects of your life, right now, how does reality compare to your ideal, imagined life?

Which bits are close? 
Which bits are vastly different?
Why are there differences? 
Do you want to reach your ideal?
What do you have to do to make that happen?
Have you sacrificed some areas of your life to build another? 

For me?
           I know that there are some aspects of my life that aren't necessarily ideal, yet they are reasonable. I can cope with the stage they are at. 
          There are a few areas that I have pondered over and toyed with most of my life. Trying to get them to a stage of "reasonable" is a struggle, with the changes within life, myself and the world always tilting the table one way or another. These areas will probably be a work in progress for years to come. 
          There are a couple of areas that have just fallen into place over time, with little effort, and continue to be easy. I dare not mess with these, and ask no questions and count my blessings.
           Mostly, I have a tendency to plod along, being swept down the stream of life and doing the best to not hit my head on the boulders on the way. Occasionally I stand back to look things over, like I am doing right now. I believe that nearly anything can be improved, so of course, there are always a few things that I note are not, in fact, ideal in my life, and that its time to get to work and change them.

I think that having an ideal(not prefect!) image of our lives is healthy. Like dreams, it gives us something to aim for. As long as the the image is realistic and achievable, why should our lives be less than ideal?


Sunday, 28 February 2016

3 Ways to be Mindful through the day

2015 was here and disappeared quickly, so I thought the beginning of 2016 was a good time to talk about practising Mindfulness and Living In The Moment. People often have problems with dwelling on the past with Depression and worrying about the future with Anxiety, so learning to concentrate on the here and now becomes a useful tool. Here are tried and tested tips I can recommend.

1. Experience something in your day fully.   Whether it be a cup of tea, your daily shower or a workout, choose one thing to give your undivided attention to and really take note and appreciate every little detail.
As you make your tea notice the water pouring into the cup and swirl around. Watch as the steam rises. Breathe in the warm aroma of the tea. Feel the warmth of the cup with your hands. Take a sip and follow the warm liquid as it makes its way past your lips and down the throat. Indulge in each sip and do nothing else but enjoy this cup of tea until the end. Note the sounds around you, the thoughts that come to mind and the feelings you experience throughout the process. Don't feel guilty about dedicating the time and all of your thoughts to this one task. It is five minutes out of your day, leaving plenty of time to rush around and endure the rest of the hectic day.

2. Note 3 things from your day that brought you joy and/or gratitude. Obviously this should be done in the later part of the day and could be written in a journal or even on social media or discussed and shared at the dinner table. This reminds us that whether the day has been generally good or bad, there is always some things to be grateful for.

3. Practice some mindful breathing. Take the time to sit or lay quietly, still your body and breath deeply and purposefully down into the stomach. Feel the breath coming into the nostrils and follow its course down into the lungs. Place your hands on your stomach and feel the rise and fall as you breathe. Feel your lungs deflate as you blow each breath out slowly and completely. Close your eyes and concentrate on each breath, clearing your mind as you do so. Let thoughts come and go as you keep bringing your focus back to the breath coming in the nostrils, follow it path down to the lungs. Imagine the life giving breath swirling around your body, travelling to your muscles, organs and blood. Feel the breath sooth and relax your muscles.

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

We Enjoy Go Natural Nut Delight Bars


Go Natural Nut Delight Bars are a regular purchase in our household for a nutritional and healthy snack option. Not only health, but extremely tasty, these bars are full of Australian products and have an outstanding 4.5 stars health star rating. To make them even more impressive, Go Natural Nut Delight Bars boasts over 60 health claims, under the new food labelling regulations.

Each bar of Go Natural’s Nut Delight is based on a delicious combination of Australian peanuts and almonds, together with walnuts, brazil nuts and naturally sweetened with buttery honey from Victoria’s Grampians.

With over 70 per cent of nuts, Nut Delight 40g snack bars are packed with 6 grams of protein. They contain antioxidants like Vitamin E and Selenium and Niacin.  They are also naturally low in sodium, free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours and contain no gluten, cholesterol or trans fats. 

Part of Go Natural’s wide range of healthy snack bars, Nut Delight can be found in the health food aisle in all the leading supermarkets and across a variety of other retail outlets, such as convenience stores and petrol stations. Go Natural are committed to using minimally processed to ensure they retain their natural goodness and nutritional value


For more information on Go Natural’s range of healthy snacks, visit www.gonatural.com.au

About Food Standard 1.2.7
Food standard code 1.2.7 - Nutrition, Health and Related Claims - requires that products meet the nutrient profiling scoring criterion set by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) in order to make high and general level health claims. Food businesses must comply with the new standard from 18 January 2016.
Disclaimer : No payment or products were received in exchange for this post or my recommendation of the product. All factual information appearing in this post regarding the product have been supplied by the manufacturer.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Plasma Donation: My Next Logical Step

I like to do things. Things to help others. Things to help me grow. Things I enjoy. Sometimes though, I have intentions to do things but they sit on my list until opportunity practically runs me down ... or someone gives me a shove.

And that's exactly what happened today. I was giving my regular donation of whole blood. This is something I have been doing regularly for a few years now. 

I noted the sign that stated that my blood type is needed on another list. I even commented to the nurse how full the other side of the donation room was.

This is when my nurse looked me in the eye and said "You should donate plasma." Of course I should! And I made the appointment while I was still filling my little bag with beautiful whole blood. It really was that simple.

So my next appointment will be a little longer, approximately 45 minutes. 

The whole blood is drawn from the arm, as usual, but the plasma is separated by a machine, and the red cells, white cells and platelets are returned to the donor via the same arm.

The plasma that is taken can be used to make 18 different products. Plasma is demanded more and more as it is used to treat a huge range of medical conditions like shock or burns, to boost the immune system, to stop or prevent bleeding for those who have abnormal blood clotting. The list goes on and on.

As a regular whole blood donor who has never had a complication whilst donating, this is the logical next step for me.

And as an extra incentive, the biscuits really are awesome! I usually wash it down with one of their Chocolate Milks. Win/win!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Mental Health Podcasts

I am an avid listener of podcasts. I find them interesting and entertaining and listen to them whilst doing my work. I know .... concentrating on multiple things at once is not good practice!

As I recently went through the current Podcast Chart Health 1-20 I noticed how many podcasts are linked to mental health. This is clearly an indication of the current need for information and the push to talk more about Mental Health.

Here are a few that are listed:

Sleep With Me appears at Number 1!

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Hay House Meditations

The Chalene Show

The Daily Boost

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Dr Wayne W. Dyer Podcast

Good Life Project

I listen to a few of these on a regular basis. Check them out and tell me what you think.


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