January, the start of the new year, is also a good time for de-cluttering your life. Like lots of other things I’ve mentioned before in other posts, de-cluttering and organisation is something that has a physical outcome but can also work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing.
I don’t know about you but I can be a very literal person in some ways and I am often a product of my environment (think ‘messy room, messy mind’) and de-cluttering can be done in so many ways, maybe in ways you wouldn’t really realise or imagine! Why wait until Spring?
Keep on reading for my de-cluttering and organisation tips…
- Have a massive throw out (obvious one) – anything you no longer want, no longer need, no longer wish to have in your surroundings or anything that has seen better days, get rid of it! Whether you throw it out, recycle it, take it to a charity shop, give to family or friends or sell it, it needs to go! Stop putting it off!
- Minimalise – as I’ve got older, I am growing to love minimalism. I was sat in my bedroom other day and I just thought: WHY do I have two open DVD racks with 100 DVDs staring back at me? WHY are all of my cosmetic beauty products standing on my dresser instead of in drawers? WHY have I got countless candles and ornaments everywhere that don’t match? I am torn because I like a room to be quite simple but warm, welcoming and inviting at the same time. Finding the balance between cosy and calculating is this year’s décor mission.
- Storage – there’s a place for everything and everything has it’s place. Sometimes, we have to keep things that we don’t really want to keep (think: wage slips, paper bills, tape, blue tack, screwdrivers amongst countless other things!) Make sure you know exactly where these things are and that they are organised and stored neatly. I have just bought a box file for all of my paper work and each file is separated into categories: ‘Wage Slips’, ‘P45s/P60s’, ‘Gas and Electricity Bills’, ‘Student Loan Statements’ etc.
- Make better use of your space – for a long time I was using the bottom drawer of my dresser as a ‘junk drawer’. Old mobile phone chargers, adapter leads, hot water bottles, suede shoe cleaner, old keys. Any old tat I could find, you name it, it was probably in there! I have started throwing those things away/finding new homes for them and now I have an extra drawer to store all of the beauty products that I’m going to move off the top of my dresser in my quest for minimalism!
- Sort your email accounts out – I logged onto my email account a few days ago and I had 927 emails in my inbox! I am one of those fantastically anally retentive people that gets probably the most satisfaction possible when I have a completely empty inbox. Delete all of your unwanted emails , create subfolders for emails that you need to keep (e.g. my wage slips are emailed to me now so I have a subfolder for those), unsubscribe to companies that you are sick of receiving emails from, mark nuisance emails as ‘spam’. It’s funny how much you feel like you can take on the world with a clean inbox!
- Change your passwords – new year, new start, get those passwords changed (have you got a password that has an emotional attachment to something from the past, maybe associated with an ex?) GET RID!
- Hire a skip – if you do have a lot of rubbish to get rid of, it is worth hiring a skip, there’s nothing better than physically throwing your rubbish away yourself and actually seeing the process happening in front of your own eyes. It is so satisfying!
- Get your administrative sh*t together – sign up for internet banking, set up direct debits and standing orders, download apps for certain admin tasks (paying bills etc.), cancel subscriptions that you don’t use, renew or cancel memberships, check all of your outgoings are correct, if you have made any bookings for holidays/events, can you pay any of them off or whittle any of them down? Delete the fodder off your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/other Social Media accounts. Make a financial plan, actually use your calendar and diary.
- Do a ‘deep clean’ – I am doing a spot of décor in a couple of months so a good ‘deep clean’ before any decorating of a room is crucial anyway but this is something that should be done at least 4 times a year. In my eyes, a ‘deep clean’ might include washing curtains or blinds, flipping a mattress, washing a duvet and pillows (not just the covers), cleaning nooks and crannies that you don’t always clean (light fittings, curtain poles, behind heavy pieces of furniture), polishing and scratch cleaning CDs and DVDs, washing upholstery (my dressing stool is covered in fake tan – niceee!), taking items of clothing to the dry cleaners, wiping shoes and bags clean, giving stained or marked shoes, clothes, bags (anything really) a proper cleaning treatment, replacing makeup brushes and sponges, cleaning jewellery, washing clothes that have been hanging in the wardrobe or sitting in drawers for a long time.
- Have a change around – change is good for the soul, move your bedroom around, put your bed on the other wall, change your storage units, buy some new (yet minimal!) accessories that match and have a perfect spot in your new room. I am really looking forward to decorating my bedroom, luckily I can have a massive change and buy some new pieces and accessories for my room.
Hope this will be useful to you guys, if you are somebody who hasn’t ever really thought about these tips before, I challenge you to try them out and see if they do anything for your mind and general happiness. Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Love Dani x
We all know what a struggle January can be financially. Most of us will have spent so much money over the Christmas period that January is a time to scale back our spending to either pay everything off or put some money back into our savings. I am by no means an expert on savings! Saving money is definitely something I need to work on in 2016 so I have done my research and also come up with some ideas myself for being a little bit more frugal this month and into the rest of this year…
- Dry January/insert month – I have actually been invited to quite a few social events this month, which I can’t really miss out on (close friends’ ‘big’ birthdays!) but I have promised myself that these three events will be the only time I will be drinking alcohol. Make a pact that in January and even throughout the rest of the year, you will only drink alcohol socially, no drinking in the house alone (standard teacher practice) and no cheeky glasses of wine with a meal or you know because it’s Tuesday!
- Stay in – again, as mentioned above, I have three events that I can’t really miss (a 40th Birthday party, a 30th masquerade Ball and my best friend’s birthday night out) but I have politely declined quite a few other invitations that I have received for this month. I will also be eating in everyday this month, no restaurant visits! Learn to say no sometimes, I went to the opening of an envelope last year and it did my bank balance absolutely no favours.
- No takeaways and unhealthy snacking – this obviously ties in with a lot of weight loss goals for the year and kills two birds with one stone by keeping your finances to a minimum. A lot of takeaway or fast food seems relatively cheap but if you actually add all of it up it can become quite costly, especially with minimum spends for free delivery.
- No unnecessary spending on transportation – I don’t drive and constantly find myself wasting money out of sheer laziness or lack of organisation. As a teacher who doesn’t drive, I have been guilty in the past of wasting £20 a time on Taxi journeys to work because ‘it was raining’ or ‘I woke up late’ or ‘I wanted an extra 45 minutes in bed’ or ‘I had too many books to carry’. Sometimes, I was wasting £80 a week on multiple Taxi journeys, which I could have been spending on something I love or saving! Even my £10.50 weekly bus pass is a waste if I can walk. Are you spending too much on petrol or wasting it on pointless journeys?
- Take advantage of loyalty/reward cards – here in the UK, a lot of supermarkets and retailers offer loyalty or reward cards, which mean that you can redeem points when you spend certain amounts, those points all add up and can then be spent in store. I have multiple: Boots Advantage Card, Superdrug Beauty Card, Tesco Club Card, Accessorize Reward Card, Debenhams Beauty Club Reward Card which are all incredibly advantageous to me. Use these cards to their full potential, make sure you use them each time you go and save up your points/vouchers until you really need them. This year my goal is to save all of my Boots Advantage Points until December and use them to buy Christmas presents (then I don’t have to spend my cash ) and even treat myself to a few little bits and bobs!
- Take advantage of vouchers and coupons – I must admit, we’re not as big on couponing as some of you guys from the US are but we still have vouchers and coupons available to us that we can use. Some of the loyalty cards as mentioned above also have vouchers and coupons available as well as points and other coupons can be found in newspapers, magazines and online.
- Sell unwanted items – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and there is something so therapeutic about having a massive clear out. If you are an ‘Ebay’ virgin (like me) try other selling sites and platforms. There are lots of local selling sites on Facebook, which allow you to list your items for free, share your unwanted items with your ‘friends’ who might be more willing to buy from somebody they know or share your listings for you. Local newspapers also list items for sale for a small fee. Car Boot Sales (if you’re in the UK) or Garage/Yard Sales (if you’re in the US) are also other ways of getting rid of smaller items that aren’t worth listing on a major site. If you are going to list on a site, make sure you do your research about selling rules, fees and postage and packaging to avoid any messy transactions or disappointments.
- Reuse and recycle – here in the UK, new legislation has been passed in the last 3 months about the use of plastic carrier bags in supermarkets and retailers. All major retailers must now charge 5p for each standard plastic carrier bag you require during your shopping experience. Make sure you are reusing your carrier bags to avoid a charge each time or invest in stronger and thicker plastic bags or cloth/fabric bags which can be used over and over again. 5p doesn’t seem like a lot of money but think about how much you would be spending if you forgot your reusable bags everyday for a year!
- Check your outgoings – are you paying too much for your gas and electricity supplier? Telephone your supplier with your meter readings, they might be charging you based on an estimated usage. Are you on the right mobile/cell phone payment plan/tariff? If you live on your own, are you paying ‘Single Person’s Council Tax Allowance’? Could you switch to another provider of gas/electricity/Internet/telephone/digital television? Are you entitled to any benefits or government support that you weren’t aware of? Can you not remember the last time you watched something on Netflix?( Yeah, that’s right! The one you pay £5.99 a month for). Every little helps, it all adds up so CHECK!
- No unnecessary spending – “Hello, I’m Dani and I’m a stationary/magazine addict”. I can’t walk past a nice notebook, a pretty diary, a floral ring binder folder or a 12 piece writing set without putting them in my basket. Do I really need them? NO! I am putting myself on a one magazine a week restriction. I will be the proud reader of £1.25 New! Magazine each week instead of Look! Magazine, Heat, OK!, Closer, Reveal, Star, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Company. They all pretty much say the same thing and the majority of the information can be found online. What do you waste money on? Get rid of it.
- Shop around – this can be boring and tedious at first but you will thank yourself in the long run! Which supermarket is cheaper than the others? Where can you find milk and bread and washing powder cheaper? Who has got an offer on toilet rolls this week? Can you find those Nike trainers you want for the gym any cheaper anywhere else? Look on the Internet for comparison sites or ‘Google’ your weekly shop items to search for prices from the comfort of your own home.
- Don’t be wasteful – before you do your weekly shop, look at what you actually need before you start buying more. Plan your meals so you know what you will eat first and what you will eat later. Look carefully at ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Eat these items first or if possible freeze certain food stuffs like meat. Make one batch of something and eat it for your lunch or for another meal later on in the week. For food that doesn’t keep very well before going rotten (e.g. fruit) buy as you are going along each day rather than during your ‘big’ weekly shop.
- Swap, borrow, make do and mend – swap clothes, CDs, books, magazines, DVDs with your friends. if you are going out, look through your wardrobe, can you jazz up an old outfit so that you don’t have to buy something new? Before I was a teacher, in my late teens especially, I used to love customising my own outfits. Add some jewels to the heel of your boring black shoes, wear an eye catching waisted belt with your plain dress, wear a statement necklace, pin a corsage to your plain, uninteresting clutch bag (I will do some posts on this, if anybody is interested!) Go to your local library and see if they have the book you’re dying to read (instead of paying £7.99 for it). Does Netflix have that film you feel like watching instead of going to buy the DVD?
- Make your own enjoyment – have a girly night in with your friends, have a cosy night in with your partner, get the karaoke machine out or music and DVDs that you already own. Make use of that Netflix/Amazon Prime subscription and have a TV box set or movie marathon. Spend your Friday and Saturday nights going to the gym or swimming or to an exercise class. Use that time to feel amazing and get the body that you want for all of those future nights out you’ll soon be able to have again! Have a bubble bath and use up all of those pamper products that you got for Christmas or still have lying around. Do the things you love that don’t cost you a penny!
Why don’t you…? choose one of the items off the list (e.g. alcohol) and put the money that you would have spent on that item in a money box (every Friday night, I usually have a bottle of wine, which costs around £6). If I put £6 in a money box that would roughly equate to £6 x 52 weeks a year) which equals £312. Use the money to treat yourself at the end of the year or to go towards your holiday in 2017 <3.
Hope you have found these tips helpful. I will definitely be trying to follow my own advice and save some money in 2016. UK readers, check out https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en for excellent financial guidance, including their #survivejanuary kit.
Have you got any tips for being frugal and thrifty? Please share them in the comments down below!
Love Dani x
Image Credit 1: http://www.iamintheuk.com
Image Credit 2: http://www.popsugar.com
I thought I would write an introductory post about my weight loss journey, which I have started and will be continuing into 2016. I am hoping to do some more posts about my progress, including my exercise routines, recipes and meal ideas and hopefully updates on my loss (pounds and inches). I would also like to do some posts about how fitness can contribute to mental health and wellbeing, as this is a topic that is very close to my heart.
For the past few years I have struggled a little bit with my weight. I had some trying times during 2012 and my weight took a nosedive. I have lost some of the weight but I still have a long way to go to get back to the target weight and size, which I hope to be. From about the age of 14 to 22 I used to be such an exercise junkie and could always maintain the size and weight I wanted to be, then all of a sudden eating out, takeaways and too many boozy nights out all caught up with me. I also had quite a stressful job (until I took a step back from my job during the summer), which took over every spare minute I had (in other words not going to the gym or swimming or aerobics classes or dance classes or walking everywhere – all the things I loved) and resulted in a lot of comfort eating. The hardships of the past few years, particularly 2012, made me forget who I was and who I wanted to be, my weight wasn’t my number one priority and doing something about it definitely wasn’t.
2016 is the year I intend to finally get my weight, health, body and mind back to where they always were. Obviously, as a 27-year-old (single) woman, how I look is important to me and has a massive knock on effect with my confidence and self-esteem but I am also on this journey for health, increased energy and most important of all, my sanity! My major inspiration/Woman Crush Wednesday/Woman Crush Everyday at the moment is Khloe Kardashian. She is the poster girl for how health and fitness and clean living can change your life (there will be more on Khloe very soon)!
This year is the year, there’s no turning back! Look out for my diet and fitness posts and my monthly updates.
Are you on your own weight loss journey? Let me know your stories, it would be great to spur each other on 🙂
Love Dani x
Image Credit: weightlossfitnessnicelife.blogspot.com
Like I said in my ‘New Beginnings’ post, I agree that New Year’s Resolutions are so clichéd and usually consist of a set of unrealistic goals that we will maybe stick to for a couple of weeks and never reach. That being said, I think it is all part of the ‘New Year’ fun, that feeling of hope and determination that you can actually change the aspects of your life that you feel are bothering you or restricting you as a person. Primarily, the key to creating successful New Year’s Resolutions is to make them realistic, achievable and obtainable. The older I get and the closer I get to reaching the dreaded ’30’ I also constantly find myself thinking, “If I don’t do it this year, if I don’t do it now, when will I?”
So I have come up with 5 New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 that I am going to do my very best to achieve:
- To eat healthier and drink more water (make it about health rather than vanity).
- To exercise more, partaking in activities which are fun and enjoyable (again health vs. vanity, increased energy, mental health and wellbeing, doing something that you get a buzz out of: I used to be a keen dancer, I hope to be again in 2016!)
- To save some money per month (£50/£100 a month, putting all of your 1ps and 2ps in a jar – it all adds up! Don’t panic if one week you only save £10, don’t pressure yourself).
- To live in the moment, finding something positive in everyday, doing the things that I enjoy (watching TV box sets, reading autobiographies, having a bubble bath, colouring in, re-decorating, going to an aerobics class – what makes you tick? DO IT!)
- To find new hobbies and interests, which broaden my horizons and make me step out of my ‘comfort zone’ (remember when you were a kid and everything was new and exciting? New experiences were usually parent/school led, it’s up to you now to make your enjoyment! If your friends don’t have the same hobbies, make some new ones that you can share those interests with, DON’T MISS OUT, IT’S YOUR LIFE!)
I hope this has given you some inspiration and helped you to realise that New Year’s Resolutions can be obtainable 🙂 Look out for my ‘New Year’s Resolutions Updates’ in April, July and October to track my progress. We can do it together!
Love Dani x
Image Credit: theodysseyonline.com