How to be prepared for Christmas

Ok so just let me say that, the fact you are reading this post means that you are already one step ahead of a lot of people when it comes to getting organised for Christmas, so well done. Christmas is actually a big part of our year and does take energy and time from all of us, with shopping, eating , travel, cooking and so on. Let’s not under estimate the amount of work that is needed to get things ready for the festive season. Over the years I have really appreciated how much better I am prepared for Christmas when I have planned for it. If you are sick of feeling very chaotic at Christmas time because you are running around at the last minute, let me help you get more prepared. In this post I share how I go about planning for Christmas and hopefully you will find this valuable

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90 Day Planning Cycle

What’s a 90 day planning cycle got to do with Christmas? Well not a lot! Except it’s the best way to plan for Christmas or anything for that matter.

During my career in the corporate world, Business Plans, 90 day planning cycles and so on are a norm and a very effective tool to use to implementation actions to achieve your goals. Just because these are corporate practises, it doesn’t mean that you can not apply them at home. Which is exactly what I do for Christmas planning.

A 90 day planning cycle, is not complicated. Simply speaking it’s planning three months out, or over the year breaking it up into quarters , (3 months each) to achieve your goals. Each month you will break down the activities / actions that you need to do.

So for Christmas preparation you want to start 90 days out (3 months) which means kicking off your 90 day plan in October.

90 Day planner

90 Day planner

What to plan for

The first thing I do is decide what you actually want to achieve , i.e what is your goal? Are you having family and guests for Christmas? So your goal might be to have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas - or more simply put it, you want everything organised and done before the family and guests arrive. For me this Christmas, it is to have as a much relaxation time as possible.

Once you figure out what you want to achieve . i.e what your goal is, then just work through the main things that you will need to work on to achieve this. Using me as an example, my goal means that I really need to have everything done before Christmas so I can actual sit back and relax. To do this I listed out;

  • Food

  • Budget

  • Presents

  • Entertainment

  • Christmas decoration

  • Guest preparation

  • Home preparation - cleaning & tidying

  • Travel

  • Family plans

  • Holiday leave (Pete and I)

These are essentially your categories or topics and each will have a number of tasks. To help think about all the tasks, I do a brain dump.

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Brain Dump

Yep , just want it says , dump out everything that is in your brain on this matter and get it onto paper. This is a really helpful tool to free your mind up of all the things that you need to do.

For me I just take each topic and list everything out that I can think of, there is no need to prioritise at this stage, just get it all out. Lets take food as an example, I have just quickly written down some tasks;

  • Christmas baking - What and when

  • Create Christmas day menu

  • Shopping list for Christmas day menu

  • Work out Holiday meal plan

  • How many days to meal plan for

  • How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday

  • Place food orders - how and when

  • Fresh produce - when to buy

  • Clear out fridge and freezer space

  • When to do shopping

Repeating this for each of the topics. At first you may think that there is so much to do once you have listed it all out, trust me though it will make sense.

Timeframes

Using a 90 day plan means that you actually have 3 months to complete all those tasks that you have listed out. In other words you have plenty of time. The key is to get your timing right and somethings have to be done before another task can be completed.

In the end you don’t want to have to worry about what you have to do and not having enough time to do it, all you need to do is follow your plan and just do each task listed in the timeframe stated and you will get to your goal.

It is a simple process as you take the three months, October, November and December and spread out the tasks across these. Then each month you can plan then out over the weeks of the month.

Here is the approach I have taken with the my list of tasks for “Food”

  • Christmas baking- What and when - Oct

  • Create Christmas day menu - Nov

  • Shopping list for Christmas day menu - Nov

  • Work out Holiday meal plan - Nov

  • How many days to meal plan for - Oct

  • How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday -Oct

  • Place food orders - how and when -Dec

  • Fresh produce - when to buy -Dec

  • Clear out fridge and freezer space -Dec

  • When to do shopping -Dec

As you will see, I have allocated most of the “planning” tasks out to complete in October. It’s always important to do as many of the planning task first as they lead to your next steps. By spreading out my task over the 3 months, I don’t need to rush around in December trying to do all 10 things on my list.

When I do my monthly planning I can then task these out over the weeks in the month.

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getting it done

The planning is actually the easy part, it’s not a hard job to take 5-10 mins to list out all your topics and tasks and plan them out over the 3 months. The challenge is to “do” them……in other words implementing your plan. Couple of tips to help;

  • Be clear with what the specific task is. i.e what is the exact next step you have to do so its really clear.

  • Be realistic with the allocating the task to certain weeks/days. Think about what else you have on and what is the chance of actually getting that task done on that day.

Remember to always focus on the next tasks only. If you think about all that has to be done rather than the just the next step, you can easily get overwhelmed. Before you know it, it will be Christmas and you will be all sorted and can sit back and enjoy the experience of Christmas and relax !!

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Planning 101

Let’s reflect on what you have just learnt here, what I would call Planning 101. There is actually nothing about this planning that is specific to Christmas which means that you can apply this 90 planning cycle to any goal, you don’t even need to stick to the 90 day cycle. Just follow the principles that I covered off above, which are summarised below;

  • Identify your goal

  • Work out your timeframe

  • What do you need to do

  • Break down the specific task

  • Allocate them over the timeframe

  • Do the task , one at a time

To help you with your planning I have created a simple and easy to use Christmas Planner. Just grab the FREE printable below

FREE Christmas Planner

Get prepared for Christmas with this FREE simple and easy to use Planner

    Powered By ConvertKit

    Happy Planning my tidies and look forward to having a restful and relaxing Christmas

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    How to do a quick spring time tidy up

    I was in a bit of muddle this month over my latest content that I wanted to bring you. Travelling a lot for my new role and my daughter having commissioned my camera for a few weeks has meant that getting my monthly post out was going to be a challenge. However I was doing a bit of quick “spring clean” this weekend and I thought why don’t I just share a what I am doing.

    So this post is not about a big spring clean, but rather how to bring your home out of the winter funk with a few simply tidying tips. Many of you busy people out there would hopefully appreciate this and in fact you can do this for any seasonal change. My quick spring time tidy up is a mix of cleaning and tidying up that you can easily do in a couple of hours and makes a big difference quickly and easily.

    We are not talking about a big spring clean feast here, I mean who has the time to be washing down every inch of the house!!. And actually I am not a big fan of spring cleaning which is why I avoid it by doing zone cleaning. If you want to check out what that is about and how I do that , then you need to check out my Spring Cleaning the House - How I avoid it post.

    Any who …back to this post, this is all about doing a quick run through the house to make it feel a bit fresher for spring when you really have little time.


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    Clean window sills

    Try as we might , the winter time is not always a great time to be always keeping the house clean, so there are often areas of the home that get neglected. The window sills are one of those areas and can get a bit grotty with dust, dirt and moisture. I had a couple of windows sills that are in regular view and I gave them a quick clean down and it made such a difference.

    You don’t have to do all sills at once, just those that you look at often, those that are in your line of sight, like in front of the kitchen sink. If you want to clean all the sills then just aim to do a a couple each weekend.

    Freshen up your house plants

    This isn’t a big job either, if you have house plants why not give them a spring make over!!!. Next time you water and feed them just cut off any dead leaves, give the pots a bit of a clean or maybe report them into a new one for spring. It may also be a good time to rearrange where they are displayed as they may need a bit more sunlight on them after the long winter days.

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    Clean down your Front Door

    Yep this may seen a bit old school, but actually makes a big difference. And in fact I often clean down my front door and entrance way. I simply give the outside and inside of my front door a good clean down, get rid of the winter grime off the door. Make sure that you don’t forget the front step. I just use my general cleaner, which is a mix of vinegar and water. However if you have got a lot of grime and dirt a better option is a bucket of warm soapy water, here you can use your dish wash liquid, it should do the trick

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    Spring decor on your dinning Table

    This doesn’t need to be flash and over the top, just something simple, like flowers or nice candles. I often like to have fresh herbs in pots for my “spring decor”. This spring I have just used my candles from my winter decor and placed them in my glass cake stand and put some potted herbs in a basket. It’s a quick and easy and useful spring look.

    If you are after some real inspiration for check out my seasonal decor Pinterest board.

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    Create some spring scent

    Fresh flowers are the best if you can get some. Those with a garden, cut some from the garden like Daffodils, Crocus, Lily of the Valley etc. Your local produce shop should have some lovely spring flowers. Our local Simply Fresh always has great flowers.

    Also get your diffuser going with a few drops of lemon essential oil , it’s a lovely spring scent. Maybe splash out on some oil diffusers or new candles .

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    Tidy up one area

    Choose one area in your house that has been bothering you for a while and give it a bit of a tidy up. Over winter I have gathered some bits and pieces on my craft table that I just could’t be bothered putting away. So I took ten minutes and sorted everything out and put everything away. I also cleaned down the table and what a difference it made….all tidy and clean and fresh.

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    Now I have done all this on a Saturday morning, so it’s not a big deal, in fact it only took a couple of hours (I farted around a bit with my pot plants). And it has already made me feel more spring like and the home feels a bit fresher and ready to welcome in the spring.

    Ok so the windows need a good clean outside, however I have a plan for those ….Pete……!!! Honey……can you please!!!

    Some other quick tips

    • Change your duvet cover for a more spring feel. Wash all your bed linen and hang on the line. Nothing better than linen that has been out in the fresh air.

    • Open up the windows in this house - get some fresh air flowing through

    • Clean your shoes . I just throw my casual sneakers that I wear in the weekend in the wash, good as new.

    There you have it, 6 quick things to do to get your home feeling fresh and ready to welcome in the spring. I am sure that you could come up with your own quick clean and tidy steps, just remember it doesn’t have to be a big spring clean.

    Happy Spring My Tidies

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    How to create a travel kit

    Sometimes opportunities come along in life at an unexpected time, but end up being the perfect time. I have recently experienced this as a result of being offered a new role, one that initially I was not looking for. The role requires a lot of travel, which I have been enjoying not doing, however that was the reality with this role. And to be fair, travel is easy for me now with no kids at home and Pete only working four days a week. However one of the biggest pains with travel is the packing and unpacking. So I decided that if I was going to do this I needed to make as many things simple for myself. I decided if I could have a travel kit that was essentially ready to grab, I wouldn’t need to keep packing and unpacking. So I created my ultimate travel kit, one that is ready to use for one day or a whole week. So if like me you are wanting to make your travel easier keep reading and I’ll take you through the steps I took to create my ultimate kit.

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    Step 1 - Travel Requirements

    The first thing that I did was to think about what my travel requirements were going to be. To do this I thought about where and how often I would need to be travelling, even thinking about the weather as well.

    Working that out, initially I would probably be travelling weekly from one day to four days a week. However potentially changing locations during the week, which would mean slight variations in the weather. i.e Dunedin to Hamilton! The travel would likely settle down however not for a number of months, so it was going to be high frequency travel.

    Knowing the regularity and locations helped me to think about what I would need to have in my travel kit, so this takes me to the next step.

    Step 2 - Items for the Travel kit

    The easiest way I found to do this is to just do a bit of a brain dump. I simply listed out all the main items I normally need when travelling and categorised them

    • Work information

    • Technology

    • Wash bag and Make up

    • Wardrobe - work/exercise/casual

    For each of the categories I worked through what items I would actually take with me for every trip regardless of length and decided that these were the items that I would have in my kit. Essentially always ready and all I needed to do was to add my clothes.

    As an example for my wash bag and make up category I decided that I would have items such as deodorants, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush etc permanently in the kit. 

    From my list I collected together those items , crossing them off as I went. Helpful to only get those items that you have on your list. It is easy to start to include things that you think …ohhh I might need that !!! But really you don’t  

    A handy hint the small baby bath bottles from ECO store make perfect sized containers to fill with shampoos and body wash etc and means that you can just decanter from your existing products.

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    For my wardrobe I have a set of travel sleep wear, lounging clothes and yoga gear which stay with my travel kit.

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    Now that I had a good idea of all my travel items, this helped me to decide what my best luggage options would be, bearing in mind that I want to be able to have everything in my carry on and hand luggage. Essentially I wanted to only travel with two items of luggage, one being my handbag/briefcase and the other my carry on .

    So to the next step ——-suss out the luggage, but this also the fun part as I got to do a bit of shopping

    Step 3 - The Luggage

    Weight and functional are king here, I was really focused on ensuring that I have light weight luggage which needed to be really functional and ok yep it had to look good as well. Having said that I would compromise on looks to get weight and functionality.

    Thankfully now there are a lot of great options available that not only look really good but are very functional as well. In my research I found the Samsonite luggage a great option, these are certainly at the pricer end however if you are travelling a lot it’s a worth while investment. Here in Aotearoa, New Zealand you can find these often on special at Luggage.co.nz and Strand Bags and of course Amazon has a great selection.

    Interestingly enough for me, while I was doing the research one of favourite New Zealand bag brands, Saben, released a new range of luggage…..and like OMG I just feel in love with them. Of course I did my research on the luggage to ensure that they ticked my check list; light weight, functional and good looking. I had a good read through of all the details online first, checking the sizes and weight , then went into the store to have a good look. So I choose the Cabin Bag Black Carry on . It is super light, has four wheels, a lovely long handle (bonus for us tall gals) and has great capacity inside. And of course it is a beautiful thing….I mean just look at it ! I love the gold detail in the zips and handles. Also the zips have a lock which again is another great feature. In terms of price they sit similar to the Samsonite as well as the quality.

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    Now I was also looking for the perfect handbag/briefcase….that turned about to be a more challenging search, well initially. For my handbag/briefcase it needed to hold my personal items; purse, small make up bag, planner, MacBook air, cell phone, as well as my  work Surface Pro , work notebook and pen case. In my research I found that there were briefcases, mainly for men however they were often very narrow and really too slim so you could not get in all the personal items.

    When looking at just handbags they were really not robust enough to carry all the tech equipment. There was an option that I was thinking of using and that is my London Carry all Dagne Dover which I use as my carry all for work and it’s fab for that . However really needed something smaller as my hang bag. Dagne Dover do have some excellent options now in their luggage collection which I was looking at.

    However that was before I came across the perfect solution and I happen to find it at Saben……ohhh I shouldn’t have gone into that shop!! What I found has worked out to exceed my expectations…..it is soooo freaking practical, and the design means it is so nice to use and it is not bulky but holds everything that I need. So check it out my beautiful Taylor Black work bag . The two best elements of this bag;

    1. Dual compartments which I can get my Mac onside and my Surface Pro on the other

    2. Design, it’s long and slim and for a tall gal it just works so well for me functionally.

    Work bag with contents.png

    So there I am on a wet Friday afternoon coming out the Saben shop with a new bag and carry on, having spent, and lets be honest, a small fortune on them…..I had a smile across my dial feeling very pleased with myself. Because for me I had found the perfect two travel pieces I needed.

    Now to set them up ready for travel. Ohhh the fun of organising ….I’m in my happy place peeps!

    Step 4 - Travel Kit set up

    This is all about great packing organisation and if you do some googling there are all sorts of ways to do this well. For many years I have been a roller, boy you can fit a lot in when you roll clothes. In fact we travelled around Europe for 6 weeks with the kids with only two backpacks using the rolling method.

    However for my work travel I pack shirts and blazers and they are not really ideal when it comes to rolling. So I will use packing cases. I have actually been using dust cover bags that you get with shoes and bags and sometimes sheets as packing cases for sometime however decided that I would upgrade these. I manage to get these Flight packing cases on special at Briscoes as well as a tech bag .

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    On a recent trip to Sydney I discovered this fabulous reusable bag shop in Paddington called Bag-All . They have the most amazing selection of bags and you can even get them personalised. I did do a bit of a spend up and got myself some really lovely packing cases and a small tech bag for my hand bag. Now I think I am well set up for packing cases!

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    In terms of the Travel kit set up, as I mentioned above I really wanted to be able to reduce the amount of packing needed and essentially have as much ready to go as I can. With the exception of my daily clothes I set up the following kits;

    • Wash bag

    • Yoga kit

    • Lounging clothes

    • Tech kit

    Packing cases.png

    Each of those kits have their own bag and have all the items I need ready to go. I just add the clothes I need for the period I am away which is not a big deal.

    I am sure that I will have make changes to the kit as I go along however it’s a great start and will make the chore of packing and unpacking a lot less time consuming.

    All packed up

    My goal was to set up a travel kit that enabled ease of travel as well as reducing the packing and unpacking. I found going through the four steps outlined above was really helpful and helped me to make the right decisions to get my travel kit set up. I am sure that you could apply this to any travel situation to help you to also build the perfect travel kit for your needs.

    Happy Travelling my friends

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    beginners guide to growing healthy House plants

    I am always surprised by the amount of people I talk to who say, “I can't grow house plants, they just die on me". It surprises me because I can grow them and I'm no expert. I have been fortunate to learn from Pete, whom when I first meet him, his house was full of beautiful green plants and lots of cane furniture. Along side learning from my own mistakes over the years, I now grow lots of healthy plants in the home and I love them. It appears the house plants are certainly making a big come back so if you are thinking about getting some plants but not sure, keep reading as I share what I have learnt about growing beautiful, healthy (most of the time) house plants.

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    benefits of house plants

    Ok, so to start with, I would just like to remind you of just some of the benefits of having house plants, to help with your motivation.

    • They look great, they are a great home decor elements that can bring great impact to the look of a space

    • They make you feel good, being surrounded by greenery does wonders to your mood and general sense of wellbeing

    • They are great listeners!! yes I like to talk to me plants, they don’t argue with you.

    • They help to purify the air. They recycle the air by converting the carbon dioxide we breathe out, into oxygen that we breathe in.

    • They are inexpensive and you can easily take cuttings and multiply the numbers of plants.

    Now that I have sold you on how great house plants are let me, tell you easy it is to actually grow them.

    Watering and Feeding

    All the house plants I grow are very low maintenance and only really need water and a bit of a feed every now and then. The most important thing about watering and feeding is to be consistent, have a routine. I find this helps to maintain steady growth and constant level of moisture in the soil.

    Most common house plants are good with weekly watering. Pete and I water them on a Saturday morning. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. We feed them about once a month. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. I have always used Baby Bio Original House Plant Food, it's a classic and available everywhere.

    If you are not sure how often to water, track it in a diary/calendar noting any changes to leaves and soil, you should be able to establish a good routine from doing that. When buying your plants just check the care for instructions as this information should detailed.

    Do not over water, this will rot the roots. If you notice water pooled on the saucer and leaves changing colour, it may be too much watering. Also, the potting mix will start to smell.

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    Placement

    Most indoor plants, that we have, thrive in partial sun or indirect light, some like the 'Peace Lily' are great in bathrooms and other lower light areas. Avoid draughty spots, and direct sunlight. Plants are pretty good at telling you that they are not happy, just watch for changes in leaf colour, die off of the new growth, and wilting. You may need to move some around different spots until you find the right one.

    I have placed plants all over the house, on shelves, tables, even in the shower. They all settle well in their place and I can only recall moving two plants, one was not getting enough light and the other one was getting too much!!.

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    Buy Small - Grow Big

    I always buy my plants when they are babies. This is done because I like to raise the plant in the environment I want them grow uo in....and well it's a lot cheaper. Any garden centre should have a good selection of baby plants as they are grown from cuttings. I have found that Bunnings have a good selection of healthy house plants.

    If you do this you must regularly upgrade into bigger pots as it helps with growth and they will not get root bound in the pot.

    Use good quality potting mix, this does not have to be the most expensive. All garden centres will be happy to recommend and often have their own name brand. I just use the name brand at Mitre 10 and have had no issues with this.

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    Turning the Pots

    Ok so I am not sure if this is normal but I always turn my pots every time I water the plant. I find that you get even growth as they will always grow to the light. This is a good example. As an aside this plant produces beautiful yellow flowers, its a Calathea or Peacock plant and likes to have moist soil.

    Potplant_on_table.png

    Top plants list

    To help you on your way, here are a list of plants that I have and are actually pretty easy to look after. These are also very popular plants so would be easily sourced from your local garden centre. In Auckland , there is a fabulous garden centre which has a great selection of very cool indoor plants, Church Street Garden Central

    There are also a lot of handy guides on the best house plants to grow

    • Arrowhead vines

    • Bamboo palm

    • Birds nest fern

    • Calathea/ Arrowroot/Marantaceae

    • Fiddle leaf fig

    • Maidenhair fern

    • Orchids

    • Peace Lily

    • Rubber plant

    • Spider Plant

    • Swiss Cheese plant

    • Succulents

    • Yucca

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    If you want to learn more about house plants check out my Pinterest board, Plants and Gardening where I have pinned lots more great content for you.

    I cannot finish this blog without talking about Orchids.  To be honest, I adore them. I only started to like them when we moved to Auckland. I have a few around the house and they are just so beautiful. They are not hard to grow and they bloom forever. There are some key tips you do need to know with Orchids. Beth, my friend gave me this great website which will help you on your way.

    As a tip, I buy my Orchids when the garden centres mark them down which is normally at end of flowering. If you are happy to repot and "prune" them it's a great way to buy a few at a time. You do need patience as it will take months for the new growth and flowers to arrive.

    Orchid.png

    So lets get you started

    Having read this I hope that you no longer think it’s a mission to grow house plants…coz it’s not, just remember the key things that I covered off;

    • Benefits for your health and decor

    • Water regularly, (I do mine weekly)

    • Buy them small , cheaper and helps them get use to their environment

    • Rotate plants if you can to help even growth

    • Talk to them …I do!

    I have listed the most common and popular house plants to grow and generally you should be fine with any of those plants, even Orchids.

    I really hope that you enjoyed this blog and that it may inspire you to have a go at growing some house plants.

    Enjoy planting my Tidies

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    Beginners guide to Zero waste Pantry

    Ok so first up let’s be realistic here peeps…….A Zero waste Pantry is probably a bit of a misleading statement, the ability for most of us modern families to have a totally zero waste pantry is very hard, however it’s quite possible to make great steps towards one. Pete and I have been slowly making changes to achieve that. Yes, we got to the point where I was looking at everything that I throw away and thinking how could I reduce that. Let me share our journey with you.

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    THree R’s

    If you have been looking at those beautiful Pinterest pantries with all the lovely jars lined up and no “plastic” in sight , these are not in themselves Zero waste, they may look pretty but the ingredients could have come from a plastic packaging or single use containers, which is now sitting the rubbish bin. Achieving a Zero waste pantry is soooo much more than pretty glass jars.

    The best approach to starting on this journey is to start with the Three R’s , hopefully you have heard of them. These are the waste hierarchy, so in terms of your pantry you should;

    • 1 st Reduce, what you buy and what you waste

    • 2nd Reuse - what you purchase and how much you waste

    • 3rd Recycle - what you use that can be processed into future goods

    They are in that order because the priority is to firstly try and reduce what you purchase then reuse what you have and last option is to recycle.

    So Pete and I have been applying the three R’s to our journey to Zero Waste in the pantry. Oh yeah when I say pantry , it also includes Fridge as well. I’ll take you through what we have done and how we have done that.

    Reduce

    Surprisingly, I believe that this is probably the hardest to achieve for a lot of people as it simply means buy less food and packaged products. When it comes to cooking and stocking up pantries, most people have far too much in their pantries and purchase too much food. There is no better illustration of this than food waste.

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    Did you know that here in Aotearoa we throw out 157,389 tonnes of food waste each year. In 2018, the food waste per household was the equivalent of 86kilos. Thinking of this in terms of money how would you feel if you went into your bank account and there was $644 less in your account…think you would notice that? Sure you would and that is, on average, how much the food waste costs per year.

    There is great support for those, like us, that are wanting to reduce food waste. There is a great website called Love Food Hate Waste which has been developed off the highly successful Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK. WasteMINZ has partnered with over 60 councils and the Ministry of the Environment to promote and support the reduction of food waste across Aotearoa. The website is full of great ways to reduce food waste, including links to the individual council programmes and initiatives. Totally worth checking it out.

    For those from the US reading, I’d refer to you the USDA site which has some really scary food waste information but also resources.

    Coming back to “Think global , act local “ approach, Pete and I have found that the easiest way to reduce food waste is to meal plan. In fact we have been a meal planning family “for like ages ago!!” (it’s a saying here in Aotearoa). The reason meal planning reduces food waste, it’s that you only buy what you need for the meals you have planned to cook. The added bonus is that it is also a very economical way to shop as it saves you heaps on your grocery bill. Now my friends if you are interested in learning about meal planning and how easy it is, just jump over and read my Meal Planning for beginners post. I have easy to follow steps and even a hand meal planning FREEBIE for you.

    Now because we meal plan and only buy what we need our pantry is minimal. For us this was one of the starting points of getting to zero waste. It is really helpful to use a shopping list and only buy what is on the list. This helps to avoid buying extras like those “specials” that you will never actual use.

     
    Shopping-list-for-meal-planning.png
     

    Another area that you can reduce your waste is to think out your food scraps. What do you currently do with these? If you have a garden maybe you can set up a Worm farm. Those little worms are fantastic at chomping through the kitchen scraps and turning it into worm juice and compost for the garden. They are actually easy to make and you should be able to get instructions from your local garden centre or Hardware store.

    Reuse

    Now this is where you can get all pretty in the pantry with jars and storage. Ideally using storage options that you can refill. With jars you don’t even need to go out and buy them, just recycle your food jars. Give them a good clean and remove the food label (if you can). Now you can use the jar to store some of your pantry staples, like your dried goods. Now, the challenge with this is that you have to refill without adding to waste. This essentially means that you need to take your jar/storage container to the shop for refilling. This means that you will need access to refillery stores. These stores are becoming more popular, thanks to people wanting to move away from single use containers. I shop at out local GoodFor store, and they have nationwide, plastic-free, 24 hour, delivery. If you are not sure what options you have locally, see if you can locate any wholefoods or bulk foods store as generally they would have refillable options. Huckleberry , Commonsense stores in Wellington and Auckland have sustainable nation wide delivery.

    Refilling-seeds-in-jars.png

    You do need to be slightly organised to manage your pantry stocks like this, as you need to be able to take your jars with you to the shop to refill, You can’t just rush off to the supermarket and get another packaged replacement. However if you can just refill, it is very satisfying and you do really cut down your waste and even recycling.

    The other aspect to using jars and refilling is the aesthetic options you get with this in your pantry. If you love to have an organized and beautiful looking pantry ….jars are a winner! just check all the Pantry inspiration in my Pinterest Kitchen & Pantry Organization board.

    Herb-Spices-jars-in-pantry.png

    If you can’t reuse jars and want to buy new ones, your local home store should have plenty, and most refilleries sell storage jars as well. Goodfor have a great range, we use their tinted glass bottles for our oils which are refillable. I recently had to get some more spice jars and picked up these little cuties from The Warehouse. The main thing to check for with storage jars is to ensure that they have really good seals otherwise your supplies will go stale. And if you want to go all out and get labelling , you can use vivid marker or chalk pen (just wipes off). I am of course a label queen and have a label maker which I use on nearly everything in the house that can be labelled!!! There are also many online stores on Instagram and Etsy that sell pantry labels. One of my favourites if Pretty Little Designs, they not only have fabulous labels in a variety of fonts but they have beautiful bamboo glass jars and spice sets and they ship internationally (from Australia).

    I have found a great article from Treading my Own Path which is all about jars in a zero waste pantry, totally worth a look.

    Refillable-oil-bottles.png

    Recycle

    Finally lets talk about recycling which is the last thing to focus on to reduce your waste. This means trying to ensure that if you have to purchase things try and make a conscious decision in buying an item that can be recycled. Always check the recycling number on the product and ensure that this is able to be recycled.

    As an example here in Aotearoa (NZ) we can only recycle #1 and #2 plastics, as China no longer takes our plastic waste. This means a lot of plastic containers, and soft plastics are just dumped into land fill. So it’s extra important to know this so you make sure you buy wisely.

    Changes we have made

    Pete and I still a long way to go to get to what I would call a zero waste pantry, however we are really pleased about the progress that we have made in significantly reducing our waste. I have listed below the changes we have made and maintained;

    • Reduced purchasing of package dried produce such as flours, rice, nuts, beans, cereals etc.

    • Refill our storage jars at the local refillery, Goodfor

    • Stopped purchasing milk in plastic containers. Purchase milk in glass milk bottles from our local produce store, Simply Fresh

    • Stopped buying single use oils. Refill oil jars at the refillery, Goodfor

    • Reuse our coffee beans bag when purchasing our coffee beans from Meebz (best roasted beans ever)

    • Reuse the egg carton when buying our free range eggs.

    • Use reusable cloth bags for fruit and veges

    • Use a Keep Cup for my free coffee at our local produce store, Simply Fresh

    So my challenge to you is to see what changes you can make in your regular grocery shopping to reduce your waste!.

    To help get you started I have developed a great little FREEBIE which guides you through options to a Zero waste pantry, grab a copy below.

     

    FREE Guide

    Helpful guide to get you started on your journey to a zero waste pantry

       

      Powered By ConvertKit
       
      Salt-pig-ground-rocksalt.png

      Remember your Three R’s

      So lets wrap up, Pete and I have found sticking to the Three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle really helpful in making the changes we have done to date and we are certainly still on the journey to getting to total zero waste pantry. Making small changes regularly is probably the best approach and allow yourself to get use to the change before going onto your next one. You could just pick one area of the Three R’s

      • Reduce - meal plan or compost

      • Reuse - fruit and vege cloth bags

      • Recycle - use kerbside recycling and check what plastics do get recycled

      I’d love to hear how you get on with your journey and what changes you have made so leave your comments below

      Happy waste reducing my Tidies!!

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      If you enjoyed this post, see my other post about kitchen organization

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      Planning for house guests


      Here in Aotearoa, New Zealand we have just had Easter and school holidays. For my northern hemisphere readers, summer holiday season is upon them and many of us are looking forward to having family and friends to stay. After the initial excitement of looking forward to seeing family and friends, comes the panic of realising what you need to do to get the house ready for guests. I suspect that most of us have little time to do this and can therefore quickly become overwhelmed. My wonderful brother, sis in law , niece and nephew came to stay for a week over the Easter holiday and I needed to prepare our home for their stay. So I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to take you through how I plan, what I do, things to consider, helped by a check list and other tips to help you when preparing for house guests.

      Guest tray with glassess and champagne.png

      Have a plan

      The first thing that I do when I know we have guests coming is to create a plan. I work out what I need to do and what time I have got to get these things done. I find doing a bit at a time really helps to reduce the “panic” of needing to get everything sorted at the past minute. My plan generally covers off these main topics;

      1. Food and Beverage

      2. Meal planning

      3. Cleaning

      4. Linen and Bathroom

      5. Gifts

      6. Information

      Under each of these I have a list of things that I need to cover off , so this essentially becomes my “to do list”. My next step is to plan out in my home planner the days during the week that I need to get these things done.

      Now that you have an overall plan, let me take you through the six areas that I work off in my plan.


      Food and Beverages

      This is all about making sure that you have got the sorts of pantry and fridge supplies needed for your guests. Rather than just stocking up with your usual supplies try and think about your guests and what they may like to eat. e.g breakfast cereals, favourite teas and how they have their coffee. If you have a family visiting think about snacks and fruit for the kiddies. For my niece and nephews visit I made sure that I had snacks in the pantry, and in the fridge I have a tray of apples and yoghurt that they could just grab.

      Don’t forget the adults too, if you have a cocktail cabinet make sure it’s fully stocked and that for the Craft beer lover that there is some nice cold ones in the fridge ready for their arrival.

      Guest food and beverages.png


      A really nice touch and a very economical option is to do some baking. A fresh batch of cookies always goes down a treat with everyone. This could be a great way to have foods specific to festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter time.

      Lastly don’t forget the essentials such as milk, bread and spreads , have plenty of these supplies to ensure that you don’t run out.

      Meal planning

      This may seem a bit silly however if your guests are staying more than a couple of nights, then a meal plan is a great idea. Firstly it means that you don’t need to worry about what to cook and gives more time in the day to have time with your guests. As with the food and beverage supplies, think about your guests and what sort of meals they would like. When my Mumma comes and stay she loves hot spicy food so our meals are planned to that. However with my brother and family it was much more good old family meals, like Lasagne.

      Make sure that you also think about which nights you might go out, i.e if you have a celebration dinner to attend, and plan that in.

      Displaying the meal plan can be a good idea, I just use my weekly meal planner board for this, it can actually be really helpful to discover if someone is not too keen on a certain meal., as illustrated by a funny story from my niece. Only being 6 she immediately notice the meal plan board and checked out the meal we have planned for their stay. She asked if we could swap a meal around because she didn’t like Bacon and Egg pie (which was on list) , so cute.

      Once you have the meal plan, you can just shop to that, so much easier than guessing what to cook each night.

      If you are interested in learning more about meal planning, just check out my meal planning for beginner post, just click on the pic below.

      Meal planning for beginners_shopping list.png

      CLEAning

      The challenge with cleaning in preparation for guests is the timing, as you really need to do it just before they arrive. It’s likely that you will not have a lot of time so just do the important areas, like the guest bedroom and bathroom. If you have time do a quick clean up in the living area and kitchen. One of the quickest and easy tricks to making a home look and feel clean is the entrance area. I would suggest making sure that you have cleared away all the clutter and give the area a quick clean. If you can, create a space where the guests have a place for their jackets and bags etc. Also if you have a no shoes in the house rule , then make sure that they have a place for their shoes and that you provide some type of house shoes/slippers. As an example I got my guests house socks and put these into their gift basket.

      Other things to remember when cleaning;

      • Replace the hand towel in the bathrooms with fresh clean ones

      • Clean the taps and the toilet seat, especially underneath

      • Stock up the toilet paper

      • Fill up the soap dispensers

      • Clean the bathroom mirrors

      • Change the shower curtain, or at least wash it

      The last and the best trick of all when it comes to a clean house is the scents you use in your home. Walking into a home with a beautiful scent in the air with makes it feel clean and inviting regardless of how clean it really is.

      I am personally a huge fan of essential oils and love using these to create gorgeous scents around the house.

      In the guest bedroom I use a small jute bag full of cotton balls on which I place some drops of lavender. I place these discreetly near the bedhead area, not only providing a lovely scent but enabling a great sleep. I also place some drops of lemongrass in the tube of the toilet paper, this gets absorbed through the toilet paper.

      One thing I do want to mention is zone cleaning or having a cleaning routine. If you have a regular, consistent cycle of cleaning it actually means that you generally always have a clean house so you don’t need to really every do a big “clean” . This really helps when having guest because all you need to do is a quick tidy up and you are done.

      cleaning guest bathroom.png

      Linen, BED and Bathroom

      So tell me…. Do you like getting into a bed with clean fresh white sheets? Yes I thought so, and why is that? Because it makes you feel like you are in a hotel! Therefore great bedding and linen really makes your guest feel like they staying in luxury. It you don’t have specific linen and bedding for guests beds, then at least make sure that you have fresh, clean sheets on the bed.

      It’s good to have extra blankets or throws in the room, especially if it’s autumn or winter. And in the warmer seasons, provide a fan.

      Another lovely touch in the bedrooms is to have some nice dressing gowns and slippers. These can be placed with guest towels on the corner of the bed for their arrival.

      I am fortunate that we have guest rooms that are not used other than for guests so I can make sure these are ready earlier. However if you are using bedrooms that have to be made up, I’d suggest getting as much as you can ready so when you have to make up the beds etc you have everything ready.

      As an example, we had a single mattress that used to be housed under my sons bed. We would use this for any guests and it could be placed in any spare space at the time. To make things easier for this, I had all the linen & bedding for that single mattress all ready to go and in its own place in the cupboard. This meant that when we got the mattress out all I needed to do was grab the linen & bedding and make up the bed. This would only take me 5 mins or so.

      Onto the guest bathroom, I’d recommend having full set of towels as well, including a hand towel and face cloth. I also like to ensure that there are supplies for the guests for oral, hair and skin care. And lets not forget a wee medicine stash for those morning headaches from one too many celebration drinks. You don’t need to go over the top, just have the basics. Maybe display them nicely, to bring a bit of luxury into the bathroom.

      Skin care supplies on tray in bathroom.png

      Gifts

      Just to clarify at this point, that it is not necessary to provide gifts to every guest you have, a simple gesture of snacks and bottled water in their room is plenty.

      However if you are having close friends or family you may want to go a bit extra to make their visit special. Here are some ideas;

      • A bottle of bubbles with nice wine glasses and candles on a tray

      • Basket with cozy house socks and a selection of new magazines (try and get a topic that they like)

      • Books, fun stationery, puzzles for kids

      • Fun slippers

      • Seasonal gifts - e.g Easter eggs , Christmas cookies

      I recently had my niece and nephew (6 & 10) staying over easter time. I got them a small basket each and filled it up with a few fun things;

      • Mug with hot chocolate sachet

      • Easter Bunny (Chocolate)

      • Books to read

      • Travel Diary (as they were doing a road trip)

      • Pens and stickers

      • Head phones

      • Cute wee house socks

      As they were travelling on a road trip I knew that they could take their basket of goodies with them. So when thinking of gifts consider how they are travelling. Often it would be best to provide a gift that they will use during their stay so don’t need to take it with them, food is the obvious choice for that.

      Guest gift basket for young girl.png


      Information

      Lastly and probably most importantly, is useful information that your guest will need. The most obvious is the Wifi password, it’s like to be asked for fairly soon after arrival, so have it somewhere visible, e.g typed up inside a picture frame.

      If they are likely to be using the TV and other electronic equipment make sure that you have the instructions available, e.g How To guides. Also think to include washing machine instructions , especially if they are staying for a wee while.

      A good idea would be to make up a folder with brochures of local attractions and activities as well as eateries.

      Local public transport information is also great to have, timetables and even a travel card could be useful. Information on the local supermarket is handy and think about having a reward card available.


      To wrap up and some FREE help

      I have tried to cover of all that I can think of in relation to preparation for house guests, and a lot of the time there is no need to do all of the above, however it’s helpful as a guide and can form your “to do list”. As I mentioned initially, the sanity saver in terms of preparation is to plan, even if you only have short notice of a guests arrival you can still plan. To help you with the preparation I have developed a check list for you , which is FREE to access below and covers of all the six areas above;

      • Food and Beverage

      • Meal planning

      • Cleaning

      • Linen Bedding and Bathroom

      • Gifts

      • Information

      FREE check list

      Your ulimate "to do" list to get ready for house guests

         

        Powered By ConvertKit


        Thanks so much for coming by and I hope that you have found this information really useful. I’d love to hear about any preparation tips and gifts ideas that you have in preparation for your house guests.

        Happy Hosting and may you be the Hostest with the Mostest!!!

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        Bathroom organization - How to declutter and organize your drawers

        It’s early morning and the sun has not even bothered to show yet and you are not even sure that you are awake! Leaning over to get the toilet paper and you realise there is none, nor is there any in hand reach …..so there you are finally realising that you have to sort out your bathroom organisation coz this can’t happen again. You have also gotten sick of hunting through all the junk in the drawers to find toothpaste that’s not empty….and what about your make up…..is it a complete riot? It’s time to get your bathroom drawers and cabinets into ship shape, so if that is you then this post is perfect. I’ll take you , step by step, through how to go from chaos to calm and have functional and beautifully organised drawers and cabinets. So lets get into it.

        Bathroom drawers organized before and after.png

        What you will need

        • Empty containers -old storage boxes, bowls/ice cream containers whatever that you have lying around.

        • General cleaner and cleaning cloths

        • Measuring tape

        • Note paper and pencil

        Clear and sort

        Just to give you a sense of what we are tackling, here are the before pics of both my bathroom drawers.

        Bathroom drawer open and cluttered.png
        Bathroom drawer open and messy.png

        First rule of organising is to start with a clear space. Empty out everything from all your drawers. Please don’t miss this step as you will end up in a mess again, take it from me , I’ve learnt from experience.

        But before you just simply throw everything onto the floor and bench top STOP , go and get your self some containers , these will be used for sorting you things into categories.

        The plan for the containers is to place like items together, i.e you are categorising as you go, this makes life a lot easier when it comes to working out how you want things organised when you place things back into the drawers.

        I just used these storage boxes that I had in the linen cupboard unused. They are actually great to have on hand as they easily fold up and store away.

        Bathroom drawer contents categorised.png

        You will see in my clear out, I have organised the items into these main groupings;

        • Face and make up - for me

        • Oral care/Manicure and Pedicure kit

        • Eye care

        • Supplies (soaps/scrubbers/gloves/headtowels/toilet paper)

        • Medications

        • Hair products/Hair Equipment

        At this point I also make a point of getting rid of any items that are passed their used by date. This applies particularly to make up, just get rid of half used or old products that haven’t been used for a while. To help with knowing what to keep and for how long here are a couple of handy guides that I found;

        Cleaning

        Now that you have everything out, give the inside of the drawers a good clean out. I just used my trusty general cleaner and the paste for hard to shift dirt. If you want to get the recipes for my cleaners just complete the form below to receive it straight into your inbox. Also you can check out my post on my DIY cleaning products.

        FREE DIY Natural Cleaning Kit

        Get your free guide on how to make your own all natural cleaning kit.

        Powered by ConvertKit
        Cleaning Bathroom drawers.png

        These products that I have here are actually from Figgy & Co , they have great DIY kits so you can easily get started with your first home made cleaning kit.


        planning & organising

        Now that you have everything all cleaned and shinny it’s time to have fun planning out how you want to sort and organise everything. To illustrate the best approach to this I’ll just take you through how I worked through this for my drawers.

        For me there were a couple of main things I wanted to improve in how things were organised in my drawers, being the toilet paper, my makeup, Pete’s stuff and my hair stuff. So the toilet paper needed to be sorted at end of the drawer closest to the loo. This meant that if I ever ran out while on the loo , I could just reach into the drawer and grab some more. My makeup needed to be in a more portable container as I take it out of the drawer everyday. In relation to Pete’s stuff, he needed his own section of the drawer so he knows which was his, and lastly my hair stuff just needed to be better contained and sorted out.

        I decided to keep the items in the same drawers they came from, so the top drawer to have all daily items and bottom one everything else, including supplies on hand.

        At this point I get my pencil, notebook and tape measure out to start working out how to fit everything in. To start I roughly map out on a page how the drawers will be divided up with the containers that I want to use.

        Then measuring the length and width of the drawers helps to work out what containers will fit in. At this point I also look at containers that I can reuse from around the house rather than buy new ones. If you are going to buy containers make sure that you know their measurements so they will fit into the drawers. Also make sure that all bathroom containers will need to be water proof and easy to clean.

        Apart from the practical aspects to the storage containers, you can really personalise a space with the type of colours and styles of the containers……so why not make it pretty. As an example get a nice pattern or colour drawer liner to place under clear containers. In my drawers I have just used a white non slip liner so the containers will not move around. Tip: secure the liners with Museum putty.

        It may take a few goes at getting the containers best placed, have a play around to see what works best. I often find that what I have planned out does not always work well so have to change it up a bit to get it right.

        Also think about other ways to contain your items. As an example, I am using make up bags to store my hand and nail products and hair accessories, as I often take these items out of the bathroom.

        THE Reveal

        So here we have it , the big reveal of both the drawers, all organized and sorted.

        Having measured and mapped out the organizing plan, I placed the various containers in empty first. I did end up moving things around a bit to get things sorted how I wanted them and more importantly functionally

        The top drawer is now divided into two sides, one is for Pete and the other for me. So no more mixing up toothbrushes !!! eeewww.

        Bathroom drawer organized make up and oral products.png

        I have kept the spaces as clear as possible as this makes is more useful when getting things in and out everyday. In terms of a great find, my new makeup container has worked out perfectly. The problem that I had was that the old container was actually big and had no handle. Now I have a much smaller and lighter container, with a handle and it still fits everything in it.

        Bathroom drawer portable makeup container.png

        My bottom drawer, below now is a pleasure to open and I can reach the loo paper from the toilet seat!!! boom!!. I have to say I love the cosmetic cases that I used here, one has all my Manicure and Pedicure things and the other all my hair accessories and products. Having these in cases actually means that I can easliy take them in and out of the drawer and have everything I need in one container!! perfect for when you are sitting styling your hair in front of the bedroom mirror.

        Bathroom drawer organized Hair products.png

        Thats a wrap folks!!! My bathroom drawers are sparkling clean, tidied, organized and decluttered…yip they bring me joy!

        So lets summarise what I have done and what would be the key take outs for you, to help get your drawers sorted and ready for spring or autum …..I’m not hemispherist!


        wrap up

        My most important comment here would be that these organising sessions do not have to take long and so don’t let the “overwhelm” get in your way- break each step down and do each of them then before you know it you too have finished the job.

        Three key things to remember when doing these sessions are;

        • Clear and Clean

        • Declutter and categorise

        • Plan and organize

        And handy hint , the more you do the better and faster you get!

        Well I hope that you found this little post useful and maybe even given you some inspiration.

        Ohhh I can’t say goodbye without my top tips;

        Mirror selfie.png

        Tania’s top tips;

        Tip 1 - like for like - as you go through the decluttering process , categorise like for like.

        Tip 2 - Clean - always take the time to clean any space once you have it empty

        Tip 3 - Reuse - don’t always buy new containers, shop you home first and try and use what you have at home. Saves money and the environment.

        Be Tidy out there ……until next time my dears

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        My Garden She Shed

        I had never thought much about having a garden shed, specially for me . I suppose that growing up it was always the Dads that had garden sheds full of tools and things so I was conditioned to think that it was a “man thing” to have a shed. What started to make me re think this was a combination of my Pinterest addiction and sheer frustration of not having a proper home for my garden things. I was seeing these amazing “She Shed” trend as well as Pot Sheds in Pinterest. So I said to Pete….”Hey Babe do you think you could make me a wee garden shed?” “Sure thing” he said… Now I have an amazing shed and I totally love it. I love it so much that I thought I’d share how we (Pete) built it, and how I organised it.

        Garden She Shed.png

        how we Designed it

        To figure out what sort of shed would be best, I needed to be clear on how I wanted to use it . The purpose of the shed was to house all my garden things that I use, tools, pot, feed, sprays etc. Obviously it needed to be handy to the garden so I could access it easily. Additionally I needed the design to be one where I could open the shed and have everything at easy reach from the door.

        We had the perfect position for the Shed (albeit needing to get rid of a big old Daphne bush) which dictated the size of the shed . It could not be too large at all, which actually gave us the opportunity to get creative with the plans.

        Pete was is charge of the build and in some way the design too, I helped by checking out online Timber Sheds and came across these which were exactly what I wanted. Pete then took the basic design and worked out a plan for our Shed.

        A shed that pete Built

        Have you heard the term “over engineered”? well that’s how Pete described our shed…in short it’s the place I’m going if we have a tornado. The best way to show the build is in this pictorial and the explanations of each stage.

        Wooden foundations for Garden shed.png

        Stage 1

        Cement in the foundation posts and frame up the floor

        Framework for Garden shed.png

        Stage 2

        Flooring down, Frame work up for the sides, wall lining and bracing in.

        Garden shed shelving.png

        Stage 3

        Putting in the shelving

        TIP: Pre stain/paint makes life a lot easier. This stain is just left over from the decking stain , Resene Kwila Timber stain

        Garden shed framing and cladding.png

        Stage 4

        Putting up the external cladding, with Plywood panels

        Garden shed roofing.png

        Stage 5

        Roof and tiling. We used Asphalt Shingle roofing tiles for the Shed.

        Garden shed with black stain.png

        Stage 6

        Final touches, staining to match the house

        We used Resene Woodsman stain in Pitch Black

        Now most of you know that there is actually alot more to it than those pictures show, so if you are interested in wanting more details on the building of the Shed, Pete has kindly documented out all the measurements and materials and I’ve developed it into a guide with plans on how to build the Shed.

        To access the guide just pop your details below to receive your very own copy

        FREE Garden Shed Plans

        A comprehensive guide including plans to build this small garden shed

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          Shed Organisation

          Now the fun begins! Build done and it’s my time to get my organising socks on!

          I had vision of drawing outlines of my garden tools onto the walls, yip that was a thing, back when I was a nipper, the neighbourhood Dads used to have their tools on the peg board wall at the end of their garage. They would have the shapes of the tools outlined on the peg board just in case they forgot which tool went where. I always thought it was a bit weird until I grew up and became an organising expert.

          Garden Shed inside tools on the back wall.png

          The best part of the shed is the back wall which Pete carefully designed to hold all my garden tools. He even wrote the names of each tool so I knew where to return them. By just putting up a few well placed nails I had all my tools lined up and they remain perfectly organised. 

          On both sides of the shed, Pete installed simple shelves, On these shelves I have my most common reached for items because it’s the easiest to access area in the Shed. All my garden feeders are corralled into a carry all basket so I can pick it up easily and take it outside. I tend to do all the “feeding” at the same time as I mix them with water into the feeding can (on old watering can). This is really helpful over the spring and summer season as you do need to feed regularly to have a healthy crop.

          Garden Shed containers on shelf.png

          On the other side are all my sprays, manly for insects and spiders and other wee creepies. Hint don’t spray into cobwebs directly above your head , you never know what might be waiting in hiding in the cobwebs. I do have to be careful not to muddle up weedkiller with Organic Oil spray so I make sure that I label everything, on lids and the sides. Under the shelves I have all my large spray containers that I use to disperse the sprays. These are again well labelled so I know not to put the wrong sprays into them. Also I have all my weed and pest control spray containers on one side and the liquid organic sprays on the other. I just put up nails which I then place the sprays guns on, so this keeps them well contained and the guns have somewhere to hang. You will notice in the photo that I have used the space in between the frame work for storage. These are awkward items to store, so I thought by just criss-crossing the wall with bungie cord I could manage to have these items stored vertically and not take up too much room. Never forget to use your vertical space if you are tight for room.

          Garden Shed Sprayers and sprinklers.png

          On the other side of the shed I managed to create more shelving with these amazing boxes which I scored from Junk & Disorderly for only $12 each, a total find!!! One holds all my pot plants (indoor) stuff, pots and such like. In the other box are the soil and lawn fertilisers .

          Garden Shed boxes used as shelves.png

          Between the top of the boxes and the shelf there is the perfect space for the bag of pea-straw. I always a have a bag on hand and it’s the perfect spot.

          On top of the shelf I have a couple small baskets that once upon a time were plant baskets. I just use them for storage now.

          One I put my “hand cleaning” stuff in. Often when I am in the shed, I have very dirty hands from the garden so having hand wipes and disinfectant handy is great. I also have a pile of towels I use for two purposes, drying my hands and cleaning off my garden tools. In the other one I have some bits and pieces that I use in the garden, like garden ties etc. In the corner I use a old broken jug to store my pruning tools.

          Garden Shed cleaning kit.png
          Garden Shed shelf with baskets.png

          Now a little awesome idea I had, has turned into my mini garden office!!! The back of the shed door was unused space so I painted it with black chalk paint, and along with a wall magazine rack which I scored at the local hospice shop for $4 , I now have all my books, garden diary and notes on hard. The blackboard is handy to write notes to myself, like when I’ve feed and sprayed and things I need to do next!!. This is great use of vertical space.

          Garden Shed office on the door.png

          Another wee genius ideas of mine was my garden toolkit. It was actually a spare tool kit Pete had (he’s a Tradie) which he wasn’t using. It just seemed to be the perfect size for me. I carry all my essentials in it so I always have these with me when in the garden. I just love it and it has a handy wee trick where you can slide the kit itself along the belt so when bending down it sits on my back and doesn’t get in the way.

          Garden tool kit.png

          And finally the coolest thing of all , is this little seat on the side of my shed which Pete made for me, man he’s thoughtful. It’s where I sit and clean down all my tools at the end of my garden session. Yes I am one of those who looks after her garden tools, always making sure they are cleaned, sharpened and oiled. It is amazing how long things last when you look after them. My loppers, secateurs and hedge trimmers were given to Pete and I when we got our first house, which would be over 25 years ago!

          Garden Shed seat for cleaning tools.png

          Having my own garden shed is fantastic and it’s such a great design and so practical , I just love it.

          Don’t forget to grab the Guide and Plans, above if you are interested in building the shed. Feel free to ask any questions, we are happy to help.

          Also , as always I’ll love your feedback and do share your ideas and thoughts

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          Happy Tidying and Gardening!

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