Category Archives: Green

5 Surefire Ways to Create a Cluttered Home

5 Surefire Ways to Create a Cluttered Home

{ via aesthetics of joy }


If you love clutter, if you enjoy feeling overwhelmed, and if your favourite way of dealing with stuff is to pile it up randomly all over your house, then this post is going to be incredibly helpful to you.

I’ve got the five best, never-fail techniques to help you create a cluttered home – and keep it that way.

(If, by chance, you actually enjoy having an uncluttered home that’s easy to live in, feel free to do the exact opposite. You know, if that’s your thing.)


The Five Ways to Create a Cluttered Home

1. Never leave a room better than you found it.

Pay no attention to the toys on the floor, leave the clean clothes unhung and let the coffee cups sit on the bench. As you exit a room, studiously ignore anything out of place, and do not, under any circumstances, pick those items up and return them to their rightful position.

2. Never finish what you start.

This is my personal favourite, and already exists as part of life for those of us living with young children.

No kids? Don’t let that stop you!

Simply start a task, project or activity and stop before you’re done. You may want to succumb to distraction, laziness or procrastination – these are the best ways to avoid finishing anything, and therefore adding to the clutter further.

3. Do not ever tidy up as you go.

Don’t pack the dishwasher as you finish breakfast. Do not pick up the previous game before the next one is pulled out. Don’t file your papers as they’ve been actioned. And most definitely do not, ever, put the clean laundry back in the wardrobe once it’s folded.

In addition, I highly recommend leaving things out long after you’ve finished using them.

That toaster sitting on the kitchen bench? The glass you just drank from? The notepad you just wrote in? The shopping you just brought home? Sure, it might take mere seconds to pack away, but that’s time you could spend making another pile.

This way, you will amass many unnecessary stacks of things in a very short period of time. It’s the perfect way to add clutter to your home with no effort whatsoever!

4. Ignore the clutter creep.

Don’t listen to the frustrations or annoyances that crop up when looking around your home. Ignore the little voice nagging at you. And certainly don’t take any action.

Do not move through your home and pick up everything that is out of place. Do not sort it out. Do not put it back in its rightful place. Simply let the clutter slowly increase, and gradually take over your home.

5. Employ the Shove and Hide Method.

If, in a moment of weakness, you decide you have had enough of the clutter (or your in-laws decide to visit) you must employ the excellent Shove and Hide Method of tidying.

Do not waste your time putting things back in their rightful position. Instead, scoop up an armful of clutter and shove it in a random cupboard. Repeat this process for any piles you find, ensuring the cupboard is nice and full when you’re finished. This means not only are your cupboards now cluttered with random mess, but when you find yourself looking for something, the contents of said cupboards will be spread around the house. It’s a win-win for clutter!


OK, OK, I’m taking my tongue out of my cheek now to say this: I am not trying to make you feel bad. I am as guilty of every one of these things as anyone. I procrastinate, I shove, I ignore the mess and don’t finish what I begin. Part of that is life, but the other part is a lack of awareness.

I figure if we can put a name to the behaviour, if we can see the consequences laid out before us, we are far more likely to actually pay attention and make the necessary changes.

Pay attention for long enough and these changes will become habit. And habits? They become our normal.



A-Z of Simple Living: ‘G’ is for Green

'G' is for Green {A-Z of Simple Living}

Green it up with these simple tips…

The A-Z of Simple Living is a weekly series to inspire and motivate – regardless of how far into the simple living journey you are.
To make sure you don’t miss any of the A-Z Series sign up to the VIP Mailing List here.

When it comes to Simple Living, one key, key, key element is to tread lightly on our planet.

To be good stewards of our earth.

This means living green.

Living green when and where you can.

And the easiest place to start living green? It’s in your home.

Great,” you say. “Another task. Another thing to do. As if I don’t have enough to do already.

Yes, that is true. But this one could not be simpler to start:

Replace One of your Household Cleaners with a Homemade Green Cleaning Alternative

Next time you are at the grocery shop, pick up three things:

  1. an empty spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle
  2. a bottle of white vinegar
  3. a tub of borax

You can then use a combination of these to clean the following:

  • kitchen bench
  • toilet
  • shower – tiles and glass
  • bath
  • vanity
  • mirrors
  • glass doors
  • windows

Add another purchase - a box of bicarb soda – and you can add these to the list:

  • oven
  • stovetop
  • coffee machine
  • kettle
  • blocked drains


The reality is, you do not need a cupboard full of expensive, dangerous chemicals to keep your home clean. A handful of natural, non-toxic alternatives is all you need.

It’s all I’ve used for 3 years, and as far as I can tell, my house isn’t a nest of filth and mould. It’s simple, it’s green, it’s easy and it works.


Simple Living is all about simplifying and living well with less. Green cleaning is simple. And easy.

This Ultimate Guide to Green Cleaning will help with additional recipes, how-tos and other effective, natural ingredients you can add to boost your cleaning power.


Other Simple Ways to Live Green:

Reduce Household Waste:

Buy Less:

  • do you need it?
  • will it last?

Use Your Resources:

  • line dry your laundry
  • use ceiling fans instead of air con
  • use window coverings to regulate heat and cold

Make Your Own:

  • household cleaners
  • laundry liquid


What is the best ever green living tip you’ve heard? Do you have an amazing homemade stain remover recipe? (Because I really need one!) Let me know in the comments below how you are changing to live green…


We know things are out of control – we are living cluttered lives, in cluttered homes, with cluttered minds. But how to change? How to start living a slower, simpler life?
Join the Slow Home BootCamp – a free 20-part email course that will kickstart your Slow Home journey. Learn more and sign up right here.

3 Unexpected Benefits to Owning Chickens

3 unexpected benefits to owning chickens


We love our girls. Betsy. Mabel. Night-Time.

Their soft clucking. Their scratching. Their endless activity.

We love what they bring to our yard and our home. And I’m not just talking about eggs. Although free-range eggs fresh from the backyard are pretty awesome.

The responsibility and compassion the kids learn from helping to care for the girls is priceless. As is the fact they grow up understanding that food doesn’t actually come from the supermarket. That there is often poop on eggs. And that’s OK.

Truth be told, I expected these benefits. But I have been so happy to discover they are not the only ones.

There are three unexpected ways that owning the girls has impacted our lives, for the better:


1. Waste Reduction

It’s no secret that chickens will eat most table scraps.

But they also love grass clippings, weeds and spent vegetables that have been pulled from the garden.

Fruit and vegies that have past their prime? Chooks love ‘em.

Cheese gone hard? Chooks love it.

Stale bread? Chooks.

All this food and garden waste that would otherwise be tossed in the bin, going directly to landfill to slowly release methane gas into the atmosphere, is instead used to feed our girls. And as a thank you? They give us delicious eggs every day.

Talk about a good deal!


2. Living Composters

This is a tip I learnt direct from Don Burke (’cause we’re tight) and it is such a good one:

Toss weeds, grass clippings, the chickens bedding straw, prunings and regular tables scraps into the pen, as described above. But then watch as the chooks (AKA the living composters) turn that waste into the richest of black gold over the following months.

They aerate the soil, scratch it over, add manure and help break the waste down much quicker than simply tossing it all in a compost bin.

Every 3-6 months, shovel out the top few inches of soil in the chook pen and use it in the garden as a top-notch compost and soil conditioner:

  • you can put it directly into the beds (particularly new ones) and fork it through the soil
  • add it to the compost bins to break down over time into a less rich (but still amazing) compost that can then be used anywhere


3. Peace and Happiness

There is something meditative about watching the girls cluck and scratch and work. Something wholesome. Earthy. Beautiful.

I have spent many a spare minute just watching the girls go about their business. Figuring out their personalities. Establishing the pecking order. (Betsy is The Queen.) It’s so easy to lose yourself for that moment, escape from your own head for a while.

And it simply adds another dimension to our home. Which is what this Slow Home journey is all about. Making room and time for the things that matter.


Do you own chickens? Or other livestock?

I dream of a day when we move to a small-holding in the Byron Hinterland. Goats, chooks, a horse or two. Vegetable garden and an orchard. (Thankfully, dreams are free!)



We are not stupid. We know things are out of control, we are worn out, over-committed, under pressure. But how to change? How to start living a slower, simpler life?
Join the Slow Home BootCamp – a free 20-part email course – that will kickstart your Slow Home journey. Learn more and sign up right here.

How To Make Your Own {Green} Carpet Deodoriser

how to make your own carpet deodoriser

You may remember we bought a puppy about a month ago?

It is no coincidence then, that this post tackles how to keep your carpets smelling fresh. Even after they have been assaulted by the peeing machine (AKA Cash the Dog).

As is always the aim with the green cleaning recipes here, this one is made using all natural ingredients, actually works, and will cost cents to make, as opposed to dollars to buy.

You’ll need:

  • bicarb soda
  • tea tree oil (or eucalyptus or lavender)
  • something to hold the bicarb mix – preferably with holes in the lid (a shaker is perfect, but you could use a pringles tube and punch some holes in the lid. Get creative!)

To Use:

1. Fill the container with your bicarb.

2. Add 10 drops of your chosen essential oil.

how to make your own carpet deodoriser

3. Shake well, to ensure the oil is distributed throughout the bicarb.

4. Sprinkle lightly over the carpet you wish to deodorise. Leave for 15 minutes or longer.

how to make your own carpet deodoriser

5. Vacuum the carpet as normal. Revel in the fresh smell!

6. Use as often as needed. I generally do this once a month to keep the carpets smelling…not smelly.


Do you have a dog? Does he pee everywhere? Can you give me some hints on toilet training?

Are you looking for more ways to create your own Slow Home? Your own simple life? Sign up to be part of the Slow Home BootCamp – launching June 29, 2012!

In the Garden: How to Make Leaf Mould

While it is actually the first month of winter (boo!) the majority of deciduous trees around us have still yet to lose all their leaves, which means two things: Mess and the opportunity to make leaf mould.

Sounds Gross. What is Leaf Mould?

It’s basically the term used for rotted down autumn leaves.

The gardening nerd in me knows that this stuff is beeeyootiful for your garden – it can be used as a soil conditioner (to improve the overall health of your soil) or as a gentle, rich mulch to help retain water and keep weeds at bay, and gardeners often refer to it as “black gold”.

It’s perfect for ferns and rainforest plants in particular, but will help enrich any soil in your garden by improving the water retention and overall health of the garden.

How do I Make Leaf Mould?

Super simple.

Just rake up all your fallen leaves and give them a spray with the garden hose. You want them to be fairly wet, to help speed up the decomposition. Then fill some heavy-duty black plastic bin bags with your leaves, adding a handful of blood and bone every 30cm or so (this appears to be optional, but I trust the word of Gardening Australia!) Close your bags up, poke some holes in it with a garden fork and leave in a sheltered place, preferably on soil/grass, for at least a year.

So, this isn’t an activity for those who are after instant gratification, but it is worthwhile. If nothing else, it gets you outside in the chilly winter air for a while, and gives you something for your garden for basically no cost.

How do I Know When it’s Ready?

It will be crumbly and sweet-smelling, and resemble the look of regular compost. (Just a side note: you can’t add many autumn leaves to your regular compost bin, as they don’t easily break down in those conditions. Too many and it will slow your bin down.)

Sounds Good. Any Tips?

If you want the process to go a little quicker, try dumping all your leaves on the lawn and mowing over them. This will break them up, meaning they’ll break down quicker. Also, there are special leaf mould compost bins available, which compress the leaves, apparently speeding the process up some more, so perhaps try keeping a weight of some sort on top of your pile. Maybe some timber or corrugated iron would do the trick.

Have you made leaf mould before? I’ve just applied last year’s haul to our garden and could not believe how many worms were in the bags when I broke it open. Such rich, crumbly stuff!


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