20 Great Storage Ideas for your Home

The perfect use of dead space!

The perfect use of dead space!

I love hearing fresh ideas about home storage solutions. There are so many great ideas out there if you are willing to have an open mind. These 20 ideas came from the Home Improvement Pages website in Australia. See which ones work for you!

In many homes, it can seem like there’s never enough room to store all of your items.  But there’s no need to put up with clutter.  Check out our top 20 storage ideas to get your home looking organized.

  1. Build some window seats for extra storage space.  By padding the lid, you’ll also create extra seating and you’ll have the perfect spot to curl up with a book.
  2. Fill any wasted space near the fridge with a built-in wine rack.
  3. Install hooks or a hanging rack at the front and back doors – these can hold coats, umbrellas, keys, or bags.
  4. Use the dead space underneath the hanging racks in your wardrobe.  Install permanent or temporary drawers, trolleys, crates or boxes.
  5. Use the space underneath the bed to store items that can fit in plastic containers with wheels.  These are ideal for storing out of season clothing or bedding.
  6. Free up floor space by mounting your television to the wall.
  7. A simple wooden ladder in the bathroom (bathroom) is an excellent way to gain more hanging space for towels.
  8. Fit a shelving system over the toilet to hold small items.
  9. Use a lazy susan in kitchen or bathroom cupboards to help you access items more easily.
  10. If you have a staircase, install shelves or cupboards underneath for instant extra storage room.
  11. Any items that you will not need to use for a while can be stored within your home’s roof space.
  12. Small boxes are useful for all kinds of odds and ends and can be placed anywhere.
  13. In the living areas, ottomans or footstools with storage space inside can be used to hold cushions and also brighten up the space.
  14. Use coffee tables that have storage space underneath to hold magazines or consider a funky magazine rack.

Read the full story here.

How to declutter your life

It's time to start...

It’s time to start…

When it comes to decluttering your home and your life, there are many excuses not to start and many road blocks that hamper you along the way. If we let the overwhelm consume us, it is a lost cause before we have even begun! But it doesn’t have to be that way. Zen Habits had a great blog recently that shared many of my favourite tips. So take a read and see if they help you in your organizing endeavours:

Declutter Your Life

There was a time, about 8 years ago, when my life was cluttered. I had too much stuff, and it kept coming in all the time. I had too much to do, and didn’t know how to simplify my schedule. I was in need of some decluttering, and I knew it.

The question became, how to go about it? How do you start when you’re facing a mountain of clutter, and another mountain of commitments, and piles of files and mail and email and other digital information?

The answer became clear, as I got started: start simply. Keep it simple as you go. Simple, each step of the way.

That said, I found complications that made things harder at every turn. I’d like to help you with some of those here, briefly, in hopes that you’ll be inspired to start decluttering.

Start Decluttering

How do you get started? As simply as possible:

  • Take just 10 minutes today to sort though a pile, or declutter a shelf or table or countertop.
  • Put everything into one pile, and start with the first thing you pick up (no putting things back in the pile).
  • Ask yourself: do you really need this? Do you use it regularly? Do you love it? If the answer to any of these is no, then recycle, donate, or give it to someone who might want it. Put it in a box for these purposes.
  • Put things back that you need/use/love, with space between things. This is their “home” and you should always put them back there.
  • Stop after 10 minutes, continue tomorrow for another 10 minutes, and so on, one small spot in your home at a time.
  • If you want to do more than 10 minutes, go ahead, but be careful not to overdo it in the beginning or you’ll think it’s difficult and not want to continue.

Keep Going

Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, here’s how to keep going:

  • Keep decluttering in small bits. Pick an area to focus on each week.
  • Don’t worry about perfection. Just get it simpler. You can always declutter it more later.
  • Put your box of donation/recycling/giving away in your trunk, to get rid of next time you’re out. Email friends/family to ask if they want things — often you can find a good home for perfectly good things you don’t really use (that workout equipment).
  • If you’re on the fence, use a Maybe Box (put things that you think youmight need in a box, mark it with today’s date, put a reminder on your calendar 6 months from now to check on the Maybe Box. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, you probably don’t need it and can get rid of it.
  • Get help. Sometimes you just can’t bear to part with yourself, but if you can get an outside person to make the decision (friend or family member), they are usually much more dispassionate and ruthless.
  • Enjoy the space. Once you’ve decluttered an area, really focus on how much you love the simplified space. Once you’re hooked on this simplicity, you’re more likely to keep going.

Read the entire article from Zen Habits here.

Image courtesy of http://www.getorganized-stayorganized.com/

Nine Essential Feng Shui Tools

What Feng Shui keys can you discover?

I love it when I find an article that takes a lot of the complications out of Feng Shui, so everyday folks can take a little bit here and there and make a difference to their home or office.

I found one such article from Open Spaces Feng Shui. You could call it your Feng Shui cheat sheet. I recommend you print it out, keep it handy and do a little bit at a time and just watch the changes occur!

The Nine Essential Feng Shui Adjustments

 1. Mirrors – often called the “aspirin of Feng Shui,” mirrors bring light into a space, reflect the beauty around you, and create dimension, especially when a Bagua area is missing from your space.   Here’s more about the proper use of mirrors in Feng Shui.

 2. Lights – Lift the Chi of any area with good-quality lighting.  From candles to reading lamps, and from chandeliers to torchieres, lights attract attention and life, creating an attractive place for Chi energy to circulate.

 3.Crystals–Crystals contain a power within them that cannot be duplicated with any other object.  Hang a clear faceted crystal in your window to attract the sparkle of the sun and its full color spectrum into your space. Crystalsfrom the earth such as quartz or amethyst are an important source of Earth energy that bring a sense of groundedness to your life.

4. Sound Makers – Noise makers such as wind chimes are a classic Feng Shui adjustment that stir up energy in areas that would otherwise feel lifeless.  Hung indoors they lift the Chi of your space, while outdoors they attract Chi to your door.  Here’s more on using wind chimes as a Feng Shui adjustment.

 5. Objects with Movement – Sometimes Sound-Makers are unwelcome 😉  If you’d like to generate a sense of movement without sound, colorful flags and “wind-dancers” are excellent Feng Shui substitutes.  Flags can also be placed strategically to complete the shape of your home’s Bagua map if it is missing a sector.  Here’s more on missing Bagua areas.

 6. Living Things – There’s a wide range of living things you can bring into your space to activate Chi. From live plants to well-loved pets, living things require your attention, which is a natural source of positive energy.  If you can’t have living things in your space – lack of light, or perhaps your building doesn’t allow pets – representations of living things will do, such as high-quality artificial plants and pictures of animals.  Be sure to keep these items clean and fresh-looking!

 7. Water Features – As one of Feng Shui’s Five Elements, Water is always a welcome way to generate a sense of movement and flow. To keep your life moving in your desired direction, place a water feature near your front door, inside or out. You’ll be sure to attract nourishing Chi by placing your fountain so the water flows towards your home, rather than away from it.

 8. Artwork – Art is one of the most important of Feng Shui’s Chi adjustments because it is so universal, yet so personal.  Look around your home right now to make sure the art you’re living with makes you feel great every time you see it. It’s always better to have no art at all than art that depresses your spirits. If something is dragging you down, remove it from your sight and see how much better you feel.

 9. Solid and Heavy Objects – Heavy things anchor Chi energy.  When you have the sense that your life is directionless, or feel that your intentions need an extra boost, place a weighty object in the Bagua sector you are focusing on.  A heavy plant, a beautiful piece of heavy crystal, even an extra-heavy piece of furniture will do.

To read the original article and comments go to: http://openspacesfengshui.com/feng-shui-tips/2012/04/essential-feng-shui-adjustments/

10 Days to a New Year’s Transformation

Hmm...is blue really my colour?

10 days is all it takes to a new you! Be sure you are ready to face the Chinese Year of the Dragon by doing some clearing out (dragons love a good clear out!)

DAY 1 Purse: go through your purse and clean it out. File all old receipts, dispose of all expired / unused cards. Does your purse reflect who you are now…perhaps it’s time to consider a new purse which is functional and fabulous! Your attitude toward money and abundance is reflected in your choice of purse.

DAY 2 Keys: symbolically unlock your hidden potential and open the doors to new opportunities. Ensure all of your keys are facing the same direction and are on the key ring from largest to smallest. Remove any unused keys from your key ring and add a positive symbol which can enhance the energy of your keys.

DAY 3 Car: wash your car, clean and vacuum the interior. Ensure that your car is safe and is in good mechanical order. Your car is an extension of yourself and represents your direction in life. Same applies for other modes of transport – bicycles, motorbikes and most importantly your feet! These are your primary mode of transport so ook after them!

DAY 4 Wardrobe: it’s time to go through your clothing and shoes and let go of all that does not represent who you are today. Items which have painful memories or associations must go. Give them away, donate them, or sell them. Items which no longer fit must go. Letting go of the old allows new energy to enter your life. It is now time to create a new image of who you are today.

DAY 5 Windows: clean the windows and glass doors of your home to provide clarity. The windows are like the eyes of your home and clean windows will heighten your insight and clarity.

From four bedrooms to one: tips to downsize when you retire.

Just like a Babushka doll...

I am so chuffed to have been asked to contribute to a story that ran today on BrisbaneTimes.com.au about downsizing for retirees. Written by Mary Costello, the article outlines how retirees can best tackle the life changing process of downsizing:

Advice for Mature Downsizers

My brother rang recently to ask whether I wanted my secondary school essays that he’d found boxed in the roof space of the family home. I told him to leave them just where they were.

It might have been a lifetime ago, but I know that when I was in Upper 6th I wrote a fabulous essay on George Orwell and the English language – and would read again. Surely a few kilos of paper plus some old shoes, handbags and now retro fashion items couldn’t be taking up too much room.

I suppose it would have been a different story if my brother, or my parents before him, had decided to move house. You just can’t take other people’s personal heirlooms with you.

Kerri Rodley of Queensland-based Domestic Downsizing advises says mature householders who are planning to downsize to get their kids to clear out their own rubbish/treasures.

Move My Home spoke to Kerri the day after she’d helped a still-active client in her eighties downsize from a 4-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom retirement unit.

“She was moving from huge to tiny, and she wanted to take all her family heirlooms and the things she loved, liked her giant dining table,” Kerri said.

“Unfortunately it won’t fit. I had to say, “How can you live and move around in the new space? You’re getting older and you must be able to get around quite easily without things getting in your way. You must be realistic about your new lifestyle.”

It hit home and we sat down and did a plan about how she would walk around the house. It made her rethink her whole strategy, otherwise we’d have taken everything to the new place and not have had anywhere to put it.

“Next week we’ll go to the unit and put sticky-tape on the floor where the furniture will be, rather than bring the furniture and having to move it all around again. I find that works quite well.”

In Kerri’s experience people often fail to consider the practicality of having a large flat-screen TV in a small space.

“That was a big thing for this lady, who watches a lot of TV,” she said. “You must sit well back from it. You need a giant space between the chair and the TV, downsizers don’t often have that space.”

And it’s not just the furniture that must be considered when it comes to sorting belongings.

“Things that are hidden must also be thought about,” Kerri said. “My client loves to cook, and had a fantastic big kitchen in her old home. But the kitchen in the unit is tiny, and all her cooking things, even her cook books, wouldn’t fit in the new space.”

Displaying cherished antiques, artwork and family photos can also pose problems in a smaller home, Kerri said.

“The walls in this lady’s old house were all plastered, but in her new unit there’s a lot of exposed brick and you can’t easily place things on the walls. I’ve said we’ll make a feature wall from her favourite photos and paintings.”

“Then she can keep some others in a box and change them in six months time. It’ll be like a moving art wall. It’s a concept that worked well for her.

“This client was quite a realist. She has some fantastic antique cabinets andChinafrom her mother. I suggested that she pass them on to her children now. Then she can tell the stories about the different items and explain the meanings behind them”

“She thought that was a good idea. This a whole new phase of life, but you can’t just cut off the past – you must incorporate it and blend past and future.”

Kerri Rodley’s Top Tips for Mature Downsizers:

  • Go through everything in your home and ask yourself – is this part of my new life? Do I really love it? Will it be useful in the new home? Do I really need it any more?
  • Be ruthless – you won’t have time in your new active lifestyle to be decluttering, cleaning, and dealing with the past – you will be enjoying the present and planning for the future.
  • Don’t try to do the decluttering, sorting and moving all at once – this will be very stressful, and the whole idea of downsizing is to reduce stress. Take it one room at a time, and have the decluttering and sorting done way before you start collecting moving boxes!

Read the rest of the story here: http://www.domesticdownsizing.com.au/media.htm

The 6 Wealthy Habits that Help You Manifest Wealth & Prosperity

Water and wealth go hand-in-hand in Feng Shui

The main reason I am in business is to help people create homes they love coming home to. I have clients who are very wealthy and clients who are spending their last cents with me as they desperately want to create a lovely atmosphere for themselves and their families.

But whatever their situation, the outcome is the same: harmony in the home.

Kathryn Weber is a Feng Shui consultant in Texas who had an article on this topic in her newsletter that I thought was fabulous so I wanted to share it with my readers:

Having a happy home life, successful career, ability to go and buy what you like when you want it, this brings happiness is true wealth.  There are many people who have money, but lack wealth.

One time my husband and I were shopping for a new home.  The houses were beautiful, but there is little furniture, or what’s there was of poor quality.  It’s as though the owner’s money went into the homes, but there was no money to furnish the beautiful home with beautiful belongings.

Is that a wealthy homeowner?  No.

That’s the paradox of wealth.  Having money (or a big house or a nice car) doesn’t mean you are wealthy any more than breathing makes you healthy.

Having real wealth is about having a beautiful home, but also the ability to furnish it beautifully.  Real wealth means you may have a wonderful car and beautiful home – but you also have accumulated wealth.  Accumulated wealth brings security, comfort, and is relaxing.

Real wealth is the abundant, accumulated resource that’s there for you to use as you wish when you wish, and that keeps your family and security safeguarded.  Money is easy, but simple money can become meaningless when it is only money and not wealth.  Creating wealthy habits will have the effect of lifting your personal energy – and that is a powerful attractant to more wealth.

1. Repair broken energy.
Broken energy comes from, well, broken things. When your door scrapes against the threshold, it imbues your home with negative, irrigating energy. If your dishes are chipped, you are eating off of broken energy. This drains positive wealth energy and makes your house drained and more yin.

Our houses must be energized and broken things bring the energy level down — and that affects our prosperity. Keep your clothes, your home, your car and your doors in good working order. What’s broken that is draining your energy?

2. Putting wealth in, not just out.
Too often in our lives, we become accustomed to money flowing in and out of our lives — and not accumulating. The money comes in, the bills get paid, and the money flows right back out again. Energizing your home and life for wealth means putting energy INTO it. This includes making deposits into your accounts. Get into the habit of putting money in instead of just paying out. This energy builds over time — and so does your bank account. And you’d be surprised how that will make you feel.

Do you have a retirement or savings account? If so, set up automatic weekly or monthly withdrawals. Or, join Bank of America’s program that rounds off purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the extra amount into a savings account. Do you buy a large Diet Coke or coffee every day? Stop and then put that money into a piggy bank. A $1.50 drink each day amounts to $547 at the end of a year. Are you drinking $500’s worth of diet sodas or daily coffee drinks?What’s important is that you see yourself as ACCUMULATING money, not just being a pass-thru for it.

3. Energize your home.
Keep your home energized with fresh paint, lush landscaping. Just like an employer matching your 401K (superannuation), match your home with an investment in beautifying and updating your surroundings. Unlike a car, money put into a home will be an investment that will pay you back in energy — and if you sell it — in dollars. More importantly, by energizing your home, you magnetize your home for wealth energy. Landscaping is a very important ingredient because it brings vital dragon energy to the home. Lush flowers, trees and plants are healthy and invigorating and lift the energy of the house.

4. Energize your image.
Many times when someone doesn’t feel good or feel like they look good, they have a stuffed closet. A closet that’s rammed with shoes and clothes that are outdated will cause you to feel outdated too! If you are ready to “look the part” of a wealthy, happy and abundantly prosperous person, turn to your closet to get rid of the clothing that no longer suits you or is part of an outdated image.

If you have weight to lose, this could be even more important for you! Pare down your closet – including those articles of clothing that you used to fit it but haven’t in a long time. Wealth energy means moving energy and when you are stuck in an old look and outdated image, this can stop the energy flowing to you.

5. Energize your finances.
Get a red wallet and checkbook, put your investment and banking account information and statements in red folders and put bills into blue or black folders so they aren’t energized. Have a small basket to hold bills — and keep it small so your bills stay small. Clean out and organize your financial files and your purse or wallet. Streamline your credit cards so that you don’t have too many, limiting them to three or less. Add grains of sea salt to your wallet to “draw” money, just like sea water will draw soreness away from ache-y muscles!

6. Believe.
Do you believe you can be wealthy and prosperous? Do you think you deserve it? Do you really FEEL that way or are you just intellectualizing it? It’s so important that you believe you are worthy of being a prosperous person, someone who doesn’t just make a living, but makes a life with the money you earn. Observe your thoughts about wealth and money and see if it’s really not you who is standing in the way of money.

© K Weber Communications LLC 2002-2011
Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine and certified feng shui consultant in classical Chinese feng shui. Kathryn helps her readers improve their lives and generate more wealth with feng shui. For more information and to receive her FREE Ebook “The Cash Register at Your Front Door” visit http://www.redlotusletter.com and learn the fast and fun way how feng shui can make your life more prosperous and abundant!

The Paradox Of Our Age – wise words from the Dalai Lama

Downsizing with the Dalai Lama

Although I didn’t get to see the Dalai Lama when he was in Australia recently, a friend of mine gave me a little scroll that she bought at his event called “The Paradox Of Our Age”. I found the words so profound, I thought I would share them with you:

We have bigger houses but smaller families;

more conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

more knowledge, but less judgement;

more experts, but more problems;

more medicines, but less healthiness;

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies then ever, but have less communication;

We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;

Tall men but short character;

Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It’s a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Luxury begins in the home…

I just looove cushions!

“When times are tough, people want their homes to be comfortable.”

So says interior designer Robyn McKendry of Magnolia Interiors in Brisbane, in a story in the Brisbane Courier Mail on the weekend by the home editor Ainsley Pavey.

“When people bunker down financially, they want quality. They are also staying at home more and doing their entertaining.”

Mark Alexander of Thomas and Alexander Interiors also says “Life has picked up pace and people want a cocoon to go home to; they are looking for a haven. They are looking for a permanence in their lifestyle and not something that will be washed away tomorrow.”

These comments are in relation to the new trend of upmarket home accessories stores emerging in the inner-city areas of Brisbane such as Wolloongabba, Paddington, New Farm, Ascot and Bulimba.

Designer fabrics, furniture and wallpaper are being imported for the growing number of home makers seeking professional advice on transforming their homes.

All I can say is bring it on! I love helping people transform their houses into havens that they love coming home to. And I love to spend hours in interiors homewares shops getting great ideas for clients (and for my own home).  What a great job I have.

PS – the glamorous gal in the pic is not me.

To throw or not to throw? The dilemma of flood damaged furniture.

Minus the food, it could be a keeper

This morning I had the honour of appearing on The Today Show, speaking on a very unpleasant topic: trying to recover and repair flood damaged furniture. Many homes and offices around Queensland are now facing this very dilemma – do I throw it out or can it be salvaged?

I demonstrated cleaning and safety techniques on a particularly funky fridge – and I don’t mean it was cute or trendy. It was probably one of the most unpleasant tasks I have ever had to do – and I had to do it on live morning television!

Here are some tips I recommended on the show if you are thinking of reclaiming your refrigerator from being thrown out onto the street.

  1. Do not attempt to turn on the fridge unless thoroughly inspected by an electrician or fridge mechanic first. They will check all wiring, compressors and gas levels.
  2. Look after your health – make sure you are kitted up with gloves, long sleeve clothes, face masks, covered shoes and even goggles – bacteria can get you from many angles!
  3. Have plenty of garbage bags ready for any food that was left in the fridge – you will want it disposed of very quickly and effectively as the stench is very nasty.
  4. Exterior: Wash the mud off the outside of the refrigerator, paying particular attention to the seals around the door (use a toothbrush) with warm, soapy water; rinse and wipe dry.
  5. Scuffs and stains can be removed by rubbing with non-abrasive tooth-paste, grease spills will come off with a little lemon juice and water.
  6. Interior: Remove all removable parts and wash these in hot soapy water (dishwashing detergent is fine but make sure antibacterial for germs in the mud).
  7. Rinse in warm water and let dry (air drying is best).
  8. Using a soft sponge, wipe down all surfaces with a sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar (this helps with smell). Or use commercial cleaning product recommended for food storage use.
  9. Again, pay particular attention to door seals, the door racks and other compartments where bacteria could be hiding.
  10. Rinse with a sponge or dishcloth and clean warm water.
  11. Dry all surfaces with a clean towel or cloth.
  12. Use vanilla essence on a soft cloth to wipe out fridge when dry to help with odours and store an open packet of bicarbonate soda for continued odour control.
  13. Fill up the fridge once again with fresh tasty food!


The roots of clutter — external, behavioral, and internal

I loved this post from Erin at Unclutterer.com

It is so important to work out WHY you have clutter before you can begin to tackle it.

Goodness…where did I leave the baby?

There are innumerable reasons people are plagued by clutter. Most reasons, however, fall into one of three categories:

  1. External: This clutter might be from living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse, physical disability, or inherited clutter
  2. Behavioral: This clutter might be from mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, or poor categorization and classification skills
  3. Internal: This clutter might be from grief, depression, anxiety, distrust, or being overly sentimental

Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome. Since you can’t transform someone else into an unclutterer, you may be continually plagued with clutter as long as you live in the same space as your parent/roommate/spouse. If you’re struggling with inherited clutter, the situation may be stressful as you take the time to sort through the property you’ve acquired, but the clutter will likely be temporary. It can be difficult to predict or solve external causes of clutter, but there are often ways to manage it, and sometimes even solve it.

Clutter resulting from behavioral causes can be more manageable than the other categories of clutter. You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits, and find ways to increase energy levels. It can take awhile to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible for people of sound mind and body to do so within a reasonable amount of time.

Read more on internal clutter here: http://unclutterer.com/2010/11/18/the-roots-of-clutter-external-behavioral-and-internal/