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6 Food Crimes that are costing you money!

6 food crimes that are costing you money saving budget largetiny small blog UK large family small tiny house home

My hubby and I are avid watchers of the Eat Well for Less series on BBC and they even have a book to accompany the TV Series.  Although I love the program and always find a little tip here and there I can’t be the only one that finds it very frustrating when some of the people don’t really care about food wastage, the environment or the fact that they are just throwing stuff in the bin for no good reason.  Plus they all seem to have a ridiculous amount of money to spend on food, £200+ a week for a family of 4 or 5.

We have just finished watching the second series there seem to be some consistent offenders that I see time and time again.

1 Use by Dates or Best Before

I loved the fact that even Greg Wallace said about the Fruit and Veg unless it’s mouldy or Slimy, it’s fine! Forget about dates! They are a supermarket thing, but don’t eat mouldy food obviously!  But carrots stored in the fridge or a dark, cool place will last weeks longer than the date on the bag (if you brought them in a bag in the first place) and even when they are little limp and squidgy, chuck them in a casserole, curry or roast them with some oil or honey  to crisp them up!

There should be no one just looking at the date on a packet of parsnips and then binning them! Or evening binning them before the date because you know you aren’t going to get to use them! USE THEM! Or freeze them!

2 Brand Loyalties

Although I do buy some branded items, its mainly because they are the ones I like the most, and I have already tried the supermarket own brand or even the value range, or if the Brand is on offer.  I have set prices that I will spend, and I will not buy a branded box of Coco Pops unless they are on offer. I will not spend more than £1 for 6/8 bags of crisps

I use Muscle Foods for my the majority of our meat, they have some great hampers and often send out deals.  Their Mince beef is great, very lean and they often have things that we might not have every brought in a supermarket, so makes us be a bit more inventive with our food. If you are a new customer you can use this to sign up for this great £75 Hamper Offer

new customer Meat Stack Hamper £75 bargain fresh meat delivered to your door

Occasionally we get a delivery from Approved Foods for some cupboard items. This site varies, so you have to keep checking up to see the latest deals, or sign up for the email. Stock can change on a daily basis, so they might not always have what you want but its always worth a look.

approved food bargain grocery cut price shopping save money on your food bill

We do our main shop online at Asda with a bit of Aldi too.  It makes us more aware of the prices that fluctuate within the stores.  Some weeks the Branded one will be cheaper than the Store own, sometimes the “Value pack” will be more expensive than buying 2 smaller packets!

Watch Those Prices!!!!!

3 Laziness/Not wanting to or not knowing how to cook

One of the main excuses the families on the show mainly use is “I don’t have time”

Which makes me incredibly sad, as I know that today most people are time poor (its why I’m here waffling on my blog) I don’t think it’s right that we live in a society that values time away from the home and family as more important that being at home, cooking, spending time together, eating a meal, chatting about the day etc.  Obviously this is an unobtainable goal for everyone; otherwise there would be no shops, online delivery, or city bankers, Teachers and all those other jobs that make our society work as a whole.

But some meals are SO much quicker to cook from scratch than in a ready meal.  My mum is a bit of a culprit on this as my mum loves a ready meal, or box curries as she calls them, but I can whip up a homemade red lentil dhal in 15 minutes courtesy of A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.  Rather than switching over 3 or 4 boxes out of the microwave. Which takes at least 30 mins of waiting, stirring, swapping!

Jacks penny pinching and time saving Recipe’s are a must have and this cookbook is fast becoming one of my favourites.  I haven’t come across a recipe that we have cooked that wasn’t epic! and it costs pennies!

Go check out Jacks Blog Cooking on a Bootstrap its well worth a look around!

4 Not meal Planning

Now, some weeks I am really good at this and others I’m not, but I do try and stick to a sort of plan, even if its 3 meals that I’m using ingredients from the cupboards, or when I find some huge amount of something cheap, we try and use it up, as its irritating to have 20 bags of reduced pasta taking up space in our Small home.

I try and sit down on a Wednesday, as I normally get our main shop delivered on a Friday, go through Pinterest, see what we have left in the fridge that needs using up and start from there. We do have some go-to meals that use a fair amount of the same ingredients as we do like food and cuisine from around the world, and don’t eat much typical English food.

I also love a list, there are tonnes to meal planning planners out there,free printables and all sorts but I do love this GREAT Planner, and shopping list.

mean planning save money food prep

With a simple tear-off side part for your shopping list!  But you can obviously just use a notebook you already have or one of the many free printables that are on the internet. Maybe I’ll do a run down of my top 5!

5 Not stock taking

Even now and then, I go through all my cupboards and do a stock take, it’s amazing how much food, you forget when its tucked up on the top shelf in a cupboard, or has been pushed to the back of the pantry, or hiding at the bottom of a drawer.  Then look through that list and see, what meals you can use them in, Pinterest again is your friend here, I often just type in the ingredient I have, and up pops hundreds of recipes! Even better if you have the rest of the ingredients to hand, or only have to buy 1 thing to make a great cake or dish!



On the program the families always seem to have a super huge bulk of food in their cupboards, and although it’s great to be prepared and have some sort of stock pile that you can draw on, when money is tight or there’s a snowstorm (Super Rare in the UK) but that kind of thing.  These cupboards full of food are actually just not even being looked at, they don’t think, Oh I have 5 Jars of Sweet and Sour chicken Sauce which I keep buying, we should really have Sweet and Sour chicken this week, and clear a space in the cupboard.  They go and by more random jars of sauce for meals they have no intention of cooking!

6 Not Using Leftovers

I know families who won’t do left overs for some reason.  I’m assuming its either not feeling safe about eating reheated food or a bit of snobbery that leftovers are what poor people eat.  Which is totally not true because I know some very well off comfortable people that will stretch out food to the ultimate end! Good on them, that’s probably how they are doing so well in life!

In our house we have always kept and used the left overs, it wasn’t however until we watched the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall program on chicken farming a few years ago that I was shocked at how much chicken I was throwing away.  So many hidden pockets of meat on that chicken I didn’t know about, I do use vinyl gloves for this job as it’s not my favourite job but then bang you have an extra meal, and some super tasty sandwiches for the lunch the next day!

Let me know if you use any of these ways of saving money, or if you are going to try and put some of these into practise!

Being 35 in a world full of Millennials

My husband and I were talking the other day about if we fitted into the category of being a Millennial?!

A Millennial being a person who was going through adolescence when we started the 21st Century.

We soon discovered that we are just a bit too old to fit in this category, but I’m not sad about it and ill tell you why through this seeminly ranty post!

I see my sister (who is a Millennial by the way) navigate her way through Young Adulthood, Dating, finding a job and a home, and I am relieved that I didn’t have to experience those lifetime goals in the present day.

older generations

Although some of the older generation would say there are far more opportunities out there for young people, an in-between generation I can see it from both sides, yes, we have the technology and are healthier, we don’t die as young. But that technology doesn’t always make it better. Degrees are almost a standard now for getting even a reception or sometimes customer service role.  There are hundreds of people applying for one job role which means you must have the best qualifications and CV before anyone will even meet with you for an interview.

I’m young enough to understand new technology, Netflix, Online banking, and Shopping makes my life easier, but not young enough for it to have ruined my life. (This seems a bit excessive, but I will elaborate further down) My mum does not trust online banking, hates online shopping, and has only just mastered getting IPlayer on her smart TV, for her technology is there, but she doesn’t embrace it fully, it scares her slightly and she finds new things hard to grasp which is fair enough.

I grew up without the internet, I was 15 when we got the internet in our home, back in a time when if you were on the internet people couldn’t phone the landline, so time was restricted. My kids find this concept astounding, as they get annoyed when they have to wait a few moments for a video to buffer!

As I grow older, I reflect on my life as a teenager and how much fun we had with the simple non-internet existence.  We had to wait to see if our favourite music video came on MTV, not have it straight away on demand. Music videos weren’t just about sex, and “sexy women” I didn’t spend time getting a fake tan or getting my eyebrows waxed, my friends and I were making handmade banners for Backstreet Boys concerts, Videoing our own version of The Big Breakfast on my friend’s bed. Watching Top of the Pops or reading fairly innocuous teen magazines that were more about glitter lip gloss and boy bands than what some random celebrity was doing last week, or how disgusting she looked on the beach in her non-beach body!

There was less pressure in short.

constant pressure and high expectations

But my sister and my kids will have grown up in a world with the internet, always having had a mobile phone and the internet is a constant.  My sister is currently navigating her way through online dating and it kind of scares me what awaits my girls, how can I teach my son not to treat girls in the way most men seem to be treating my sister?! It seems with the advent of the internet in your hand and access to a massive array of women that want to meet, men have turned into animals and women are getting increasingly fussy. (although having seen what my sister and her friends have to put up with sometimes their pickiness isn’t unjustified)

Back in the day when the internet was a shadow of its current form, I met my husband on a blind date, we had chatted via the internet in a basic yahoo chat room, never sent a photo as there was no way of seeing the other person, so we met up! We got on, we met again and hit it off, that was that. How guys seem to want a virtual guarantee of something more than just a date. It’s almost like they want a money back guarantee on a date, a bit like if they had ordered it off Amazon!

Almost every photo in magazines and adverts are photoshopped images of so-called perfect looking women and I can’t help but think that this constant bombardment against young men and women is changing their baseline idea of normal. The Makeup and the beauty industry has been around for years, but online in the last 10-15 has it seemed to upped its game to new levels, there’s always a new product that will make you look 10 years younger, longer fuller eyelashes, plumper lips.  Or if those products aren’t making you look like those photoshopped women, then there are always false nails, false eyelashes! Breast Implants, Botox, Lip Fillers, and the like.

If you are 25 and considering lip fillers and Botox, you need to assess why do you feel you need them? Because I guarantee that you don’t! The reason you think you aren’t as beautiful as you are is because the media has made you believe that you need something more.

im officially old now

So, I look back SO glad that I’m TOO old now. I don’t feel the need to “Up my brow game!” thankfully my husband loves my eyebrows where they are meant to be! But can I look forward to a retirement when I can utilise the Internet to make my shopping delivered when I’m old and frail, and watch on demand reruns of my favourite old shows!

I just hope that I can help my kids navigate the world where everything is fast-paced and fake, and show them that you should always be your true self, and no cream or powder or pill will make you a happier person.

Now I know this whole blog most makes me sound like I’m 90 but it makes me sad that our society, our culture is bringing up a generation of children and young adult that will struggle to find a job, maybe buy a house. I mean we only just brought a flat before the housing market went nuts. Even now in a town which used to be affordable, prices have rocketed even with the hour and a half commute each way into London. That’s a minimum 3-hour commute, not including if you have to get on the tube to go work somewhere other than the city.

Our lives are more complicated, harder to navigate, and seemingly harder than those from previous generations and it seems that it’s not changing anytime soon.

let me know what you think!

Are you a Millennial battling with some of these issues? Or are you an almost Millennial like us, glad you missed that bandwagon? Or sad you missed out?  I’d love to hear peoples’ opinion!

Top 5 Board Games for Kids

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One of the things my kids love the most is playing board games, we have a fair number and got two new ones this past Christmas.  We love the classics, Monopoly, Game of Life, Guess Who.  But there are far more games out there now than when I was a child.  My dad always loves a game too.  It’s a kind of tradition that we all play, what we call “The Post-it” game either at Christmas or on our annual Centre Parcs trip.  Obviously, this game only requires post its and a pen, and a good sense of humour to pick a person for someone to guess by asked yes or no answers whilst having the answer stuck on their head!

This year we got the kids version What’s Up, came with bands for your head, which made the game a bit easier than having to repeatedly re-stick the post it on your head, and visual items, pictures of a banana or a hamburger, for example.  Makes playing the game and including the children so much easier.  We also got Poopyhead, which is hilarious but if you don’t like toilet humour then perhaps not one for you.

We have been trying to play more of the many games we own, as we just never seem to find the time to play, Monopoly came out during the Christmas holidays (I had forgotten HOW LONG that game takes!)

My main criteria for picking these Top Five where,

Playability for multiple ages
Time, it takes to play
Ease of rules
And most importantly FUN!

Pictureka!

pictureka game top5 family board games

 

We still have the first version of this game, and we still haven’t memorised the boards.  There are 9 in total both double-sided, and you can mix them up repeatedly.  The small colour palate of blue, red, white, and black makes this game quite difficult at times.  And I love some of the categories that come up on the cards, sometimes it’s something like “find something hairy” which could be anything from a hair brush, a person with hair, or a hairy spider.  There are also just picture cards so for younger players, it’s a bit easier, as you are finding something specific rather than using your imagination.  It’s great fun and be played on several levels for different age groups either with a timer or without.  I can’t recommend it enough.pictureka game top5 family board games

In fact, there is even an app for this game which is highly amusing and fun!

Connect 4

 

A classic and although noisy if using it on a table with no tablecloth, and the risk of losing some of the coins, but this strategic game can provide fun for even my 4-year-old, who hasn’t grasped the rules yet properly but still enjoys playing along.

Orchard Toys Pop to the Shops

We love an Orchard Toys game hence why there are 2 on this list, they are simple, educational, bright a colourful and easy to play generally.  In fact, I had a hard job picking just 2, once I had the other games written down.

Pops to the shops is a great game for teaching slightly older kids about money and giving change.  As well as collecting your shopping list of items from the different shops on the board, making sure you have the right money to purchase the items is part of the fun.

Orchard Toys Shopping list

Basically a match and find game, but with having to match the items in your shopping trolley.  All the cards are face down, turn them over to find the ones you need, the first to complete their shopping game card is the winner.  Great fun, always different as you can mix up the cards again and again.  There are also several expansions to this game including Clothing Items and Fruit and Vegetables.  Great for learning words, vocabulary and playing together.  All three of mine will still happily play this game, even my eleven-year-old.  A timeless classic.

Destination Hogwarts

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This one is a super special game in our house, as we are Harry Potter crazy and I’m super sad that they never made an actual monopoly Harry Potter, but this is close!  I remember seeing the Destination game sales pitch on Dragons Den many years ago, and they didn’t invest, but it seems to still be going strong as a brand. Unfortunately, you can’t buy this version anymore unless, its second hand and on Amazon and EBay they go for silly money, but you should always look out in charity shops and boot fairs as someone must be selling their copies eventually, but I wouldn’t part with mine, and hope in years to come my grandkids with still be enjoying Harry Potter as much as my kids do.

I really struggled to narrow down my list so precisely as there are so many great games out on the market, so I might come back with some more Top 5 Specific game types!

What’s your favourite board games to play? Classis or New?  I’d love to hear if there are any that people think are must haves but I haven’t had a chance to play!

How you can earn Free Money in time for Christmas Shopping

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Obviously, there are lots of sites like this, and Ebates in America is talked about all the time! But in the UK it’s a different story, there doesn’t seem to be the opportunities out there to earn online like there is in America.  A number of times I’ve clicked through a How I earn $$$ each month only to find us UK people can’t use the site! Sad times.

But I have been using the SwagBucks site for just under a year I think, and I haven’t been super on it every day, so have lost out on some potential earnings. But in a few months, I earnt enough for a £200 worth of Amazon Gift Cards without even really trying.  I’m saving currently for our Christmas shopping 2017 so we will be trying to spend as little actual cash as possible this year!  I’m hoping to more than double that figure this year.  So I will keep you posted!

The type of vouchers available are varied, Amazon, Marks and Spencers, Itunes, TKMaxx or Starbucks, you can even donate to charity, or get money for your PayPal account.  Some of the vouchers require more points to redeem.

For example, £10 is worth 1360 point in Marks and Spencers, 1440 in Amazon or 1600 for PayPal.

Here are the top easiest ways to earn!

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JOIN! If you use this link SWAGBUCKS REFERAL

DISCLAIMER for the link, I do get points for referrals and a percentage of any money you earn points too. But you can get your friends to join and earn your own referral bonuses from them!

I get a little bit extra for getting you signed up and you get a sign-up bonus too! This varies all the time

Every day I do the Daily TO DO List which includes the Daily Poll and the Daily Offers, 7 Swagbucks every day for a whole month is 210 Swagbucks for literally a few clicks.

Extra bonuses

Install the Swagbutton and the Search tool! It’s not for everyone, and the search isn’t as great as Google, but you can get bonus Swagbucks for just using the search feature! Sometimes up to 20 Swagbucks for one search.

If you hit your target for the day, they award you additional Swagbucks BONUS! Hit your target every day over set periods of time 7 days, 14 days, 30 days etc, MORE BONUSES and then at the end of each month you get

Shopping and Surveys are where you can make major Swagbucks.

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Obviously, Surveys take time and Shopping means spending money.  But if it’s a shop that you are already using you could be losing out on potential money. I have often shopped online then gone and collected from town the following day using a click and collect service so no postage to pay.

My most used Shops used to be Just Eat (although we have cut this down massively recently) and Asda George, but I’ve earned big on buying my daughters laptop through PC World, booked a stay at the Hilton for my husband’s 40th and even the occasional promotional shops up that might not be there all the time, buy I did an ASOS order in the summer with a 6% cash back earning, so definitely worth looking around on there.

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There are also easy ways of earning through downloading apps onto your phone, some of them require getting to a certain level, but for a few hours down time I don’t mind, because it is basically free money!

Swagbucks also have their own apps, a standard one that you can install and use on the go.  Some of the competitions and SWAGO boards require you to visit a mobile site.  They also have Swagbucks TV which you can earn 20 Swagbucks a day for watching movie trailers.

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll hopefully be able to answer any questions you might have! or let me Know if you have joined and what rewards you have earned!

5 Way to Create Hygge in your Home

Top 5 Tips to create Hygge

Hygge (Hoo-gah) is the best concept I have come across for promoting happiness, family, and all round goodness.  The Danish term seems to have taken real steps forward into other societies and this year I have seen quite a few books pop up around the subject of Hygge.  I first came across it whilst Reading How to Live Danishly by Helen Russell and was totally sold.  In fact, I was ready to up sticks and move to Denmark.

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Renowned for its dark and cold winters, Hygge is how the Danes seem to survive over the Winter especially but all year around too.  It’s a word that doesn’t have a real translation, but really means a sense of cosy togetherness and happiness.  Which I feel if just what everyone needs in fact who doesn’t want that?!

Here are 5 Tips I use to create Hygge in our home especially coming up to Winter.

1 Candles or Light

The Top Top tip is Light.  It is essential! Candles are almost necessary, but if you have small children around, then you may want to rethink candles at toddler height. But the soft light that candles create is the best, soft, warm flickering light that creates a great cosy ambience in a room. Traditionally unscented candles are the thing. But I don’t think you can beat a delicious Christmassy scented candle in December. My absolute favourite if Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie, Candy Cane Lane, or recently Macaron Treats

If you don’t want to do candles I think fairy lights bring a certain sense of magic in any room I have them in my kitchen, my Living Room, and Bedroom for those times when you want soft warm magical light but don’t want to light the whole room.  Warm white Fairy lights are my favourite! No blue LED fairy lights here! Think warm! or even better do candles and fairy lights!

2 Being Present

Nowadays it’s all too easy to be distracted by technology.  TV, phones, iPad, the Laptop that sits under the sofa.  Often, we will sit watching TV whilst also browsing the internet either on the laptop or checking the dreaded Facebook on my phone.  Part of being present is having no tech or distractions.  I have seen this great time locked safe for phones, so that when people come over for dinner they can’t be distracted, they are in the moment; spending time with the people there are with, in the room, rather than being distracted by online notifications and the like.

It’s all too easy to lose yourself in the tech and catching up on twitter than having a conversation around the dinner table, catching up what each family member has done during the day, spending time together and listening.

A few Sundays ago, I put my phone down and read to my daughter the last three chapters of The Hunger Games, it was truly lovely.  To do something so simple and enjoyable and to give her my undivided attention snuggled on the sofa together enjoying the story.



3 Taking Part

This is a funny one, as I’m not a massive fan of having people in my kitchen whilst I am prepping dinner, because number one my kitchen is fairly small and number two it’s normally a bit of a rush and a faff as sometimes I have to cater for different people, as we have a couple of fussy eaters!

But when I read about it in The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, there is a section about everyone having a role to play in getting the family dinner ready. I realised this is one we should definitely be working on. To incorporate everyone in getting the meal ready gives a sense of togetherness.  My 11-year-old is a little bit more conducive to this than my 8-year-old, as she is really loving having the extra responsibility she has gained from going off to secondary, she is really growing into a young adult. So, she actually loves setting the table, getting the plates out and ready and has actively asked to learn to cook a meal for us all this year!

4 Relaxing and taking things Slow

I suppose this goes back to the following points about being Present and Taking Part, losing the technology and spending time setting the table are all relaxing things.  But we should also spend more time doing things we enjoy.  It is hard in this modern face paced society to Slow down and say, today I’m going to sit and read a book with a great cup of coffee, and take some downtime to gather my thoughts.

Often we are so busy moving from one job to another you forget to see the beauty in things and don’t spend the time you need either with yourself or with others to recuperate.

As an introvert, I do have to make sure I get time on my own, as I know I being to fail when I am drained. Time spent chilling out, watching my favourite movie, is time well spent for me otherwise, I’m grumpy and uptight and that doesn’t make for a good time!

But this can also mean, getting out a board game (you can see my top 5 here) and sitting and playing either with friends of family, have some nice music on if you want, or it could even mean, cuddling up on the sofa with a movie, a loved one and some popcorn.

5 Hot Drinks

In The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking one of the top things the Danish said as important for Hygge was Hot Drinks.  It’s interesting because being English, it’s all about having a good cup of tea and a sit-down. Whether you are stressed, upset, sad, or have just gone around your friend’s house for a chat. Tea seems to be what binds the English together. And there is something to be said for a good cup of Tea or coffee or an amazing rich hot chocolate with marshmallows. Not something that will help you get beach body ready but something that will give you warmth, comfort, and joy in a cup.

There’s nothing better than sitting around with a cup of hot chocolate after getting in from a wet and cold school run.  When the nights are getting drawing in and it’s dark by 4 pm in the run-up to Christmas it’s something my kids love. In fact, if there are no marshmallows there’s a bit of an uproar.

Let me know if you are living by the means of Hygge and if it’s helping you gain a sense of togetherness and cosiness? I would love to know.

122 Items You Can Declutter TODAY!

I have too much stuff. I’m not sure how some of the stuff accumulates, but it does seem to breed and then you end up in a big old mess!

I know I have too much stuff because I often have an infinite pile of paperwork on the side of my kitchen, my desk is always a mess and when I got around to organizing my under stairs last week, I looked at the pile of things I hadn’t used in years, I tried to remember why I thought I ever needed them in the first place.

Some things were just old items that I didn’t need anymore, like the spare door handle for a cupboard we don’t have any more but a lot of it was excess. Like the 20 pots of washable paint or the 30 glass jars I was storing for a project.  That big old mess of a cupboard has inspired me to take a hard look all around my house at the things I have no use or hold no meaning to me.

And apparently, I have A LOT of things like that. I bet you do, too!

Once you get rid of the stuff that’s cluttering your home life becomes a little bit easier. Getting rid of 122 things is just the start of the process

I still have a folder or all my A-Level and Degree Art work, not sure what to do with that, but my kids sure enjoyed looking at it!

My children also like to keep everything that comes home from school. And when I say everything, I mean everything. They have a demolition club, so we now host all the keys of a computer keyboard in a jar, several cables and switches, numerous school projects, but I am slowly taking photos of projects and scanning school work, and will show you my project soon with those!

Here are some things you can find around your house to simply throw away. If you are anything like me, you will be able to basically use this as a checklist!  Of course, please recycle anything that you can! And if you think you can sell it then keep it and put it in a box to sell either online, Facebook groups or Marketplace, Schoop for better clothing and toys or Boot fairs in the UK, garage sale in the US! Side Hustle is my phrase of 2017!

My 122 List of things to start with!

  1. Tiny pencils or pencils with broken leads
  2. Dried up pens and felt tips – test every one!
  3. Old financial files and statements – the general rule is to keep them for 7 years but if you online bank you can normally download old statements if you need them
  4. Lids to Pens you don’t have anymore
  5. Broken things
  6. Keys you have no idea what they are for
  7. Packets of seeds that are out of date
  8. Over stretched or nearly broken hairbands
  9. Old candles that won’t burn because there’s not enough wick to wax ratio
  10. Ratty clothing – If your underwear has holes! Best get rid
  11. Plastic containers missing lids
  12. Lids missing containers
  13. Board games with missing pieces (although you might potentially be able to sell those spare parts on eBay!)
  14. Old pet toys
  15. Broken shovels and rakes
  16. Nearly used up crayons
  17. Cardboard boxes
  18. Out of date food from the fridge and pantry but remember the difference between Best Before and Use By!
  19. Hair brushes/combs that are missing bristles or teeth
  20. Dead batteries
  21. Dried up nail polish
  22. Junk mail
  23. Opened mail envelopes, or the giro from the bill you have direct debit set up for
  24. Out of date vouchers
  25. Clothes hangers from the store
  26. Old makeup – the rule is generally 1 year, especially for mascara
  27. Old sunscreen – The shelf life is 1 year after opening the SPF deteriorates
  28. Take out menus – Especially with online Takeout ordering, you don’t need that paper cluttering your kitchen drawer
  29. Non-stick cookware that has scratches on it
  30. Tights with runs in them
  31. Socks with holes in them
  32. Any Glue that’s completely glued shut or dried up!
  33. Store loyalty cards you never use
  34. The phone book
  35. Electronics that are broken but you still have around anyway
  36. DIY projects that were never finished
  37. Instruction Booklets to items you don’t own anymore
  38. Old spices or condiments sitting in the back of your cupboard that are passed their date! Although before you throw them for good perhaps make use of them by leaving them out to make sure you use them and plan a meal
  39. Old drawings
  40. School papers
  41. Old tins of paint
  42. Clothes you keep “just in case” you can fit into them again
  43. Balls and garden toys that have been ruined by the winter
  44. Old cleaning sponges
  45. Dead plants or Flowers that have been left
  46. Extra pieces from things you assembled yourself
  47. Out of Date Medicine in the Bathroom, old sticky throat sweets you wont use! – You can take them to your local pharmacy to dispose of.
  48. Earrings you can only find one of
  49. Same for gloves
  50. and socks

Although it’s great to throw most of the stuff straight away, don’t feel you must get rid straight away, if you think you can sell it then Side Hustle those excess belongings, souvenirs, unused and outgrown items and sell them! If you sold 100 items at £1 that’s £100 cash! Which if you worked in an average shop that’s over 11 hours of work you just gained for free from stuff in your house!



 

Things that you might be able sell!

remember that side hustle

  1. Outgrown Toys
  2. Toys from kid’s meals
  3. Old laptops/Computers
  4. Old luggage – Boot fairs are great for selling these!
  5. Old craft supplies you won’t use anymore
  6. Magazines
  7. Craft books
  8. Freebies from magazines
  9. Outgrown Clothing
  10. Old Bedding sets that are not being used
  11. Excess pot and pans
  12. Excess cushions and blankets
  13. Books you have read or will never read
  14. Jewellery
  15. Weird kitchen Gadgets or Fads, Juicer?! Egg Slicer!
  16. Picture frames
  17. Odd cutlery
  18. Bakeware you don’t use
  19. Old Saucepans
  20. Excess plates
  21. Outdated electronics
  22. Board games that haven’t been played
  23. Baby clothes
  24. Anything baby related once the kids have outgrown it
  25. Outdoor toys
  26. Sports equipment
  27. Shoes that don’t fit or you just don’t want anymore
  28. Sheets
  29. Mugs you don’t use often or have too many of
  30. Christmas decorations
  31. Glass jars
  32. Clothes you don’t wear
  33. Musical instruments
  34. Pet accessories or equipment
  35. Toiletries you brought but still haven’t used and never will
  36. Collectable Toys Shopkins etc. that you have doubles of
  37. Collectable Cards or Stickers
  38. Bags and Purses
  39. Plant Pots
  40. Coats
  41. Scarves
  42. Fitness equipment you don’t use
  43. Hair styling equipment
  44. Perfume
  45. Swimming Costumes
  46. Hair accessories you rarely wear
  47. Tools you have multiples of
  48. Excess Tea towels
  49. Old/Retro Games Consoles and electronics (check Computer Exchange before you give away!)
  50. Flower vases
  51. Chairs– old stools, couches, chairs, benches
  52. Anything duplicate you don’t need, really
  53. Video games
  54. Holiday Souvenirs – Like that London Snow Globe
  55. Hats
  56. Extra buttons that come on new clothing
  57. Towels
  58. Gifts received but never used or you can re-gift these!
  59. Old cell phones
  60. Miscellaneous cords and cables
  61. VHS players
  62. CD players and CD
  63. Records if you own any
  64. Outgrown kids Shoes, those hardly worn wellies or expensive trainers, might be of use to someone
  65. Samples – perfume, lotions, deodorant, etc
  66. VHS tapes
  67. Decorative Items that you don’t love
  68. DVDs you don’t watch anymore
  69. Cassettes
  70. DIY Leftovers – You may not want that cabinet, door knobs, half a tin of paint or left over wallpaper rolls but someone might!
  71. Nail Varnish you don’t like or never use
  72. Kids plates, cups and cutlery they don’t use anymore

It feels so liberating to get rid of all the extra stuff you don’t need!! I do it all year round generally and build up a massive lot to take to the boot fairs over the summer.  Last year Side Hustled almost £500 selling my old stuff!  We did have some large electrical items and with three children there is always an endless stream of outgrown toys and clothing! Hopefully one year I won’t need to do it!

make it a habit

If you can make a regular purge like this into a habit, you will feel so much better. Almost every item you get rid of you won’t miss as it’s just one less item to pick up and tidy! Or clean around!

I would love to hear your success stories or pictures of your 117 items! Or more if you want to! Please leave a comment below!

Family of 5 Living in 700sqm – Our Story so Far

As a Welcome post, I thought I would start with a where we are now. So that I can go back to and see where we came from at the start of this blog. So a little intro as to who we are and where we live, and why I am starting this blog.

family car cossato carseats family time fun vauxhall zafira

My name is Zoe. Phil and I got married in April 2002 and we have 3 children, 2 girls and a boy aged 11,8 and 4. We live in the UK, In Essex by the Sea.  I have been a SAHM/WAHM for all of my mum life and my husband has been the sole bread winner. I suppose I have had little side hustles going on and off for a bit, some have done well others not so well.

where we started

Having brought our first property in 2002,  a 1 bed flat on the outskirts of London, once we had our 1st child Rosie, we decided it was time to move on, London prices had gone crazy as they always do, and as my family had all moved from the area for various reasons we decided to look elsewhere.

Milton Keynes was top of our list, but it was a long drive and the train commuting costs for my other half would have eaten into any savings we would have gained from moving out so far away from family and friends.

My Nan had already moved out to Southend-on-Sea, to the Seaside into a retirement block so our natural search area began there as it was affordable to commute, has 2 train lines, it’s by the SEA!

beach seaside sunny blue clear sky relax family

And it meant we could up size our flat to a generous 2 bed ground floor flat with a garden of our own.  Both bedrooms are double, and the main bedroom is huge!

10 years later, we have added 2 additional children and were beginning to feel a little bit squeezed! As our kids are now 11 year old girl (in Secondary School), 8 year old girl and an almost 4 year old boy, we have moved furniture and rooms SO many times it’s crazy.  As our family has grown so has the amount of stuff, toys, books, games etc.  Me also being a crafter and having run several businesses as a Stay at home mum, our flat last year felt like it was going to explode, so we have been rearranging again, and looked at extending our flat into the side return to gain some additional square footage, but costs and actual space gained just meant that is would just wouldn’t be worth the price or the hassle.

where we are right now

So although we are inspired and look towards be a minimalist and compact living family we are far from it currently.  So this is where our journey kind of starts.

All three children currently share the biggest front bedroom; it has great light from the massive Edwardian bay window, the 2 youngest shares the front half of the room with bunks and the bulk of the toys.

For my eldest, we have made her a room within a room so to speak using the wardrobes to divide the space so to allow light from the front window into her area.  a desk, her bed and a shelf unit is all she currently needs With some nice lighting, she has a cosy room that’s the same SQ footage as a standard box room in a Victorian house and the same space her room would have been had we spent £40k on an extension. Which is crazy sometimes it pays to think out of the box!

We have an all in one Kitchen, Living Dining room, with a massive sofa that everyone plus guests can fit on, it’s a work in progress as we speak, and everything is subject to change as we try to make our home, work the best for us.

But it’s our little home, we own it we can do whatever we want to it generally, we have an outdoor space the kids can play, we can sit out and relax in the summer.  So although its not perfect, its ours!

mindset is key

I follow some great Small Home blogs and Instagram accounts and gradually over the last year my mindset has shifted.

I realised that not everyone need their own bedrooms, multiple bathrooms are a luxury, not a necessity and that many families around the world and in the UK live on a lot less, and in smaller homes and societies constant need to acquire more space and more stuff seems to be an endless task, that we are never happy with, and are constantly striving for more, to keep up with friends and family, to look successful.

I while ago I watched a documentary called Happy, and more recently Minimalism: A Documentary about important things both have DVDs or are available on Netflix currently! I have linked to and can thoroughly recommend! All those people in the Happy documentary who had very little were happy with what they had, because they had their family and a home and a job that provided food, yes their lives were hard at times, but they had no need for a bedroom for each child, or multiple bathrooms or the latest phone, they wanted to be with their families and enjoy life.

We are blessed that my husband has a steady job, although not highly paid, but we would love to be able to have a bit more cash and freedom with our kids, but through passive income so that I can still be there for my kids, pick them up from school, go to their plays and sports days and bake sales, and not have to work a part time low paid job for no personal gain.

So inspired by Chasing Foxes, Making Sense of CentsGoDownsize on YouTube and others who I see on my Pinterest earning an income from blogging, even if we could earn a fraction of what they are doing we would be OK.

I love our tiny home, although by Apartment Therapy Small Cool guidelines it’s not that tiny!  I hope you’ll come along and see our journey and let me show you how we live, survive, thrive, cook, and hopefully change some mindsets out there!