How to Turn Your Clutter into Cold Hard Cash!

Written by Nikki Morgan, 21 May 2013

We all have it, household junk that we will never need or use again, filling up our drawers, cupboards and even garages. While some of this is truly junk that needs to go in the bin, lot’s of things lurking around our home can be converted into cash….as the saying goes “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

De-cluttering is a fun and worthwhile exercise that we should all undertake once a year. I have a rule, if I have not used an item in the last 12 months, then I will probably never use it, so it is time to move the junk on!

We love to hang on to things ‘just in case’ we need them. The reality is we will often buy things we really don’t need, or will be given gifts that are not really to our taste, so we hide them away. Well get out all those ‘things’ lurking in the cupboard and make some cash.

Start in one drawer, and then move on to the next. Don’t try and do it all in one day, as sometimes that task is just to momentous and you will lose interest. Start small and keep building the collection of items to sell. If things are rubbish, then toss them. If they are still in decent condition, you can donate them or use some of the following suggestions to find buyers for all this loot.

GARAGE SALE – This is the quickest way to make cash from your unwanted goods. Hosting a successful garage sale only takes a little bit of effort and requires you not placing unrealistic expectations on how much you want to receive for your items. Make sure you place an ad in your main newspaper, the small investment will be returned with lot’s of shoppers. Just putting up signs at the end of your street will not bring enough visitors. Make sure you present your wares in a neat fashion. Use tables if possible, hang clothes, and anything that is going on the floor should be on blankets or sheets. Price everything and then be prepared to bargain.

WEEKEND MARKETS – Have become a mecca for bargain hunters and sellers alike. For a small fee you will be allotted a car park size space for you to display your wares. The same rules of presentation apply at markets. Be prepared for an early start, and by noon you can be on your way home with cash jingling in your pocket. Whatever does not sell can be donated as many markets have donation bins near-by for that purpose. Try and put your items in the bins provided and not just on the ground in front of them, or more than likely your items will be on another persons market table next week.

EBAY – Setting up an account with Ebay is free, and non-commercial sellers can place up to 30 advertisements at no cost per month. They often have special weekends where you can list up to 100 items free of charge. You will only pay fee’s if you sell your item. You will also need a Paypal account, again free to set up. It makes financial transactions for buyers and sellers safe and convenient. Ebay is great for small items that don’t attract high postage charges. Unless your larger items are of high value that could get lot’s of bidders trying to win it, keep Ebay for the smaller and lighter items. Good quality pictures is one of the tricks to successful selling on Ebay. If the picture grabs the attention of buyers you have a much better chance of making good money.

GUMTREE – Is a completely free service that connects your items with buyers in your area. You don’t pay fees if you make a sale. As your buyers are local and will be coming to you, this is the best way to sell off large, bulky items that would attract very high postage fees. Things like garden equipment, unused sporting goods, artwork and furniture are great contenders for this sight. Setting up an account is quick and free.

FACEBOOK – Is growing in popularity as a way to sell off unwanted items, again with no cost to you. A quick search will find a host of ‘Garage Sale’ pages that cover your local area. There are 4 for my local area, and I have used this method to clear unwanted items. Most of these pages will require you to set up an album with your photo’s and descriptions of them items, and everyday you can add a small comment to your listings to bump them to the top of the page until it is sold.

WEEKEND SHOPPER – Most newspapers have a shopping section in their Saturday additions. You used to have to pay to list your items, but competition from other selling sources, saw the listing fee’s abandoned for items that cost less that $500.00. Place your ad by Wednesday night for inclusion in that Saturday’s addition. You just need to make sure you are home on Saturday in case you get calls from prospective customers who would like to view and purchase from you.

So get cleaning and clearing out and within a short space of time you
will see a pile of cash growing in front of you!

What is your favourite way of turning household junk into cash?

Garage Sale

Nikki Morgan is a Natural Therapist, Author, Bargain Queen, mum to two gorgeous teens and can often be found with a glass of Sav Blanc in hand, blogging away at her little piece of cyber-space Wonderfully Women.com

This post has been shared with Essentially Jess for “I Blog on Tuesday” IBOT

Easy Apps for the Home

As published on Little Hero Hosting, Tue 14 May 2013
Written by Alison Parks

If you know me well, you will be shocked that I am writing an article on technology, let Samsung Phonealone apps.  Here is a picture of the mobile phone that I have carried around until 6 months ago.  I loved this phone.  It didn’t have internet access, in fact, it couldn’t even take a photo.  But it fit easily into any pocket or mini purse and I could make and receive phone calls.  That’s all you need from a phone, right?

I admit I’m a slow learner.  So I’m going to give you the Most Useful and Easy Apps for the Home from my perspective.  If you search the internet, there are thousands of websites with experts telling you this and that about apps, and you need a technology dictionary to help read most of them.

I’m going to show you the easiest, cheapest and most useful apps that I have found and am currently using around the home.  If I’m using them, they must be easy to use!

As I own an android phone and tablet, my recommendations will be android based, however I have also provided an iphone option.

Groceries

In Australia, we don’t seem to have a one-stop-shop app for all the supermarkets.  The choice is for you to pick from the main supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, Aldi), or simply download a Shopping List app and go from there.

Of the major supermarket app selections, my pick is the Woolworths app, because you can also order online, it’s not just a shopping list like the others.  You can scan your item and either store it in a shopping list and/or order online and have it delivered to your door … all from your mobile phone.

Select the link below for your preferred option.

Android: Coles, Woolworths, Aldi
iPhone: Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Shopping List

Budgeting

I have a serious excel spreadsheet that monitors our budget.  In my pre-smartphone days I would take cash out each pay day for my ‘entertainment’ money, which was the best way for me to keep track of my casual spending.

These days however, I am able to eftpos whatever I like without fear of going over my allocated spend with the TrackMySpend app.

While you’re standing in the checkout line, just enter the amount of spend and it will calculate how much you have left, and how many days you have left until your next top up (i.e. pay day).  You can save your favourites (i.e. morning coffee) and with just a click of a button your spending budget will be updated.

Android: TrackMySpend [Free]
iPhone: TrackMySpend [Free]

Fashion

How often do you ask “Does this dress look nice?”, and hear in return “yes, of course” or “yes, dear”?  Wouldn’t it be great to get some honest and reliable feedback on what you’re wearing for your hot date or catch up with old friends.  What Should I Wear.com.au is the best app for this purpose!  When you’re out shopping, you can refer to what you actually have in your closet and compliment your wardrobe, rather than double up on what you already have – no more impulse buys!  It’s very addictive … you can give or get advice and also have lots of fashion questions answered by experts.

Android: WhatShouldIWear.com.au [Free
iPhone: WhatShouldIWear.com.au [Free]

Housework / Chores

This has been referred to me by friends with older kids.  What better way to share the chores with the kids, than via their smartphone!  iRewardChart allows you to select from built-in chores or create your own, delegate and accumulate rewards.  Kids love novelty, and using their phones … iRewardChart is a great concept!  You can always use it as an adult too … no reason why adults can’t get rewards for doing the chores!

Android: iRewardChart [$4.00]
iPhone: iRewardChart [$3.99]

A simple chore app is the Chore Checklist which has pre-set basic chores to keep your household running smooth, crisp and clean.  You can add or delete chores, and set reminders to ensure none are forgotten.  It’s a great motivator and organiser.

Android: Chore Checklist [Free]

Home Renovating

We have just finished renovating our home, and I am kicking myself for not having a smartphone years ago.  There are apps which allow you to upload a photo of your room, and virtually paint it with the colours of your choice.  I feel a new “feature wall” coming on!

Dulux have a great iPhone app available, click here.

Not a great recommendation, but the best solution I can find for the Australian Android users is the BEHR app to get a good idea on how your room is going to look, and then use the Dulux Colour Schemer app (which doesn’t allow photos of your room) to try and match the colour so you can buy the right product here in Oz.

Android: ColourSmart by BEHR
iPhone: Dulux Colour Schemer

Diet and Exercise

I religiously follow the Calorie King website to monitor my dietary intake and exercise program, and don’t you know it … they have an app too!  Set your weight goal, and it will keep track of the calories, fats, carbs, protein etc in all the foods you eat and will also calculate how many calories you burn through exercise. This one I can’t use as it’s only available for the iPhone owners.  The Calorie Counter – My Fitness Pal has been recommended to me for Android users for this article … so let me know what your thoughts are on it.

Android: Calorie Counter – My Fitness Pal
iPhone: Calorie King or Calorie Counter – My Fitness Pal

Recipes

Cooking in the home is a family affair at our place.  The kitchen is the centre of our home and it’s where all the important things happen.  I am not the world’s best cook, and I will take any help where given!  I’ve recently downloaded an easy to follow recipe app, Epicurious which has over 30,000 recipes to inspire me with last minute decisions during the week or long time planning with dinner parties.  Now this is an easy, essential app to have in your home.

Android: Epicurious
iPhone: Taste or Epicurious

Do you know what I like most about Apps?  Is that App is in Happy, and that’s how I feel when finding technology that can help me around the home!

Don’t forget to check out Little Hero Hosting for all your web hosting needs (and more!) … big thanks to them for posting our article.

Keep Warm this Winter without the Heater

Has winter come on us early this year?  Balmy Brisbane is anything but balmy today.  I’m loathe to turn on the heater until absolutely necessary, so I’ve put together a list of things to do to keep us warm for Undertendollars.

Click here for printable list to stick on your fridge as a reminder.

Let’s have a look at some ways to keep warm before turning on the heater.

Windows and Doors

  • Head to the local hardware store and ask for the products that can help seal your windows and doors.  Weather strips are easy to install, and inexpensive.  Grab some gap filler for the cracks in your walls too.
  • If you can’t afford to install weather strips, simply place a towel in front of the draughty window or door.
  • Check the outside temperature … if it’s warmer, open your doors and windows … if it’s colder, then shut them tight!
  • Close your indoor doors to un-used rooms.  This will give you another barrier from the outdoors.
  • The thicker your curtains, the more insulation you have.  If the sun is streaming outside, open the curtains and let it in … then close them once it’s gone.

Lounge roomFlooring

  • Put down rugs and/or carpets.  Warmer on your feet than floorboards and provide another layer of protection from the cold temperatures underneath.

Ceiling

  • If you can afford it, insulate the ceiling space with batts.  It only takes a weekend, and if you have a handy hubby, you can DIY.
  • Put the ceiling fans on reverse.  Instead of the warm air rising to the ceiling, the fan will circulate it around the room more evenly.

Get in the Kitchen

  • Cook.  Stews, roasts, casseroles, soups.  Get out all your oven recipes and do a batch of dinners.  To save on electricity, try cooking as many meals as you can in one sitting.
  • Leave the oven door open when you’ve finished cooking to continue warming your kitchen (don’t do this if you have children – or do it after they’ve gone to bed)
  • Drink warm beverages … hot chocolate, tea, coffee, warm milk or even warm water with some lemon to get some warmth into those bones.
  • When you boil the jug, fill a hot water bottle at the same time.
  • When you microwave food, put the heat pad in as well.

Clothing

  • Dress warmly.  Beanies, scarves, gloves, slippers.  Layers and layers and more layers.  If one pair of socks isn’t enough, put on another pair!
  • Wear a singlet or long sleeved thermal top 24/7.
  • Sleep with your socks on.

Home Decor

  • Gather all your blankets and leave them in convenient locations.  Layer them over your armchairs or lounges, or place them in a basket in the corner of the lounge.  Offer them to guests and wash regularly.
  • Make sure some of those extra blankets are placed at the end of your bed too.
  • Flannelette sheets and pillow cases are so much nicer than chilly cotton ones!
  • If you are going to turn on the heater … make sure heat vents, radiators and heaters are free of obstructions … otherwise that lovely warmth won’t reach you.

Move!

  • Exercise.  Do laps around the house, situps, pushups, play “row row row your boat” with the kids, go for a run/walk … whatever you can think of!
  • Housework.  Get energetic with it and work up a sweat … with a bonus, the house is clean too!
  • Go out.  Hit the shops, library, gym, indoor heated pool, friends house … wherever you know the heat is on!

Walking in winterGet Friendly

  • Cuddle.  Pets, husbands, kids … anything with some warmth!
  • Share your space with others.  The more bodies in one room, the more heat is generated.
  • If you have kids, create an indoor cubby house or tent … all those little bodies in one closed space would be very cosy and warm … get in and join them!

Don’t forget to click HERE for the printable list to stick on your fridge as a reminder.  Our electricity bill triples in winter … so my goal this year is to bring it right back down!  Good luck staying warm everybody!

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Slipper Fetish

Slippers

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Tricks to Taking Photos with Your Phone

When you’re living on a budget, chances are you don’t have many opportunities to get professional photos done.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be snap happy … particularly when most people have cameras on their phones.

I am not an expert photographer, so I have taken the liberty of researching dozens and dozens of articles and websites and have summarised what everyone is trying to share with us when taking photos with your phone.  These are tips for the everyday person who is in a rush and doesn’t have time to mess around with complicated settings!  Everybody can follow these simple photo suggestions, irrespective of what type of camera you have.

  • Set your camera to the highest picture quality and resolution.  Ted’s Cameras have an easy to follow guide on Image Size and Resolution.
  • Use natural light – shade, not direct sun.  A Beautiful Mess shows us 5 Tips for Great Outdoor Photos.  This is a lovely website, with lots of examples for the everyday user.
Source: A Beautiful Mess

Source: A Beautiful Mess

  • Find a simple, complementary background.  Simple doesn’t mean plain, it just means “not conflicting”.  A floral dress on your girlfriend could get lost if she’s standing in front of a busy garden.
  • Get close … avoid cropping later.  Steve Berardi at the Photo Naturalist explains why with Three Reasons to Avoid Relying on the Crop Tool.
Source: Photonaturalist

Source: Photonaturalist.net

  • Try a mix of serious and funny photos

DIY Photos funny

  • Props can come in handy (glasses, hats, scarves, teddies, books, etc.)
  • Have fun and don’t spend too much time playing with the camera … take the photo before you miss the opportunity!

If you find you still want to play around with your photos and go the extra mile, then Apps will save the day!

Popular Phone Apps

Because this article is about simplicity, I’m going to pick only two popular phone apps.  These appear to be the most popular and user friendly ones on the market.  Please feel free to comment below on other apps you find useful though.

Instagram.  Instagram uses a variety of different filters and lets you easily share the filtered photos to a variety of social networks and other sites.

Hipstamatic (iPhone only).  Hipstamatic lets you take photos using a variety of retro lenses, cameras, and filters.

Share and Enjoy

DIY Photos Wedding AlbumI love taking photos, and one day when I have a little more time, I’m going to spend some time with digital scrapbooking and finding different ways to display them around the home.  We placed our wedding photos in a printed book (many years ago before apps and camera phones), but have found the printed book fantastic for our kids and visitors to view without us having to worry about expensive prints being damaged.

We also have a wall of family snaps which is a great talking point for all our visitors, and the kids love talking about their friends on the wall.  Each photo frame was a bargain price of $10 … a great, budget way of decorating this room.

DIY Photos Wall Frames

So watch out for more pics from us while I practice all these new techniques!  Hope you enjoyed our brief article on taking pics with your phone … remember, keep it simple and enjoy the fun!

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Our Holiday Snaps

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Postcard Passion

There is no point in having a collection if you can’t enjoy it.  We have a collection of playing cards, cameras, teacups and postcards.  Our renovations are finally finished, so I’m now in the process of working out how best to display our collections, without cluttering up the home.

Postcard Main

We have a post in our kitchen (which holds up that side of the house!) which looked very plain and boring before.  It was just calling out to be decorated!  All we have done here is string some twine through the postcards and hang them on the post.  You can turn the postcards around and read the messages on the back, and there is only one hook per row of cards … therefore minimising the number of holes we put into the post, and/or use of blutac.

Postcard gather toolsGather your Tools

  • Postcards
  • Hole punch
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Nails or picture hook
  • Hammer

Start by gently hammering a nail or picture hook into the wall at the top of where you want your postcard line to start.  Measure the length of twine required, allowing approximately 15cm at the top and 5cm at the bottom of each line.

Punch one hole into the top and one into the bottom of your postcard and thread the twine through (leaving about 10cm at the top of the first postcard).  At your last postcard, loop the twine around and gently tie a knot at the back.

Postcard instructions

Carry your line of postcards over to the wall and tie a knot onto your nail or picture hook in the wall.  Tie a bow at the top, and you’re finished!

We still had a heap of postcards leftover after this project, so I’ve left them in my postcard book until I gather enough to cover an entire wall!

Postcard folder

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Decorate for Undertendollars featuring Comfort in Your Home

Decorate for Undertendollars
featuring Comfort In Your Home

 Ever since I was physically able, I would constantly re-arrange the furniture or settings within my bedroom, and later in life, my home.  My husband is no longer shocked to come home and find the furniture in our house completely re-arranged.  I just love creating new looks and finding ways in which different pieces work together.

I am no interior designer.  I cannot determine which pieces are authentic antiques versus cheap knock-offs, nor do I have the skills to offer advice on designing your new home.  What I love is comfort, colour and creativity and I’d like to think that I do that well in my home, especially considering it’s on a tight budget.

Today I would like to concentrate on comfort, as I believe this is the key to decorating in any home.

Comfort in the Home

Following are 5 Tips on Creating Comfort In your Home

  1. Particularly with the cooler weather settling in, now is the time to bring out all your throws, rugs and cushions to scatter around your lounge room, and any other little seating areas within your home.  Touch is an important feature of comfort.  I also roll up my rugs in summer, and bring them out in winter as there is nothing worse than being cold underfoot.
  2. Find the memories or sentimental items around your home that bring you comfort, and ensure they are displayed in a flattering location.  If you have photos tucked away in an album, then either display the entire album so you can peruse at your leisure or pull out your favourites and have them framed.  Perhaps you have a favourite teacup collection that brings you joy … ensure it is dusted and kept clean and display it for everyone to share, including yourself.Touch
  3. There’s nothing more welcoming than the smell of freshly cooked hot bread, or perhaps a small vase of cut lavender.  The sense of smell plays a key role in relaxation and is a very quick and easy way to create comfort in your home.  Try burning some incense or oils, display a bowl of potpourri or plant some fresh herbs at the back door or place in the kitchen.  The Readers Digest have 8 Aromatherapy Projects to Fragrance Your Home (well worth a read)
  4. I know you are going to groan at me for this one, but cleaning your house and reducing clutter is a guaranteed way to create comfort.  Stepping on kids lego, or sitting on biscuit crumbs on your lounge is not comfortable!  If you’re looking for a little comfort, nominate one room or one space that is for relaxation and ensure this is the one area that is always clean and uncluttered.  This is your sanctuary, and you can resort to it whenever you feel like some comfort.
  5. Curtains can affect not only the look and ambience of a room, but also the temperature, which makes a big difference to how comfortable you are.  On those hot days, plan your activities to do in a cooler part of the home and close the curtains on that hot side of the house.  For cold days, head to the western side of your home, open all the curtains and sit in the sunshine.  Curtains are a cheap and effective way of insulating your home, together with providing many different styling features as well.

I hope you enjoyed these 5 easy tips on creating comfort, and trust that you are going to be super cosy in your home this winter.  Keep an eye out for the upcoming features on Decorating with Colour; and Creativity!

 If you liked this page, perhaps you would also like Decorate on a few Dollars!

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No Bake, Super Fast and Healthy Entertaining Platter for Undertendollars

One of my tasks for this month is to come up with a series of foodie ideas to entertain our friends with for Undertendollars!

This was a lot harder than I anticipated! I have been pouring through books and blogs for recipes using similar ingredients for under ten dollars, and it is no easy feat! Now I’m not talking about one cake here … I was hoping to do a collection of 4 – 5 sweet or savoury treats, and I found the task quite difficult!

Would you like to take on the challenge!?

I am not defeated however. I plan on putting together another little blog in the near future on Entertaining with Pantry Basics … so watch this space!

But for today’s little adventure, I have come up with a No Bake, No Cook, Easy to Prepare, Super Fast and Healthy Entertaining Platter for my 5 Best Friends for Under Ten Dollars. Pretty impressive huh!?

So next time you’re thinking it’s too hard, or too expensive to have some friends around for nibbles, think Undertendollars!

Undertendollars Platter
(please note, this is not a paid post by Coles … I just happen to have easy access to their online price list. Am sure you will find similar prices at other supermarkets)

1 x Pears William Bartlett loose approx. 140g each = $0.42
1 x Coles Cheese Brie Wrapped 125g = $3.00
1 x Coles Crackers Water Cracked Pepper 125g = $1.00
1 x Always Fresh Olives Green with Herbs 70g = $2.16
1 x Coles Brand Dip French Onion 200g = $2.30
2 x Carrots loose approx. 170g each = $0.68
1 x Celery Pieces approx. 75g each = $0.35

Total Price $9.90

Platter

 

Thank you for looking at the Entertaining Platter for Undertendollars page

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Amazing Vinegar!

Most of us are aware that vinegar has fabulous powers, particularly when combined with bi-carb. I was just about to embark on an informative article on those benefits, when I found this great website … 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar!

It seems my work here has already been done.

However, 1001 uses can be quite daunting, and really … who has the time! I’ve taken the liberty of culling this list to my favourites, and hopefully you will like them too!

  • Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
  • Clean scissors that have become sticky (after cutting tape, for instance) with a cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.
  • Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.
  • Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.
  • For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.
  • Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.
  • Stop ants from congregating by pouring white distilled vinegar on the area.
  • Forgot that you left wet laundry in the machine and it now smells mouldy? Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent.
  • Get cleaner laundry! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.
  • Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with white distilled vinegar.
  • Give your dog a gleaming coat by spraying or rubbing with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 1 quart water. As a bonus, you save the cost of an expensive shine product used on show animals. (Works even on a horse!)
  • Keep a cat out of a garden area (or kids sandpit) by placing paper, a cloth, or sponge there that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar.
  • Tenderize meat with white distilled vinegar. Use it in marinades or when slow cooking any tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.
  • Make perfect, fluffy meringue by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for every 3 to 4 egg whites used.
  • Olives or pimentos covered with white distilled vinegar can be kept almost indefinitely if refrigerated.
  • To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.
  • Pantyhose last longer when rinsed with water containing 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar.

** we keep a spray bottle of ½ vinegar and ½ water on hand at all times. Great for doing a quick clean over everything before guests arrive (particularly the bathroom and toilet!).

Thank you for looking at the Amazing Vinegar Uses page

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Decorate on a Few Dollars!

As seen in Mum’s Lounge earlier this week …

With the rising costs of practically everything these days, it’s not always possible to have the finer things in your home, like expensive antiques and famous artworks.  But with a little patience and creativity, your home can exude warmth, taste and style without breaking the bank.

My girlfriend recently stated “if I can’t have it, I’m not having anything!”.  She was talking about a very expensive, highly sought after and terribly exclusive piece of furniture that I could never dream of owning.  However, her point to me was clear.  Keep it minimal and save a little money each month for the piece you love, you will appreciate it that much more.

Swap expensive artworks for favourite photos.  There are plenty of websites around with examples on how to hang pictures and photo frames on walls to create a special effect.  We purchased a batch of picture frames for $10 each that were the same colour, shape and size and placed them all together on one wall.  Just theme your photos to go in the frames, and voila!  Themes could include black and white’s together, or ocean/swimming photos together, family portraits together, children’s art etc.

Don’t buy new, just re-cover old items.  Get handy with fabric, staple guns and glue.  You can cover just about anything, like chairs, ottomans, lamp shades, cushion covers etc.  Use similar fabric with glue to cover accessories like lids on jars to store knick-knacks, book covers, vases.  You could even insert some fabric into a picture frame.  Place them altogether in the same room, and before you know it – you have a theme!  Fabric can be purchased from charity stores, or buy samples from Spotlight/craft stores.  For a really cheap and cheerful idea … don’t throw out your old clothes, recycle them for this purpose.

Decorate on a few Dollars

Books look fantastic in a home library that surrounds the walls of a room.  Some of us don’t have that many books, or the space for a library.  By strategically placing batches of books around the home, you have instant styling!  Look at the spines of the book and match them together by size and colour.

Even if you’re not an experienced seamstress, you can sew your own curtains.  We made roman blinds out of dowel, string, fabric, Velcro, a batten and drill.  Instructions were available on numerous youtube websites, for a fraction of the price of ready-made curtains.  Practice doing straight stitching on some scrap fabric.  Make sure you measure everything twice, and draw lines on your fabric with tailers chalk to ensure perfectly straight lines.  Make your smaller curtains first, then work up to the big ones.

Rotate your goodies.  Bring out your cooler coloured accessories in summer, and warmer accessories in winter.  The same applies with cushions, throws and blankets.  This reduces clutter in your home, and gives you a refreshing new look every six months.

You don’t need to buy accessories for your home.  Show off your fancy china tea cups, any lovely pottery bowls and even empty vases look good when they’re grouped together with other like-minded accessories.  Try placing them with some black and white photos, and/or the groups of books you’ve already put together. Just play around with the colours and sizes until you find a look that works.

If you know a man who likes to use his tools, you can build your own coffee tables, bedside tables, even dinner tables without a lot of skill.  Again, youtube provide endless instructions in this area.  Rustic tables look fantastic outside with minimal funds required.  Make sure you recycle your off-cuts for other small projects.

So before you blow your dough on expensive antiques, see if you can do it for Undertendollars first!

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Fix Your Food Waste

Welcome to the world of waste – in our home, that is! The amount of food that is thrown away in our home has increased 1000% since having two little toddlers. Eating their leftovers has not been the answer in fixing this waste problem, and another waist it’s been adding to, is my own.

I’d like to share with you some ideas on reducing and recycling our food waste without going to too much effort. Just by doing these simple things, we’ve reduced our bin waste by half, and we’ve found the freezer is filled with snacks and treats for later.

Please share with me some of your ideas too.

FRUIT

  • Frozen fruit can be enjoyed by the kids, and can also be used as cold packs to keep lunches cool.
  • My son won’t eat fresh bananas, but he loves frozen banana smoothies. We peel the bananas and store in ziplock bags in the freezer.
  • Make zest with your orange and lemon skins, store in ziplock bags and freeze for later.
  • Rub the fleshy part of an avocado peel on your face for a rich moisturiser.
  • Use your leftover berries, apples, bananas to make muffins or cakes, which you can also freeze and store for later
  • Mix fruit with yoghurt, and place in ice-block containers for frozen yoghurts to enjoy later

VEGETABLES

  • Make stock. Just slice up and store them in the freezer until you have enough supply. Use potato peels, onion skins, carrot peels, leek ends, fresh herb stems, and any leftover vegetables.
  • Use them to make vegetable fritters, frittata’s, baked vegetable stack, quiche and soup, which can be frozen and stored for later.
  • Store sticks of vegetables in ziplock bags to have as snacks with cream cheese, dip or just on their own. We put a couple of sticks in with the kids sandwiches.

MEAT

  • Make stock. Store in the freezer and cook up with the leftover vegetables at a later date.
  • Slice it up and store in the freezer. You can then add to your leftover vegetables to make fritters, frittata’s, quiche etc, which can be frozen and stored for later.
  • Slice it up and make sandwiches for the following day.

ODDS AND SODS

  • If you find the kid’s leave just 3 bits of this and that on their plates, keep them in individual ziplock bags and reserve them as snacks during the following day. My kid’s don’t like leftovers, but if I put it on their plate with a few other items, they usually don’t even notice. If that doesn’t work, add them to the compost bucket.

COMPOST BUCKET

  • We have an old compost bin in the yard which has never been used. So I’m using my old nappy bucket with a lid, which had the perfect seal to eliminate smells to keep in the kitchen. We use it each morning when I prepare the day’s snacks and lunches (which I do first thing in the morning, so I’m not stuck in the kitchen for most of the day). The Brisbane City Council’s guide on recycling says we can add these to our bin: fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds and egg shells. We also add cereal, grains, pasta, bread and basically anything that is not meat or dairy.

Thank you for looking at the Fix Your Food Waste page

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