Invite friends over

invite folks happy house rules

For most of us, it’s been Easter / Passover / Spring (or Autumn) break and that often means people – family, friends, food…

One of our #happyhouserules is about inviting guests, having friends come round and entertaining in general.

We’ve included it for two big reasons but I’m sure you can suggest more!

1. Motivation to tidy / finish

Last week we spoke about clean, and we know no better motivation than having friend’s round. Who doesn’t clean up / clear up ‘spontaneously’ just before guests arrive. (There’s a another lesson here, usually  a ‘good enough’ tidy takes must less time than we think, we just need the right motivation).

We also recommend it at the end of our courses and work with folks as hosting an event / party at the end of making big changes is also great motivation because…it’s a lovely deadline ;) and…

2. New energies, positive memories and experiences in our home

When we have people we love in our homes we get to refresh our own energies and share in new positive memories in our homes, together.

Laughter, good food, drinks…and good company are all simple ways to make our homes feel even more happy.

Don’t forget, it doesn’t need to be something big. Inviting friends round for take away and wine and low-key snacks is fun too!

So who have you been having round lately? Perhaps it’s time to invite some friends over? And how has it made your home happier?

PS We know that for some of you (and at times, us – like when MIL comes to vist ;) having people around is stressful. So of course, the antithesis for this happy rule is that for some of us, having guests over can make us anxious and stressed. It doesn’t have to be like this!

One way to help with this is to start with people you love and trust who won’t judge…and to plan it in advance so the things you feel are important to complete are organized.

Several people who have hired us or done our course have told us that one positive result is that they now feel comfortable having people over, and that their guests literally comment on how good their homes feel.

I am so grateful to you at Apartment Diet for helping me see where the energy was stuck in my home.  Ever since I took your course (now it has been 8 months), I have loved my home so much more. It took time for me to integrate the changes I wanted to… however, when people visit they say it’s a place filled with “hope” and “happiness.” Thank you!

- Shannon Walbran, spiritual consultant

We’re here if you need us…in the meantime, happy holidays!

Keeping it clean

This week’s #happyhouserules is about cleaning. Yes, that’s right.  Cleaning!

We talked about cleaning at the beginning of the year as part of a new year cleanse but in reality, it’s not just a once a year exercise but an ongoing, regular activity (well…at least it should be!).

While the answer to “Is it clean?” is no doubt different for most of us, generally speaking, if it’s covered in grime/dirt/dust or cobwebs then that should give you a bit of a clue as to the answer! If you can’t see out of a window or your reflection in the mirror looks hazy then a wipedown of those surfaces would definitely be in order (unless of course you prefer not to see yourself properly, which leads me to other questions but perhaps those are for another time). I could go on about when things might need a clean but I’m fairly certain you know … you might not want to know, but you do know.

keeping it clean

So. Our Happy House Rule for this week is to “Keep it clean”. It’s an exercise that we include in our courses and is fairly straightforward so here goes:

1. Stop and look around your space. Look HARD (because we often lose the ability to really ‘see’ things that we walk past regularly so take the time to do this properly).

2. Once you’ve looked then you’ll know what needs your attention. Out of those things, surfaces, drawers, corners etc, pick one thing that you will clean. Start small. A quick win is always a motivation booster!

3. Planning – think about what you need to properly clean the area you’ve chosen and how long it will take you to both acquire your cleaning materials and actually do the cleaning.  Then, plan this in your diary for the week.

4. When the time comes, grab your cleaning materials and completely empty the area that you have chosen. (Yes, this is also why I suggested that you start small.)

5. Clean the area, be it a shelf or a drawer or a corner (floor, walls) etc AND clean all the items you’re returning to the area before you place them back there (also relocate or throw out the things that no longer belong). Clean it all.

6. Stand back, admire you work and give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done! Yay!

7. And repeat (if you wish) all over the house.

There are a lot more tips we have with respect to cleaning and learning how to make it an easy habit so feel free to ask specifically in the comments if you want to know them! But a lot of you might be wondering how “Keeping it clean” could possibly be a major Happy House Rule for us. Well, besides the obvious health benefits of living in a less dirty/dusty home, what a regular cleaning practice could help you with are the following:

- It encourages you to take notice of where things/stuff/clutter stagnate in your space so you can deal with these areas (research has shown that clutter makes a lot of people rather stressed and unhappy)

- It allows you to engage with your things (also shown to be important in terms of our enjoyment of them)

- It encourages you to change things around in your home (as they say, a change is as good as a holiday for giving yourself a little pep up)

- It ensures that you are ‘seeing’ your home and catching anything that needs repair early on (which will save you money in the end – you’ll be much happier with that I’m sure!)

- It pretty much ensures that you only keep the things that you need and love (because moving mountains of things aside to clean and then putting it all back – well, you’ll get sick of that pretty swiftly)

The above list is by no means exhaustive but rather a handful of things to get you motivated to do something that most of us find a chore.  If that’s not enough then perhaps thinking of cleaning as an act of gratitude (which has also been shown to increase happiness) might help – so go thank your home for providing you with shelter and safety by giving it some TLC. Someone once told me that it helps to name the items that you need to clean so it’s easier to remember to give them some love once in a while – so why not try it with some of the items that you hate cleaning the most (like the Ollie the Oven) and see if it works!

As always, let us know how you go,

Tip & Nat

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Image credit: Dustpan & broom. Design by Ole Jensen for Normann Copenhagen.

Make Mistakes

This week’s #happyhouserules is about overcoming decision paralysis – and making mistakes.

make misteaks monsieur cabinet

A common barrier that Tip & I hear about over & over is “What if I make a mistake?” or “I’m afraid I’ll choose the wrong colour, fabric” etc etc. These types of questions often serve to paralyze us from making any decision at all.

Our answer is simple. “So, what if you do?”

Some decisions are admittedly harder to fix then others, some are easier to ‘live with and design around’ but most are, at the end of the day, just a mistake. Sometimes one that adds character and was the best mistake you ever made or sometimes one that needs to be painted over, or sold.

Yes, you may have to buy new paint or a different rug. You may lose a bit of money. (Generally it’s only a little bit because most goods can be returned/sold). It’s not the end of the world nor something you can’t deal with. It’s just another step in your learning journey towards understanding your true style and what your home needs.

It’s much more freeing to just shrug and allow yourself to try things and yes, make the occasional misteak.

The funny part is that once you allow yourself…you don’t seem to make as many. Or maybe it’s just that when you do make one that your attitude has changed and you don’t consider it a mistake at all anymore. Maybe you’re just ballsier and more willing to ask a store if you can try out that rug in your home and return it if it doesn’t work rather than worrying and making do with no rug at all.

Of course things go wrong. You’ll try a new shade of paint. It’s awful. (Tip actually painted her kitchen wall electric blue for a brief moment – wrong for her space in so many ways!). But because you’ve accepted that this is part of trying things out when the mistake does happen you shrug, laugh and say oops…well that’s not going to work… and go buy another can of paint.

So, what purchase / change, ahem ‘mistake’, have you been avoiding? Off you go and make it!

(Image by Monsieur Cabinet – you can buy it as a poster too)

As always, connect with us if you would like more guidance, we offer 1-1 coaching and courses.

Mel’s Living Room Rethink

mel bomba after 4

“What you have done for me is to ‘RETHINK’ my space. My space was beautiful in bits – which showed on Instagram but as a whole it wasn’t all together…you helped me with that. Now my living room has a sense of harmony.”

I’d been following Mel Bombardiere’s gorgeous feed on Instagram for a while. Like all of us I was thinking “Oh, what a gorgeous house she has” (read: envy, jealous, mmm love her style). Then one day she put up a picture of her kitchen (below) and started complaining about her living room and I was like “What? You?” and my second thought was “I can help you with that”.

So I asked Mel if maybe I could help and she emailed me with some pictures of her living room. “Ever since my rant about my living area I’ve been on a mission…. My biggest problem is making decisions and spending money”. “It’s a funny situation because I’m unsure of how I need help … but I’m keen to get my space sorted”.

This is the type of question that has us written all over all over it! Often there’s not enough money for new furniture or you’re stuck with what you want BUT that doesn’t need to be a limitation.
mel bomba before

Tip & I have been running our online courses for the last 2 years and have always wanted to do it as coaches 1 on 1 – you know go into homes and help people get started or resolve their challenges at home (around design, layout, clutter … or achieving a general feeling). We always thought it would work via email but we needed a guinea pig…and suddenly there was Mel based all the way over there in Australia!

So, over email I took Melissa through a process to get her clear on her goals which she established were “complete” & “inviting”.

First things first, we dealt with the living room layout.
Before:
mel before 2
After:
mel bomba after 1
“One of our first conversations was about movement and how movement can help us see things in a different way – that helped me a lot! Moving the lounge and then living in the space for a week made me realize that the new spot brought a sense of harmony to the space – even though I had tried the lounge in that space before it didn’t work because I couldn’t see the space for what it could be – which leads back to our conversations.”
mel bomba after 3
“The biggest impact from our conversations was that they made me totally rethink my space.”
mel bomba after 2
Most importantly, it works for her and her family and feels good!
Not only that, the changes in the living room had flow on effects all around the house. Mel also changed her bedroom, created a kids corner and her husband built a gorgeous cubby in their backyard. Mel just emailed me to say Nina’s room is up next.

Thanks Mel for letting me into your inbox, life & home – and for being the best guinea pig ever!

PS Those of you joining our #happyhouserules project on Instagram will notice that one of our big rules is movement – Mel’s room changed by moving her couch and letting it sit there for a week…so go on, move something big!

Of course, if you want more personal help and someone to guide you through getting clear on what you want from your space and getting you moving using what you have… before you start spending tons of money on new storage or a new couch you may not need drop us a linenow that we know it works we’re offering this service globally… and in the meantime enjoy her transformation!

 

all images by mel

Go on, Remove 1 Thing

OK let’s start off our #happyhouserules project with something small. If you want to play along, take pics & tag us on Instagram @apartmentdiet & #happyhouserules as well!

It’s spring here so it’s a natural time for clearing (and if you’re playing along in the Southern hemisphere, a natural time for shedding).

Our number one rule is ‘start with a corner’ so…go to a corner of your house (do you dare go to the one you hate most?) and free up that space…remove 1 thing.

remove 1 thing happyhouserules

Maybe it’s those old magazines you’re keeping just in case, maybe a shirt that you don’t ever wear. Perhaps it’s just that you have too many toys that your kids don’t use anymore. Whatever it is, go on and remove 1 thing and revel in the knowledge that you are making space for something new to come in.

…and if you’re still stuck, here are 37 ’1 things’ the Huffington Post encourages us to get rid of right now.

We’re here doing it with you!

So remove 1 thing – FREE IT and let it be loved by someone else. Donate it, recycle it, give it away or we also give you permission to toss it in the trash if it has gone past its useful life.

PS For those of you who really want to kick into Spring/Autumn clearing, keep repeating this process of looking at a corner and removing things all around your house (one corner at a time) and let us know how you felt or contact us with any questions about this rule.

Join our #happyhouserules project

happyhouserules

Quick update, we’ve been busy working on our “Happy House Rules” book & have created a project to go along with it here, and on Instagram & Facebook.

“We’ve been busy getting ready for our #happyhouserules project. Over the last years we’ve been distilling top “rules” or rather habits & ways to live by to make homes & happier and healthier for a book… And we’re ready to share them! We’ll start releasing our #happyhouserules for you to join in using our hashtag (so we can show you off!) We’d also love you to contribute and share your tips for a happy, healthy house and ask us for tips on things you need or are stuck on! Just tag is @apartmentdiet & use the hash tag …. Ooh can’t wait! xo nat & tip ps see you later today with our first “rule” so we can all kickstart spring/autumn clearing together!”

We’d love you to join in…and we can’t wait for you to share your photos, too!

So: What are your favourite happy house rules / habits you’ve learned? Where do you need the most help? Where are you stuck? Leave us a comment here on instagram.

Stay tuned & join us in creating a happier, healthier home!

 

Can you help my wife / husband / partner?

“Can you help my wife / husband / partner …?”

yes

If Tip & I had a dollar for each time we’ve been asked this (also about roommates, family members, relatives etc)…well let’s say we’d be able to take a very nice vacation from work.

Of course the answer is yes – we’re going to trial & run some partners courses later in the year and already offer coaching on this – but more on that later at the bottom of this post.

Let me digress for a moment:

I once met a happy Swami. He is a friend of my father in law’s, who knew him well before his incarnation as Swami. Over dinner he was talking about mantras and the like. After dinner I said “Oh, can you give [my Mr.] a mantra?”. He looked me in the eye and asked me “Do you have one?”. “No,” I answered truthfully, and tried to bring back the conversation to him giving my Mr. one. “Perhaps you would like one?” he said simply.

This story really did happen to me and here’s the thing. Often we want the people around us to change. Maybe they’re messy, maybe they’re too neat. Maybe they give everything away or have a closet filled to the brim with stuff that doesn’t or hasn’t seen the light of day but they can neither bare to part with it and complain daily that they have nothing to wear. Maybe all the house work has fallen on you. Maybe they have these really annoying habits (they probably do…but guess what, it’s likely so do you). Maybe they talk about things you don’t like or have opinions you don’t like…

I’m no Swami so I get caught up in this thinking often (especially around my little one’s naptime) but it comes back to the simplest of things:

We can’t change people. We can only change ourselves.

(Hey you rolling your eyes, I know I know, I’m rolling mine with you…)

andy goldsworthy

It is true though. But, and this is a big but. There is also something extra that I (& Tip) think is often left out of this sentence – that we can also change the environment around us.

That is, we can create conditions in our environments that make the changes we are seeking more likely. It doesn’t have to be a major change either. Sometimes we just need to move a little.

This is one of the secrets we’ve uncovered through apartment diet. It’s not magic exactly but sometimes it feels like it.

The secret: It’s easier to make the changes we are seeking in our physical spaces than in our heads.

It works like this:
it’s really hard to change your own mind about something. And even harder to change someone else’s. But we can almost certainly move a couch we share for a week (or an hour).

More than just acting positive, what if the physical space you shared was more positive? What if your side of the closet and lots of other areas of the house that are within your control (which can also read as your partner doesn’t care either way) change to exemplify the feelings you would like to convey?

“And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”

- Dr Seuss, Oh the places You’ll Go

I’d like to add, somewhat ‘miraculously’ – they’ll start happening too.
We’ve had partners suddenly help. We’ve seen partners ‘spontaneously’ build treehouses and cubby’s. Renovate their offices. Mount furniture on walls. Paint walls. Throw out stuff…Kids too.

This type of change…it’s contagious.

So what changes do you want to make to your homes and lives?

PS Yes of course we can help! It just may be that unless they want to do it, or do it with you, we start by helping & working with you. Contact us & let’s start.

 

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Cat’s Course Transformation

Sometimes we forget the work we do in the hurry of our day-to-day lives.

As part of our personal commitments to gratitude, celebrating our successes and being present in our own lives, we are revisiting some of our early course participants to share their transformations…and how it’s still transforming their lives.

Our first stop, Cat from Studio Hunting Bears.

Cat before

 

“From being a part time freelance designer and mother at home I was dropped into full time work with my hubs… less time at home meant I wasn’t able to clean and keep tidy as often and when I did it took forever. I was sick of dusting under and over excess stuff so really needed to declutter my house to declutter my brain!

After a knock on my proverbial, pink front door from the wonderful Tip & Nat, as well as being joined on the course by some amazingly lovely ladies I knew from IG, I embarked on my Apartment Diet journey. It was very refreshing to see peoples’ ‘real’ home photos, the problem corners, the messy sideboards with papers everywhere, the piles of laundry. Believe me it’s very easy to avoid posting these bits of your ‘real home’ on Instagram… especially when there are so many perfectly curated feeds. I’m guilty! So shoot me ha. The other thing I loved was being able to share my thoughts, ideas & suggestions with the other course participants to help with their issues and trouble spots. We all helped and learnt from one another and also learnt that we all strive for different things in our homes and that is what it’s all about. What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily what the next person wants.

My journey has only just begun and I plan to continue until my home is what we want it to be. Thanks ladies for all your help… You’ll never know quite how you came to the rescue at just the perfect time! X”

cat after

 

Thanks Cat for your generous words. So proud to have been a part of your room (and ongoing house) transformation!

You can read Cat’s full story & see more pictures here over on her awesome blog.

 PS Need a kickstart too? Our next course starts March 17th. More here

January cleanse

January. I have to admit, I LOVE January and the new year in general. It always feels like a clean slate to me and it’s usually a great time to get organised, clear some physical, digital and mental space (both at home and at work) and to plan the year ahead.

You’ve probably already started something, whether it be a “dry” alcohol free January or quitting sugar for a month or some other health related resolution(s) BUT what about your space? Doesn’t it deserve a “cleanse” too? Just like our bodies, our homes also suffer from our busier and busier lives and end up with unsightly bumps and bulges where they shouldn’t be! So, it’s time to also give them a little attention and a quick clean up.

There are a lot of easy options or little things that you could start with so I thought I would start with what I’m doing right now…hopefully it gets you inspired – we’d love to hear your ideas of quick little things that have a big impact so comment away or even send us some pictures or your befores & afters.

 

My cleanse (besides reducing my sugar and dairy intake!) involves:

1. A Digitial Cleanse

- I am going through my (hundreds of – eek) photos and deciding what the best ones are and DELETING the rest.
- Old e-mails, files, bookmarks, text messages etc are being reviewed then deleted or, where necessary, archived.
- The last, but definitely not least, part of this is to BACK UP what you want to keep. An external storage device and/or something in the cloud is highly recommended!

2. A Physical Space Cleanse

a. Work
- Just like your digital files, do the same with your physical ones … go through pieces of paper, do the filing that’s piled up across the year and THROW out items that are no longer relevant.
- If you’re like me and own your business, throw out any items that you no longer need to hold for tax purposes or are no longer relevant. If you’re not sure, usually it’s OK to scan and file some items digitally rather than hold on to paper.

b. Home
- Usually this is a lot bigger than your office so you’ll have to devote more time to this. I like to get the whole family in on the action, so the kids have been involved in sorting their books and toys (we usually do this in early December, to make room for Santa to bring new things, otherwise he can’t – works like a charm … we’ll deal with the whole truth about Santa thing when they’re older, hehe), hubs is going through his “man” stuff (to be honest he has clothes and a teeny tiny cupboard) and well, the rest is for me. Most of our home is looking good but I seem to attract paper like moths to a flame so that’s where I’m focusing on for January.

I really have noticed that when things are organised that I achieve more and I’m much happier – and recent studies have actually shown this happiness link too.

Just Start

The best way to approach a cleanse is to take it step by step or in small chunks. As we always say “Just start … with a corner” (or a table top, or drawer etc). Plan some uninterrupted time to devote to a small task and focus on that until it’s done (this is important – started but unfinished items all over the place will only make things worse, not better!). Work quickly and keep a “don’t know” pile to help you work quickly. For most things, you’ll know exactly what to do with them … the don’t know pile you can tackle at the end. Do what you need to spur you on, whether it’s great music to dance and clean to or catching up on some TV series while you delete your files (yes, that’s what I’m doing – love Netflix!).

Once you’ve removed all the unnecessary items, you may find that you need to rethink your storage. More on storage and making the most of every inch of your space in an upcoming post! In the interim, good luck and happy clean, tidy cleared spaces to you!

 

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