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While I’d love to have a huge kitchen with a floor to ceiling larder and more cupboards than I need (this is literally my in-laws’ kitchen), I don’t. We live in a small studio flat and while our kitchen is lovely, it’s very small.

Our kitchen has an oven/hob, dishwasher, fridge freezer, three large cupboards, four slim 30cm cupboards and a thin corner cupboard. We have no built-in drawers (why?) and very limited counter space meaning that we had to plan the space to work for us. 

After playing around with the layout for the past year, I’m finally happy with how we’ve organised it and want to share some of my tips with you. 

Prioritise what you actually need

When buying things for your small kitchen, you have to prioritise the items you’ll actually use. For example, if you’re a keen baker, this may be a fancy mixer or lots of large bowls. 

If it’s your first home, I’d recommend buying the absolute minimum and then working up from there. It took us over a year to buy a wok because we worried it wouldn’t fit in the cupboard, but it was clear how often we’d use it. 

If not, audit everything and be ruthless. If you don’t use something often or have duplicates, it’s okay to bin or donate them. It’ll free up space for the things you actually need.

This is also why you should avoid specialist tools where possible. You probably don’t need a toastie maker, blender, popcorn machine and health grill, plus they take up a lot of space. If you can, get multi-use tools and use the traditional method for things you rarely make.

Keep similar items together

This might be obvious, but until recently, we stored our drinkware and tea/coffee separate, plus they were nowhere near the kettle. 

So, I moved them to the thinner cupboard above the kettle, freeing up the larger cupboard for food. This small change impacted how everything flowed and made using our kitchen easier. 

Also, keep larger and least used items at the top and most used at the bottom for ease of use. 

Double your shelf space

Use shelf organisers to increase your shelf space and fit even more in your limited cupboard space. 

You can use shelf risers to stack multiple items in the same area such as food containers or plates. 

Shelf steps are my personal favourite because you can store tins and jars with better access and visibility to what you have. 

Utilise tops of cupboards

If you have space above any cupboards you can expand your storage options. We use these Curver plastic boxes to store items we don’t use very often like our Pyrex dishes and health grill.

Use cute, matching boxes to keep them in theme with your kitchen and look like they belong there. 

Hang things inside cupboard doors

Cupboard doors are a great place to hang utensils, chopping boards or knives which can free up space inside them for bulkier items.

Joseph Joseph has a range of kitchenware specifically designed to stick to cupboard doors. We have these kitchen knives which free up space on our counters and inside our drawers. A magnetic strip could also work if you already have your favourite knives.

We also use small self-adhesive hooks to mount our chopping boards.

Decant your dry food

Not only will this make your kitchen cupboards look like a Pinterest board, but it’ll make storing your food easier. If all of your containers are the same size, you can stack them and remove visual clutter from your cupboards, making them look bigger than they are. 

It also means you can keep some of your most-used food on the counter for ease of use and as cute decor if you want. Make sure you label your containers otherwise your partner might use risotto rice in his pesto rather than pine nuts (true story!).

Use boxes to separate multi-use spaces

If you’re living with a small kitchen, it’s likely you’ll need to use some cupboards or drawers for multiple things. Keep things organised by using storage boxes to create clear sections. 

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no extra cost to you, I earn money if you click through and buy anything.

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We’ve lived in our 32m² studio flat since December 2018 and as it was our first home together, we didn’t have too much stuff. However, while looking through ‘essential things you need for your first home’ lists, we had to be careful as we didn’t have the space that these blogs were clearly aimed at. 

When living in a small space, it’s all about prioritising, so what I think is useless might be a necessity for you. However, below is a list of some of the common household items that we’ve had no problem living without. 

1. Books

This is controversial if you’re a bookworm, but I donated most of mine when we moved in. We didn’t have space for a bookshelf and they were taking up room in drawers. 

I use Audible or borrow books from a library and friends. Of course, if you love books, then you’re never going to part with them, but if you have a few random ones you’re holding onto even though you’re never going to read them again, consider donating to loved ones or charity shops.

2. Kitchen drawers

This is obviously very niche, but when we moved in, we realised the builders hadn’t built drawers into our kitchen. Why? We have no idea.

However, with careful planning, you can adapt to any space or storage issues that come with living in a small home. You just have to think a little out of the box and look for innovative solutions.

For us, we chose to invest in Joseph Joseph kitchenware because its products are of good quality and perfectly designed for small kitchens. We use this cutlery holder in a cupboard, this cupboard mounted knife set and holder on the door and this utensil carousel set on our countertop.

3. A microwave

When you have limited countertop space, you need to pick what’s on it wisely. We didn’t have the space for a microwave and it hasn’t affected our cooking ability. 

Of course, there are a few times where we’d love to warm up a plate, pop some corn or heat up the milk. However, a microwave makes cooking certain things easier, rather than being the only way to do it.

4. Speciality appliances

As great as toastie machines are, you really don’t need one. This also goes for popcorn machines, air fryers, choppers or any other kitchen gadgets that you only use twice a year.

If you do need some appliances, make sure they’re multi-use. For example, we bought a Kenwood Multipro Compact for all our slicing, dicing and blending needs.

5. DIY tools

Whenever we have a DIY project, we borrow tools from my parents. Fortunately, they live minutes away because otherwise, we’d have nowhere to store a toolkit! 

It’s handy to have a few things but keep your kit limited. I’d recommend having a tape measure and a screwdriver bit set as a bare minimum. 

6. Lots of mugs 

If you have a small home, it’s unlikely you can seat enough people to justify having 35 mugs. If possible, keep all your cups similar so it’s easier to store and stack them.

7. Printer

I haven’t had a printer for years as most things are paperless now and when I need to print something, I use my office one. You can also use the library’s printer or a friend’s if you’re really stuck.

8. Dustpan and brush

I’ve never missed having a dustpan and brush because we have a cordless hoover which makes cleaning up quick and easy.

9. Spare bedding for guests

It might be nice to have your friends over, but if you don’t have a second bedroom, it’s unlikely to happen more than a few times a year. 

In these cases, we either ask our friends to bring their own bedding, or they can use our two blankets. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than storing another duvet and pillow for most of the year. 

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When designing our bedroom, we decided to choose white everything because it’s a tiny room and we thought it’d make everything feel bigger. 

While that worked, it also made the room look surgical and cold. It’s bothered me for ages and after I discovered this IKEA headboard cover, I was convinced that changing the headboard would solve my problem and make the room feel homelier. 

We thought £90 was a bit steep, so I thought I could do it cheaper. And then somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered seeing someone stick vinyl planks to furniture to make it look wooden.

After a quick search, I found this video of someone upgrading their IKEA MALM bed and knew I had to do it. 

In the end, it cost £15.43 as I borrowed the tools from my dad and I can’t explain what a difference it’s made to the bedroom. Obviously you can do this with any headboard, but below has all the measurements for an IKEA MALM double bed. 

Hope you enjoy!

You’ll need:

  • Self-adhesive wood vinyl planks (we used these ones)
  • Spray adhesive (we used this one)
  • Stanley knife
  • Metal square
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamp
  • Protective equipment (plastic bags, cutting board, etc)

How to do it

Getting your wooden planks ready

  1. Measure the width and height of your headboard and work out the m² using an online calculator. Ours is 149.5x62cm, meaning we needed enough wood vinyl to cover 0.93m².

    We bought this pack of floorboards which contained seven 91.4×15.2cm planks. It covers 0.97m². 
  1. Next, you need to figure out how to arrange your planks. Divide the height of your headboard by the width of your planks to calculate how many rows you can fit on. Our planks were 15.2cm, meaning we could fit four rows (62/15.2=4.08) with a tiny gap at the bottom.
  1. If you can’t find planks to fit the entire width (which is unlikely!), you ideally want two planks per row. This means you’ll probably need to cut one of the planks to make up the width.

    For example, our planks were 91.4cm long, so we needed an additional 58.1cm to cover the 149.5cm width. With seven planks, this meant we needed four full-length planks and four cut bit. Obviously that doesn’t add up, so we did the following:

We used the scraps of a cut plank which ended up being 33.3cm long. If you’d like, you can cut another one of the planks to fill in the gap, but we chose not to because the gap sits behind our mattress and you can’t see it. But it’s your choice!

  1. Now you’ve finished all that math, it’s time to cut your planks. Measure your planks and mark with a pencil on the back where you need to cut. 

    Using a metal square or ruler (the square makes it easier to get a perfect line), place your plank on a cutting board and cut a line using the Stanley knife. 

    You’ll need to do this a few times to get a clean cut. Also, make sure you’re not cutting directly towards your body!

You should have four full-length planks, three cut planks and one ‘scrap’ plank if you’re following along. Remember to arrange it like the image above, alternating between lengths, as it’ll give it a professional look.

Now it’s time to mount the planks! I’d recommend taking your headboard off and laying it flat somewhere as we had a few issues doing it straight onto the headboard. 

We initially stuck the planks to the headboard using the self-adhesive, however they all fell off throughout the night so we used a spray glue adhesive to secure them properly. 

Mounting the planks

  1. If you have a small gap at the bottom like us, start from the top of the headboard. Spray your adhesive on both the plank (after removing the protective backing) and headboard, making sure to protect the surface and wall if you haven’t removed it from your bed. 

  2. Wait the recommended time (around 30 seconds) until the glue is sticky and then press the plank firmly to the headboard. 

  3. Then glued a plank directly below it and used a clamp where the edges meet and wait half an hour.

  4. Repeat until the entire headboard is covered!

It’s not difficult to do, but slow but steady works to make sure your planks are secure and flush. 

If you’re working directly onto the attached headboard, the planks will probably slip down (thanks gravity!). As I said earlier, I’d probably take the headboard off if I did it again, but where I couldn’t use the clamps in the middle of the headboard, I used some tape to try and hold it in place which worked.

Finally, once your headboard is completely dry (wait 24 hours to be safe), wipe off any excess glue and you’re finished! A beautiful rustic headboard for basically £15!

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Ever since I was a kid, I was taught about the importance of saving and the value of money.

When I was 8-years-old, I went to Disney World. However, for the 12 months leading up to it, my dad promised me that if I saved £100 to spend, he’d double it. I kept my pocket money, did extra chores and anything else a child can do to earn cash.

My uncle gave me the last £20 I needed and sure enough, I had plenty of bucks to spend on overpriced souvenirs. You might think this made me an expert at saving – it didn’t.

Money has always been a taboo subject to discuss, but in an effort to open a conversation and help, here are some money mistakes we all make – and how to be better in the future.

1. Not opening a separate savings account

People find it insane when they find out how many bank accounts I have. Some think the idea of having more than one is weird.

Keeping everything in one account is suicidal. Yes, you’ll tell yourself that you’re capable of separating your spending money, bills and savings – but you’re not.

Opening up one or two savings accounts helps you visually see your finances grow. Having a savings account for your long-term goals and for ‘fun stuff’ is the best way to do it in my opinion. So instead of spending your house deposit on festival tickets, you can save for both without sacrificing either.

Or, if you have a Monzo account, you can use Pots to save some money away for gigs or a holiday.

2. Saving at the end of the month

Too many people have told me that they save whatever’s left in the bank at the end of the month. This is a sure-fire way to end up with £0 to your name.

You need to create a budget and save at least 5% of your wages. Everyone is in a different financial situation, but keeping funds aside for emergencies is never a bad idea.

There’s nothing wrong with putting whatever is left the day before you get paid into your savings account, in fact, that’s an awesome idea. But, you need to do it at the start of the month (or whenever payday is) if you want to ensure financial security.

3. Saving too much money

On the flip side, have you ever saved at the beginning of the month and then a week later, you’re transferring the money back to your current account? Have you also done this every single month? Yeah, me too.

If you can’t live on your assigned budget, you’re either spending or saving too much. Both need to be assessed because those morning trips to Costa might be throwing your spending out of whack.

Bye-bye vanilla iced lattes, I’ll see you on Fridays.

However, there’s absolutely no point in putting away 10% of your wages if you’re only going to end up with 1% left. Be honest with yourself and if you can’t afford to be saving so much – stop.

Consistently putting £10 away is better than constantly dipping into your savings every other day.

4. Not looking at your accounts

Do. Not. Bury. Your. Head. In. The. Sand. EVER.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your finances. We have the technology to check our bank accounts at any hour with just the scan of a fingerprint.

I recommend checking your account daily. Not only will this help you avoid spending all your money before payday, but it can also help you to detect fraud.

It’s not fun seeing your balance in the negative, but it’s something you have to confront if you’re ever going to get into the positive.

5. Living off your credit card/overdraft

Your overdraft and credit card limit is not your money. It’s the bank’s money, and they’ll get it back eventually.

Using your credit card occasionally (to build up your credit or insure your purchases) and dipping into your overdraft is not the end of the world. But constantly living on borrowed money is a vicious circle.

This is a tricky one because the reason one person uses their overdraft/credit card is different from someone else. For many, it’s almost impossible to pay it off and I’m certainly not making light of this.

Start by looking at your income and non-negotiable outgoings (include food shopping, child care and anything that you pay for monthly). What’s the difference?

If you have money leftover, assess your spending habits and see if there’s anything you can give up for a bit until you’ve paid your debt off.

MoneySavingExpert has a great article for those who need more specialist help with this.

6. Buying things you can’t afford

We’re all guilty of this. We all like nice things and think we ‘deserve’ a treat, but not at the expense of your financial health. It’s good to splurge on yourself every now and then, but stop buying things that aren’t in your budget. 

Eating out every single day is expensive. Designer bags are expensive. Cocktails are expensive (sob). If you’re living a life that is above and beyond what you can realistically afford, then you need to reassess. 

I don’t care what your friends are doing. They’re not going to reimburse your life savings after a night of 2-4-1 cocktails in the Slug and Lettuce.

Be realistic, be selfish and be sensible.

What is your best financial tip? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @amywritesthings 🐦

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For years, I tried finding a solution to my biggest financial struggle – budgeting my day-to-day spending. 

In general, I’m pretty good at the big picture stuff, i.e, my home budget. I transfer my outgoings into separate accounts and save money as soon as payday hits.

However, when trying to make my daily budget last, I really struggled to keep my balance above £10 a week before payday. 

Enter Monzo. 

I’ve used Monzo for nearly two years and it’s hugely impacted my relationship with money. If you haven’t heard of Monzo, don’t worry – I’ll be going through what Monzo is, how it’s helped me and why you should get one too. 

What is Monzo?

Put simply – Monzo is an online bank. It doesn’t have any branches and doesn’t offer other products like credit cards or mortgages that traditional banks might. 

But, it’s a certified bank authorised in the UK by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and protected by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that your money is protected and up to £85,000 is guaranteed by the British Government if anything goes wrong.

So, it’s a bank, what’s the big deal? Well, the app has lots of unique features such as bill splitting and a virtual piggy bank, making managing your money effortless and kinda fun. 

But to fully explain how I use Monzo to budget, I need to introduce you to its flagship feature – Pots. 

Separating money using Monzo Pots

I’ve always believed that keeping all of your money in one bank account is a bad idea. But Monzo has changed my mind, sort of. 

Monzo allows you to separate your money into virtual ‘Pots’ that are excluded from your available balance so you can’t accidentally spend the money in them. 

While I still don’t advocate keeping your life savings in your current account, this feature has changed my financial life.

I currently have the following Pots:

Daily Budget: My day-to-day spending. This is explained more in the Scheduled payments section below.
Travel: I work in London, so I keep my train fare in this pot so I can always pay for my commute.
Home Savings: I’m planning to move the money to an ISA eventually, but I’ll discuss my saving habits in another post to explain fully.
Fun Stuff: I explain below.
Emergency Fund: I keep up to £100 in here for, well, emergencies.

Scheduled payments

I’ve tried sticking to a monthly budget, but I’d usually spend it all in the first two weeks and have nothing left for the month. I’ve tried weekly budgeting, but the same thing happened. 

The only way I’ve successfully budgeted is with a daily budget. 

So basically, once I’ve subtracted my non-negotiable outgoings and savings from my salary, the money I have left is divided by the number of days until my next payday and deposited into my Daily Budget Pot. 

I then use the scheduled payments feature to create an automatic withdrawal every day until the following payday.

As long as I refrain from withdrawing any more money, I no longer run out of money throughout the month. 

Fun stuff

The only problem with daily budgeting is socialising. While I may have enough money to have dinner with friends, it’s split up throughout the month. 

Before creating my Fun Stuff Pot, I’d withdraw money to pay for social events and then run out of money at the end of the month because I didn’t account for it. 

So, every month, I look at my planned social calendar and estimate how much each event will cost. Then, I put it in the Fun Stuff Pot and lock it up (more on that below), so my daily budget is only ever that — a daily budget. 

Lock it up

You can also lock your Monzo Pots, restricting access to your money for a set amount of time. You can unlock it if you really need, but having the extra step helps stop it. 

It’s another way I manage my budget. I lock my savings Pots long-term, but I lock the Fun Stuff pot until my next social event.

This stops me from taking out a fiver here and there, meaning I always have the money when bottomless brunch comes around.

Should you get one?

If you want full control of your spending habits, then I’d recommend Monzo. It’s quick and easy to set up – it took me about five minutes and my card came within two days.

Some people are sceptical about app-only banks, but I think they’re the way forward. Plus, the 24/7 customer service actually makes it a better bank than most when you have problems.

Monzo is also incredibly community-focused, taking suggestions into serious consideration with many of its features coming from customer ideas.

Have you got a Monzo card? What do you think of app-only banks? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @amywritesthings 🐦

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Smol is a subscription-only laundry capsule and dishwasher tablet service that claims to be up to 50% cheaper than normal brands, eco-friendly and the most effective concentrated product in the world. 

After being bombarded (in a good way) with targeted social media ads, I finally swiped up and within minutes I’d started my free trial. 

It’s been six months since we received our first package and although my partner was dubious about the switch, we haven’t looked back. So, below is my totally honest, totally non-sponsored review.

How does it work?

When you sign up to smol, you’re asked a few questions about your laundry or dishwasher habits. 

  1. Do you prefer bio or non-bio? (laundry only)
  2. How many capsules/tablets do you use per wash?
  3. How often do you use your washing machine/dishwasher per week?

From there, it calculates how often you’ll need a pack so you never run out. Then, each month you’ll get an email with your charge date, giving you the option to delay the package if you’ve used less than you predicted. 

I quickly realised that we don’t use our dishwasher as much as I’d said, so I’ve delayed it a few times so we weren’t overflowing with tablets.

Once you’ve paid, your package arrives within five days. The products are small enough to fit through your letterbox, meaning you don’t have to be in for delivery. We live in a flat and our letterbox is smaller than a regular door one, and it fits perfectly!

Also, if you run out quicker than expected, you can request your next order quicker than scheduled.

Is it cheaper?

It’s great that you can get your laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets delivered to your door, but the cost is what really matters.

Smol claims to be up to 50% cheaper than your normal brand price. Personally, I never really looked too much into direct price comparisons because we’re a two-person household who put on the dishwasher and washing machine three to five times per week. 

But, for this review, I decided to investigate. So, smol’s 24-pack of bio laundry capsules is £4.50 (19p) and the 30-pack of dishwasher tablets is £4.60 (15p). 

I had a look at Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s to see how smol compares with both full-price and on-offer products. For this, I didn’t include washing powder, because I’ve never used it and I don’t know how to work it out. 

I found a few things:

On full-price branded items, it’s definitely cheaper

On most of the full-price branded items I saw, smol products are around 5-8p cheaper per capsule/tablet. And in some cases, like with Finish Quantum dishwashing tablets, smol is 13p cheaper!

It’s hit and miss when products are on offer

A few of the branded products are cheaper when on offer. For example, a 78 pack of Fairy Original All-in-One dishwasher tablets on offer worked out as 10.9p per tablet. However, a 36 pack of Ariel All In 1 Original laundry capsules is 19.4p per capsule.

Own brand items aren’t that much cheaper

Of course, there are budget options. At Morrisons, you can buy a 40-pack at 5p per tablet, but how good will it perform? The regular Morrisons dishwashing tablets are 13.3p per tablet. That’s still cheaper, but smol gives a higher-quality performance.

Does it work?

Okay, cool. It comes through your letterbox, it’s an alright price, but does it actually work?

The short answer, yes. Since switching both our laundry and dishwashing tablets, we’ve had no problem with the quality. 

I can’t do an in-depth review of the laundry capsules because we don’t have a child, pet or messy job. Our clothes don’t get overly filthy, so I haven’t tested it on tough stains. But our clothes are always clean and smell good.

If you want a mum’s review, Charlotte at mamamakesdo.com has an in-depth one.

The dishwasher tablets are also great. I worried at first because they don’t have the liquid conditioner like some of the others do, but they work really well and everything comes out sparkly clean.

Is it environmentally-friendly?

Like many of you, I’m actively supporting more ethical brands, meaning I’ve made a lot of changes to my buying habits, especially with cleaning products. 

One of smol’s major selling points is how great it is for the environment. The packaging is 100% plastic-free, the protective film is water-soluble and biodegradable and it claims that its laundry capsules use fewer chemicals than any other. 

Both products are Leaping Bunny approved (cruelty-free), and the packaging is made from sustainable materials and is 100% recyclable.

So yes, smol is environmentally-friendly and continues to improve its products. For example, before switching to 100% plastic-free packaging, it used boxes made from 90% recycled PET. This is the packaging I’m still receiving as smol are using up the old boxes before switching existing customers onto the new style.

So, is it worth the hype?

Yes! I’m very happy with smol.

The products are exactly what people want: convenient, affordable, quality and eco-friendly. I’d recommend smol to anyone and won’t go back to buying them in the supermarket.

I wouldn’t say that the product is consistently cheaper, but it’s always the same price, meaning you don’t have to wait for your favourite product to be on offer and bulk up. We live in a small flat and don’t have room to store multiple packs.

If you want to try it yourself, you can get a free trial* (£1 delivery). Let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet me @amywritesthings

This post contains a referral link, meaning I get 50% off my order if you sign up using my link.

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Home budgeting is one of those things you either do or you don’t. It comes naturally to some people and for others, it bores them. 

I, for one, love budgeting and find money management calms my soul. Knowing how much my bills cost and what I have left to spend each month means I’m never worried about accidentally spending my council tax bill on a new pair of DMs. 

But whether you love it or not, budgeting is always a good idea. Even if you create a basic income and outgoing sheet, you’re never going to be worse off for it. 

If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, I got ya. I’ve budgeted for years and ever since I moved out, I’ve impressed many people with my meticulous monthly home budget spreadsheet. 

Let’s walk through the basics. 

Where to make your home budget

You can create your monthly home budget using spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets but let’s be honest, the internet is crawling with free templates. 

I’ve even made my home budget spreadsheet available for anyone to download, amend and use. But if you don’t fancy getting techy, you can just use a pen and paper. 

What’s coming in

List your reliable monthly income, so that’s anything that comes in regularly and you can plan in advance. This is probably your salary or child maintenance. 

If you make money from odd jobs or a hobby, but it’s irregular, don’t include it here. The aim of this budget is to calculate a realistic outline of your cash flow. 

But if your income varies because you’re self-employed, use your average or estimated monthly income. 

What’s going out

Write down all your non-negotiable outgoings, from the mortgage and council tax to Netflix and that gin subscription you pay wayyyyy too much for.

If you can’t remember everything, check your recent bank statements and direct debits to capture everything. Don’t forget about any annual bills you may pay for like your car insurance or a Headspace subscription. 

I recommend writing both the company and the price. Once you’ve done that, split them into categories that make sense for you. I split mine into: 

Housing: Mortgage, service charge and utility bills 

Transport: Car finance, insurance and tax

Insurance: Life and contents insurance

Other: Netflix, gym and Spotify

If you have annual or quarterly bills, you should still note them down on your monthly home budget. For example, if you pay your car insurance annually, you can divide the estimated total cost by 12 and then save the money away each month so it’s easier to pay when you renew.

Also, think about your monthly costs that aren’t direct debited. Do you get your hair cut every four weeks? How much does your commute cost? Have you included your weekly food shop? 

Whatever it is, be honest and put these down because otherwise, you’ll get to the end of the month wondering why you have no money left.

Pro tip: I’d recommend opening a second current account for all your outgoings, or a joint one if you’re sharing the bills with your partner. This means you can transfer your expenses when you get paid and never need to worry about not having enough money for that pesky gin subscription. 

Save a bit

I recommend prioritising a bit of saving. No matter how much it is, you’re never going to regret putting some money aside for a rainy day. 

Be sure not to put too much away though, because there’s no point in saving if you’re left short each month and transferring the money across. It’s better to keep it small and consistent than unmanageable. 

You should open a separate savings account for this money, or use pots if you have a Monzo account. Out of sight, out of mind.

Pro tip: I go a step further and have separate Monzo pots for different savings including holidays, fun stuff and the do not touch fund. 

The rest

Finally, add up your expenses and savings and subtract them from your income (my spreadsheet does it for you automatically). This is what you have left to play with. 

If you’ve included things like your commute money and food shop, everything else should be free for you to do as you please.

If you’re confronted with less than you thought, you should review your expenses and see what you can live without, or whether you should try and get a cheaper deal. Your landlord is unlikely to reduce the rent, but maybe you don’t need a four-screen Netflix subscription. 

Even if you can’t reduce any of your outgoings, keeping a home budget will help you stay fully aware of your finances and manage your money.

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We’re living in a crazy time right now. So many of us are working from home, even though our bosses might have refused to do in the past.

Whatever your reason for doing it, planning your day isn’t always as easy as when you’re in a physical office. 

Your child might rudely demand your attention or your puppy might be just chilling, but they’re cute so why wouldn’t you want to snuggle them. 

Fortunately, I’m a casual WFH-er and have experience with working from home, somewhat successfully, so below are my tried-and-tested tips, or download my free PDF working from home schedule if you fancy copying me. 

Set an alarm

It doesn’t matter when, I’m not your boss, but set one. Even if you don’t get up at that time, it gives you the option to. 

Personally, I’m an early bird. I love waking up early, especially as my partner is lazy, sorry I mean a night owl. It means I can get on with my chores with the entire flat to myself. 

However, if I don’t set an alarm, it’s very likely I’ll stay snuggled up because I’m only human.

Make a to-do list

I don’t think you’d be shocked to know that I love a to-do list. It’s not even the satisfaction of ticking tasks off that appeals to me, it’s having a space to dump all of my ideas and tasks so I don’t have to think about them or worry I’ve forgotten anything. 

Personally, I hate physical to-do lists because I’m forever switching and changing my priorities so I like to use digital ones. 

Having tried-and-tested many types, I’ve found Todoist is the most helpful. I’ll write an entire post about this in the future.

For now, stick to whatever works for you, but creating a to-do list makes planning your day easier because you can visually see what you need to achieve. 

Change your underwear

Every ‘working from home’ blog mentions getting dressed, but I’m not going to tell you what to wear. I love loungewear and have spent many a productive WFH day in just an oversized t-shirt. 

What I am going to preach to you, however, is to change your underwear. We’ve all been there, woken up at five to nine, rolled out of bed and switched the laptop on. 

Three hours later, you’re still in the same position and have been wearing your knickers for 30 hours. Gross.

Just change them. 

Other than that, it’s up to you.

Create a dedicated workspace

Working from your bed is fun, until your back is in agony and no amount of Yoga With Adrienne can fix it. 

Setting up a desk makes distinguishing your work and non-work life easier and no matter what size your space is, it’s possible. 

I live in a 32m² studio flat with my partner and there’s certainly no space for a desk. Instead, I use my kitchen table, which also functions as my dressing table, cocktail making station and sometimes, a place to eat. 

The way I make it work is by having a wireless keyboard and mouse, second monitor and laptop stand that I set up every morning. It’s close to my in-office set-up and means I’m not hunching over my 12” laptop screen for eight hours.

You don’t have to go as extreme as that, obviously, but making your workspace separate and comfortable makes it easier to concentrate. 

End the day with something different

Without a commute, or engaging with the boring ‘so what are you doing this evening’ chat with co-workers, it’s hard to tell when your day actually ends. 

Whether it’s a walk, packing up your makeshift desk or whatever you want, do something at the end of each day that signifies that you’re done. 

This helps you wind down and switch off for the day. Personally, I like to go for a walk as some fresh air does wonders for my brain. 

Enjoy the flexibility

Yes, having dedicated working hours can be good for your productivity, but depending on your job, working from home probably means that you can work more flexibly. 

Enjoy it. 

Don’t feel guilty for taking a long lunch, or doing a 10 am workout. Working from home comes with plenty of cons, but it can actually be liberating if you let yourself enjoy the perks, including a 4 pm wine 🍷😉

Something that a lot of people suck at is decluttering. Yes, the simple act of getting rid of things seems to be difficult for a lot of people because we’re often afraid.

Afraid that we’ll need those takeaway menus cluttering up your drawers – despite the fact you always use Deliveroo to order food.

Yes, throwing away things can be difficult and often overwhelming, but the alternative is tripping over old trainers and struggling to find somewhere to store the things you actually need.

Stop hoarding and start taking control of your space with these tips.

Start small

Decluttering your home is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it slow and do small manageable bits. Overloading yourself with the bottom half of your home in an hour isn’t going to inspire you to keep going.

Instead, create a list of every area you want to declutter and work through it hour by hour, day by day, week by week, whatever suits. Something like this:

  • Bedroom: wardrobe, under-the-bed, bedside table
  • Living room: TV cabinet, bookshelf, coffee table
  • Kitchen: pantry, cupboards, drawers

If you try multi-tasking, you’ll only miss things and stress yourself out with it. Keep it simple and focus on one section at a time and you shouldn’t find it as overwhelming.

Create piles

I’d always suggest creating four piles (use baskets or boxes to keep everything together) whenever you’re tackling an area of your house.

  • Keep
  • Recycle
  • Throw away 
  • Donate

Once you’ve finished, you can then dispose of the boxes as necessary and avoid wasting time running back and forth to the recycling bin or faffing around with bin liners. These boxes will also keep you focused and make the task quicker.

Go paperless

A really quick and easy way to declutter your home is to go paperless as much as you can.

You should find a paperless option for common letter heavy businesses such as banks, utility suppliers and insurance companies. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s good for your home.

You can finally say goodbye to monthly bank statements, unnecessary takeaway menus and payslips clogging up your precious drawer space.

Leave the past in the past 

It’s time to tackle that memory box (or three) that you’ve been storing away. We’re all guilty of holding onto train tickets, festival wristbands and old love letters from our exes, but at some point, we need to take a step back and declutter.

Get rid of things that have faded, duplicates and anything you’ve forgotten about and then condense your things into one, reasonably sized box.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping some things, but you don’t need every bus ticket you’ve ever bought or something so faded you don’t even know where it’s from.

If you live with someone else who also has a memory, buy matching boxes, preferably stackable ones so you can keep your things organised in a neat and tidy manner.

Be realistic

If you live in a huge home, then you can probably take the burden of the extra clutter. However, if you live in a one-bedroom flat with someone else, you probably can’t.

So, while you may hope to live the #fitspo life and make smoothies every day, if you haven’t used your blender in three years, it might be time to throw it away.

And I know it’s tempting to keep everything ‘just in case’, but you need to be realistic and know when it’s time to say goodbye. Remember, you can always borrow or buy things at a later date.

Donate, donate, donate

An easy way to sort through your books, clothes, CDs and DVDs quickly is to donate them.

Knowing that the time and effort you’re putting into this project is contributing to a good cause might make it easier to part with your Sex And The City box set.

Do you declutter regularly? Leave your tips down below.

I’m no stranger to decluttering. I live in a tiny studio flat with my partner, so I often throw away things we don’t need to gain valuable storage space.

And thanks to Marie Kondo and her Netflix series, everyone’s running around their home wondering what really sparks joy.

I certainly don’t discourage anyone parting from their unnecessary clutter. However, let’s do it in an eco-friendly way, rather than just black bagging everything.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s easier to throw everything in one bag than being mindful about how to correctly dispose of our belongings. But we can do better, so read on to find out how.

Firstly, here are a few things to avoid.

Wish-cycling

Have you ever thrown something in the recycling bin you didn’t think belonged there?

Then you’ve engaged in wish-cycling.

It’s the well-intentioned act of recycling things we hope will be recycled even when we know deep down it won’t. It may not seem like a big deal, but non-recyclable items can contaminate the rest of a batch, causing more items to end up in the landfill.

Avoid this by checking your local council’s website to find out what you can and can’t recycle in your bins.

Donating unsellable things

Some items simply can’t be resold in your local charity shop or thrift store. Yet, we’re all guilty of throwing a worn-out pair of shoes in the bag because it’s easier.

Doing this, however, can take up volunteers valuable time and effort wading through your unsellable items.

If you have some unusable clothes/materials you want to get rid of, you can always donate them to shops like H&M who’ll give you a £5 voucher per bag.

Okay, so how do you properly donate your unwanted clutter?

Sell

Before you send your donation boxes off to the charity shop, think about how you could make a quick buck. There are so many options to sell your unwanted items without having to pack up your car for a boot sale.

You can sell almost anything on Facebook Marketplace nowadays. It’s great because you can sell to local people and they’ll even come and pick it up from you.

Depop is another good option for clothes. It’s basically Instagram for selling stuff. Take some good pictures and list at a reasonable price, and you’ll have buyers in no time.

eBay is the digital boot sale veteran. You can list pretty much anything on your store, however, you’ll have to give eBay a cut of the sale price.

If you want to get rid of any old tech, DVDs or CDs quickly, you can visit your local CeX or use trade sites like musicMagpie. Envirophone is another option for old/unused phones.

Donate 

As long as the items are reusable, donating to your local charity shop is an easy (and charitable) way of getting rid of your unwanted items. If you’re a UK taxpayer, you can also donate items using Gift Aid so charities can claim an extra 25p for every £1 they make from the sale, and it won’t cost you a single penny.

You can also donate items to local shelters. It’s best to either visit or phone up to ask what they need rather than turning up with unusable items. Essential things like unwanted/extra hair care and medical supplies are a good start.

However, you can also donate unwanted bikes, sturdy bags and of course, clothes.

If you have any old towels, blankets or bedding that you’d like to get rid of, consider donating them to an animal shelter. They can be used to dry off animals, provide warmth and be comforting.

Recycle

Before you set out on a recycling journey, it’s important to get organised. There are so many different categories for your items that bundling everything into a couple of black bags is going to cause a headache down the line.

Split your recycling up as you go along into the following categories:

Paper

Paper is recyclable, however, check items like cartons as they often contain materials that aren’t.

Plastic

All plastic products have a triangle with a number from 1 to 7 inside called a Plastic Identification Code. Most recycling services accept codes 1 or 2.

Glass 

Most household glass is recyclable as it’s one of the easiest materials to recycle.

Metal

Anything made from aluminium or steel can be infinitely recycled thanks to its many uses.

Electronics

Keep your old cables, laptops and mobile phones separate as there’s a specific section at most recycling centres for them.

Regift

We’ve all received an unwanted gift that ends up stashed in a cupboard, never to see daylight again.

When you’re decluttering and come across items, you can consider regifting it to a family member or friend who might like it better than you did.

Just make sure the person who gave you it can’t find out!

What are your decluttering tips? Do you have any other tips to do it in a sustainable way? Let me know in the comments down below!

How To Declutter Your Home Sustainably