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Mother’s day is coming up on 11th March so I thought I’d share some thrifty tips for ways to celebrate with mum that’ll suit all budgets…I love Mother’s Day. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate mums and to thank them for all they do for us. I never need an excuse to spoil my own mum, but it does give me another chance to shower her with treats that she wouldn’t otherwise accept. It’s possible to give your mum a treat no matter what your budget is and today’s blog post will give you some ideas for treating your mum on Mother’s Day.

HIGH BUDGET

Take mum away for the weekend. Or a week if you prefer. Think about her favourite places in the UK and book a short break. If you’re a large family it’s possible to book cottages for large groups so you can all celebrate together, and split the cost! Choose somewhere with fun activities nearby, such as coastal walks, tearooms and cosy country pubs, and you can all enjoy a relaxing weekend of not-doing-very-much together. Have a look on the party houses website to find a family-sized holiday rental near you.

MEDIUM BUDGET

Take your mum out for a lovely dinner. You can do this as a whole family, or just the two of you. Where is her favourite place to eat out? Or what food does she love the most? Just the mention of Mother’s Day makes businesses and restaurants offer discounts so this needn’t be an expensive option. How many times have you seen a sign that says ‘Mum eats for free on Mother’s Day’ or ‘Free box of chocolates for every mum when you book a table for Mother’s Day’? I see these everywhere so keep an eye out and book in advance.

LOW BUDGET

Why not just spend the day together doing things Mum loves? A countryside walk to look at the snowdrops and daffodils (followed by warming up in a cafe with a coffee) sounds lovely. Or take her to the cinema – something that mums rarely get a chance to do – and remember to bring your own sweets rather than paying for the expensive pick ‘n’ mix. Alternatively, pack up a gift bag full of treats, microwave popcorn and a new DVD and enjoy an evening in together – check out my DIY movie gift blog post for inspiration.

NO BUDGET

Get creative in the kitchen and make her some treats. If you’ve already got flour and sugar in the cupboards, you could whip up a batch of shortbread biscuits, or crack in some eggs to make mum’s favourite cake. If you’re living at home, breakfast in bed is a lovely idea. Similarly, packing up a picnic and taking mum out to eat lunch in the park would be fun if it’s a sunny Sunday. Let me know what you think of these ideas and please share your own tips for a thrifty Mother’s Day celebration in the comments below.

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Wondering how to creatively decorate a rented apartment in a way that it looks fresh and stylish too? These tips will help you out…

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So you’ve chosen the perfect apartment to rent and you’re packing up your things in preparation of moving into your new home. While moving may seem like a stressful experience, you can restore your drained energy by planning the home décor of your new apartment beforehand. Get on Pinterest and make a ‘new apartment’ inspiration board. Doing this will help you visualise how all furniture items and accessories should be placed according to the new floor plan. Here are some essentials to consider when decorating your new rented home:

ADD STORAGE

It’ll take a while before you can find a place for all your belongings, especially if your new apartment has less built-in storage than your previous home. Storage is necessary keeping your home look clutter-free and neat, so having somewhere to stash away your items will help you settle into your new house much faster. Choose beautifully designed storage items that actually enhance the overall appeal of an apartment, such as using baskets as storage items. Baskets don’t only hide clutter, they also add texture. Instead of dumping extra toys and gadgets under the bed, it’s a great idea to choose baskets of different styles, colours and shapes to keep them neat and easily accessible.

USE NATURAL WOOD 

If you’re looking for durable furniture that’ll suit your next home too, wooden pieces should be your furniture of your choice. You can dress up a natural wood table with dining chairs in bright colours and add vibrant storage boxes to your wooden desk to bring a touch of your own personality into the apartment. I think of wood as a ‘neutral’, which can be adapted to any future home decor so, it’s a good idea to invest in something you’ll know you’ll be able to use for any years to come, no matter where you move to. 

ADD LIGHTING

While you might not be able to change the light fittings on the ceiling or walls of your rented home, you CAN add lamps and LED lights. Nothing beats the glowing ambience created by pools of light from floor-standing lights or table lamps. While serving the purpose of functional décor, electric lanterns add a traditional touch to the interior of any apartment and can create that cosy glow in the evenings.

USE CURTAINS AS WALL DECOR

Why choose wallpapers when you can spruce up your bedroom with a curtain that makes your wall look bright and colourful, yet elegant? Most landlords won’t allow you to decorate with wallpaper but that doesn’t meant you can’t add a splash of colour to your home. To get the look, get a curtain designed with silk. If your bedroom is decorated with light hues, as many rented homes are, all it needs is a dominant curtain in a contrasting colour to provide a focal point. To get the perfect mix-and-match, bring in bright accessories in coordinating colours (such as lamps, cushions, throws etc) to decorate the room.

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ENLARGE WITH MIRRORS 

No matter how small your city centre apartment is, mirrors can make the space feel bigger. And when it’s about changing the look of a compact living room, a miniature bathroom or a cosy bedroom, nothing works better than mirrors! Prop up mirrors on sideboards – or even on the floor – to save you needing to drill into walls. Not sure how to incorporate this style into your tiny kitchen though? It can be done! You don’t just have to mount mirrors on the wall, you choose appliances with reflective surfaces. A chrome kettle will brighten up the worktop and a shiny reflective microwave door mimics a mirror. This will help to bounce light around the room, subtly creating the appearance of a bigger kitchen.

ARRANGE BOOKS 

A bookshelf can say a thousand words about you, but who knew it could be considered a home décor item? You can arrange your books by following a specific colour code to bring a rainbow into your home. Place books with the lightest (or similar) colours on the top shelf and work your way from bright colours to darker colours as you place the remaining books on the second and third shelves. Now, stand back and look at the pattern – doesn’t it look pleasing to the eyes?

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Let me know if you have any other tips for decorating your rented apartment in the comments below – I’d love to hear how you’ve made it your own.

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When you’re running a business from home, what’s the most important room to get right? Why, the office of course! Here are some of the desk essentials that I just can’t get by without…I’ve shared a few posts over recent months about decorating my office with gold star wallpaper and adding plenty of storage, and my ergonomic desk. Now, I’m on to fun part – adding decor and organising everything. Okay, ‘getting organised’ may not seem like much fun to you but I really enjoy it and it takes away the stress from my working day, so anything I can do to make life is easier is my idea of fun. Here are some of the office essentials I need to get my work (and myself!) on track:

LIGHTING

I’ve been working in my office without a lamp for a while and I’ve found that I sometimes just need a little extra light in order to see what I’m doing in the evenings. This is especially true when I’m working on craft or DIY projects, so I needed to add a lamp to my desk for these tasks. I wanted my new lamp to look pretty and a little bit Scandi so I scoured the internet to find that perfect product. I found it on the IconicLights website, where this little duck-egg beauty was reduced in the sale to just £19. It has a USB charger port in the base of the lamp, which makes it ideal for using on a desk.

STATIONARY

The key to being organised is having the right stationary to help you. I went out at the start of the year and stocked up on notebooks, pens and a faux plant from Paperchase. I’ve found the weekly planner to be the most useful so far as it’s helped me to divide my weekly workload into daily tasks. This means I’m no longer feeling overwhelmed by my weekly to-do list. Instead I can pat myself on the back when I’ve ticked off everything I needed to do for the day and then actually stop. I think the weekly planner is especially handy for bloggers because I can plan out my content for the week, fortnight, month – however far ahead I want to plan – and then add in the tasks I need to do (such as taking photos, doing research, writing drafts) before I get to the publishing date. I’m feeling so organised right now.

I’ve also got a lovely gold notebook for keeping track of my ongoing project ideas and a pastel pink suede journal from PenHeaven. I’ve been meaning to start a journal for a while now but never really got round to it so I figured that 2018 could be the year. So far, I’m enjoying writing in it – even picking up the pen and putting it to paper feels really good after so many hours of typing on my laptop. I read a blog post by Victoria from Apartment Number 4 about her miracle morning routine and she included 10 minutes of journalling in her daily routine, which inspired me to give it a go.

KEYBOARD

If you’ve seen my previous office blog posts you’ll know that I have a sit-stand desk. This set-up means I prefer to use my Yoga laptop or my iPad as a monitor when I’m working at my desk and have a separate keyboard for typing. I already had a great keyboard but when I saw the new colourful range from Penclic I was like “time for an upgrade!” Can you see why? Yes, it’s simply because the keyboard is pink! There’s a gold version available too, so I did umm and ahh over the colour choice for a while. It turns out that it’s the ideal time for me to have upgraded, because my husband needed a keyboard for his device – so I’ve been able to hand over my previous keyboard to him and have a pretty pink one on my desk instead.

WATER

And the final thing I’ve added to my desk is absolutely essential. I need water. I’ve been struggling to drink enough while I’m working. Well, my kitchen is just so far away from my office (okay, it’s not) and I’m always working on something so time-sensitive that I just can’t leave it to go fetch a drink. So, other than installing a tap, kettle and fridge in my office, I needed to find another way to make sure that I don’t get dehydrated during the day.I get really tired if I’m not hydrated enough, and that’s no good – especially when I have a deadline to meet. So I decided this month that having a bottle of water on my desk will encourage me to drink more throughout the day. I found my ideal BHA-free non-toxic water bottle from Ion8. It’s leak proof with a sealed, lockable lid so it won’t ruin my desk or devices if I accidentally knock it over. Plus, I can undo the lid with one hand, making it easy to sip on some water while I’m making notes.I think that’s all the new additions to my desk – apart from maybe the tiny knitted cacti that I got for Christmas from my husband (they’re handmade by Chops and Doodles and Dotty Bag. My next project is to install some shelves into the tiny alcove behind my office door so provide some extra storage space so I’ll be sure to share some photos of the process soon.

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Did you know that living in a cluttered home might be increasing your stress levels? De-clutter both your home and your mind by following some simple design tips that’ll make turn your home into a peaceful haven…More and more people are turning to a minimalist design aesthetic due to the stress of clutter, and it can really make a difference to your happiness levels too. Moreover, simplifying and scaling back to basics is one way of creating a more stylish space that looks cleaner, neater and more functional. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

KEEP A TIGHT COLOUR PALETTE

Having too many colours around inevitably catch the eye and creates a disjointed, unfocused feeling. Start with a neutral base that’s easy on your vision: whites, soft greys, or pastels. Keep that tone throughout the room by using colours in the same family, then break the monotony with an accent colour or two. This keeps the space from being too drab or appearing plain. Coordinated home fabrics are an easy way to create a serene space that flows visually without having to spend too much. Plus,  you can change your soft furnishings to create a new feeling each season.

CLEAR THE CLUTTER

Clutter is inevitable. Stuff just piles up, and before you know it, every surface is occupied with things you don’t use or need. Going minimalist means clearing every surface of those things and keeping only the essentials. Ask yourself why you’re keeping that pile of junk mail, or those empty jars and canisters. If you don’t use something on a regular basis or it has no function to you, take it to the recycling bin. Things that you’re keeping out of sentimental value but hardly looked at may be stored somewhere out of sight. Make an effort to keep all surfaces clear: tables, countertops and the like.

MAKE SOME SMART FURNITURE CHOICES 

Yes, it is completely possible to over-furnish a room. Don’t buy pieces just to take up space, consider every decision thoughtfully, and choose furniture that will stand the test of time, both functionally and aesthetically. Well-made pieces that are built to last might be a little high on the price range, but this only means you’re spending more on quality and leaving little room for impulse decisions, like a trendy bubble chair you’ll never really sit on.

KEEP YOUR WALL UNCROWDED

The key here is to avoid making the walls look sparse, but also not loading them with too much stuff that catches the eye. Creating a focal point with a single piece of artwork is one way to keep it neat. You can also shop for wall accent sets of a similar design and space them equally in order to make the wall itself a work of art. Simple frames in solid colours will work well for photographs. Keeping them uniform will also enhance the minimalist feel. 

SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE

Simple lines and shapes are hallmarks of minimalism. Anything too ornate, complicated or detailed will create breaks in vision that are jarring to the eye. Choose your pieces wisely: your furniture, decoration and accents should all be proportioned harmoniously with each other, and everything should keep the eye moving easily. Keep patterns simple, or use texture to keep the space from being monotonous instead. Consult your original colour palette and keep all things within that spectrum, but bring in linens and wool fabrics, and clay and porcelain pottery.With these 5 tips in mind, you’ll soon turn your home into a sanctuary of minimalism that is both relaxing to the eyes and soothing to the soul! Let me know your ideas for decluttering and creating a peaceful home by leaving me a comment below.

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The average UK household owes over £8,000 in debt (not including the mortgage) which is why many more people are becoming more thrifty! The great news is that there are ways to improve a damaged credit score…The vicious circle of spending money in order to save money is no longer necessary. No matter what this year has in store, from a move across town to a new addition to the family, gaining a healthy credit score frugally will be part of it all.

UNDERSTAND CREDIT 

The first step in improving a credit score costs no money. You simply need to understand how credit works. A credit score is a number that comes from one of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion in the US. It reflects every loan, credit card, or financial interaction you’ve had over your lifetime. You can get free access to these reports once, so be sure to make a request and find out what your current situation is. Many people request their reports during tax season.

SOFT OR HARD REQUESTS

Next, understand the difference between a soft request and a hard request. Sites such as Credit Karma in the US and Noddle in the UK make soft requests on your behalf for a credit score. These sites do not provide detailed credit reports, which is why they do not harm your overall credit. They’ll give you a rough idea of your credit score so that you can start to improve it. A hard request, however, counts against your credit. This is the request that lenders receive, and it includes details regarding your credit history. Every loan, credit card, bill payment, and detailed credit request counts in the overall credit score and too many hard requests can actually make your credit score worse.

HOW TO CHANGE A SCORE – FRUGALLY 

Changing a low credit card score is possible, no matter your budget. Approach your bank or building society first, and request free financial services. If these services are unavailable or at cost, explore a credit site that gives you your credit score for free. These sites often have free suggestions for increasing a score. However, it is still up to you to stay diligent in research. Look into the cards or loans suggested, carefully weighing them into your current situation. If it’s feasible, consider consolidation that will help save you money in interest over time. That extra saving on the interest should go straight into paying off the credit.

OVER-PAYING BILLS

As always, paying bills consistently will also help increase a credit score, so be sure to set up direct debits to pay your utilities and mobile phone. However, paying the minimum amount on a credit card every month will only extend the payment period in interest. Even if you only pay an extra £5 each month try to pay more than you need to on your credit card bill. Even a small amount of extra money will help the credit score to increase, as it shows that you’re more in control of your money. And never exceed your credit limit!Credit does not need to be confusing. Read as much as possible on credit, understand your score, and research better financial options for your household. Over time, your credit score will improve, and you’ll be able to save even more money in the long haul. Please share any tips you have for improving your credit score by leaving a comment below.

Images by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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My minimalist bedside tables started life as a chest of drawers and a vintage planter. But with a bit of careful re-jigging, I managed to turn them into a matching pair of mid-century style bedside cabinets…The idea for the bedside tables came about when I found a vintage planter at a car boot sale. The ugly trough had four sleek mid-century style legs and, on closer inspection of the underside, could be unscrewed and used elsewhere. If you’re buying a piece of furniture just for the legs, it’s important that the screw-in mount can be removed and reattached to your new project. I’ve seen pieces with lovely legs in the past, but they were ones that screwed directly into the wood of the unit, so couldn’t be reused. Anyway, those legs were a little too long to add to a sideboard or storage unit, but they seemed like the perfect height for a bedside table. And for £3, I couldn’t exactly leave the planter behind – I wanted those legs for something! I considered just adding a table top to create a little shelf beside my bed. It would be just right for a cup of tea and a lamp, but wouldn’t provide me with any extra storage.It wasn’t long before I stumbled upon the ideal chest of drawers. A narrow set of four drawers were sitting in the yard of my local salvage store. Looking at the mid-century-esque shape of the drawers, I knew they would work well with those long, screw-in legs. But how can I turn four drawers into two cabinets?Well, it was actually pretty simple. I’ve shared the full step-by-step guide in Reloved magazine this month so pick up a copy of Issue 51 in WH Smith, Tesco, Sainburys or your local newsagent – or buy a copy of Issue 51 online. Alternatively, you can download the digital issue here and start reading the magazine on your tablet straight away!I wanted to keep the cabinets looking sleek and minimalist so, after toying with the idea of bright yellow or blue, I decided to go for white. I kept the legs black, and just freshened them up with a coat of matt black spray paint to cover any scuffs.What do you think of my bedside cabinet project? The total cost of making both tables was probably about £15, so it was loads cheaper than any other option I’d considered. And, even better than the money-saving aspect, I managed to get exactly what I wanted. If I’d seen the same design in a shop, I would have found it difficult to walk away no matter what the price was, because they suit my bedroom so well. As you can probably tell, I’m rather chuffed with this upcycling project!

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I’ve put together a list of my top budget winter holiday destinations to help you beat those winter blues and save cash by travelling out of season…

Photo by Anton Sharov 

Winter can be a gloomy time of the year, especially once all of the fun and excitement of Christmas is over and done with. This makes winter arguably one of the best times to jet off and escape the drizzle of the UK and take a holiday in warmer climates. On top of the weather, winter is often the cheapest time of the year to take a holiday (outside of school holidays, of course!) with most flight and holiday companies slashing their prices. Here are just a handful of suggestions for your next budget break:

1. GREEK ISLANDS

The Greek Islands are fortunate enough to get good weather all year round. The most Southern point in Europe, Greece has average winter temperatures in the high teens and can even reach low to mid-twenties. The vast majority of tourism happens here between the months of April and October so if you want to avoid the crowds, winter is the best time to visit. The islands have something to offer everyone from family friendly beach holidays to relaxing quite spots and party towns, these superb islands are the perfect getaway for all.

Photo by Sarah Eskandarpour

2. SKIING IN THE ALPS

Fully embrace the winter weather and hit the slopes on a skiing holiday in the Alps. I’m especially keen on this idea now that I’m watching the Winter Olympics! Whether you are a seasoned skier or a complete beginner, there’s something special about these snowy mountains which will leave you wanting more. Just a few hours flight from the U.K, it would be rude not to make the most of the amazing skiing facilities at the heart of Europe. And those flights will cost you a lot less than if you were heading to PyeongChang! Ski holidays are a great getaway for all ages from groups of friends and families to couples and school trips. Jetting off to the slopes is fun for everyone.

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

3. DUBAI

Looking for some winter warmth? With yearlong sunshine Dubai is the place to go for guaranteed good weather and plenty of winter sun. Okay, it’s definite not a place to go if you’re on a tight budget – more of a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip! But the winter months are actually the best time to visit the United Arab Emirates as temperatures are at their most bearable averaging in the low to mid 20s. So, if you’re going to spend your carefully-saved cash travelling to Dubai, it might as well be at a time of year that’ll be more enjoyable for you. Over the past decade, Dubai has established itself as the ultimate holiday destination with scenic beaches, elaborate waterparks and desert safaris to name but a few of the exciting activities on offer in Dubai.

4. ROME

Not looking for a big holiday but still fancy getting away for a few days? A city break to Rome is a great option. With plenty of sightseeing to be done not to mention the shopping and fine dining, a long weekend in Rome feels more like a two week vacation, in the best possible way. The majority of Rome’s sites are within walking distance from the city centre. The city has a superb public transport system so if your accommodation is a little outside of the centre there are still plenty of options to get around.

Photo by Braden Collum 

5. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the peacefulness of the magnificent Scottish highlands. The most breath-taking part of the British Isles, discover ancient castles, mountain peaks and natural wonders in this unique part of the world. After an action packed day in the wilderness, spend your evenings cosied up next to a log fire with a dram of whisky and a good book. Here, the winter weather brings an atmospheric feel as snow-capped mountains look over icy lochs.

Photo by Ilya Ilyukhin 

Let me know your favourite places for a winter holiday and I’d love to hear your tips for saving money on your next getaway so please leave me a comment below

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The latest phase of my kitchen makeover is tackling the windows so read on to see my attempt at DIY blind installation and how I’ve started my very own mini herb garden…I’ve got two windows in my kitchen, which makes it a lovely bright space – when the sun is shining, that is! But it also means that my kitchen is the most overlooked room in the house, so I wanted to sort out something to cover the windows that would still bring the light in. I need my privacy for making my morning cup of tea!For a few months, we just hooked up old tab-top curtains. We didn’t have any rails, we just hooked them to the old fixing points in the wall. So, they couldn’t really be opened and having thicker fabric at the windows really did make the whole room seem rather gloomy. Plus, the sink is right below one of the windows so the length of a curtain would have to be exactly right to prevent it from dipping into the water.Pretty early on I decided that a blind was the way to go. I didn’t mind whether it was a roller, Venetian or vertical blind; I just knew that a blind would fit within the recess of the window frame and could be pulled all the way up to reveal as much as light as I needed. I still want to get nice photos of my recipes!But, whatever style I chose, I knew the blinds would have to be custom-made. The windows are both very different sizes – one is exceptionally long and the other is wider and shorter. I just couldn’t imagine finding something ‘off the peg’ that would fit both windows. I DID look – I took the measurements with me into DIY stores and homewares departments but what I wanted didn’t exist.After a lot of shopping in store and online, I decided on some Venetian blinds by Style Studio, custom-made to the precise measurements of my windows. I chose a wider 50mm slat and picked a matt white finish. Seeing as there can be a lot of moisture in the kitchen when I’m cooking or washing, I decided to get blinds that were suitable for this kind of environment. Kitchen and bathroom blinds are moisture resistant and won’t bend or warp like wooden blinds might.They were easier to install than any other blinds I’ve put up on the past. Just two brackets needed to be fixed to the top of each window recess and they clipped neatly into place. I love how flexible they are. I can angle the light away when it’s too sunny, I can bring more light in to wake me up in the mornings, they still offer plenty of privacy and I can pull them all the way up to illuminate my bakes when I’m taking photos.

Now that I have blinds at the windows, I realised that I’ve got myself a little extra storage space because I can use the window sills! Now that the curtains are gone, I’ve got some wide sills above the sink that are the perfect spot for potted herbs.I’ve always wanted to grow cute pots of herbs in my kitchen so that I’ve got fresh leaves to hand when I’m cooking. I think I’ll be much more likely to throw in a handful of basil if there’s right there in my kitchen. I picked up these adorable little white pots from Red Candy and decided to plant some rosemary and chives in them.I love the little stands – they make the space on the windowsill still feel really airy. And I think they feel a bit ‘mid-century’ too, which is ideal for my 50s style kitchen. I’m probably going to add another couple of pots (they come in black and green too) to my indoor ‘herb garden’ so that I can grow mint and basil too.Can you think of any other herbs that I might need on a regular basis? I like coriander in curries so I might get that as well. Let me know what you grow at home by leaving me a comment below, and what do you think of my new kitchen blinds??

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FANTASTIC NEWS! I’ve just found out that My Thrifty Life is one of the Top 30 DIY blogs in the UK and I really can’t believe my eyes..!I opened the email from blog content reader Feedspot yesterday and was overwhelmed to learn that I’d scooped the 7th spot in the list. The Top 30 is based on search and social metrics, so it is updated regularly and my little blog has just hopped into the list this week!

I’m so honoured to be listed beside countless inspirational blogs that I read regularly including Swoon Worthy, fellow UK Blog Awards finalist ShelleyMakesHeartHandmade.co.uk and one of my favourite instagramers VeryMeInteriors.uk.

In other news, I’ve contributed to The LuxPad’s Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas article. I’ve shared a photo of my bedroom (above) and offered a few suggestions on how to style up your home to make it look a little more romantic without going OTT.Again, it’s such an honour to be included in this article alongside my favourite interior design bloggers Alina from The Fairytale Pretty Picture, fellow Rust-Oleum project-maker Cheryl Lumley from AllRoundCreativeJunkie.com and many more. Exciting stuff!

Have a great Sunday everyone – I know I’ll be going around with a big smile on my face after all this amazing news, woo!

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Trying to keep sane during a major home renovation can be tough! Staying organised is key to getting the work done on time and in budget – here’s how…I’ve been working on my home renovation for a year now. The timescale has been ‘felixible’ to put it mildly – it’s a total DIY renovation so I’ve just been working on it when I have the time and the money. But even if you’re bringing in professionals to do tasks, remodelling a home can still be stressful. Not only are you trying to keep track of contractor schedules, material purchases and design decisions, you’re also living in a construction zone. Staying organised is key. Whether it’s just a new layer of exterior cladding going up, or you’re putting in a new bathroom, here are some organising tips to help everything go smoothly.

WORK OUT THE BUDGET 

This is the one everyone knows about, and is still the one area that almost always gets away from you. You need to really take some time to sit down with a spreadsheet or paper and calculator and plan out a thorough budget. Making wild guesses about the main materials and figuring that it’s close enough is going to derail your project, guaranteed.Plan for all the incidentals (nails, trim, glue, etc.) and be generous when you factor in contractor or professional time. Nothing ever goes as quickly as you’d think. Keep it up-to-date as well, adjusting items as the project progresses. When you realise that certain things are costing significantly more, you can make changes to upcoming plans so that it doesn’t balloon out of control.

TRACK THE PAPERWORK 

Permits, receipts, quotes, invoices and drawings all need to be saved and organised until the project is done (and possibly longer). Never throw anything away. Stuffing everything in a file is better than nothing, otherwise try to have a set of files organized by type of record. A binder would also work.Even when work is complete, it can be a good idea to hold onto your paperwork file. Years after you rebuilt the kitchen cabinets, you might suddenly need to find that same handle hardware or paint colour again. Having purchase records stored somewhere can be invaluable.

KEEP CONTACT INFO 

Whether its a standard business card or just a Facebook address, you should maintain a current contact list of everyone working on your job. If it’s a total DIY renovation, it will be pretty easy. Regardless of your specific plans, keep track of everyone you deal with. Even just the name of the person who helped you at the DIY store.

KEEP A SCHEDULE

Get a datebook or calendar that is only used for this project and keep track of everything that is going on. Mark dates for material deliveries, expected contractor arrivals, planned phone calls and anything else you need to remember. That includes upcoming things as well as things that have passed. It’s very easy to forget how long ago you touched base with the electrician or plumber, so record when you spoke last.

TAKE PHOTOS 

Lastly, take a lot of pictures. Photos of all stages of construction and materials used so you can refer back to aspects of the job that may not always be visible. You can just file them away along with the other paperwork we mentioned, or store them digitally for safe-keeping. This is an important step if you are working with multiple contractors and you can provide visual details about work that has already been completed, or refer back if there are problems later on with the project.

Also, if you take photos, you can look back on them after a year or two (like I just have!) and be amazing at just how much work has been done and how far you’ve come. It’ll give you the encouragement and motivation to continue working on your renovation project.

Let me know your tips for keeping your house renovation on track by leaving me a comment below and I really hope that these ideas have helped if you’re planning a project.

Images from Pexels.com

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