How to: Downsizing Your Home

Downsizing Your Home

Retirement is just around the corner, your children have fledged the nest and your house is now starting to feel a little bit too big for just yourself. Well, it may be time to start considering downsizing your home. Although it can be a daunting process, with the right planning, it can be an exhilarating and liberating experience.

Because it may be difficult to know where to start, we’ve put together some useful tips to walk you through the whole journey:

1. Determine your lifestyle needs

Now that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re within walking distance to prestigious schools or the safety of your neighbourhood, its time to think about what you want. Consider what kind of lifestyle you would like to live moving forward— would you enjoy having the ocean at your doorstep; or would you prefer living in an apartment close to city amenities such as museums and lots of restaurants?

During this decision process, sites like Liveable are extremely useful to help prioritise your needs, as well s to offer suggestions about what suburbs may best suit your ideal lifestyle.

2. Assess your new home

Once you’ve decided on your new home, scrutinise the blueprints and find out exactly how big each room is. This is a vital step to decide which large pieces of furniture to bring with you.

If you simply can’t visualise how big a certain area is, a handy tip would be to compare the size of your new rooms with rooms of similar dimensions in your current house. For example, your living room-to-be may be approximately the same size as your current bedroom. By comparing the two, it may give you a clearer idea about exactly what furniture can fit where.

3. Be practical when decluttering

When looking at what to bring with you, be practical. For example, if you’re moving to an apartment, you won’t need appliances like your lawn mower or ladder anymore. In the same vein, if you’ve been hoarding clothes that no longer fit or don’t wear anymore, consider giving them away to charity instead of letting it clutter up your new home.

Of course, things get a little less clear cut when it comes to sentimental items. Although it may be difficult to throw out the badminton trophy your son won in the fourth grade, it is important to take a step back and think: will I really miss this item? Perhaps keep a couple of sentimental items that you hold close to your heart, and take a snapshot of the remaining memorabilia that do not make the cut.

4. Ensure furniture serves a multi-purpose function

Living in a smaller area means that you will no longer have the luxury of having very many pieces of furniture in your house. However, having less possessions does not mean that you will have to compromise on comfort.

When shopping for new furniture or when choosing what pieces to bring over to your new home, try to pick out multi-functional pieces. For example, opt for a dining table that you’d be comfortable to also use as a study desk. Sofas that can be converted into sleeper beds will also come in handy, especially if your new place does not have a spare guest room.

5. Colour code your boxes

Packing your life away into a couple of boxes can get messy. To help with the process, it will be useful to implement a colour-coded system to organise your belongings. Mark the boxes with kitchen appliances with a red marker, boxes with your bedroom belongings with a blue marker, and so on so forth. Although this takes a little extra effort during the packing phase, it will make unpacking in your new home much more efficient and fuss-free.

How to: Downsizing Your Home

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

For many, the concept of having a healthy work-life balance is just an elusive myth.

Results from a survey conducted by the Harvard Business School showed that more than 50% of the people interviewed indicated that they work more than 65 hours a week. This worryingly high number is not unexpected— with technology making employees contactable round the clock, and an ongoing pressure to climb that corporate ladder, many young professionals are choosing to forgo their personal life in lieu of their work commitments.

With only 24 hours in a day, having a successful career without compromising your personal life may seem like an impossible feat. However, here are some tips to maintain a healthy work-life balance without burning out:

Work smarter, not harder

Although this mantra may seem frustratingly ambiguous, it will start to make a lot more sense when actually put into practice. For example, you can start by jotting down a feasible to-do list at the start of each day, with the most important tasks taking priority. By breaking down your agenda for the day into bite-sized tasks, they will seem less overwhelming and you can revel in the small sense of satisfaction you get as you manage to cross these tasks off throughout the day.

Set your boundaries and Unplug

You can’t expect to be the best version of yourself if you don’t give yourself any time to recharge after a long day of work.

With technology so easily accessible, it may be tempting to stay connected 24/7. However, it is vital to set boundaries on your work communications. By making it a habit to disconnect after certain hours, not only you be able to to wind down and recharge, but giving yourself a break may also help you to refocus and look at certain problems from a new perspective.

Learn to say “No”

If you’re a people-pleaser, this may be especially difficult for you to do. However, getting comfortable with saying “no” will stop you from spreading yourself too thin.

If you already have a jam-packed schedule, adding extra tasks to your plate will not only increase your stress levels, but it will also mean that you wouldn’t be able to put your 100% into each piece of work.

Make Social Arrangements (And stick to them)

We all know the saying: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. While the idea of mingling in a crowded bar after a long day at work may seem like the furthest thing from enticing, its important to always make time for the important people in your life.

These plans don’t always have to be grand— simple meet-ups to grab a coffee at your favourite cafe just round the corner can be just as fulfilling as splurging on an 8 course dinner. Ultimately, its about spending quality time with people whom you truly care about.

Health is Wealth

When the going gets tough, exercise is often the first thing to get culled from our busy schedule. This of course, shouldn’t be the case. After all, exercise helps to improve both your physical and mental health.

Getting sweaty and hitting the gym helps to pump feel-good endorphins through your body; and with a healthy body and a fresher mind, you will be able to smash through tasks more efficiently.

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

How To: Pack For Your First Year at University

Packing for University can be an overwhelming task, especially when moving to another state or country. After all, how are you meant to pack your whole life into a few measly boxes? The answer is simple— you shouldn’t.

Here at Liveable, we’ve come up with a handy little checklist for you to tick off as you go. Aside from some decorative items that should be packed along to ensure that your new dorm would feel more like home, we’ve narrowed down the absolute essentials that you would need in order to leave for University with a peace of mind.

How To: Pack for your First Year at University

How To: Pack For Your First Year at University

How To: Survive Student Orientation Week

Survive Student Orientation Week

Whether its deciding between staying out late for a student mixer or making it to your 8am lecture the next morning, or deciding if throwing your pink shirt into the washer with your whites is a good idea (it isn’t), navigating your first week at University during orientation week may seem like a little bit of a minefield.

With a multitude of events going on left, right and centre, its important to prioritise whats important to you so as to ensure that you don’t burn out.

Here are our best tips to ensure that you come out of Orientation Week in one piece:

Get involved at orientation

Of course its intimidating to start university not knowing a single soul, but spending the whole day holed up in your room isn’t going to make matters any better. Take a deep breath, go forth and socialise— show up to events with a smile and take initiative to introduce yourself to others. Although you may feel awkward, remember that all of you are in the same unfamiliar boat and more likely than not, others would appreciate your efforts to break the ice!

Socialising may not be your strongest suit but seemingly small actions, like making the effort to remember the names of the people you meet, can go a long way. A handy tip to remembering names is to casually use the person’s name throughout the conversation; for example, “Good to meet you, Sam“, or “What’s your timetable looking like, Sam?”

Don’t sign up for the first society you see

On the flip side, don’t get ahead of yourself and sign up for every single society that hollers at you. Yes, societies are a great way to meet people outside of your course, and they’ll look great on your CV, but think, are you REALLY keen on joining the crocheting society? Or are you signing up for the sake of it? Furthermore, many societies ask for an upfront registration fee— so unless you’re 100% sure that you’ll stick to it, perhaps have a look around to see what other societies interest you more before making a final decision.

Ration the events you choose to go for

We all know the saying, “go hard or go home“, but partying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week will more likely send you to the hospital. Missing one or two events may give you some serious FOMO, but don’t fret, the world will keep turning.

Taking some nights off will not only allow you to nurse your hangover from the night before and ensure that you are feeling 100%, but it will also allow you to get to know the people living in your vicinity better. Rather than attempting to get to know people via broken conversations over blaring music and overpriced drinks, a cosy night in playing card games or watching feel-good movies with your flatmates may pleasantly surprise you.

Customise your timetable (the earlier the better)

With so many activities going on in your first week of university, customising your timetable will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, take 15 minutes out of your busy schedule to pick and choose exactly which tutorial slots work best for you. This will allow you to best align your semester with your study habits.

For example, some students thrive when they are able to squeeze in some extra hours of sleep in the morning, hence, tutorials after lunch may work well for them. On the other hand, if you prefer to get your lessons over and done with, opt to start you days with back-to-back tutorials early in the morning.

Get crackin’ on the student discounts

From discounts on meals to university events and parties, student discounts are basically a god-sent when you are attempting to survive University on a student budget. With that said, student union cards often require you to pay a rather substantial annual membership fee, however, signing up will often be worth it in the long run.

Other sites like Unidays also offer heaps of discounts (sometimes at 40% off) to students, with no registration fee required at all.

 

Once you’ve navigated orientation week successfully, Liveable can help you find your ideal place to live that’s within your budget and close to campus.

How To: Survive Student Orientation Week

How To: Make Your Student Accommodation Feel More Like Home

636060609028134440-1662337188_cover.jpgStarting University is a milestone that many strive to reach; and when University finally rolls around the corner and the day comes for students to move out of their homes and into student accomodations, although exhilarating, may still take some getting used to.

This is because often, people don’t realise how accustomed they have grown to living in the comforts of their own home. Hence, when faced with a 180 degree change— a barren dorm room that looks as if has been churned out of a factory production line— it may seem a tad bit unwelcoming.

Now you may choose to leave your accomodation in this sorry state; after all, its likely that you’re only going to be slumming it out for the first year or so in here. However, don’t let the temporary nature of your living situation stop you from getting cozy in your new place. Believe it or not, your dorm is where you will be spending a huge bulk of your time— whether catching up on your weekly readings, or coming home dead-drunk from a night out, it will more often than not, become your sanctuary.

Thankfully, it really isn’t difficult to add a personal touch to your living space. Decorating doesn’t have to be expensive or wildly time consuming, but could make a world of a difference when it comes to making your student accomodation feel more like home.

Customise your bed

A cosy bed is one of those little luxuries that make you feel immediately comforted. With your bed being one of the most prominent features in your room, splurging on some new bedding is a smart investment. A new duvet cover with matching pillow cases can help to give your room some personality.

Often, your bed also serves as a couch to lounge on throughout the day. To up the comfort-factor, throw on some additional cushions or line them up against the wall. After a hectic day of socialising, you’ll be glad to be able to come home to an inviting bed.

Adjust the Lighting

A little lighting can go a long way. Switching the bulbs of your lamps to those that give off an orange glow is known for its ability to transform a cold space into one that is illuminated and filled with warmth.

Cheap fairy lights can also be purchased and draped across the walls of your room to add to the atmosphere. If you feel that fairy lights are too feminine for your taste, perhaps go for some paper lanterns or small coloured lamps that can easily be bought from Kmart or Ikea.

Don’t be afraid to decorate

Not only will posters add some colour to your blank walls, but they could also act as a great conversation starter when meeting new people in your first year.

Alternatively, decorating your walls with pictures of family and friends may act as a source of comfort when the homesickness kicks in. It will also act as a constant reminder to keep in touch with old pals when life gets a bit hectic.

When decorating the walls of your dorm, some good advice is to forgo the Blu Tack and instead, use Washi Tape to ensure that zero residue is left behind. Washi Tape can be purchased in a variety of different patterns and colours to suit the style of your room.

Invest in some scents

Never underestimate the power of scent. Often overlooked, it has the ability to conjure up familiar or heart-warming memories. Trade the unpleasant musty smell typical with dorm rooms for scents that remind you of home.

Although many student accomodations don’t allow for candles, essential oil diffusers are a safe alternative. Aside from keeping your room hazard-free and smelling fresh, they are also known to help with congestion during the pesky hay fever season.

A tip for those who are more prone to homesickness: purchase the same fabric softener or detergent that is used back home. This will give you a surprising whiff of familiarity and comfort throughout your day.

Add a bit of greenery to your room

When buying supplies to decorate, don’t hold back from picking up some flora to liven up your room. Cacti are the standard no-brainer option to go to, as these sturdy little plants look attractive while requiring almost zero effort to maintain.

 

Now that you know the tricks to help make your student accommodation more like home, Liveable can help you find your ideal place to live.

How To: Make Your Student Accommodation Feel More Like Home

London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

London on a Student BudgetWith its vibrant, cosmopolitan way of life, coupled with its rich history and cultural diversity, London is, dare I say, one of the most lusted-after countries that students dream of studying abroad in. Furthermore, with more internationally-acclaimed universities than you can count on one hand, its no wonder that there are more international students flocking to London than any other city in the world.

However, whilst London is full of glitz and glamour, it may come to a nasty shock to some when they realise how quickly the cost of living can add up to if they are not careful. Hence, apart from checking out the Big Ben and other famous landmarks littered across the city, it is likely that students will also spend the first few weeks in London searching out ways to scrimp on cash.

Well, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Presenting, Liveable’s guide to surviving London on a student budget

Find the right accomodation IN LONDON

Looking for accomodation should be the first thing on your to-do list upon being accepted to a university in London. Seeing how leases generally require you to rent for six months to a year, it is vital that you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision.

This is where sites like Liveable come in handy. Liveable allows you to discover potential suburbs to live in based on what is important to you— whether it is by affordability, convenience or safety of the area.

A good tip for students on a budget would be to live outside central London. Not only will you be able to get accomodation at a cheaper price, but generally, your living space tends to be bigger too. With that said, for convenience sake, ensure that your accomodation is within walking distance to a tube station.

Get a Bicycle TO EXPLORE LONDON

If you’re keen on owning a set of wheels, consider getting a bicycle instead of a car. Not only will you avoid the pesky crowds during rush hour, but you will also avoid falling victim of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen by getting great exercise.

Cycling would also be a cheaper alternative to taking the tube, especially when travelling shorter distances. London’s bike sharing scheme— Santander Cycles is available 24/7 and can be hired from as little as £2. 

Plan for a night out

One of the most exciting aspects about living in London is undeniably its nightlife. As a student, the temptation to spend your week’s allowance on a night out, downing shots and sweating it out on the dance floor can be overwhelming.

However, you can save a substantial amount of money by starting your night having pre-drinks with some friends, before hitting the town. After all, what’s the difference with a pint of beer from a supermarket and a pub, aside from saving a good few pounds?

Eat Smart

Although you may be used to having Vegemite with your toast every morning, don’t get caught up with brands that you are familiar with. When it comes to grocery shopping, imported goods tends to be pricier than local products; and choosing Tesco’s digestive biscuits as a cheaper alternative can be just as satisfying as a packet of Poptarts.

When it comes to eating out, keep your eyes peeled for restaurants that have decent lunch specials and of course, happy hour. Also, investing in something like a Gourmet Society Membership will allow you to save heaps of money on participating restaurants that range from local family favourites to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Want to travel Out of London?

We all deserve to treat ourselves a little every now and then, and what better way than to explore the rest of Europe? Now, you may think that travelling seems counterintuitive, especially in a guide teaching you how to live affordably. However, there are multiple ways to get across the country for close to nothing.

Coaches are your best bet, with services such as Megabus offering bus tickets from one city to another for as little as £1. However, for those with a little less time and patience to spare, look out for sales and special offers for flights on sites like Ryanair and Easyjet.  A nifty trick is to always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode in order to see the lowest prices.

London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

Roommate Etiquette 101

o-COLLEGE-ROOMMATES-facebook.jpgWhether you’ve gotten closer to a friend throughout the years and decided to take the friendship up a notch, or are moving to a new country and can’t afford to live alone; at one point of time or another, many of us will be faced with the dilemma— do we want to live with a roommate?

Sure, there are multiple benefits about having a roommate– you will be able to share the cost of your living space, you will also have constant companionship so you never get too lonely, and in the event where you are gone for extended periods of time, your roommate would be able to help with mundane chores like watering the plants or picking up your mail.

However, like a game of Russian Roulette, finding the perfect roommate may be tricky. Even if you choose to move in with your best friend, this is not a sleepover; and overtime, you may realise that both your lifestyles clash head on. On the flip side, what starts of as living with a complete stranger out of convenience may blossom into a lovely friendship.

Either way, here are some helpful tips to keep the “mate” in “roommate“:

Pick a location that works for everyone

If you’ve decided to move in with friends, have a quick chat about what suburb works best for your various lifestyles. It is vital to consider the characteristics that are essential to each individual.

For example, the safety of the suburb might be of utmost importance to someone who often works late, whereas the affordability of the area might take precedence for a student living on a budget.

Sites like Liveable may come in useful at this stage, as it takes these factors into consideration and efficiently churns out a list of potential suburbs that would be able to satisfy your overarching criteria.

Establish Ground Rules

To ensure that miscommunication is kept to the minimum, lay out some ground rules within the first few days of moving in with each other. Are basic condiments and cleaning supplies going to be shared between roommates? Is smoking inside the apartment tolerated? Should the noise level be kept to a minimum after a certain time? Questions such as these help to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the get-go.

A cleaning schedule should also be agreed upon—perhaps one roommate absolutely detests vacuuming while another would rather that over dusting. Divide the chores up and determine how often they should be done. To enforce this schedule, perhaps note it down on a calendar and pin it on the fridge as a constant reminder, and to keep each other accountable.

Discuss how utilities should be split

Splitting up household expenses can be tricky, hence, it is essential to discuss how utilities, such as electricity, water and the internet bills should be split. An easy way to do this is to split the bills equally amongst roommates, but if not, think up a solution that everyone is satisfied with.

A shared money pot may also come in handy when it comes to buying shared household staples.

Respect Shared Spaces

‘Messy’ could be your middle name, but when it comes to living with roommates, it is important to remember that everyone has a different threshold when it comes to messiness. Limit your mess to your own bedroom, and ensure to always clean up after yourself in communal areas, such as the living room or the kitchen.

Actions as simple as refilling the toilet roll if you use the last of it will also definitely be appreciated by your roommates.

Be Mindful about each other

Mutual respect and consideration for each other is the cornerstone of every good roommate relationship. Don’t borrow their belongings before asking, if they have an early start to the day, don’t go blasting punk rock at 3am in the morning, and always extend basic courtesies to each other.

It may also be useful to find out how comfortable they are with people staying over. They may be cool with an odd couch-surfer every now and then, but if your significant other is staying over six times a week, it may be another story.

Communication is Key

When living in such close proximity with others, problems will definitely crop up at one point of time or another. If you have an issue with your roommate, TALK IT OUT.

Yes, this may seem daunting and the idea of leaving passive-aggressive notes for your roommate to find may sound tempting, but trust me, this won’t solve anything. Although confrontation is never comfortable, nipping a problem in the bud would stop resentment from breeding.

Roommate Etiquette 101

How you can afford to move out of your parents basement

Are you a young millennial looking to move out of home, but not quite keen on giving up your morning coffees and weekly avo smash? There are ways you can afford to move out of home while still enjoying this small luxury.

Follow the 50-30-20 plan

This plan is an easy rule of thumb to follow when learning how to budget.

It states:

  • 50% of your savings should be spent on “Needs”, such as rent
  • 30% should be spent on  “Wants”
  • 20% should be saved for a rainy day

This is a smart way to start living within your means and ensures that you always have a balanced budget. Of course, once you get the hang of it, feel free to shake things up and customize this rule according to what you see fit.

Live with roommates

Living with roommates makes economical sense, but some of us may be wary to do so. After all, we’ve all heard at least one “annoying roommate” story, whether its about the girl with no sense of any personal space or the guy who comes home absolutely hammered every morning at 3am. But it doesn’t always have to end in misery.

When it comes to living with roommates, its important that some house rules are laid out. Aside from ensuring that your temperaments match, agree on matters such as how much contribution is expected towards household bills and cleaning habits. By being honest about what is expected from each other, its a lot less likely for conflicts to arise.

Find a suburb outside the city

Living on the outskirts of the city centre doesn’t mean that you have to settle for less. Using Liveable, we churned out a couple of suggestions that take into consideration how far the suburb is from the city, whether there are things to do in the area and last but not least, its affordability.

For example, in Sydney, both Summer Hill and Ashfield are less than 30 minutes to the city via public transport. Costing an average of $246/week and $229/week respectively for shared housing, these suburbs are also convenient, with a high number of restaurants, bars and supermarkets in their vicinities.

Cook more

Put down Deliveroo and close your Ubereats app. That’s right – instead of collecting that piping hot pizza, pick up a bag of groceries instead.

Not only will this save you heaps of money, but restaurants and commercially prepared food are notorious for being high in fat and salt. By taking the time to prepare yourself a hearty home-cooked meal, you’ll get a peace of mind knowing that your food is more nutritious and healthier for you in the long-run.

How you can afford to move out of your parents basement