Paperless Post: A Sustainable Alternative To Sending Christmas Cards This Year

[Ad] This year I’ve focused on how I could live more intentionally. I had a massive declutter and I’ve tried to find alternatives to single-use plastics. So when Paperless Post approached me and asked me to look at their range, I was so excited. With Paperless post, have I found a sustainable alternative to sending Christmas cards this year?

Photo of iPad with Christmas lights and cracker around it

I can’t believe I’m using the “Christmas” word already. But time has just flown by this year. I know if I don’t get sorted soon, it will be March before I know it! To get me in the Christmas spirit, I had to pop on a good old Christmas film. What is your favourite Christmas film?

What is Paperless Post?

Paperless Post provides a sustainable alternative to sending cards and invitations, so I was so happy when they offered me the opportunity to try our sending their paperless Christmas cards this year.

I’m quite a traditional when it comes to sending cards through the post. Yet, this doesn’t really sit well with looking towards living more intentionally, with less waste and environmental impact.

How does it work?

It all about coins. You have to buy coins to use as credit. Some cards are free and adding customisable elements will cost you various amounts of coins.

I chose a basic cute penguin design for one group of people and a customisable card and uploaded a photo for another.

Step one: Choose your design

I have to say there were lots of different options. 452 cards came up for a “Christmas card” search alone. You can obviously also choose a holiday or New Year if you don’t celebrate Christmas.

Some of the designs are free and others start at for example two coins.

Step two: Customise

You can use the free backdrop, or you can pay a coin to change it, or completely remove the background.

Next, you can edit the text in the body of the card. You can edit the text as much or as little as you want.

Then you can choose the lining of the envelope, or leave it as the preset one. It costs one coin to change it, but I quite liked the bright yellow polka dots.

You can then decide if you want to pay a coin to change the stamp or leave it as the free Paperlesspost stamp.

Step three: Reply options

Next, we have the reply options. This is really handy should you be sending an invitation or a save the date, as you can customise to add the date to their calendars, send information links to your venue, etc.

Step four: add your recipient’s email address

Finally, you pop in your recipient’s details and email address. You can even import a cvs file if you want to send to multiple recipients. Again that would be brilliant for a wedding or large event.

As simple as that?

Yep. Just press send and your beautiful, customisable card pops into your recipient’s inbox. The simple design I created cost just three coins and a personalised card just five coins.

I love the idea that the cards look like “real” cards, but can be a small step towards being more sustainable. The fact it looks like a real card and it opens up on your screen is really effective. Something which looks like you’ve really made the effort.

The fact the cards are customisable means you don’t feel like your just getting a spam email which everyone is getting. Just the perfect way to say you’re thinking of them. Although, I’m not sure if I would still prefer to send a paper card for birthdays as it’s that bit more personal.

I’ve just taken over a pub, so I’m thinking that Paperless Post is going to come in very handy to send our customers cards, invitations and they also allow you to create flyers to send directly to social media.

I think Paperless post would also be a great idea if you’re getting married, for example. We spent a fortune on postage sending out the save the dates and then the invitations.

I’m now thinking about what other areas can I look to be more sustainable.

Do you prefer traditional cards or are you going paperless?

 

*This post is kindly sponsored by Paperless Post. All opinions are my own.

Five Areas To Start Decluttering For A More Simple Life

Have you ever reached the point where you look around and there is stuff everywhere? Me too, enough is enough and it is time to declutter. If you’re anything like me you put it off because it just all looks way too overwhelming. Instead, I’ve broken it down into five areas I’ve used to start decluttering for a more simple life.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done a mass declutter, but this is going to be the last. Last time I decluttered I was living in London, had a load of stuff still at my mum’s house and had stuff at Dan’s flat. It all seems much more manageable in three different homes.

I had also moved house on average about every 18 months up until that point. It’s like moving so often disguised the sheer amount of stuff I had because I had to dispose of it before I moved. That’s not good in terms of the amount of stuff, but also the environmental impact of the waste that’s created. Going forward, I’m determined to live more intentionally and clutter isn’t compatible with that lifestyle.

Picture of flowers on a table. mirror in the background showing minimalist closet/wardrobe

Here are the five areas you can start to decluttering for a more simple life:

1. Clothes 

In the words of Marie Kondo get everything out onto the bed. Like everything. I felt like this was the easiest part given that I had already decluttered my wardrobe a few times this year. I also had a load of clothes that I knew no longer fitted, which makes things a lot easier.

If I was unsure of anything, I would wear it. Yes, I spent some afternoons in jeans that were too tight and tops that revealed waaay too much. I knew though that these items just needed to be washed and donated.

Tip: Before you start sorting, go around every area in your house where you store clothes.  Make sure you include clothes in drawers, coats, under the bed and spare room.

2. Shoes and bags 

I have no idea why, but I’ve realised I buy similar shoes and boots over and over. There are so many duplicates of similar boots! I think it’s definitely easier to declutter in the summer as in the winter I may have found the boots more “essential”. Fingers crossed I don’t regret the cull I’ve had.

I had the same problem with duplicate bags. Before the end of summer, I bought a duplicate of a large bag. Just in case the one I was using broke or something. Seriously, Helen! The irony of the whole decluttering process is that I found a Radley bag I didn’t even remember I had. This is how absurd owing too much stuff is.

Tip: Can you display your bags on a shelf going forward? Even better pack them inside with newspaper to help retain their shape and the bags you keep will last a whole lot longer.

3. Toiletries and make up 

I can’t lie, I hated this bit. This area was massive and I felt quite overwhelmed. I have a tendency to buy “back ups” just in case. In case of what? Who knows. I have four spare shower gels and six spare shampoos, just as an example. We live within walking distance of so many shops! The emotional spending I do on toiletries is an area I need to work on, so that I can live a more clutter-free simple life.

Make up used to be a big clutter pile for me. I originally started out as a beauty and lifestyle blog. Erm, so I can’t even do a winged eyeliner look. If I look back on that period, I am extremely grateful for all the things I was given for being in the beauty community, but most of it was wasted on me. Thankfully, most of it I was able to pass onto my more beauty minded family and friends. Leaving me with only just a modest pile to just sift through.

Tip: Once you have sorted into categories and declutter what you don’t need, clean the things you are keeping. Especially, make up brushes and sponges, which often get neglected with our busy lives.

4. Books and stationery

I have spent most of my life as a student in one form or another, meaning that I could easily justify spending lots of money on excessive amounts of stationery. Yet, I have two cupboards full of just of stationery supplies. The fact I will use most of the stationery meant I was reluctant to declutter too much of it. I just donated much of the school-type stationery I know a primary school could use. Don’t think I will need to buy any more supplies for a long time.

The bookshelves were full to the point we had limited space left for any new books. Although, for some reason I would find myself picking up another book bargain at least once per week in Sainsburys on the way home from work. I also find I only read fast on holiday so I wasn’t getting through the books. Although, that is a great excuse to book another holiday, I guess!

5. Kitchen cupboards

Dan is the cook in our house. I honestly don’t know what half of the untensils are for. This makes it quite difficult to work out if we actually need something, or it is just a gimmicky utensil. Dan however appears now on a mission to show me. I got a heart shaped egg for breakfast – winner.

I’ve found by really categorising everything into, for example, food storage containers, we can see what we have. And boy did we have a lot of storage containers! I realised, as with the other ares I’ve decluttered, I would buy duplicates because I couldn’t see that we had enough already. As I want to move away from single use plastic though, the containers will actually come in handy for freezing food.

Tip: Once you’ve sorted through everything, make sure that everything has its own home. That way once you need that thing, you know exactly where it is. 

My progress so far…

I’m only a month or so into the decluttering process so there is a long way to go as you can see by the photos. Yet, I can already see the benefits. Decluttering has felt so therapeutic that I got lost in the process. It really is like my mind feels clearer and I know what I own and where things are.

Five Areas To Start Decluttering For A More Simple Life

Another benefit of decluttering is that I’ve also been wearing different clothes. Not my usual jeans or leggings and a top combo. I can actually see what’s in my wardrobe! This has made me feel more put together and therefore helped me feel more confident. Total winner. Especially given I now own less clothes. For the first time I was able to go away for a long weekend with just  a carry-on suitcase, saving about £120 when we went to Milan!

 

Have you started decluttering for a more simple life?

Or live a more minimal lifestyle? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Five Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

Can you believe that it’s already September? The minute the schools go back, my attention really focuses on the fact that we are so far into the year. But, this is a great opportunity to easily view and review the year and what has happened so far this year and what you have achieved in 2019. More importantly, there is this last chunk of the year in which we can really focus on what you can achieve before 2020 and find easy ways to improve your life going forward.

Ok, so can we take a mo to say 2020! Like how is it almost 2020? But also every time I say 20/20 I think of the 90s alcopop. Did anyone else drink 20/20 back in the day?

Five Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

Do you feel like you could improve something or you would just like to change something? Or you just want the push in the right direction? I have come up with five things that I think could be easy ways to improve your life over the next few months and going into 2020.

1. Review your goals.

Did you achieve them? If not, why? Think – were they perhaps too wide? Could you narrow them? Or, are they even relevant if you have changed circumstances?

I checked my 2019 goals and they were focused on achieving my Master’s degree, getting organised and improving my Pinterest and photography skills. The fact that I was juggling a Masters with work and life played on my mind regarding my organisation skills or lack of. I can easily get in a pickle if I don’t plan properly, leaving me feeling overwhelmed, so I always try to plan as much as I can.

Fast forward a few months. The Masters is done, but life is still a little uncertain going forward. Pinterest I kind of get. Photography – I haven’t done anything to improve my skills. Going forward, I know photography could be a very valuable skill to hone. I need to figure out whether I will learn by doing a course or just playing.

2. Manifest your dreams. 

As with the law of attraction, a manifestation is where you apply your thoughts and your energy and use it to create your reality.

If there were no limits on money, time or anything. How do you want your life to look like in 2020 and beyond? How do you want your life to improve? 

Spend some time self-reflecting and being honest with yourself. You could do this privately in your journal. Nobody needs to read, but acknowledge, accept and ask the universe. Or you could create a vision board or a Pinterest board to log your ideas.

When you have figured out what you want your life to look like, how will you achieve that? You can always make time by getting up an hour earlier. Decluttering to live a more simple life. Join a dating app. Whatever it is that you decided you want, think about how you can make it happen.

3. Identify anything that is holding you back.

What is holding you back from achieving something or living the life you love?

For me this is clutter. I want live more intentionally, to be more sustainable and work in a clear space. Therefore, I know that I need to declutter. Although I’m doing quite well on this. I am focusing on using up my “backups”. Then going forward I want to think more responsibly about the sustainable options available when it comes to replacing things like shampoo, shower gel, etc.

4. Set 3 new goals.

We have 3 clear months left of the year. You can either set a goal a month or goals that will go into 2020.

If you don’t have any specific goals, why not mix it up? Find a goal that challenges you. A goal that makes you happy and a goal that sets a routine for the future. Remember that making things routine is what makes a habit stick.

Personally, I want to keep socially pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I would rather hide indoors, but I need to get out there. It mixes well with the goal to make me happy, as I can combine getting out there and meeting my fave peeps and meeting new peeps. For the future, I want to find a way of reducing plastic. I want to reduce waste and be more sustainable in the future. This means looking at single-use plastic and finding alternatives.

5. Crack on.

Hands up, procrastination and a lack of confidence are the biggest obstacles that stop me achieving most of the things I want. For me, I just need to crack on and do! Having a GYST day where I dedicate time to writing to-do lists and organising is essential. I see GYST days as a form of self care as they’re usually things on your mind. Things that if you’re not careful can start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, I forget important things and it all just feels a bit too much. 

What do you need to just do? Is it something left unsaid. A chat you need to have with your boss. Write it out and work out where you are going with it.

When you’re done, make sure to reward yourself. Celebrate the fact you have done something that scared you or made you feel uncomfortable. You’re braver than you think!

 

How will you improve your life?

6 Ways We Can Live A More Simple And Intentional Life

How can we live a more simple and intentional life? I am committed to seeing what intentional living and simplifying my life has to offer. I’ve put this off for so long, but I have more stuff than our flat can comfortably “house” and the “backups” are getting overwhelming. How much of this overwhelming stuff is impeding my mental health journey? I have been exploring how we can live more intentionally and the benefits it can bring. Following my little journey, I’ve come up with 6 ways we can live a more simple and intentional life:

6 Ways We Can Live A More Simple And Intentional LifeWhat living more intentionally means to me

A few years back I saw the whole intentional living thing going about the blogosphere and didn’t think it applied to me. I was on a mission to “find myself” and in doing so I needed to buy the perfect outfit or thing. I had no idea who I was or what would make me happy. Parcels would arrive daily, but they didn’t have the answer for me. I was trying to create this life that I loved by consuming more and more things. Yet, in reality, my life was just getting filled with stuff.

Intentional living is about living by the goals and values that mean the most to us. As we all have values and beliefs that are unique to us, intentional living will mean something different to all of us. It means putting the things that are most important to us, at the centre in our own lives.

With that in mind, here are 6 ways we can set towards living a more simple and intentional life:

1. Living in the moment

How much of your time do you spend living in the past or for tomorrow? I am extremely guilty of this. But in doing so we’re sacrificing the precious time that we have right here and now in the present.

All the time I spend worrying about the “what ifs”, is time away from making memories. All the time I spend on my phone when I could be having a meaningful conversation is a time I won’t get back.

I had counselling a few years back and she told me to stop and look around me. It didn’t happen overnight, but by looking into mindfulness, I started noticing the small things. The small things, which allow you to appreciate the bigger things.

2. Being grateful

Start every morning by reflecting on your blessings. Say “thank you” for everything and everyone in your life. I try to work gratitude into my morning routine. I have started going back to writing in my journal the things I am grateful for.

Also remembering to say thank you. Saying thank you to the bus driver or the lady who served you in the shop, costs nothing and everyone feels better for it.

3. Placing value on experiences, not things.

Placing value on material things, won’t always make you happy. As I said I have so much stuff, I don’t even know what half of it is. I have no idea how much money I have spent on all of this stuff, but it doesn’t make me happy.

Looking at it now, the space I was trying to fill with stuff, was an attempt to fill some emotional gap. I had a bad day at work, so I bought crap. I felt down, I bought something to make me feel better. Any blank space was a space needing to be filled.

Experiences, on the other hand, don’t even have to cost anything. Yet, they leave us with lasting memories. Memories we can call on when we are having a bad day. We recently had a spur of the moment drive to the seaside and it brought back good memories and created new ones. Much more lasting than clothes I bought after a bad day, which invariably have ended up in the charity bag because they were impulse purchases.

4. Declutter your space

Dan always jokes that I open the wardrobe and stare at it. He thinks I stare in awe. I stare because there is so much stuff that I can’t work out what is in there! I did a post recently on how the Keto diet helped me lose weight. The excess clothes was a massive stumbling block on Marie Kondo-ing my wardrobe.

As well as my wardrobe, I’m doing a thorough assessment of everything I own. Deciding what I need, what to donate and what is beyond repair. I mean I have a drawer just packed full of face masks. How many face masks does one person need! It is truly liberating.

Although, it’s not the first time I have been in this position. I have had many a mass declutter in the past. Yet, the need to fill some emotional void, means I end up with stuff once again. This is something I am working on as stuff doesn’t equal happiness.

Going forward I will make an effort to make only purposeful purchases. Thinking about what I am purchasing. Finding more natural and ethically sourced items. For example, I want to make the change from shampoo and shower gel to soaps once I’ve used up the mountain of “backups”.

5. Declutter your mind

Now that your space is clear, you can move your focus to de-cluttering your mind. Most of your mental clutter comes in the form of ‘to-do’s’. The constant thought processes of ‘don’t forget to buy milk’ or ‘I should decide on x’, is cluttering your mind. I talked in my post about dealing with overwhelm, about the importance of a brain dump and writing it all down.

Now that you’ve got it all out, go through every item that you’ve written down and make a decision. Do you want to spend your mental energy caring about this item, or not? If not, and it’s not important, cross it off. If it’s something that needs doing, prioritise.

6. Setting out your personal policies

What are the values and beliefs that are important to you? More importantly, learning to say ‘no’ when something conflicts with your personal values and beliefs. This is the bit I am currently at. The decluttering has given me space to think.

So going forward, I want to value the important moments by being engaged and present in the moment. An important aspect of this for me is capturing the moment by recording a 1 Second (not sponsored, just love the app).

I also want to be mindful of what I’m buying. If it doesn’t fit with my purposeful purchasing, then I need to think before I buy.

Hopefully, all of this combined will help us lead a more a more simple and intentional life!

 

Have you embarked on an intentional living lifestyle? 

I would love to hear your thoughts or tips.

Lots of love,

Helen xoxo