School Bag Organisation

Bags, Bags, Bags! School bags, sports bags, library ags, swimming bags plus all of the school stuff! Over the years we have constantly been on the hunt for the perfect storage and organisation solution, for school “stuff”. When we had just one child at school it was easy to contain it in just one set of drawers.

IKEA – STUVA Drawers

These were from Ikea and can you see what we used each drawer for. However, once we had two children at school these were too bulky for our space. So we set about converting our existing “Launch Pad” to include school storage.

Idea 2 – Using the IKEA Trofast Unit

Ikea has long been one of my first stops for all things storage and organisation especially for the bulkier/furniture items. Initially I was thinking of using a TROFAST. Which I think if you had kindy/daycare age children could work. The good thing about this idea, was that for little ones the bag was on the bottom so easy for them to put away themselves!

Enter, KALLAX. The initial problem we had with the KALLAX (which was at that stage called the EXPEDIT) was that the shelves weren’t big enough to hold a full size school bag. So….we simply left out a shelf! I can not believe it was that easy! When we assembled it we left out one of the shelves to create a larger opening that could easily hold a school bag. Even know with a giant high schooler bag it still fits!

We then used the Kallax 2 Drawer Units in the other two spaces to create a place to organise Library bags, Homework books or folders, spare raincoats, school STUFF.

Our Mud Room Set Up

The only change we have made to this system is to buy one more as we now have THREE KIDS AT SCHOOL! Also to allow a bit more space around it we moved the Launch Pad over to be adjacent to the school bags. It is really important to remember to be flexible with your organising systems! Ours has changed so much over the years as our family grew and as our needs changed. I can only imagine what the years ahead will hold! 3 teenagers? HELP! Should I do a ideo of our mudroom? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The Launch Pad – A peek into our Mud Room.

I can not believe it is Term 2! I know for a fact, that every term I say this term will be busy, but….THIS TERM IS CRAZY!

Me – Full time work, part time study of my Masters, a house to manage and most importantly three kids with crazy schedules!

Master O – Year 7 course load, Soccer season, NAPLAN, two bands (equals two early starts), one speech and drama eisteddfod and life.

Little Miss A – Year 4, Athletics season (half way through the term), Cross Country season (including the dreaded early starts) two dancing eisteddfods and life.

Chunky Hunky – Prep and starting his first “real” extra curricular, RUGBY!

So how do we manage it all? Three tips.

  1. Get Organised
  2. Plan
  3. Routines

and to do all of that we start each term fresh with a new Launch Pad.

What is a launch pad? It is a place in the home used to “Launch” us into our day every day. For us it has to include;

Get Organised: A place to store EVERYTHING. Everything school and activity related lives in our Ikea Kallax unit with baskets from Bunnings. It holds, drink bottles, lunch boxes and bags, hats, swim gear, dancing gear, green bags and socks.
On top of the shelves we have first aid on the right and some small drawers on the left.
In the small drawers we have; coins, name labels, sticky notes, receipts etc.

On top of those we have our charging station for all devices to rest on whilst at home (we only use devices in the car, at school, at after school activities)

The Top Organisation area of the Launch Pad

Plan: A term calendar. I make this using Outlook Calendar, a colour for each person, print and then photocopy onto a3. I then place it in an a3 frame (Kmart) so that we can add sticky notes, cross off days with a whiteboard marker etc.

Calendars, timetables and lists, lists, lists!

Plan: Don’t Forget Board: Well that is what I originally called it but felt like just saying the word forget would mean we would forget! So we have gone with Remember! We stick sticky notes on here for the little things that pop up, like take a gold coin for a dress up day, raffle tickets on sale, a change to routine for a week etc.

Our Weekly Timetable (Filled in each term to match the changes in activities.)



Routine: Weekly Timetable: This includes the activities that occur every week and also the school activities like uniforms, PE, Library etc.

Routine: Get Organised Board: This is a new addition to hopefully prevent me from repeating myself a million times every afternoon and every morning. Put your clothes in the wash, where is your lunch box, I haven’t seen your homework. You know STUFF. ON REPEAT. I have made up lists for our most common routines (Before school, After School, Chores, Packing Bags) They can then be attached to the board using the peg whenever that job needs to be done.

Within the Kallax Unit we have 8 baskets from Bunnings (labelled along time ago with my Silhouette Cameo and desperately needing replacing!)

These contain; Drink Bottles, Lunch Bags and boxes, Swimming Gear, Socks, Sports gear (athletics tights, shorts etc) Green Bags, Dancing Gear (leotards and stockings) Hats. I liked the softer baskets as they don’t mark the shelves and I liked that they were full size so they looked neat and tidy.

When we built the house we made sure to have a “mud room” straight off the garage and between the laundry and pantry. It is the dumping zone and home of the Launch Pad and school bag organisation (More about that in the next post!)

School Bag Organisation – With Garage to the right and Laundry to the left.

This has been life changing! This was one of our biggest issues in our old house as the storage area, laundry and pantry were all at the opposite end of the house to the garage. Now everything can be dumped (including groceries) as close to the car as possible.


So here we go, ready to hit Term 2, running, literally!

Meal Planning 101

We have now been meal planning for more than six years!  I have to admit we have been a bit relaxed about meal planning during the holidays (read too relaxed to do much of anything!) but we are now gearing up to get back on track.  We have had more time during the holidays to think about our meals and shop at the last minute but we have noticed our grocery bill skyrocket!  I mean triple the amount we usually spend!!!

My very used, highlighted and scribbled on meal plan.

So now my tips for meal planning.  I know I have published them before but due to the number of requests here they are AGAIN!!!

1. 7 Days of Creation.  For us it is a strictly 7 day plan.  I can’t think that far ahead and grocery shopping with two children in tow means that a weeks worth of groceries already takes us two hours!

2. Don’t just think dinners.  I try and plan it so that Wednesday’s and Thursday’s dinner meals are left over worthy so that I can take them for lunch the following day.  This has meant we are saving a further $10-15 a week on lunches!

3.  Kids Menu.  I try to plan meals that are easy for children to eat or can easily be altered, it saves cooking two different dinners!

4.  Sunday well Spent.  Our usually plan our meals and do the grocery shopping on Sunday’s.  I then spend Sunday afternoon doing any meal prep I can including making a weeks worth of lunches for both myself and the kids!

5.  Shop around.  Ok so it is not as convenient BUT…we have Aldi, Woolworths, Coles and a Dollar Store at our local shopping centre.  After a month of shopping I know which products are cheaper at each store! I generally start at Aldi, then head to Woolworths/Coles.  I can’t rave about Aldi enough, my only grips is sometimes I love a product so much only to see it dissappear from shelves and never appear again!

6. Do not shop without your plan and list.We have all read about how much extra money you spend when you shop without a list.  Now times that saving by two for a plan and a list!  When you have a plan you only buy what is on the plan.  No vegetables rotting in the bottom of the fridge because you bought them without a purpose!

NOW HERE IS A BIG ONE. We have developed a Monthly Plan for household shopping.  We were living with a horrible cycle of everything running out at once! Toilet paper, cleaning products, toiletries it would be a huge budget blowout, we would stock up again to face a month later that everything had run out at the same time…AGAIN!  so…..on my meal plan and shopping List printable you will notice a lack of “BIG” items.  It works like this….. Each month is divided into 4 weeks.  Each week we have a designated “Monthly Items Shop” This way we can also save money by buying in bulk and never run out of the necessities like toilet paper!

Monthly Items -Week 1 – Toiletries – Toilet Paper, Shampoo & Conditioner, Soap, Baby Bath, Tissues, Hair Colour, Personal Care etc
Week 2 – Cleaning – Dishwashing liquid and tablets, Spray and Wipe, Sponges, Air Freshener, Blue Loo
Week 3 – Household – Washing powder, batteries, lightbulbs, fly spray, stationery,
Week 4 – Kitchen – Glad Wrap, Paper Towel, Serviettes, Alfoil, Snap lock bags, Sugar, Flour etc The key to making the monthly shop work is really thinking ahead.  After 1 month of sticking to it you get an idea of exactly what quantities of each item you require to last the month. So where do you keep all of these plans and lists? I have created our very own meal plan and shopping list.

Here is mine for the week.  I use the spaces on the left to fill out what is for lunch AND dinner each day.  In a few weeks we will be back into the school and work lunches routine.  We are preparing now by thinking about how we can best use our grocery shopping and dinners to also to provide lunches.  

The next space is a place to write down the shopping items needed for that particular meal.  The final column is our weekly shopping list, with a little space down the bottom for other shopping, this week its a storage container and contact.

For us meal planning has saved us time, money and sanity.  But it’s more about what it gives me.  The satisfaction knowing my family are eating healthy meals, I feel organised and on top of things, well the meals at least!!!

Do you meal plan?  Would you like to try?


Easter Biscuits

A quick, easy, cheap and delicious Easter or Party activity for kids!

With Little Miss A’s 9th Birthday Party being during the Easter Holidays it was an easy decision to make it Easter themed!  To keep them entertained we decorated Easter Biscuits.

Ingredients:

Arrowroot Biscuits – One pack was more than enough for 5 children to make 3 biscuits each.

Icing Sugar

Food Colouring

Decorations – Sprinkles, hundreds and thousands, mini smarties.

We simply mixed sifted icing sugar with water in plastic bowls (easy clean up)  Add food colouring to create your desired colours.  We chose Pink, Blue and Purple. 

Decorate!  We found plastic spoons were the best for spreading icing and sprinkling decorations on

Even Mr 5 loved decorating them.  Fine Motor Skills in action!

Such an easy crowd pleaser as a school holiday activity, plus it doubled as a sweet afternoon tea snack!  I am most definitely making the most of these Easter acitivties as I know our days of kids wanting to craft and decorate are numbered 🙁 Notice which child is missing?

The Play Room

I think our play room would be up there with our most written about room in blog posts!

To give you a bit of context, we have always had a play room.  Before I was a mother, I was a teacher so had amassed a massive collection of books, toys, games and even furniture for my “some day” children.  I know, crazy.  So when we designed our first build we were sure to include a play room.

Evolution of the Playroom

In that house the play room was just off the dining room with a dwarf wall in between.  It was perfect for keeping an eye on toddlers not so perfect for containing mess.

Most the furniture you see here was made for me by a students father.  It holds even more sentimental value now as he has since passed away.  He made a collage table, square table with chairs, bookshelf and easel.  One of the most valuable pieces of furniture has always been the IKEA Expedit (Now Kallax) unit.

I am sad to say that between the two house moves and now having children aged 12, 9 and 5, our Playroom has become very minimal.  We are hardly ever home to make use of a playroom .  Instead it form one half of our “rumpus” room.   We designed the house with this in mind with the rumpus being at the opposite end of the house to the other living spaces. Now the mess and noise is private and contained!  The other half of the room is a sofa bed and tv (with gaming console of course!).  It has transitioned into the perfect party and sleepover room.

Our Current Playroom Shelves

However Miss 9 and Mr 5 still PLAY.  So some tried and true toys have stayed.  So what have we kept?
On Top of The Shelf: Card Games, Puzzles, Board Games, Games

Top Shelf: Craft (Container from Reject Shop and kept up high away from a certain 5 year old), Flash cards and educational games, Education blocks, Phonics cubes, counters.

2nd Shelf: Wooden Police Station (Kmart), Learning books, Magnet Tiles, Mobilo.

3rd Shelf: Clip Constructions, Vehicles, Colouring In, Figurines.

Bottom Shelf: Train Set, Blocks, Duplo, Army.

All baskets are these from Kmart: https://www.kmart.com.au/product/storage-container-with-lid—medium,-white/580309

Labels: I made with grey Oracle Vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo.

Current Book Shelf Set Up

Opposite the Toy Shelf, is the Book Shelf. I have used small Kmart baskets for the early readers, golden books etc and then the shelves have picture books.  I have three more tubs of picture books behind the books shelves that I rotate through.  Older kids books are kept upstairs on the lounge room book shelf.

One area I do miss and would love to set up again was the writing/drawing table.  With the third child now at school, we are back in the world of Sight Words and learning letters!

Our old craft table.

I think this system could still work but with a taller table suitable for bigger kids!   Systems and storage ideas that work for our changing family are always being amended.  I have always bought cheap but sturdy items for this reason.  For a quick tour of our playroom baskets checkout my Instagram.com/theorganisednests story highlights.  Oh and I would love to see your playroom!  Tag me in your pictures!

2019 Family Life Update

Well they say every year goes faster than the last and 2018 was no exception. What can I say? Life for our family has never been busier. At the end of 2016 I left the classroom (and my school of 12 years) to pursue a leadership position at a different school. The positive being it is a job I absolutely love and super close to the kid’s school (no more bus!) the negative being, I had to return to work full time for the first time since having Master O in 2007! It was a shock to the system and has taken two years of fine tuning, balancing and co-ordinating but we are getting there.

Well we were….now with our last little one starting school and not having the convenience of the long “day care” hours, the juggling will begin all over again. That little #chunkyhunky is about to start Primary School. He is super ready, mainly because he finally gets to join his big brother at school and attend the school he has been “hanging around” since he was born. His name means “Bright of Mind and Spirit” and he is exactly that. So full of JOY! He is active, imaginative, creative, a “mystery solver” with a massive expressive vocabulary. He says he is going to play Soccer this year but he has an innate desire to tackle! Not sure how I feel about a rugby playing son!

Little Miss A. Last year after the most amazing guidance from her coaches, dance teachers and school teacher absolutely flourished. Anyone who has met her knows how quiet and reserved she is. She struggles with any kind of attention. But 2018…..was her year! The child who fears show and tell got up in front of her class, delivered a speech and was elected by her peers as class captain! I still cry thinking about what a moment that was! She truly believes now that she can do it! Her arms, legs and hair continue to grow at an incredible speed which is helpful when you love to run and jump. She took at the High Jump Championship for the second year in a row, placed in all her school athletics events (even shot put!) and represented her school in Athletics, Cross Country (which is her favourite) and Touch Football. However, it is at the dancing studio that she spends most her time. The friendships and confidence she has gained through dancing is worth every cent and every minute spent driving her around to exam workshops and eisteddfods. We this year mastered the “quick side stage change” and she aced ALL of her exams.

Master O, who was the inspiration for this whole blogging game is nearly 12! Off to high school, which is thankfully part of his P-12 school so very familiar. High School does however mean, lockers, timetables, new teachers, text books and his worst fear LOTS OF HOMEWORK! He had agreed to scale back extra-curricular activities but I don’t think it will happen! Last year he thrived at Speech and Drama and loved Debating and Trumpet (so they will all continue!) but he also dabbled at Soccer for this first time in a long time and loved it too!

The Lakehouse. Well it is everything I always dreamed of, a work in progress but I still pinch myself that our dream of a white house, with a blue door, by the Lake came true. To save money we had the builder complete just the bare bones of the house and then we have done everything else ourselves. Which means MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, TIME, TIME, TIME! My poor husband has worked his absolute butt off building retaining walls, fencing, staircases, gardens, hanging curtains, mirrors, installing lights and we are still working on so much more! Lots of blog posts to come!

As I write this I realise just how much I have missed writing. Instagram and Facebook are amazing for sharing but are just not the same as a BLOG POST! I truly hope to share more of our home, life, teaching and adventures in 2019.

101 Lunch Box Ideas and a Lunch Box Planner!

Can you believe it has now been 7 years since I first started packing lunchboxes on this blog! The days are long but the years are so short.

What has changed in that time?  We now have Master O entering his last year of Primary school, so no more cute shaped sandwiches or bento lunch boxes.  Its all about BULK!  That kid eats more than an adult!  Little Miss A is STILL THE FUSSIEST eater you have ever seen.  She tends to request the same lunch EVERY day!  Our little Hurricane is now in full time Pre-Prep and lucky for us they supply all his food. He is by far our best and biggest eater and will request eggs with smoked salmon and French toast for breakfast.

But lunchboxes…..Our 101 ideas is essential to keeping the variety going because come mid term, I am OVER making lunch decisions.  The planner helps ensure we are fulfilling a variety of dietary requirements and nutritional needs.  Even better the planner has been helpful in nurturing independent packers of lunch boxes.  They each know they need to pack something form each category.

You can DOWNLOAD, PRINT and PLAN for FREE!

Don’t forget if you use it to share a picture on Instagram (tag @theorganisednest or Facebook)

Bento Lunch Ideas

Lunch-Box-Weekly-Plan-Blank

 

Happy Planning!

Hamptons Style Kitchen Inspiration

hamptons-kitchen

Well to say it has been a long time between posts is understatement.  It is all down to one thing…..The Lakehouse.

After spending months (6-7) talking to the one builder and architect (see the last post)  and having all our hopes in them, we were forced to pull the pin.  It just wasn’t working out the way we had planned and we needed to cut our losses while we still could.  The upside is we are now with a new builder!  Well actually not that new at all as they built our last house!!!!

Plans are done and we are now at the stage of making our final inclusions before we get the all important quote back.  Which leads me to this post!  As a project builder they have their own “Interior Designer” who helps us with our selections.  They were needing some inspiration from us about what our take on”Hamptons” style is.  Turns out it means lots of different things to everyone!

FARMHOUSE SINK

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We LOVE the Ikea DOMSJO Farmhouse sink with GLITTRAN tapware.  A great price and perfectly fits with the style of the kitchen.

SHAKER CABINETS

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The sophisticated and simple design of shaker cabinets.  Shaker cabinets are simply ” characterized by five-piece door with a recessed center panel.”   Of course our colour selection is WHITE on WHITE!

STONE BENCHES

Our builder includes 40mm Stone Benches in their standard inclusions.

Of course our selection again will be white, well close to it!  We love these…

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SUBWAY TILES

This has been a hard one!  Who knew that one type of white tile could come in so many different finishes and sizes!

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For us the decision is…..

Small

Gloss

White Grout

For a seamless, shimmery look.

PENDANT LIGHTS

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This is the layout of our kitchen.  I am hoping to add 2 pendant lights over the breakfast bar.  This is probably a part of the build we will organise ourselves.  We did this last time with our builder so fingers crossed we can again!  We sourced and supplied the lights and they installed them!

I have found lots of inspiration but sourcing them in Australia is a whole other story!

Temple and Webster

Temple and Webster

Lightworks Online

Lightworks Online

 

Interiors Online

Interiors Online

 These are the current front runners but the Temple and Webster light is almost a given!  Except would it match the rest of our chrome?

So that is where we are at with Kitchen Inspiration!

We would love your feedback about any of our choices, items you have seen that we might love or kitchen purchases you have regretted!

Stay tuned for some facade drawings very soon!!!

The Building of The Lake House –

Once upon a time a young newly married couple scoured South East Queensland looking for a good place to settle.  As fate would have it after only a few weeks in Brisbane they both scored jobs in the same suburb!  It was a rapidly growing estate.  It was small and bushy but held great promise.  They bought a block of land as big and as close to the lake as they could afford.

Over the years as every time they walked along the lake, they said to themselves.  “How good is this!  We can never live anywhere else!” The community grew, a shopping centre, parks, public transport, schools.  Now they had everything they needed and no need to ever move.  But as they walked each afternoon they dreamed of a block of land on the other side of the lake.  A little island surrounded by two lakes, that would one day be developed and connected by a road.

Life happened and the couple had three children.  The family grew but alas the yard didn’t.  The house was more than adequate but the title family dreamed of a pool and a bigger kitchen and of course that land over on the island.

They would drop in to the land office occasionally, to enquire on timeframes of the island being developed. 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 10 years passed and then…….

August 2015

“Dear Prospective Buyer,  We are excited to announce that premium land within the “Island” estate is set to be released this month”

We were completely unprepared.  I wasn’t working, we had a house to sell, we had so much to do but we knew these things happen quickly and this land would go quickly if we didn’t jump on it.

September 2015

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The never ending list making of jobs to be done in preparation to sell.

A major decluttering and cleaning of the house.  We decide to prepare the house for the inevitable.  Selling.  For the first time ever (we have prepared the house for market before) I am not sad but excited.  We have real and tangible plans in place, making the lake house a possibility.  Its amazing that it took the sale of the house to finally finish some projects that we had intended to do for the last 10 years!

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Finally finished painting Master O’s bedroom!

 2nd October 2015

Crunch time.  We need to sell our beloved house.  We are worried about a shortfall and want to be realistic on what size land we can afford.  We interview  and choose the real estate agents.

9th  October 2015

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Preparing for the real estate photos

Photos of the house taken and spiel written, signs prepared.

 12th October 2015

We put out much loved first family home on the market.  We had been tempted to do this so many times over the last few weeks but this land was the perfect temptation.  We went with a local agent that we had known for years.  Open homes are scheduled and the pictures hit the internet and now we wait!!!!

Week 10 – 17th October 2015

The land is RELEASED! Yep 10 weeks after the initial panicked email! As we were buying in a new development it wasn’t as easy as looking for a block and buying it.  The process would be complicated but we had been through all of it 11 years earlier.  An email is sent showing all the prospective lots, their size, location and price.  That is it!  You can’t see the land or drive past it, nothing!  Luckily we had already been given a bit of a heads up from the developer.  We have to submit 3 preferences and even then you are not guaranteed your block.  Land is in high demand and it depends on what conditions you place on your contract and how long you have been on the waiting list as to wether you will secure the block you want. We chose with these priorities in mind;

  1. Price
  2. Bigger than what we have
  3. As close to the lake as possible
  4. Flat as possible
  5. Corner (for side access) is a bonus

Week 11 – 26th October

The land is ours!  We only had one preference and we got it.  We had a feeling we would as the odds were in our favour after being on the waiting list for 10 years! Its slightly bigger than our old block, flat, on a corner and ON THE LAKE.  Absolute Lakefront.  The catch.  It wa over budget.  We decided it didn’t matter and went for it.

November

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Making the most of the Cubby while they can!

Nothing but dreaming, planning and living in the never ending hell of selling a house whilst you have 3 children.  Did I say hell?  ABSOLUTE HELL.  I don’t think I could ever do it again. Lots of interest but no one with a serious price.

December

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Our last Christmas in the house.

Contracts start.  The Land contract is finalised with a registration date of April, and the contracts and negotiations start on our house.  Literally up to the end of 2015.

31st December 2015

Unconditional contract on the house signed.  We celebrated and commiserated. This is it, no going back.

January

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This little guy greeted us as we moved into the rental.

Now that the house is sold a new kind of hell begins.  Packing up a house you have lived in for 10 years, whilst returning to full time work for the first time in 9 years and getting prepared for back to school and of course how can I forget….finding a rental.   Not wanting to spend a lot of money but wanting to stay in the same suburb proved quite difficult.  We ended up renting a house that I had never seen! It has 4 bedrooms and 2 living areas but everything is small and cheap.  Most definitely built to be a rental, corners have been cut everywhere.

My husband had it in his head that we could move by ourselves but after a day of it we realised that was not going to happen. My amazing in laws came to the rescue and we moved the weekend after school started. This also happened to be the hottest weekend of the year!

February

I have quietly had a builder in mind the whole time so we organised a meeting with them.  We know that with this particular block and to get our dream home, we will require a custom builder.  We looked for someone with knowledge of Queenslanders in the hope they would “get” our design ideas.  We are wanting a hamptons/coastal/modern queenslander home.  Think white weatherboard and a sprawling front porch.  We met with the builder and his wife in their divine old Queenslander.  It was truly a blessing to find someone who was not only so easy to communicate our ideas to but who was realistic and honest.  They are willing to take on the job and we leave absolutely ecstatic.

March

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Lake House dreaming.

With a folder full of ideas we meet with both the builder and Architect. The Architect operates separately form the builder but also works with him to ensure we all create a design that matches our budget.  The Architect is also a mother and at this meeting she is a few weeks off giving birth to her third baby! I am hoping Mother’s practicality and commonsense will influence her designs.

April

 We are still waiting for the land to be registered. As expected their are delays with the developer.  We eagerly drive by on the other side of the lake trying to make out our blocks boundaries between the trees. Our street has also now been given name.  Can you see how desperate we are for any updates!

May

The block is registered!  Finance is approved.   On the 17th of May 2016 we FINALLY got to drive on our block.  I say drive as we had to be escorted by the construction manager as it is still a construction zone.  Our feet didn’t get to walk on our block but it was oh so good to see it with our own eyes!

June

New satellite images of our block are released and we get a clearer picture of where it sits in relation to everything.  The contract is finalised, the block is settled and finally ours and we have the mortgage to prove it! Most excitingly we could visit the block with the builder and the architect !  This turned out to be a debacle of a day and again we were only allowed restricted access and had to remain in the vehicle.  Our block has been turfed around the edges, roads are done, we have gutters and a footpath is busily being laid.   Now that the Architect has physically seen the block she can start drafting plans!

and that is where we are at……the architect is drawing, the developer still won’t give us full access and we are waiting, waiting, waiting and trying to not kill each other living in this rental.

Now that I am all caught up I hope to update you all more frequently especially as this is where things are now going to start getting really interesting!  For all of our house inspiration check out our Lake House Pinterest Boards and #thelakehouse on Instagram.

 

To Buy or Build? – The Essential List for Homeowners

 Deciding to become a homeowner is a big and very exciting decision.  Followed very quickly by another big question.  To Buy or Build?

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Each comes with its own unique sets of challenges and rewards.  As homeowners we have experienced both.  Our first home we bought an established property and our second home we built. 

TO BUY.

The Rewards.  

Lets start with the good news.  

Buying a property, is generally low risk.  You are purchasing a product you can see and touch. This also makes it easier to get a gut feeling about a property. To an extent you know exactly what you are getting.   With a bit of hunting around and a great pest and building inspection you do have a sense of security knowing al the details about what you have purchased.

Properties in all locations are more readily available than land.  Your ideal suburb is more likely to have established homes for sale than land.  Often land sales are limited to locations that are a little further from the “centre of town”  The area will also have established facilities including roads, parks, shops, schools and public transport. 

You can get an established property at a great price if you happen to find a motivated vendor.  People who have already built a home, can’t make repayments or a change in fmaily circumstances leaves some people desperate to make a quick sale at a low price. 

The Challenges.  

You may not get your perfect personalised home. You are actually buying someone elses design,  and it may be expensive to make any alterations, especially to the layout or size of the property.  Any renovations could uncover some unknown costs including electrical or plumbing problems.  It is very easy for renovation budgets to get blown out  leaving many homeowners wondering if they should have just built in the first place.   Renovating can also come with its own stresses especially if you are time poor or trying to renovate whilst living in the property.  

It is also hard to match up the perfect house and the perfect location.  You may find your perfect home but in a less than desirable street or the perfect street, with all homes out of your budget.  

Age.  An established property comes with “lived in” conditions.  It may need minor repairs, or at least it will sooner rather than later.  

Price.    If you don’t find a motivated seller, there is not much room for negotiation. What you see is what you get.  You may be able to get a great deal in a troubled market but their is not much room for negotiating.  You cant ask for the home you like but in a smaller layout, or tailor the home to suit your budget.  The home has generally already accrued equity and the owners are keen to get that back.  It is also harder to negotiate with owners who are selling their personal much loved property than it is to negotiate with a builder or large development company!  

TO BUILD 

Garth Chapman – Display Home – Stockland North Shore – Interiors by my lovely friend Anna at Ethos Interiors!

The Rewards.  

The biggest reward?  The one that had me at hello? You are getting the exact home you want.  You have the flexibility to create your own home layout and size to suit your families lifestyle.  Need 3 toilets, add it to the plan, don’t need a media room, take it off.  North facing, lets find a block like that.  You can make the most of the space and the environment. The colour pallets, floor coverings and even light fittings are all items you have chosen yourself essentially guaranteering you will love it all!  As you know we are already counting down to our next build!  We love building!

Location.  Ok for some this may have come as a negative.  As mentioned new land is generally released a little further away from the “centre of town”.  The benefit of this is that the developers can create “communities” and plan suburbs specifically around their target audience.  Their were many times we wondered if we had gone too far away from the city, but we have two playgrounds, bbq areas, a lake, a shopping centre and schools literally metres from our house.  The area is full of young families, creating not just a new suburb but neighbourhoods. We have loved growing with our suburb.

Price.  We got an amazing deal on our “built” home.  We could make the most of every dollar spent by doing some of the work ourselves (landscaping, mailbox, driveway) sourcing our own fixtures, and adapting the floor plan so that every space was usable. To get the finished product as an established home we would have at least paid an extra $50K. Because we got a new home at a great price the equity in our home has accrued very quickly! 

The Challenges.

Finding land, a house plan and a builder takes time.  You need to do your homework.  It also takes time to have plans passed through council and for building to actually begin.  Ask for specific build timeframes and get the builder to sign on them.

So we have watched the building horror stories on A Current Affair.  Building does have its risks. But remember for every dodgy builder there are a thousand great ones.  Ask around, word of mouth is the best way to find a reputable builder.  Visit display centres, meet with builders and trust your gut and a google search.  

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Want a new house but don’t want to go through the building process?  All developments offer house and land packages.  These plans have been approved by the council and many are already in the process of being built or are completed homes.  This saves huge amounts of time!!!!! If you are really lucky you can buy whilst it’s still being constructed and even have a say in the colour pallette and fixtures.  Most builders will have these homes “on display”.   Display centres offer you the opportunity to walk through an example of the builders work. An already built property will give you a feel of the layout and size.  You are also getting a finished, new home for one price with no hidden costs. Because the builder has made a deal with the developer for the land you can also get some great deals.  Have I mentioned I have a thing for wandering display homes!  We have been to nearly every display village in Brisbane!  I love to see the latest and greatest home designs, decor and fixtures at work and well….. dream! 

To buy or build?  Nobody has the perfect answer besides you!  You need to find the best option for your situation.  Weigh up the pros and cons, do your homework, look at your budget and then……go house hunting! 

 This is a sponsored post. You know how much I LOVE all things houses, well Stockland asked me to write about my opinion on buying or building.  This post is just that!  I was compensated for my time but not for my opinion!  If you would love to cruise a Stockland display centre click HERE and take some pics to show me!

Love that living room and kitchen?  That is the work of the amazing Anna from Ethos Interiors, remember she helped me with my living room?  Isn’t she talented?!