Reuse/Recycle, Selling Stuff

6 Ways to Stay on Budget and Limit Clutter at your Wedding!

Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life. You’ve been dreaming of the perfect day since you were little, and that means a lot will go into planning your nuptials. A wedding also often comes with a big price tag and a big pile of clutter at the end. How do you have your dream day without creating a lot of unnecessary waste and keep to a reasonable budget? Read on for my top 6 tips I learned when planning my wedding.

1. Pick the Right Venue

Venue: La Grange de la Gatineau

Choosing a venue can be hard, but it’s important to find a place you love and also fits your budget. A big issue I came across at many venues was minimum guest counts required to book the venue. If you’re planning a small wedding, this can really throw your budget out the window. The venue will likely be the most expensive thing you book for your wedding and will dictate the atmosphere of the day. So keep looking until you find something that works for you. We finally came across a smaller venue (La Grange de la Gatineau) which didn’t have the high fees some of the bigger venues had. They allowed us to provide our own alcohol which saved us hundreds of dollars. The venue also required very minimal decorations which helped cut back on our post-wedding clutter!

2. Limit the Guest List

Start by sitting down with your partner and deciding on your ideal number of guests and what fits into your budget. I started by making a list of all our close friends and family. This gave us an idea of how many people we wanted to invite. Then I broke it down into 3 lists: my family, my partners family, and our friends. I found this helped to balance out our guest list. Keep in mind, the more people you invite the more meals, favours, and drinks you’ll have to pay for. Once you have your number of guests, stick with it! This was definitely one of the hardest tasks for me. There will always be family pressures and people you “should” invite. In the end, it’s your wedding day and I strongly believe it’s important to know and like all your guests!

3. Flowers and Decor

Bridal bouquets used as centerpieces.

Your wedding decorations can easily blow your budget! For flowers, do your research and get quotes until you find someone that will work within your budget. To cut costs and reduce waste, use flowers sparingly as accents and pops of colour. For our wedding, we had only a small bundle of flowers in the centerpieces and mixed in candles, jars and twinkle lights to give the effect of a larger centerpiece. At the main table, we put the bridal bouquets into jars so we could display them rather than buying more flowers. To get the look of a lot of flowers without the big price tag, find a venue that has surrounding gardens or beautiful decor to get a similar effect.

This may be the biggest party you plan, and afterwards the amount of stuff you are left with can be overwhelming. Make sure to check with your venue to see if they have decor you can to avoid having to buy everything new. You can also rent decor items which can be returned after the ceremony if your budget allows it.

4. Photography and DJ

These are two big expenses when it comes to planning a wedding. Once again it’s important to do your research and get quotes! If you have a small budget, look into student photographers or newly graduated professionals to get discounted prices. Always be sure to ask for references and examples of work, but often young professionals are eager to expand their portfolio and will do great work. If you don’t want to settle on an amateur, there are other ways to save some money. Opt out of getting engagement photos, limit the time you book your vendors for, and say no to extras they may offer such as photo books or additional speakers and lighting. If your DJ is good, your guests will have a great time dancing even without fancy dance floor lighting. And for photography, there are a lot of places online you can make an album yourself for a fraction of the price. I used Shutterfly, which helped me make a beautiful wedding album for only $50! Plus they have plenty of sales so you can save even more if you’re willing to wait.

5. The Extras

Little things that aren’t accounted for in your wedding budget can really add up. Try taking on some DIY crafts and asking friends for help to balance things out. If you know and trust someone with a task, ask them if they would like to help you, most people will be excited to contribute! For me, I got my sister do my hair and makeup and our friends made our wedding cake. We also made all of our centerpieces and decorations ourselves. We used dollar store items and decorations the venue already had. Then I tasked my mom and venue coordinator to set everything up. We saved a ton of money not hiring someone to decorate! If you have specific decorations in mind, check out online resale websites to find some great deals instead of buying new!

6. Re-Sell

Help cut waste and stop the cycle of buying new by reselling things you won’t use again after the wedding. For decorations, start by asking the venue if they want to buy any of your decorations for future events. Our wedding venue loved our decor and ended up buying our string lights and half the decorations. Plus it feels really good when the venue is giving you money afterwards! Other items can be posted online, there are a lot of wedding resale or trade sites depending where you live. I used Kijiji and Ebay to sell the items I didn’t need.

If you’re planning a wedding, try some of these tips to help cut costs and reduce clutter.

Declutter, Inspiration

The Greatest Lesson I’ve Learned from Living with Less

declutter ottawa, living with less, love lifeA strange thing happens when you decide to declutter your life. What begins as an effort to clear your closest and reclaim some space in your home, can often become a life-altering experience. Many people dismiss the notion of minimalism as elitist or silly. They hear the word minimalist and think “Throw out everything you own and paint all your walls white!” But many who believe in living with less, simply became overwhelmed with their lives and decided to remove the unnecessary. Whether it’s reducing the amount of clutter or limiting the number of commitments you make, the many benefits of minimalism kind of sneak up on you.  Without even realizing it’s happening, your life morphs into something new and usually much better.

If you’ve read our About Us section, you know that for me, minimalism started as a simple effort to make some space in my home. Getting a new roommate meant I would need to to get rid of a lot of stuff to make room for another person in my house. I was having a hard time letting go of my stuff, so I turned to the internet for advice. I came across some great decluttering advice on blogs like Be More with Less and The Minimalists.  Their advice really helped me let go of unnecessary things. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, this was the beginning of some big changes in my life.

You see, I was living a passive life. And in doing so, I really wasn’t living at all. I would get up in the morning, drag myself to work to sit in a cubicle for 7.5 hours, waiting until I could escape. Then I would head home, do the evening chores, spend a bit of time in front of the TV and go to bed. The next day I would do it all over again. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and someday I would be able to retire and really start living! Even though this was the life I thought I should live, I was miserable. I kept telling myself I was lucky… I have a good job, a warm home, a reliable car and family and friends to spend time with. What more could one possibly need? Despite all this, I was borderline depressed. I hated getting up in the morning. My job felt like a dead-end life sentence. My condo is tied up in a lawsuit, so even coming home was stressful. I was so unhappy but at the time couldn’t figure out why.

Declutter Ottawa, dream

Then a funny thing happened. As I started clearing out all the stuff I was holding onto from my past, I began to realize that I wasn’t living a life I was passionate about.  I was holding onto so many things that I thought made me who I am, I couldn’t see who I really wanted to be.

I let go of the art supplies and with them, the belief that I should be working a design job.  I let go of the sporting equipment I no longer used and admitted that I don’t enjoy those activities anymore. At some point, I had decided that I should be a certain way, and I was letting that misguided belief form my life decisions. But when I took all of the obstacles away, I began to notice the things that did make me happy.

I realized I no longer enjoyed my work, and am now actively pursuing a career change. It’s a lot easier to get up in the morning now that I have a goal and something to work towards. I also realized I was buying irrelevant items to try and cheer myself up, but it wasn’t working. Now I put my money towards paying down debt and have greatly reduced my stress levels in doing so.  Reducing debt has also allowed me to start saving and working towards moving to a home I will love.

Don’t let your life slip by as you wait for happiness. Just one small step a day can grow into really big changes. Start by letting go of something that is holding you back. As you remove the things that no longer add to your life, you’ll discover the things that spark your passion. Don’t let guilt or someone else’s expectations define your choices.  Build a life that you love because you’ve only got this one shot!

Declutter, Inspiration

Conquering Decluttering’s Worst Enemy!

declutter, overcoming clutterOne of the biggest challenges when it comes to overcoming clutter in your home is the dreaded and all-encompassing “Just in case” excuse.  I’m sure you’ve said it to yourself many times… I need these extra 3 pairs of scissors just in case one pair breaks and l loose the other two. Or I should keep all these clothes that don’t fit just in case I lose 10 pounds. I’m completely guilty of succumbing to “Just in case” myself. There have been many instances when I’ve hit that decluttering wall – you know the one – where you sit in front of a pile of stuff you want to get rid of, but you can’t seem to part with any of it? You panic a little because you need this stuff! You have reasons! And so you put it back in the closet “just in case”.  Yep, even the best declutterers get caught by good old Justin Case.

But what I came to realize is that my “Just in case” reasons were sometimes (often) completely ridiculous! Confession: I had stuff I was keeping in case I needed to flee my home! What? I live in Ottawa. That is never going to happen here. And I’ve caught myself giving many of these silly answers along my decluttering journey. But I’m pleased to report I have finally found a way around this terrible Just-in-Case problem!

Continue reading “Conquering Decluttering’s Worst Enemy!”


3 Tricks to Keep Your Closet Decluttered

clutter free closetMany people begin their decluttering journey with their closet. It’s a great place to start since almost all of us have overflowing wardrobes. Despite our packed closets, we usually only wear our favourite pieces on a regular basis. Downsizing your closet can change your whole outlook in the morning. You’ll find reduced stress and improved productivity, since you’ll never again spend 15 minutes standing in front of your closet saying “I have nothing to wear!” And when you remove the clothes that you don’t love, you’ll look and feel better about yourself every day.

Once you’ve culled out all the clothes that don’t make you feel your best, (see our post 5 Easy First Steps if you’re looking for a place to start) the challenge is keeping your closet clutter free. There is one simple method to make sure you don’t return to those bad habits. Yes, one just change can make all the difference… STOP SHOPPING! Reducing the amount you shop is the best way to ensure your purged closet stays clean. But if you’ve spent your life shopping as a hobby, it can be a hard habit to break. Try these tips to keep you focused on maintaining your newly decluttered wardrobe.

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Clutter Removal – How does it Work?

clutter, before and afterWe’re often asked how our business works, so we thought we’d give you a play-by-play of just how the magic happens! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter, but are unsure about how to get rid of it all, read on to find out how we work and what we can do for your home!

We recently decluttered a large 3 car garage that had accumulated a lot of stuff, leaving barely enough room to park one vehicle. The homeowner is a working single mom, with a busy career and 2 active teenage daughters. The garage had become a holding place for all the items the children had outgrown. And due to disorganization, they often ended up buying duplicate items when they needed something but couldn’t find the original. Because she was unsure of how to get rid of things they no longer needed that were still in good condition, clutter just kept piling up. The client wanted to remove the many duplicate items and things the children had outgrown, while ensuring that it didn’t all end up in a landfill. Once the clutter was removed, she wanted the things they need and use to be accessible and easy to find.  Continue reading “Clutter Removal – How does it Work?”

Declutter, Fill Your Bins

Declutter 101: Books

old-booksSo many of us collect books. As a (mostly) reformed book hoarder collector myself, I totally understand this. They’re pretty. They hold beloved friends and amazing adventures. And they can make us feel important. Some may not admit this, but I’ve heard it from others and it was true for myself. We think “If people come to my house and see my shelf full of wonderful books they’re going to think I’m smart and well read”.

So we all agree, books are great. The problem is if you’re an avid reader, books can start to take up a lot of space. And for the most part they only ever get used once. Think about that. You use this thing once, put it on a shelf and NEVER TOUCH IT AGAIN. Except for dusting it, and moving it around to make space for other books you probably won’t touch again. And yet I so often hear that books are among the hardest things to let go of.

If you’re working on downsizing or reducing clutter, and can’t seem to part with your books, here’s a few tips to help you through the process. Continue reading “Declutter 101: Books”

Declutter, Inspiration

Finding the Real You Under all that Clutter

Ocean Hd Wallpaper Beach Dawn Dusk NatureWe spend our lives gathering things that might be useful or that portray the person we want to be. But what if you let go of all that baggage from your past? Without all the stuff that belongs to the person you think you should be getting in the way, you can focus on the things you really love.

The workout gear you bought when you decided to get in shape but never use, only serves to remind you that you let that gym membership go to waste and makes you feel guilty.

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12 Surprising Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life

Note: This is a Guest Post from MakeSpace.

The dog-eared duplicates of your favorite book. The stray, lonely earring you’re hoping you’ll one day find the partner for. The stack of CDs you listened to… 17 years ago, before Napster even hit the scene.

Clutter: It comes in many shapes and sizes.

But sometimes, the very items we think we’ll need “just in case” are actually not only useless, but they’re also taking up space in our home… and causing us significant stress.

Continue reading “12 Surprising Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life”

Declutter, Getting Started, Inspiration

Decluttering: 6 Easy Next Steps

NextStepsYou’ve started decluttering and have done the really easy things. (See 5 Easy First Steps) Your shelves have a bit more room and your closet door almost opens all the way now. But you still have so much more stuff than you really need. So, what next? Now you’re ready to move onto the next level! Try letting go of some of the things below to free up even more space.

Continue reading “Decluttering: 6 Easy Next Steps”

Declutter, Fill Your Bins, Getting Started

Declutter 101: Electronic Waste

vintage-electronicsWith the rate at which technology advances, electronic waste can quickly become clutter and take up a lot of space in your home. If you’re able to repair or upgrade your electronics, that’s obviously the best option to minimize harmful electronic waste in our landfills and save you money. But lets face it, we aren’t all that handy! Rest assured, there are other options to dispose of those unwanted electronics without adding to landfills. Because of this constantly growing problem, companies like Staples and BestBuy now have drop off programs that recycle e-waste. And you can sometimes find people in your area looking for electronic items to repair on resale sites like Kijiji.

If you have old electronics piling up, here are some tips to help you purge e-waste from your home:

Continue reading “Declutter 101: Electronic Waste”