Beauty products are just begging to be decluttered.
Beauty products are just begging to be decluttered. id-art

Stay at home mum: It’s time to take stock

I'M NOT much of a spring cleaner. I just don't like cleaning that much. At the onset of nice spring weather, I'm much more likely to sit at a café for lunch, take the kids to the park or go for a walk. I don't feel the urge to clean the bathroom fan, scrub the oven or wipe out the bottom of my crockery cupboards. But I do love tidying.

I love sorting, storage, decluttering, eBaying, hard rubbish and generally anything that creates order. Which is why I thought I'd share some of my tips on doing a family stocktake this time of year. Before you hit the July sales, take stock of what you already have so you don't bring more stuff into the home unnecessarily.

Did you know that most families have around $60,000 worth of contents in their home? Clothes, furniture, electronics…that includes everything, and if you have a larger than average home, family or income that's probably a conservative estimate. And to be honest, with me much of it isn't needed or used.

A way that our family reduces expenditure and increases savings this time of year is to do somewhat of a family stocktake. I ask these questions: What do we have? What don't we need anymore? What can we give new life to? What can we sell? What do we need to buy?

There are some great ideas out there on how to declutter your toys and clothes, but here are a few hot spots in the home you might not have given thought to.

1. Beauty products

Go through the vanity cupboards, drawers and anywhere else you keep make-up and beauty products. Set it all out and see what you have (I found enough moisturiser to keep a pregnant whale supple). Throw out anything which is out of date or spoiled. Then decide what you want to start or keep using and put it within reach. Use this as a good reminder to keep looking after yourself - paint your toes, moisturise your feet, put on some lippie.

2. Medicines

Keeping your medicines up to date and safe is very important, especially when you have children. Go through all your medicines and safely dispose of anything out of date. If you can't remember what that tube of cream was for - ditch it. Discovered five bottles of sunscreen? Don't buy any more until you've used them up. Same goes for soap, moisturiser, shampoo, hair gel…you get the idea.

3. Food

A big money waster is thrown-out food. Go into the deep freezer and plan to eat your way through what you already have. Same with cans, sauces, pasta, noodles and rice. Don't buy what's already in the kitchen.

We did this recently before going on holidays and were amazed at how low our grocery bills were in the month leading up to our trip. It was fun doing meal planning based on what we already had - and with so many great recipes online we found some new favourites.

It's no use buying bulk meat on special if you're going to throw half of it out 12 months later.

Use these simple ideas to stocktake your home and see where you can save money. There are plenty of great ways to sell things you no longer need to pay for those you do need - I use eBay personally but there are lots of options.

As my husband always says, less is best. So go on - start your stocktake.

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum.