About HLS and Me

“Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; involve me and I understand.”— Anonymous

Home Life Simplified is a personal development blog working to help families (of every description) figure out what is the best way for you to get organised, manage your time, and improve your home and family life so that you save money, reduce stress, dump the guilt, and stop feeling overwhelmed.   I will provide strategies and resources to help you make positive changes in your lives.  I will not tell you what to do, as my philosophy is “there is no right way, only the right way for you right now,” and that is why I will always tell you to “find your simple.”

What information is covered on HLS?

  • Organisation –topics related to physically organising your home and home office
  • Parenting and family life -communication within the family, positive “middle of the road” parenting, activities and tips
  • Household management – meal planning and recipes, personal productivity, routines, systems, and general “ball juggling” skills (possibly the biggest challenge for many people)
  • Personal development and inspiration -motivation, changing your thinking, working out your priorities, values and goals
  • Post natal depression and anxiety (personal and practical information and resources).

What won’t you find on HLS?

What you won’t find here is perfection or decorator- level eye-candy.  I feel there are enough blogs and websites that offer those beautiful examples and although I may feature occasional beautiful images for inspiration I want to stress that my main purpose here is to show that you do not need to have expensive products, a show home or crafting tools to create a home full of peace, organisation and functionality. I find so many people don’t ever get started on this journey because they are overwhelmed.  They are not just overwhelmed by their clutter or lack of knowledge, but they are overwhelmed by the onslaught of perfect images and are left feeling “why bother if I can’t make it look that good?” or “I will start this project when I can afford to stock up on beautiful accessories and baskets to ‘complete the room’.” I can promise you realistic goals, guilt busters rather than guilt inducers, and you can probably sleep better knowing that I am as imperfect as you!  If you want to read more on this see my full post on what home life simplified is not.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ” – Confucius

simplify life

Photo: lisaleonardonline.com

How I got started / my background?

I was always organised and interested in related products – as a child my favourite place was the stationary store and I looked forward to back to school shopping!, but things really kicked into high gear when I became a parent.  I was always known for my attention to detail and organising skills in my work life (managing information resources for a non profit in Bangkok; as a conference manager for a destination management company in NYC; and implementing national advertising and promotional plans for radio advertisers in Sydney), but organising a family and house was different.  Life with a family is ever changing, even with routines in place they change daily depending on your children’s needs, your schedule, your partner if you have one, demands from outside your home, work, extended family – the list goes on and on.

I ended up finding a special place for myself on the internet at babywhispererforums.com and became a moderator there for almost 5 years.  During that time as a moderator I helped women create routines for their children, answered their queries, supported them through post natal depression and eventually found my niche on the household management board.  It was there that I ran monthly challenges to create new habits and reach goals. Together we created household notebooks, menu planned and generally worked towards creating a house that worked for us rather than against us.  I decided it was time for me to design my own place on the internet to create a community based on my philosophy of “find your simple”. I believe a lot of the stress, anxiety and self-doubt we feel comes from too high expectations, unfair comparisons and fear. My aim for myself and this community is to work to change our mindsets, get in touch with who we are and how we really want to live.


Who am I?

kisses for mom

I am an American married to a Brit and living in Australia permanently.  I am a type- A recovering perfectionist.  I love to learn and am finally working on facing my fears, and living a fuller life, one day at a time.

I have 2 daughters who have chosen their own aliases for this site to protect their privacy.  They are Alice (9 1/2) and Lulu (8).  They were both born in Sydney and have funny accents thanks to the combination of American, British and Aussie- English spoken in our house.  They are both talented and creative and 80% of the activities in our house revolve around music, art and writing – all self directed and much of it mess-inducing!

I suffered from pretty severe post natal depression (PND or PPD depending on where you live) after Lulu was born.  It has altered the course of my life in ways I still discover.  I knew that whatever path I took to “return to paid work” it would include some way of helping other families with PND.  PND/depression/ anxiety is so common (albeit hidden) in our modern society that at some point I can guarantee you will either know someone suffering , or  who has suffered in the past, or you yourself may experience this later on.  An amazing thing happens when people start talking about depression and anxiety in the open – more people start sharing their experiences and you suddenly find ½ the people you know are actually affected.  If my posts can help even 1 person it meets my aim.  If you read along, and are someday faced with a friend or loved one suffering, you will be better equipped to offer some support and understanding.

What else about me? In spite of my mother’s best efforts to teach me, I never iron.  I also make my bed on average 6 times a year.  Once I was shamed into doing it for 2 weeks by Alice’s best friend.  She was over at our house, walked past my bedroom and saw the unmade bed.  She told me that I was supposed to do it every day – didn’t I know that? I felt so embarrassed for a minute, so I made my bed for a 6yo, but then I got over that!


“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  - Jon Acuff


I hope you will join me on this journey and share your thoughts, your questions, your “a-ha moments”, your opinions, your highs and lows.  Please contact me  any time with any of the above, but I also hope you will comment on posts and find support amongst each other.  I have found the best ideas come through conversation.  At HLS there will be no judging – I want this to be a place of positive steps to change your life for the better – no matter where your starting point is.

You can also connect with me on twitter  (@findyoursimple) or the HLS facebook page


Find your simple,


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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Katt August 11, 2011 at 4:01 am

This site is fabulous! I look forward to your updates :)


Debra Dane August 11, 2011 at 7:12 am

Thanks Katt – there are subscription buttons on the main page!


Laney @ Crash Test Mummy August 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Hi Debra,
What a great start you’ve made. I just got my blog up a couple of weeks ago. It is a very steep learning curve indeed. Good luck and welcome to the Blogoshpere!


Mel August 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Hi Deb,

I stumbled across your Blog from Maxabella Loves and thought I’d say ‘hi’ as I also just started my very first Blog a week ago.

We’re working towards a simpler lifestyle because with 4 kids and a fast-paced lifestyle this has not really been achieved and we are getting tired!! I look forward to reading your posts!!


Debra Dane August 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thanks for stopping by Mel – I just checked out your blog and can’t wait to read more – I am desperate for us to take a trip to Tasmania so look forward to learning more from you.


Sober 100 Days August 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

Is great to see you are working through your talents in a blog – and good luck getting started – at first it can be a bit quiet, believe me…
But keep at it, you’ll get there.


Ellie-Leo August 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Hi Deb
I am a BW (although mostly a lurker!) and found your site through your link. I have loved reading through your blogs so far,so interesting and a lot to think about
Good luck with the venutre


Debra Dane August 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Thanks so much Ellie – it is great to have you here!


Shlomo August 30, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Great looking blog. I’m glad to see the clean design and engaging content.
I wish you much success.


Debra Dane August 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Thanks Shlomo – it is nice to see you again.. I so appreciated your support during our writing course! Thanks for the great feedback!


Cherie September 6, 2011 at 1:06 am

Wow, thankyou for an amazing read.

I have literally just poured through your blog and WHAT a read!

The blogosphere needs more people like you xx


Debra Dane September 6, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thank you so much – your words mean a lot to me (and were actually very timely as I needed a bit of feedback today!)


caryn September 6, 2011 at 6:53 am

Looks GREAT so far. I am so proud of you!!!!!


Debra Dane September 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thanks honey! I am glad you stopped by to check it out.


Kimberly Reid, MNLP, C.Ht. October 6, 2011 at 3:50 am

Hi Deb!

Thank you for subscribing to my site and I am grateful you took a moment to reach out and let me know how my email touched you!

May you continue to reveal your innate brilliance and shine your light brighter each day, for when you do, others will be inspired to do the same.

Kimberly A. Reid, MNLP, C.Ht.


Rebecca November 13, 2011 at 4:00 am

Eek, you’re living an alternate version of my life! In AUS, no less — there’s a giant menorah in the middle of Sydney? Really? LOVE.


Debra Dane November 13, 2011 at 6:21 am

LOL, I am in Brisbane but yes for Chanukah they now have a public celebration (this will be the 3rd year). There are not too many Jewish people outside of Sydeny and Melbourne so it is kind of amazing! Thank you for checking out my blog Rebecca…I am off to track down your book now!


Kate December 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

So glad to have ‘met’ you through Chantelle’s Secret Santa. So looking forward to reading more and following. kate x


Leonie January 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

Found you from a guest blog on Seven Cherubs, loved your article and thought I’d look around a bit more.


Debra Dane January 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

thank you so much! I am glad you came and are joining in the challenge


lulu January 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Your 6.5 year old choose the BEST nickname/alias!

I should mention I found out about your challenge via tutuames {I am originally from Brissie even though I am in Japan now} and when I read about the challenge it sounded like it was for me. Just thought I better get to know the woman behind the challenge a bit as well!

Also a mixed family! Gotta love that! {My mum was a kiwi, my dad an Aussie and I married a Japanese man and am living in Japan with my two little boys who are mixed race too!}


lulu January 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I also never iron. Or make my bed. Although our bed is just a doona on a bed…so sometimes I pull it up.


Debra Dane January 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

Ames has been a huge support to me since I launched the blog!! Nice to know we are connected through her. My girls study japanese at school (we have a sister school in Japan and they do swaps every year so we will be saving our pennies to pay for that in 3 years – fingers crossed.). I have seen your blog once before but will have a good look when things settle down! (and my beds are just doonas on top too and i still don’t bother to pull them up more than once in a blue moon when inspiration strikes)

And Lulu is one of her close friends at school – she loves the girl and the name!


Lisa January 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

I am not even sure how I came across your blog, but I have had a quick look and love it. I will have a more in depth look when I am not supposed to be working :)
I am going to try your challenge for 2012 as well, here’s hoping!
And thanks for your words on depression, the more it is discussed, the less stigamtised it will be, hopefully!
Have a wonderful 2012
Lisa @ countrygypsies


Debra Dane January 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

Thanks Lisa – I am glad blogs were not big when I was working – back then even facebook was blocked anyway – I would have got nothing done ; ) Welcome to the blog and the challenge.

Battling stigma in mental health is extremely important to me – the more who speak the more who will seek help!


Gillian February 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi Debra,

It was great meeting you today! Looking forward to delving into your blog back catalogue!


Debra Dane February 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm

You too – such a small world! we will have to catch up locally soon.


Heather August 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

“Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; involve me and I understand.”— Anonymous

This absolutely sums me up!!!!!!


Kate September 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Oh wow, I’m so glad I found your blog! This is the first place where I’ve read the writer doesn’t make their bed and never irons. Just to note – My partner hates making the bed and I refuse to iron, ick.

I’m just starting out in trying to get our house organised. I imagine if you came into it you’d think “it’s not bad” but really, I can’t find a thing! I’m wondering whether you have any great tips on how to convince my partner to declutter his stuff? Is there a way to introduce it slowly? He’s very stubborn and the thought of going through his numerous sheets of university papers is out of the question. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Thank you….


Debra Dane September 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

LOL about the bed and ironing!

It can be hard when someone in the home is not as keen on getting the house in order and decluttering. We can’t make them part with their stuff so the key things to me are 1) discussing the WHY – what is your shared vision for your home and what are you both willing to do to get there 2) set limits on where his stuff can live (that you both agree to) and then leave it to him to decide what will go in order to respect the limits (you can also make the storage solution attractive enough that hides it if need be so you can get on with the other stuff) and 3) work on the rets of the home and lethim see the good changes and progress – you can often win people over once they see the fruits of YOUR labour and want the rest of the house done (i have been decluttering a lot this past month and it shows and now my husband finally said this week that he is keen to declutter and organise our garage – 13 years of moving house through Australia and he has some stuff that needs to go – cassette tapes anyone?) Good luck xx


Kate September 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thanks so much Debra. I reckon the suggestions you’ve given are worth a go. As an update, I discussed having a home management folder to hubby and he was keen and happy to go with the flow. Perhaps the change won’t be that difficult after all?

LOL at the garage. Our place is exactly the same. Would you like to trade cassette tapes? Or how about some beta tapes? Remember those?


Debra Dane September 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

LOL no beta but i think the last 4 VHS tapes will go this weekend ; ) good luck with the household binder as well – have you read my posts on that (the key is to show restraint and not fill it with stuff that is not relevant and useful to YOUR life)


Kate September 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Sure did read that post and I’m keeping it simple :) Stage 1 of my binder is just important contacts, calendar, birthday reminder and meal planner.

Eventually I’ll add a chore guide for my kids – something they can see and sign off which add’s a little bit of ownership to them – and probably a house maintenance guide. The guide is mostly so I can remember when to call the pest man and when to spray the lawns for bindii. I always do it too late.


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