Getting organised during the Corona Virus pandemic?

Get organised during the Corona Virus pandemic with online support from a Professional Organiser

So you’ve decided to get organised during the Corona Virus pandemic.

You’re not alone!

Lots of people who are practicing social distancing or self-isolation are using this time to finally tackle those nagging tasks like clearing their wardrobe, organising the pantry or decluttering the garage. And as a Professional Organiser, I’m excited for you! I really am.

But here’s the thing.

If you want my help to get organised at the moment, I need to make sure it’s not to the detriment of your health, or mine.

But don’t panic.

You can still get organised with my help during the Corona Virus pandemic. Here’s how…

If you’ve never worked with me before, let’s have a casual phone call for up to 30 minutes to chat about your organising goals. There’s absolutely no outlay or obligation. Suss me out, tell me your idea of organised bliss and if you’re comfortable, let’s make it happen! Simply call me or sms your name and your preferred time for a call back.

0402 678 675

You can also book a Virtual Consultation and together we will declutter and organise your space through the magic of technology. And YES! Expect the same expert advice and support that you get in person, I promise.

Wondering how it works?

Well, just like a normal consultation except I help you from my place, not yours. Consultations are via video conferencing (Zoom) or phone. And don’t worry… you don’t have to be good with technology or download anything to do it. I’ll simply call you at our agreed appointment time or send you a link to click on for a video call. Easy!

Sorry…

For the time being, I’m not taking any in-person appointments.

I’ve also suspended my free clutter collection service until further notice.

As a solo-business owner with a young family, I’m sure you can appreciate how huge this decision was for me. In-person consultations are the core part of my business so I don’t make the decision to suspend them lightly. And it goes without saying how grateful I and other small businesses are for your ongoing support and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times.

So, yes. If you want my help to get organised at the moment, it is possible. Even if you’re practicing social distancing or self-isolating at the moment, I can help. So if you’re finally ready to get organised once and for all and you’re feeling well enough to do so, I can support you. Just reach out and let’s make it happen.

And please, continue to support small business during this crazy time. Together, we can try to make it as productive and positive as possible as we wait for the Corona Virus to pass with hopefully minimal devastation in all areas of life.

Yours in good health,

Do you suffer from this common organisational problem?

5 simple tips to tame your random piles of recipes

Practically every kitchen I ever organise suffers from the same problem: piles of foodie magazines and torn-out recipes stashed everywhere that someone has collected to cook. One day. Or for the more tech-minded, it’s magnitudes of screen shots and photos of recipes clogging up their camera roll.

Problem is, they’re collected faster than they’re cooked and end up creating little piles of potentially delicious foodie experiences that almost never see the light of day.

Sound familiar? Try this!

  1. Gather all your magazines & ripped out recipes into one spot. I prefer to tear out the couple of recipes I like from a magazine rather than keep the whole magazine (I’ll never bother to go through a whole magazine again trying to remember why I kept it!)
  2. Have a quick flick through the pile/camera roll and discard/delete any that you can’t even work out why you kept in the first place
  3. Cull the ones that are too complicated or have an unrealistically exotic ingredients list for your comparative cooking care-factor
  4. Choose 1 small plastic folder, slip or pocket to keep the ones that sound tasty and label it clearly as “Recipes to Try”. For digital recipes, create an album so you can gather them into one spot. Or try one of the many apps out there to create some order. Note I said “small” folder. A shoe box or bigger is simply too overwhelming for most home cooks so keep it realistic
  5. All future recipes go into this one place. Once you’ve tested the recipe, either file it into a more permanent recipe folder or chuck it depending on whether you would make it again or not

“If you read a recipe torn from a magazine then flip the page over to look for and read the recipe on the reverse, only to flip it over again… chuck it! If you can’t even tell which recipe you wanted to try, I guarantee it’ll never make it to the top of your ‘must try next’ pile”.

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Don’t ever get around to trying the recipes you collect? You have two options really. Start testing them or stop collecting them.

The easiest way to make testing new recipes a habit is to pick a specific night of the week to religiously try a new recipe. “Try It Tuesday” has a nice ring to it but it’s more important to choose a night when you’re normally home and not rushing around to lots of activities. Pick a night that works for you.

And it really is that simple. Each week when you do a meal plan, select one Recipe to Try from your folder, include any missing ingredients on your shopping list and get your cook on.

Bon apetite!

Day 7 of the 7 Day Organising Challenge

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Welcome to Day 7 of the 7 Day Organising Challenge.

If you’re just joining us… you’re my kind of person. You heard the champagne corks popping yesterday and came running! Please feel free to join us in a glass, although it may taste better if you keep scrolling and complete Days 1-6 of our Challenge. Plus, you’ll have MORE room for champagne somewhere in your house. Winning!

If you’ve been with me since the start, you’re my hero. So far you’ve completed the following to transform an area of your home:

Day 1 – Chosen one area to declutter & organise

Day 2 – Created a vision for the space

Day 3 – Decluttered

Day 4 – Organised

Day 5 – Contained & Styled

Day 6 – Labelled

And now,

Step 7.

Maintain. I can almost hear the audible groans from here. Yes, it’s true. Organising is not a once in a life time event. Sorry folks. But the good news is, you now have the structure in place that should make maintaining the space much easier.

Before we move on too quickly, I want to remind you of the pile of stuff you said you were going to sell back on Day 3. Now is the day to make a start on this or admit you’re kidding yourself, as well as actually carrying out the delivery of items you bagged up to be donated.

Top Tip: Depending on what you have to donate and where you live, you may be able to call a local charity and arrange for a free collection. Check out the Resources page on my website for lots of sustainable ways to move on your unwanted stuff.

Now, when it comes to maintaining your space more generally, you need to allow time to maintain your home and keep it organised. Sounds basic but BASICALLY NO ONE DOES  IT. You don’t necessarily need huge blocks of time but you will if you neglect if for too long.

  • For the smaller, day to day tasks, a little done frequently is best. Just like it takes time to maintain a garden, or do the housework, so too for staying organised
  • Consider scheduling the bigger tasks. How often do they need to be done to stay manageable & how long will it take? Then make an appointment with yourself in the calendar to get it done. If you use an electronic calendar, make it a recurring appointment
  • Enlist the people you live with to help you. At the very least, show them what the purpose of the area is, and tell them what does and doesn’t go there

Some organising principles that you might find helpful for maintaining your home include:

  • Don’t put it down, put it away
  • Never leave a room empty handed. Always take something with you and put it away
  • Establish a permanent “out” box where you can place items you no longer want. Drop it off to your local charity store when it gets full
  • Remember the One In, One Out rule. If you come home with a new shopping haul, what can you let go of to make space?
  • Say “no thanks” to freebies
  • Put a No Junk Mail sign on your letterbox
  • Stop shopping for stuff you don’t need
  • Go paperless wherever possible
  • Create destinations for everything that is staying

So that’s it! Congratulations on getting sorted. Are you off to tackle a new area or will you take a break for now?

Whatever you decide, enjoy your new found space and time.

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A label maker, a bottle of Champagne and one of those annoyingly organised people walk into a bar…

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Have you heard that one? Welcome to Day 6 of my 7 Day Organising Challenge. You gonna LUVVVVE today’s step(s).

If you’re just joining us… hooray! We’re so glad you made it. Keep scrolling to read the tasks for the previous Challenge Days in the posts below which outline the path we’ve followed to get here:

Day 1 – Choose one area to declutter & organise over the next 7 days

Day 2 – Create a vision for how you want that space to be

Day 3 – Declutter

Day 4 – Organise

Day 5 – Containerise & Style

Today we’re up to

Step 6.

Labelling. Depending on the area you’ve been working in, you may or may not require labels. The reason I’ve given this process a whole day to itself is because very few people I work with get to this point on their own and some areas REALLY need it. So if that’s true for you, read on! If not, you may want to read on anyway because… CHAMPAGNE.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

So, if for instance, if you’ve been working on your underwear drawer this week, you’re probably good to go. But if you’ve been dealing with paperwork, your pantry, digital files or a myriad of other areas, it really is worth taking the time to label things properly.

First, decide whether you need to label.

Second, decide the best way to label. Would a printed label on the top edge of a drawer work for discreet labelling? Or would you prefer hand written labels that are quick and easy to add to moving forward? Or maybe your pantry would look fabulous with customised labels from that online Etsy shop you’ve been stalking?

There are lots of options, none of them wrong. The main thing is you do the labelling.

Top Tip: When sorting offices, I find it helpful to use a pencil and paper to give my proposed categories and labels a trial run. You can play around until you’ve gotten it working like a well-oiled machine, and then switch to more permanent, robust or designer labels.

Try to keep things simple. Don’t overthink, oversort or overcategorise your stuff… you just create more work for yourself and ain’t no-one got time for that! When it comes to categorising and labelling, it’s best to channel your inner Goldilocks and settle on a label that is just right.

A label that is too general is meaningless. A label that is so specific that you need thousands of them is equally pointless. For example, a tab inside a folder labelled “Miscellaneous” might as well be no tab at all. Likewise, having labels so specific (e.g. Jane’s Birth Certificate) that you need 1,783 of them in a folder to cover the variety of items you’re storing there is also not advised.

Once the last label is applied, I want you to take a moment. Step back and take in your handy work. Celebrate your newly tamed and beautified space and don’t forget to take the AFTER photo and compare it with the BEFORE photos you took on Day 1. (This is where the champagne comes in, if you’re wondering).

So, if you were able to skip this step, lucky you. If you weren’t, let me know how you get on. When people call me, it’s often at this point where they get in over their heads and simply can’t decide on what system they need to organise things most efficiently. Having a Professional Organiser to help set this up in the first place and show you how to do it in the process is something they have found to be often life changing, and money well spent. And I offer both virtual and in-person appointments, so it doesn’t matter where you live.

Now you may also be wondering what Step 7 could be if we’ve already celebrated on Day 6. Make sure you come back tomorrow to discover what our last Day of the Challenge entails.

Enjoy your glass of bubbles!

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Day 5 – Unleash your creative beast!

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Boy am I glad to see you. Today is a good, fun day. You’ll see why soon.

But first, if you’re just starting your challenge today, no problem! Keep scrolling to read the tasks for the previous Challenge Days in the posts below which outline the path we’ve followed to get here:

Day 1 – Choose one area to declutter & organise over the next 7 days

Day 2 – Create a vision for how you want that space to be

Day 3 – Declutter

Day 4 – Organise

Today though, we’re up to

Step 5.

Contain & style.

Yesterday the aim was to make the space practical and functional using whatever you already had around the house. Today is about taking your space to the next level; to make the most of your space, make it sparkle and inject your personality. Afterall, a space you love and are proud of is way more motivating to maintain than your secret (or not so secret) dumping ground.

So, whilst it’s completely fine to skip this step, it’s no fun if you do. I encourage you to be as creative as possible and utilise what you already have in the house. You may need or want to hit the shops and that’s fine, but this step doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. It’s AMAZING what you already have that can be used in new, different and unexpected ways to solve a storage problem.

Some of the things you may want to tackle today include:

  • Ensuring you are utilising the space well. A classic example is wasted space in cupboards when there aren’t enough shelves. In this situation, you might ask yourself:
    • Can you put in more shelves?
    • Can you put items in stackable boxes to make the most of the height?
    • Can the cupboards be easily remodelled?
    • Would the space actually be better off storing something else altogether?
    • Could some portable shelf inserts or steps help?
    • What about hooks?
  • Ensuring the items you are storing are needed, easy to access and more importantly, easy to put away by everyone, not just you
  • Considering what organising tools might help you to maintain this space more easily. Perhaps smaller boxes inside a drawer to create separate sections, for example. Or open boxes or trays that can be used to store a group of items that can be pulled out when in use, and quickly put away again when you’re done. Hooks, racks, folders… I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you where to go for organising inspiration!
  • Remembering how you wanted the space to look way back on Day 2, when you were creating your vision and making sure you’re on brief. Would some matching storage help to elevate the space? Probably doesn’t matter so much inside a drawer but makes the world of difference on an open shelf.
  • Have fun with it! A splash of colour or well-chosen design can really change the feel of a space and add to the vibe you’re trying to create, often in a much cheaper way than, say, furniture or art. Investing in matching storage can take a space from practical to practically perfect whilst also helping to streamline sizes, making a space more flexible and easier to maintain.

An important thing to remember as you go through this process is that it often takes a couple of goes to find the best solution for a space. Be ok with trying something for a while and changing it up again if it’s not working well.

Enjoy the creative process!

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7 rules for organising your stuff

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Well look at you… you’re nearly half way there!

If you’re just starting the 7 Day Organising Challenge today, no problem. Keep scrolling to read the previous days’ posts in full below.

Day 1 – Choose one area to declutter & organise over the next 7 days

Day 2 – Create a vision for how you want that space to be

Day 3 – Declutter

For the rest of us, it’s time for…

Step 4.

Organise.

Top Tip: Hold off on any urge you may have to go out and buy storage solutions at this stage. In most cases, you’re much better to start the organising process using what you already have. Trust me! By the end of the process, you’ll be able to see exactly what you need, how many and in what colour. At the moment, it’s really just a guessing game.

Now, the organising process will be different for each of us depending on what we’re organising. But regardless of whether you’re working in your garage or in a wardrobe, a cupboard or your digital files, there are a few organising principles that will steer you in the right direction. Here are 7 of the best:

  1. Everything needs a home, or it will become clutter
  2. Store like items together rather than having them dotted around in various locations
  3. Keep things as close as possible to where they are used, wherever practical
  4. Put your most frequently used items front and centre, with lesser used items up higher, down lower or towards the harder-to-reach backs of cupboards
  5. It’s usually best to store items wherever your first instinct is to put them, because that’s inevitably the place you’ll look for it later
  6. Utilise vertical space wherever possible, be that walls, peg boards or simply a magazine box to reduce horizontal piles on a flat surface
  7. Set limits. It’s often when you’re putting the items you want to keep away, that you realise you’ve still got way more stuff that you need, want or can maintain. A lot of the people I work with find it helpful to look at the space available and decide how much of it is worth dedicating to a particular category of item. Because at the end of the day, the hard truth is, you can either have the stuff or the space, not both

Remember to refer back to the answers you came up with on Day 2 as you go about reorganising the space. There’s no point creating a system that you’ve tried before and you already know doesn’t work for you.

Likewise, you need to organise the space in a way that anyone who is likely to be using it is going to be able to both find what they need and put it away again without needing to bug you about it each time.

Once you finish organising the space, you’ve done the hard yards. The next few days will be much easier, I promise! Having said that, it’s often about this stage in the process when people realise they need help, so if that’s you, send me a message or your questions and let’s chat.

You can totally do this! See you tomorrow.

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Day 3 of the 7 Day Organising Challenge = DECLUTTER

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Woot!! You’ve made it to the fun part… Day 3 is Decluttering Day.

If you’re just joining us, here’s a summary of where we are up to so far:

Day 1 – Choose one area to declutter & organise over the next 7 days

Day 2 – Create a vision for how you want that space to be

If you’re in catch-up mode… Welcome! It’s never too late to start decluttering. You can read the previous days’ posts in full below. Just keep scrollin’ or use the links above.

For the rest of us, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get stuck into today’s step.

Step 3.

Declutter. It’s important to declutter before you organise so you know the volume and type of items you’ll be needing to find homes for. Make sure you have some tubs or baskets at hand to help contain each item as you determine its new destination.

TOP TIP: It’s best to plant yourself in the room and focus just on the task of deciding about each item, rather than wandering from room to room putting things away as you go.

Pick up one item at a time, decide whether to “Keep”, “Donate” or “Discard” it and pop it in the designated container. Or if you’re an overachiever like me, you may like a few more categories to reduce having to re-sort items later on, such as:

  • “Move” (i.e. it needs to stay but not in this space)
  • “Sell” (but be very picky and realistic about what goes in here)
  • “Recycle” (kerbside)
  • “Redcycle” (soft plastics)
  • “Shred”
  • “Landfill”

You may also have a variety of destinations in mind for your donatable items in which case it’s good to separate them into their own boxes or bags as you go for easy distribution later on. If you need some help on where you can take the various items you’ve decided to pass on, check out the Resources Page on my blog.

You may notice I don’t have an “I’m not sure/maybe/let me think about it pile”.

That is deliberate.

They are illegal.

You’ll thank me later.

In all seriousness though, if you’re debating over whether an item should stay or go, this is the time to revisit the answers to your questions from Day 2. If the item in your hand adds to the Vision you have for the space, it can stay. If it detracts from the Vision, move it on.

Keep going with your sorting & decluttering until either:

  • You’ve finished
  • Your “Move” container is full
  • You’ve been going for a while and would benefit from a short break

Grab your “Move” container and drop off the items requiring re-homing to their proper rooms before returning to restart the sorting & decluttering process with an empty container.

Repeat this process until the job’s done, then:

  • Give the area a good clean
  • Bag up the items leaving your home and wherever possible load them straight into your car so they’re one step closer to gone
  • Choose a reasonable deadline for completing any selling activities and dropping off donations and add it to your diary or calendar to help keep you accountable
  • Stand back and admire your work!

That completes Day 3 of the 7 Day Organising Challenge. Well done you! Now, go and put your feet up because tomorrow, we Organise!

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Ready? It’s Day 2 of my 7 Day Organising Challenge

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Welcome to Day 2 of my 7 day Organising Challenge. If you missed Day 1, don’t worry. It’s definitely not too late to join the party. It will only take you about 2 minutes to catch up here.

If you’re up to date, well done! You’ll be happy to hear Day 2 is another pretty quick and easy step but one that is very often overlooked. You may want to grab a pen & paper for this one…

Step 2.

Create a vision for the space. Now that you’ve chosen the area you’ll declutter & organise this week, it’s time to paint a picture of how you’d ideally like the space to look and function. This may be a quick and easy process if it’s just a drawer (e.g. neat, opens and closes easily and quick to find what I need) or a bit more challenging if it’s a whole room with multiple zones to consider. Either way, the questions below may help you to clarify what your organising objective is.

If a question isn’t relevant for your zone, just skip it.

  • What are your biggest frustrations about the area? Why did you choose it for this challenge?
  • What works well about the current set up?
  • What, if anything, have you already tried in terms of organising it? Why do you think it didn’t work/last?
  • Does the area have a clear purpose?
  • How would you ideally like the area to feel when you first see it and work when you’re using it?
  • Does the area have any safety considerations you need to consider?
  • Does anything need fixing or altering to make the space more user friendly?
  • Who needs to access items here and possibly help maintain it moving forward?
  • Are you trying to store more stuff here than you have space for?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a clearer picture of what the space needs to be able to do for you once it’s properly organised and where the best place to start might be, particularly if you’ve chosen a large room with various zones.

You should also have a better idea of how long it might take you to whip it back into shape, so the final step for today is to block out some time in your diary over the next two days for the fun stuff… decluttering & organising it! The next two days are probably where you’ll need the most time for our week-long challenge. Oh and don’t lose your answers to the questions you’ve answered today as we’ll refer back to them over the coming days.

If you’re having trouble with this step, feel free to message me for some advice or post your question on my Facebook Page and I’ll be happy to help you out.

Tomorrow, we declutter. Make sure you have some basic organising tools handy to deal with sorting, temporarily storing, donating and disposing of items, such as tubs, containers, garbage bags, boxes or anything else you’ll require for the particular zone you’re working on. Please don’t go out and buy anything at this stage… you should be able to use whatever you already have around the house for now. Think washing baskets, hampers, buckets, baskets, old cardboard boxes, reusable shopping bags and the like.

Well done on completing Day 2. See you tomorrow!

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Join my 7 day organising challenge and transform one area of your home this week (even if you have little or no time)

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Happy National Organising Week!

This week I’m going to help you organise one trouble spot in your home, even if you have very little time.

Each day for the next 7 days, I’ll walk you through one step of the process. I promise, that if you play along, you’ll be enjoying a more organised space by the end of the week.

STEP 1

Pick a zone. Take a look around your home and choose one area, zone, drawer, shelf, corner or room that needs decluttering and organising and commit to work in that one area only.

Be realistic with your time. Take a quick look at your diary or calendar for the week and make sure you are being realistic with your time. Can you complete an area that size given your other commitments this week or should you hone in on a smaller area? You may not be able to transform your whole kitchen this week, but perhaps your can make improvements in one cupboard or the pantry.

Take a “before” photo. Once you’ve decided which area you’ll focus on, take a few photos without tidying up at all. Capture the space in its natural state. You don’t have to show anyone but I promise you’ll love seeing the transformation at the end of the week.

That’s it for Day 1!

So… are you in? If so, I’d love to hear what area you chose.

Chat tomorrow!

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It’s not too late to make 2019 great

s-o-c-i-a-l-c-u-t-542907-unsplashI have a confession to make.

I have only just updated my 2019 vision board.

It’s February. I broke the unwritten organising commandment of “Thou shalt have it all planned and promised by 1st of January or do not bother until next year”.

And you know what? I’m not sorry. In fact, I am high-fiving myself. Because I have done it now and that’s all that matters.

And so I want to remind you that it is never too late to start your organising journey for 2019, or make a change in your life this year or put together a new plan for yourself.

I’ve been looking forward to 2019 for quite some time. My youngest started 3-year-old kinder in late January which meant I spent a significant portion of 2018 looking forward to some much-needed ALONE time (much as I love the little guy)! I’ve been dreaming about all the ways I can use these precious-but-rare kinder hours to best effect since mid last year at least. Needless to say, I was anxious to get started with the crisp promise of the new calendar page when January 1 rolled around.

But, you know… life happened.

January is still school holidays here in Australia. My son had his birthday party. My mum celebrated a significant birthday. Kinder didn’t start until the last day of January and even then, it was very short transition sessions until mid February… I could go on.

So I decided to wait. I decided I would enjoy my last few weeks with my littlest love and I’d make my Vision Board in February.

And I enjoyed my January days so much more than I would have if I’d continued to ride the guilt train about not doing everything by some arbitrary date that the universe says we must adhere to.

I gave myself the gift of time. Time to be with my kids, fully. To celebrate the people I love, fully. And then, time to devote to my business fully. And even a few slices of heavenly ME time thrown in for good measure. And all in all, things have turned out for the best because I did this.

My son is settled in kinder.

My Vision Board is done and I enjoyed the process.

I have two days a week now in which to drink my coffee hot.

And the world didn’t stop turning because I waited until I was ready. But it might have, if I’d tried to adhere to the January 1 ‘deadline’.

So, what To Do is nagging you? And have you already decided that it won’t happen this year because you haven’t started yet or made as much progress as you hoped? It’s not too late to make a new decision.

Let me know below and I’ll be happy to help keep you accountable and then celebrate with you when it gets done.

Because there’s no time like the present.

All we have is now