garden

Confessions of a Professional Organiser

Capsicum as big as a tin of milo
A capsicum as big as a tin of milo that I grew myself!

Don’t let the shiny red capsicum as big as a tin of milo deceive you. I am no gardener. As evidence of this, I must confess that I once killed an air plant, which as the name suggests, really only needs *air to live. I wish I was a gardener though. The gardeners I know seem so happy, relaxed and rightfully proud of the peaceful sanctuaries they’ve created. I want my garden to be like that too, I really do. I imagine it would be an inspiring and joyful place to spend time and who doesn’t need more of that in their life, am I right?

I have moments of inspiration when I really try to get my garden on track and sometimes my efforts pay off. But it never seems to last and more often than not, it doesn’t work at all. No matter how hard I try, the plants fail to thrive, or worse, die with no regard to the huge effort (I think) I put in. I find it hard to get motivated to garden at the best of times but when plants die despite my efforts, it’s nearly impossible to find and maintain the motivation required to grow an inspiring and joyful garden. And then my garden is trapped in a downward spiral of my own making (or lack of making much effort more likely). My garden gets neglected and it feels harder, more time-consuming and just too overwhelming to even contemplate how I will get it back in order, let alone try and do it.

Sometimes, when things get desperate, I spend a whole weekend ‘blitzing’ the garden just to get it back to some kind of starting point. But then I am so burnt-out I don’t want to garden again for a month (or six) and I end up back at square one.

I have had to admit to myself that gardening just doesn’t come naturally to me. I have trouble visualising what I really want and how best to use the space. Even if I did know clearly what my ideal outcome was, I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start in order to make it happen.

The funny thing is, knowing this doesn’t stop me wishing I was a better gardener and hoping that I will be one day. It doesn’t stop me reading the books and articles, or pinning the photos of all the beautiful gardens I aspire to have even just a slice of in my own backyard. Occasionally I get a bit green-eyed at the people who seem to have it all together in the garden department but more often than not, it just confirms to me that this is something I really want for myself because I know how much better my life would be if I could just conquer this struggle once and for all. But I know deep down that wishing, hoping and feeling inspired isn’t the same as GETTING IT DONE!

When I think about it, the only time I have any real success in the garden is when I have help. My mum is an excellent (and very patient) gardener and I love gardening when I am doing it with her. It’s just more fun with someone else there encouraging me and showing me how easy it can be. Plus, she has the vision and I like it. She knows what tools I need and what plants would be best. I mean, she knows about plants I’ve never even heard of! It’s just fun to garden with her and I always make progress with her help.

So I guess I will continue to garden in the best way I know how… with mum (or any other willing participants) by my side. And, I’ve recently had a professional gardener and landscaper come in to help me clarify my vision and give me ideas I never would have come up with on my own. I know it is going to take a combination of strategies to get my garden growing but I also know the effort will be worth it. And where I can’t do it myself, I am ready to call in the experts!

And so it is with organising. My struggles as a gardener have given me invaluable insight into the struggles of those who find it difficult to get organised. I realise that all the feelings I have about gardening, they have about organising. And so I feel blessed to be asked to help every single courageous client that chooses me to guide them in finding their organised sweet spot. I say courageous even though there is no shame in asking for help. Just as there is no shame in hiring a gardener, a personal trainer or a caterer. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To me, it demonstrates their true dedication and determination despite the challenges. And so, it is my privilege to witness their life-changing transformations and these everyday heroes are my daily inspiration.

So to all my clients, past, present and still to come, I thank you for trusting me and I salute you with my gardening brown thumb. I can hand on heart say, I understand your struggles and I promise, we can do this together.

 

*I know that air plants also require water and I suspect I may have actually over-watered mine, much to my dismay considering my problem is usually not watering enough. So no need to email me with your gardening tips for air plants… I feel so bad about it I promise to never take one into my custody again. At least not until I have a full time gardener on staff ūüėČ

Tiny capsicum
Actual size of the one and only capsicum I grew this summer. Credit: Coles for the mini tin of milo that my son lent to me to help me feel accomplished.

 

What’s in your garage?

NOW 2018 image

Welcome to Day 7 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge:

Garage Clutter

The garage is often home for everything but your car. Car parts, boxes that haven’t been unpacked from 2 house moves ago, all the things you’re “definitely” going to repair, craft supplies you will use one day but can’t fit in your house at the moment, baby gear “just in case”, tax papers from fifteen years ago that you’ll sort out one day and all the amazing art your children have brought home since they were 4. And sometimes there’s even some junk that’s actually been earmarked to go but hasn’t quite made it out the door yet… It all makes for a cluttered mess and when the time comes to turf it, a serious health and environmental hazard if not disposed properly.

The World Health Organisation say that stockpiles of waste tyres sent to countries like Vietnam has caused the spread of Dengue Fever and other mosquito borne diseases by providing a perfect breeding ground. But recycled, they are useful for making sporting & playground surfaces, brake pads, insulation and constructing roads and drains among other things.

Another big problem is batteries. Australia has one of the lowest battery recycling rates in the world. Each year, over 300 million household batteries are thrown away with ordinary waste, meaning a staggering 8,000 tonnes of batteries end up in landfill. Batteries leech toxic metals into the ground which contaminates our soil and finds its way into our water systems.

Top Tips to sustainably declutter the garage

  • Hazardous waste should never go into landfill. Check out this blog post¬†for destinations for most types of rubbish including making use of your council hard rubbish collection service which is often your best friend when it comes to cleaning out a garage
  • Determine what is of no use to you, and what is of no use to anyone. Donate the former and ensure the latter is sent to its proper destination. The RecycleNearYou website is a great resource
  • Anything sentimental or of value should never be stored in the garage, where temperatures can vary wildly. If it’s important, it deserves a place in your house

Top Tips to organise the garage

  • Create zones for the different types of things you keep in your garage, such as tools,¬†gardening equipment, car paraphernalia, sports gear, outdoor living and the like. Store like things together and ensure small items are contained
  • Keep the floor clear as much as possible by utilising vertical space. Shelving along a wall, hooks, brackets and even rafters are important to make the most of this space whilst still being able to park your car here
  • Create a dedicated area for items that are ready to be donated or disposed of. Don’t make it too big. That way, when it is full, you are reminded to empty it (regularly) in order to make more space

Environmentally friendly resources when decluttering the garage:

ITEM

DESTINATION

Chemicals, paint, batteries, fluros, etc Detox your home collects items throughout the year at various locations. Use this link to find a date, time and location near you and to see what they accept

Battery World accepts all types of batteries

Aldi accepts household batteries  (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sizes)

Sports/Playground equipment Progress Pikinini donates suitable items to children and schools in need in Vanuatu
Furniture suitable for a classroom such as desks, large tables and chairs Progress Pikinini
Old tyres Tyrecycle¬†is one company recycling used car tyres. Check the list of participating retailers on their website to ensure the place you get your tyres changed is committed to recycling them, or if they’re not on the list, ask them before you book in.
Bicycles Bicycles for Humanity
Cars Kids Under Cover
Tents & Swags Rumbalara
Everything else 1800-got-junk?¬†is a handy resource for your back pocket. They will remove your unwanted item (whatever it is and from wherever it is) and take it away. They divert as much as possible from landfill and you pay based on the amount of truck space you use. Considering it includes two men with lifting power this is often a very good solution when you just don’t know what to do with your unwanted stuff or can’t move something yourself

These resources and more will be added to the little miss sorted Resources page on the website. We are constantly updating our Resources Lists so check back regularly.

Today is the last day of National Organising Week and our week-long sustainable decluttering challenge. Congratulations on making it to the end and I hope you’ve learnt something new and got a little closer to finding your Organised Sweet Spot.

Getting organised is not a one-time event. It’s a life long journey that requires your ongoing commitment and prioritisation, much like you health and garden. At the end of the day, its a choice between the stuff or the space. There is no right or wrong choice, but it is important to acknowledge you can only have one or the other and to work out what the right balance is for you.

If you want to maintain momentum on your decluttering journey and would like one-on-one help with sorting your space, please call or email me for an obligation free chat. There is no pressure to take any action right now, but it is always empowering to know your options for when you are ready. I can do in-person consultations in Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and West Gippsland. I also have a brilliant & trusted colleague based in the Gold Coast for our Northern Friends in Brisbane, Northern NSW or anywhere in between. So whenever you are ready for more time and space, we are ready & waiting.

Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.