Archive for the ‘Decluttering’ Category

Too Much Clutter? – interview with Warren Moore, 2GB

January 4, 2013

Yesterday Warren Moore and I had a good chat about the benefits of downsizing and how to keep clutter at bay.

Listen in here.


5 Minute Bedside Drawer Fling

July 4, 2012

Here’s another 5 minute organising task.  Sure, you might have more time on your hands.  Sure, big organising projects take longer than just 5 minutes.  But clients are often surprised when I tell them they can get organised 5 minutes at a time.

Some people believe you need to set aside a big chunk of time to get organised, perhaps even a whole afternoon.  And that stops progress, because honestly, who has that amount of free time on a regular basis?  No, even 5 minutes is enough time to make a difference.

Did you try the last 5 minute task?  Check it out here.

This time I want you to go through your drawers.  Well, just one drawer at a time.  Start with your bedside drawer.  Pull out the contents and quickly sort them.

You’re bound to find some things you no longer need.  You know what to do.

You’ll find things that belong elsewhere in the house.  You know what to do.

You’ll find things you don’t even recognise or remember.  You’ll think of what to do.  😉

This is a great one to do while you’re on the phone to a friend, or on hold with the phone company.

And that’s your 5 minutes for today.

How to Create Order at Home

February 2, 2012

Save the Date for the upcoming Teleclass – How to Create Order at Home

Tuesday February 21st at 8pm

You will hear

  • How to spot Clutter at 20 paces
  • What to do about it
  • Where to start
  • How to stay motivated
  • And more

You will receive

  • Live Teleclass
  • Recording of the teleclass
  • $20 voucher to use for Hands-On and Virtual Organising Services

Your investment is just $20!

For more information, click here.


How to Organise while you watch the Tennis

January 16, 2012

Today marks the start of the Australian Open – 2 weeks of top-quality tennis.  TV sets will be tuned in to watch every ball.

This does not mean you can’t achieve a little something while you treat yourself to a feast of summer tennis.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Go through that stack of magazines by the couch.  Flick through and find the recipes you simply must try (and decide when you’ll try them)
  • Go through the stack of recipes you’ve torn out of magazines in the past and decide if they’re still for you, and when you’ll try them
  • Sort through books, DVDs, CDs, your iPod and decide on the ones that you want to read, watch or hear again, and you know what to do with the rest
  • Finish a UFO – UnFinished Object – any project you’ve set aside
  • Write those letters and thank you notes you’ve been meaning to get to
  • Sort through photos and toss the blurry, the duplicates, the unnecessary
  • Catch up on housework – ironing, laundry folding, mending, polishing silver
  • Get some meal planning done

What else could you do?

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #7

January 12, 2012

Drum roll please!  We’ve come to the final in our list of 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects.

Listen to well-intentioned but ill-informed advice

People don’t mean to make your situation worse, but unfortunately they sometimes do.  And sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the good advice people can give from the downright nonsense.  Most often it comes from someone who loves you and wants the best for you.  That’s probably the hardest one to resist.  But other times you can find this well-intentioned but ill-informed advice in glossy magazines – the ones with lovely pictures of expensive “storage solutions”.

Announcing to your friends that you wish you could be more organised is a bit like being a new mother – everyone has advice, some of it conflicting, and all of it from their own perspective, not yours.

Unless the advice takes into account your situation, your budget, your available time and resources, your learning style, your space, your needs, your desires, and the needs and desires of all the others you live with, then it’s just not good enough.

Too often well-intentioned but ill-informed advice is tempered with frustration from a loved one, for whatever reason.

Ever heard any of these…

  • “You don’t need that, just chuck it out!”
  • “What are you hanging on to that old thing for?”
  • “Why can’t you just deal with this stuff on your own?”
  • “If you haven’t worn it in a year, you don’t need it.”

Don’t get me started on that last one – it’s worth a post all its own.  Just believe me when I say, nothing is ever as concrete, set in stone, one size fits all, as that.

Anyway, my point is this – if you need help on your organising journey, by all means, invite a friend or loved along for the ride.  Just make it clear to them and yourself what their role will be, and who will be making the decisions.  And it goes without saying that if you feel pushed, or even bullied, into making decisions in the organising process, you have invited the wrong person to join you.

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #6

January 11, 2012

We’ve already discussed mistakes #1 to #5 in the 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects.  #6 is

Stop before the project is done

I guess it’s a no-brainer that to get the most from your hard work, you should actually get to the end of the project.  That’s the best bit, when you can celebrate your achievement and reap the benefits of your efforts.  When you stop before the end, you lose momentum.  You also lost the benefits of the work done so far, and very likely slip back.  The work done tends to get muddled up with the stuff still to be done and before you know it, you’re back where you started.  And worse, you lose heart and motivation and things start to feel hopeless.

No one ever starts a job intending not to finish.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  Sometimes you get distracted.  Sometimes you lose direction.  Sometimes you come to a sticking point and don’t know how to proceed.  The answer is simple – get the help of a Professional Organiser.

A good Professional Organiser will know how to “bookmark” the work done so far for when life gets in the way and you have to hit the pause button.

A good Professional Organiser will keep you on track and prevent distraction.

A good Professional Organiser will provide good direction.

A good Professional Organiser will recognise a sticking point at one hundred paces and know how to avoid it and move on.

Do you get the message? 😉

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #5

January 5, 2012

#5 in the list of 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects

Let the unwanted stuff hang around

is so easy to rectify.  But first the reasons why you should avoid this mistake at all costs.

You’ve done the hard work sorting your stuff and deciding to get rid of some of it.  Some of those decisions may have been particularly hard.  Your main aim was probably to make some more room at your place.  If you let the unwanted stuff hang around, waiting for

  1. time to take action on the next step – removal
  2. another decision – where or who this stuff is going to
  3. another step – garage sale or eBay

you run the risk of

  1. getting used to the pile of unactioned, undecided stuff
  2. second-guessing your hard-earned decisions
  3. having the piles of stuff to go and stuff to stay getting mixed together
  4. feeling hopeless because all your hard work has not produced the clear space you were hoping for
  5. having to sort it all over again

So, like I said, this mistake is rather easy to avoid.  Just take action immediately.

  • If you’re going to have a garage sale, set a date in the near future and go for it.
  • If you’re going to sell on eBay, either get online and do it, or pay someone to do that for you.
  • If you’re donating it, make a call and get it carted away, or put it in the car and deliver it the very next time you make a trip.
  • If you’re tossing it, toss it.

And make a date – with yourself, someone close or a whole bunch of people – to enjoy the space you’ve created.

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #4

January 4, 2012

#4 on the list of 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects is

Have unrealistic expectations from the space

Does this affect you?  Do you get part way through, or even all the way to the end, of an organising project and find that your plans for the space just don’t work out?  Do you end up with still too much stuff to store, or not enough space to fit the furniture comfortably?

Perhaps you saw something great in a magazine and decided that was the solution for you?  Or was it in a store?

Maybe you imagined the scope of your project differently.  Do you end up wondering where it all went wrong?

You are not alone.  Many people find that the space they thought they had available to them is actually not enough.  Or that they could create nooks and crannies to stash extra stuff, and that didn’t work out.

If there is limited space, or too much stuff, one or both have gotta give.  There is no substitute for a good hard reality check.

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #3

January 3, 2012

We’ve talked about how to avoid organising mistakes #1 and #2.  Next on the list of 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects is

Have unclear goals for the space or project

What’s so wrong about having no goals?  Can’t you just launch yourself into sorting and tossing and boxing up?

Well, no.  It’s like heading off on a fabulous holiday without first checking the destination.  Would you start packing without knowing the climate there?  What if you packed all sundresses and sandals when in fact you were headed to the snow?  Would you head off in the car without checking the map first?  Without knowing the final destination, you could head off in the wrong direction and be lost for hours or even days.

When organising, it’s easy to start on the wrong foot, and end up spending hours on a task that could have been eliminated entirely.  Or you could completely miss an important step all together.

Instead of wasting time and effort “getting lost”, take a short time up front to decide on your vision for the space or project.  How will it look and feel?  What will success look like?

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #2

December 31, 2011

In the 7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects, mistake #2 was

Buy the storage solutions at the start of the project

Why is that a big mistake?

Frankly, it’s not uncommon for me to arrive at an organising consultation to find a room piled high with neat boxes and baskets and containers, all as yet unused, all representing a significant $ investment, and actually causing some of the clutter problem I am there to help out with.

And what’s more…

  1. Until the first stages of the project are completed – sorting, purging, organising – you can’t accurately determine how much, which type or size of container or other product you’ll need.
  2. Storage solutions are very often someone else’s (typically a manufacturer or retailer) idea of what you need.
  3. They can rack up to quite an investment, and that’s not something you want to take a stab in the dark at.
  4. And you may well not need anything new at all.  Often it’s possible to reuse things already on hand.

The right time to think about storage solutions is towards the end of the project when you will get a much clearer picture of what sort is required, what will look good in the space and how much you will need.

Read more in The Truth about Storage Solutions.

Next time we’ll tackle mistake #3.