Archive for the ‘Organisation’ Category

Is Your Laundry Stuck?

November 5, 2012

Does your laundry get stuck?  It may sound like a funny question, but I often see laundry bottlenecks in homes I work in.  The cycle works like this…

Ready to Wear – Lightly Worn – Dirty – Washed – Dried – Folded/Ironed – Put Away – Ready to Wear

Here are some common places laundry gets stuck, and how to avoid it…

Laundry Bottleneck What to do about it
Ready to Wear clothes get mixed with Dirty Have a clearly defined and easy to use place for your dirty laundry to live, waiting for the next step in the cycle
Lightly worn clothes get mixed with Dirty Have a place for lightly worn clothes to await another wear
Washed clothes are not Dried quickly, resulting in a smelly pile that needs rewashing Be sure you have time and a plan for moving wet washing on quickly
Dried washing is not processed or put away The most common of bottlenecks.  While folding and ironing are optional, putting away is the key to laundry flowing freely.  Decide where Ready to Wear clothes will live.  Is there enough space for all your clean laundry to live?  If not, you either have too much laundry or not enough space.

Once all those bottlenecks are clear, the cycle should flow easily, as long as enough time and energy is set aside for this essential task.

And we sure have come a long way from beating our washing on a rock, hand washing, or even using a copper and mangle.

If laundry still gets you down, or stuck, there is help at hand.  Creating Order from Chaos can help.

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.


A Word with Sarah Webb

January 18, 2012

Sarah Webb is the talent and brains behind Vivenda, a fabulous service that frees up your time and feeds you and your family nutritious and delicious meals.

I asked her to share some insights into how she manages to keep on top of things, and sane, while running her business.  Here’s what she said…

Sarah, I know you have a lot “on your plate”, do you prefer a paper or electronic diary to keep track of all your appointments?  Both.  Electronic so that I get pop-up reminders, I use my iPhone; but also paper so that I can look at it if I’m making an appointment with someone while I’m on the phone.  I have to be very conscientious about keeping both updated.

I’ll bet!  What’s your favourite iPhone App? Urbanspoon. I can feel like an in-the-know local wherever I am by checking out the restaurant reviews.

Tell us about a favourite organising tool.  It would have to be Excel, I love a good spreadsheet!  I like to be quite systematic about things and keep good track of what is going on in the business and Excel lets me do this simply & effectively.  For example, looking at my favourite spreadsheet I can tell you that my most popular dishes are Chicken, Leek & Pancetta Pie and Meatballs Napoletana!

Yum!  And that is very organised.  How do you reward yourself for your achievements?  Usually it’s by buying myself a new tool or gadget for the kitchen, I got some beautiful new tart tins to celebrate my first 6 months in business.

I can see a theme there.  You are very passionate about food.  How do you spend your down time?  I hang out with my niece and nephews as much as I can. They live 3 minutes away so I manage to find an excuse to drop in on them very regularly!

Thanks for spending time with us, Sarah!

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 #1

December 30, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about the 7 most common mistakes people make when tackling an organising project.  You can read that post here.

Top of that list was

Underestimate how long it takes to work through a project

So, how do you avoid that mistake?  There are a few steps you can take.

First, be realistic about what’s possible.  Consider all the variables like

  • your level of commitment
  • your ability to make quick decisions
  • likely interruptions
  • the size of the project
  • the complexity of the project
  • past success (or not) of other organising projects you’ve undertaken

Now take all that information and calculate a time, including breaks.

Now double that estimate.

Unless you have lots of experience with successful organising projects, it is far better to overestimate than underestimate.

Underestimating leads to frustration, disappointment, a half-finished job and more chaos.

Overestimating leads to time to put your feet up and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Does this ring true for you?

7 Common Mistakes of DIY Organising Projects

December 29, 2011

For many this quiet time between Christmas and New Year has been set aside for tackling an organising project.  And for many more, getting organised is a New Years resolution.  There are several things that can turn good intentions into a failed attempt.  Here are the most common mistakes people make.

  1. Underestimate the time it takes to work through a project
  2. Buy the storage solutions at the start of a project
  3. Have unclear goals for the space or the project
  4. Have unrealistic expectations from the space
  5. Let the unwanted stuff hang around
  6. Stop before the project is done
  7. Listen to well-intentioned but ill-informed advice

Look out for future posts on how to avoid making these mistakes.

Related Posts:

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #1

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #2

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #3

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #4

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #5

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #6

How to Avoid Organising Mistake #7

A Word with Chris Owen

October 12, 2011

My friend, Chris Owen, has joined our “A Word with” series. I asked Chris about how her business Pink Apple got started, what keeps her organised so she can focus on that business, what she does when she’s not working, recipes that shorten time in the kitchen and even what her shoe collection looks like. So here’s a Word with Chris Owen…

The last 20 years of my previous career as a nurse were spent working with couples adjusting to new parenthood or coping with the traumas of IVF while grieving their infertility.  Both situations are extraordinarily stressful and impact on couples not just individuals. In the meantime, my husband and I were continuing to learn how to be married and happy.  While we’re still learning, it’s now 37 years so I guess we’ve got some practice under our belts!!  So for me when I studied education and counselling, relationships were really where my interests lay.  Hence why Pink Apple is focused on delivering resources to help couples have better and satisfying relationships.

Those who know me know I’m a shocking gadget queen!!!  I loves me the occasional toy!!!!  So there’s no question that my iPhone, iPad, and Outlook on my desktop, all synchronise using Google Sync.  And thanks to wireless and Google I don’t even have to do anything but enter appointments into one of them!  LOVE it!  Hated the heavy diary I used to lug around and struggled to sync the Palm Pilot I used to own!!

I’ve already confessed to my gadget fetish so I can smugly say I have about 8 pairs of shoes. But it’s not quite as frugal as it sounds.  Walking hospital corridors for all those years has meant my feet are ruined and constantly painful.  So I have shoes and orthotics to manage that.  None of the shoes are pretty and none have a heel any more.  Sigh!  But even at my worst it was only ever about 20 pairs.  My hubby thought that was an outrageous number, so I had to enlighten him about some women I know!!

The hardest thing about getting organised is overcoming that voice in my head that says “but I might need that”.  With Angela’s help I’m a lot more ruthless and I’ve got much better at throwing something out if I bring something in.  I also have more regular decluttering sessions in which I can actually be much more ruthless.  I once helped my sister declutter her kitchen when she was about to move house.  She’s never forgiven me for insisting that her “stupid fondue thingy” would never come back into fashion again!

After all these years of waiting for children to grow and leave home, my husband and I at last got to start travelling earlier this year.  And oh dear!  The travel bug has well and truly bitten us.  My dream travel location has always been Ireland.  I’ve always felt my ancestors calling me from there.  On our trip, we toured around Ireland for a couple of weeks, and there’s no doubt we’ll go back again to that magical place!  However, I also discovered Paris!  Need I say more?

One of my favourite throw-together meals uses stuff that we have in our pantries and fridges.  It’s essentially a flavoured Baked Potato without the oven!

Get a clean non-green potato per person (Or is it just me that finds the occasional potato gone green in the pantry?). Gather any of these ingredients or anything you wish to substitute.

  • Canned salmon
  • Canned baked beans
  • Butter/margarine
  • Garlic butter
  • Pesto
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Thin sliced capsicum (raw or from jar of fire-roasted)
  • Sliced beetroot
  • Grated carrot/zucchini
  • Mushroom
  • Canned corn
  • Seeded mustard
  • Cooked bacon pieces (if you want to cook then chop and do in a bowl in microwave with some paper towel under and over)
  • And of course salt and pepper as desired.

Pierce potato with a skewer a few times and cook whole in the microwave.  They take somewhere between 1-4 mins per potato, depending on size and density/waxiness so do them one minute at a time and pierce to check!  When cooked cut through the centre and divide again (as many times as you wish) then place on a plate/ in pasta bowl and add any ingredients as desired.

Chris Owen of Pink Apple is a Relationship Coach/Advisor to people who fear that their relationship might not stand the test of time.  She helps them become skilled and confident at avoiding old destructive relationship behaviours.

She’s Melbourne-based but hangs out on the internet a lot!  You can subscribe to her blog or follow her on Facebook at

Lovely Leftovers

September 26, 2011

Are there leftovers from the weekend in your fridge?  What are you plans for them?

After a Sunday full of visitors and good food, here’s what’s happening at my house…

  • Half an avocado will provide an easy lunch (avocado on toast with some salt & pepper)
  • Leftover Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake will make 2 hot lunches or one evening meal
  • Extra steamed asparagus and roasted tomato will make a head start on tonight’s dinner
  • Extra upside-down berry cakes make a luscious treat or dessert, with enough to freeze in individual portions as well
  • the remains of a bottle of red wine will go into a spaghetti sauce

We’d love to hear about clever things you do with leftovers.

Lids with No Pots

September 22, 2011

My mother always used to say,

For every pot, there is a lid.

She was referring to love, meaning that for every person, there was a good match out there, someone who could “complete” them.

But let’s think about this literally for a moment.  Is there a lid for every pot in your kitchen?  Is there a pot for every lid?  Are there lidless pots and potless lids lurking in the deep corners of your cupboards?  Why are they still there?  And what are they waiting for?

If your kitchen has extra cupboard space you don’t need, and you have spare time to search through that space, then keeping extra lids or pots will work just fine for you.

But for the rest of us, who want to save space and time, let’s keep only those things which serve a purpose, ok?