Living Large in Small Spaces

February 1, 2012

Have you ever heard of a Float Home?  It’s a home that floats.  It’s not a houseboat.  Houseboats have engines that can move them about.  Float homes just sit in one place on water.  I saw some on a trip to Canada recently.  They were simply adorable.  Talk about water frontage!

But there is a limit to how large a home floating on water can be.  Could you live life large in a small space?  What changes would you make?

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 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?

Someone’s in the Kitchen

January 16, 2012

Someone’s in the kitchen whipping up a delicious storm… and it isn’t me.

I want to introduce you to a fabulous service, launched by a clever and talented woman.  Vivenda is the brainchild of Sarah Webb, and is the answer to many a prayer.

The hardest work you will do is select from an extensive menu and provide a kitchen for Sarah to work in.  The rest is up to her.

So if meal planning and preparation is just too much, or you want to impress without the stress, this is something for you.

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? 😉

New Career Discovery Sessions

January 5, 2012

Many compassionate women who are seeking extra income are struggling with the problem of how to start their Professional Organiser business.

It’s a shame, because the solution is actually right at their fingertips, they just don’t see it.  Maybe you can relate to this too.

Which got me thinking, what could I offer that would get you started quickly, with exactly what you need to solve this problem?

Well, I came up with the perfect solution.  I’m opening up 10 spots to coach with me – at no cost – for 30 minutes!

It’s my 30-minute “New Career” Discovery Session.

The only thing is, with only 10 spots open, these are going to be snapped up fast.  And to be considered you need to act now.

In this New Career Discovery Session, I’ll walk you through:

  • The hidden challenges that are unconsciously sabotaging you from starting or growing your new career as a Professional Organiser
  • Creating a crystal clear vision for your ultimate business success and the wonderful lifestyle you’d like your business to provide
  • How to get renewed, re-energised and inspired to turn your business into a highly profitable, revenue-generating machine
  • The one simple step you can take immediately to get into action

If you’re ready to stop wondering what to do and start building your business, then I urge you to register for one of these 10 limited discovery session spots with me right now.  These sessions will be held during January and there are limited appointment times so please act soon!

HERE’S HOW TO REGISTER – DEADLINE is January 11(and how to get your gift of my “Quotes to Organise By” collection of 215 organising-related inspiring quotes)

Simply send an email to angela@creatingorder.com.au to answer these simple questions.

IMPORTANT: You must answer all the questions to be eligible for this gift discovery session.

I will then send you an email with a link for the session times available.

  1. What is your name and tell me a little bit about your existing Professional Organiser business, or why you want to start one?
  2. When it comes to starting or growing your business, what are you biggest challenges?
  3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), how important is it to you to get these solved… and why?
  4. What is the #1 obstacle that’s kept you from solving these challenges?
  5. Where would you like your business to be in 6 months?  12 months?
  6. What is your phone number and email address?

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?