Wednesday, 22 November 2017 04:48

Pre-holiday Checklist

Going away for the holidays? We used to go away every December while our girls were growing up. We had a cottage at the sea, and would spend three weeks there. In the early days we would need to do a big shop here before we left, and ensure we had everything we needed. I had lists (I love my lists) to make it easier to organise and ensure we didn’t forget anything. Packing list, shopping list, ‘things to take with us’ list, and the ‘what to do before we go’ list! This list was really important if we didn’t have people staying in our home while we were away.

So, this is my pre-holiday checklist:

  • Trim lawn and tidy garden just before you go
  • Leave keys and contact details with someone nearby
  • Check all taps to ensure no dripping
  • Ask someone to collect post
  • Cancel newspaper
  • Switch off geyser
  • Unplug all electronic equipment
  • Empty bins
  • Clear out fridge and leave clean
  • Set timers for lights if you can
  • Ask a neighbour to pop in and open windows and curtains periodically

And above all, once all the lists are ticked and the bags are packed, relax and have a great holiday!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 03:52

Are You Ready For The Festive Season?

Here come the holidays!

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is hectic as we all try to get things done before the holidays.

Instead of being a time of fun and relaxation, the holidays threaten to turn into a nightmare. Over the years I have found ways to keep the festive season just that, FESTIVE!

Here are 4 tips to help you enjoy, rather than dread this time of year:

One: Plan & Prepare:

Spend some time thinking, planning and preparing. What worked and what didn't last year? Make a list of everything, I mean EVERYTHING you have to do until the end of the year and allocate time to the tasks – and start today!

Two: Simplify, Organize & Manage:

Break your long list down into smaller lists, be specific and get the What, Who, When and How Much down for gifts, shopping, dinners, lunches and outings, activities and trips. If it feels like too much – it probably is. Now’s a good time to be realistic and delete the things that would be nice, but just aren’t possible!

Three: Act:

Now you have a plan that feels comfortable and do-able, get your shopping trips in early and plan for contingencies – a bit of extra time to do something you’ve forgotten or for taking a well-deserved breather. It’s also great to tick off and cross out as you get things done!

Four: Your Festive Season Mantra:

  • I will share the load and not try to do it all myself;
  • I will avoid overspending, over-catering and overindulging;
  • I will keep things simple and pace myself;
  • I will be strong enough to say NO when I have to;
  • I will give myself the time to be in the right space to enjoy it all!

Do you have any great tips to stay calm and relaxed these holidays?

Thursday, 09 November 2017 16:37


We are heading towards the end of the year at a rapid rate. And in South Africa, that means the end of the school year too! My children are grown up, but I remember the end of a school year clearly. Along with all the activities and parties, gifts and farewells, came the school books, projects, stationery and any artwork that had not already been sent home. It was all dumped in a corner of my daughters’ bedrooms as the excitement of the holidays took over.

But before they could settle in to the holidays, we gathered all the artwork and pottery, projects and work done during the year, and spent a few hours going through it together. They chose the artwork they wanted to keep, and we then donated, recycled and tossed the rest! A few pieces were framed for our home and grandparents! I also took some photos.

Children’s artwork can accumulate very quickly. Here are 4 tips to keep it all under control:

  • You should be putting their names and dates on the artwork as it comes in during the year.
  • Have a space to display or store all current work, and then another to pack items away.
  • At the end of each year (NOW), go through all artwork with the child concerned and decide what to keep and what to let go.
  • Choose pieces to frame for your home, for grandparents and family. Choose some to store, some to be used as wrapping paper or cards, and then let the rest go. If you like, you could take photos of some of the artwork for a memory box before you let it go.
  • DO NOT do this without involving your children. It is so important that they are part of the process and are involved in the decisions. It might take longer but it is worth it in the years ahead!

Happy holidays!

children paintings


Wednesday, 01 November 2017 15:52

10 Good Rules To Stay Organised

I am constantly reading articles and books about organising, decluttering and sorting. Over the years I have taken what works for me and used it at work with clients and in my own home. Here in a nutshell is some of the best advice to stay organised.

10 good rules to help you stay organised:

Rule 1. When in doubt, throw it out.

Not sure about how you feel in that dress? Can’t make up your mind about the vase? Let it go

Rule 2. Use it, or lose it.

At least twice a year, go through your cupboards and drawers and remove all those items you haven’t used. The chances are you won’t, so let go.

Rule 3. Handle things once

Especially when dealing with paperwork, junk mail, children’s art. Touch it once, decide what you are going to do, and do it.

Rule 4. Recycle

Most people have packaging and paper coming into their homes. We should all recycle.


When you are not sure where to start, pick a place. A drawer, a shelf, anywhere! Once you start, you will find it easier to carry on

Rule 6. A place for everything, and everything in its place

This is one of my favourite rules. Find a home for everything in your home. Putting things back is a lot easier when you know where it belongs.

Rule 7. Do it NOW!

Don’t put things down thinking you will sort it out later. Do it immediately, and you will be amazed at how quickly it becomes a habit

Rule 8. Label, label, label

I think my favourite organising tool is my labelling machine. I love to label things as it makes it so easy for everyone in the household to find things and put them back

Rule 9. Pick a number and stick to it

You choose how many handbags you want, or how many pieces of children’s artwork you want to keep. You choose how many breadboards you REALLY need, and how many vases. Then stick to that number. When you bring another one in, one needs to go.

Rule10. Efficiency is everything

We want to find things easily, put things back without hassle. So, store things that are most used in the most accessible spots. Store similar things together. Store heavy items lower down.

Pick one or two rules, or all of them and try them out!

Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:32

The Art of Letting Go

As a Professional Organiser I get to declutter spaces, pack up homes and move clients often. Whether our client is downsizing or not, we encourage a “clean out” before a move. It makes it so much easier in a new home when you only have what you need, use and love to start with. Most often there are discussions about selling or donating the items that are no long wanted.

This is the story of one of those clients.

Aunt M is an extraordinary person.

She is not a wealthy woman in monetary terms. She lived in a modest three bedroomed home, until she decided to move into a one bedroomed retirement apartment this week. The All Sorted team had the delightful task of assisting her with downsizing, packing and moving. I say delightful, because that’s exactly how it turned out!

Although she was anxious about moving, Aunt M kept us entertained with stories, smiled the entire time and made copious amount of tea! All the while downsizing with gusto and letting go of her possessions, big and small. And the best part of all, it all went to charity! ALL OF IT!

There was no mention or thought of selling some of the more valuable items.

She kept saying “Let it go where it will make a difference.”

“Let’s donate it!”

“Someone needs this more than I do”

Always with a smile…

So much so that by the time we were done, more than ¾ of her worldly possessions had been donated. We packed 26 boxes to go to Aunt M’s new flat, and 40 boxes and bags for charity! Most of her furniture went off to charity too!

This is the first time in 15 years as a professional organiser that we have sent more to charity, than to a new home.

Aunt M is an extraordinary woman, and wealthy beyond measure!

Thursday, 12 October 2017 06:20

My 7 Reasons For Wanting to Own Less

The benefits of owning less

Over the years working with clients in their homes I have become aware of the impact that our possessions have on us. I see people spend money on storage and storage items, accumulate things they hardly use, hold onto heirlooms they don’t like or use, and constantly worry about security.

I joke with my colleagues that after most sessions of decluttering and downsizing, I want to let go something more in my own home. And I do! And it feels great!

Here are 7 of my own reasons for wanting to own less

1. I spend less on stuff: Once we choose to have less, and have what we need, we spend less on stuff

2. I buy quality: Needing and wanting less, and usually buying second-hand I go for quality, which lasts longer.

3. I can find things quickly: Having fewer things will make it easier to find what you need quickly and easily

4. My home is easy to keep clean: Having less in your home means less to keep clean and take care of

5. I enjoy my favourite things all the time: Only having things around that you love and use means to get to enjoy your favourite things all the time

6. My environmental footprint is shrinking: Owning less and consuming less, buying with consideration means less impact on our environment

7. I want to set an example for my children: Focusing on doing stuff, rather than having stuff creates wonderful memories and teaches valuable life lessons.

Just think about it! It doesn’t mean doing without, it means doing more! More doing, more fun, more memories.

That’s the legacy I want to leave my girls!

Thursday, 28 September 2017 05:33

Spring Wardrobe Sorting

So you have decided to spring clean and this means your clothes too! I might covered some of these points before, but I think you will find them helpful if you are keen to sort your wardrobe. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017 04:23

Six Tips On Getting Organised For Summer

Spring is in the air in the Southern Hemisphere and our days are getting longer and warmer. Now is the perfect time for clearing out the cobwebs and a lot more. Time to get your home and yourself ready for summer!!

We recently had devastating fires in the Southern Cape, with many people evacuating and many losing their homes. I asked one of my friends, Alix Coxon to write about her experience and her advice to others should they find themselves in this awful situation. This is her story

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