Wednesday, 07 February 2018 12:05

To Do Or Not To Do – That Is The Question!

A couple of Saturdays back I had planned to spend the day catching up on a long list of chores and jobs I wanted to get done. I was going to do so much – my to-do list ready for action!

And then my niece and her new husband arrived! As I made tea I wondered how long they would stay, thinking of all the things I needed to get done. We chatted and drank tea, and all the while all I could think of was my to-do list and how the time was passing and would I still manage to get it all done.

And then it hit me, the chores could wait. Nothing was so pressing that couldn’t be done another time. It was wonderful to see them, and spend some time with them catching up! I didn’t get the opportunity often, and here it was, and I was wishing it away!

So, tea turned into snacks as we talked some more, and then snacks turned into an impromptu lunch of leftovers. We laughed and ate, and chatted some more. As they left a while later, I thought “How special! It was lovely to see them and I am so glad they stayed!”

Don’t get me wrong – chores need to get done. But sometimes, when life throws us a pause button, we should grab it with both hands, and enjoy those special moments that we could miss as we rush full tilt through our busy, busy lives.
Oh, and by the way, the chores got done and didn’t take that long after all!

Thursday, 25 January 2018 07:02

Financial Freedom is a Choice

Here we are at the beginning of another year. What better time to look at our finances and how we work with our money.

When I first started my business as a professional organizer I went to see a financial coach Linda from Linda’s Abundance. I thought I was going to get a lesson on balance sheets and income statements. Instead we talked about abundance and financial freedom. Something she said a number of times sums it all up for me: Financial freedom is a choice!

Some of these tips and ideas are Linda’s and some are mine and I am sure you have some too!

Financial freedom is a choice

• If you are able to, do what you love, even if it means earning less
• Give and donate where you can - spread it around and make a difference
• Observe the law of attraction. Be clear about what you want to attract
• Be accountable to yourself about your money
• Plan a budget and stick to it
• SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

Ways to save

• Keep a minimum balance in your account
• Use banking loyalty points to pay banking fees
• Shop around for better banking rates and options
• Use your credit card as long as you keep it in credit
• Check and update short term insurance regularly

Priceless pleasures

• Invest in small pleasures: Go up Table Mountain, browse in a flea/farmers’ market, go to the theatre or a movie, take a walk in the country…
• Invest in everlasting memories: Family holidays, road trips, camping…
• Invest in social pleasures: Have friends for a meal, meet girlfriends for coffee, join a book club or dinner club…

How much is enough?

• Enough is somewhere between too little and too much
• Enough is being able to afford your desired lifestyle without getting into debt
• Enough is being content with what you have

Financial freedom is a choice, your choice!

Thursday, 25 January 2018 06:48

Start Your Year Sorted and Organised

So, all the festivities are over, the guests have left, and your home is looking a little disorganised. You would like to get sorted and organised before the year begins in earnest but where do you start?

First things first: have a plan.
Decide on one space. Choose the area that bothers you the most. Break the project down into manageable pieces. Estimate how much time you will need. Now set the time aside in your diary! Make sure you have no distractions.

Now to action

Take time to look at the space, and think about how you would like it to look. Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Black bags for rubbish, clear bags for recycling, and four boxes (marked “Donations/sell”, “put away elsewhere”, “store” and “maybe”), markers, tape, labels and cleaning materials
Now start in one corner and work clockwise, working from top to bottom. Attack what you can see first, then open cupboards, working methodically through each shelf and drawer. Work round the room, and avoid zigzagging. Don’t skip a spot.

Decisions, decisions…

Touch each item and make an immediate decision – do I want it/Do I need it/do I have a better one/What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t keep it? Identify what’s important to you. Decide what you can live without and let it go.
If you are keeping the item decide where it is going. Everything else should go in one of the boxes or bags... Don’t be distracted by things that belong elsewhere. Place in PUT AWAY ELSEWHERE box and carry on. If you can’t make a decision about an item, put it in the ‘maybe” box. Be prepared to make more of a mess before things look better. Once done, and the bags and boxes are removed, you will see the progress.

Putting it back together

Before you start putting things back, give everything a good clean. Now decide where things should go. Organise in a way that is natural to you. Group like items together and divide the space into zones. For instance, in a kitchen you would keep all pots and pans nearest the stove, all foodstuffs together, all glassware together and so on. Now think about storage containers. Do you have anything in your home you could use? If not, make a note and go shopping later. Choose storage containers that are both attractive and practical.

Before you run out of energy

When you are done move all the boxes and bags out. If you have items to sell, decide how you are going to do that. Immediately take the donations box and recycling bag to your car! Put the rubbish bag in your bin. Take PUT AWAY ELSEWHERE box and return items to where they belong. Go through the “maybe” box and deal with the contents quickly. If you really struggle, seal the box, label it and store it. Make a note in your diary for six months down the line and revisit the stored box. You will probably find you will be able to let go most of the contents at a later date!

Now your space is sorted.

Have a good look at your new sorted space. How does it look? How does it make you feel? Do you need to do anything more, or can you call it a day. If so, reward yourself. You did it, you got sorted and you should be really proud of yourself!

How to keep it that way

Set aside time twice a year to go through your home. Revisit each room and repeat the process. It should be a lot quicker next time round.

Here’s to a sorted and organised year!

Thursday, 04 January 2018 06:25

Packing up the Christmas Decorations

In our childhood home it was traditional to take down the Christmas decorations 12 days after Christmas, and so I continued that with my own family! This year, however, they are already down and packed away! I start work tomorrow (which is early for me) and yesterday was spent getting my home in order, ready for another year.

I thought I would share some of my personal tips. Here goes:

Packing up the decorations

• Take down all ornaments
• Remove any you won’t want to use next year
• Group ornaments and pack in tissue
• I use fruit packing sheets for baubles, and egg boxes for smaller items

Taking down the lights

• Start where you finish and wind up backwards
• Wind each strand round an empty toilet roll or paper towel roll
• Ensure you remove all batteries, and pack all adaptors

Take down the tree

• Pack away securely

Christmas décor and extras

• Pack items into boxes in categories and label clearly

o Tree decorations
o Lights
o Christmas cards and labels, wrapping, ribbon etc.
o Christmas crockery, candles and linen

Donate any unwanted decorations!

Do you have any tips for us?

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 06:48

How to Pack For Your Holiday

Last week I wrote about what to consider packing when going on holiday. Today I am following up with how to pack….

Before you start:

1. Consider the weather and the activities you will be doing
2. If you are flying check with travel agent or airline as to regulations regarding on-board luggage
3. Make a checklist of everything you plan to take – clothes, shoes, toiletries, gifts, maps, and all trip details
4. With clothes choose 3 colours that work together. Rather change the look with accessories.
5. Pack neutral shoes that will go with everything, so you won’t need so many
6. Ensure that all your clothes are clean and wrinkle free. Button up and close all zips
7. Try to avoid clothing that needs heavy ironing

Now to packing:

Your hand luggage
1. Travel documents, jewellery (if you must take it with you), money, keys and other valuables
2. Small first aid kit, medication and travel size toiletries
3. Small sewing kit, small mirror, and an extra set of underwear
5. Stationery
6. A book, crossword, Sudoku or something to keep you busy

Packing the perfect suitcase

1. Attach a label with your contact details to inside of suitcase.
2. Attach a bright ribbon and a label with your contact details to the handle for quick identification
3. Write a list of everything you pack, checking everything off your list as you go.
4. Pack heavy items at bottom closest to wheels to avoid excessive wrinkling
5. Roll your clothing to save space and prevent wrinkles.
6. Pack tightly. Fill shoes with socks, stockings and other small soft items.
7. Put toiletries in Ziploc bags to prevent spillages
8. Avoid over packing
9. Take half as much clothing as you think you need
10. Unpack at the other end as soon as you can. Hang very creased items in bathroom while you shower to help with the wrinkles.
11. Keep your checklist with you so that when you pack up again you don’t forget anything!

Ready to go
Buy a travel guide of where you are visiting (AND READ IT)
Drink plenty of water before departing, continue drinking water and avoid alcohol while travelling
Dress comfortably, and sensibly
Take small spray bottle to spritz face regularly
Travel with small rucksack, or one large bag, rather than several bags. Pack handbag in luggage

How you pack sets the tone for your holiday! Pack light, pack right, have fun!!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:05

Holiday Checklist - What to Pack!

With the holidays around the corner, I have been reading some of my previous posts and blogs on packing. I thought it might be good to chat about it again, and this time in two parts. Today, we look at what to pack and next week we look at how to pack for your holiday.

Whether you are travelling locally or overseas, it’s always worthwhile making lists of what you need to take with you. That way you don’t forget anything and don’t worry about possibly forgetting something really important.

Here is a fairly extensive list covering all aspects of international and local travel. It’s a good starting point for your trip, and you can add or take away what is not relevant to you

Important documents

  • Passport and photocopies
  • Visae (if required)
  • Tickets/ e-tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation and car hire booking references
  • Currency/ credit cards/ debit cards
  • Driver’s licence
  • Guidebooks

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair brush, comb, hairdryer
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Mirror
  • Contact lenses, solutions and spare glassesMedications
  • First aid kit
  • Soap, shower gel
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Moisturising cream
  • Make up
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Insect repellent (if necessary)
  • Small towel or facecloth

Clothing

  • Try to pack layers to accommodate all weather
  • Pick 3 colours and mix and match your clothes
  • Neutral shoes – comfy walking shoes, smart shoes, and slippers or slip slops (can be used in suspect showers)
  • Enough underwear for the length of the trip
  • Raincoat, umbrella
  • Hot climate – swimsuit, sun hat and sarong (doubles as sheet, wrap, towel, scarf or skirt)
  • Cold climate – thermal underwear, hat, scarf, gloves, thick socks, good coat or jacket

Useful/other

  • Camera and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Laptop if necessary or tablet and charger
  • Worldwide adaptor plug
  • Sewing kit
  • Small multipurpose tool, scissors
  • Small torch / flashlight
  • Earplugs and chewing gum – great on an airplaneSafety pins, rubber bands, Ziploc bags
  • Stationery
  • Reading material, games

Next week, we will work on packing our suitcases….

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

THE DILEMMA OF CHILDREN'S ARTWORK

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

 

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