Friday, 22 June 2018 05:29

5 Reasons Why Just Enough is Enough

I found an article in the March 2017 issue of House and Leisure by Lynette Botha titled The Beauty of Small. She writes about a holiday cottage they go to regularly, small and contained and yet with everything they need and love. No clutter, no excess, no extras!

It got me thinking about the times I have stayed in guest cottages on our many road trips. Most of them have been comfortable and inviting with everything we needed for our stay. No clutter, no extras, just enough.

I am working on less at home. Just enough of everything. WOW, scary stuff letting go the extra glasses, the mountain of extra towels, the items I have kept “JUST IN CASE”. My spares for when I run out, and the extras for next year or the year after that. The stuff I have been keeping for visitors but never use, and the huge bag of sample size toiletries for our road trips (again never used). Out, out, out!

As I fill yet another bag for charity I am reminded of the many benefits of having just enough.

5 good reasons why just enough is enough:

  1. Easy to store and find everything. As there is not a lot to store, there is no need to stack too high or have too much in one space. That means we can find things easily.
  2. Less work. Less stuff means less work. Much less to clean, less to dust, less to maintain. Less work means more play!
  3. Quality rather than quantity. I have quality items that can be used over and over and will last a long time. This also means less impact on our environment, s I am not replacing things that often.
  4. More time. With less to take care of, sort and organise, there will be more time to do the things that matter. More road trips and family adventures for me!
  5. More joy! Using only what we need and love means enjoying the things we have. We use the best dinner service as it’s the only one we have. And that applies to many other items in our home.

Think about it! Is just enough, enough for you?

15 years ago, I saw an article in the local paper about an International Professional Organiser who was in Cape Town to give a series of talks. I was fascinated and went along to see what it was all about, and the rest is history!

Looking back over my years as a Professional Organiser, I realise how this job has changed my life. I have spent my time in other people’s homes, working with them in their personal space, and sharing their anxieties over stuff, organising issues, clutter and accumulation.

I have seen hoarding at its worst, homes bursting at the seams with too much stuff, endless collections, tons of family heirlooms (wanted and unwanted) and garages filled with junk.
Some clients have been keen to learn how to stay organised and clutter-free, others who couldn’t bear to part with anything, but wanting it all contained and ordered. There have been clients who have come back over and over, and plenty who I haven’t seen again.

I love going to work, meeting new and interesting people, getting to know their families. I love that I make a difference, however small to their quality of life and I love the lessons I have learnt along the way!

5 Life Changing Lessons

  1. Less is definitely better. I have always been organised, but the more I declutter and organise other people’s homes, I continue to declutter my own home as I realise how much time is spent on maintaining a home filled with things.
  2. Experiences are way better than stuff. I have realised that so often nice stuff is just that, NICE STUFF! But a coffee treat with a girlfriend, or an outing with my daughters is so much more!
  3. Time is precious. One of the reasons I started my business was to be able to spend time with my children growing up when I wanted to. Now that they are grown up, I love the flexibility of taking time off to go on mini breaks and wonderful adventures. My business works for me, not the other way around.
  4. Waste less. I see a fair amount of waste on a daily basis. Although there is a big drive to recycle, not many homes actively recycle. I see waste in the multitude of unnecessary purchases, duplicate items, and wardrobes full of clothes that are never worn. Too many gadgets, too much packaging, too many impulse buys that are never used. It has made me think about my own home, and over the years I have slowly become less and less wasteful.
  5. Let your life be your legacy, not your stuff. This is a biggie for me. Again, I love nice things and enjoy having key pieces from family members that bring back good memories. A crystal glass my mom-in-law loved which I use daily. A ring from my grandmother that I modified so that I could wear it all the time. A small glass sweetie bowl, a string of purple beads and a pair of soft gloves all bring a smile to my face. But way more than that is what I learned and how I was moulded because of them. I would like to think that how I have lived my life is what my children will cherish, and not the stuff I will leave behind.

Most of all, this job makes me want to better a better person, makes me think about how I can be a better example, and how I can make a difference, one small step at a time.

I love my job!

Monday, 04 June 2018 19:40

Better Life in 10 minutes

All Sorted featured in the January edition of You: 10 Minutes to a New You

1101 Late Better Life in 10 minutes MO page 86

1101 Late Better Life in 10 minutes MO page 87

1101 Late Better Life in 10 minutes MO page 88

1101 Late Better Life in 10 minutes MO page 89

Thursday, 24 May 2018 11:13

Have you spoken to Mom?

“Help! I'm emailing you for some much-needed assistance! My mom is in her 80’s and still lives in the family home and she desperately needs some help in getting rid of a lot of accumulated stuff!

She is in great health but unfortunately suffers from chronic back pain. Unfortunately, I live overseas and am unable to help! Could we perhaps organise a time chat to discuss how you could help her to get rid of a lot of items that need to go?”

Most weeks I receive emails like this from adult children wanting assistance with their elderly relatives. Often, it’s because Mom or Dad or both are moving into smaller accommodation. Quite often they are still in their large family home, with an accumulation of stuff over many, many years. The children have moved away, across country or overseas and are not able to be there for extended periods to help.

Always sent with the best intentions!

My first response is “yes, I would love to help!”

The next is “Have you spoken to your mom about this?”

It is so important and absolutely essential to have this discussion with the family member concerned prior to even considering engaging a professional to assist.

It is extremely sensitive and quite often painful for older folk to admit they need help, and then to be comfortable having a complete stranger in their home going through their stuff. It’s important to go slow, plant the seed, discuss the options and possibilities over a period of time. Encourage without pushing.

It is still their home and their things and they should have some control over the process of downsizing and moving. Give them plenty of time to get used to the idea, and only then call in a Professional Organiser who works with Seniors.

Having said all that, there is also a fine line between the parent making the decision and the adult children making it. Safety, hygiene and comfort should be your priorities, and if you feel any of these is being compromised, you will need to step in.

Whatever you do, be respectful, kind, gentle and above all do it with love!

Thursday, 10 May 2018 11:51

8 Questions to Help You Declutter

A few months ago, I worked with a client who really struggled to let go. She was moving into a small apartment and needed to downsize drastically. As we worked I found asking her questions about each item helped her make decisions a little easier.

In the kitchen I asked “Have you used this in the last year?” Quite quickly she was able to fill a large donation box of kitchen equipment.

Going through her wardrobe, the question was “Do you feel good in this?” We decided that her starting point would be whether she felt good in the item and if not, it would go. Two black bags to her favourite charity!

Working through her photographs we talked about happy, sad or bad memories. It didn’t take long for her to ditch all the photographs with bad memories. We followed that with cards, postcards and letters that didn’t bring a smile to her face.

Next came the ornamentals and our mantra became “Does it fit into the home you want to create?” We were able to fill another box for charity.

Paperwork followed and my question this time was “What is the worst that can happen if I let this go? Items like birth certificates, marriage documents, medical details and other important documents were put together in a file. We shredded years and years of accounts, statements and out of date information, and instead of four drawers of paperwork, we landed up with one filing box.

We helped her move, unpack and settle into her new apartment. Having tea with her before we left she said how easy we had made the downsizing process with all the questions we asked. It made her really think about why she was holding onto things, and why she shouldn’t.

Do you find it hard to declutter? Perhaps asking questions could help you.

Here are 8 questions to get you going:

  • Have I used it in the last year?
  • If I lost it, would I replace it?
  • Does it bring back happy memories?
  • Does it give me pleasure?
  • Does it fit the home I want to create now?
  • Do I feel good in this?
  • What is the worst that can happen if I let it go??
  • And lastly Marie Kondo says it best “Does it spark joy?”

Try it, what have you got to lose?

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 08:58

All Sorted Now in Business Insider Live

From the article:

Why Swedish Death Cleaning is not catching on in South African homes:

Margareta Magnusson, the bestselling author of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter), can't stress this enough: it’s your responsibility to relieve your children of the burden (and sometimes enormous cost) of getting rid of your possessions when you no longer have use for them.

She outlined the Swedish phenomenon of 'death cleaning' in her book. It's about tidying up, minimising, and giving away heirlooms and treasured possessions to those you intend them for, while you are still alive.

Magnusson’s book was released last year, and, well, the concept really hasn’t caught on in South Africa.

We spoke to Judith Penny, owner of local de-cluttering business All Sorted Now, who explained that seniors often struggle with disorganisation and hoarding. There are a number of reasons for this, she says, from the simple accumulation of possessions over a lifetime, to a need to keep things "just in case".

For the full article click here

Thursday, 26 April 2018 07:37

This Is Your Home, Not A Storage Facility!

Last week the All Sorted team started working with a client who was downsizing from their large family home to a small 2 bedroomed unit with a little garden and a single garage.

As we worked I noticed a pattern emerging. We would clear the top cupboards in a room, sort out the contents and have the client make decisions as to what was going out and what would go with her to her new home.

“Oh, I cant do anything about that. It belongs to my daughter”

“Where is your daughter?”

“She has lived overseas for the last 12 years”

“Has she ever asked about this stuff? Has she been through it at all since she left?”

“No, but she says I can’t let it go!”

Sound familiar??

Here are 4 reasons our home becomes a storage unit:

1. People die and leave you stuff.

Do you have stuff you have inherited and can’t let go in spite of not liking or using the items? You are certainly not honouring the person, by holding onto something that is tucked away in a cupboard, never to come out. You would serve them better by checking with family members and then either selling or donating the item, so that someone can use and love it the way you can’t.

2. People move countries and leave you stuff.

Do you have cupboards and boxes filled with your adult children’s stuff? How long has it been there? Now is the time to set a deadline for them to make decisions, and either take the stuff or let it go. You need to be firm. You are not a storage unit!

3. People ask you to look after their stuff.

You have a bigger house than a friend, or a large garage, or just extra space. You have taken on stuff belonging to other people and its been there ages. Again, set a deadline to have it removed, and stick to it. Repeat the mantra: my home is not a storage unit!

4. People give you stuff that you cant throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

A gift is exactly that. A gift. Once it has been given to you, it’s yours. You can do what you want with that gift. It doesn’t change how you feel about the gift giver. And would it be better that the gift is used and loved by someone? Just not you!

It’s time to reclaim your home! Your home in a haven not a storage unit!

A short while ago we had to assist an elderly woman downsize from her lovely family home of 37 years to a small 1 bedroomed apartment in a retirement village. Her daughter had eventually hired us as she felt she was getting nowhere and was running out of time and patience. At the first session I could see why they were getting very little done.

Her daughter wanted the job done, wanted her mom moved and settled, and couldn’t understand why it was taking so long for her mom to make decisions.

“Why on earth do you want to keep that old thing? I will buy you a nice new one!”

“Mom, you don’t have time to look at every photo.”

“Why can’t you make decisions?”

These were some of the comments during our session. The daughter meant well, and was trying her best, but couldn’t understand the difficulties. She was too close to the situation, too emotionally involved, and too impatient.

This is where we come in. Having worked with Seniors over the years, watched and listened, we have come to understand better the difficulties facing a Senior who needs to downsize.

Here are 5 good reasons to hire a Professional Organiser who understands Seniors

  • They know that getting organised can be a slow process. It took a lifetime to accumulate a home full of possessions and memories. So much of their stuff will have sentimental attachments, so going through their home will take longer, and require patience.
  • The Organiser has to build a level of trust with the Senior
  • The Organiser needs to show respect for the Senior and their things. Seniors need to be treated with courtesy and consideration, as do their treasured possessions
  • A Professional Organiser needs to be able to communication effectively with the Senior as well as family members
  • The Organiser understands that they are physical limitations which impacts the length of a session

Once you know they are in good hands, you can relax knowing the job will get done and you can do the fun stuff with them!

When I got married, I used most of the financial gifts we received to purchase a beautiful service of Arzberg crockery. A big set, 12 of everything along with soup tureens, platters and serving dishes. A very expensive service. A very special service. A service which we have used every day since. We have lost items along the way – dropped plates, chipped dishes and badly scratched platters. We are down to uneven numbers of plates and side plates, and a half dozen pudding bowls.

We probably would have most of the collection today, if we only brought it out on special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Instead, we enjoyed using it every day, and have 25 years of memories of wonderful times around our dinner table with friends and family!

I spend most of my working days in my client’s homes, assisting them with the business of downsizing and decluttering. And in most homes, I find everyday crockery and glasses, and then tucked away in a cupboard that is seldom opened I find the “SPECIAL” crockery and glassware that only comes out on high days and holidays. The reasons are usually they are afraid of spoiling these items, or they are wanting to pass them down to their children.

Why? What good do these items do, what joy do they bring you if you keep them locked away in a cabinet to be used on a few special occasions each year. They are yours to enjoy, yours to appreciate and admire and you should be doing that all the time. What’s more special than using something beautiful every day?

And if I haven’t convinced you to unpack granny’s heirloom service or crystal glasses here are 5 more reasons you should:

  • You need less storage space as you use the good tableware daily and therefore won’t need space for a second set of crockery.
  • You are using something beautiful and special daily. Do you need another reason?
  • There is no longer guilt at not using the beautiful set that has been languishing at the back of a cupboard.
  • The best way to say thank you for a gift or heirloom is to use it and enjoy it.
  • If you bought it, you get far more value using it every day, rather than a few times as year.

And don’t stop there… Dig out the best table linen, wear the jewellery often, use the perfume liberally!

Life is short!

Every day should be a special occasion!

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