"The best inheritance you can leave your kids, is an example of how to life a full and meaningful life" - DAN ZADRA

This blogpost is dedicated to my amazing Mum-in-law Carol Schorn who died in April this year.

Mum in purpleMum’s favourite colour was purple, all shades of purple! She also loves red, yellow, blue, green. Orange and more purple! She loved colour in all forms, in what she wore, how she decorated her home, her gorgeous tapestries, cross stitch and embroideries that filled the homes of friends and family.

In fact, life was one big rainbow and every day an adventure for her. She taught her many grandchildren to cook, bake, sew, and create with enthusiasm and abandonment. She was constantly planning tea parties and dinner parties, welcome teas and farewell drinks, which meant cooking and baking endlessly.

Mum had a thirst for knowledge. She read endlessly, attended summer school every year, and was a member of a study club for 50 years. She enjoyed all genres of theatre, loved all dance, soaked up museums and art galleires.

She loved people! Mum took the time to ask questions and be genuinely interested in you and what you were up to. She chatted to fellow taxi commuters, tellers at the supermarket and made a point of knowing her neighbours.

Most of all, Mum was a free spirit. She loved to travel and explore and was constantly going somewhere. She did a parachute jump for her 70th birthday, skinny dipped in the ocean in her 80th year, and just last year at 86 went off with three grandchildren to experience Afrikaburn ( our own Burning Man).

While sorting out and packing up her home I was reminded over and over again of her incredible zest for life, her generosity of spirit, her legacy.

My daughter put it best in a letter to her beloved Granny Carol “the greatest thing you have given me is that you have taught me how to really live, love and laugh every second of everyday. To not waste any time and enjoy every second.”

I am all the richer for knowing her and being part of her life for the last 28 years. My daughters have inherited riches beyond measure.

What an inheritance! Thank you Mum!

Thursday, 30 March 2017 18:55

Get Your Kitchen Sorted!

I am not a keen cook and I am not much of a baker! I cook because my family needs to eat, and stick to simple, easy nourishing meals. I love one pot dishes, and big summer salads! And I look forward to Tuesdays when we have family and friends to supper and my HUSBAND cooks!
Having an organised and clutter free kitchen makes all the difference for cooks and non-cooks alike. Think about setting aside some time to get your kitchen sorted. Use this list to keep you focused

  • The less clutter you see, the more organized your kitchen will feel.
  • Remove any appliances that you seldom use from your counter tops. Store them in cupboards.
  • Store your pots and pans, and other cooking utensils close to the stove.
  • Store glasses in order. All tall together, then all short, all wine, then champagne etc.
  • Declutter your containers. Choose transparent containers and square or rectangle is best
  • Keep all of your spices in one area, close to your cooking space.
  • Store like food items together, veggies in one place, fruits in another, boxed meals and so on.
  • Use glass containers where possible to store foodstuffs, spices etc.
  • Place dividers in your drawers. This makes it easier to keep all of those little bits and pieces together.
  • Examine your shelves and work out how they could be used more efficiently.
  • Keep an area close to your stove clear where you will place hot dishes as they come out of the oven.
  • Conquer the paper monster in the kitchen. Have a designated spot for your mail.Put a bowl on the counter to catch odds and ends - pens, keys etc.
  • Finally, re-examine your kitchen to determine if there is any storage space that you've overlooked.

So now that you have a lovey organised kitchen, you are probably wondering how to keep it that way. Maintenance is the key. Always put things back in the spots you've designated for them. Do the basics. Just making sure the dishes are washed every day is a great way to stay on track.

Once a week, do a quick run-through in the kitchen, putting away items that have strayed from their homes, and wipe down surfaces. Check the refrigerator for any items which are expired or starting to turn. Toss any of the leftovers you know you won't eat.

You'll find this becomes a habit, one which will keep your kitchen organised or a long time to come

Friday, 24 March 2017 07:24

What to do When Someone Dies

A few years ago I worked with an elderly client who was not well. His family lived overseas and they asked to organize the entire moving process. We had been working for a number of weeks decluttering and downscaling, getting him ready for the move to a small apartment in a retirement complex. And then he died quite suddenly just after one of our sessions! 

His family were distraught and called me to help! They couldn’t get there immediately and things had to be done. TO be honest I had never had to deal with someone dying, and had no idea of the process. With the help of his doctor and family attorney, we muddled through and got things done. I made lists and compiled a file for the family.
A few months later, I needed that list again for a friend who didn’t know where to start after her mom died. It made the process so much easier for her, and I thought it would be helpful to share the list here.

First steps

  • Call the doctor, who will probably call the coroner
  • Try not to move anything until official announcement is made
  • Make note of time of death
  • Contact family or friends for support
  • Keep a running list of people to thank

Legalities and paperwork

  • Get a copy of death certificate from attending doctor
  • Contact local home affairs office with temporary death certificate
  • Submit name, address, date of birth and death
  • You will receive a standard death certificate
  • Required to go through probate, file insurance claims, collect pensions etc.
  • You will receive a disposal certificate for burial or cremation
  • Find the will, any estate documents, and insurance policies

Making funeral arrangements

  • Decide on funeral home, talk to them about arrangements
  • Locate the person's burial instructions and last wishes
  • Determine if burial has been pre-paid
  • Choose location, date and time for services
  • Ask for itemised list of funeral costs and what they cover
  • Determine what to do with ashes
  • Let mourners know wishes regarding flowers
  • Determine if you want a viewing beforehand
  • Decide on structure of service, hymns, prayers and music
  • Preparations for wake after the service

Notifying others

  • Call friends and family - use the person's address book, or cellphone
  • Contact employer and co-workers
  • Place obituary in newspaper
  • Inform relevant government departments
  • Notify insurance agencies, financial institutions
  • Contact person's attorney, and executor of the will
  • Cancel utility services
  • Have mail re-directed
  • Cancel rental leases

Taking care of financial concerns

  • All financial decisions are made by executor of will
  • Grant of probate allows payment of any debts
  • Find out who beneficiaries are on insurance policies
  • Remainder of assets are distributed according to will

When there is no will

  • All decisions to be made by spouse or closest relative
  • Contact attorney for advice and guidance
  • Get necessary forms at probate office
  • Determine assets and liabilities of deceased
  • Return required form with death certificate to probate office
  • Get letters of administration from probate to distribute person's assets
Thursday, 16 March 2017 05:34

Preparing for the Retirement Home

Last week we looked at taking care of all those questions we don’t really like to ask. I hope that the article inspired you to get your affairs in order, and have all those important documents easily accessable. On a similar note, I thought we would look at moving into retirement homes. Whether it’s for your parents or an elderly member of your family or circle, or for yourself, here is a comprehensive list of questions you should be asking:


  • Activities (crafts, social events, sports, educational, etc.)
  • Meals (individually prepared or in a dining room)
  • Housekeeping, laundry, and lawn care
  • Transport
  • Security
  • Assistance with grooming, bathing, and dressing
  • Administration and management of medications
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Shopping and errand running
  • Social services and therapeutic care
  • Spiritual services and worship
  • Emergency medical care

In the last few months my team has worked with a number of people downscaling and moving in retirement homes or complexes. One couple in particular were super organized with their paperwork. All their important documents had been gathered together in one filing box and marked accordingly. As we worked with them I thought about how we shouldn’t wait until retirement to have all our affairs in order. So I spent some time researching what we need to have and what we need to think should something happen to us. Whether you have a box or a file, here is a list of things you ought to think about and get organized sooner rather than later.

Contact information

  • Lawyer and executor of will
  • Accountant and bookkeeper
  • Investment broker, financial advisors, etc
  • Insurance agents
  • family, friends and colleagues

Document locator

  • Legal - wills, power of attorney, trust docs, safe deposit box
  • Family - birth, adoption, guardianship, citezenship, marriage, divorce
  • Banking - loans, morgages, lists of accounts, statements, cancelled cheques etc
  • Investments - stocks, retirement annuities
  • Business - incorporation papers, contracts, agreements
  • Deeds and titles - title insurance, property, home inventory, vehicles
  • Insurance - life, death benefits, property, homeowners, auto
  • Military - service records, discharge
  • ID - passport, driver's license, ID document
  • Income tax records

Planning in advance

  • Outline funeral and burial plans
  • Select type of service, music, prayers etc
  • Decide what you DON"T want to happen
  • Burial or cremation etc

Taking care of loved ones

  • Guardianship papers for your children
  • How much money does your family need to replace your income
  • Adequate life insurance
  • Adequate money set aside to cover cost of dying
  • Adequate money set aside to cover long-term medical costs
  • Beneficiaries for your accounts, investments, and insurance


  • How much inheritance tax will be due on your assets
  • How much will it cost to have your will probated
  • Assets to your spouse which can be received tax-free
  • Begin gifting tax-free money to your children prior to death
  • Planning to make charitable gift as part of your estate?

Your wishes

  • Do you have a current up to date signed will
  • Do you have a financial power of attorney
  • Do you have a living will and medical power of attorney
  • Do you have a current signed organ donor card
  • Does your executor have copies of all these documents
  • Have you clearly outlined how you want possessions distributed
  • Have you labeled items you want to go to specific people

It is probably the most important organizing you can do! DO it now!

Friday, 03 March 2017 06:52

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

A client I worked with a few years back called recently to say they needed my help again. They are selling their home and moving away.” Would I help get their home ready to put on the market to sell?” After I put the phone down I thought about the difference a little decluttering and organising can make when selling a home. Here are my top tips to get your home ready to sell:

  1. Start by going room by room. Think of yourself as a potential buyer and looking at each room critically. Do you see the potential? Or do you just see the stuff? Your goal is to make your home inviting and attractive as possible without spending loads of money.
  2. Tidy up the kitchen. Tackle the counter tops and clear off anything that is not essential on a daily basis. Go through your kitchen cupboards and make space for appliances you usually have standing on the counter tops. While you are there, clear out anything you no longer use. Do the same if you have a pantry, scullery or laundry.
  3. Tackle your bathrooms. Give your baths, showers, basins and tiles a good scrub. Clear out medicine cabinets and cupboards. Clear everything off the vanity, leaving only essentials in a pretty container or basket. Add a plant, crisp neutral towels and fresh soap.
  4. Make bedrooms comfortable. Clear bedside tables and dressing tables. Ensure bedside lamps work. Remove anything that doesn’t belong in a bedroom. Use neutral linen where possible and add plump pillows and soft throws.
  5. Sort out your study. Clear up your paperwork, do your filing, shred and recycle what you don’t need. Leave your desk neat and tidy at all times during the selling process, ensure there is good lighting and an appealing space to work in.
  6. Clear off counters and bookcases. Get rid of books that won’t be reread, recycle old magazines and newspapers. Remove most of the photographs and personal items, along with excess ornamental items. Now is the time to decide whether you will be taking them with you when you move.
  7. Clear out garden sheds, garages and other storage areas. Now is the time to sort and let go anything you no longer use, or know you will not need in your new home. Organise the rest in clearly marked containers, or neatly on shelves
  8. Take a good look at your home’s exterior. Clear your gutters, wash down walls if necessary, keep driveways and paving swept and clean. Take time to get your garden looking its best, and your pool sparkling. Is your curb neat and tidy?
  9. Lastly step outside your gate and take a look. If you were looking at buying a home would this be one you would be keen to look at?

Ready, steady, sell!

Monday, 27 February 2017 09:37

Organising Your Garden Shed

A few years ago, I was approached by a magazine to respond to a reader’s letter asking how to go about re-organising their garden shed. I thought about it recently while doing just that – clearing, sorting and re-organising a client’s garden shed. And do you know, I realised that while every project is different and every client has different needs, the BASIC principles remain the same. Here is my updated version of HOW TO ORGANISE YOUR GARDEN SHED.

What is important to know when planning on re-organising your garden cottage?

First of all you need to set aside some time where you will not be distracted, and preferably with help. You might want to do this in two stages. If you do it in two stages, make sure it’s not too far apart. The first stage would be the clear out and the second stage would be deciding where everything would go, labelling shelves or storage and putting it all back in the different categories. If you do it in one go, do the first part, take a good break and then tackle the second bit.

Now, how do I do it?

  • Working from one side to the other, and top to bottom, start clearing out the shed. Have space to lay everything out so that you can see what there is.
  • Once the shed is empty, sweep, dust, get rid of cobwebs etc.
  • Add shelves and hooks to get things off the ground. It always looks neater and encourages you to replace things where they belong
  • Buy some sturdy plastic storage that you would be able to stack. First work out what you will need, and THEN go shopping. If you get clear containers, you will be able to see the contents. If you go for black or coloured ones, ensure you label them clearly!!
  • Now back to the sorting. Have a box for donations/give aways, a box for recycling, a box for the rubbish dump. Again, working from one side, methodically touch each item and make a decision. The broken or damaged ones are easy. THROW THEM OUT. Now deal with the others -  Is it used? Does it have a purpose in your home? Why is it there? Why are you keeping it? Touch, make a decision and move on to the next item. Anything you are not sure of, put on one side to come back to later.
  • Now that everything is sorted, you might want a break. Move the boxes for donating, recycling and rubbish dump out to the car, trailer, truck!!! Have a cuppa, and check out what is left behind.
  • Divide your space into different areas –painting section, gardening section, tools and general. Think of a pre-school space, where there are stations for different activities. Do the same with the shed.
  • Now put everything you are keeping back. All paint tins with labels facing forward, all brushes together in a container etc., then move on to the gardening stuff, and so on. Ensure that everything has a home – you could label the shelves so that things go back without any stress. If you are using containers that stack, don’t put too many on top of each other, and ensure they are clearly labelled. Ideally you should be able to read them from the door.
  • Also ensure there is a space to work on, or if not, a folding table that can be used to work on.
  • Good lighting is also important.
  • Now that you are done, show it off, and enjoy your new organised space. Encourage replacing things each time they are used and a monthly once over to keep it looking good and working to perfection.
Monday, 06 February 2017 01:53

7 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Housework

Who really, really likes housework? Not me…I am always keen to find ways to reduce the amount of housework I need to do, so that I have more time to relax, more time to enjoy my hobbies, more time with family and friends. Here are my favourite tips that make housekeeping easier for me….

1. Put your clothes away every night. Don’t be tempted to toss your clothes on a chair or the floor. It only takes a couple of seconds to put them away or in your laundry basket.

2. Don’t hold onto more than you need and use. All those appliances in the back cupboard. Vases never taken down. Ornaments gathering dust. Multiple towels and linen sets kept for visitors…. Let go… 

3. Wipe down surfaces every time. Wiping away grease and food splatter immediately cuts down on the heavy cleaning later.

4. Don’t have too much decorative stuff on beds. Decorative pillows and throw blankets might look good, but don’t have too much. The fewer steps it takes to make your bed every morning, the more likely you'll do it.

5. Put shoes and jackets away. Have a coat rack at the front door, and a place for outdoor shoes.

6. Wash up or stack the dishwasher regularly. What more can I say!

7. Put things back where they came from. Putting things away every time means you will find them easily, and your home will look neater, cleaner and more inviting.

Try it for yourself!

Monday, 06 February 2017 01:44

5 Ways to Clean up Your Kitchen

So, the holidays are over, friends and family have left, and life starts to get back to normal. All the eating, drinking, entertaining and hosting has taken its toll…on your kitchen. It's time to get it back in shape for the New Year ahead.

1. Ditch the dead herbs and spices

Sort out your herbs and spices. Get rid of anything you really don’t use, won’t use and have definitely past their best. Wipe done bottles, decant bags into small containers and clean out the spice rack before putting everything you will use back.

2. Sort out your cutlery drawer and plastics cupboard

It’s time to do a proper cutlery sort out and let go anything you don’t use. If you don’t already have one, get a cutlery organiser. Do the same with your utensils. Do your really need 3 potato peelers? Now move on to the dreaded plastics. Recycle all pieces without partners and any containers that don’t seal properly. The same applies to all those containers that are past their best.

3. Wipe down and clean kettle, toaster, oven, microwave and fridge

These appliances have worked overtime over the holidays and deserve a little TLC. Wipe down your kettle, toaster, oven, microwave and fridge. Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl of water and microwave on high for 3 minutes to clean the inside of your microwave. Use a paste of bicarb, vinegar and water to clean out your oven. Its non-toxic and wont scratch your surfaces. Wipe out your fridge with a vinegar/water solution which disinfects and cleans at the same time.

4. Take control of the fridge and pantry

Now that you have emptied the fridge to clean it, it’s time to see what you have, discard all those old leftovers, wipe down all condiment bottles and only put back what you will use. Do the same with your pantry or grocery cupboard. Donate all the foodie gifts you won’t eat and dry goods left behind my visitors.

5. Clear your countertops

Too much stuff cluttering the countertops? Clear the counters completely. Take a look at what there is. Now decide what really needs to be there. My rule of thumb is “as little as possible” and only items you use all the time. Everything else needs to find new homes.

Brand New Year, brand new kitchen!

Contact Us

Telephone: +27 (0)82 926 3531
Email: judith@allsortednow.co.za