8 tips to Meal Planning

Meal planning is something I have done for as long as I can remember.  Personally I find it an easy process to undertake but for some I can understand the thought of having to come up with solutions for dinner every night as well as then finding the time to cook it can be a daunting task.

Benefits of meal planningthe words plan

Meal planning requires an investment of a little time but can ultimately help in the following ways:

  • Save time – it can stop many unnecessary trips to the shops and also ends those times where you get home from work and then wonder what you will do for dinner.
  • Save money – with meal planning you tend not to impulse buy or waste as much food.  I am sure we have all had times where we have been to the store and purchased something only to return home and find the same item already in our pantry!  You only buy what you need for the week ahead if you are following a weekly meal plan.  You might also like to plan your meals around weekly supermarket specials and that too will save you dollars.
  • Save ones sanity – knowing that you have already determined what you are going to cook can make it easier after a long day.
  • Improve nutrition – a good meal plan can help to create a structure that encourages healthy eating.  It means cooking when you have time so that even on those busy days, you have a healthy and homemade meal to serve.

8 tips to assist you to meal plan

Please don’t think this needs to be complicated, as it doesn’t!  I personally use a scrap piece of paper for mine every week but there are many templates online these days or you can even use Apps to help!

  1. Commit a time to meal plan every week – You don’t need to set aside hours to do this.  For instance I usually do mine on a Thursday evening and grab about 10-15 minutes when I can.  In my house I plan the meals from Friday to Thursday as I do my grocery shopping early every Friday morning.  You need to work out when it will suit you to not only plan but also when you will do your grocery shopping.Once you have an idea then you need to get into the habit of sticking to that, as it will make it easier in the long run.  If you find it still a bit hard to do this yourself then get your family involved and seek their input for the food they’d like to see on the weekly menu.image of days of the week and sausages
  2. Assess what is on for the week ahead– You need a bit of a plan of attack First consult your diary and ask yourself the following questions:
    • What nights call for a quick and easy dinner?
    • What nights require meals to be served at different times due to activities finishing?
    • What nights is everyone home together for a meal?
    • Which days can you do the kind of cooking that you’d most like to do?You need to work out what works best in line with your families schedule and then you can make a meal plan for the week ahead.
  3. What sort of meals?When starting out it is a good idea not to let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to plan too many meals at once—instead start with 5 or 6 meals giving yourself one or two nights for leftovers or even takeaway.  Work around everyone’s schedules and think of the type of meals that will work with the time you have available.
    Sometimes it helps to make a list of the meals your family likes and which ones are for different nights i.e. our quick and easy meals for nights when we have activities are usually pasta, tacos, chilli con-carne or leftovers from the freezer.  On the weekends when I have more spare time I usually cook meals that require more focus, time and energy.Every now and again when I lack inspiration I pull out the cook books and get a few different ideas for the following week just so that you don’t find all you do are the same meals week after week.Make a list of say 10 favourite meals for your family and rotate them in the first few weeks. When you’re ready, begin adding new recipes or tweak your menu to keep things fresh.
  4. Set nights for designated meals – Pick one night a week to have a particular meal, such as Friday night have homemade pizza (that’s what we do in our house).  You could also have a night of the week that you go out or buy takeaway.  Having this can simplify both your menu and grocery list.
  5. Meal planning/what to buy – Once you settle on the meals you want to serve for the week make a list of them.  I know some families like to put this meal plan on their fridge for all the family to see.  Sometimes this can help if you are running late then other family members might be able to make a start for you.

    Next it is time to go shopping at home.  By this I mean shop in your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what ingredients you already have on hand.  Add the remaining items you need for those meals to your grocery list.

    It is a good idea to keep your grocery list in an easy-to-find location – on the fridge or in your phone.  This way when you run out of something during the week too you can add it to the list so that you are not trying to have to work out everything you need just before you go to the supermarket.

    Some people like to have a list of all the staple items they usually buy every week and then add remaining items to that.  Others like to arrange their items in sections and according to the layout of the super market to make it easier when they shop.  I must admit I usually put all dairy items in one place on my list and then say toiletries in another rather than have items mixed up.

    As I mentioned earlier there are many free shopping list or grocery list templates available on the internet if you need them as well as Apps such as MealBoard, Pepperplate and Plan to Eat to name a few that can assist with your meal planning.  Do a quick search to see if any might help you.

  6. Cook in bulk and make extra meals – sometimes when you are are cooking particular meals i.e. pasta sauce it can be useful to make an extra batch that you can put in the freezer for a ready made meal on another night.  Keep this in mind when you are making these types of meals that are easily freezable as it too can help you out!Some families I know find it easy to even do a bit of extra cooking on the weekend to make it easier during the week by cooking up several meals in preparation for the week ahead.
  7. Don’t be afraid to alter the plan– Remember it is a plan so if you have set out to have certain meals on particular nights it won’t matter if you alter them around because you already have the ingredients for the week so there is no issue.  This also helps when any last minute plans that sometimes pop up.Just because you have a menu planned for the week does not mean that it is set in stone. I recommend that you are flexible enough to make changes as the week goes on.
  8. Keeping the momentum going– Like any changes we make we often we start off raring to go only to soon no longer continue with our efforts.

Make a commitment to meal planning now and it will be worth it!

I am always interested to hear how you go with my tips or any other suggestions you have on this topic – please get in touch – amanda@organisingyou.com.au

Decluttering – How do you know where to start?

When decluttering  – how do you know where to start?  From my experience in the work I do with my clients I know where to start in helping them to declutter and get organised.  The reason being is that I have been doing this for many years and with asking questions and looking around their houses or offices usually one or two places in particular stand out.  Naturally it is still the clients decision but usually they are happy to go with my recommendations on where to start.Image of return key with the words decluttering - how do you know where to start?

Recently though it got me thinking that it would be good to share this information so others know where they could start if decluttering or getting organised is something they have been trying to do.  Often it can be too overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin.  Do you feel like this?  Well here are questions to ask yourself which hopefully might give you greater clarity and assist you to  know where to start.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. what space annoys you the most? – by this I mean which space is not functioning the way you would like, is it a space you don’t really use as it makes you angry or it isn’t pleasant to be in or look at?  There may well be multiple spaces but usually one will bother you more.  One of my clients originally got me in to assist with paperwork however after discussion and a look around the house it was actually the kitchen that was really annoying her the most so that is where we started.
  2. what is it that you’d like to be able to do but can’t?  Is there something you would like to be able to do in a particular space but don’t have the room or space because of clutter?  For one of my clients this was using the spare room as a place to study however in order to do that we had to actually clear the space leading to the desk as well as the clutter on the desk itself before she could regain and use the space for her intended purposes.
  3. what is the space you look at in the morning that says to you I just need to find time to get you organised?  Usually there is a space that keeps coming up time and time again and it is its way of saying to you that it needs help.
  4. what is the space you look at last thing every night and it just sends you reminders that you need to get it organised?  Very similar to the point above though this happens to you at night when you are about to go to bed instead.  Maybe it is the same space that you think about morning and night or it could be different?
  5. what is that one area you regularly go to start but don’t as it just becomes too hard?  Is there a space in your home that you think right I am going to tackle this today but when it comes around to it you usually find excuses to do something else?  Is there a space in your home or office that you’d really like to tackle but just don’t know how?  Maybe this has been something you have been thinking about but hit a stumbling block each time.  My advice here is to start small with a shelf or drawer or small space and gradually build up to larger spaces or areas.
  6. Do you regularly find yourself saying you will do something later?  Peter Walsh, a well known organiser, regularly states that procrastination always leads to clutter.  So his one bit of advice would be to replace the word “later” with the word “now”. Whenever you’re tempted to just throw the dirty dishes in the sink or leave the clothes in the dryer unfolded, catch yourself.  Realise that it’s the small steps that need to be done to stay on top of the clutter.  Or as I regularly say maintenance is the key to being organised.

IMAGE OF A ROAD WITH A START AND AND ARROWContinuing on with this theme of getting started – ‘the best way to get something done is actually just to start‘.  You also don’t need to feel that you have to achieve it all in one go.   One thing you can do is to break what you want to declutter or get organised into small steps and don’t let it continue to overwhelm you any more.   My advice is to start with one small space ie a junk drawer, one shelf, one small space, and build from there.  Click here to find out how to organise a junk drawer in 5 easy steps and get started.

If you are still having trouble working out where to start then think about the highest traffic area in your home ie kitchen, living room, bathroom or laundry maybe and start there.

There really isn’t a right or wrong place to start, simply making an effort is a step in the right direction.  You’ll be surprised at how satisfied you feel the next time you look at this space clutter free.

If you give it a go and it just still isn’t working then get in touch – not only can I assist you to get it organised but offer you tips and strategies so that you can maintain the space/s too!  

12 time management tips for busy mums

 

Many mums I know struggle with all they have to get done.  Whether that being managing a career, business, family and household often all at the same time.   It can regularly feel like you are a juggler with many balls in the air all at once.  Does this sound at all like you at times or all of the time?

It doesn’t even seem to matter whether you have small or older children, the time pressures always seem to be there just the same.  Even as an organising expert I often say I’d just love another hour or two some days just to get something done.  Unfortunately though time is finite and this is not possible – what is however possible though is to ensure you manage the time you do have as effectively as you can.

Here are my 12 time management tips for busy mums to assist you with managing your time:

  1. Using the right diary/calendar that works for you and your family – tcalendar imagehis could be either a hard copy diary or an electronic diary.  By using a diary that all the family is across it will make it much easier to know what is on and when. It is important that when using a diary that you note everything in it and those other family members can also access and use it.  There are pros and cons to using either a hard copy or electronic diary but the important thing to keep in mind is whatever you use is that it works for everyone it needs too!
  2. Use to do lists – often as mums we have many different things on the go at once and sometimes think we will remember everything. Unfortunately our minds can only take so much and it is much easier on us mentally if we don’t try and retain it all.  It is much better to declutter your mind by keeping to do lists.  Again you might like to keep physical to do lists or have these electronically in a device or an App (there are many great Apps available today so check out and find something that suits you).  Useful to do lists include having different ones and you might like to consider breaking it down into daily, weekly and longer term projects.
  3. Take the time to plan – this is really important as by doing this you are more likely to save yourself time in the long run. I usually suggest to my clients that a Sunday night is a good time to prepare for the week ahead and even have a family meeting (doesn’t need to be long) with partners and older children in particular to ensure all activities are covered for the week ahead. This way no one can complain they didn’t know either!
  4. Prioritise – knowing your priorities is a vital step when it comes to time management. In particular it is worth taking the time like, in step 3, to plan so you know what things actually need to be done and what ones can actually wait.  One technique I often suggest is have 3 items on your daily list and if you get through them then you can add others but it can be useful to work out what the 3 things are that you must get done today.
  5. Don’t seek perfection – as mums one trap we can at times find ourselves in is trying to lead the so-called ‘perfect life’ and be seen to be in control of all those juggling balls. Often in seeking perfection we end up not being able to get the things we want to get done as we strive too hard for everything to be perfect rather than sometimes just saying it is good enough and it will do.It is important to again take the time to determine what you can live with and what is essential in your eyes and that of your family to get done i.e. can you live with the floors not being mopped every week or having all the beds made daily.  Please note there are no right and wrongs here and you need to determine what your essentials and non-essential things are.
  6. Seek help/outsource and delegate – sometimes we again try to do it all when really it can be useful to ask for help from time to time, particularly during times of illness or busyness. Don’t be afraid to ask, as you will be surprised that others are more than happy to assist you.  No doubt you will have the opportunity to repay the favor at times to assist them too.  Why not look at sharing drop offs and pick-ups with other mums for school or for after school activities.In terms of outsourcing and delegating there are no doubt some things that you actually don’t have to necessarily do yourself if you don’t have the time that can be outsourced or delegated to others including cleaning, walking the dog, doing the shopping and doing the laundry.image of a sign that says plan b
  7. Have a ‘plan B’ – it can be useful to think about having ‘plan B’s’ for those times or things you are trying to do that don’t actually work out the way you had planned. Sometimes it is useful to think of these prior to doing something rather than putting pressure on yourself to come up with options or ideas when you are really busy and time poor.  For example it can be useful to have a list of people you can contact if you get really stuck when you can’t leave work to pick up the children from daycare or school or your babysitter can’t make it as planned.
  8. Learn to say NO – this is something many of us as mums can struggle with. I know that I was very heavily involved in kindergarten, school and sporting clubs at one stage and fortunately I realised that I had to learn to say NO to some things as I just didn’t have the time to do it all.  It can be easy to over commit and volunteer our time before we actually even realise we are doing it!  Being aware of your time in terms of what you do and don’t have time for can be useful in learning to say NO.
  9. Start your day a bit earlier – this can be a really effective way of just gaining a bit of time to make your day simpler. Even just 5-15 minutes more can make all the difference sometimes and take the pressure off.  Give it a go and set the alarm a few minutes earlier tomorrow and see if it helps.
  10. Put everything in its place – a lot of disorganisation, clutter and overwhelm many of my clients experience is as a result of items/belongings not having a home or if they do not taking the time to put them away. Often this is how clutter piles up and what would have been a very quick task in putting something away now becomes a larger task that you don’t really have time to tackle.  An example of this is the laundry – when it is clean and dry take the 5-10 minutes to fold and put the clean items away rather than letting them pile up where you then add the next lot of clean clothes on top and then the pile just becomes bigger and more overwhelming.  It will really help by putting items away where they belong, as it will save you more time in the long run!image of bowls with pasta sauce
  11. Cook extra meals – this is something you don’t actually have to do specifically but rather when you make a meal like pasta sauce or something else why not just increase the quantity. This way you will create a few extra meals you can add to the freezer for those times when you either run out of time to buy supplies or to cook a meal.
  12. Prepare the night before – preparing the night before, by either working out what you need to do the following day or by putting out clothes or making lunches, will take the pressure off the next morning and make it a bit easier.  Try and get the whole family on board for this, as it is a useful habit to develop for everyone, particularly children!

Finally I’d like to highlight whilst your might be trying to do it all, please do remember you also need to factor in some ‘ME‘ time as well for your own sanity as well as that of everyone around you.  If you fall in a heap then quite often so does everyone else!

I trust some of these tips will assist you with the many juggling balls you no doubt have in the air all at once!  Maybe even just pick out a couple and give them a go – what have you got to lose!

If you would like to discuss any of these or think you might still require some assistance please do get in touch.

10 common decluttering excuses

Many people have different reasons why they don’t declutter.  In my experience, as an Organising Expert, keeping unnecessary items and clutter can in fact do more harm that good in most instances.  Do you find yourself making decluttering excuses?

Here are 10 common decluttering excuses people use to avoid starting or doing it:

  1. I might need it later – many people hold on to items just in case they might need it in the future.  In most instances you probably don’t!  I’m certainly not saying get rid of all these items but want you to give thought to them rather than holding onto many such items that usually are taking up valuable space.  Be prepared to release and let go of things no longer needed or useful. If you are struggling with letting something go then a suggested approach may be to make a future date in your diary and if you haven’t used the item in that time ie 6 or 12 months then it is time to move it on.
  2. It was expensive – you or someone you know might have spent quite a bit of money purchasing an item and dollar symbol - declutter excuse as it was expensiveyou don’t want to see it go to waste.  If the item is something you are not using, or are likely to in the future, then it is still being wasted and there is no point keeping it.  If you are really worried about the expense you can try and sell it and recoup some of the money.
  3. I don’t know where to start – this is very common and often one of the things all of my new clients discuss with me.  I usually recommend to start small rather than trying to do a whole room in one go – pick a shelf, drawer or cupboard and start there.  The last thing you want to do is to create more overwhelm for yourself by pulling everything out as then you really won’t know where to start!
  4. I don’t have time – We are all busy and I get that life can take over from time to time.  However this is usually more than not just an excuse as most people find time for the things that are important to them.  If it is something you want to do then you can clock with a cross - no time to declutter excusealways start small and do 5-15 mins at a time.  If you did this on a regular basis then you will still make progress!
  5. Someone gave it to me – This is another common reason as people are worried that because it was given to them feel like they are not being respectful to whoever gave it to them if they get rid of it.  Often people think they need to keep it just in case that person comes over and looks for it.  In reality this doesn’t happen very often or even if it does maybe hang on to it for a little while but then it is really yours to do what you want with.
  6. I don’t know how long to keep something – I understand this can be difficult for some items like paperwork, filing, receipts – the important thing here is to find out from someone who does know and then set a system in place to regularly review your materials and keep them in order.
  7. There are memories attached to it – the main point to highlight here is the memories will still be with you without keeping a particular item.  If an item is really important to you then it is more than likely something you would like to see regularly rather than having it stored, often incorrectly, in a box somewhere in your home.  The unfortunate thing is that when I work we clients we often discover these items and they are damaged more often than not as they have not been stored correctly,  You might like to read this blog in how to deal with sentimental clutter.
  8. I have plenty of space to keep everything –  so this might be true but just because you have space it doesn’t mean you need to fill it all up.  Ideally you should only be keeping things that really matter to you, what you use and need and not just keeping everything because you have the space.  It won’t matter if you actually have a spare shelf in your cupboard – don’t just fill it up for the sake of it.
  9. My children might want these some day – the reality is probably not!  Please don’t take this personally as they no doubt care for you but they really don’t want your stuff.  It is probably best to ask rather than assume and keep things for them.  If you are having a clean out and come across items, from their childhood or items that belong to them, I usually suggest putting them together and then inviting them over to go through and take what they would like to keep.  It can be hard but you will need to accept their decision if they don’t want many of the items.
  10. Thinking you can do it on your own – for some people this is true but for the majority having someone to assist can help and make you accountable at the same time. That person, whether it be a friend or a professional like me, is not emotionally attached to your things and therefore can help to be objective and allow you to make decisions. If you think you can do it on your own often for some reason you actually just never get around to it!

Now you have all the reasons in the world NOT to declutter.  And they are all great reasons (or so you think). Do you know that keeping unnecessary items around can cause more harm than good?  Let’s see if you have said any of these things to justify keeping clutter.  Just to let you know, if you have, you’re not alone.

Next step

If you find yourself using and of these excuses to declutter then why not just get in touch to have a brief chat and see how I might be able to assist you.  I promise I WON’T make you do anything you don’t want to do as if we work together you will make your own decisions.  In working with my client I just ask the questions and you actually come up with the answers all by yourself.  So what have you actually got to lose?

Do you need Amanda Monday’s to get organised?

You might well be a bit puzzled by this heading – “Do you need Amanda Monday’s to get organised?”  Well the story behind this relates to an email I recently received from a client:

“Just thought I’d let you know I’ve made a recurring appointment in my diary from 1-4 on MondayImage of Amanda to go with Amanda Monday's to get organised called “Amanda Mondays”. You showed me how much could be achieved in 3 hours and how good it then felt for the rest of the week. It won’t always work out but the plan is for that time to be spent on getting things – house, paperwork, business plans etc – in a deeper sense of order not just doing the day to day responding to stuff.

I like the way you approach both the organising and me – it feels very much like you are helping me to get what I want done but find very hard to do myself. You don’t impose order, you work with me to discover it. That’s very cool.”

I was chuffed to be reminded of the impact I have on people’s lives.   I am privileged and honoured that my clients welcome me to work with them and take steps to make a difference to their lives.  Not only do we deal with the physical clutter but in turn often the mental side of clutter at the same time.  This  is really important and often an aspect that people don’t give too much thought to.

So what does Amanda Monday’s to get organised really mean?

You are still probably wondering why I am telling you all of this?  Just like my client the importance of having “Amanda Monday’s to get organised” is something we all actually need.

The first step in the process is naturally to get organised and feel back in control of your stuff whether it be a room, house, office, paperwork, filing and the list goes on.

The next step in the process is to then to stay and maintain being organised.   I often say this can be the hardest step in the process but needs to become a regular habit in people’s lives and not just something they do occasionally.

That is why the point of having “Amanda Monday’s” for this particular client resonated with me.  It is showing a demonstrated need to find the time to keep on top of the maintenance required to stay organised.  By no means does it need to be a full block of time, as this client has highlighted, but it does need to be regular blocks of time and needs to suit a person’s own needs and lifestyle.  It has to be able to work for them or it won’t happen!

Maintenance is the key image - organising and decluttering - and helps with Amanda Monday's to get organisedYou might like to find out more on the maintenance aspect of getting organised so here is a link to a recent blog “Maintenance is the key to being organised”

When I work with my clients I focus on not only the organisation side but providing them with tips and strategies as we are working so they can keep it organised an maintain it themselves going forward.  There is no one size fits all solution and each solution is tailored to my client’s individual needs and what is likely to work for them.

I realise that life can get in the way sometimes but the main thing is to be aware of this and then still find time around this so as not to let disorganisation become overwhelming again.

So what now?

I regularly check in with my clients to see how they are travelling and in particular to see if the strategies we have put in place need tweaking or altering.  I plan to keep in touch with this client who is having “Amanda Monday’s to get organised” to see how this might or might not be working for her going forward.  The good news is she recognises she needs to be disciplined to do this and if it works for her then great!

If you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed in your home or business, then please get in touch and discuss the difference getting organised and then maintaining that can make to your life too.

 

Organising your inbox – Is your in box out of control?

Everyday we are surrounded by clutter in some form at home or at work.  One of the big ones for many people is their email inbox.  Are you good at organising your inbox?   For many people this can be hard to achieve particular when they have multiple inboxes to manage so the issue of clutter can be magnified somewhat.  Does this sound like at all like you?image of on email inbox page

Several of my own friends have thousands of emails in the inbox and when they are looking for something it can waste so much time and be very unproductive.  Using your inbox as a pseudo filing system does not really work.  There are certainly better ways to use one’s time than scrolling through pages and pages of emails to find something you need!

Steps to organising your inbox

Here are 6 steps your can take to tame your out of control inbox and save yourself time in the long run:

  1. The first step will be to clean out your inbox – to do this I suggest you create a few folders in the first instance – usually by year is the best place to start – 2017, 2016, 2015 …..  If your emails are actually more recent then you might like to name folders that are relevant to you and your needs.  Afterall you are the one who needs to be able to find them easily.
  2. Once you have created these folders then move all your emails from these years into their relevant folder.  If this step is creating angst for you don’t worry as you are just moving them and not deleting anything at this stage.
  3. The next step is to take control from here on in of what arrives in your inbox.  All those emails we have put into yearly folders can be dealt with later when you have time.  Even consider this that if you don’t find yourself looking for anything over a period of time you may also want to just delete them.  The important point here is to make sure you have a process moving forward and that you are not adding to the backlog.
  4. For any new emails that arrive in your inbox from here on in you need to make decisions on what to do with them and not just leave them to pile up again.  Questions to ask yourself are:
    • Does this email require me to action it?  If so either you can deal with it there and then or add it to your to do list for later.
    • Is this something I might need to refer to later?  By this it might be useful information that you might need at a later stage ie tickets to an event, travel ideas, financial or tax information etc.  My suggestion for these type of emails is that you create folders within your email that make sense to you and allow you to easily find your these materials at a later time.  Using the examples above the folders you might like to create are ‘My ticket information’; ‘My travel details’ and ‘Financial information’ respectively.
    • Is this something that is trash and can be deleted?  If necessary unsubscribe or just delete the email.  Be decisive in that if it’s not relevant delete it!
    • Do I actually even want this in the first place?  Over time we tend to subscribe to many different newsletters, product updates or email updates and some of these are probably no longer relevant or needed.  If this is the case I suggest that from here on in as you receive one of these emails that you go to the bottom of the email and hit ‘unsubscribe’ (Sometimes this button can be hard to find but keep looking).  Another way of doing this is to create a folder called ‘subscriptions’ or something and move all the emails of this nature into that folder for say a month.  Make a diary not for a month’s time and go back and see how many you have and then to decide which of those are of value and which aren’t and then hit unsubscribe.
  5. If you now have time and want to go back through those emails we moved into yearly folders then go for it.  However the most important thing you can do moving forward is to ensure you keep on top of any new emails that arrive in your inbox and follow the steps outlined above so that it doesn’t get unwieldly again.
  6. If you are someone who has multiple inboxes then you might like to follow the same steps above for each inbox that you have.

There are many other ways to manage your inboxes with setting spam filters, using junk folders and also setting email rules.  If this might be something you’d like to do then I suggest you check them out in the email system that you use.

Good luck and here’s to no longer spending ages trying to find an email again! Remember your inbox is there to serve you and not the other way around.

If you are still unsure of how to take control of your inbox or maybe you have issues with your electronic files as well then please do get in touch as this is something I can assist you with.

Everyone needs a plan to get organised

What is it that you keep putting off?

Is it the pile of paper clutter in your study or the spare room which has become a junk room?

Or is it that pile of photos you still need to sort and go through?

Please don’t put your life on hold and continue to worry about as it can be both physically and mentally taking valuable time – put a plan in place to deal with it!

IMAGE OF A ROAD WITH A START AND AND ARROW - suggesting everyone needs a planWhy everyone needs a plan

Whatever it is that you keep putting off might seem just too hard to deal with but it is worth having a think about what you want to achieve and then putting a plan in place to get it done.  You don’t have to do it all in one go and often taking the small step approach is the best way in achieving a plan to organise something.  You might even like to seek the support of someone to assist you – this could be a friend, family member or even an organiser like myself.  Sometimes just having another pair of hands can make it seem so much easier too.

The hardest thing for most people is often the overwhelm they feel and not knowing where to start. This is where having a plan comes into play – you might like to note it down or you can have it in your head but having one is the first step.  The plan should include the overall goal that you would like to achieve so:

  • if it is clearing the paper clutter all over the house then note that down or
  • if it is sorting out the spare room the goal might be to have the room cleared so it can be used for that hobby you never get to do or for those visitors you’d like to have stay.

Having a plan and vision will help you to keep a focus on what you are trying to achieve.

Allocating time for the plan

The next step is in your plan is allocating some time to begin ie today I will spend 30 minutes to an hour and will keep allocating similar blocks of time on a regular basis.  It might only be 15 minutes a day and that too is okay.  You need to find the amount of time that is sustainable and achievable for you.

I also recommend having steps to a plan so that it can assist with the overwhelm.  Continuing with the same examples:

  • for paper clutter it might be to clean out the filing cabinet first so you have somewhere to put the sorted paper – one drawer or 5 files a time then sorting through one pile at a time after that before filing it away.
  • for the spare room it might be to start with one box or one section and keep working through the room like that.

Taking steps

In my experience having a plan in place will see you are more likely to achieve your goals than not having any plan at all. If it starts to get hard then the plan is also there to remind you of your vision and why you are doing what you are. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting yourself organised will take time and effort and won’t always be easy – take small steps to achieving your overall goal. Believe me when I say it will be worth it in the end and you no longer have that worry of the physical or mental clutter pulling at you. You can stand back and be proud you have done something about it and can get on with enjoying life!

So are you going to put a plan in place?  What have you got to lose – go on give it a go!

If you would like some to make changes in your life and think you really might need some help then please just get in touch.

Decluttering – What happens to my clients stuff?

When I work with clients on decluttering and getting organised, the outcome is that there are usually many excess items they no longer require or want in their spaces.

I regularly get asked by people what do you do or they do with the stuff they no longer want?  Keep reading below for the answers to this common decluttering question.

Decluttering – items of value – selling is an option

For items with a value I usually discuss with my client whether it is worth the time, effort and sometimes money, in trying to sell something.  For some items it definitely can be and depending upon what they are I usually can recommend places, websites or people to get in touch with to assist.

image of antique dealer to get rid of items from declutteringSome of the sources my clients have used to sell items include:

  • antique and second hand dealers
  • gumtree
  • ebay
  • other specialised websites for specific items

 

Homes for stuff – charities

Unfortunately often there can be quite a bit of rubbish when sorting through stuff but where possible I usually help my clients to identify things that can possibly recycled rather than just going to landfill.

As a an extra service to my clients, on the day of service, I usually take away items that they no longer require other than rubbish.  As part of this process we usually discuss if they have a preference for where things should be donated.  Nine times out of ten the clients are just happy for it to be removed and are just pleased to see that it will be given to someone else, usually in need, for them to use.

Over the years I have provided many items to various charities including:

Other homes for stuff

Other uses or places for items where I have given bits and pieces over the years have included:

  • Metal coat hangers in good condition being returned to the local dry cleaners for re use.picture of a metal coathanger
  • Blankets and towels delivered to the lost dogs home or even pet shops.
  • Cardboard is usually put into the recycling or taken to the transfer station for the same purpose.
  • Many transfer stations also take other items for recycling like tv’s, computers, printers, cables, books, paper etc.  You need to check our local transfer station to see what they take at no charge.
  • Often things like dress ups, toys, games and books in good condition have been donated to local schools or kindergartens.
  • image of old bicycleOld bicycles can often be reused and repurposed and are taken and then fixed up by many local charities.
  • Gumtree or Zilch have been another valuable sources to get rid of unwanted items that can still serve a purpose for someone else.  For many of my clients who list items for free they are usually snapped up very quickly.

 

Do you have any other sources or places where you like to recycle or donate items?  I am only more than happy to include them on my donation list for the future too. 

If you’d like assistance to undertake some decluttering of your own and get more organised then please get in touch – or call me on 0409 967 166.

10 common organising challenges

Have you ever wondered what the 10 most common organising challenges are that people face in their everyday lives?  Maybe you too will be able to relate to some or all of these in your own life?

At my last few organising and decluttering workshops in 2016 I asked people to list their organising challenge that they struggle with or what annoys them the most.  All the 10 common organising challenges listed here, to be honest, are pretty much what I expected based on my experience as an organising expert and are the common organising challenges most of my clients face.

10 common organising challenges

The 10 most common organising challenges listed here are ranked from the most common to the least common for people who have attended my workshops.

  1. A pile of paper clutterdealing with paper clutter – this is by far most people’s biggest challenge with 1/4 of those surveyed noting it as the organising challenge that annoys them the most.  Many vary from having one pile to multiple piles of paper throughout the living space and home.
  2. wardrobes – this was also quite high with just under 1/4 indicating that they wish their wardrobes were more organised so that they could find the clothes they want to wear more easily.  Many people also admitted to having too many clothes for the actual wardrobe space.
  3. bedrooms – this was next on the list where people felt their bedrooms were too cluttered, with clothes and other items, and could do with better organisation.
  4. kitchen space – This too is quite a common organising challenge for many people and often the source of the problem is that the kitchen becomes a dumping ground for anything including school notes, mail and papers to wallets, keys and many other items which either don’t seem to have a home or people choose not to put away at the time.
  5. junk drawer – the junk drawer is also another common challenge that comes up time and time again.  All homes have that drawer in their kitchen that just seems to accumulate more items over time.  Click here for a blog on how to organise your junk drawer in 5 easy steps. An image of a junk drawer in a kitchen which can be an organising challenge
  6. home office – this was lower down the list than I thought it would be and probably because it is often a space that is removed from the rooms most used in people’s day to day lives.  In my experience home offices are often another dumping ground for things that either don’t get put away or don’t have a home. T his space can become a ‘junk drawer’ for the entire home.
  7. time management – several people indicated that rather than a physical space being their main organising challenge it was their inability to manage their time that was more of an issue.
  8. photos – this too is a common issue that many face in today’s day and age.  This issue can centre around the move from physical photos (of which people often have lots sitting unsorted in boxes) to digital photos (which are often not organised in any manner to allow quick access and review in terms of finding when needed).  I was only talking about this with a client recently and providing her with a solution going forward so she doesn’t add to the issue and then when she has time going back through and organising all those prior to now.
  9. too much stuff – many people admitted that thy feel overwhelmed by too much stuff and don’t know what to do about it and where to start.
  10. image of a young child's drawingmiscellaneous – this is a mixture of miscellaneous items that were included and that I grouped together just so I could list them in the top 10.  I believe many are common organising challenges people face – from how to deal with memorabilia including children’s school and art work; toys both inside and outside the home; the whole house; and the inability to throw things away.

So what about you, can you relate to any of these common organising challenges in your own life?

If you are feeling overwhelmed by any of these challenges or would just like a plan of attack to know how best to deal with them and feel more organised, then please get in touch – amanda@organsingyou.com.au or call 0419 967 166.

Top 2016 organising and decluttering posts

Organising and decluttering to some can be very daunting and overwhelming when it really doesn’t have to be.  As another year has passed I thought it would be useful to put together a summary of articles, quotes, blogs from 2016 that might assist you and others when it comes to getting organised. Maintenance is the key image - organising and decluttering

As I enter into my 6th year of business as an organising expert I can honestly say that I love making a difference to the lives of my clients and to thank them for having me part of their journey to become more organised.

I hope that you find something here that inspires or assists you in some way on your own organising and decluttering journey.

Trends/Articles of Interest

The 6 habits of highly organised people

How to live with a messy person (or a neat freak) and not go insane

What is the Konmari method of organising?

6 things I question about the Konmari method of organising

What is a digital estate?

Maintenance is the key to being organised

If you ever wondered what my life as an organiser is about

How writing to do lists helps your brain

Great Quotes

These are just some of the quotes people responded to in 2016:

text on a quote about not letting go of stuff - organising and declutteringquote about it's not a good deal if you don't need it - organising and decluttering

quote text on this being the beginning of anything you want

image and text of a child being able to focus on what they are good at

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogs

Making the most of vertical space

Do you suffer from procrastination?

Move from busy to balanced

10 common organising myths clarified

Tips on organising recipes in your kitchen

 

Please do get in touch if you’d like some further advice or any assistance to get better organised in 2017.