Sunday, October 15, 2006

Some of my favourite travel tips

1. Start making lists ahead of time. These can include lists of things to pack, things to do, see, eat, etc. Download my travel checklist

2. Always take extra plastic bags for dirty laundry, shoes, etc.

3. You don't have to plan out each and every day but at least if you have a rainy day, you can look on your list and choose an indoor activity.

4. Count on buying things while you're on holiday so plan for this and take less with you. Our baggage allowance is 25 kg (hold & hand luggage) and I'm planning to take 18kg or less!

5. Decide on a colour scheme and stick to it… well, mostly. For instance, on this trip, I'm going for autumn (fall) colours like brown, yellow and orange, and also taking some clothes in military green.

6. Count the number of days you'll be away and plan just enough sets of clothes, remembering that you need more tops than bottoms. You won't use all so make a note of what you didn't use so that you don't overpack next time.

7. Pack travel size toiletries or if you have some old hotel toiletries, use those. I actually keep my toiletry bag permanently packed with everything except my Speedstick. Whether we're away for a long weekend or a long holiday, all I have to do is grab my Speedstick and I'm ready.

8. Take a backpack. There is a reason why these are so popular with tourists - your hands are free to eat, browse, carry your water (okay, that's for me), etc.

9. If you read the Bible, next time you go away, don't take the whole Bible. Simply go to a free online Bible site
and print out a chapter for each day you'll be away. You can try a different version of the Bible you usually use for added variety. The added convenience is that you don't have to bring these pages back with you.

10. Whether you're flying or driving, take any magazines or ebooks that have piled up around your house. You can catch up on your reading and again, leave the magazine or ebook in the airport lounge. I have about 4 Shape magazines to catch up on and yes, they're already packed.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sorting your clothes is easy as 1, 2, 3

This is my suggestion for purging your clothes closet.

Make 3 piles:

  1. Clothes you don't love anymore or that don't suit your lifestyle
  2. Clothes you love and that fit you
  3. Clothes that you're not sure about, for whatever reason
Then you action the piles

Pile 1 - donate or throw out
Pile 2 - organise in your wardrobe or on your shelves according to your personal preferences - by colour, style (smart, casual, etc), or season/ sleeve length, etc.
Pile 3 - move to another place in the house or to a storage container. Diarise a "to look at again" date. When you look at this pile again, fit everything on. You will be able to look at the clothes unemotionally and decide whether they deserve to take up space in your wardrobe (you want to keep them) or whether they need to be donated.

Last year when we moved into our new house I fit on ALL my clothes before I packed anything into my cupboards.

I made 3 piles:

1. Stuff I liked and that fit me (in the wardrobe)
2. Stuff I liked and that didn't fit me (in a spare wardrobe – deadline 1 November this year)
3. Stuff I didn't like and that didn't fit me (to the church's welfare box)

Well, I fitted on all the clothes (about 4 pairs of pants and 3 suits) from the spare wardrobe a few days ago (we'll be on holiday on 1 November) and most of them now fit!!! There is also a suit that fits but that I don't like anymore which is going to the welfare box this weekend.

The stuff that doesn't fit me nicely will also be donated.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oct 2006 - organising challenges

Week 1 – Declutter your kitchen counter tops.
Do you really need everything on your counter tops?

Go around your kitchen with "new eyes" and see what you can declutter.You should only have things that you use more than once a week on your counter top. If, for example, you have an electric frying pan out that you use once a month, consider storing it in a cupboard and only taking it out when you use it.

Tip - use vertical space wherever possible. Instead of a canister with your cooking utensils, consider mounting hooks above your stove for them.

Week 2 – Organise your clothes on shelves.
I would suggest that you put all the clothes you frequently use at shoulder height and the rest either one shelf up or down.

I swop mine around every winter or summer and I find that it helps to keep my shelves neat and tidy. My jeans and T-shirts are now at shoulder height and the long-sleeved tops and jerseys have been moved a shelf down now that it's Spring.

Week 3 – Declutter and organise your recipe books and files.
This week, we are going to sort out all those recipe books in the kitchen. I know what it's like because I'm just like you.

You see some gorgeous books at the bookshop, imagine cooking all those delicious meals and buy the book. If you're lucky, you make one or two recipes and then that's it - they start gathering dust.

So our challenge is to sort the books into two piles - books I use (or have used) and books that just look pretty and take up space. Let go of the second pile to other cooks, second hand bookshops, etc. and free up some space in the kitchen.

Once you've decided on the ones to keep, buy a pretty magazine folder and keep them together neatly. I download things off the internet too and use plastic flip files to organise those recipes.

Now and again I go through them and throw out recipes I know I have no intention of ever making.

I don't know if I'm lazy or if I just prefer to cook more creatively but the only recipes I tend to keep are for baked goodies.

Have fun with this one - maybe you'll even get inspired to cook or bake up a storm this weekend. THink of me if you make any muffins (I LOVE baking muffins because they're so easy).

Week 4 – Spruce up your coffee & end tables.

Do you have an organising question for me?
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There are less than 3 months left before Christmas. Wouldn't you like to have an organised, peaceful Christmas? Go to to see how I can help you.