Monday, December 31, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 31 Dec 07 & goal-setting

Hello everyone

This is the last day of 2007 and I am so excited about what lies ahead.

Organise your Home
I've just launched something to help ANYBODY get their home organised and keep it that way LOL :) Read about the Organise your Home course here and if you blog about it, you can win a $25 gift card to Stacks and Stacks!

In a few hours time, my mother returns to Port Elizabeth after her week with us and it'll just be the two of us again. And then I'm going to prepare my gorgeous new planner!

Dion and I usually have supper on New Year's Eve and then we set our joint goals for the year ahead. This year we did that on Christmas night so tonight we're going to a movie. There are a lot of FUN goals this year like travel, date nights, etc.

My business and personal goals are all set too - I don't mind telling you that while I have BIG goals, I'm going to be working less. I absolutely believe in working smarter and not harder :)

I'm also going to be spending less time on blogging! Did you set any blogging goals? Do you want me to share my process later this week?

Menu Plan
Anyway, let's go onto this week's menu plan. I didn't do one last week and I must say I'm feeling more in control this week now that I have a plan up!

I checked my weight this morning and I'm the same as before I went on holiday/ Christmas eating so am feeling great!

Stirfried beef, veggies and rice

Dion's night

Wednesday (first day back to work)
Baked potatoes and spicy kidney bean sauce

Chicken pasta

Hamburgers and chips

So how are all of you doing? Are you set for 2008? What are some of your goals?

By the way, have you downloaded your Organise your Life e-book yet? It's free!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Time for another contest - $25 Stacks & Stacks voucher

This is a static post - please scroll down for new posts! Thank you :)

I've just launched my new Organise your Home e-course - 12 weeks to an organised home - and I'm holding a contest to promote it.

If you want to win a $25 gift certificate to the Stacks and Stacks store, all you have to do is blog about the e-course and link to this page to enter. Then come back here and enter your name and blog in the Mr Linky!

This competition is open for 2 weeks and closes on Friday 11 January.

Happy blogging!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Organising children's toys

You can teach your children to be organised. The earlier you start, the earlier you can delegate :)

While they're organising, they're learning valuable life skills. They can learn to sort, to return toys to their homes, to make decisions while decluttering.

What to use
ice-cream tubs
clear shoe bags
wastepaper baskets - for tall, thin items like swords, cricket and baseball bats, etc.
ziploc bags -for puzzle pieces, legos, etc

Make things easy. If you use a basket without a lid, it is easier to put things away.
Label clearly with pictures.
For smaller children, use the bottom bookshelves and free-standing storage bins on the floor.

Declutter regularly. Now is the perfect time right after Christmas to go through those rooms and get rid of the old stuff :)

How do you stay organised with your children's toys?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas everybody

My table's set and everything is ready for Christmas lunch tomorrow so all that's left is for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas

Have fun, eat lots and don't forget to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winner, lovely surprises, menus and prayer requests

Remember the organising your craft contest I announced last Friday?

Well, the winner is Laura from Laura Williams' Musings for her excellent post on using plastic sleeves to organise your scrapping.

I have already emailed Laura her gift code to spend R100 in my store so she can get something to help organise or improve her life!

Well done, Laura :)

Lovely surprises
I finished writing and putting together a new e-course to help you organise your home, step-by-step, for 12 weeks.

I haven't launched it yet because I'm waiting for January so imagine what a lovely surprise I got when someone already bought it from the store.

That's when you know something is needed, isn't it?

Menu Plan Monday
Well, we are still on holiday in Port Elizabeth.

The weather messed us around yesterday because there is a thing here called Art-in-the-Park. It's in St. Georges Park next to the cricket grounds where our boys will play the West Indies today. It is lovely and crafty because everything has to be handmade. We love going because we shop and eat lots!

Anyway, we'd planned to go after church but when we exited the church, it was raining buckets and continued in that vein the whole day. Of course, AITP is automatically cancelled and we're not here next Sunday to go! Grrr - on the bright side, I've saved money, right?!

Roti & curry (my sister made some for us)

Out to eat at Narai Siam - Thai place we went to on Saturday. We loved it so much

Wholewheat pitas with beef & stir-fried veggies

Angelo's - Italian place with the most DIVINE pasta ever!

Plane food - we'll be flying back to Jhb around supper time

Prayer request
Please pray for my friend, Elizabeth Hagen's daughter, Abby. She is ill in Houston! I told Elizabeth that I'd be praying; will you join me?

Have a great week everybody. Next week is Christmas!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Organising gift wrap and ribbons

Don't forget the organising crafts contest otherwise Laura is going to be one really happy crafter!

It is a normal wastepaper basket which uses the vertical space beautifully under my bookshelf (in fact, all that space was unused when we moved in here and we got those bookshelves built in)

It is neat and organised and yes, I have a thing for craft paper. I never buy Christmas gift wrap because then I'm stuck with leftovers the whole year. It sits there, torturing me because you know how I like to throw things out.

So I buy coloured craft wrap - it's cheaper and I just add a non-Christmassy coloured ribbon (or raffia) for birthday and other gifts!

I store the bows and ribbons in ziploc bags. Each bag has a separate type of gift-wrapping accessory :)

From top to bottom...
  1. Fancy clothes pegs (for holding gift bags closed and attaching a gift tag)
  2. Closed ribbons (thin)
  3. Open ribbons (thin)
  4. Ribbon (medium)
  5. Gift tags
  6. Material ribbon
  7. Bows

I'm very curious. How do you store your gift-wrap and accessories?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tackling computer clutter

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I've told you before about my to-do lists and since I've been doing really well, getting through my frogs easily every day, I have quite a lot of time on my hands.

So I made a list of things I don't really need to do but would like to and that's what I tackled today.

1. I decluttered about 20 of the web links in my favourites and organised those that were left into 3 categories - time management (that's the main subject I coach on), blogging and other business resources.

2. I went through my 34 sub-folders in my inbox and decluttered those down to 15. Sometimes we get stuck into one way of doing things. When things change, we need to change our way of doing things.

For instance, when they first contacted me about writing for Clutter Control Freak ---->> I kept all those emails agreeing to this and that, the how-tos and so on. Now that I know what I'm doing, I don't need that folder. See?

here is my after

What do you need to get rid of that you're holding onto?

3. I went through 234 emails in my Sent Items and decluttered those right down to....... not 150....... not 50..... but 13!

If you're wondering, I have 3 emails in my inbox (it is usually empty-ish like that so I don't have to declutter that very often)

I'd love to know how many emails, favourites and subfolders you have. Go on - share in the comments.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Menu plan Monday, 2 contests and virtual organising day

1. Did you see the contest on my blog?
I'm calling anyone who crafts to come help me with solutions.

2. Suzanne is also holding an Organizational Brilliance contest on her blog and ONE commenter will win a bag of organising goodies from your three favourite organisers - Suzanne (the computer & email whiz), Ariane (the ADD and ADHD specialist) and me (office and paper queen)!


I can't believe it - another week gone! But the good news is this week I go on holiday so we're only cooking for 2 days :)

This is going to look very fact, I totally forgive you if you think you have deja vu...but I have to empty the fridge and freezer. I hate wasting money and I don't want the food to go off...

Stir-fried chicken, veggies and rice

Baked potatoes with lentil sauce (we didn't have it last week - decided to have takeaways)

Flying to Port Elizabeth. Still have to pack (and it's 9 days) but at least everything is planned and you all know that saves you time, right?!

3 hours planning = 1 hour action

BTW, I now coach on how to become a professional organiser. We can work virtually or in-person - whatever floats your boat ;) Contact me if you're keen.


Do you know Elizabeth Hagen?

Elizabeth is also a professional organiser but she's based in South Dakota!

She also does a lot of public speaking so I joined her VIP circle earlier this year to learn more from her and I'm loving it!!!

Now, what are you doing on Jan 18th?

Read more about Elizabeth's virtual organising day and sign up especially if one of your goals is to get organised next year :) You get bonuses if you sign up on or before 10 Dec!

Organising craft supplies & A CONTEST

I received a question from a reader, one which I received many times before when I ran the virtual organising competition.

If you're interested, I have an Excel spreadsheet (you'll love this, Suzanne) with content topics for blogs, articles and my weekly tips newsletter. One column has the topic, the next has date published, the next has blog/ article/ weekly tips.

All the questions from the virtual organising competition went on the spreadsheet and I've been slowly blogging my way through the questions. If a question is suitable for my weekly tips, then I will write about it there and not blog it.

Anyway, I said all that to say.... a couple of people asked about organising craft supplies so when this question was emailed to me, it moved it up the list. I can now mark the email as done and cross something off the blog to-do list :)

Do you have any tips on organizing my craft stuff? I'll go thru your archives to check. I mostly have quilting, scrapping, and stamping collections...............

First, a disclaimer - I'm not a crafter so forgive me if my ideas seem silly ;)

Use bookshelves to organise rolls of material.

I have blogged before about how I organise all my beads so I will start by saying that if you craft with small items like beads, etc, use ice-cube trays to organise them.

Ziploc bags are great for organising medium-sized items and these buddy drawer systems (you might call it something else, depending on where you live) are great for organising scrapbook paper & supplies, quilting squares, stamping stuff, etc.

They are stackable so you can make them as high as you want.

The key is to (1) get the appropriate size (these come much smaller too) - I like this size because this one is for organising my paper and (2) label each drawer.

Plastic drawer system

aerial view - my in-tray usually sits on the top

Calling all crafters
How would you answer her organising question?

  1. Blog your answer with pictures from your crafting area. Please link back here so your readers can see the other solutions too.
  2. Come back here and link up your post.
  3. The contest will stay open for one week until 14 December 2007, 6pm South African time.
  4. The winner gets a R100 gift voucher to my store (divide by 7 to get US$). Every other participant gets a 20% off gift voucher.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A new, green use for old business cards

If you have old business cards lying around your home or office and they're blank at the back, use them to jot down your tasks.

This works very well if you're a visual person like me (you'll learn about your organising personality in 7 easy steps) and if you like to recycle stuff.

Here are some pictures that I took from **Angela's post on all the planners she's ever used (by the way, Angela, I loved this post).

**Angela Yee wrote "I'm Not Neat But I'm Organized!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What's your personality type?

I was just surfing Janet Barclay's site and found an interesting article

Calendars and your personality type

I got all excited and scanned the article for my type (I'm an ESTJ) but sadly, no ESTJ's took the survey :-(

So tell me, what's your type?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 3 Dec & Christmas update

Hi everybody

I realised yesterday that there are only 10 days before I go on holiday! Woohoo!!

The Christmas cards are all done but not all the Christmas presents. All the smaller gifts for work colleagues are done (so easy with my beaded gifts). It's just worked out that this year because I can't get to the shops, I've had to be creative and resourceful, and so I'm doing some bookmark and keyring sets for all the ladies.

(Anybody have some good ideas on what to get a guy who has everything and really expensive tastes? I know I can't compete so I want to go really thoughtful/ quirky)

I must say, they turned out really pretty because I used really expensive glass beads (you won't see them on the site - too expensive and heavy for me to make in bulk like with the others) so they look like I bought them in a fancy shop. And presentation is key! I put them in gorgeous gift boxes - unfortunately, I am not showing you the pictures just in case a miracle happens and one of my family members reads the blog :)

I actually like the wrapping of gifts more than the gift itself; it's the same as setting a beautiful table rather than the food :) And this year I am hosting Christmas lunch again - yesss!!! I really like to have it here so I can play with table settings and colours, and serviettes, and so on...

Anyway, back to the menu

I made my own version of Chicken Spaghetti yesterday - recipe below.

Mimmos - yes!!!! Been craving that creamy pasta for weeks now!

Stir-fried chicken, veggies and rice - haven't had stir-fry for about 4 weeks so yum :)

Marcia's chicken pasta (recipe below)
Baked potatoes topped with spicy lentil sauce

Hot dogs and chips

Marcia's chicken pasta
  • 200g onion
  • 50g mushroom (I would have put more but that's all there was)
  • 410g tin of tomato, chilli and onion mix (use normal t&o if you don't like it hot)
  • 400g chicken mince/ cubed chicken
  • 1 tsp italian herbs
  • 1 tbsp garlic & chilli/ garlic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 800g cooked pasta (whichever shapes you like)
  • about 350 - 400 ml white sauce (salt, flour and milk)
  • cheese for the top
  • Fry onion in olive oil
  • Add chicken, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Add mushrooms and tomato
  • Add all the herbs and spices you want
  • when the chicken mix is thoroughly cooked and smelling like an italian kitchen, add the white sauce and mix
  • Then add the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into a greased casserole dish (or use some Glad baking paper to line the dish - no mess!), top with cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbly
  • I baked in a preheated 150 degree oven (300 F) for about 10 - 15 minutes (don't you love how precise I am?!). I stay in the kitchen and watch it so I'm not sure of exact times - sorry!
  • Serves 4 adults
If you're on Weigh-less, 1 serve = 2 medium fat protein (chicken and cheese), 3 complex carbs and 2 veg.

For more delicious menus, visit Laura, the MPM host.

Friday, November 30, 2007

How to make the most of small spaces

I wrote this post for the Clutter Control Freak blog ---->> and I'm reposting it here, partly because of the wonderful tips in the comment. Thanks, Lyn (I should get you to guest blog :)

A reader emailed…

"We live in a tiny house with no storage and have to rent so we can't structurally change anything. I would love any advice on making the most of small spaces. I declutter almost daily, but it's still crazy!"
Since she already declutters daily, I can't use that one :)

I do have a couple of other ideas however:

1. Make every piece of furniture do double duty:
Use bookcases as room dividers. Buy ottomans with storage space inside.

2. Go vertical:
Use your walls, especially in the kitchen and bedrooms.

3. Get rid of knick-knacks:
Cutesy items make your space feel even smaller. Choose one or two quality pieces instead.

4. Live simply:
Instead of having 20 t-shirts, choose the best 10 and donate the rest. The less stuff you have, the less storage you need!

What other ideas do you have for our reader?

Now here's what Lyn wrote:

From Lynda, September 20 2007

1. Thin your stuff and make sure what you use everyday is stored where it's easy to get at. A good trick is to empty the shelf or drawer into a box. When you use something, take it out of the box and put it back in the drawer or on the shelf. At the end of the week, remaining items can be tossed or stored in a less convenient location.

2. Instead of knick-knacks, find beautiful versions of what you need to use.
Living room: Decorative box for remotes, a set of pretty coasters, a warm throw, and candles.
Bathroom: Decorative containers for bathroom toiletries, towels rolled and stuffed in a wine rack, Attractive hooks for towels and robes.
Kitchen: Keep often used utensils in a pretty pitcher by the stove, use seasonal potholders and towels, store fruit, in a decorative bowl or colander

3. Shelves and wall hooks are your friend. For example, we use a small board with 6 hooks by our front door for hats, coats, and purses and another in our bathroom for towels. Glass shelves in the bathroom hold q-tips, etc.

4. More on double-duty and hidden storage: Out of season clothes under the bed, craft or spare office supplies under the sofa, extra sheets between your mattress and box springs, skirted side tables, ottomans with trays on top for side tables or paired instead of a coffee table.

5. If you're really pinched for space in the kitchen, try using one plate, set of silverware, cup, and glass per person. Store spares for dinner parties.

Aren't those ideas great? What other ideas do you have?

Finally - 7 easy steps to organise your office

Work through the steps from 1 to 7, or tackle your problem area first.
You will learn how to
{ set up your office area
{ determine your organising style
{ control the clutter
{ set up filing systems so YOU can find things
{ align your physical and electronic documents
{ get control of your inbox
{ deal with the mail
{ organise your finances
{ prevent overwhelm
{ make your favourite office tools work for you

In this e-book, I show you, step-by-step, how to organise your office.

The system has been tested for both a home and business office and works just as well for both. I also include plenty of worksheets and tell you exactly how to set up your Office Notebook (if you don’t already have one).

Don't stop with only organising your office.Make sure your business is maximizing its internet presence with the right website hosting service.

Finally - an e-book that helps me organize in a way that works with my style!

Marcia addresses the different learning styles and personalities with organizing tips that work for each of them. So many other organization tools focus on one "right" way or one "perfect" system to organize with but this e-book presented different strategies that work for different people.

Practical, useful tips and great worksheets make it easy to apply as well.

I'm already saving time and feeling more organized!

Michelle Shaeffer

I also give you a sneak peek into my own office set-up to spark your ideas. More than that however, I empower you to make your office work for you. After all, you’re the one who has to work there!

Marcia, I really enjoyed the 7 Steps e-book! The comments, strategies and worksheets were really helpful and I could easily implement your ideas to fit me.

I really loved the organizing personality section. I had never thought about that - I am clearly a visual learner and that made a lot of sense.

Your details about handling electronic information and clutter were super helpful. I liked how you gave examples of what you do/what folders you use. That helped me think about my needs and how I could incorporate the information into my life.

I love all of the planning pages you put at the end. They are awesome - I printed them out and can’t wait to start using them.

Thank you for putting together this e-book. I got A LOT out of it!!!
Mary Anne Hutcherson


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to deal with mail clutter

One of the things people most often ask me is how to deal with all the mail.

I know it's hectic; we go through the same thing. I noticed when we visited Australia that many people have signs on their letter boxes saying "no junk mail". Aussie readers - do those signs work? I'd love it if that would work in South Africa but somehow, I just don't think so :)

I do have some good news - you can take control of your mail with just a few quick and easy steps.

1. If you have a choice between getting an account in the mail or via email, choose email.

2. When you bring in the mail from your letterbox, walk directly to a wastepaper basket and open your mail over it.

this is my wicker wastepaper basket next to my entrance hall table

When I walk into our house every day, I throw away all the pamphlets, brochures, flyers, newspapers, credit card offers, etc. I then remove the actual letter and throw away the envelopes too.

A whole stack of paper reduced to just three pages - lovely :)

3. Decide on NEXT ACTIONS there and then.

I circle the payment date on any accounts and quickly sort in date order so that I can diarise these in my planner.

4. Then file.

I only (!) file once a week or every two weeks if there's not much and it literally takes me 5 minutes.

I go into a lot more detail about paper and paper clutter in my new book, 7 easy steps to organise your office, which you can get for just R150 (divide by 7 for US$).

Do you have any cool ideas on dealing with mail clutter?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tackling bedside table and to-do list

Remember to check my main blog page for your discount on my new 7 easy steps to Organise your Office book
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Last night I wrote my to-do list for today and when I was putting my planner on the pile mountain of books, I grabbed it again to add "tidy bedside table".

The things on my bedside table have been multiplying slowly over the last week because I've been spending such a lot of time in bed. I used to only have the one basket before but I have so much stuff - notepads and stuff - that I brought one of these pink baskets out to contain the extra stuff. It helped a lot because I didn't have to stretch for a long time to find things; I just grab the basket and find what I need.

Here's the before, just after I finished my muesli and yoghurt this morning.

and here's the after

And here's the pile of books that went back to my bookshelf. I need to finish that time management one before I get the goals one!

What else am I tackling today?

Because I have to be sedentary, I made a master to-do list of 19 computer things I want to do (some of them, like writing a new e-course, has multiple parts, so is going slowly) and so far (yesterday and this morning) I've done 6). I'll keep you updated.

What does your to-do list look like?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 26 Nov 2007

If you battle with paper and office organising, please get your blog discount code and check out 7 easy steps to organise your office.

Hi everybody

I'm back! Thank you to those of you who emailed me checking on me - much appreciated :)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having surgery on 16th November. Well, that happened and thank God, was better than I expected (shorter surgery and one less day in the hospital). Initially the doctor said I'd probably be off for 2 weeks but they'd better be able to tell at my one-week check-up.

Well, that happened on Friday. I'm now booked off for FOUR WHOLE WEEKS and I'm going stir crazy!

I'm FLYING through books at a rate of one per day, watching my daily dose of Oprah and doing lots of computer work. You see, I'm restricted to sedentary activities so it's not like I can give the house a good clean. I'm so glad I went crazy at that book sale! Also, I started writing out my Christmas cards yesterday.

I've been revamping all my products and I'll be removing some from the store, making combos of some of them, using some only to support my coaching clients, and of course, working on new stuff.

Last week we played it by ear because Dion did most of the cooking but that spontaneous stuff doesn't work for me - I realised anew that I like to know what's happening :) so yesterday, I checked the freezer and pantry, and made a no-fuss menu plan.

Baked potato and sausage casserole

Spaghetti and lentil bolognaise sauce (veggie version of normal bolognaise)

Chicken steaks, mashed potato and carrots

Chilli con carne, rice and pumpkin

Fish, chips and salad

For more menus, please visit Laura's site. By the way, has anybody else noticed a decrease in traffic since MPM's gotten so big? I said to Laura, seems like everyone else feels just as overwhelmed as I do, or am I the only one? :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Favourite organising tools #10 - baskets (2)

I really do love baskets. Remember I blogged about it last week?

Here is part 1 in case you missed it.

This time, I'm showing more kitchen and pantry pictures.

this is a cupboard right next to my stove - that basket holds some extra spices that don't fit on my spice rack

this is in my pantry - the packages (red kidney beans if you're interested) take up less space like this than if I lay them down
baking stuff and extra chocolate in the back that I got on sale
extra cleaning supplies
If you use baskets in your kitchen/ pantry area, please blog them and come leave the link in the comments so we can all come visit and see :)
This is also my Works for me Wednesday post - working smarter, not harder :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Organising library books

We are BIG readers in this house. I bribe the librarians with donated books so they let me take more than the standard 6 at a time. Now you know there's nothing I won't do for books.

I've shared before how I am weak when faced with book sales but for the most part, I buy non-fiction and get fiction from the library.

This little table is next to my main desk in the study.

My stuff is on the left and Dion's is on the right.

  1. When I get home from the library, I unpack the orange bag and stack all the books on the top.
  2. As I finish reading, the books go back in the orange bag. The idea is that by the time the books are due back, all of them are back in the orange bag, ready to go.
  3. Of course that never happens but at least I know immediately which ones I have to renew and which can be returned.
  4. This system works beautifully for me!

As for Dion's pile, I have no idea what his system is :) Incidentally, we bought his bookbag (folded under that blue book) at a bookstore called Collins at the Sydney airport for AUS $2.

Do you take books from the library? What do you do to organise your books?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tackling...blogging holiday photos

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
I have one and a half notebook pages full of computer stuff to do. While I don't strictly follow the GTD (Getting Things Done) system, I do like things sorted out (!) so I write my to-do lists by category - to blog, to phone, to do around the house, computer stuff, etc...
This week, I took all the 160 photos we took when we were in Cape Town a few weeks ago, compressed them and blogged them on our travel blog. You can see them all here.
We're going to Port Elizabeth in less than a month for 9 days so I needed to be up to date on that blog. By the way, if you're in PE and you want me to speak to your group or have a coaching/ organising session with you, let me know. I already have two bookings from some of my super-quick readers :)
Don't forget to come back tomorrow! I'm launching a new product to help you get control of your office. This is something that people have been asking me to do for MONTHS and I've finally caved in :)
What did you tackle this week?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Favourite organising tools #10 - baskets (1)

Baskets make really good organising tools for containing items. When you're organising, you always want to keep like items together and this is a great way to do just that.

It's much easier to pull a basket off a shelf, remove something and then put it back instead of feeling your way on the shelf, messing up everything. When the basket has a handle, it's also very easy to carry from room to room (like in the case of cleaning supplies).

They're cheap and you can easily re-purpose if you outgrow the basket or it no longer suits the original purpose.

To prepare for this post, I walked around my house taking pictures. Since I got 14 pictures without even trying, I'm going to have to split up this post otherwise you'll all get bored.

Here's how I use baskets in my kitchen. Pantry, bathroom and bedroom to follow!

1. to hold my cell phone charger and rechargeable batteries for my camera (this is on top of my extractor fan)
2. to hold our vitamins (the front one has the daily stuff and the back one has all the extra supplies)

to keep my recipe books next to the microwave (when I want to declutter, I pull this whole thing out and take it to the TV to work on - easy!)

to store cleaning things under the kitchen sink (notice how I write the date on the dishwashing liquid? I'm weird like that - I like to keep track to make sure we don't waste money)

How do you use baskets in your kitchen?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our launch pad works for me

I have a 3-drawer wicker thing just inside our door.

1. Now it's summer here (south africa) so we have caps in there - the sun is potent and whenever we go outside I like to be protected - and of course, our individual umbrellas (they are the small ones).

In winter, I keep gloves, scarves and woolen caps.

One drawer each and an extra for miscellaneous of the same type (extra umbrella, or extra gloves).

I put the 2 gloves together and turn them inside out so they are little balls (hope this makes sense) so there's no hunting around for a missing glove.

2. I keep my church Bible on top of the wicker thing.

3. My office in a bag and our gym bags are also there, as well as any errands that have to be run.

So before I leave the house, I grab my handbag, work bag on the other side of that wall, and then anything else from this little station.

It definitely works for me!

How do you remember what to take with you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Organising vitamins in the kitchen

We keep our vitamins in the kitchen because we take them after we have breakfast. I take 4 - a calcium magnesium supplement, evening primrose oil, a woman's multivitamin supplement and my favourite, vitamin C.

before - this is the mess when I unpacked it all. I returned medicines to the bathroom, put the extras in a separate container and organised the rest for easy use.

after - that green basket holds all the extra boxes. Clicks often has 3 for the price of 2 specials on vitamins and I stock up. In this picture, you can see how easy it is to take down the little green basket, take the vitamins and put it back.

after - this is what it looks like on my corner shelf. The flat plastic container to the left of the front green basket is what I keep in my lunch bag and take to work. There is just enough space for 5 of each for the week.

and this is the aerial view

1. Does this idea work for you?

2. Where do you keep your vitamins and how do you organise them?

For more tackles, visit 5 minutes for mom

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Organising your recipes & menu plan Monday - 12 Nov 2007

I wrote a post for Clutter Control Freak recently on organising your recipes. You can read it here - there's also a wonderful resource in the comments!

At the moment, I'm scheduled for surgery on Friday (minor female stuff) which means I've been cooking because I'm not sure how quickly I'll be mobile ;) I'm booked off for two weeks afterwards and then he's said to "take it easy" for 6 weeks in total, so no exercise - YAY! (Have to look on the bright side, right?!)

Menu for the week
Marcia - out
Dion - fasting

Chilli con carne, rice and carrots

Baked potatoes with spicy lentil sauce (food from freezer - taking with me to work as I'm going straight to another talk)

Fish, chips and salad (carried over from last week)

probably hospital food - yuck! (on the bright side, weight loss!)
Dion can pick from the freezer :)

*** I discovered a healthy snack this week - julienned carrots! I take a small container (about 50g) and keep it next to the computer so when I snack, I snack healthy and I find I like the crunchiness. Now here's the thing - without saying a thing, I saw Dion doing the same yesterday. Isn't that cool?!
Visit Laura for some great menu ideas.

If you're interested in joining my research and development team, email me!

Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow to see how I organise my vitamins.
Oh, and PS, I'd love to read about some of your small, simple pleasures in life!

Friday, November 09, 2007

I need your help!

Edited to add:
I now have 6 people and I'm looking to double that. I need people who buy e-books, e-courses and so on. Is that you?

I'm putting together a Research & Development team and I'm looking for about 10 people who fulfill these requirements:

1. honest and people of integrity
2. can give good, constructive feedback
3. communicate well (either written or verbal)
4. a keen interest in goal-setting, time management, organising and success
5. someone who reads other people's stuff and buys e-products now and again
6. Must click with me. This sounds very airy-fairy but if we're going to be working together, then we need to be like-minded, right?

Optional, but nice-to-have
1. On my mailing list at
2. Read my blogs regularly
3. Previous buyer of one of my products
4. Previous coaching/ organising client, or workshop attendee

What is required
1. If I select you to be on my team, I will ask you to subscribe to my mailing list because I need you to get THE WHOLE ME and that includes my entire marketing message.
2. I will also ask you to read my blogs (this one and the other one ---->>) on a weekly basis.
3. I need you to give me written feedback on my products, offerings and such. So if you write well, then that's a bonus!

What's in it for you
1. A first look at any new products! For free!!!
2. An opportunity to learn from me.
3. You get an inside look at how I do things.
4. 10% discount off all products, coaching, organising, etc, effective immediately.
5. Access to a new network of like-minded people

How it all works
1. Email me and tell me why you're interested.
2. I'll send you a quick list of questions
3. Depending on your answers in 2 above, we'll have a quick chat on Skype or in my chat room
4. If you're selected, I'll give you access to a special members-only blog I've already set up and we can get cracking!

I'm very excited and looking forward to working with some of you!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

My best 4 ways to tame the magazine monster

For someone who does not own a single magazine subscription, I sure do manage to accumulate a lot of magazines.

For this picture, I went around the house and collected everything in sight!

1. I keep them mainly in the bathrooms (ahem) because that's where they mostly get read. When I find something good, I tear it out there and then so I don't waste time looking for a recipe later. Because of course then I'd get sidetracked and look at all the gorgeous pictures again :)

2. The only time I get through a lot of magazines quickly is when I get my car washed. I take 3 - 4 magazines with me and use the waiting time to read, tear out articles and declutter.

3. I also like taking magazines with me when I'm taking a long plane trip, about 8 hours or more. It's nice because when I'm done, I offer it to the passengers who look like they need something else other than in-flight entertainment. I'm helpful like that :) And the best is I can leave them right there on the aircraft!

4. When I go through magazines, my motto is always less is more. So I try very hard not to keep anything I know deep down I'm not going to need or use. I know myself and even though a recipe might look delicious, it's not likely to be something I try and cook/ bake if it's in the least bit complicated :)

Of course, once I have the 2 - 3 pages per magazine, I use my beloved flipfiles/ display folders to organise them. And since Barb wrote about her great ideas notebook, I started a Gorgeous Things flipfile too with beautiful furniture, houses I like, etc. It's good to dream.

By the way, the short flights to PE and CT don't work for magazines. That's strictly e-book time. I finished 150 pages of reading on this last trip down to Cape Town in between the eating and chatting. I use a plastic book bag like this which works very, very well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Organising with health problems

I'm working smart today and making this my Works for me Wednesday post!

Jo has left a new comment on your post "Fall Y'all bloggy giveaway - a virtual organising ...":

My organizing question is- how does a mom of three, who has cancer and health problems, become good at organzing despite her Adult ADD? Tough one I know but one I battle constantly. WANT to organize, exhausted all the time, start something and never finish. I just want to get things done for once.

Here's what I sent Jo in an email but I'd love you all to also pitch in with your ideas.

Hello again and thanks for your great question.
  1. If you know HOW to organize (have systems and so forth), then I’d get some highschoolers in, pay them minimum wage and get them to do it according to your specifications.

  2. Can your relatives help?

  3. Advertise on your blog for someone good at organising/ professional organiser to come in and help you – maybe do an hour or two free and you can do a nice testimonial for them.
The main thing is that once the systems are there, you can get anyone to “follow your rules” even if you physically can’t do so.

Readers - please share your ideas in the comments! Thanks.

If you want to answer some more questions :), visit

Monday, November 05, 2007

And the winner is...

Remember last week's giveaway?

Thank you so much to all of you who participated - I LOVED all the great questions. And wow - such a lot of questions on paper which just happens to be my favourite thing to organise.

I wish I could give EACH and EVERY ONE of you a free virtual organising session because I would love to help all of you.

But - good news! I've decided to give all the commenters 10% discount off a virtual organising session - the normal cost is R150 but you get 10% off. Please use coupon code virtual to see your discount at checkout! Offer valid until 16 November. That means you must have paid for it - I can do your session after that, no problem.

Here's the link to the store and to the other organising goodies

And the winner is....

Mary (Anonymous commenter) with yahoo address, who said...

My biggest organization problem is paper! I get overwhelmed with it and don't know what to do about it. Thank you.

Congratulations to you, Mary. Please email me so we can set up your session and get you organised :)

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