Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WFMW - Going green to save money

Have you ever checked out my sidebar?

I have a link under my Organise your Finances heading called Simple Savings. It's an Australian site but the financial principles talked about are applicable all over the world!

I have a fair amount of Aussie readers (hello Tina, Kin and Ali) who might know about this site already but if you don't, go over and get their Simple Savings newsletter. That's for everyone, not just Australians!

Just based on my own experiences when we visited Australia in 2004, the Aussies are way more advanced than South Africans with regard to eco-friendly programmes. I'm by no means the most eco-friendly person but I do my best with what I do know.

As an aside, Oprah did a "going green" show that was aired here last week and I was amazed at the simple things we can do, like switching appliances off at the wall, using less serviettes (napkins), using those long-lasting lightbulbs, etc. The one lady said she saw an electricity saving of US $50 in one month (that's R350! or Aus $58).

I've just received my October Simple Savings newsletter and as well as the great savings tips, there is also a link to their free going green 2008 Simple Savings calendar which they have said we can freely pass along to others, hence this blog post.

Each month talks about how going green will save you money. For example...

1. Limit your impulse buys. Impulse buys are always things we can do without.
2. Only buy essentials. Leave the extras on the shelf.
3. Learn the difference between a 'need' and a 'want'.
4. Re-use everything. Before you throw anything out, try and use it one more time.
5. Fix things when they break. Don't buy a new one.
6. Be a creative cook. Learn how to cook from basic ingredients. [there are some great vegetarian recipes in this month's newsletter too - I can't wait to try the vegetarian chilli (yum)!]
7. Live in the smallest space possible.
8. Buy in bulk for better value and less packaging.
9. Grow your own food. Food is free when it comes out of the ground.
10. Reduce your power consumption. No need to pay more than you have to.
11. Reduce your water consumption.

Please go download the calendar, sign up to the Simple Savings newsletter and start saving money! I've already downloaded mine and it looks great!

For more WFMW posts, head on over to

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tackling the baking pan mess

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I love baking (because of the eating!) but one thing I don't love is the mess. I found a way to combat the messy flour and cut down my baking time.

The one thing I had no ideas about until recently was the Baking Pan Mess. That is, until I did a virtual organising session recently and my client mentioned these containers. I LOVE THEM.

This is an aerial view...

and this is what it looks like in the cupboard!

They contain the odd-shaped pans and this thing is so easy to pull in and out of the cupboard (like a drawer).

If you're in South Africa, you can get them at Game, Dion or Pick & Pay. This one used to keep my extra toiletries until I decided to re-use it like this.

Check how Tertia uses them to organise her kids. It is too cute!

How do you contain your baking pans?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Y'all bloggy giveaway - a virtual organising session

This giveaway is now closed!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Do you know what a virtual organising session is?

  1. You book and pay for the session.
  2. I email you for times suitable for both of us.
  3. You take photos of the area you need help with and after compressing, email them to me.
  4. On the session, we Skype (if you have a headset and microphone) or chat online in my chat room.
  5. We talk through the area, you take notes and I send you any pictures if we agree to that on the phone/ in chat room.
  6. And it's as easy as that!

Why I love them

  • Organising in your pyjamas
  • No make-up and cute clothes needed
  • No travelling time (Joburg traffic is awful). You won't believe how many emails I get (from the blog) where people say, I wish you lived here in ________.
  • Cheap and affordable for you!

Now you get a chance to win a session with me. Because of its nature, you can be anywhere in the world and I can still help you organise your space or time.

A half-hour session usually retails for R150.00 (US$21) in my store.

Here are my rules

  1. If you want to win this session, you have to tell me your most burning organising question. Any question about space, time, your business or your life. I'll answer them on the blog or in articles.

  2. I am not going to search around your blog to find an email address because I don't have time so please leave your email in your comment. Or go check the box in your blogger profile to show your email.

  3. The competition closes on Friday 2nd Nov, 12pm South African time.

  4. I will post the winner next Monday because I am on holiday.

  5. The competition is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike!
Have fun and all the best.

More organising and other goodies here...

post signature

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WFMW - Organising your craft supplies

Now that I'm making these beaded bookmarks all the time, I needed to have a cheap solution that took up very little space and kept things organised.

I took a box and used 2 ice-cube trays from a set of 3, and used the partitions to keep all the beads and my other bits and pieces separate. The box is quite deep so I can easily put another layer or two of trays on top of a piece of project board as I get more and more beads (although I am not keen on just buying and buying).

BTW, if you look on the left of the box, you'll see the gorgeous purple ones that I (almost) don't want to sell. I am crazy!

For the moment, this really works for me. I can see at a glance when I'm running low and I can see which I need to make more of :)

I actually need to declutter as well (don't laugh) because I bought some big bags of assorted beads and I can see I'm not really into some of them so will donate to my friend's daughter.

How do you organise your crafty stuff?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 22 October 2007

Wow, I remember registering for the 100-day goals challenge just the other day and already a month has passed.


  1. Am about 2 hours into my new e-book
  2. 1 new organising client
  3. research is done for new stuff for next year (sorry to be vague but you're going to have to be on my mailing list to qualify ;))
  4. 0.5kg down
  5. 1 talk down, another 2 booked, 2 to go (anybody interested?)
So things are moving - as always, if I can help YOU (yes, YOU) get moving on your own goals, please email me. We can do sessions by Skype (proper talking) or online chat, again on Skype or in my chat room if you don't have it downloaded. A half-hour goals session may be just what you need to propel you forward.


Kin, we finished off the apricot chicken on Thursday and it was delicious. We both decided we like it better served with mashed potato. Had to take a picture for you :)


This week's menu

Stir-fried chicken, rice and veggies

Dion's night - Marcia working on weekly mailing

Thai chicken curry and rice (this is my own concoction of Thai mussamen curry [did you have that one, Ali?] because last year this time we were in Thailand. I'm not 100% happy with the recipe yet; need to tweak some more.

Spaghetti and kidney bean pasta - hmmm, this was delicious so I'm making it again.

Wholewheat spinach pizza with veggies (made another one today which I am freezing for Friday)

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog and go have a look at the new beaded bookmarks in my store.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Do you need some financial help?

Laura Williams from Laura Williams' Musings is giving one really blessed blog reader a place on a Financial Freedom e-course. All you have to do is leave a comment on her review post to be considered for the drawing.

You can read more about it and go enter here.

All the best to you!

P.S. I don't know how she does it all with 7 kids! Laura, maybe you should write a guest blog post for me and tell us how you do it :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Have you bought your 2008 daily planner yet?

Here it is - my new 2008 daily planner.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Of course, I think it looks gorgeous because the colours match my website and my business cards.

But the best?

You have to feel it. I'm such a tangible person and I love feeling nice textures. This may or may not surprise you but I often buy things simply because of how they feel. And this planner is gorgeous. to. touch. Mmmmmm....

Why this makes me do the happy dance

  1. It has a gorgeous soft cover.
  2. I love the beautiful shades of green on the outside and inside.
  3. It's smaller than the other one! And thinner (more space in my handbag)!!
  4. Space for appointments and space for to-do notes
  5. Financial planner for the year
  6. Monthly event planner

Funny - the scriptures don't really make it for me. I always have a Christian daily planner but honestly, I look at the scripture reference maybe 2 - 3 times a month!

Now, if you've already bought your daily planner for 2008, I want to see it!

Please post your photos on your own blog or somewhere online (Picasa, etc.) and link up below so I can come see.

This definitely works for me. If you want to read about more cool tips, visit Shannon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 15 October 2007

PDM Consulting
Woohoo - I got lots of forms from church today to do some passion assessments, so this week I've got to set up appointments for the next couple of weeks. Fun fun fun. I haven't done an assessment since July so I'm really looking forward to these.

We moved things around with the menu last week so we could celebrate our 15 years ot togetherness anniversary by going out on Friday. We went to a lovely Indian restaurant called Cumin and Coriander; both the food and company were lovely, thanks!
Who am I? A Guide to discovering yourself
This is a new workbook that I've put together from coaching and workshop tools over the past 5 years. It covers your passion, strengths, uniquenesses, how to have fun, and lots more... If you're keen, I'm now selling this 24-page downloadable e-book for just R80 ($11) in my store under Downloadable Products (there are 15 so look carefully).

And now for the menu!

Baked potatoes with spicy lentil sauce

Thai chicken curry with rice (trying a new recipe)

Wholewheat spinach pizza with salad

Kin's apricot chicken with mashed potato

Pasta with kidney beans and tomato

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Thank you for your encouragement...

Laura Williams gave me this award ages ago and for some reason, I didn't add it to my blog to-do list because I thought I'd depend on my memory. Well, see, that's exactly why I don't depend on my memory more!

Thanks, Laura - I also can't get Dancing Queen out of my mind now :)

Annie gave me this award...

Her blog may be about organizing, but dig a little deeper and there is a true love for God and her friends.

and this one!
Thanks, Annie :)

and you lift me up too!

I'm not going to pass it onto specific people because I have a CRAFT SHOP waiting to delight me with more beaded goodies. I finally understand what scrapbooking does for some of you!!!

Back tomorrow with my menu, but please go try out the wholewheat spinach pizza I made - you will NOT be disappointed!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Organising your medicine cabinet

Dion and I have been together for 15 years today! Married for 12 1/2 of those years :)

A reader emailed this question:
How do I sort out a medicine cupboard? How do I store the contents? What do I keep in a first aid box in a family situation?

Lots of great questions!

  1. First off, I would unpack everything and clean the cupboard.
  2. While the inside of the cupboard is drying, go through all the medicines and throw away any that have expired. When you repack them, put those that are about to expire in the front.
  3. I only have one smallish bag for all our stuff because we’re not sickly. I have Strepsils, Cepacol, Degoran (my favourite – now I sound like a druggie), Nurofen, Panado, burn ointment (because I always seem to burn myself when I use the oven), Tabard, Imodium, cold sore ointment, plasters and Savlon, Norflex and something for gastro cramps.
  4. I have a separate travel medicine bag (an old make-up bag) with just a few of each of these main things. I set up this little bag after we once drove 40km to the nearest town for medicines on one long weekend away. Lesson learnt thanks to Lichtenburg!

this looks a bit messy but it's not really - I think it's my bad photography

My medicine cabinet is the corner bathroom vanity cupboard and it has five main sections...

1. medicine (grey bag)

2. Dion’s toiletries (top blue basket and little round thing)

3. cleaning stuff (green basket)

4. extra toilet rolls and air freshener (not visible in this pic)

5. all the bath stuff (bottom blue basket and top right) (candles, bath salts, bath foam, etc) because this is the only bath we have in the house. Our en-suite only has a shower.

I think first aid boxes vary according to your family’s needs so I would buy a standard one and customise it for my family's needs.

What do you keep in your first aid box?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tackling blogging

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My new thing is to do my main priority items before I start reading from my Google Reader. Of course this means I'm behind with reading but the good news is I'm being far more productive.

My tackle for this week is to get a number of blogging items up to date, which are all done:

1. Write 4 posts for Clutter Control Freak
2. Create 2 PDF files for Decluttering and Time-Saving tips from this post. Please come back tomorrow to download the PDFs. In fact, there's still time to leave your words of wisdom because I can easily add your tips to the document.
3. Blog about contest on CCF

Woohoo – now I'm busy writing tomorrow's weekly tips newsletter. If you're not subscribed, go here.

How do you make sure your top-priority items are done every day?

P.S. Go to my main blog page to read about the contest and about the Sunshine Organizer.

It's contest time!!!!

Woohoo - it's contest time over at the Clutter Control Freak blog.

There are 4 super prizes for the winners. The theme is some unlikely uses for everyday common items.

I'm not sure if they're allowing us bloggers to enter but I have stacks and stacks of ideas ;) (sorry, couldn't resist)

And while you're there, go read my previous posts - for a quick link, click the button on the sidebar ---->>

Monday, October 08, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 8 Oct 2007 & goals update

You know what? I'm most productive when I actually stick to my plan for the day - duh!

Well, I've been relapsing into a lot of blog reading when I'm meant to be actually blogging and working ON my business, not just IN my business. So I'm apologising for being scarce around your blogs but I've had to buckle down and do some work.

I mentioned last week (and for those of you who receive my weekly tips via email, in those emails too) that I signed up for the Goals Guy's 100-day Finish Strong Challenge and I am determined to reach ALL my goals this year (including the *cough* weight loss *cough* one).

As is usual with goal-setting (because I've been doing this for the last hundred or so years), you do really well with some and not so well with others. I've exceeded my expectations on a lot of them but I haven't spoken to as many groups as I intended.

If you're in Johannesburg, please email me so I can come talk to your group. I would love to talk on How to manage your time and take back your life but if that topic doesn't suit you, I have many other topics to choose from.

I will also be in Cape Town from 1 - 4 November (can't wait!!!) so grab me quickly for that time too, and I will probably be in Port Elizabeth for a week around/ near Christmas. A very resourceful reader already emailed me to do a one-on-one session for her, but with the back and forth email negotiations, we're thinking of putting together a workshop :)

Before I get to the menu, have you read about the Sunshine Organiser?

And here's this week's menu!

D – working late
M – out with a friend

Chicken steaklets (stuffed with spinach & feta) with brown rice & sundried tomatoes

Spaghetti with spicy lentil bolognaise sauce

Kin's Apricot Chicken, rice and broccoli

Sweet & sour chicken with noodles

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Favourite organising tools # 8 - sunshine organizer

I am so excited to tell you about this favourite tool of mine - the Sunshine Organizer. This calendar really works for me.

I was given mine as a gift and I had hardly walked in the door when Dion put it up on our wall and started filling it in. I had a small one up already but we both love this one so much because there is A LOT of space. And it's yellow/ orange so it makes me happy!!!

This is perfect for a family with kids, or any busy family (like ours). There's enough space for Dion's stuff and for my stuff and best of all, neither of us has to scrunch up our handwriting to make it all fit :)

The features of the calendar include:

  1. 14 months (starts in Nov 2007 and runs through to Dec 2008)
  2. Large blocks to write in
  3. Lined blocks to write straight
  4. See your month at a glance
  5. Starts with Monday so you have Sat and Sunday together ( shaded)
  6. Emergency Numbers
When you open it to hang on your wall, cupboard, etc, it looks like this. Look how much SPACE there is!!!

back of calendar with instructions for use, emergency numbers, space for telephone numbers, etc.

this is a page in use - see all the writing, stickers, etc. Lovely!

Because I love this Sunshine Organizer so much, I offerered to put a link in my store so that you, dear blog readers, can also get your own one. Scroll down the front page just a bit to view the details.

It only costs $18.95 or R130 which of course, includes packing and postage. Please note there are two buttons so please choose International or South African. International readers, it will get to you within 3 weeks and South Africans, it will get to you within a week. Or if you're really desperate to get yours, you can collect from Debbie, the creator of this gorgeous product, in Randburg.

Buy your copy now.

Beaded bookmark update

I've sold 9 beaded bookmarks to date - woohoo.

Get your Christmas gifts now at the store.

Remember shipping and handling is included in the price of R40. I've heard from international customers that they get them within 5 - 8 working days.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are you organised for Christmas?

There are less than 3 months to Christmas.

When you think about that, what do you feel? Do you feel overwhelmed and just a little bit stressed at everything you have to do? Or do you feel excited at the idea of spending time with friends and family?

My best Christmasses have always been when I’ve been organised, prepared and more importantly, when I didn’t leave everything right up until December :)

Here are a couple of things to consider so that you have an organised Christmas this year:

Your vision for a great Christmas
Decide, together with your family, if you want to celebrate with many spiritual activities, spend time at home with just your immediate family, do lots of baking, etc.

Christmas cards
Will you be sending cards by themselves, or with a family newsletter? Or will you be sending cards at all? Do you have a list of recipients?

Christmas gifts
Will you be giving gifts this year? Are you making any gifts or are you buying them all? Do you have a gift-giving budget? Remember to budget for gift wrap, gift tags and, if necessary, postage to your loved ones who live in a different city. Do you have a system to keep up with the thank-you notes?

Christmas Day
Where will you spend the day – with your parents or his? Or will the family gather at your house? Who will cook the food? Which recipes will you use? Do you know where to find them?

Someone asked me, "how far in advance should you plan?"
Well, that depends on how much stress you can tolerate :)

Personally, I like to have gifts done by the end of October and cards by mid-November. That’s because I really don’t enjoy the stress of having to get the perfect gift with no time to spare. Add to that the crowded malls and you can practically see my blood pressure rising!

I like to start planning at the beginning of October and I set myself mini-goals of compiling my card list first, then planning backwards so I write out a certain number of cards per week until they’re all done by my self-imposed due date.

And I do the same for gifts. I also wrap a few gender-neutral gifts just in case someone pops around with something for me. It’s relaxing for me to prepare a beautifully-wrapped gift with a gift tag because I believe that presentation is part of the gift.

Something I do that has saved me lots of money is I no longer buy Christmas gift wrap. Instead, I buy red and green coloured craft paper and matching ribbon. I can use the paper year-round with a different bow so that it doesn’t look Christmassy for birthday gifts.

This year, get organised for Christmas with the 14-page Christmas Planner so you can welcome the season instead of dreading it. This planner is for the overwhelmed!

What is your plan for getting organised for Christmas? How far in advance do you like to start?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - decluttering & time-saving

It's backwards day at Rocks in my dryer and instead of me telling you what works for me, you get to answer my questions! What fun!!!

So here are my two questions

1. What is your best decluttering tip ever??
2. What is your favourite time-saving tip?

I had the bright idea of putting these in an e-book and offering them as a free PDF on this blog. Woohoo. Win-win.

And now, I'm off to do my own WFMW visiting.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Decluttering your feed reader

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, hello! I can't believe the responses to this post. You guys had such awesome ideas which I'll recap in a moment.

But first, the stats...

Less than 20.....................................3

More than 20 but less than 50......4

More than 50 but less than 100....6

More than 100.................................2

Tips for blog maintenance (from you readers)

  • no carry over to the next day
  • mark all as read
  • always keep pruning
  • if people don't post for a predetermined time (without saying they're away/ on a break), delete
  • limit time for reading
  • use folders so if you're limited with time, just read favourites

I officially started with 61 (when I wrote that post) and I'm very happy to say I now have only 50. Here's the proof :)

What I learnt

  1. I seemed to have no trouble deleting feeds of the blogs I only lurk on. This is because they don't know I'm reading so I'm sure they don't care. BTW, some of this lurking is unintentional because I have problems with Typepad and Wordpress blogs, especially those who have comment moderation. So if I really, really want to say something, I email them. I know, I know, it's crazy.
  2. I seem to have a misguided sense of loyalty on blogs I comment on regularly. Those are definitely very difficult. However, what I've been doing the last couple of months is this: I delete the blog but when I do my usual thing with the memes (MPM, WFMW, and this one), I scan through the participants and look for those blogs I don't have in my reader but do enjoy catching up with. I then click through and read the whole front page, or the posts that interest me.
  3. I read LOTS of creative blogs (this is my biggest category)! I looked through all of them and did not delete even one because they inspire me!

My folders are named Business, Creative, Cute kids, Still deciding, Friends, Lots of reading (long posts), Organising, Infertility and Memes.

In case you're interested, I like blogs where people live in interesting places. That's how I met Ali (the only blog friend I've ever met...YET) who's in Mocambique. I also read a blog from a lady in Beijing and I've just added someone in Taiwan :)

The blogger with 375 feeds is extremely organised as you'll see when you go read her comment on the other post. So it's not about the number - what can you comfortably control without it taking over your life?

I just cannot mark all as read so I need to have a manageable number. I was happy at 30 to 40 feeds, and now 50 is the new happy medium. When it stretches beyond that, I start twitching (as Barb says ;) ). Incidentally, I counted the blogs I actually comment on regularly and they only number 13 out of the 50!

I like to go through my settings every couple of weeks so that I can check if the blogs are still active, and if I still want to be following them. I start with my Still Deciding folder and then do a quick scan of the rest until it's displaying a number I'm happy about.

What is your comfortable number? How many blogs do you comment on regularly?

Menu plan Monday - 1 Oct 2007 & 2007 goals

Woohoo - only 3 months left to January and I'm on a mission to finish the year with a bang! I've signed up for the 100-day Goals Guy challenge to get closer to some of my goals. Do you need help? Email me.

Now, I have a confession - I took this planner back to Exclusive Books and got a new (more stunning) one. I have actually had to put it FAR away because I keep touching it. I'm such a tangible person and I love gorgeous textures and let's face it, after a 90-minute session at the dentist, can you blame me???

Anyway, here goes this week.

It's been nice and cold for the last week which I am LOVING so it's a pleasure to be in the kitchen whipping up some meals again. I finally figured out that I bake and cook more in winter because the kitchen is cool. In summer it's not pleasant to be in that kitchen (in our old house we had a lovely cool kitchen no matter what the season so my cooking didn't depend on the weather :) )

Kin's Apricot Chicken, rice and broccoli

Stirfried chicken in satay sauce (about two tablespoons peanut butter and I use water and milk to thin, not oil), noodles and vegetables - yum

Spicy sausage and potato

Spaghetti bolognaise and salad

Pizza with loads of vegetables and fat-free chips

And if you still haven't answered the feed reader question, please do so... Tomorrow I'm posting on my solution and you can share yours too!