Sunday, March 30, 2008

Menu for the week - 31 March and MY NEW WEBSITE

Hello everybody

I am so pleased with my new, gorgeous website. I invite you all to come over to my new home and visit online for a few minutes.

Just click the picture above to go there :)

I've been walking a little bit every day to get fitter for the UK trip and I've already lost 0.5kg with only 35 minutes walking (I told you it was a little bit) total.

I only managed 5 minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday went to Salsa Dancing, 15 minutes on Thursday and Friday.

10-minute clutter hacks
I've started a new series of posts on this blog.

Here's part 1 - the bedroom.
Look out for part 2 next week

Menu for the week
Marcia - out with a friend
Dion - macaroni cheese

Sausage and pumpkin bake

Curry and rice

Baked potatoes, kidney bean and tomato sauce, topped with cheese

Out for supper

Friday, March 28, 2008

10-minute clutter hacks - BEDROOM

We all need some quick and easy tasks that we can do when we have a spare 10-15 minutes.

One of the main problems many people make is they wait for a huge time block of 2 - 3 hours to organise a room. The truth is that we'll have to wait a really long time to find such a big block of time.

So use the little bits of time that you DO have.

Let's start in the bedroom.

What can you do in 10 minutes?

  1. pick up and sort all the clothes lying around - fold, hang up, throw in laundry basket, etc.

  2. clear out your make-up drawer

  3. tidy your bedside table

  4. declutter all the books and magazines

  5. sort through your spare linen

So are you in on the challenge? Post in the comments :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm not neat but I'm organized - Angela Yee

I'm not neat but I'm organized - Angela Yee

I'm not joking when I say I wish I'd written this book myself!

This is an awesome organising resource, both for the Super Organised and for those just struggling to hold it all together. It is beautifully written with lots of personal anecdotes and examples and when you're done reading, you'll definitely know what will work for you and what won't.

There are lots of diagrams so you don't have to guess what she means, and also some really good flowcharts for the visual people out there.

Angela addresses the many styles by having different sections for you, so if you only want the quick version, there's a section of a chapter just for you, and if you like all the little details, she caters to you too.

For each section of organising, e.g. scheduling, Angela gives MANY different examples, each one tailored for a different organising style.

I know I'm the Organising Queen but even I got TONS of ideas from this book, two of which are already helping me organise my organised life, much, much better ;)

Get this book now. You won't regret it!

Click the tag at the bottom of this post to read the other parts in this series.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

10 weird things about me & the menu for the week

Megan from the Disorder to Order blog tagged me for the 10 weird things meme.

  1. I love cold weather. We're in South Africa with some of the best weather in the world, so this is weird for these parts ;)
  2. I don't mind my car dirty on the outside but I cannot stand it dirty on the inside.
  3. One of my favourite things to eat is wholewheat toast with Melrose cheese spread spread very lightly with Mrs Balls Extra Hot fruit chutney. Yummy!
  4. I would much rather have a nice, clean kitchen than a romantic dinner out. AND I was quoted for this quirk in Shape magazine in 2006!
  5. On New Year's Eve, for fun, I set my goals for the year. My husband tells me this is weird :)
  6. I hate surprises. All of them :) I share this weirdness with Oprah so I'm in good company.
  7. When I go to the gynae, I take a pair of socks to cover my feet.
  8. I only like watching happy, positive movies, preferably romantic comedies. I don't mind legal thrillers but the outcome must be just - the bad guys must get caught - otherwise I really hate it. And I'll watch almost anything with John Cusack in it!
  9. When I'm engrossed in a book, I turn into someone else if you DARE interrupt me.
  10. I really hate baby and wedding showers. Now the last time I blogged about this, so many people emailed me and agreed with me, yet they still go, because it's tradition. So for me, the weird thing is that I just don't go. That's my boundary and I stick to it.

Oooh, now for the fun part.

I'm tagging Suzanne Babb, Rachel Pulido and Beth Dargis. And anyone else who wants to play along - yes, that's YOU!

So what are we eating this week?

In South Africa, we have a public holiday on Monday (same as we had on Friday).

I read on someone's blog that in the US, you have to take an annual leave day if you want to observe Good Friday. My word! That will not go down well over here :)

Seriously though, is that right? What about in other parts of the world?

Chicken, rice and broccoli

Macaroni and cheese

Baked potatoes, vienna sausage and lentil sauce

Hot dogs and chips

Sausage, butternut and pasta bake, with cheese bread

What's on your menu this week? And don't forget to tell me if you guys get public holidays!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Organising workflow - I'm not neat but I'm organized

I'm not neat but I'm organized - Angela Yee

This is part 3. Click the tag at the bottom of this post to read the other parts in this series.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the workflow section. I love how Angela explains this and I'm going to be using it with my clients too because anyone can relate.


If you think of your paper flow as a little car and your decision-making process is like coming to a traffic light...

RED means stop - throw those papers away

ORANGE means wait - file those papers

GREEN means either show (delegate to someone else) or go (do the work yourself)

Now that's already really cool but then she breaks down the GO part further, and this part I LOVE!

  1. Scheduled tasks go on your calendar
  2. Unscheduled tasks go on your master to-do list
  3. And the urgent tasks you just DO if they'll only take 2 minutes
  4. the parking lot is where we put things for future projects (I liked this term so much I immediately renamed my existing email folder)

The reason why I LOVE this part so much is because we all try and put unscheduled tasks in our calendar (on our daily to-do list) and that's why we feel overwhelmed and unworthy when we don't get those things done.

Of course, you add some tasks from your master list to your daily list once you have the scheduled stuff on your list. And of course, if I'm coaching you :) , we'll always make sure at least 2 of those tasks move you towards your goals, so that you're effective and not just busy!

(I deal with all this in MUCH more detail in Help! I need more time)

Is it just me or do you also think the whole paper flow is explained just beautifully with this easy-to-understand analogy?

P.S. If you're on Facebook, you can check Angela's profile under my friends. There is a lovely picture of her beautiful face :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Do you have a passion for organising?

If you have a passion for organising and you'd like to turn that into a professional organising business, then I'd love to help you!

As you know, I'm a professional organiser AND a coach so you get the best of both worlds - someone cheering you on and guiding you to get your own business up and running in record time.

I have a 6-week, how to become a professional organiser group coaching programme starting on Thursday 20th March.

Read more about the benefits of the programme, about previous happy coaching clients, how it all works and all the wonderful bonuses.

If you have any questions, please email me personally on marcia AT


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How long should you keep clothes you plan to fit into?

I get this question a lot!!!

How long should you keep clothes you plan to fit into?

Well, my answer is two-fold:

1. Do you have extra storage space?

If you do, then you can keep the clothes for a year or two. You need to limit the items to your favourites but I'll allow lots of leeway.

If you have no extra space and you already can't fit all your current clothes into your wardrobe, then I'd say choose maybe 5 - 6 special items and keep them for no longer than a year.

I have a friend who is really great at decluttering clothes. She goes through their clothes every 6 months and gets rid of anything they haven't worn that season. Her view is that next summer/ winter there'll be new fashions so why hang onto old stuff?!

2. How honest are you being with yourself?

If you've been putting on weight steadily due to age or lifestyle factors, then deep down you know you're fooling yourself into thinking you'll be able to fit into that size ___.

In this case, I suggest that you just bite the bullet and get rid of the clothes. It feels better when you donate it to a woman's shelter, trust me. Ask yourself, "who can use this today?"

However, if you were easily at a weight before getting pregnant and you've just had a baby, then by all means keep those old clothes while you exercise and get back to your pre-maternity weight.
That said, my sister is really slender (post-baby) and even she said when the baby was 6 months old that she's come to terms with not ever fitting into those really skinny tops again :)

So what do I do?

If I LOVE the clothes, I get the stuff out of my valuable real estate (my wardrobe) and put them in my guest bedroom with the date on the container/ large ziploc bag. By the time the next summer/ winter rolls around, if I can't fit into it, out it goes.

I know from my history that even if I can fit into it a year later, there are much cuter clothes out there which I'd rather have in my wardrobe :)

This system works for me. What works for you?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Menu plan Monday - 17 March 2008

This week is a short week - yayyyy - due to the Easter weekend.

We are meeting friends of ours (we'll be staying with them for 3 days in England) at OR Tambo Airport on Friday for a few hours and then we're going to pretend we're young and hip by going to a Tree 63 concert.

Do you know Tree 63? They're a fabulous Christian band, now based in the US. And by a weird coincidence, Dion was introduced to their music by this same friend yonks ago (more than 10 years ago). Here's a You Tube video. I've been to one of their concerts YEARS ago and they are OUTSTANDING in concert - high energy and entertaining!

Aside from that and church, we have N O T H I N G planned and we are so looking forward to it.

Right, onto this week's menu:

Cottage pie (carried over from last week)

Noodles and stirfried veggies

Curry and rice

Baked potatoes and spicy lentil sauce

Supper probably at the airport, or a takeaway on the way to the concert.

Have a wonderful week, everyone, and have a fabulous Easter weekend!

P.S Do you need more time?

P.P.S. I am hoping my new website will go live this week.

What do you have planned for this week?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Organising your holiday/ Planning your trip

If you're a reader of my or Suzanne's blog, you'll know that we're meeting up in Scotland in two months' time *squeal* ;)

Suzanne wrote a GORGEOUS post on how she's organising for this upcoming trip and I printed off her post to gather some ideas for my own planning.

Why reinvent the wheel, right?!

My system is very simple - we use one of these plastic envelopes and put everything in there, like e-tickets, booking confirmations, things to see and do, etc. That plastic envelope goes with us and fits nicely in the lid of my suitcase.

Once we're travelling however, I like one notebook to serve as a journal and finance tracker. At the back I write down everything we spend and in the front, I jot down some notes of what we do each day. It really helped the last time when I was blogging the photos from Thailand and Malaysia.

When I read about Suzanne's cute notebook, I got all excited and went out and bought yet another notebook!

Then I got home and realised I had this one:

So this is what I'm using.

This one has sections for everything under the sun - itinerary, people met, events and places visited, articles purchased, expenses, embassies, name and address, hotel details, etc, etc. Even if you don't have one like this, you can do what Suzanne did and get one with lots of dividers or as I usually do and use post-it flags to make your own sections.

See that yellow post-it sticking out of the notebook? That's me customising my notebook even further.

Who else has a trip coming up? How are you organising it?

7 things you must do to achieve your goals

This is a static post - please scroll down for new posts

I'm hosting a free Skypecast on goal-setting next week.

Want to join me?

Topic: 7 things you MUST do to reach your goals

When: Thursday 13 March

Time: 7PM Jhb time/ 1PM EST (New York time)

Duration: 45 mins plus 15 mins Q&A

How: via Skypecast

You don't have to register using the form. However, you only get the handout if you do register.

Book your place on the FREE teleseminar, 7 things you must do to achieve your goals

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Decluttering clothes

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I've been planning to declutter some of my clothes for a few weeks now and finally just decided to DO IT!

It's at times like these that I realise I also need my Organise your Home home study system ;)

This is how I decided what had to go:
  1. I hadn't worn it for two years (!) either because I just didn't feel like it or it didn't fit me. Both those lilac suits in the pile don't fit me yet I hung onto them because when they did, they looked really gorgeous on me *sigh*

  2. I didn't LOVE it. There is a shirt in that pile that I have been keeping because

(a) my MIL bought it for me and I thought that was very kind of her and

(b) it is cool to wear in our blazing hot Jhb summers. BUT I must admit, I don't love it and it doesn't even look like me.

So I threw them out. That's only 6 items of clothing in there but the weight off my shoulders is huge, which brings me to another point:

Sometimes we make a bigger deal of things than they have to be. I'd been procrastinating all of this for 2 - 3 weeks and it took me 10 minutes to throw out :)

What have you tackled this week?

If you don't know how to reach your organising goals, join me on a free Skypecast this Thursday. Get all the details and your handout here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Menu plan Monday (10 March 2008) and goal-setting

I cleared out my Google Reader on Friday night from 115 items to zero. I've been falling behind because of my 2008 blogging policy - no reading blogs on the weekend (unless I'm doing research) and only for 30 minutes a weekday - but moving ahead very nicely on my business goals.
E.g. Once of my goals for the year was to add 20 articles to my ezine articles stash. I'm a Platinum Expert Author and I just felt like I should have more out there. Well, already for the year I've written and submitted 10 articles. See?
What are your goals for the year?
If you're not sure how to make them a reality, then I'd like to invite you to a free Skypecast this Thursday at 8PM South African time/ 1PM Eastern Standard Time.
I've even prepared a handout for you with all the Skype how-to info and the information I'll be covering on the call. You can get it here.

Right, onto this week's menu:

Our church is doing a Daniel fast for 21 days. This is week 2. We're praying for the country, our church leaders and also for personal things :)

Dion and I are only doing it for 2 days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and basically it means we go vegetarian for supper. I won't bore you with the rest of it :) :)

Apricot chicken, rice and pumpkin

Pasta salad with kidney beans

Rice with cottage pie sauce

Baked potatoes and spicy lentil sauce

We're having friends over for supper. I'm trying something new - a sausage, pumpkin and pasta dish with cheese bread and salad....

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

P.S. Will I "see" you on the goals Skypecast? My handout has ALL the details and notes for you to follow along. Get it here.
P.P.S Do you need more time?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Organising your spouse and kids

Many of you write to me to tell me that it's really hard getting and staying organised because of your spouse and kids.

I get it - I really do!

And if more people were to open up, we'd probably find that most couples have different organising styles.

This is how you can live harmoniously:

Recognise that everybody's different
When you get that your husband and kids don't think like you and you accept it, you become more tolerant of them, and of the way they organise their lives.

Don't complicate things
The easier your systems, the happier everyone will be to co-operate.

Why have a 5-step system for the laundry when you can just let everyone toss their dirty clothes in the laundry basket in their rooms?

Let them have their space
Everyone deserves to have space where they can just be themselves. I'm not only talking about their rooms.

In our study, which we both use, I have 8 of the 10 shelves beautifully organised with my business, personal and our household stuff. The other 2 shelves are Dion's personal (messy) things.

I don't want to see that mess so as long as the doors to the cupboard are closed, I'm happy. And as long as Dion has his things his way, he's happy. See? Now I personally can't understand how he can find anything there but I respect his space :)

When you're getting frustrated, communicate your needs.

Dion knows that it drives me stark raving crazy when I wake up and there's stuff lying around the house. I like waking up to an uncluttered house the way I left it. But see he wakes up before I do so there's opportunity to mess it all up. Now that he knows how I feel though, he restricts his morning wanderings to only one room and I'm still happy ;)

Occasionally, Dion indulges the crazy organiser in me because he knows I want to get at his stuff.

this is his snack basket before

and this is after
Listen to this podcast where Suzanne talks about organising in relationships.
Do you and your spouse have different organising styles? How do you deal with it?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I fired my cleaning lady

Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning of the year know we've had some cleaning lady hassles.

Well, the frustration with this 2nd one has been building and this weekend, I called her up and fired her.

And you know what? I feel relief about it.

Yes, I have to now do my own cleaning but that's fine - at least I don't have the expectation of a house in order only to come home and find that it's not done properly!

Back to the drawing board!

What are you tackling this week?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Menu plan Monday - 3 March

Okay, here we go - another week.

This week I have things on every day of the week and I'm just off to a Leaders Meeting at church!

Stirfried chicken, veg and basmati rice

Macaroni cheese

Cottage pie

Baked potatoes with kidney bean sauce

Hot dogs and weigh-less chips

What's on your menu this week?

P.S. Do you know how to achieve your goals? Join me on a free Skypecast