Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Have you switched your clothes around yet?

Whether you're in the Southern or Northern Hemisphere, the seasons have changed and it's time to switch your clothes around.

My goal is to have all my clothes comfortably in one wardrobe. This is 98% - I have 6 pairs of corduroy pants hanging in another bedroom.

I remember YEARS ago when I first started working I had about 5 things to wear for work. It was so quick to get dressed in the mornings because there wasn't much choice.

Even though most of my clothes fit in one wardrobe, I still switch things around because I put all the current season's stuff on the right of my cupboard - the left door stays closed most of the time.

If you look closely, you'll see long-sleeved shirts on the top left and long-sleeved suits on the bottom left. Those are my winter clothes.

Do you switch your clothes around? If yes, have you done yours yet? Can you declutter any items?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu for the week 29 Sept 08

Our church has our annual celebration conference happening this week.

We want to get to as many sessions as we can, so it's going to be a quick and easy menu with some freezer stuff thrown in.

Bacon carbonara pasta with garlic rolls and salad

Stirfried chicken, veggies and rice

Potato bake, grilled chicken and pumpkin

Chicken steaklets with spinach, rice and veggies


Have you done your menu for the week? It takes just 5 - 10 minutes but saves you HOURS over the week.

Visit Laura for more menus. And don't forget to visit on Friday to show off what you decide to declutter this week. I promise I'll remember the Mr Linky :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How to declutter your feed reader

Found in the comments
I need to unsubscribe to blogs too. I have 230 feeds to go through someday! What was your criteria for unsubscribing?

I don't know about you, but for me, decluttering is not a four-letter word.

It's not a personal thing to declutter a blog because living our real lives are what it's all about, isn't it?

This is how I keep my blog reading under control. My 3rd point in that post has lots of suggestions.

But I'm interested in hearing from YOU!

What are your criteria?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Friday Declutter Challenge - 26 Sept 08

The Declutter Tip for the week ...

Many of you have too many emails in your inbox so this week's tip is to make a game of deleting emails.

Anything is more fun when it's a game, so ...

  1. set a daily target and decide how many emails you want to delete every day (25, 50, 60, whatever you like)
  2. go scavenging and see where you can find those emails - Inbox, Sent Items, folders, sub-folders, etc.

Where does all my decluttered stuff go?

I had a question in the comments a week or so ago - what do I do with all the stuff I declutter?

Well, this is the beauty of living in South Africa where unemployment is high and people are poor. You literally leave things outside your gate and they are GONE in 10 minutes' time. Sometimes sooner :)

I don't mean to make light of it, but the fact is that for every person who lives in a nice house, there are loads of people who have hardly anything and are very grateful for any clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff, etc.

When I have a cleaning lady (I fired the latest one on Tuesday), I let her have first dibs at anything I'm throwing out. She leaves what she doesn't want and I leave a box/ bag outside with the rest and, as I say, it's gone before you can say "the Friday Declutter Challenge" :)

I take my books to a secondhand bookstore (Bookdealers) where I can choose whether I want cash or credit for the books. I always take credit since they give you more money that way.

And we have a recycling company called Mondi who collects paper goods once a week. So all my magazines and paper go in a big orange bag which is collected outside our house every Tuesday.

What I decluttered this week ...

A net total of 15 blogs from my Google Reader

and these two unused bags - backpack and an over-the shoulder bag, both promotional gifts from my husband's work (I gave these to my tenants - students - living in the cottage on our property)

What have you decluttered this week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm guest posting over at...

Just thought I'd let you know I'm guest posting over at the Organizing Junkie...

and the topic is... Organising your computer

Have a read and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Decluttering electronically

I have two gmail accounts - don't ask, it's a long story - and what I've been doing is using the one as my main Google Reader account and the other for some blogs I wanted to keep track of, but they don't post regularly so those posts can pile up.

I've been subscribing like crazy to both my Google Reader accounts so they're getting out of hand and it's not uncommon for me to find 81 items unread, which is unusual for me.

Account 1

Started with 42 feeds
Removed 7 but added 2
Left with 37

Account 2
Started with 19 feeds
Removed 10
Left with 9

Total: left with 46 blogs in total

That's not too bad because my comfort level is around 42 ;)

How many blogs do you read?

Today's organising challenge
Declutter some blogs you're just not getting around to and tell me how many in the comments

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu plan for the week - a short one

This week we have a public holiday on Wednesday (it's Heritage Day in South Africa) which means no work, no cooking and lots of eating out :)

We love our public holidays here!

We love the apricot chicken dish so much that I decided to get creative and make a pineapple chicken dish. Thank goodness it turned out very well.

So, for this week's menu, here's the plan...

Pineapple chicken, rice and veggies

Baked potatoes with bolognaise sauce

Eating out or something easy like my delicious pasta salad (don't get hung up on ingredients - just make sure you have something protein (kidney beans/ lentils/ chickpeas) and some veggies like onion, cucumber, carrots, apple - anything that lends itself to a salad :))

Stirfried chicken in a satay sauce with noodles

Debonairs pizza and salad

Visit Laura for many more tried and tested menus. And don't forget to visit on Friday to show off what you decide to declutter this week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Friday Declutter Challenge - 19 Sept 08

The Declutter Tip for this week is...

Once you declutter a space, make it look beautiful (this differs per person because all our tastes are different) so you'll be less tempted to mess it up again.

E.g. The living areas of our house are all open plan and we walk through the dining room to get to the kitchen so the diningroom table could have been a convenient place to dump "stuff".

Once the table arrived I went to buy a beautiful table runner and some fake flowers (I don't have a green thumb and I have the amazing talent of killing all plants). The table looks GORGEOUS and we are less inclined to dump anything on there. Or, at least not for more than 5 minutes. Yes, really :)

Read Sara's post about keeping your space uncluttered - great tips

Now these takkies (that's what we call them) travelled with me all over the world - Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, UK and Ireland. If my suitcase had been over the baggage allowance, I was quite prepared to throw them out right there at the airport. Fortunately, my travelling light decluttering plan worked and there was no need for any drastic measures.

But now, winter's over, the toes are scuffed from all that walking in London and they need to go!

What have you decluttered this week?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everything you EVER wanted to know about organising your computer


  • Do you find yourself wasting time looking for files on your computer?
  • Do you get frustrated because you just don't know where to start?
  • Do you know when and how often to do a back up?
  • Has your computer ever crashed and you lost everything?
  • Do you know how to organise and contain all those free things you keep downloading off the internet?
  • Do you know how to name and store files so they're easy to find?

We can help you!

Join me as I host the Everything you EVER wanted to know about organising your computer teleclass with Computer Whiz Janet Barclay.

Janet and I have a combined total of over 30 years’ experience, organising individuals, groups and organisations.

Our systems, tips and tricks will help you have an organised computer in no time at all.

On this 75-minute teleclass, you’ll learn:

  • Where to start organising your computer
  • My DREAM method of organising your computer
  • How to keep control of all the audios, PDFs and ebooks you get for free off the internet and how NOT to let it clutter up your hard drive
  • Exactly how to label and store your documents and files so you can find them
  • 3 little-known filing tricks
  • How to organise your contacts and all those business cards
  • How to cut your computer time in half
  • How to organise tasks and projects
  • How and when to do a proper, thorough back up of your files and how to know when to do it so you don’t lose your work
  • And much, much more

Join us on…

Date: Tuesday 23 September
Time: 12 – 1:15 EST
How: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice)
Cost: F-r-e-e for all Gold VIP Inner Circle members. Not a member? Join here

If you’re not a member, your investment for this valuable teleclass is only $37

You’ll receive:

  1. The live call - training and live coaching in the question and answer section
  2. Recording as an MP3 audio download
  3. Comprehensive handout
  4. Janet’s “Maximising your time with Outlook” ebook (sells for $9,99)
  5. Marcia’s DREAM method of organising your computer report (worth $9,99)

If you can’t make the call “live”, you can catch up by listening to the recording within 24 hours.

Decide today to make your computer work for you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paper, paper and still more paper

If you're ever going to keep up with all the paper in your life, you have to decide on a system and keep tweaking it.

You can read about how to deal with mail clutter and decide if that system will work for you, or if you need to make slight adjustments.

I'll talk more about actual filing in later posts but before I do, I like to go back a step.

1. Examine the sources of all the paper in your life. Write them all down.

  • Magazines
  • Mail
  • Printing emails
  • Notes from school
  • _________
  • _________
  • _________

2. See where you can eliminate or reduce the flow of paper into your life.

  • If you get accounts by email and in the mail, email the company and stop the mail.
  • If you and two friends read the same magazine, buy one every 3 months and pass it around.
  • Sign notes from school immediately and send back the next day. Don't leavethem on your counter a minute longer than you have to.

3. Decide on your comfort level for accounts/ filing

  • I only keep 3 months' worth of statements except for our water and electricity bills and that's because it is a crazy nightmare dealing with Joburg Connect to get queries sorted out. There are MANY great things about South Africa; that's not one of them :)
  • I have one place in my study for "things to file". Since I don't keep a lot of paper, my comfort level went from once a week (about 18 months ago) to once every 3 - 4 weeks. I can still get through that pile in less than 10 minutes so it does work for me.

Your turn. What are your good ideas on dealing with paper?

7 easy steps to organise your office

Monday, September 15, 2008

Maintaining your decluttered spaces & menu plan


We had a ball with the August Declutter Challenge last month.

Everyone was so motivated but I knew that if we didn't do something to maintain those beautifully decluttered spaces, 80% of our participants would fall back to their old ways.

It's nothing against you; it's just a fact of life.

If you don't change your lifestyle, you'll revert to your former ways.

Like with weight loss...you can go on a diet and lose weight because you've living on water and rabbit food (salad greens) but the minute you start eating normally again, you pile it all back on.

Remember The Friday Declutter Challenge was created to inspire you to live a decluttered lifestyle.

Even if you've decluttered things you can't really take pictures off (like email), just posting about your progress makes you accountable and gives you the support you need.

Your challenge for this week
  1. Decide on your plan of attack - work in one room until done, move around the house as things take your fancy, etc.
  2. Get to work - whether it's from one room, from many rooms, from your computer. Just do something, okay?
And don't forget to link up!

Now for my menu...oh, and there's a story to last week's one too

When The Other Marcia posted about mayonnaise last week, I threw out my menu for that night and made some of this pasta salad and it was soooo good.

I'm still not over the mayonnaise cravings so we had some pastrami, tomato and potato salad rolls for lunch on the weekend - YUM! Those really are a small slice of heaven!

For this week's menu, here's the plan...

Sausage, spinach and potato one pot

Spaghetti bolognaise

Chicken curry, pumpkin and rice

Pasta salad - I'm using lentils this time

Chicken burgers and weigh-less chips

Visit Laura for many more menus. There are now over 300 bloggers who menu plan every week!

And don't forget to visit on Friday to show off what you decide to declutter this week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Friday Declutter Challenge - 12 Sept 08

I have the best blog readers in the world! Last week when I asked about the button, Seesawstar emailed me immediately and offered to do a button for me this week, which I accepted. I like how she insisted on a "tight" brief which forced me to be decisive :)

Then the next day I had another email in my box - Amanda just "whipped up" a gorgeous button, just like that. You'll see Amanda's button if you look at last week's post.

Thanks to both of you - I am so very grateful!

So, please go ahead and use this button on your blogs - resize if you want :)

This week, I decluttered this pink shirt, some socks and underwear. And no, you are NOT going to see a pic. This colour looks great on me but unfortunately, I've put on some weight and it's a bit tight across the chest area *ahem*

The Declutter Tip for this week is...

We're all going into a different season (autumn or spring). Start going through your clothes - especially those from the season you've just had.

Fit on each and every item and evaluate to see whether the clothes:

  • still fit you
  • are still in style (!)
  • need mending
  • look good (or even better, great) on you

I've started doing this and I'm going to have to get rid of a LOT more stuff because just looking through my wardrobe, I can see there are clothes I haven't even worn this winter. Which means I have too much.

What have you decluttered this week?

P.S. Don't forget to let me know what your biggest office organising challenge is.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting out of your funk

Okay, I've figured it out!

Again I was doing some blog surfing (!) and I see lots of our declutter challengers (and others) are tackling offices this month. Or office spaces. Whatever the space is where you store your paper/ keep your piles of papers, etc.

So to get out of my funk, I'm going to post on paper/ email/ computer stuff for the whole of September, maybe even into October. Let's see how it goes.

But I need your help because I want this to be useful for you.

What is your biggest challenge with organising your office? Please be as specific as possible so I can give you some really good ideas :)

P.S. It may help to look around your space and see what your challenges are!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I blog-surfed a little today and noticed a couple of people say they were in a bit of a funk.

I've also been a bit lazy *yawn* but I know exactly what's brought mine on.


I love cold weather - winter's my absolute favourite season - and am totally energised by the cold. I love dressing up warm, drinking endless cups of tea, my electric blanket, warm bed, reading, hot chocolate, creamy plates of pasta, etc, etc. I can go on and on and on.

On the business side, I also tend to have TONS of new ideas for JV's, ebooks, products, etc. It's like my creative side awakens!

When it starts warming up, though, I have to really gear myself up to do anything because the heat saps my energy.

And this year it's been particularly bad.

Last week we had temperatures going from about 20 to 25 degrees Celsius which is okay for spring.

This week it's gone right up into the 30's. Which is really typical Jhb weather - extreme and annoying!!!

Hopefully I'll get acclimated soon because I can't just lie around in flip-flops drinking endless glasses of water with lemon. Well, technically I can ;)

So tell me, which is your favourite season and why?

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Back to basics with menu planning

When things start going a little bit crazy, the first thing I do is go back to basics. Like when I feel overwhelmed with the business, I drag out one of my master to-do lists and start writing down everything.

In the same way, when if feels like things are too busy in my life at home, I get back to basics with a few things. I:

  1. write EVERYTHING down on our kitchen calendar
  2. clean my kitchen (I like an uncluttered working space so this helps me feel centred; a friend likes doing laundry - ugh!!!)
  3. menu plan
Last week, I was on a course for 4 of the 5 days so things were wild at home. One of the first things I did when I got home on Friday evening is I did the shopping list and I wrote out my menu plan.

This week, things should be back to normal again. But if you're having a crazy busy time, grab a menu planning form and write down a few meals. It doesn't have to stifle your spontaneity or creativity - you can mix it up and have Thursday's meal on Monday if that's what you feel like, etc.

Make the plan work for you.

So, this week's menu is as follows:

Out with a friend ;)

Baked potatoes and apricot chicken

Pasta with kidney bean sauce

Chicken curry, pumpkin and rice

Chicken burgers and weigh-less chips

Visit Laura for a gazillion more menus. The last time I checked there were over 300!

And don't forget to visit on Friday to show off what you declutter this week.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Friday Declutter Challenge - 5 Sept 2008

Edited to add - new button courtesy of Amanda - yayyy, thanks Amanda

I decided to not get cutesy with the name although I did like Diane's suggestion of Friday Flings best. The thing is, you can fling, delete (emails), donate, etc. and fling seemed too prohibitive.

Anyway, here we are, just 5 days since the August Declutter Challenge ended and I want to know:

How are those spaces looking?

The Declutter Tip for this week is...
Sweep through those previously organised spaces every week for 5 minutes to check that everything is still in order because you don't want to get back to what it was like before.


Put a reminder in your phone, in Outlook, on a sticky note, in your planner, somewhere so you don't forget.

So back to this week's challenge:

These slippers are what I'm decluttering this week. I've had them since I got married over 13 years ago. In fact, I bought them the first week after we returned from our honeymoon.

When you give them a wash, they look really cute :) But I've only been hanging onto them because it reminds me of the honeymoon...so now that I'm writing about it and honouring the memory, I feel that I can let them go!

What have you decluttered this week? Link up so we can all see.

Previously posted...
Decluttering by taking pictures

Thursday, September 04, 2008

So, what do you think?

If you're reading this in your Google Reader or any other feed reader, then please click on over because my blog's just had a fancy new makeover and I can't wait to show her off!

It's the same feeling I get when I buy a new handbag - I just can't WAIT to parade it all over town :)

Jo-Lynne designed the blog for me and I think she got it just right - funky, sleek, and uncluttered.

But what do YOU think?

P.S. Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the weekly decluttering challenge! Yayyy!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

5 things I do to organise my emails

Diane asked me this:
Marcia how do you go about organizing your emails??????? I am working on this but don't know where to start or what type of files to make?

Great question!

If you really want to get total control, I suggest my Conquer your Email MP3 and handbook combo. After that particular teleseminar, participants went from THOUSANDS of emails to just a few, and they were organised!

this is a picture of my own inbox as it looks 95% of the time :)

In a nutshell, I can say that I:

  1. Prevent junk from coming into my inbox in the first place by getting off lists that I no longer enjoy. It takes just a few seconds but is worth the time going forward.
  2. Declutter often and ruthlessly - my goal is 50 a day
  3. Reduce the number of folders. Don't over-organise. I like to be organised just enough!
  4. Reply immediately if I can answer within 2 minutes.
  5. Schedule regular time to process longer emails.
It's about making a quality decision and being consistent :)

People call me the Email Ninja because I do in 15 minutes what takes others 2 - 3 hours a day, so this definitely works for me

What other tips do you have to organise your email?

If you're a small business owner, I'd like to also encourage you to sign up for more organising and time management tips at my website

Monday, September 01, 2008

And the GRAND prizes go to...

The August Declutter Challenge has been just FABULOUS!

If you take just 15 minutes and surf a couple of the declutter challengers' blogs, you'll see what a difference this has made in their lives. And I'm honoured to have been part of that - really I am!

One challenger could NOT declutter magazines when we first started but soon learnt that baby steps made it oh-so-easy and by week 3 was a magazine decluttering PRO!

If I had to highlight all the posts that have really impacted me this month, this post would be a mile long.

So, without any further ado, the winner of the Organise your Home ecourse is Patricia from Gifts that say WOW, and the winner of the $25 Stacks and Stacks gift voucher is Marcia from HD Mac's Crafty Blog.

Amazingly enough, when I clicked over to their blogs to get the permalinks and so forth, I noticed that they both wrote BEE-YOO-TI-FUL posts on what they learnt. That's not why they won (random.org picked 10 and 2) but now that I've read their posts, I am glad they won, because they both get "it"!

Read Patricia's post here and Marcia's post here. Those posts (and the comments) are WELL worth your while. I also want to publicly thank Marcia for being such a great ENCOURAGER for all the other ladies. I'd often click over to the blogs and see her lovely comments for the others.

Well done to both of you, and to all the wonderful women who decluttered step-by-step, along with Beth and me.

Remember you all get a $10 gift certificate if you use the word declutter in my store (yes, even the lurkers!) only valid until Sat 6th September.

We'll be back again on Friday for the weekly challenge! If anyone's clever with buttons, I need a button designed for the weekly one. Please contact me! Thanks :)

Physical product sellers - this is for you

I received this beautiful candle from Ria
(one of our declutter challengers) for my birthday

There's a virtual gathering happening on 17 - 19 September specifically for physical product sellers (candles, bath stuff, etc.)

I was interviewed on ... you guessed it... time management and organising for physical product sellers and I shared, amongst other things...

  1. the most common mistakes people make with time management
  2. my top tips to eliminate clutter
  3. specific organising tricks for those selling physical products

If you can't make the sessions "live" you can also register to receive the downloads a couple of days later.

Please go here to see all the details.

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