Saturday, January 31, 2009

Could I have the envelope please?

And the winner of the Organise your home e-course is....


who said...

I'd choose the organizing your home one. i've been trying to declutter my house since your declutter challenge last summer


The Organise your Home e-course will help you get your entire home organised in just 12 weeks.

The price is going up tomorrow - this is the last day to get it at the current price of $27.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Let's get baking and cooking

We've been decluttering and organising in our KITCHENS this entire month and this week, we're decluttering our baking pans and cooking stuff.

If you missed out, here are the posts.

  1. Tupperware and plastics
  2. Mugs and glasses
  3. Plates and bowls
  4. Cutlery and utensils

(if you don't want to post on the theme, go right ahead and post on whatever you felt like decluttering, or other wise, just show us how you store your baking and cooking things :)

I've posted before about how I learned this tip from one of my organising clients. I worked with her nearly two years ago and my stuff is still neatly organised.

And this is how I store the rest - rolling pin on the side, mixing bowls at the back (I have one I use 90% of the time with my other plastic bowls), measuring cups and spoons in the left basket and the hand beater in the yellow basket on the right.

The more observant among you will see that the usual beater attachments are currently in the wash because I made these pumpkin muffins :)

Now tell me, did you declutter anything today?

Have a look at the Organise your Home e-course and get your entire home organised in just 12 weeks.

Now for this week's challenge

Please link to the post on your blog where you show off your pictures and talk about what you decluttered. If you don't have a blog, tell me in the comments about
ANYTHING you decluttered this week.

It can be anything - physical, electronic, mental clutter or even the need to be a certain way. Like perfectionism! :)

What did you declutter this week?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are you ready for tomorrow?

It's our last day of decluttering and organising our kitchens.

The theme is baking pans and cooking stuff (pots, pans, etc.) but remember, as always, if you're working on another section of your kitchen, go right ahead.

The main thing is you're making progress.

(Next month, we're going to declutter and organise our home offices - I can't wait - of course, Anne, our office makeover blogger, will be way ahead of the rest of us )

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Office Organising Makeover - Week 3 - decluttering photos

Hi! Anne here again!

Have you been following my Office Organizing Journey? Let me recap:

Week One -Look at this mess! What in the world am I going to do with this chaos?

Week Two -I do so many things in this area. It is no wonder it is such chaos!

And this week...

Week Three -I absolutely do not need ALL this stuff. Watch the chaos diminish!

Part of my chaos was because supplies were put where they fit, not where they were needed.

Consequently the items closest at hand were often the least accessed and the items used most frequently had to be found and retrieved.

This created a feeling of anxiety because what would have been a quick task or a delightful craft opportunity took more time to recover the supplies... and often, even more time to stash them back where they came from.

Crazy! I know!

And because it was so crazy, I either avoided tasks or I left the supplies out because returning them was a hassle. So...

  • Papers were on the desk because the files were difficult to access.
  • Stamping and scrapbooking became a thing of the past.
  • The day my favorite pen ran out of ink my life stopped until I found another one.
  • My bills were lost and often paid late and my kids' school papers weren't returned on time.
  • Shredding done inconsistently takes entire weekends.
  • Projects barely get started let alone finished.

Now that I have identified what isn’t working, the necessary uses for my space and removed the non-essentials, it is time to enhance the function-ability of the work areas.

That means gathering necessary supplies and putting them in the area where they will be used. (Step Two)

I also learned that I am a VISUAL person and I do not act on things if I can't see them... and equally... I respond negatively to a disorderly work area making it highly important that action items are not only accessible, but obvious. Also making it important that tools and supplies are close at hand, but either hidden or attractive. (Step Three)

What does this all mean?

Well... just look at the differences!

My desktop has been cleared!

But more than just swiping an arm across it and hiding it in a box, my desk has been revitalized!

  • I relocated the printer to the table next to the desk
  • I removed the TV
  • I even removed the lamp because the base took up too much space.
  • I removed the messy boxes from below the desk and used the space for drawers (that had been in the closet) that hold my most essential scrapbook items.

  • My use-them-for-every-project scrapbooking tools were moved from the closet to a small bin on the desktop.
  • The pen cup was emptied except for necessary writing utensils that are used daily.
  • The paper piles and desktop files were eliminated.

  • I removed unused and overstocked amounts of supplies from the drawers.
  • I removed haven’t-touched-them-in-years reference CDs and Program CDs from the drawer.

The top desk drawer now holds at-hand tools and supplies such as a hole punch, staple remover, package of staples (I used to have 3 packages of them) and rubber bands.

The middle drawer holds printer ink refills, pencils and markers not used everyday and a *new* label maker.

Everything I need is right here!

I won't have to get up to get supplies. I certainly won't need to go digging through things to find what I need!

My space looks good, is clean and has stayed this way all week!

This whole process is sooooo exciting! I never thought I would have a well-functioning work area at home without spending THOUSANDS on custom furniture and a space planner!

The changes this system has brought are more than just physical...

Marcia has taught me a new way of thinking about what I do and how I do it. Who knew… the problem was me, not my space!

Hi, Marcia here.

I am continually amazed at Anne's progress. She's not just throwing stuff away, labelling and putting things in pretty boxes (which is what most people think organising is) but she's actually asking herself the hard questions - why do I do this? what will work best for me? etc.

Well done, Anne - you're inspiring me and hundreds of other readers :)

Anne's busy working through 7 easy steps to organise your office. If you'd like to check it out, have a read.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Today I'm reviewing something just for the ladies

See this red handbag?

Isn't it gorgeous?

I only have one problem with it - it only has one GINORMOUS cavity and a cell phone pouch so I usually have to use 3 mesh bags to keep my things all organised.

In fact, this is the problem whenever you're like me and you LOVE handbags and then you have to change them around all the time to match your clothes or your mood ................ :)

So when Sandy sent me a pouchee, I couldn't wait to put it to the test. Here's the inside of my bag. My camera, deodorant and planner are loose but it is so easy to just grab the pouchee and transfer my stuff from one handbag to another.

for your cell phone and bank cards

for sunglasses and ? - I keep hair bands in here so I can tie my hair up in this Jhb heat

look how much it expands

there's a slim pouch for my tissues and year planner and two bigger pouches - one for makeup, nail polish and lip gloss, and the other for my wallet. There are two really cute little pockets for lipstick (my lip gloss is there) and if I want to keep pens, I can use the other one.

What I loved
  • There are SO many pockets which make it really, really functional.
  • Very easy to use - organise once and as long as you return things to their place, your handbag should stay organised forever.
  • It's made very well - I don't even think I could break it and I tend to bash things around
  • The price is great ($21,50 for cotton and $22,50 for leatherette - I'm drooling over the moss-green leatherette - yummy!)
What could be improved?

I would have liked it to be a bit bigger (or maybe have one in a bigger size). However, for something so small, it expands to hold a lot of stuff.

Head on over to Sandy's site to see all the gorgeous Pouchee colours and have a tissue handy - you're likely to drool on your keyboard!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Free call for those wanting a saner, simpler life

Mark this date and time down - you do NOT want to miss this call.

As you know, I don't do free calls very often but this Thursday, I'm collaborating with Beth Dargis, Simplicity Coach extraordinaire, from My Simpler Life.

5 steps to a saner, simpler life

Thursday 29th January from 11am to 12pm EST (that's 6 - 7pm South African time).

Go to this link to sign up

(if you can't make it live, don't worry - we'll send the recording to all those who signed up within an hour of the call ending)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's look at your cutlery and utensils & chance to win a free ecourse

This is the third week of decluttering and organising in our KITCHENS and this week, we're decluttering cutlery and utensils.

(Remember if you don't want to post on the theme, go right ahead and post on whatever you felt like decluttering, or otherwise, just show us how you store your cutlery :)

The last time I decluttered this drawer was about two years ago and it's still working for me, so I thought I'd point out a few things.

See the elastic bands on the top right? Very useful for closing bags in the freezer (those freezer tags drive me nuts because they're too fiddly).

Then, at the bottom, I keep my scissors and the box on the left has a calculator (for when I'm doubling recipes, etc.), a post-it pad, a permanent marker and masking tape.

This is my second drawer. The closed container on the left has extra serving spoons, etc. that I use when entertaining and on the right you'll see all my everyday utensils, also neatly containerised.

On the right there are drinking straws and some markers for our calendar. In the front I have all my sandwich bags that I actually don't use for sandwiches. I use them like this and this. And to the left of the sandwich bags are Ziplocs I want to re-use.

Did you declutter any cutlery or utensils this week?

Have a look at the Organise your Home e-course and get your entire home organised in just 12 weeks.
Remember you can win an Organise your home e-course right here!

Now for this week's challenge

Please link to your Friday Declutter Challenge post on your own blog and post a link back here. If you don't have a blog, tell me in the comments about
ANYTHING you decluttered this week.

It can be anything - physical, electronic, mental clutter or even the need to be a certain way. Like perfectionism! :)

What did you declutter this week?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

8 things that simplify my life

My friend, Megan, tagged me for this meme nearly two weeks ago!

Hopefully better late than never?

1. Planner
I love my planner. This year it's pink so it feels even prettier. It lives with me so is the major reason I can organise and simplify my life.

2. Digital camera
My camera lives in my bag so I'm always ready to take pictures like this and this.

3. Timer
My love for the kitchen timer is well-documented on this blog. It keeps me focussed and on track when I'm on the computer.

4. Spiral-bound notebook on my desk
I write everything in my desk notebook when I'm working on the computer. I start each day on a new page (literally) so it's easy to check back if I need to find a password, etc. I recently created.

5. Cell phone
I love my current cell phone. I take pictures with it (when I'm lazy to do the whole camera thing), sync my appointments and of course, send occasional SMS/ text messages and phone.

6. Aweber
I can NOT stop raving enough about Aweber. I use it to manage my autoresponder when people sign up to my newsletter full of free organising tips, it sends out my ecourses and also sends out all my client stuff so I don't have to remember to do anything but add the lead.

7. Skype
I use Skype for all international calls and for most of my client calls. It's cheap and I bought a service so if my clients want the call

8. My desk folder
I have a folder on my desk with a page where I write down when I make sales, my things to delegate list, my teleconferencing phone numbers, etc. Everything I need on a daily basis right at my fingertips.

So, Megan, those are the 8 things that simplify my life. Once I started listing them, I realised I could go on and on because once I find something that works, I keep doing it.

And now, I get to have some fun.

I'm going to tag the Simplicity Queen herself, Beth Dargis, the absolutely gorgeous Eva Wallace at Clutter Control Freak (have you seen her hair?!) and The Goddess of All Things Beautiful, Suzanne Babb (did I get that right, Suzanne?)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organise your home ecourse - a giveaway

If you've come by from the Bloggy Giveaways carnival, a BIG WELCOME to you.

This giveaway is now closed - thanks for playing along :)


Is your goal for 2009 to get your home organised, once and for all?

You are not alone!

This is one of the top 3 things on most people's wish lists Every Single Year.

What would you say if I told you you could have your home completely organised in just 12 weeks?

Yes, you can!!! I couldn't resist :)

I've taken your entire house and broken it down into itsy-bitsy sections so even the most overwhelmed person won't get distracted!

Have a look at the Organise your Home e-course and get your entire home organised in just 12 weeks.


Now, for the giveaway. Here are the rules:

Visit my website and come back to leave a comment telling me which product or service I have available that you'd most be interested in.

You get extra entries if you:
* twitter about it pointing the link back to this post (1 extra entry)
* post on your own blog pointing a link back to this post (2 extra entries)
You must come back and comment to say "I twittered it/ blogged it here"

I'm doing this giveaway together with Sandy. We're going to pick a winner from both of our blogs.

The giveaway closes on Friday 30th at 6pm EST.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Office Organising Makeover - Week 2

Hi, it's me again -
Anne. Welcome back to my Office Organizing journey.

Last week you toured my home and saw how inefficient my current office set-up is and we discussed my challenges.

To recap, here are the biggies:

  • The things I need are not at hand
  • There is no space to work or craft
  • The filing system is confusing
  • Things pile on top of piles
  • I have remnants of 2 at-home jobs, remnants of homeschooling
  • and everyday family life.

This week I started Step One of the 7 Steps to Organise Your Office system. The idea behind this step is to clarify the uses you will need to incorporate into your office.

Since my Office and Craft space is not yet finished, I am working from my master bedroom. This room serves as a bedroom and an office, as well as a craft space. Geez. No wonder it is so full and cluttered!

What all do I need to do in here?

I need:
  • work space,
  • craft space,
  • filing,
  • reading and planning.
  • I also need to combine clothing and craft storage in a manner that makes both easily accessible and in a state of readiness.

I have other needs too. I need Long Term Storage for files and supplies. This will have to remain in the basement closet. Ok, so the closet down there is designated for Long Term Files and Supplies.

The desk up here will be for working space and current supplies (one extra roll of tape, one extra set of staples).

The filing drawer in the desk will be for action files. The filing cabinet by the bed will be for all other non-long-term files.

I like to read and plan in bed, so the basket next to the bed, that is currently a catch-all, will house my books, snacks and planner. My closet will house the craft supplies and clothing. I have a folding table for crafting if the desktop doesn't offer enough space.

WOW! Great plan, huh?

But how do I make it all work?

According to the system, I went through each section, mindful of its purpose and removed everything that did not fit that need. That meant that the TV was relocated off the desk. The pending projects were removed from the bedside basket.

Long Term files were moved to the closet downstairs. The piles of papers and desktop files that were overflowing with papers were relocated to the filing drawers. CDs that I never use were put into Long Term Storage *just in case* I blow up my computer and need them.

Whew! Stuff is everywhere.

I thought I was organized, but now I am starting to see why it wasn't working...


Next week: Steps 2 and 3!

Please stay tuned to see what interesting things happen and after photos from the first 3 steps.

Anne is doing a great job. This is a big, big challenge and I'm very proud of her for doing this journey with all my readers checking out her progress.

Don't you agree?

By the way, Anne, I love your organised clothes and shoes in the closet with all the matching hangers :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Are your Christmas decorations down yet?

Before I share my Christmas story with you, I have to tell you a quick funny story.

We went to visit friends of ours one November.

I was most impressed because their Christmas tree was up already so I told them so.

She says to me, "we didn't ever take it down from last year" LOL

Isn't that brilliant?


I'm a very simple, no-fuss person. I don't like lots of knick-knacks and stuff lying around (more things to clean, people!) so my Christmas decorations are literally a bag full.

I have a tiny Christmas tree that stands on a corner table - you can see it on the right side of this picture. And we (Dion) string up some tinsel, shiny ball decorations and stockings.

And then I do the guest bathroom in red and green.

That's it!

Here's the extent of it - without the bathroom stuff.

Before I pack it away, I put each batch of stuff in its own bag. I started this last year and it worked a treat because nothing was dusty.

See that light green bag with the red? That's a felt string with some Christmas characters that we also string up. I roll it around an old toilet roll so it stays untangled and then ziploc it. You know how I love my ziploc bags.

And here's everything neatly packed away, ready to go to the very top shelf of my guest bedroom cupboards.

How much Christmas stuff do you have?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is Clutter Overwhelming You?

Join Beth Dargis to create a great plan for decluttering your life and enjoy fun support!

Beth hosts declutter groups twice a year, in January and again in the fall.

The groups are 8 weeks long and the current group starts in just 8 days' time.

LIMITED SPACES - Declutter Group starts Jan 26, 09

Don't forget to come tell me if you joined because I can't WAIT to hear how much you declutter during your 8 weeks with Beth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Come on - show me your plates and bowls!

Remember we're decluttering and organising in our KITCHENS this month and this week, we're decluttering plates and bowls.

One of our challengers last week donated her surplus mugs and glasses to charity - what an excellent idea!

(if you don't want to post on the theme, go right ahead and post on whatever you felt like decluttering, or other wise, just show us how you store your plates and bowls :)

There are some bowls I'd dearly love to declutter because I think they're ugly. In fact, I've been trying to get rid of them for years.

The problem is my husband loves them. Apparently they're just the right size for his 2 1/2 Weetbix!

As a side note, there's not much he cares about in the kitchen so I let him have his ugly bowls and a purple mug I also don't care for but is again "the perfect size for coffee" :)

So I haven't decluttered anything but before you get cross, here are some pictures of how I store my plates and bowls.

Now tell me, did you declutter any mugs or glasses?

Have a look at the Organise your Home e-course and get your entire home organised in just 12 weeks.

Now for this week's challenge

Please link to the post on your blog where you show off your pictures and talk about what you decluttered. If you don't have a blog, tell me in the comments about
ANYTHING you decluttered this week.

It can be anything - physical, electronic, mental clutter or even the need to be a certain way. Like perfectionism! :)

What did you declutter this week?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you have too many purposes in one room?

computer desk

I often see people with beautifully ordered houses but there's one room which is a catch-for-all and therefore off-limits.

This is usually the room with the closed door :)

It's as if you don't want to make decisions about what to do with things so you dump them all in one room.

Often this is called the junk room or the spare room.

It may have been intentioned that it would be a guest room, craft room, etc. but it's the place where, if you say, "where do you want this to go?" you just say, "the spare room".

Now hear me, there is nothing wrong with having a room with multiple purposes as long as:
  • you know what those different functions are
  • each function has a separate "zone"

Let me give you an example. Our home office/ study has multiple functions. What happens there?
  • computer work
  • gift storage and wrapping
  • reading
  • storing library books
  • filing and doing household admin
  • business admin
  • crafting (when I used to still actively make my beaded bookmarks)
Each of those functions has a specific place.

business admin

So to answer my question above, I think if you have a specific purpose for each function, you can have many purposes in each room.

Do you have one of those junk or spare rooms?

Your challenge is to make a note of all the purposes that go on in that one room and make sure that each purpose has a specific place.

Are you up for it?

P.S. Don't forget tomorrow's declutter challenge. We're decluttering plates and bowls.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Office Organising Makeover - Week 1

Hello. My name is Anne. I am so happy to have you join me this morning. Today I will be showing you my office in its various stages. And while we walk and see, we can talk about the benefits and rewards of having an office system like mine.

Please remove your shoes, grab a pair a slippers from the pile over there, and follow me. We will be walking though the living room and dining room to descend the staircase. Here at the bottom of the stairs you can see a wide open room that is quite bright from the sun streaming in the window. But this room, while large and bright does not appear to be an office. We sneak a look behind each of the three doors finding 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom... We see no office.

No, really, we are in the office. A closer look around reveals wall studs built into place. Electricity run to lights and plugs. There appears to be the skeleton of a closet off to the side. And this wide open space. This space with no insulation, no drywall, no paint, no window coverings. This is my office space. But it is unfinished, in partial completion, and is being used as a junk collection station.

And let's go around this dark corner under the stairs. I want to show you my Long Term Storage Closet. I know that you will be timid to enter at first, squeezing in behind the stairs, next to the bookcases, but come along. There is much to see! We step into a large room. Each wall has rack upon rack upon rack of books and homeschooling supplies, office supplies, school supplies and crafts, Long Term Legal Files, even Long Term Linen Storage and Childhood memorabilia. I have science projects, family games, push pins and office equipment plugs. THIS is my long term storage.

Now, we haven't see a desk or anything resembling workable area, so follow me back upstairs and I will show you where I work. Back through the dining room, living room, down the hallway past the children's bedrooms and into the master bedroom. Although it doesn't look like a bedroom other than the blankets.

As we walk in the door we immediately see paper holders on a large dresser to the left. Looking right I see a table that had once been a patio table. It now houses 2 large printers. Beyond the table is a large executive size desk.

It is a bit worse for wear and appears to have had its return section removed leaving a bare feeling on the left side. But above that is a large pile of papers from the kids this past week.

Leaning against the wall is a 3 file holder in black mesh. It looks like it could be useful. But with all the papers streaming out of their respective folders at all angles like fireworks... it certainly doesn't seem to work right now.

I sit to use the laptop provided and immediately roll the chair over the wires plugging in said laptop. Whoops. I lean in to type and bump my elbow on another printer. piggy-back style on the printer is a cable box and a 20" TV. Half the desk is covered by TV and the other half is covered by piles flowing into piles.

I pick up one of the piles and decide to file those papers. The closest files are in the lower 3rd drawer. I look in there, bit those files look like craft stuff. I glance around the room. Clear on the other side is a large file cabinet.

There is no file for this paper. I set it aside and take another. This one is a receipt for a large Christmas Purchase, Electronic. I dont see a file for receipts. Should I just stuff it in this file with all this other paper? And this BILL looks urgent. Do I need to file it too? Or should I leave it on the desk so I remember to pay it? I probably will file it. It goes in the red BILL folders.

Let's see... It is a Bill, but what kind of a bill? a Gas Card. But from what company? OK, we go to the red section. I find the Bills. Behind that category it says "gas cards and stores" OR "Credit cards" OR "Signature loans". It is a gas card. so back up to that section. Hm mm, now where in here does it go? Ah Ha, here. Lookie! I got one filed! Whew. At this rate it is going to take FOREVER to file this pile... and there is another stack of papers right here stuffed in the drawer and they all need to be filed too. UGH!

I should make files for this stuff, I suppose. But that means another trip around the house and through the basement to get file folders. Then again, if I am going to walk all that way, maybe I should just take the whole pile and shove it into a box down there to deal with later. uh, no, I can't do that. I already have a couple boxes like that from the 90s.

Well, forget the filing. I want to scrapbook. Then again, there isnt any space to scrapbook. I will have to dig all the supplies out of the closet (stuffed in with the clothes) and haul them to the kitchen table. I don't want to do that either.

This is horrible. Ridiculous even. I think we should just have a snack and watch TV. If we ignore this mess, it will go away, right???

BUT SERIOUSLY, there are no benefits or rewards to my office space(s).

Here are the challenges:

  • Things I need are not at hand
  • there is no space to work
  • the filing system is confusing
  • things pile on top of piles
  • I have remnants of 2 at-home jobs, remnants of homeschooling (it has been 4 years since we stopped) and everyday family life.

I need help! I need to dig out and move forward. Lucky for me, Marcia has an Office plan!

Please continue to join me on my Office Organizing journey.

I will be decluttering, tossing, donating, filing, shredding, and finding a way to work in the space I have available to me.

See you next week for an update!

Hello all, Marcia here.

I think Anne's very brave to share her journey with all my readers. Go ahead and encourage her in the comments. She's doing a great job :)

And of course, you're all very welcome to tackle your office over the next 4 - 6 weeks.