Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ask the organiser - what do you do with out-of-the-way storage?

Somebody asked a question - (sorry preggy brain) I can't remember her name and I deleted the email too quickly :)

She is a short person and can't access the top shelf in her pantry so she often has to throw expired items away.

Any ideas to get organised here?

Of course I do!

1. My suggestion is store surplus items here that you don't need to access very often.

2. Then use see-through plastic baskets so that you can grab the front, pull towards you and see everything on the shelf.

3. I suggest that you keep like items together - for example, I have a big plastic basket with all my baking supplies, like cake and self-raising flour, coconut, yeast, bicarb of soda, baking powder, etc.

this is my old baking basket - I've now transitioned to one bigger than this

4. You could also keep a list of contents on the inside of your cupboard door with the contents of that top shelf, like 5 boxes cereal, 20 boxes milk, etc. and be sure to cross off as you use them.

5. I'm also short and I keep a cheap plastic stool nearby my pantry so when I want to get to the top shelf once or twice a month, I can quickly access it.

Hope these tips help you.

What other tips can you share with this reader?

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Contest time - I'm looking for a disorganised home

This contest is now closed
I'll be posting the winner in about 24 hours' time. It's so difficult because everybody wrote such compelling entries *sigh*

It's been 6 months since I held this type of contest and I think it's about time we did one again. Don't you agree?

So who has a disorganised home?

I'm looking for someone who would like and could use my Organise your Home e-course.

If you're chosen, I'll give you one for free and in turn, I'll need you to be my guest blogger and do at least 6 posts - one post before, at least 4 room posts, and 1 post after to say how you've changed, etc... - which I will use for the 4 weeks in August and 2 in September when the babies are born.

See? Win-win :)

I did the same thing at the beginnning of the year and chose Anne as my guest blogger for the Office Organising Makeover which worked out really well because then I was in the throes of extreme pregnancy fatigue!

Let me tell you a little bit about the e-course... in case you don't feel like clicking the picture to go read about the great results others have and are getting.

  • It's set out in 12 parts with a 13th bonus one thrown in for free
  • covers every section of your home. You work through it section by section in manageable bits so you don't get overwhelmed.
  • you also get the Household Organising File and instructions on how to set yours up
  • free email support for the 12 weeks
  • and much more
An organised home for just 44c a day

This is how you enter

Send an email to marcia AT takechargesolutions.org or leave a comment telling me

  • a little bit about yourself - married/not, children, what you do (SAHM/ WAHM/ works full-time), etc. (just because I'm nosy :))
  • which areas of your house need the most help
  • if you have your own blog (this is not a requirement)
  • why you want to do this

Entries close at midnight EST on Saturday 4th July.

Let the games begin!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Baby organising - new guest bedroom

Remember I told you our plan was to move the guest bed into the study for the babies' room?

It's finally done - not perfect but 90% there and the babies' room is now empty except for a chair which has to find a place elsewhere in the house.

This room is long and narrow, so the bed fits nicely at the back and the front will remain my study/ office.

another angle
Doesn't the sun look beautiful streaming in through the windows?

This is a typical Joburg winter's day - are you jealous?

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P.S. Yes, my desk is really that tidy - I can't STAND an untidy desk so I do a quick 30-second tidy every day when I've done working.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quick time-saving tip in the kitchen

I was cooking some rice, not really thinking about how I do this when it dawned on me - someone might actually benefit from this tip.

So here goes - when you're measuring rice, or any ingredient really, measure it over the pot or dish so that if some of the food spills (as mostly happens, or is that just me?), you don't have to waste time cleaning up.

Share your quick kitchen tips in the comments.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

How about getting your home organised this summer?

Hi guys

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, it's SUMMER. Woohoo!

One of my blog readers emailed me this weekend and told me she's decided to organise her home this summer.

Don't you think that's a fabulous idea?

I do!

Especially because she's decided to use my Organise your home e-course and that's exactly 12 parts long, so summer's the perfect length of time.

So I thought about what I could do to encourage you to play along and get your home organised this summer.

If you get the Organise your home e-course within the next 48 hours, I'll give you not one, but two spec.ial bonu.ses:
  • access to a special webpage with a whole load of organising forms to help you plan your projects (wor.th $37)

  • a special call with me on Thursday 25 June where you get to ask me all your organising questions for 75 whole minutes (if you can't make the call live for whatever reason, you're very welcome to email your questions and I'll answer them on the call) (wo.rth $127)

Everything is broken down for you in about 15 - 30 minute segments four times a week. That's it.

So you don't have to give up your summer - you can get organised AND enjoy your summer.
Until Wednesday's post, thanks for reading and stay organised!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Project Baby Organising - organising the hospital bag

My hospital gave me a list of things I needed to bring with me so I've been crossing things off the list.

I don't have everything yet as the one thing everybody agrees on is don't buy any clothes until after the baby shower.


I wanted to tick some things off that list so I laid out what I do have so that at least something is ready.

And here's how I packed the baby toiletries, just because this is me and I love Ziplocs :)

Now, to all the experienced mothers out there, what do they not tell you to bring that I really should know about?

All advice gratefully received!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ask the organiser - what are the best storage boxes for paper?

This question came in from someone who is also pregnant with twins.

Seeing as you are the queen of de-clutter, I thought I would ask you where the best place to buy storage boxes is?

I need to start on my spare room cupboard (babies room) this weekend and have lots of files and papers that need to be sorted out.

My advice is actually contrary to what you’d expect – don’t buy a thing until AFTER the declutter is done. Just look at all the stuff I threw out here and what Anne, our makeover blogger, threw out here

I’d use the tops of photocopy paper boxes (or similar, like large shoeboxes) to sort the paper and once you decide how you want to store the paper, whether in files, plastic display folders, etc, then go out and buy just what you need.

When I’m organising people’s offices, all I take with me is a permanent marker and post-it notes and then only when it’s all done, we get the stuff if they don’t have it.

This post is about business filing but look at the pictures and apply the principles to your household stuff.

Some more posts on organising and storing paper

How to file

Different categories of paperwork

And more on paper organising

Hope this helps!

Any other tips for this pregnant mom?

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Quick organising project - your bedside table

If I don't watch this area very carefully, it gets like this quickly. Probably because it's just inside my bedroom door and is right there, so I can dump things without much thought.

Fortunately for me, this drives me nuts so I don't leave it like this for very long - a day or two max.



What's on there now?
  • Still a gazillion books
  • Post-it notes - when I remember to do things, and I'm already in bed, I just grab a post-it note and jot it down. The next morning I can simply stick it in my diary (planner).
  • Basket with hand cream, foot cream, tissue oil (for The Belly), bookmarks and pens

How often do you tidy your bedside table?

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Big project organising - the babies

Whoever thought you just fall pregnant, have a lovely glow and a bump to show off and 9 months later you have babies is sadly mistaken.

that would be me, by the way

Having babies involves serious project management and LOADS of decisions.

  • which pram?
  • which car seats?
  • do we want one cot or two?
  • who will deliver them?
  • at which hospital?
  • what about classes to show us what to do?
  • what do we buy?
  • can you be a minimalist
  • how do you sort out the babies' room?
  • etc
  • etc
The list seriously goes on and on and I've been threatening to do a master to-do list although it felt a bit...I don't know... cold when you think these are BABIES.

Nevertheless, I realised something had to be done because people would ask me things and I'd say "I don't know" or "haven't thought about it yet", which gets old really quickly.

So I caved and used one of my master to-do lists in the Organising Success Pack

And do you know what? It's not as bad as I thought.

There were only 16 items on there.

Which reinforces what I always tell my clients - write it down; it's usually much worse in your head than on paper :)

Do you use master to-do lists? How do you keep tasks on big projects organised in your mind?

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This ecourse will take you, step-by-step, from overwhelm to peace and order. There are short lessons and practical steps because I know you already don't have time! You also get a quickstart 60-minute audio to jump-start your progress.

Check it out now

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pregnancy update #2 - 28 weeks

Okay, okay, you guys convinced me - you are interested in the bump behind the blog :)

I had a bit of a scare two weeks ago and was put on bed rest for that week. Fortunately I was organised and had about 18 meals in the freezer so all Dion had to do for us was defrost and we could eat.

We got in a handyman to do 7 small jobs around the house - I thoroughly recommend getting things like this done regularly. It is a huge relief to have things taken care of and off that to-do list. We actually keep an "Eric list" (his name is Eric :)) and when we have a couple of items, we call him out and get him to do the work.

We've ordered the cots which should arrive in about two weeks' time. We've also decided on the pram we want (do you call it a pram or a stroller where you live?) as well as the car seats.

And last but not least, I have a baby shower coming up on 20 June! I'm a bit freaked out by it because I usually don't like girly things like baby showers and this one is for me. If you're so inclined, please pray for me!

And now for the latest belly pics...

25 weeks

26 weeks

27 weeks

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Two-minute organising project - decluttering your make-up bag

How are you enjoying the quick, 10-minute clutter busting projects?

Well, this one is for the ladies and is even quicker....unless you really do carry lots of stuff with you!

I like my handbag to be really organised so when there are things that don't have a space, I usually throw it into my make-up bag so at least they're contained.

And that's why I need regular decluttering of my make-up case.

I throw it all out so I can see properly just what's in there....

also called my before pic

Then I eliminate the things that I don't want in there... so that only essentials remain in the pink mesh bag.


How often do you declutter your makeup bag?

If you haven't done it for a while, that's your organising challenge for this week.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

3 quick ways to go green and stay organised

Today is World Environment Day and I'm going to share 3 quick ways how being organised can make you more green

1. Stop printing mindlessly
Remember the more paper you have, the more you have to organise and file it. Rather stop and think about whether you really need to have a paper printout of something before just hitting that print button.

My printer ran out of ink about two years ago which forced me to think about what I really needed to print (it seems not very much at all). It's still unplugged and I have less paper to file and think about. Win-win!

2. Declutter regularly and re-use where possible
This is a great way to keep your own things organised and help other people to not go out and buy, buy, buy.

Donate clothes and food to shelters.

Don't throw file folders out if they're in good condition - donate them to schools or re-use them in your own office.

Use the back of paper as a scrap pad jotter.

3. Only use cloth shopping bags
When you make a decision to only use material shopping bags, it automatically forces you to be more organised.

You stop just "popping in" to the shops and start mindfully shopping, which means you only go to the shops when you have your material shopping bags and your shopping list.

And you know when you use your shopping list you're a more organised and healthy shopper.

What other suggestions do you have for going green and being organised?

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Some other posts you may enjoy

Going green

Recycling paper

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Quick time-saving tip - prepare in advance

So many tasks we do as a matter of routine can be seriously streamlined to save us loads of time.

But only if you prepare in advance.

My gym bag looks like this most of the time.

What's in there?

  • takkies (sneakers)
  • socks and sports bra
  • long and short pants
  • t-shirt

When I get back home from the gym, I immediately re-stock it so that it's ready to go again.

It takes me literally two minutes to do but saves me time on gym days because I don't have to think, "oh, what do I need to put in there again?"

Do you prepare in advance like this for gym or other activities?

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This ecourse will take you, step-by-step, from overwhelm to peace and order. There are short lessons and practical steps because I know you already don't have time! You also get a quickstart 60-minute audio to jump-start your progress.

Check it out now

Monday, June 01, 2009

Favourite organising tools #15 - tote bags

My love for bags are well, well documented all over this blog.

But tote bags are also one of my favourite organising tools.

Here's the bag I take into the gym with my towel and water. I use the mesh bag to hold money for the parking meter, the parking stub and my car keys, because I hate scrambling around in the dark for things.

Sometimes if I'm really hungry I'll throw an apple in here too to eat the minute I finish the class. Remember I'm pregnant and the babies don't like to wait for food.

Then I have another tote bag for my gym clothes. I usually go straight after work so I get dressed at work and then drive to the gym.

I also have other tote bags dotted around the house for:

  • to go to work (usually full of food (!) and healthy snacks)
  • library books
  • things to be returned to people (nice and vague)
  • books to go to the second hand bookstore
  • etc.

Do you use a lot of tote bags? What do you use them for?

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