Reading all entries in category 'Clutter'
14 Tips for Organising Your Paper Clutter
Posted in 'Clutter, Organising' on August 23, 2016
Many busy parents have the same problem. Piles and piles of
paper. The problem is, when paper piles up then things get lost.
The trick is to question the right of each piece of paper to
be in your home, and then make a decision about its future before it slides
into a "someday” pile. You want to sort all your paper into Toss, File or Act.
Questions to ask for
each piece of paper
need to be actioned soon?
Bills, invitations and school notes all have to
be actioned so deserve special treatment.
Can I get
the information elsewhere?
Few bits of paper only exist in one place. If
you can get the information somewhere else online if you need it, then toss it
Do I need
the information for my tax, warranties, legal requirements?
If you do, then
keep it, BUT work out if you need a hard paper copy or if a scanned copy will
information still current?
Unless a letter or invitation has sentimental
value, if it is out of date then bin it.
Here are some specific
tips to help tame the paper monster in your home
1. Urgent stuff - Have one in-tray or
folder in your home for bills that have to be paid, school slips that need to
be signed and invitations to be responded to. Nothing else goes in there. Ever!
You get extra bonus points if you clip the papers together with a bulldog clip
(so they don’t blow away), and super bonus points if you put them in date order
so you know that the ones on the top have to be dealt with first.
2. Recurring Bills – Add each recurring or
regular bill to your electronic calendar and set it as an "recurring event” so
you know when to expect that once a year RACQ bill or quarterly electric bill.
3. Manuals – Download an electronic copy
of your product manuals to one folder in your computer and then bin the paper
version. If possible, scan the receipt for the item and store it with the
manual in case you need it for a warranty claim down the track.
4. Shred – Invest in a good quality
shredder so you can shred any personally identifiable bits of paper such as
envelopes, receipts etc. Either pop the paper into a shredding basket and
merrily shred once a week, or have your shredder next to where you open your
mail and empty your wallet and shred as you go. Add the shredded paper to your
garden as mulch when you are done.
5. Filing – Keep your filing system
simple. Most people create too many folders and subcategories for expenses.
Keep your categories high level and simple.
6. Security – Invest in a quality
fireproof safe, and store your passport, insurance policies, birth certificates
and other important records in the safe. Keep a photo of your insurance policy
number and company details in your phone in case of emergency.
7. Tax receipts – Scan or photograph all
receipts you need for your tax rather than storing mounds of paper.
8. Recipes – If you like collecting
magazines for the recipes, then rip out the important pages, scan them and then
ditch the magazine. Some magazines have their recipes online, so simply
download the relevant recipe from the site and store it in a recipe folder on
9. Magazines - Keep all magazines that you
are still reading to just one magazine rack or one box. If the rack or box
overflows, it is time to throw away old magazines before buying new ones.
10. Photos – If you have drawers full of
old photos that you want to keep, scan the negatives (if you still have them)
or scan the most important photos into your computer (and make sure you have
offline backup to keep your precious memories safe).
11. Kids art – Not all pieces of art are
Picasso worthy. Display the best ones and photograph the rest before sneaking
them into the bin in the dead of night or recycling them as wrapping paper for
12. Old homework & schoolbooks – Do you
REALLY need to keep all of the old schoolbooks for your children? Most old
schoolbooks can disappear into the bin at the end of each school year. If there
is a particular poem or story that has deep meaning, scan it and store the
photo rather than the book.
13. Takeaway Menus – These can also breed
if you are not careful. Keep only the menus of places where you regularly phone
in your order for delivery or pick up. Ideally keep all the menus together in
one place – either on a bulldog clip or in a plastic envelope.
14. Clear flat surfaces – If it is flat, it
attracts clutter. Tables, benches and counters are magnets for paper piles.
Have one paper location in your home (ideally near your computer), and put
pretty things such as an ornament or flower arrangement on the other surfaces.
If the space is blocked, it is harder to pile things up.
Declutter Your Way Into Spring
Posted in 'Clutter' on October 24, 2014
With Spring well underway it's a good time of year to start decluttering and organising areas of your home for the warmer months. If you're a little stuck as to where to begin, here are four simple ideas to get you started in the decluttering process:
If you don't use it, lose it
If you have clothes that you haven't worn in the past 6 months (weather dependant) start culling. Give your wardrobe an overhaul and find the things that you haven't worn in eons and truck them off to the op shop.
Replace, don't increase
Purchasing new items of furniture are a great way of freshening up a room however consider using the new item as a 'replacement' rather than a pure 'addition' to your room. This will help reduce clutter in that room and prevent over-furnishing.
If the thought of decluttering makes you immediately break into a nervous rash, start with the smallest (or easiest) room in the house and go from there. Bathrooms are always a great place to start. Sometimes surmounting even the tiniest area of your house is enough to get the 'organisation inertia' going. Alternatively if it's all too much, might be time to call in the heavies (aka Kay
) to get your decluttering sorted.
'Never put off tomorrow what can be done today' - rings more true than ever when it comes to decluttering. If you're feeling the urge to declutter, the best time to start is now because tomorrow never comes.
Posted in 'Clutter' on September 22, 2011
Is the back of your desk a mass of black cords all tangled together and
looking very unsightly? You can get cord tidiers to fix this or use
cable ties, but you are still left with visible cords. Pick up a cheap
piece of coreflute (couple of dollars at Bunnings) and sit it behind
your desk but in front of the cords and you won' be looking at a jungle
of cords next time you are in your office.
Tackling Office Clutter
Posted in 'Clutter' on October 5, 2010
Beautiful isn't always better
Posted in 'Clutter' on November 19, 2009
Last year I was helping a client move out of her office and she offered me an entire range of desk accessories - in trays, magazine holders, file storage, little boxes with lids. You name it, she had it. They were only about 12 months old and barely used - we had bought them when she first moved into the office. They were a lovely gold colour and I immediately conjured up a whole range of uses for them.
The first thing I did when I got home with them was to throw out my old in-trays. They were the cheap black plastic type that I had bought years ago and they weren't all that attractive. Then I moved all of my magazines into the magazine holders and added a couple more to the book case for just in case. The rest of the accessories were placed in different areas around my office. SOme of them used, some not.
About 3 weeks later I noticed that my office had never been.....messier! It felt cluttered. There was stuff everywhere and I didn't like it. Although the idea of having all of these beautiful looking accessories to make my office look tidier was lovely, in reality, it was a bad idea.
- The in-trays were too small. They didn't fit my notepads or half of the things I needed to keep in them. So everything end up covering my desk and my beautiful in-trays say empty.
- The magazine racks worked for the ones that were full, but the extras were just taking up space in my book case causing me to stack books on top of each other.
- The file storage made my files look tidy because they were hidden away, but they were a pain because I needed to access them on a regular basis.
So I got rid of it all (except a couple of the magazine racks that were being used). I bought some new black plastic in-trays (I took my notebook with me to make sure they would fit first) and now my desk, although it isn't all colour coordinated, is tidy and uncluttered.
The moral of my story is, think about how practical something is before you buy it.
Hooks for kids
Posted in 'Clutter, Organising' on November 11, 2009
When my kids were babies, I asked my husband to put some hooks up in their rooms so that we could hang their hats and dressing gowns etc on them and keep them off the floor. Not wanting to have to put more holes in the walls as they got older, we reasoned that putting them up higher would stop them from pulling all of their hats off and throwing them on the floor.
What we failed to realise was that as they got a bit older (they are now 3 & 5) we would want them to be able to go and get their own hats before playing outside and then to hang them back on their hooks when they were done. Miss 5 is just tall enough to reach her hats now, (although she has pulled so hard sometimes she has pulled the anchors out of the wall), but Mr 3 is still a bit too short. So being children of a (mostly) organised person, they have started hanging their hats on the corner of their washing baskets. Great idea, but more often than not, they are ending up inside the washing basket with their dirty clothes and then I get "Mummy, I can't find my hat"
Recently though, I came across some new hooks by 3M - they are Disney/Pixar characters and they are the hooks that you can stick on and remove without any damage or residue. They will hold about 2 1/2kg You can check them out here There are 7 different designs to choose from. You can find them at Big W & KMart. I'll be heading out on the weekend to buy a few for the kids. Hopefully this will see the end of lost hats that are hiding with the dirty washing :)
They would also make a great idea for stocking stuffers!
Folding a Fitted Sheet
Posted in 'Clutter' on October 20, 2009
Have you ever wanted to fold your fitted sheets so that they sit flat and pretty like the flat sheets?
1. Hold up the sheet so that it's inside out and then slip your hands inside the top 2 corners. The wrong side of the fabric should be facing you and the right side should be touching your hands.
2. Carefully lay the sheet down on a flat surface like your bed so that it is spread out smoothly. Fold the sheet right side together, slipping the top corners gently inside the two bottom corners. Arrange the corners neatly.
3. Fold the sheet edges to the inside. The flaps of fabric that hug the mattress should be neatly folded down in line with the corners, making a large rectangle with all loose ends tucked in smoothly.
4. Now fold the sheet in half, so that all 4 corners are on top of each other and are encasing the fitted sheet sides. The curved edges should be tucked down so that you create a pretty smooth triangle.
5. Fold the sheet in half again so that you have a long narrow strip. Try to make the folds tight and smooth so that there is less chance it will become crinkled.
6. Lastly fold the strip in half, then in half or thirds (depending on the size of your sheet) to make a compact rectangle.
Posted in 'Clutter' on August 14, 2009
I've recently been to visit a few prospective clients who have needed some help with the clutter in their homes. And I've found that the ones who book me to come in straight away go thorugh with it, and 90% of the ones that book me for a couple of weeks time end up cancelling. It is a big step to ring and ask for someone to help with this. It's a bit like making the decision to start a diet (I am speaking from experience here). Once you decide to do it, you need to start pretty much straight away. If you put it off for a week or so, the motivation that led you to the decision in the first place starts to disappear and it is easy to find excuses as to why you can't start. Then before you know it, you've gone back to accepting the clutter that is around your house.
Stop proctrastinating! If you have clutter that you want to get rid of, do something about it.
Set the timer for 15 mins and clear out a couple of drawers.
Walk through the loungeroom with a rubbish bag and pick up anything that needs to be thrown out.
Get the kids to put their stuff away in their own rooms.
Sort through a cupboard while you are chatting on the phone
Do some filing while you are watching a TV programme
You don't need to live with the clutter. If it's all too hard, call on someone to help you. We won't judge you or your clutter. We are there to help. We don't have the emotional attachment to your stuff that you do and we will work through it together with you.
Tip of the Week - Pen Tips
Posted in 'Clutter' on July 14, 2009
Pen Tip #1:
Next time you are on the phone and are placed on hold, or just chatting with a friend, open your pen drawer (or pencil case or container etc etc) and grab a piece of paper. Then go through each of your pens and check if they work. If they don't, toss them. Next time you need one in a hurry, you won't be stuck with a pen that doesn't work.
Pen Tip #2:
If you are like me, you are forever searching for a pen to write down a phone number or add to the shopping list. Keep a pen permanently on top of your fridge. It won't get lost underneath piles of papers and if it is always put back, noone will pick it up and move it.
Do you have any handy tips that you would like to share? This is the place to let us know about them!
Happy New Year
Posted in 'Clutter' on January 12, 2009
I can't believe the new year is here already. Where did 2008 go?? I do love the new year though. It means the slate can be wiped clean and you can start again. It's also a great time for a clean out and declutter. Each year, just before my husband starts holidays, we start our holiday jobs list. All of the jobs we have been meaning to get to during the year but somehow never got around to.
My list for these holidays included:
- Washing the house windows
- Cleaning out the pantry. I got rid of all of those out of date cans and packets hiding at the back
- Cleaning out the plastics cupboard. All those spare lids are gone.
- Sorting out my desk. This is still a work in progress.
- Photos in photo albums. I had 6 months of photos sitting in packets. Only took 1/2 hour.
- Gurney the path at the side of our house. I love doing this. Yes I used tank water!
- Get the toy room under control. New toys in so old toys out!
- Sort out the kids books. All of the books that they have outgrown have gone to kindy or friends with kids around that age.
My most fulfilling achievement these holidays was a only a 5 minute job, but made me feel really good...... I cleaned out my bra drawer. Yep, you read that right. My drawer was so full that I could barely close it anymore. When I had pulled them all out, I found that there were 14 bras hiding in there that were either too small, wrong size or I just didn't like them anymore. It's amazing how easy it is to find the bra that I want now.
I didn't want to just throw them in the bin. I was sure that someone would be in need of them so I googled bra donation and found this great website called Uplift Fiji that accepts bra donations and they send them to Fiji and give them to women who cannot afford to buy a bra.
Disadvantaged indigenous Fijians get much of their clothing from second hand Australian clothes shops. Australians don't put bras in the charity bins, so they are rare in these shops, particularly in sizes to suit the Fijian build. A new bra costs $40, and wages range from $1.50- $4.50/hour.With the humidity, fungal infections and abscesses occur between the breast and the chest wall. Bras will help.Since 2005,Uplift Fiji, through Rotary International World Community Service, has sent bras through secure channels, making sure they get to the women who need them without compromising their dignity.
Why not take 5 minutes out of your day and get rid of those bras you no longer wear?
Have a great week.
Posted in 'Clutter' on October 24, 2008
Most people don't think about their computer when they think about clutter. When was the last time you went searching for an email that you had received or sent, but couldn't find it, or spent so long looking for it you got distracted by another email that you meant to action, but didn't get around to?
Flick away from this page for a minute hand take a look at how many emails are sitting in your in box. What about your sent items?
Let's look at some ways you can cut down on this electronic clutter.
1. Filing - Imagine all of those emails in your in box and sent box were pieces of paper sitting on your desk. Would you even be able to see your desk? Create some sub folders within your in box to file any emails that need to be kept. Delete the ones that don't. I find it easier to sort my emails by who I received it from rather than by date. That way you can see the history behind the emails and only keep the most recent ones.
2. Diarise. If there are emails that need to be actioned, set a reminder (with a date and time) for it to be completed. You'll be amazed at how annoying those little reminders can be, so it's easier to complete it rather than to keep postponing. Once you have completed the task, delete the email unless you need it for history, and then file.
3. Unsubscribe. We are all guilty of signing up to newsletters that we think we will get around to reading, but half the time they sit there unread until we delete them. If you have newsletters that you do this to, take 30 seconds to click on the unsubscribe button. If you have a quick scroll through and find an article you would like to read later, create a folder for newsletters and move it in there (after you have set a reminder date and time).
4. Delete. Do your deleted items get emptied every time you close outlook? If not, set it up so they are: tools..options..other click on Empty the deleted items upon exiting.
5. Schedule. Take 5 minutes every day to sort through your emails. A little at a time will get it under control in no time. I have some friends who by the end of the day have nothing sitting in their inbox. I'm not like that, but I try to never have more than 100. If I do, I stop what I am doing and give the delete button a workout.
Have a great weekend!
Tidy Up TIme
Posted in 'Clutter' on May 28, 2008
This week I have been doing battle with Miss 3 1/2 and Master 20 months over the state of our toyroom/office. Like most parents, I am constantly tripping over things and asking for them to be picked up. Only to get the response "I'm sick of tidying up mummy" or "I'm still playing with all of my barbie dolls and my dressups and my doctors kit" or best of all, no response!
So I am now practising what I preach and have implemented this weeks tip into our house:
Just before dinner each night, set the timer on the oven for 7 minutes and get everyone in the house to do a bit of a tidy up. You can make it a game for the kids to see who can clean the fastest. Put away the clothes that are sitting on the couch. Empty the bin, sort through the junk mail and through out the ones you don't want to look at, empty the dishwasher (or the washing up rack), toys back to where they belong. 7 minutes isn't a long time but it will make a difference and you will start tomorrow with a cleaner house.
For those of you that have younger kids like I do, I sometimes do multiple 3 minute cleans well before dinner time. I turn the oven timer on for 3 minutes and they clean up till it goes off. Then they can watch TV or play for a little longer, then the timer goes on again. That way they are trying to tidy as quickly as they can so they can get back to doing fun stuff!
Is it clutter?
Posted in 'Clutter' on May 17, 2008
Whenever I go into someone's house to help them declutter, I always get told that they aren't really sure if it is clutter or should be kept, so it just gets kept. Here are a few rules to help you decide whether it should be kept or thrown out:
Is it clutter? Ask yourself these 7 questions to help you decide.
1. If I haven't used it within the last year or probably never will – It's clutter
2. If it's broken and has been broken for the last year, I have no intention of ever fixing it or using it – so it's clutter.
3. If it doesn't fit me, and hasn't fit me for a year - it's clutter.
4. If it's valuable or an heirloom, and I want to keep it for my children I'll keep it. If I have no intention of having children I will give it to the next closest relative.
5. If it's a gift I am hanging on to because it was a gift, not because I like it or use it – it's clutter.
6. If I have 25 sets of the same thing – it's clutter
7. If it's past its use by date – it's clutter .
I hope that helps clarify things for you.