Reading all entries in category 'Organising'
Your Clutter May Be Someone’s Perfect Find
Posted in 'Clutter, Organising, Tips' on October 24, 2016
Congratulations! You have tackled the clutter piles scattered throughout your home and garage. Before you load up the car and drive it to the tip to end up in
landfill, do a quick sort and see if any of the items can be recycled or donated to people or animals in need.
Here’s a stack of ideas to get you started.
Towels, Blankets, Bean Bags & Baby mattresses (that are not good enough to donate to people)
Call your local vet or animal rescue charity. They often need bedding and things to dry off soggy animals after a bath.
If you are having a tree or large shrub cut down, you can often ask that they leave the mulched greenery behind. It makes great mulch for your garden, although you may need to let it sit for a few weeks to let the heat out of it before spreading it around your garden beds.
If you have been on a DIY garden kick, many Council tips have a separate green garden waste area at the tip. Council then mulches all green waste and uses it in parks and public areas.
Brisbane City Council regularly offers free green waste tipping weekends so check the website for dates and locations.
Old computers, televisions, printers, old stereos, keyboards, electronic game consoles, DVD players, and all of the thousands or random electrical cords and plugs … turn your back, and they breed faster than rabbits in springtime.
Some items can be refurbished, which is where programs such as Substation33 come into play by providing skills for disadvantaged job seekers in Logan.
If you are in the Brisbane City Council area, you can drop off your electronic clutter at the following Council recovery and recycling centres: Chandler, Ferny Grove, Nudgee, Willawong.
If you are in the Moreton Bay Regional Council areas, e-waste can be dropped off at the Waste Centres at Bunya, Caboolture, Dakabin, and Redcliffe.
Other Household Items & Clothing
Before we start, let’s have a bit of a person-to-person chat. While donating stuff from your home that you no longer need may feel good, before you donate take a good, long, hard, critical look at it. If the item is broken, damaged, soiled or stained then donating it is not a kindness. You are simply transferring your rubbish to someone else to throw out on your behalf.
Number one rule of thumb: Only donate clean items that are in good condition!
While most of us automatically think of donating things to Vinnies, Lifeline or the Salvos, there are other alternatives.
Independent or Smaller Charity Op Shops. Many suburbs have smaller OP shops linked to specific charities supporting a range of causes from Asthma through to Aid for the Blind and the RSPCA.
Check to see if there is a smaller charity near you that would welcome your donation: http://opshop.org/list/QLD/BRISBANE
Givit is another great option. It is where charities and other organisations list a specific need they have to help an individual or family in the community, and you can choose to donate directly to that person or group of people.
Other charities where you match your donation to their need include:
- RizeUp Australia which supports people and families leaving domestic violence situations.
- My Friends Place based on the Gold Coast, which supports homeless women and families.
Schools, Kindys, Childcare centres and After School Hours Care often are looking for extra dress-up items and kitchenware for their home corner areas, as well as books and toys in good condition.
Council run Trash & Treasure Markets. Most local councils now have Trash and Treasure Stores aligned with their local waste centres. You can usually drop off unwanted furniture or other household items at your local larger council waste centre and they will transfer them to the Treasure Market for you.
Donating Business Clothes
Your outgrown suit or workwear can help a job seeker help land that all important job. Check out Dress for Success, Suit of Change and Suited to Success.
Most of us don’t realise that bras are one of the least donated items, and yet in many parts of the world are one of the most needed clothing items for women.
The Uplift Project sends donated bras to areas where women need them most (without compromising their dignity). New or lightly used nursing bras, mastectomy bras and even good old everyday bras are always needed.
Give things away online
Another way to clear unwanted household items is by simply giving them away.
Groups such as Freecycle allow you to list the thing you want to give away, and then people contact you. You choose the person who will become the owner of your item, and you arrange for them to come and pick it up. Simple!
You can also do something similar using Gumtree or any of the many local Buy, Swap, Sell groups that exist on Facebook.
What about Industrial or Commercial Waste?
One of our
favourite locations for great materials for
craft is Reverse Garbage. They also collect certain types of commercial and industrial waste to be turned into clever creations by schools and artistic types across Brisbane. Check out their website for more information.
I hope this has given you inspiration for
great place that need your unwanted items. Enjoy your clutter clearing!
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.
5 Quick Tips for Getting Your Finances Organised
Posted in 'Organising, Tips' on June 7, 2016
Even the most organised person at work may still have
challenges with getting their personal and household finances sorted. They may
have their to do lists tweaked within an inch of their lives, but would rather
take 20 kids filled with red cordial to a theme park than declutter their
Given the end of financial year is racing up on us faster
than a horde of teenagers when you say the word "pizza”, here are a few tips to
get your finances prepared and organised.
1) Sort The Shoebox of Receipts
Hands up who has a shoebox crammed to overflowing with
receipts that possibly, maybe, potentially relate to your tax return?
The most expensive way to handle this is to deliver it to
your accountant or bookkeeper to sort and do their thing with. It takes them
hours to comb through your receipts to try and work out what is valid. They
then have a few days of backwards and forwards emails or calls trying to answer
questions with you. All of this work is billed in 15 minute increments at
premium rates – especially during peak times of the year. Yes, it works, but
there are other options.
If you are super busy and can’t tackle this yourself, you
could hire a VA, temp agency admin person or personal concierge to tackle this
task for you instead of your accountant.
There are even technical solutions on the market. Shoeboxed www.shoeboxed.com.au is an innovative
business that has been around for a number of years. You just send your
receipts away to them in one of their magic envelopes or via snapping a photo
of your receipt, and they sort them out and digitise them ready for you to
import into your preferred accounting software.
Whichever option you choose, now is the time to get that
shoebox sorted. Handing anyone a massive shoebox in a month’s time and
expecting a fast turnaround in readiness for your tax return is a recipe for
voodoo dolls being created in your image. Get in now before the rush!
2) The Bulldog Clip of Relevance
Not all receipts are tax related. Clothes, shoes, electronic
games etc., all may need to be returned if they are faulty within their
warranty period. For receipts for items with a shorter warranty period, just
clip the receipts you may need as proof of purchase into one big bulldog clip.
Every few months go through and throw out receipts that are no longer needed.
3) Build a Bill Station
Over 25% of people admit to being late in paying a bill
because they misplaced it somewhere in the home. With bills hitting us via
paper, email, and BPay view, it is easy to lose track of what is due when.
Late payments create problems with your credit rating and
can attract late fees. A little bit of organising can make the difference.
Set up a bill station in one part of your house. It can be a
large magnetic bulldog clip on the fridge, a plastic envelope type folder (so
things don’t drop out), an old fashioned spike or a ring binder. Just don’t
throw your bills loose into an in-tray as they will get mixed with other things
– whatever solution you choose, it needs to keep your bills together.
As a new bill comes in – print it (if it isn’t in hard copy)
and add it to the bill station. Keep your bills sorted by due date, with the
closest due date at the top, so you know which bill has to be paid next.
The easiest location for your bill station is right near
your computer and printer. That way there is less distance for you to travel
and you are more likely to add the bill to your Bill Station.
4) Create a Mega Bills Calendar
Most fixed bills such as electricity, rates, rent/mortgage
are not a surprise. They come around regularly each month or every few months.
One way to keep track of what is coming up is to create a
mega bills calendar. This can be a hard copy calendar which means you need to
create it each year.
The easiest solution is to simply set up your bills as a recurring
event in your Outlook/Google/Other digital calendar and colour code the events
with a special colour that you only use for bills.
You can build your calendar over the year as you receive
your bills, or you can invest some time into building it once for the whole
year by combing back through your past bills for the previous year.
Whichever way you create your bills calendar, you make your
future financial years easier as you can see at a glance what bills you will be
receiving and how much each bill is likely to be.
5) Get into a Routine
Routines are essential for busy people. Carve out a set time
each week or fortnight to pay bills, update your account balances, plan for the
coming week, work out your budget, empty your purse of receipts, write notes
and file those receipts that are tax related and shred receipts that are no
Link your routine to a particular event to make the habit
more likely to stick: The evening of payday; The first day of the month when
you change the calendar over; Sunday nights when you prepare for the week
ahead. Set it as an appointment in your own calendar and stick to it.
Fixing your financial clutter is the perfect new financial
year resolution. It doesn’t need massive filing cabinets and thousands of Kikki
K folders and planners (unless you want it to). It can be as simple as a few
bulldog clips and a simple routine.
Have You Ever Considered A Career As a Concierge?
Posted in 'Organising' on February 18, 2016
While most of you know that I am a Personal Concierge for a
select handful of wonderful clients, not many people know of my other business –
as Co-Director of the Institute of Concierge and Lifestyle Managers (iCALM) and
co-owner of the Diploma of Personal Concierge Services.
Today, I thought I would give you an exclusive look at the
other side of my world.
A Quick History of
Most people when they think of Concierge's, think of high
class hotels. The Concierge is the person you talk with to organise theatre
tickets, get a reservation at booked out restaurants, rearrange travel
arrangements, and sort out parcel deliveries … along with a host of random
Need a private dinner party catered by a top chef? Want five
dozen roses delivered precisely at 7.10pm to coincide with you popping the
question? Want your mini-bar emptied and refilled with vegan snacks and drinks?
That's where a good Concierge comes in.
A Concierge is the ultimate "go to" person, and
has a long list of contacts available to solve every issue or crisis.
In recent years, Concierges have moved out from the hotel
lobby and into private homes.
Concierges now work with individuals, couples and families
and take care of everything from getting quotes on repairs, through to making
sure there is bread, milk and groceries at home when the owner flies back from
their overseas trip or FIFO role.
You can also find Concierges in banks, hospitals, retail
stores, private clubs, academic institutions and commercial buildings.
People have realised the lifestyle and productivity benefits
that having a Concierge to assist you can bring, and it is now a fast growing
industry sector world-wide.
Australia Was Left
The demand for Personal Concierges has skyrocketed in
Australia and New Zealand in the past decade.
The problem was that the professional industry bodies that
existed were based over in the USA and focussed almost exclusively on USA
issues. Being on the other side of the world has its drawbacks when trying to
build networks and solve local challenges.
In May 2011 my fellow Director Adele Blair and I founded the
Institute of Concierge and Lifestyle Managers (iCALM). Our goal was to support
fellow Australian and New Zealand concierges through networking, education and
iCALM sets a high Code of Ethics for our members and we have
worked tirelessly to provide networking and development opportunities to build
the skills of people within our profession.
One of the key issues we found as part of iCALM was that
there was no consistent training offered, and concierges had to pick up their
skills as they went along.
There are private courses and professional development
opportunities offered in other countries, but there was no one who offered an
accredited qualification. Until now.
In 2016 iCALM launched the world’s first accredited Concierge
We have partnered with Entamio Education Group and have
jumped through every hoop to have a Diploma of Personal Concierge Services
formally accredited, with our first students starting in early 2016.
The Diploma of Personal
The Diploma is self-paced and offered via online learning,
with direct support by Adele and myself to our students
Students will complete 20 units covering core skills across
business, project management, professional development and finance well as units
specific to the role of a Concierge.
Completing the Diploma gives Concierges a well-rounded entry
into the industry, backed by an accredited qualification.
Who Becomes a
People choosing to become a Personal Concierge have a
variety of backgrounds. Many concierges have had early careers as event managers,
personal assistants or nurses and become a concierge as part of a career change.
If you are organised, a "go to" person, are great
at juggling multiple projects and priorities and have high levels of
discretion, then being a Concierge is the ideal career.
The other key skill needed is the ability to form close
networks. Being a Concierge is being part of an industry where turf wars and
competition is an alien concept. Success only comes from working closely with
others in the industry and pooling networks and expertise to help deliver
results for your clients.
Combining your background and skills with formal training,
opens the door to an exciting new career where no two days are the same.
If you would like to know more about the Diploma, visit the
iCALM website http://www.icalm.com.au/the-diploma/.
Christmas Planning Without the Tears
Posted in 'Organising' on November 26, 2015
The shops have been filled with tinsel and trees since September.
Santa has taken up residence in all the shopping centres and Christmas craft is
starting to make its way home in the schoolbag.
You are already having nightmares about trying to find
presents in shopping centres resembling roller derby competitions at its worst.
The thought of decorating the house and creating gourmet meals while still
looking super cool, calm and collected is turning you to drink.
Before you reach for another Chardonnay, here are some tips
to help you plan out your Christmas and stagger out the drama into manageable
- Budget: Work out your budget for presents, food
and wine to help reduce New Year bill shock.
List: Write out a list of the people
you need to buy for either on paper that you can keep in your wallet, or in a
note on your smartphone. Remember to include present ideas, sizes and colour
Online: This is the best week to shop online so your parcels arrive in time
for the big day.
Presents: Buy/make gifts for teachers and fellow classmates, as well as
adding in a few smaller gifts for unexpected presents that crop up.
- Groceries: Buy your puddings and cake this
week (if you don't have them already or are not making them). The good ones
sell out quickly. Also buy your cards, gift tags and gift-wrap this week so you
can wrap your presents as you go rather than doing a marathon on Christmas Eve.
babysitters: If you have any Christmas functions in December without the
kids, lock in your babysitters this week (and your hairdresser, dog washer,
house-cleaner, gardener and nail salon).
- Sort Your
Calendar: Write in all your family Christmas parties, carols, and school
functions into one calendar to keep track of everything.
back: Remember to add a few items for charity food collections or wishing
trees this week. It makes it easier for charities to distribute to those in
need if they receive donations early in the month rather than closer to
- Decorate:While we would all love a home that is Pinterest worthy, the reality is
that a Christmas tree is the only real essential. Anything else is a bonus.
Remember to take a photo of the kids decorating the tree every year - it makes
a great memory.
cards: Write and mail out your Christmas cards this week unless you were
one of those super organised people who did them back in November. Buy post
office preferred cards to reduce mail costs.
- Presents: This week is when you get present shopping in
earnest. Remember to keep to your budget. If you can, try and get all your
shopping done in one shopping trip (… this is where a great babysitter comes
into play, or swap caring for your friend's kids while they shop and then visa
versa. Shopping with kids in tow at Christmas is not fun!)
- House Preparation: Having guests stay over Christmas? Time
to get the spare room clean and ready for guests and to check out if you need
any new towels or sheets.
- Groceries: Plan your Christmas cooking menu and order your ham, turkey and seafood is
week. Add in bonbons and Christmas napkins to your shop.
gifts: This is the week to make
and package up any homemade Christmas gifts that won't spoil.
- Post all
out of town presents: Christmas is
the busiest time for Australia Post, so get in early with your presents for
friends and family.
week: Stock up on wine, brandy and other drinks for Christmas this week so
you avoid the crush at the bottle shop in the days before Christmas.
- Groceries:This is a great week to add in any longer life items such as Pavlova
shells, biscuits and nibbles. Top up all your AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries
this week so there are no tears on Christmas day if toys don't work.
Preparation: Clean out the fridge in readiness for the onslaught next week
and prepare the BBQ.
Light Displays: Avoid the Christmas week craziness and check out the
Christmas lights this week.
- Groceries:This is the week for fresh ingredients. Aim to be at the shop when the
doors open to avoid the crowds. Remember to add in cookies for Santa and
carrots for the reindeer into your shop.
Preparation: Wash and prepare all the Christmas crockery and glasses you
only use once a year, and give the house a deep clean in readiness for your
Preparation: Recharge the batteries on your digital camera or video
recorder in readiness for capturing the magic moments.
- Presents:Run out of ideas? Gift cards or vouchers are perfect last minute gifts.
Coles and Woolworths stock a massive range of cards for loads of stores and
experiences, or get in touch with your favourite service or concierge business
to give someone the gift of time.
Take advantage of the post-Christmas sales to stock up on cards, wrap and bon
bons for next year.
Christmas is naturally a busy time of year. With a bit of
planning, you can reduce your stress and serenely sail into the silly season.
Important Phone Numbers (Printable)
Posted in 'Organising' on October 15, 2015
Have you ever considered how much of your life is in your
mobile phone? When you need a contact phone number, you zip your phone out of
your handbag and open your contact app.
But what happens if your partner needs to contact someone on
your phone contacts app when you aren't there? Or your babysitter? Or when your
phone goes flat and the power is out?
This is where having a central, old-school pen and paper
version of your family's most important phone numbers stuck to your fridge or family
organisation board is worth its weight in gold.
Emergency Contacts Printable
I have put together a detailed printable designed for
Brisbane families. It has spaces for all of your regular essential contacts, as
well as spaces for critical contacts relevant for Queenslanders including the
SES, your friendly local snake catcher, and your gutter cleaner.
It also has spaces for you to record the key details of your
insurance policies. We heard of many locals who went through the Brisbane
floods and storms of recent years, who lost their insurance policies in the
disaster. It caused them additional stress trying to track down who they were
insured with and their policy details. By having all of these details in one
central place, you will be able to access them quickly in case of emergency.
How To Use This Printable
There are a couple of ways that you can use this printable:
Take some time over the next week to review the list and
fill in your details for your household. I suggest laminating your finished
version to stop it curling over time.
Add It To Your Emergency Kit
Laminating your list also helps to make it durable. Just
throw the completed printable into your emergency
kit at the beginning of storm season/fire season and you are ready to go in
case of emergency.
Finally, take a photo of your completed list and share the
photo with the adults in your household to save onto their mobile phones. (Let's
be honest - how many of your household will key in all the contacts you have in
Getting Yourself Organised for Tax Time
Posted in 'Organising' on June 15, 2015
It’s coming up to that time of year again — tax time, and if you’re among a large proportion of Australians, you may not quite be claiming everything that you're entitled to. With the 30th of June creeping up, it’s a good time to retrieve the shoebox full of receipts you've accumulated throughout the year and consider what you can and can't claim.
The ATO website provides a comprehensive list of deductions you're able to claim - and you might be surprised what's on the list that you may not have been claiming to date. For instance, if you work from home (even if you don’t own a business) you may be able to claim some of your workspace expenses including heating/cooling, cleaning, lighting and even office repairs.
Of course to claim most of these deductions you will need to have maintained clear records including receipts of purchases. Whilst receipts and tax invoices from people and businesses supplying the goods and services are some of the best evidence to use for your tax deductions, you can also use a combination of other documents to support your claims including:
And whilst it might not help for the financial year just passed, there are a whole range of apps that can help you record and track your receipts on the fly like Shoeboxed Australia, Receipts and Expensify that you can start to implement and use for the coming tax year. All have different functionality that allows you to capture and store relevant tax info on the run and some apps will even consolidate that information with your accounting platform.
- Bank or financial institution documents
- Credit card statements
- Email receipts
- PAYG summaries
- Handwritten evidence in a diary or similar - so long as the individual claims are no more than $10 and aren't collectively more than $300
- Paper or electronic copies of documents that are a true representation of the originals are also acceptable.
You can find out more about claimable tax deductions on the ATO website. And don't forget you need to retain your evidence for 5 years from the day your tax return is due or the day you lodge your tax return (whichever date is the latter).
PS: if the thought of getting yourself organised for tax time makes you nauseated then you know where I am.
Flood Relief Help
Posted in 'Organising' on January 29, 2013
If you are like many people who want to help out with the flood relief but don't know what to do, there are plenty of options for you.
Jump into the kitchen and do some baking for the volunteers and workers who are out in the field. More info can be found on the Baked Relief Facebook page
or or Digella's blog
. Many of the SES sandbagging areas are winding up now, but there are still plenty of mud army workers, Energex crews, Firies, Ambos and Police who are working really long shifts in you local streets. Even if you can't bake, stop off at Coles or Woolies on the way home and pick up some pre baked goods. Alternatively, in this humid hot weather, a slab of water bottles would be greatly appreciated.
Adopt a Wash
Do you have electricity and a working washing machine? This community page has been set up to help flood affected homes and businesses who are in need of some help with washing or those in the community who do not currently have access to a working washing machine or electricity. If you can help, they are currently compiling a database of contact information on their Facebook page
GIVIT is a web based philanthropic community where people donate items or time to people in need. They are a targeted giing service that finds new lives for your unwanted items with worthy recipients. GIVIT is officially endorsed by the Qld Dept of Community Safety as the way to donate items directly to those affected by the floods. More information can be found on their Facebook page
or the GIVIT website
How to Make Oil of Cloves
Oil of cloves is great for killing mould spores. It can be bought from the chemist. Although at the moment it may be difficult to find as people try to get rid of the mould that will soon arrive after all this rain. It is quite easy to make your own.
2 dozen cloves
1tbsp methyolated spirits
20 tbsps boiling water
Grind the clove buds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add the metho and grind until it becomes a paste.(Make sure to wash very well with hot soapy water afterwards). Add the boiling water and let it steep overnight in a bowl or bottle. The next day, strain through muslin (or a clean chux). Pour into a spray bottle and voila!
I have a PA, why do I need a Personal Concierge?
Posted in 'Organising' on August 16, 2012
I was recently asked to write an article for National Resources Review. The article was titled "I have a PA, why do I need a Personal Concierge?" You can read the article here
Emily Jade from the Courier Mail
Posted in 'Organising' on March 11, 2012
On Friday morning, I received an email notification from Facebook that a friend had tagged me in a post. Curious, I logged on to see what I had been tagged in. Imagine my surprise to discover that Emily-Jade O'Keeffe from the Courier Mail had written a blog post about me. You can read all about it here
It made my day!
Thanks again EJ it was a pleasure working with you.
U on Sunday 9 October, 2011
Posted in 'Organising' on October 11, 2011
If you live in Brisbane and read the Sunday paper, you would have seen Hectic Helpers featured in the U on Sunday liftout. If not, here is the article
Reproduced courtesy of U on Sunday magazine, The Sunday Mail, October 9
Posted in 'Organising' on April 6, 2011
Use a couple of stackable ice cube trays to store your earrings.
Saves desperately sorting them to try and find the missing one when you are in
Posted in 'Organising' on February 8, 2011
The first few weeks of school seem to bring with them an encyclopaedia of notes that all need to be read and memorised because you never know when you might need them.
Get a folder with plastic sleeves and put the notes in there as you get them. They will now all be in the same place which will make it easier to find out what day library is on this year.
You could also put things like the tuckshop pricelist and sporting clubs notes in there.
If you open to the appropriate page, you might even be able to get hubby to read the notes so he has some idea of what is happening at school!
Posted in 'Organising' on October 29, 2010
Young girls tend to have lots of hair accessories (I'm sure they multiply when I'm not looking!). Keeping them all in one place and tidy can be quite difficult to do. Most of the time they end up looking like this:
In some sort of order, but not easily accessible withough pulling everything out.
By taking some time to sort through everything and throwing out the things that are no longer used, you will find things a lot easier. By going a step further and using containers that fit everything and allow you so see things easily, you can end up with a much better looking finished product:
The moral of the story here (apart from the fact that you end up with hair accessories that you can find when you need them) is that you need to find the right container for the job. Something that is sitting around the house not being used might be fantastic, but then again, it may not work. Spending a bit of time now finding the right container for the job could save dollars and time later on.
For those of you that are interested, the hair accessories were broken up into drawers - elastic head bands, ribbons, elastics and hair clips. Plastic headbands are kept together on the side. This way, miss 6 can find what sheis loking for without them being pulled out and strewn everywhere.
6 weeks later, it still looks this tidy.
Posted in 'Organising' on October 13, 2010
I have written an article for Quest Newspapers on planning for your shopping trips to save money. If you'd like some handy hints, check it out here
Tip of the Week - Kids Artwork
Posted in 'Organising' on September 8, 2010
Having young kids means an avalanche of artwork treasures. Instead of piling them up on the kitchen counter, buy a corkboard for their room and let them pick which artwork is hung. When they bring new artwork home, they get to choose if it is "special" enough to go up on the board. Once the new artwork goes up, the old artwork that it is replacing is thrown away.
If you are really sentimental and want to be reminded of that painting of a dog/fairy in 10 years time, take a photo of the picture and then throw it out.
Keeping Children's Rooms Tidy
Posted in 'Organising' on August 23, 2010
Nagging your child to clean is NOT productive. It feels good, like you are being proactive but it doesn’t work!!! Remember that!
Consider doing this: Next time you have some spare time with your child and their room looks like a war zone, take them by the hand and discuss what needs to happen to keep Mummy sane. Use whatever verbal scenario aids you need, “cleaning fairies, Santa watching...” but explain that you are in it together and together you can turn them into a contestant for Mr/Miss Clean 2010!
Get down on your hands and knees so you are level with your ankle-biter and enter the room (Breathe!). You need to see the room as they use it at their height. Perhaps they do not put away their hair bands as they cannot reach the pretty box you bought for storage. The lovely funky cupboard door handles are just too high. Consider removing cupboard doors (only temporary, until all that Nutrigrain does its job), lowering cupboard rails, and labelling drawers. Talk with your child and see what they find hard to do in their daily use of their room.
Plastic storage boxes are great but not stacked. Open wooden under-bed storage boxes are fabulous because there are no lids and they are hidden! Consider plastic suction hooks placed low to hang up their PJs, school jumpers, kindy hats, items they use daily.
Once you have worked though the issues get them into the routine of mini-clean ups daily – use lolly bribes, stickers, charts or whatever works – to get them into a habit. Hopefully with the new set-up, life will be easier all around!
Tip of the Week - Pen Drawer Tip
Posted in 'Organising' on August 3, 2010
Use a cutlery drawer insert to sort your stationery items. Pens etc fit quite nicely and will make finding things a lot easier. Don't forget to give it a clean out every few months.
Tip of the Week - Superglue
Posted in 'Organising' on July 21, 2010
Keep superglue in the fridge after you've opened it and it will last for ages - instead of being rock hard next time you want to use it
Posted in 'Organising' on February 25, 2010
Someone asked me the other day what I thought was the best way to store her handbags. There are lots of different ways to do this, many of which are dependent on the space you have in your room to store them. A few ways I would suggest are...
- Cloth bags or pillowcases
- Large Ziploc Bags
- Store smaller bags inside larger bags
- Plastic containers under the bed or on the shelf
- Purchase a handbag holder such as this from Howards Storage World
- Or a hanging organiser like this from IKEA
- Use some funky looking boxes and place a photo on the outside so you know where each bag is stored.
- Hooks on the wall
I'd love to hear any other suggestions that people may have. Over to you!
Posted in 'Organising' on January 25, 2010
Everyone has somewhere that they do their best thinking. I do mine in the morning while I am in the shower. Being a Lifestyle Manager, I am constantly making lists of things that need to be done that day for my clients. While I am in the shower and have some peace and quiet, I write the list in my head. What I have always disliked about this though is that by the time I get out of the shower, get dressed and answer 20 questions from the kids, I have forgotten half of my list.
A few months ago I even said to one of my girlfriends that what I needed was a waterproof notepad. So I could put it in the shower and write my lists and not worry about forgetting anything. Well someone somewhere must have been listening because a company in the USA have released Aqua Notes. They are a waterproof notepad and the water just beads up and rolls off without wetting the paper. They are even environmentally friendly and recyclable.
I ordered a pack of 5 so I could test them out. They arrived last week and I love them. They even come with a waterproof pencil that has its own little suction cap.
If you do our best thinking in the shower like me, give these a try. You can find them at www.myaquanotes.com
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!
Posted in 'Organising' on August 19, 2009
I've just managed to complete something that was on my To Do list for about 2 months. It wasn't that it was too hard, or too big to do, it was because it was one of those boring tasks that just kept getting skipped over on my list. The way I did it was that I logged in to do a webinar and while I was listening to the presentation, I was able to photocopy all of my tax receipts so that when they fade over time, I will still have a record of them. I didn't think about it, I just did it. Multi tasking at its best - I learnt new things with the ABN Strategic Webinar, and I crossed something off my To Do List
We women are fantastic at multi tasking when it comes to our families and home life. We find it easy to cook dinner while talking on the phone, helping the kids do their homework and watching the news. We do this usually because our day has been so jam packed with work and other things that we just do it without even thinking about it.
When it comes to our work though, our mindset seems to change somewhat. We will wait on hold to talk to somebody and do nothing but get frustrated that we are wasting our day on hold. We'll stop and chat to a work colleague and then at the end of the day it is a mad rush to get everything finished before going home.
Stop and have a think about all the little pockets of time in your day that are being wasted. I bet they add up. What could you be doing to make better use of that time? How much filing is sitting on your desk that just keeps piling up? How many emails are sitting in your inbox? When was the last time you saw the bottom of your intray? These are all tasks that get thrown into the "I'm too busy" pile on a day to day basis and eventually they end up in the "Where do I start? It's too big" pile.
Next time you are chatting or on hold, grab your intray and make a start. You don't have to finish it all in one go. Don't think about it, just do it!
Tip of the Week - Bathroom Drawer Tip
Posted in 'Organising' on July 7, 2009
Does your bathroom drawer look like a disaster area with makeup and creams etc everywhere?
Next time you are at the $2 shop, pick up one of the cheap cutlery drawer inserts and use it to organise your makeup drawer.
With 20 mins work you will have a user friendly drawer. Make sure you also use this time to throw out any old makeup.
Tip of the Week - Toy Sales Shopping
Posted in 'Organising' on June 30, 2009
This week’s tip is, not surprisingly, about planning for the Toy Sales (but can be translated into any sales, like the Boxing Day Sales)
1. Be prepared – don’t just go in and grab what looks good. You’ll end up taking half of it back because it’s not appropriate
2. Spend some time going through the catalogues and comparing prices, quality etc. If you are buying 90% of your things from one shop and are planning on buying 1 or 2 things from another, just to save $5, is it really worth the grief? Click here to compare the different Toy Sale catalogues
3. Make a list – If you are buying gifts, make a list of peoples names and then write what you are planning on getting for them (including brand and size).
4. Also write the name of the store you are planning on buying it from and how much it is.
5. If you can, get in early. It is surprising how much stock runs out on the first day.
If you can’t get there or don’t want to fight the crowds, check out our Toy Sale Shopping Service. We have limited spots available to go to Kmart & Big W on Thursday morning. If you would like to book, please contact me by 7pm Wednesday evening to ensure we can fit you in.
Unclog your bookcase!
Posted in 'Organising' on February 17, 2009
A few months ago, I finished a book and went to put it back in my bookcase. You'd think that was a relatively easy job - not so much. My 5 shelf bookcase is overflowing with books. Some shelves even had 2 rows of books on them, just to make them fit. Something needed to be done.
The way I saw it, I had two options - I could buy a new bookcase (which I would probably fill straight away with the excess books on my original shelf, and then need another bookcase) or I could do some culling. Both options had their good and bad points. If I got a new shelf, I could keep all of my books, but where would I put the shelf??? If I got rid of some of my books, I would have more room in my bookcase, and would save some money by not having to buy a new one, but I would have to say goodbye to some treasured books. Decisions, decisions.....
I eventually came to a compromise. I would get rid of as many books as I could, and if I still needed it, I would go out an buy a new bookcase.
I am an avid reader. I love it. I can pick up a book on a Saturday morning and quite happily sit there all day, not talking to anyone and have it finished by late that night or early the next morning. My husband doesn't really share my love of books and isn't a fan of my all day reading sessions because I don't want to do anything but read. Once I've finished my book, I like to keep it. Sometimes, a few years later I might go back and read it again. Which is why getting rid of my books was a hard task to do.
I started off with the easy ones - the secondhand $2 books that I have picked up over the years from secondhand shops or lifeline book fests. A lot of these books were dog-eared and not in the best condition so out they went.
Next were the books that I loved 15 years ago, but would never read again. There were a lot of Stephen King books that I would never read again. Death and horror kind of loses its appeal once you have kids. Out they went.
There were also the Japanese language books that I collected when I was living there in the 90's. These were hard to part with so they went into the maybe pile.
All of my organising and business books got the green light to stay.
Lastly, there were all of the books that I have collected over the last 5 years or so that were really hard to part with... but I was brutal and put quite a few in the "out you go" pile.
At the end of all of this, I was left with a bookcase that was still overflowing (but nowhere near as badly as it was before), a pile of books to go and an empty glass of wine. The pile of books to go was broken into 2 categories. The lifeline/salvos pile and the eBay pile. Any books that were still quite current and in good condition went into this pile, and over the next few weeks, made me enough money to buy a few more books. Lifeline got some more books to recycle into its next book fest, and my wine glass got a refill :)
I then went out and bought another smaller bookcase and moved all of my business books into there and set it up in my office. Order was once more restored in my bookcase. Although looking over at it again now, it might be ready for another clean out
I can organise everyone elses house but not my own!
Posted in 'Organising' on September 24, 2008
It's funny, I spend my days organising other peoples lives to make things easier for them, but like the chef that never cooks or the mechanic with the broken car, my house is quite disorganised a lot of the time.
I spent a couple of hours with a new client last month and she wanted to sort out her office and get rid of all the clutter. I took a look at it all and told her that she needed more storage and to get all the paperwork and mess off her desk and into some sort of order. This was all fine and we put together a plan of what needed to happen.
Then I came home and sat down at my desk and realised that I am not practising what I am preaching. My desk had at least 5 different piles of paper, 2 overflowing in trays, 6 reference books and countless random bits of paper, business cards and general rubbish, plus a computer somewhere under all that. So I decided it was time to do something about sorting all of this out. But.... if you don't have the correct tools, nothing is going to change. All of this 'stuff' was sitting on my desk because I had no storage. My filing cabinet is good for filing things, but not for storing stationery or magazines or reference books. I can't make piles on the floor because my office also doubles as the toy room and my 4 and 2 year olds would decide that mummy's papers were good for drawing on or throwing. The drawers in my desk we already overflowing, so that wasn't an option.
I battled with it trying to make it work (even though I knew I was fighting a losing battle) until yesterday when I went out and bought a cupboard with a bookcase on top that will hold all the bits and pieces I am currently storing on my desk. It'll be great and I'm really excited about it.
Now I just have to work out how to attach it to the wall so Mr 2 doesn't pull it over on himself when he tries to climb it :)
I can never find a card when I need one
Posted in 'Organising' on August 21, 2008
This time of year is a very busy time of year for birthday's in our house. Between my husband's birthday in August, and my birthday in October, we have 9 family members (including our 2 kids) and 10 kids of close family friends having a birthday. There seems to be at least 1 party every weekend. My husband keeps telling my daughter to stop being so popular but she's about to turn 4 and doesn't understand what the all the fuss is about - she loves parties!
I used to struggle to find wrapping paper and cards for each of these parties. Every Friday night would be the same - I'd be tearing the drawers and cupboards apart trying to find something to wrap tomorrow's present in. Last weeks Sunday Mail doesn't really cut it for wrapping paper! My husband being as helpful as he could, would just sit there hiding behind his book so I couldn't make eye contact and make him get up and help (he hates wrapping presents).
I am now way more organised than that. I have a gift wrapping box. I went to the two dollar shop and bought one of those plastic see through boxes with a lid. While I was there I also thought about all of the birthdays that were coming up and stocked up on the one dollar cards (with a couple of extra ones for just in case) and the cheap wrapping paper.
When I got home I placed the cards and paper that I had purchased in my new box. I also emptied the various drawers and cupboards around the house of the cards and paper that had been sitting there for years and put them in my box.
My gift wrapping box now sits in the store room waiting for the next present to be wrapped. Every couple of months I head back to the two dollar shop to stock up on cards and paper again. It has made things so easy, I can even occasionally get my husband to wrap a present or 2!
Following my own advice
Posted in 'Organising' on June 9, 2008
I've spent the long weekend looking at the mess that is my house and have realised that I need to do something about it. I'm forever telling my clients to start small and work on one thing at a time, but like the mechanic that has a broken car and the chef that never cooks at home, my house has "suddenly" become full of clutter.
So today while my husband went to work, I parked the kids in front of ABC Kids and set to work on sorting out some of the mess. First thing to do was to make a list. I jotted down everything I could think of and then added as I thought of more. This list wasn't a list of things that had to be achieved today, but I did want to cross off a few things if I could. Some things could be completed in 2 minutes and some would take 2-3 hours, but I needed them to be all listed together so they weren't put off for another 6 months.
So I am sitting here now with my list in front of me and have managed to cross off 7 things (this Blog entry being one of them), My desk no longer looks like a tornado has swept through and the paperwork in my in tray has been filed. About a quarter of the things I wanted to list on eBay have been listed, and I have taken photos of a whole heap of things that will be listed in the coming week.
Things don't seem so overwhelming now that I have them written down.
Time to go and sort out that bookcase....
Have a great week
Posted in 'Organising' on April 30, 2008
Today I'd like to talk about grocery shopping. Most of you are probably shuddering when thinking about it - especially if you have kids. As a personal concierge (and a mum!), it is part of my job to do grocery shopping and sometimes, Miss 3 1/2 and Mr 18 months come along for the ride so I need to be prepared.
I always take along more than enough healthy snacks for the kids to munch on. If I run out of food along the way, it is too tempting to go via the lolly aisle and grab something for them. Usually we have grapes and or apple, some rice crackers and some sultanas. If they are really good, they might get a cheerio from the deli. Don't forget the water bottle!
I tell them both they are going to be my helpers. In the fruit and veg area, they take it in turns to hold the plastic bag open, or put the items in the bag. I also use this time to practice counting with Miss 3. If I am buying food for them, I try to give them a choice of 2 items so they feel like they have a say.
The most important part of grocery shopping though, is to come with a fully written list!!! Don't just try and "wing" it. It doesn't work. You might remember most of the things you thought you needed, but you will also end up with at least $50 of extra things you didn't need. Plus, if you have the kids with you, they won't be impressed by going up and down aisles numerous times because you just remembered something that was back in aisle 2 when you are in aisle 10.
Before leaving for the supermarket, take the time to think about the meals you might like to eat that week and write down the ingredients required. If you are really organised, you can even break your list up into areas such as fruit & veg, deli, dairy, cleaning etc so you don't miss items on your list as you go.
Get one of those magnetised shopping lists and put it on your fridge, so that everytime you use something in your cupboard or fridge, you can add it straight onto the list.
I hope you find some of thse tips useful!