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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Organising Your Home

Organising your home can seem like a huge task if there is clutter everywhere and you have no idea about where to even start.  Create a plan on how to tackle organising your home and use some of the tips I've listed below...

Step One: Analyse The Clutter
Begin by looking and assessing each room - one at a time.  This can be daunting if you are surrounded by clutter, but persevere.    It can help if you can understand the reasons *why* you are experiencing a clutter problem.  This can be due to many factors such as family, time, over shopping, the list is endless - you need to see where the problems are and work on fixing them. 

To start this exercise, use a notebook and write down the problem areas in each room.  For instance, if your wardrobe and clothes drawers are overflowing - perhaps you need to reassess your wardrobe all together; you have magazines piled high under the coffee table - why are you holding onto these?.  While you are doing this exercise, it is important not to forget areas such as the garage, the dreaded junk drawer, and any areas that are out of sight.

Step Two: Create A Plan
Once you have discovered where the main areas are that so cluttered, it is time to find solutions for each area.  Address each area separately and create a plan that will help you tackle sorting through the clutter (what to keep and what should go), cleaning the space, what tools or storage items you will need, reorganising the space and most importantly - how to keep that space clean and organised.  Solutions are easy - you can donate unwanted items to charity, sell them on ebay or dispose and you can purchase additional perhaps more efficient storage solutions.

Plan how you are going to store things - do you need containers, hooks, shelves, labels?   Most importantly - are these storage systems going to be practical.  If you are finding this difficult - a Professional Organiser can always assist you.

Find the best solution to the clutter/organising problems that annoy you the most.  Research on the internet, ask friends about their suggestions - the most important system to implement however, is a system that is going to work for you and the people who use it.

Step Three: Put your plan into action! 
Unless you have a very large amount of time spare, de-cluttering and reorganising is going to take time!  The best way to tackle this is to perhaps allocate a few hours a day if you can spare it, or even a week to work on getting rid of the clutter and reorganising your spaces. 

You might even like to plan a weekend where you can enlist the help of your family - more hands, less work.

With any big task however, it is advisable to break that task into smaller chunks - you will get through it quicker and retain your motivation.

Step Four: Maintenance
Once you have de-cluttered and reorganised your home - allocate an amount of time per day/week to maintain it.  Taking five or ten minutes a day to put things away, quickly dust, wipe down surfaces will leave you more time on the weekend to enjoy your life instead of being bogged down with household chores.  Now is the time to develop good habits when it comes to clutter - be ruthless.

You may find that certain systems/storage ideas don't in fact work - now is a fantastic time to change this to something that does work. 

Good luck!

We would love to hear from you - share your experiences with de-cluttering, what worked for you and what didn't...

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Setting Up An Effective Filing System...

Do you have an effective filing system? Chances are - if your filing system is too complicated, you're not going to use it.


Whether you decide to set up and use a filing cabinet or arch lever files - you need a system that is going to work for you and the people who need to use it.


Some questions that you need to be aware of before setting up your new filing system will help you set up the best system to suit your needs. Consider the following:


• What are the items that you need to file?
• Who will be using these files?
• How often will the files be used?
• How big will each file be?
• How will the files be used?


There are three main steps to setting up an effective filing system:


• Categorising
• Choosing a Filing System
• Labelling


1. Categorising
All homes and businesses have different types of paperwork that needs filing. It is a really good idea to set up categories before you even begin to set up your new filing system.


You will need main categories, as well as sub-categories. For example, a "main" category may be "Pets" with your sub-categories being manila folders for each pet. For example "Fluffy", "Pebbles", etc.


If you will be using a filing cabinet system, your main category will be clearly labelled on the suspension file, with your sub-categories being stored in clearly labelled manila files that you will keep in the main category suspension file. Remember to label everything neatly and clearly.


If you choose to use the level arch folders to set up your filing system - use a different folder for each main category, and set up dividers inside for each sub category. I have noticed this way of filing to be more time consuming with having to hole punch paperwork and handle the folders - but as I have said earlier, use a system that suits *you*.


2. Choosing A Filing System
There are a few ways you can go here:


• Chronological (Date/Month Sequence)
• Alphabetical (Alphabetical Order)
• Numerical (Numerical Order)


All methods have pro’s and con’s – it really depends on what you will be filing and what works for you!


3. Labelling


• Label your suspension files with your main category using the clear tabs that match your files.
• Label your manila folders with the sub-category - it's a great idea to put your label on the right hand side for easy identification


TIP: Your filing draw or folder shelf should not be over loaded – if everything is squished and packed in too tightly – you are defeating the purpose and you won’t be able to find anything.


Don't be sure - we would love to hear from you and your tips and systems that you have set up?  What challenges did you encounter?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quick Tips To Getting Yourself Organised

Are you feeling frustrated, stressed and anxious due to clutter and disorganisation taking over you life?  Well, there is no time like the present to get yourself and your surroundings ORGANISED! 

Organised means being able to find items quickly, it's not just about being neat and tidy.  Spaces that are organised are much easier to use.  If you are not inclined to be naturally organised - beginning with one small step at a time is best.  Start with one small area and build on that as you help create your new organising habits.  You can always call in a Professional Organiser who are trained to help if you find it too difficult.


It's a good idea to de-clutter and clean out your belongings before even considering getting yourself organised with new systems, storage and furniture.  If you do it back to front, not only will you waste valuable time - but money too.  It is also a good idea to "de-clutter" on a regular basis. 

Some good questions to ask yourself when going through the de-cluttering process are:
  • Do I really need this?
  • Have I used it in the last twelve months?
  • Could someone else use this item more than I?
Don't Put It Down - Put It Away:
Once you have de-cluttered and set yourself up - you need to get yourself into the habit of putting things away - not just putting it down wherever you feel like.  For instance, when you come through the door - don't just put your keys down - put them in a designated place each time.  You will thank yourself when you are in a rush and can find your keys without tearing the place upside down.  This goes for pretty much everything - your mobile phone, bills, etc.

Use A Calendar/Planner:
Introduce the use of a calender into your daily routine where you can refer to it every day.  Your calendar can remind you of things that you need to do when  you need to do it --- no more late fees on those library books, your bills can be paid on time, etc..  You can even go high tech here and sync your computerised diary/planner with a smart phone - that way you will have your planner with you no matter where you are.

Save Time By Combining Similar Activities:
Do all of your errands at the same time, do all of your shopping in one trip instead of two or three, pay your bills at the same time --- this will not only save you time, but also some of your hard earned cash.

Don't Rely On Your Memory - Write It Down
Keep a notebook in your handbag - any appointments, ideas, notes that you need to remember can be written down so you don't forget.  Smart phones also have many functions and "apps" that can help you record notes, numbers, etc when you're on the run --- embrace technology.

Make Lists:
Make a "To Do" list for your day ahead.  Mark tasks off as you complete them - this will not only help you stay focused, but will also help you prioritise.  Don't forget to be flexible - interuptions and unexpected things WILL happen.

Follow Through:
Be disciplined and stick to your to-do lists and complete the tasks you've set out for yourself.  Eliminate distractions and try not to procrastinate.  Set yourself goals and allocate an amount of time to complete them.  Keep to your agenda.

Post It Notes:
Post It's are a fantastic tool for "reminders".  Put them on mirrors, computer monitors, doors, etc to stop yourself forgetting something important.

Tip:  Always ensure that you have what you need for the day ahead with you.

Tip: Keep all of your surfaces clear and free of clutter - this helps reduce mental clutter and will help you feel instantly calmer --- this doesn't mean that you can just shove clutter in draws (out of sight out of mind) --- refer to my previous point of "Don't put it down - Put it away".

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tips For A More Organised Handbag


I know that my bag has at times been so full of clutter that I have been too scared to put my hand in there just in case I was bitten by something poisonous!  We have all been guilty of it at one time or another.

Save yourself the embarrassment and frustration of having to tip the contents of your handbag out in public just so you can find your keys or your lipstick and declutter your hand bag today!

Step One: Empty the contents of your handbag onto the counter and clean the inside of your bag with a damp cloth.  Now is the perfect time to fix any tears in the lining and get rid of all the rubbish that you have accumulated in it. 

Step Two:  Organise your bag.  Now would also be a good time to purchase a bag organiser - you can get these from any storage store or even ebay.  They are a great investment and they will help you spend less time trying to find your lipstick.  Alternatively, you could use little containers or ziplock bags to categorise your essentials.  Assign spaces for everything that you need such as keys, makeup, phone, and other items.  This will make it much easier for your to maintain an organised bag.

Step Three:  Is it really necessary?  Do you carry items that you could perhaps store at the office such as make up, lipstick, spare pair of shoes?  Storing these items at the office will make more room in your handbag and make it lighter for you to carry.

Step FourClean your bag out on a regular basis - or better still - don't store junk or rubbish in it at all!  Take your receipts out and file them on a daily/weekly basis.  Make sure that you only keep what is absolutely necessary in your bag and it will save you time and stress in the long run.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Container Containment...

Hands up who has a really messy and unorganised container cupboard - where lids don't match - you can't find what you need when you need it and you're frustrated by just looking at the state of the mess?  We have a step by step guide to help you get this part of your kitchen sorted, once and for all, with some handy tips along the way!

Step One: Empty your cupboard and wipe it out with a clean damp cloth.  Make sure that the cupboard is dry before reorganising.  Now is a good time to put down some contact to make keeping the cupboard clean easier.
 
Step Two: Sort through your containers and lids and match them up. If there are lids and containers that you do not use or match - get rid of them!  There is no use holding onto it just because you think that you may use it one day down the track.  Chances are that if you haven't used it in the last twelve months - then you won't use it.   Be ruthless!

Step Three:  Start organising!  You may have to play around a little until you get things right, but there are some fantastic organising items that you can purchase these days that will help you get your containers sorted.  I've listed a few below:
  • Racks and Baskets that fit inside your cupboard
  • Lid Organisers
  • Wire Hangers - that can hang over your cupboard door which can give you more storage space.
A great place to check out is Life Storage and Organise (http://www.lifespace.com.au/) - they have many storage solutions or even Ikea.

Container caddy's like this one pictured to the left are great and don't cost too much.  I picked one up from The Warehouse a few years ago and find I use it constantly!

Tip:  You will have more room when you match up your lids and containers and organise them in hanging racks.  

Tip:  Ensure that the cupboard will close when you are adding any new shelving systems and racks BEFORE you install them.

Tip:  Put matching sets of containers together - it will be easier to find the container you need when you need it!

Tip: Organising won't help if you have too many containers - downsize if you need to - go on, be ruthless!

Step Four: Stack your containers together, ie - round with round, square with square.  Begin with the largest on the bottom, and work up to the smallest being on top.  If you have the space, it will make it easier if you make multiple stacks.  It is a good idea to keep the matching lids with these containers by nestling them into the side of the containers if they will fit.  Otherwise - keep them nearby or in a lid organiser attached to the door.  This will of course all depend on the space you have and the amount and type of containers you own.

Tip: Collate the small containers by storing them in a larger container - this will make them easier to access and find.

Step Five:  Stay organised - don't go back to the old way of just tossing lids and containers back into your cupboard.  You'll thank yourself in the long run!

Tip:  Store less frequently used containers, such as cake containers, in another location - this will give you additional space and room to move.

Tip: Round containers can waste valuable storage space - try to stick to rectangular and square containers.

Now it's your turn - let me see *your* container cupboard!  And don't forget to share any tips that you may have for turning that messy frustrating cupboard into something you'll love and actually use...
  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tips For Cleaning & Reorganising Your Refrigerator


Cleaning your refrigerator out on a regular basis will not only help your fridge run more economically - it will also be easier to find exactly what you need without having to rummage through an unorganised mess.

What are you waiting for?  Get to it...


Step 1:  If your fridge is in a real mess - begin by emptying all the contents.  Use an esky to keep your items cool while you clean and reorganise.

Step 2:  Remove the shelving in your fridge and clean the interior and shelving with soapy water or if it is extremely dirty or you have stains, use a small amount of bleach (not too much).  Wipe dry with paper towels before you put them back in.  Don't forget the exterior of the fridge and the seals.

Step 3:  Dispose of anything that has passed the use by date in the rubbish or anything that looks a little dodgy. {Remember there is a difference between best before and use by dates}!

Step 4:  When you put the items back into your fridge - make sure that you have items grouped together so it is easier to access and easy to know what you are about to run out of.    This is also a great time to wipe off any containers or jars of food.

Step 5:  Clean your fridge out on a regular basis - weekly, or at least fortnightly.  Your fridge will thank you for it!
Tip: Keep an open box of baking soda in your fridge - this helps keep it smelling fresh and free of odours.

We would love to hear your tips - don't be shy...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tips For Reorganising Your Pantry


Having an organised and functional pantry in your kitchen can not only save you time and money, but also valuable storage space.  

By having a well organised pantry, you will save numerous trips to the supermarket, and time searching for food and other household items.  And if you are organised enough to keep a good inventory of the products that you use on a regular basis - you will save even more when you visit the grocery store.

Step 1:  Remove everything from your pantry and dispose of anything that has passed the expiry date.  It's a good idea to do this at least once or twice a year when doing the end of season cleaning.

Step 2:  Clean all the shelving, doors and walls down and make sure it is thoroughly dry before putting items back into the pantry.  It is a great idea to put down some contact paper before filling your pantry up - contact is easily cleaned and it protects the shelves from any stains.

Step 3: Begin sorting all of the pantry items into categories. While you are doing this, it is a great idea to put the items in order according to their expiration dates so you can reduce waste.  Use labeled containers to keep items fresh.

Step 4: It is handy to group items together for easier access such as your cereals, crackers, biscuits, baking items etc.  Another good idea is to have your heavier items towards the bottom with the items that you need to access regularly at an easily accessible level. 

Another good idea is to visit places like ikea for storage ideas - no matter how big or small your pantry space is, you will be able to find items to make the most of your space.  Spice racks, stackable containers, door hangers can all work to create more space and organisation no matter what the space is that you are re-organising.

Tip:  Keep a paper and pen in your pantry so that you can write down items that you need on your next shop. 

Tip:  If you have children, a fantastic idea is to keep a shelf or a special area in your pantry just for them.  It'll save you tidying up and reorganising after they've whirled through the pantry.

Don't forget that Brash & Sassy specialise in organising - so if the task of organising your pantry is overwhelming or you simply do not have the time - contact us and we can help.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tackling The Dreaded Junk Drawer

We've all had one at one time or another - the dreaded junk drawer, where we throw all the odds and ends, bits and pieces and items that we don't other wise have a place for.

Follow the easy steps that I have outlined below and declutter and reorganise your miscellaneous drawer into something you'll be proud of!

Step One:  Remove and empty the contents of the draw onto the floor or a table and clean the drawer with a damp clean cloth.  You might like to take the opportunity to pop in a drawer liner to keep the drawer free from stains and marks.

Step Two:  Broadly categorise the items in front of you while at the same time disposing of anything that has been broken - the chances of you getting any items that have been sitting in this draw out of sight for so long, is minimal.  Put like things together such as buttons, pens, etc - remember to ask yourself if you really need it!

Step Three: Put items that belong elsewhere away.

Step Four:  Gather some organising tools such as a draw divider, Ziploc bags, small containers and a label maker (or masking tape and a permanent marker).  Start organising your items that you have previously categorised in step two and put them into the said containers, bags and label them.  Ask yourself if you really need these items - a general rule that I like to use is if I have not used an item in 12 months or more - out it goes.  When organising the bits and pieces in the drawer - make it neat and easy to find items.

Step Five:  Be disciplined and keep this drawer neat and tidy and free from junk.  Be ruthless and better yet - eliminate the *junk* drawer all together. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Organising Tools - Must Haves...

As a professional organiser, I thought that I would share with you some of my most used and favourite organising tools that I simply cannot do without.  Don't forget to add *your* favourite organising tools in the comments section below...


Label Maker

I love to label pretty much EVERYTHING.  From files, to spice jars to containers.  Labels to me - make the world go round.  But not everyone has the time or money to invest in creating labels for everything.  However, a great system to use, is to keep a roll of masking tape on hand for labels.  Masking tape is really easy to write on and it sticks to many surfaces. 

Use labels for folders, kitchen containers, even the leftovers that you want to freeze.  With everything clearly marked, it makes finding things in the long run, a lot easier!

iPhone/Smart Phone
My iphone is my life - it has *everything* on it that I need at any given time.  It syncs with the contacts and calenders that I have in Outlook on my computer - making my life A LOT easier in many respects! 

The iPhone also has many useful apps that can make life run more smoothly - there are apps for almost everything these days.  My iPhone has most certainly been one of my best investments.

Evernote
While still on the subject of the iPhone/smart phone --- Evernote is one of my favourite apps.  It keeps notes, lists, pictures, receipes, you name it - easy to use when you're on the run.  They have a free version which gives you many options --- try it out today.

Notebook And Pen
I always keep a notebook and a pen in my handbag at all times.  I find it so much easier to pop down notes when I'm out and about and away from my office without having to remember to pop them down when I get home.  Or scribbling it on a scrap piece of paper and then losing it. 

Important information can then be transferred to the appropriate place when you get back to the office.

Post It Notes
I absolutely LOVE post its.  But then again - I love almost everything that comes out of a stationery store.  Post it's are GREAT for using as reminders around the office or house.  You can use them in so many places - on boxes, magazines, containers, in the fridge - there is no limit!

To Do List
I would be lost without my to do list - and this will have to be a completely different blog post entirely - but I find that having a "To Do List" helps me prioritise my time and spend that time productively.


Enough about my favourite organising tools - I would love to hear from you.  What tools help you to get and most importantly *stay* organised?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Update...

As many of my current clients are well aware, I am presently down with a serious spinal problem at the moment.

I hope very much to be up and at full capacity again very very soon.

For new clients, please still feel free to contact me - if I am unable to complete the work for you, I can recommend other businesses that can help you.