Friday, September 21, 2007

Building the Business of Organising

Being a Professional Organiser is a fun occupation. It is also incredibly frustrating at time. I spend a lot of time talking about what I do, I always get interesting responses, some include.

* The Blank Stare: Normally reserved for incredibly organised people who wonder why people would need a Professional Organiser.
* The loud laughter: Either very organised or embarrassed about own level of clutter.
* "I know someone who could use your services" : great, but I will only help them if they are ready to get organised and declutter.
* "Boy, do I need you or what?" - Great call me and I will get you organised.

Today my dilemma is what actually stops the "Boy I could use your services" group from making an appointment. I am looking at innovative ways to let people know that by calling me they will achieve more in a 2 hour consultation then they would working on getting organised on their own for 10 hours. A client of mine calls this the 5 x leverage. She is sure she achieves 5 x as much when I am working with her. The she assures me this multiple works with how great she feels after having an organising session and how much more she achieves for a period of time after the session.
This client also assures me I do not charge enough for my services, as the value of my services are greatly underestimated by people who have never used a Professional Organiser.
This is all fantastic, but how do I equate that to converting the "I need you services" to actual clients.
We looked at the "Traffic" analogy, being disorganised is like driving on a 4 lane freeway with 2 lanes closed, traffic gets through but it is slow and sluggish, having a session with a Professional Organiser results in the closed lanes being opened, creating a fantastically clear flow of traffic. This clear flow last for weeks after the session, drivers feel better and they get to where they are going much quicker.
Now imagine that in life, I can make that difference to peoples lives, homes and business's and I do this on a regular basis. But man I am ready to do it for more people. I am ready to grab those "I really need your services" people and show them what the clear freeway looks like.

So what stops them from actually taking the step, I suspect it is:
* too confrontational - having someone help sort through belongings
* Embarrassment
* Too hard

I am not naturally organised so I fully understand where my potential clients are coming from with any of these feelings, but boy if I had a "Wendy" to call a few years ago, I would have swallowed my pride and done it. The I would have managed to get organised in weeks or months not the years that it did eventually take me.
What a Professional Organiser should be able to do for you is encourage you, motivate you, support you and give hands on help to clear any area of your life that is disorganised. This is done in an empathetic non judgemental manner. A good Professional organiser is not there to judge you, but to help you open those other lanes on the freeway. One thing my clients do say is that I am approachable, down to earth and even fun to work with.
So I am here putting all these thoughts out there so that all my potential clients can see the benefits to their time, life and sanity in getting some help in to tackle the issues. If anyone has any innovative suggestions in getting this message out there, please let me know, email me and for those of you that have been wanting to call, go on pick up the phone or email me and make a time to clear that great freeway we call life.
Have a blast of a weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a difference 2 hours makes

Some people ask "How long does it take to declutter a space?"
We;ll the answer is not cut and dried, however last Thursday I worked with a client and in 2 hours we had her office go from chaos to clarity.
It can be surprising what can be achieved in 2 hours if you are focused and determined to get the job done. Also the pay off for doing the job is huge. My client last Thursday has told me since that she loves the space and is getting things done in it.
How did we achieve so much in such a short time?

The steps we followed were.
* Have a box ready for recycling papers.
* Rubbish bag for non recyclables.
* Then begin to sort through and action all the items in the room you are working on.
* Try to avoid the temptation to bypass tricky decisions.
* have a tray for items that require action.
* Make an appointment with yourself to spend an hours actioning the items in the action tray with 48 hours of the declutter session.

That was how we dealt with Jennifer's office on Thursday, I am calling her later today to see how her "Action Appointment" went this morning.
This was achieved within 2 hours, and I will be posting Before and afters on my website later today.
So if you need to declutter a space, call me. We can achieve a lot in 2 hours together as a team.
Happy sorting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I always knew it....

For the last 4 years I have been confident that there is a market for a great Professional Organiser in New Zealand. However tapping into that market has been really difficult. As I am sure it is in any business.
It seems I have finally tapped into it and broken the deadlock in my business.
I love speaking in public, media and presenting so I am really working on that part of my business. As part of Nation Organising Week, 3rd-9th September. I arranged a FREE workshop titled, "So you need to declutter!", well my oh my the workshop has opened the floodgates. I have had to put on 2 workshops to meet the demand. So will be in front of 80 people over 2 evening.
This is wonderful, as I have this workshop set to go as a longer session with workbooks etc, so once these 2 are over I will begin to advertise my seminars monthly. The cost will depend on the topic, length of presentation and the audience.
I have also secured some great media coverage, including "Breakfast" on TVone as well as "Close Up", the "Sunday Star Times", "Metropol" "NewstalkZB" and "Otago Daily Times". I have a real passion for helping people to become more organised and have lives that are less stressful and generally improve the quality of their lives using simple strategies, finally that passion is beginning to pay off.
It is incredibly hard work, but boy am I buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm, as it is so great to make a difference.
So I will keep you posted as the business of my seminars develops. Also I would love to meet some of you at them, I am going national with these. So if you read my blog comer and say Hi and introduce yourself.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The best laid plans.

As many of my regular readers will know I have 3 fantastic kids. Every Sunday in winter my husband and I try and get them up the mountain for a ski day. So part of my Saturday jobs is to remind the kids to get all their Ski gear laid out for the next morning.
As a Professional organiser I find that giving people responsibilty to handle their own organising issue. So by getting my kids to be responsible for getting their clothes ready is one of these steps.
Imagine my surprise and laughter when we arrived in the car park at Mt Hutt, with only the boys (as Grace was busy winning a Computer Competition at Canterbury University), had left their Ski Pants at home. How did they manage this, you may ask. Well it seems that the previous week they had decided to keep them in their room, not with the ski gear that all stays together week by week.
As we wake early 6.30am to go skiing the kids travel in the car in their under ski wear leggings, so they boys jumped out of the car in their leggings, and declared. "Where are our Ski pants MUM.....they are not in the bag? To which I helpfully replied, "they will be wherever you left them, and given I reminded you to get your gear ready last night, I do not think it is my problem!!!!" harsh I know, but please how many times can a person be reminded and systems be put in place before people catch on.
Suffice to say they will not do it again.
We managed to hire 2 pairs of pants and they happily skied of for a session with there Sunday ski instructor "Teeny".
However on the organising issue. We went to the desk and paid for our pant hire and were pointed in the direction of the clothes hire area. we stood there with 4 others for 15 minutes. Eventually I just grabbed 2 pairs of pants off the rack, threw the docket on the desk and we went skiing. At the end of the day we returned them to the still unmanned rental desk, and went home. It was incredibly frustrating, as these mountains charge big bucks for their ski passes and hire etc, then to be wasting so much time because they do not have enough staff to get the CUSTOMERS kitted up is really frustrating. if we had not helped ourselves, we have no idea how long we would have waited, as any staff member who happened by in the time we waited were not interested in stopping to serve people. I just hope the other 4 people in the queue eventually managed to hit the slopes on what turned out to be a glorious day up the mountain.
And boy's, don't forget your pants next week.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Your Home Your Sanctuary.

I had a fantastic session with a client this morning, we had 2 hours looking at her master bedroom and wardrobe organising issues. She felt this area in her home was not as organised and enjoyable as it should be.
Some of the issues that we identified during the session were.

* Things being stored in the bedroom and wardrobe that belonged somewhere else in the house.
* Keeping things way past their usefulness date.
* Having work papers and items in the bedroom area.
* Not storing items of interest from magazines and newspapers in a practical usable manner.

On the whole her home was beautiful and very organised, as was her Master Bedroom and Wardrobe. However by going through all the items in the room and wardrobe and then categorising them. She is now able to only have in her bedroom things that belong.
I reminded her that your bedroom is your sanctuary, and you should fill it with things that make you feel great and relaxed.
So in order to have that sanctuary the items that did not belong, like work papers and items, memorabilia and photo's, clothing no longer worn and books that where not of a relaxing and enjoyable nature need to be moved out of there.
These other items need to have a new home found for then in the home, and then the bedroom is restored to its original purpose, rest and relaxation.
Our home should be a place we can retreat to and feel relaxed and warm in. It is our sanctuary. So make space in your home for you and things you love. Get rid of stuff that makes you feel stressed and bogged down. You deserve to have a fabulous home and sanctuary, so take the time to make it possible.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Business wish list

I spent a few hours this morning with one of my favorite "Life Assets". Her name is Jennifer and she is extraordinary, every time I visit her we get such as buzz of motivation and creativity. We were discussing what it is we really want from our lives and our business's. As we both know that we can have and do anything we put our minds to.
Jennifer remind me that, I rarely write things down. Which is true, I hold things in my head. It works for me and I have forgotten one thing in about 10 years. However Jennifer reminded me that, if I write it down it becomes concrete, tangible and most importantly achievable. So I figured if it goes in my blog I can add accountable to that list. As if it is here every time I blog, I will see my list. So here goes:
* 5 Organising Consultation clients per week.
* Be the Presenter on one Television series about being Organised.
* Have 1 Totally Organised Seminar per month - 100 participants @ $75 per head for a 3 hour seminar.
* Regular Paid speaker engagement from clients (minimum 2 x per month)
* Publish my 1st book (Title is a secret), and then have a series of books published.
* The Number 1 ranked Professional Organising Website in Australasia.

This list is by no means finished and at present focuses purely on my business. So I also have a personal list that I need to write down. I may share that with the blog later.
Now the fun begins, I need to put those words into action and make the plan to reach these goals that I have set.
This is where the organising comes in. These things will only happen if I put them out there and then follow the path to reach them. As a Professional Organiser some say I should find this easy, so I will. I will do this by planning my strategy, surrounding my self with the right people and energy, "Just do it", love my family and myself, and model my actions on those who are already achieving great things.
From the practical side this means:
* Scheduling my life accordingly - make appointments with myself to do the things that I need to do.
* Network - Get out there and blow my own trumpet.
* Plan my Website and find a creative like minded developer to implement it, and SOE.
* Find suitable venues for my Seminars and book them for 1 session per month for the next 12 months.

See even the organiser needs to be organised. I will be sharing with you the stories of my 5+ clients a week and how we solve their organising issues. Also I will let you know the publication date of my book, which at the moment is in concept stage, I have a title and Chapters sorted, not I need to fill the blanks.
So I will see you all soon as I head off to start my I WANT LIST becoming my I HAVE list.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Hard Yards

Some days as a business owner are really exhilarating others are just plain hard work. I have had my business for 4 years now. It has been through a few changes, including a name change from "More than Moving" to "Totally Organised Ltd".

Almost everyday I get an email from someone that wants to start a similar business. I answer these with reasonable basic information as it to fully answer this would take me an hour each day. This is an hour as a business owner I do not have.

Maybe that is the opening for a new blog, how to have an Organising business, then I can direct those emails there. I am the President of AAPO (Australasian Association of Professional Organisers) and many of those queries come from that source. Sometimes I feel like answering "If you join AAPO, then you have access to all the resources that answer those questions", but try not to be so blunt, LOL..."

I guess the one thing I do communicate to all these queries is:

* It takes commitment and dedication, without those do not waste your time.

* Having your own business sounds romantic, but you are it, and you need to have contingencies for illness and holidays.

* Don't forget your significant others.

* Jump in both feet first. No point trying the water with just your big toe. You are either serious or you are not.

* Embrace your competition; Sometimes they can be your best ally and sounding board.

* Set your goals - and set them high. Write a business plan and follow through.

I spend allot of my time working "on" my business. making contacts, networking, planning, researching and preparing. This means when I am "in" my business, dealing with clients doing hands on organising, I am well prepared and up to date with the information and strategies I share.

Today I have been working on the "Terms & Conditions" of my Speaking business. I am developing the Professional Speaking side of my business. Ensuring that my potential clients have access to my services and the terms of engaging me to speak is one of my first steps to growing this side of the business.

I have been presenting workshops and speaking publicly for years now, however I have been a little slow to formalise this side of my business. This is what I truly love doing so for me the hard yards are now getting the speaking engagements. So that is where i am spending time "on" so that as the speaking engagements roll in from all over the world I am well prepared and ready for action. I have spoken in Australia and New Zealand so far. I am also MC'ing another conference in Melbourne in October, so the work is there. It is the connecting with it that is the hard yards.

If you are not prepared to do the Hard Yards and work "on" your business, you are not treading the right path.

Maybe I will look at the Blog for those looking to start a business, but for now I will be selfish and spend time on developing my own. There is a thing called Karma, and given how much I share with others when they approach me, I am certainly due for an injection of it sent directly back to me.

have a fab weekend

Monday, August 13, 2007

Joanne and Andy's Blog!

Here is the link to the blog of my clients/friends who have just moved to Christchurch from the UK.

Have a read and see how they are getting along with the excitement and challenges of a relocation.
PS: Thanks for the great wrap in your blog guys ;-)

Relocation Success!!!

I am really sorry for not keeping my promise of daily blogs. My lurgy decided to make its way into by joints and nerves. So I have had a shocking few days, culminating in being sent to the hospital by my GP and spending a day laid up in the Emergency Department.

I am home now and happily taking mega doses of various pain meds, anti nausea meds and anti-inflammatory.

It is amazing when the body finally says enough is enough. You must slow down. I have had a few days in bed now, and emerged today to get some work done.

Despite this the organiser has been around and doing her job.

Late last week I was working with a fabulous couple from the UK who have just relocated. My role as the organiser was to collect them from the airport, show them around Christchurch and then Shortlist some homes that suited their requirements for purchase.

We had a great day touring town and homes on Friday (Me under the influence of pain meds) so I am thrilled to report, that I must have done my job well and they have bought there first Kiwi home.

So congratulations to Jo and Andy on this exciting purchase and the beginnings of an exciting new life in Christchurch. This success is down to communicating with my clients leading up to their arrival, listening to them and gauging interest and reaction. Then I search accordingly and try to organise viewings of homes that only fit their specific requirements. By having the home purchased within 5 days of landing in Christchurch is a great success for me.

When I work with relocation clients I can usually read whether they will buy a house. These guys tricked me as I initially did not think they would buy the home they did. I reviewed my assessment later on Friday after we had seen a few more homes and declared "I think we have found your home". I have a hit rate of about 9/10 with this feeling so am glad my record is not too tarnished. The majority of my relocation clients who are purchasing property usually find the home on the "home search" days we spend together. The one that did not found another house but through and agent I introduced them to. So it definitely a service well worth the investment for the client, and I only use Real Estate agents I know and trust, I also refuse any payment for referrals. This keeps me impartial, as I am working for my clients, and it is their needs that come first. This has stood me in good stead with my clients and they all thank me for the fact I am impartial and really care about what they are looking for.

Well I will sign off there, it is great to have a success even while under the cloud of illness. Oh and organisers life is never dull or boring.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Panic Stations

The Otago Daily Times is doing a feature on "Professional Organisers" on Saturday. A great guy, Nigel (Happy Birthday for yesterday) made contact and interviewed me. So this is great, and a real boost for the industry here in NZ. As Professional Organisers are a rare breed that people don't really know about here yet.

Anyway, he needed a photo of me. My usual mugshot would not suffice, so he requested a "better" shot. That is where I panicked. I had to cancel my appointments today due to this awful lurgy that has been hanging around too long, so having my pic taken for publication was the last thing I wanted to do.

I summoned my friend and neighbour, Aly ( , to rush over to take a pic of me at my desk, pretending to work. I had a rushed shower and put some makeup on then tried to smile through the pain of my lurgy, LOL. The pictures were not to bad. Luckily being a Professional Organiser my office was in a condition where having a pic taken was not too bad.

So always at the ready, I managed to make my way through having these pics taken, they were not rejected (surprisingly). So I have done my bit today for increasing the profile of Professional Organisers in New Zealand. Oh and for the record, I do not always look as bad as I do in the picture...........

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Who Organises the Organiser?

Someone has asked me an interesting question today.

"Who Organises the Organiser?", I laughed when this question was email to me in the context of how much I achieve in my time.

As for the answer, I am really not sure. Allot comes back to the people I have around me that keep me accountable and motivated to achieve the things I set out the achieve.

I have said before I am not naturally organised, and I often struggle to keep my own busy home and family organised. When I was feeling particularly snowed under once, I called on Saskia Clements. This women is an amazing "Coach". I had Saskia come to my home and walked around with me while I moaned about the things I did not like about my own home. We sat together and then came up with simple strategies I could take on board to feel happier in my own home. These were not huge issues, but they niggled me all the same, and having an impartial brain to bounce this off was fantastic.

With the committee work I do, I get energy from the others on that committee. I feel a sense of achievement when we can work together to reach a common goal. I am presently the only Founding Member of AAPO on the committee. The motivation for that comes from the pride I see in the work done by previous founding and Committee members. It is OK to have a sense of pride and ownership for things. So I chose to stay on the AAPO committee in honor of the hard work done leading up to this where AAPO is now.

Some wonder if I know how to say "NO", well yes I sure do and I regularly do. For everything I get asked to do and be involved in I have a process I go through before making commitments. I say NO quiet frequently to requests of me from colleagues, friends and family. People now know that I will not make a commitment I cannot keep, and understand if I do say NO, theyre not afraid to ask me as they know they will get an honest reply. Before I decide I am selfish, I need to know how it will add value to my life and time, and then how it will help others. I guess I am inherently selfish, but to be organised I need to be.

Prioritising is also a key, and I will also delegate where I see it as being appropriate and beneficial.

My family keep me well grounded as to what really matters, and they remind me occasionally. My husband once told me, I am not a hard enough worker to be a real success. I think what he meant was I am not a workaholic, but this certainly does not mean I cannot be a huge success. So like a red rag to a bull I saw this as a challenge. When I pay for his next windsurfing holiday in Maui, he may just eat his words, LOL.

So who does organise this organiser, well I do!!! I also call on my "life assets" to assist me along the way as I need it. I am not afraid to ask for help or delegate 0or even take a day off if I see fit. I love tacky TV shows and even make time for that in my day, as it is OK to have small vices. So long as they do not dominate and begin to have an impact on achieving my goals, we have recently banned TV before 8pm in our home, this is working well for me and helping me achieve more in my time.

I guess the key is that I am OK with having a break, asking for help, sharing my plans and success's and also saying NO when it is necessary. I have slip ups and I have areas that could use a bit more organising, but I know I have resources to call on when I need them, when I am ready to have my own organising session, which is every 3-6months to keep me on track.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Organised Relocation

I had a lovely day today, easing back in after last weeks flu. Which is still hanging around unfortunately. But the show must go on.....
I am assisting a couple to relocate from the UK to NZ, this is one of the many services I offer through "Totally Organised Limited". We help smooth the way for people moving to Christchurch from other places. Finding homes, cars, schools etc.
So I spent a nice morning sourcing some of the requirements for my clients who are arriving on Wednesday.
Firstly, I was able to spend a little time checking out the Mini Coopers as they are the car of choice for this couple, and then going to the nice gyms about town that have a "Steam Room". Christchurch is a great city and to spend a morning on these types of tasks can be very pleasurable.
The life of a Professional Organiser is not always dust and clutter. I love the relocation service we offer. It is an amazing way to check out the local real estate without having to spend my own money. It is a very sociable job as well.
On Friday I will spend the day with my clients showing them around Christchurch, places of interest, suburbs that suit their needs and other essential services. We have a leisurely but productive day getting to know each other and then we can spend a little time down the track narrowing down their real estate needs as well.
All in all making for a smooth transition from the UK to NZ. I have used a relocation service myself when my family moved from Sydney to Brisbane in 1999, it was a great investment and made the move so easy (I had 2 kids under 4 and was 8 months pregnant), saving me from wasting my time and getting on with the task at hand with an expert to guide me.
So if you or anyone you know is ever planning to move to a new area, do some research and see if there is a helping hand in the form of a relocation service at the other end to help make it a smooth move.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Surround Yourself with Great People

After the funny and long week I have had. I was lucky enough to spend this morning with an amazing group of people who never fail to inspire and motivate me.

These are my fellow committee members of NSANZ, Christchurch Chapter. (National Speakers Association New Zealand) This morning spent brainstorming and planning has reminded me of the importance of being around people who make a positive difference in my life.

Often we regard the clearing of clutter to mean, getting rid of Junk and stuff from our physical spaces, like home or office. However today I have resolved my self to get rid of some of the people clutter in my life. Luckily for me there are not too many people I do not enjoy being around.

So what is people clutter, you may ask. People clutter are the people you spend time with that drain your energy, sense of humour and resolve. We all know people who are always negative have a real victim mentality and generally are not pleasant to be around. These people are what I will now term as "People Clutter" (I think I should TM that term post haste).

This morning I was with a dynamic group that are the complete opposite of People clutter and who should most definitely be collected and nurtured as long time friends and associates. That is because that particular group of people make me feel good, actually they make me feel great. I always leave any NSANZ Christchurch meeting with a sense of "I can do anything" I am always motivated and fuelled to accept any challenge that is thrown my way.

So I am going to nurture those people in return, they will become my "life assets", because they are valuable to me.

I have many people in my life who I see as my "life assets", these are family, friends, work contacts and passing acquaintances who have made a positive impact on me. So a huge thank you to all my fantastic "Life Assets" out there, and I certainly will endeavour to become a "Life asset" to each and everyone of you.

I am excited about this revelation, and I know it is nothing new and experts have said surround yourself with great people to become great for a very long time. However I intend to expand on this and develop a decluttering service for those of you with "People Clutter" to clear out of your own lives.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Dreaded Lurgy....

Wow, I have discovered when it is I wish I did not have a Professional Organising business.

The dreaded flu decided to pay me a visit this week, and on one of those rare occasions I have been laid up in bed, with the assistance of medication to keep my head above water.

However the business keeps on chugging along with queries and clients and plans that are needing attention.

Thank goodness for email and remote working, as when the meds really kicked in, I could sneak downstairs and attend to those things that needed immediate attention. Such as:

* Working with clients re: a broken oven that needs dealing with while they are overseas.

* Media planning for upcoming National Organising Week.

* Submitting tips and articles for publication on deadline (thanks goodness for spell check or the editors would have fired me this week).

* Planning and approving marketing material.

* Paying bills (that is where online banking is a god send), and banking cheques.

I seem to be coming out of the other end of this lurgy, but still a little worse for wear, but the business of being a Professional Organiser never stops. We need to be organised even when we can barely move or string two words together.

So a big thank you to all those who have had contact with me this week for your patience and tolerance.

Here's to a healthy7 and productive week next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Making of a Great Session.

Well I have had a great Organising day. I worked with a fantastic client who was motivated and committed to getting the job done.

That makes such a difference in the life of a PO (Professional Organiser). I did a 5 hour session decluttering and sorting her Garage, getting ready to put her home on the market.

We managed to knock the job off in 4.5 hours. Then the fun began.

The trip to the tip was great and I had managed to discard 180kg of trash and unwanted stuff to the refuse station. As well as this I had items to drop off at the recycle section and also clothing bins.

This was a great day for my client and we managed to make a big difference in her preparation for the open homes and marketing of her property.

As usual, I was ready for a hot shower and a cuppa, but the kids had other ideas. Being school holidays we trundled off to fill the gas bottles, have a late lunch and check out Borders. I was feeling very grotty and "post clutter" but the kids enjoyed the time after spending the morning with the sitter.

Finally at 5.30pm the shower called and the cuppa was replace by a glass of wine. Pizza has been ordered and the life of this organiser is sweet.

Have a fab one

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Get Enertaining...

We all love to have friends around and entertain, and making our home a welcoming one is an important part of that. Getting organised in the kitchen and pantry you will find the desire to entertain Friends comes easily.
Being organised means the unexpected guest will not throw you into a mad panic, and a planned event will be a breeze. Some of the things you can do to be an “Organised Host” include:

Know your best recipes and Menus that never fail. – Choose dishes that have been a success in the past

Have a pre prepared shopping list for those dishes – Print and laminate these lists, including suppliers of tricky ingredients.

Have a Folder to include the Menus and Shopping lists stored with your favorite recipe books.
Try one new recipe a week on yourself – never try a new recipe on unsuspecting guests.

Invest in a recipe book holder – with a plastic or laminate front to protect pages.

Always keep staple non perishable items in your pantry – check every 3 months for expiry dates and freshness.

Ensure your kitchen is “zoned” – Areas are food storage, preparation, baking, service, cleaning etc. Keep each area ready for its designated duty.

Always store like with like – this applies to food, appliance, crockery, cutlery etc

Look to use slide out shelves and racks if you are short on space in the kitchen.

Always stack a pantry with taller items at the back and shorter at the front, so you can see what is in the pantry.

Don’t be afraid to label shelves and containers – makes things much easier to find.

Have a “Entertaining Zone” – This is used to keep together all the items you need when you have guests. Good Crockery, Napkins, Wine Glasses, Cutlery etc. Make sure everyone in the family knows where this is. So anyone can help if you have unexpected guests, as they all know where the “Good” items are kept.

Get rid of things you no longer need, have two of, never use or are broken (chances are you will not get it fixed). Some of these are Old Candles, Scruffy napkins, tablecloths etc, chipped crockery etc
Always have a secret hideaway in your home – This is the place you can hide mess if you do wind up with unexpected guest, and your home is messy. Just remember to get the things out and put away after the guest have gone.

Jennifer Manson from Home Style once told me that “it is the welcome that your guest receives that matters most, make them feel at home and the hard work is done. Never apologies for the state of your home, as this just draws attention to it”.
If you use just a couple of the above tips then you are well on the way to becoming and organised host. So relax and enjoy some good company, which is what really

Thursday, June 14, 2007

ME Time, yeah right!

When we think about being Organised we tend to think of physical space, clutter and being on time. Recently I have been fortunate to take part in an exercise that has made me look at being organised enough to have time to myself. Part of this is making the commitment to value myself and my time.
I have recently begun Boot Camp fitness training, with wonderful results. This would not have been possible though if I did not schedule time for me. I like many of you have a family, friends, work and life to get on with and often neglect “me time”. One of the first issues I was how to ensure I did the work I needed to achieve good results, without compromising the other people and things in my life. The things I have learnt and managed are:
* Remember that having “me” time is a necessity and not a treat.
* Learn to be a bit selfish as the results will benefit everyone
* Open your diary and schedule an appointment with yourself (I did this on day one of the challenge, and put in all gym, training and appointments for the whole 12 weeks)
* Don’t cancel appointments with yourself, unless it involves sick kids or illness. You can schedule other people and things at other times.
* If needed wake up earlier to get an extra hour.
* Give yourself at least 4 scheduled appointments a week, and use them.
* Use your “me” time wisely. Workout, walk, bike, movie, dinner with friends, read a book whatever you want.
* Lastly “me” time is NOT for washing, cleaning, errands, housework or anything else that does not nurture you.
I would love to hear about any success you have with scheduling time for your self, and remember if you have any questions about Organising e-mail me on

Friday, April 13, 2007

Organised Fun with kids on School Holidays.

Well I am playing Mum at present as the kids are on holidays.

I have all but given up trying to keep the house tidy, but we are managing with trying to hard. A good sign for me. What is really important when you have kids at home, wether they are preschoolers or on Holidays is to keep then active and entertained.

This is so much easier if you plan and Organise activities that will be easy cheap and cheerful. Some things you can do to keep the kids amused and the damage to the homefront to the minimum are.
* Explore your neighbourhood - Walk for at least and hour with the kids from your home. Go down streets and paths you have never been down and smile and say hi to your neighbours.
* Find a Park - Go to a park further afield. My kids have a "forced trip" to a city Park 3 x a week in holidays so I can get my "Group Exercise Class" in. They take a ball, or they join in the fitness class.
* Get the kids to do the School holiday Meal Plan - Now my kids are older they get out the cook books and decide what we will eat fro the upcoming week. Make up a shopping list and take them to the supermarket. Kids from age 5-6 can find items and help load the trolley.
* Home based Cooking schools - Set aside a day for baking during the holidays. Do a huge batch of muffins, cookies, cakes etc. Have some on hand and freeze the rest, school lunches will be exciting when they discover their holiday cooking class treats in their lunch boxs. Also if you do this all on the one day, there is only one big clean up in the kitchen.
* Visit local attractions - Become a tourist in your own town. Many attractions have cheaper or free rates for locals. Take advantage of this and explore places only the tourists go. Art Galleries, museums and other attractions are all for the taking.
* Let the Kids Choose - We had a holiday at home once, where each child chose a place (within 2 hours drive from home) to visit for a day trip. We wound up Caving, fishing, picnicing and swimming in amazing parts of New Zealand and came home to our own beds at the end of each days adventure.

So get out there and explore, keep the TV and Computers to the minimum, if you are away from the house you are making less mess. Less to clean up and keep organised more time for fun.
After all that is what life is about!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Book Borrowers Beware!!!!!!!

Something that most people find incredibly frustating is lending out books that never come home. I have been working with a client regularly and one of my "duties" if to help her maintain an increasing library that she loans out to her clients.

There are a few things I have put in place to ensure that this valuable investement is maintained.
* Use of library cards - Each time a book is lent to a client the details are placed on a card and kept in the office. These cards are the same as the cards we had in our school library. The card stays in the book until the book in loaned, then is returned to the book when the book is returned.
* Keeping track of late returns - For your own library you can make a note in your calender when a book has been gone for 1 month, then call the borrower that day and call in the book.
With my client I check the cards and place a note in the client file on a flouro sticky note to remind the client to return the book.
* Categorise your collection - This can be a tricky process if you have a large library, however it need not be complicated. In my clinets case her books fall under specific sub-categories: Relationships, Business, Personal Growth etc. This allows you to see all your books and in a glance you can often tell if a book is missing from its category. I Categorised my clients library in about 45 minutes today, a small time investemnt considering the value of Books.

Books are an incredibly valuable resource and should be treated as such, you know that on average 10 books are worth about $250 New Zealand Dollars. So it is well worth the time and effort to protect them.
Also to all you book borrowers out there who are feeling guilty about unreturned loans. Take 10 minutes now to check your book Shelf and return those books to the person you borrowed them from. They will be thrilled, as many feel awkward about asking "Where is the book I lent you?". Also in future if you borrow a book, make a note of it in your calender and return it no longer than 1 month after you have borrowed it.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welcome to the Organising Guru Blog

Welcome to you all, this is the first post from "the Organising Guru".

I have a wonderful job where I get to help all kinds of people get their lives in order either at home or at work. My Business is called Totally Organised, you can find it at

I plan to share with you some of my more interesting Organising Challenges and how I helped my clients come to a solution.

Sometimes simplicity is the key, and a solution is never far away.

Getting this Blog up and running is exciting for me as I cannot wait to share with youways to become more organised in your lives.

Just so you don't think you are dealing with a Martha Stewart clone, I am not naturally organised and sometimes find being organised quiet a challenge myself.

I have a busy household with kids, pets and a husband all who at times seem to be conspiring to make being organised impossible. So I take it to mean it is OK to not be perfect, not everything will run smoothly and who cares if your beds are not made first thing in the morning.

My type of being organised is about, having time to do what really matters. Like spending time for yourself or with your family. Catching up with friends being social and not freaking out if your home does not step out of the pages of "House & Garden".

My home rarely looks perfect (I'm not sure if it ever has) but it is always open to friends and family, who can come in and feel at home. A friend once told me if your welcome is warm and loving, who cares if their are dishes in the sink. Life is more important than that.

So welcome to my Blog, and also my journey, make yourself at home and enjoy the adventure, join in of you wish and most of all dont stress about getting organised.