Friday, November 28, 2008

Disorganisation @Home

I recently responded to a blog on the Neat And Simple Living Cafe

Still trying to learn how to insert links! :(

So, how come I am so organised at work but not so at home?

I didn't dare dwell on them for too long because I really didn't want to get into the psychological connotations but summarised like so:

1. I am very territorial so 'a place for everything & everything in it's place' is my motto along with 'borrow what you need & return it - otherwise risk getting your hands chopped off!'
2. I hate clutter so I work in a neat environment & tidy up at the end of the day
3. I have a routine for daily/weekly/monthly/annual to dos in order to be productive with the rest of my time
4. I am accountable for my actions -> work not done=boss not happy=losing job=:o(

Same as 1,2 & 3 BUT I am not accountable. Hubby & kids can't sack you, right? RIGHT????!!!

It basically comes down to this: at work I am in control of my surroundings & outcomes but at home, I have to share my surroundings and not everyone likes, agrees or works in the same way.

There has to be a compromise. I have discovered that this usually leads to some form of clutter, reduced productivity & disorganisation because I am not totally in control.

Do I sound like a control freak & perfectionist? HELL YEAH!!!!

Something wrong with wanting a neat, well run home with spare time to enjoy well prepared family dinners & outings? Or to spend some quality family time before the kids totally abandon us for their own friends & entertainment? Am I asking for too much?

No wonder I feel like I may have ADD! Hmmmmm, might go to the quack & get it checked out!

What do you think causes your disorganisation @Home

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Decluttering Frenzy

It was my daughter Lisa's 20th birthday on Sunday and we had arranged for a family get-together to celebrate the on-set of her Tweeny years.

I had decided that this year, there would be no home cooking (my mum usually takes control of this), instead we would have 'Pizza (a) metro'. This is gourmet pizza made in 1/2 meter lengths as opposed to the traditional and uninteresting round pizzas.

With the main food all under control, the only thing left was the salads & dips to prepare - prepared by my mum because dad grows his own vegies :-)

A vision of my mum going to the pantry for spices, oils & vinegars and then searching through the cupboards and drawers for appropriate strainers,bowls & salad spoons set me off in a cold sweat!

Mum & I work quite differently in the kitchen. I clean up as I go along whereas mum likes to do it all after she's finished preparing a smorgasbord of dishes.

And that is what sent me into my decluttering frenzy.

I didn't want to be constantly showing mum where I keep things, or discover that I had run out of essential items. I just wanted us all to have a relaxing and fun time.

It was then that I realised that my kitchen was not 'user-friendly', it was only functional to me (not a good idea when you want the kids or hubby to prepare meals)!

I was only going to do a little 'buzz clean' - the utensil drawer, the essential pantry items & salad cupboard. Instead, I went all out and decluttered the whole damn kitchen!

What a lunatic, what on earth was I thinking??? How on earth can I contemplate doing this AND the rest of the housework & laundry the day before a party?

I enlisted the help of (reluctant) kids & hubby and we managed to get it all done - and with time to spare!

Now I will be the first to admit that this is not normal. Decluttering should not be attempted in this manner.
But then again, those who know me will tell you that I am truly unique LOL. Below is how I should have done it.

Easy decluttering:

1. Baby Steps
Start with a small or problem section/area, don't beat yourself up hoping to do the entire kitchen

2. 3+1
3 boxes + 1 garbage bag - 'Sort' box, 'Put Away' box, 'Return/Donate' box + rubbish bag

3. Timer/Clock
Set at 15 minutes

4. Action Plan
Set yourself a realistic goal & time frame for what you want to achieve

5. SPAM Method
Empty the contents of drawer, cupboard or shelf and place 'like' with 'like' items


Put loved,used & required items into 'Sort' box
Put items belonging in other areas/rooms into 'Put Away' box
Put borrowed, no longer used, unwanted items into 'Return/Donate' box
Put all broken, mouldy, expired items in rubbish bag & throw out immediately


Organise all items in the 'Sort' box into the cleared space, keeping 'like' with 'like'
Return all items in the 'Put Away' box to their appropriate areas/rooms
Return borrowed items and thoughtfully donate what's left in 'Return/Donate' box


Regularly review & purge to maintain your organised space

6. Reward
An organised and efficient space to show off !

A Fine Mess!

I can't begin to count the many (unsuccessful) attempts I have made at clearing clutter and 'getting' organised....way too painful!

Many weekends I have exhausted myself with my 'cleaning rampage', overwhelmed, knee-deep with piles of stuff that required sorting, making last minute dashes to Howard's Storage & Officeworks for more containers and manila folders, tearing hamstrings whilst de-cluttering and trying to convince my children that divorcing their mother was a COSTLY (if not drastic) excercise!

Yep, I have gone through the paces & failed every time.

So, how does a person, whose personality relies so heavily on structure & order, end up being so disorganised?

Read any book on clutter, organisation, time management or psychology and you will find there are different personality types, disorders, symptoms and situations that lead to this fine mess.

For most people, it's one or two of these things.

I, on the other hand, don't like half measures. No, I need to go ALL OR NOTHING!

I had the scarcity belief drilled into me by my parents so I would constantly hoard, I was forever bringing things home from the Salvo's rather than taking stuff there, I would defer making decisions and made matters worse by procrastinating, and probably a touch of ADD if I bothered to see a shrink!

My Motto: If it couldn't be filed/sorted/put away perfectly then it would have to wait until it could.

Add to this lovely mix, a family business in crises, skewed work/life balance, children & family commitments, poor self-esteem and you have a recipe for disaster.

Through trial and error, I have realised that you just can't 'get' organised, you have to become organised.

I have also learnt that there is no set style of being organised. It's personal and should be tailored to work for the individual.

Just like there is no manual for parents, there is no manual for becoming organised - YET (stay tuned).

I have taken affirmative action - I am reclaiming control and have started becoming organised.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Organised Days

Bought myself a new timer from Officeworks today.

I have applied the '1 in/1 out' rule - I have a new digital timer with all the bells & whistles (1 in) and Mum will now inherit my egg timer so she can make Greek Coffee without over boiling & spilling it (1 out).

If the family thought I was anal before - you should have seen the look on their faces when I proudly displayed my new toy!!!

We all fear the unknown, they just happen to fear how they could co-exist with my new digital friend - LOL.

In order to ensure the longevity & well-being of my time-keeper, I had to convince them BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT (imaginary &/or real) that they would NOT be answering to any beeping demands.

No, the real reason for my purchase is that I am trying to better organise my days.
I know what it is that I need to do, I know the order in which I need to do things and I also have set routines. What I don't know is how long do my routine tasks take? Where do I lose time? Where can I make up time? What tasks are counter-productive and how long do they really consume?

So, I have decided to track all my activities and estimate how long it will take to complete each and every task for 1 week.

Week 2, I will actually time these activities and compare against my estimates - wonder how many surprises I will get?

At the end of this excercise, I will be able to identify:
exactly how long each activity takes to complete
which tasks I could group together in order to streamline & save time
which tasks can easily be outsourced (darling children & hubby won't like these ones)
how much time I actually have left for ME!

'ME' time is very important for me. Not only because I get to pamper myself (something that I have almost forgotten how to do), but because it means I can give more of me to my family.

I will be able to be a relaxed taxi-driver for my son from soccer to movies to friends, catch up on girl gossip with my daughter whilst enjoying her love of the cafe culture, watch TV with hubby without a nervous twitch, have coffee with my mum & dad without rushing, visit my sister and my adorable nieces whilst totally oblivious to housework, prepare a fun dinner with my brother........

ME time is Quality time.

How do YOU account for your time?

Are you doing all the things you want to be doing?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Time Management & Being Organised - Part 3

Upon arriving home, Jen & the kids unload the grocery shopping. Jen dumps the mail on the kitchen bench and the kids leave their school, dancing & soccer bags on the hallway floor.

Hunger pains are starting to kick in and focused eyes are scanning grocery bags for snacks.

During dinner, the family catches up on how their day was, what school work needs to be done, which bills need to be paid and all the school-yard capers during lunch time.

After clearing the dinner table and stacking the washing machine, Jen is absolutely exhausted and chills out by spending some time with her husband and kids watching a bit of TV. The kids quickly lose interest and the girls head off to the computer to 'chat' with friends whilst her son switches on the PS3.

As there is no set bed time, the kids need some prompting to 'brush up & get to bed'. Depending on the mood swings and energy levels, this could take between 1-2 hours before the kids are finally in their rooms, another hour or two before they are finally asleep!

Jen reflects on her day......

'Phew! What an exhausting day. No wonder I don't have time to do join a gym. Probably don't need to with all the exercise I get during the day!!!'

This is decision making at its best or should I say worst?! How different would Jen's day be if she decided to plan her day the night before?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time Management & Being Organised - Part 2

With the chaos behind her, Jen goes to the local shopping centre where she will buy some groceries for dinner. She browses the shops for any sales or new products that she may like.

It's past mid-day and Jen needs lunch before she can even contemplate grocery shopping, so she stops at a cafe and has a leisurely lunch. After all, no nagging kids to put up with and she still has plenty of time before collecting them from school.

As Jen is walking through the supermarket, she is trying to remember what is in her pantry, what she needs to replenish, what she will prepare for dinner & therefore what she needs to buy. She plays it safe and buys cold meats & dairy products, fruit, treats & snacks, cleaning & bathroom products (just in case) and roast beef & potatoes for dinner.

Queuing at the checkout, panic sets in as Jen notices she has only 5 minutes to get to school to pick up the kids and take the girls to dance classes & her son to soccer training!

Risking life & limb, she maneuvers the shopping trolley that seems to want to go in the opposite direction of her car, quickly dumps all the grocery shopping in the boot of the car & heads off to school to pick up the kids.

Running 10 minutes late, the girls arrive at dance class & do their warm up amidst disapproving looks from their teacher whilst her son is getting dressed in the car for his soccer training.

No time for that roast tonight Jen says to herself. Take away will have to do.

Time Management & Being Organised - Part 1

This may come as a shock to some of you, but being organised isn't about having all your "stuff" in containers, stacked coloured boxes or labeled shelves!

Paper work & clutter can reproduce and manifest just as easily in the strongest containers & most colourful boxes as well as on any counter tops & floors.

Whilst the reason for the initial clutter and its treatment may vary, the success to being organised is based on Decision Making and Effective Management of your Space & Time.

Sounds simple doesn't it?

So why do we struggle with clutter and constantly complain that we don't have enough time in our days?
Why are we always running late or stressing when we can't find our keys, mobile phone, tickets, books, permission slips.....???

Why can't we manage to finish our project, housework, reading, shopping, errands and have time left over for leisure and to do the things that we really like to do?

Case In Point:
My friend Jen has three kids - two girls and a boy (9, 10 & 13 years old respectively). She is a SAHM (stay at home mum) and her kindergarten duties are well and truly behind her so her days are totally hers to do whatever she likes with them.

Every morning Jen has her coffee before the the kids get up & the morning madness kicks in.

There is no time for breakfast amidst the usual arguments as to who is wearing who's clothes, how long each is spending in the bathroom, questions of 'where is my soccer socks, dance tights, locker key, permission slip, school bag, THE favorite jeans......'

Jen ignores their battles as she's got a battle of her own - 'where is my mobile, house keys, make-up bag, purse....?

Eventually, the kids are rounded up into the car, the bickering is halted as Jen chastises them for not being ready in time & blurts a brief lecture on responsibility and preparedness. The kids are eventually dropped off at school 15 minutes late.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to SAN-y-T

WOW! My first post - I'm thrilled to bits!!!!!

Welcome to all the neat freaks, clutter busters, organised nazis, time management bandits and anyone who cares (or dares) to live a simpler life!

The inspirational photo below was sent to me by my sister, Dim.

Thanks sis, I will use the inspiration and think of you when I write xox.

Professional Organiser

Frozen Cherry Trees

Frozen Cherry Trees