Blog

Focus on what you can control, forget the rest!

If you didn't quite get to everything you wanted to do in January, don't fret. We have the advantage of being at the start of a new month and every day brings a fresh opportunity to renew your focus and begin something.

You may know of this concept but I think it's amazing and wanted to share it with you in case you've not come across it before. It's an amazing mindset trick that puts you thoroughly in control of your goals.

Have you found you get stressed out by all sorts of things? Maybe some of these:

  • the jobs you didn't get done around the house last year
  • what will happen now that we've left the EU
  • the mounds of paperwork taking over your kitchen counters
  • your environmental impact
  • your partner's messy bedside table
  • the state of the economy
  • how you never have enough clean shirts on a Friday

Don't stress - use your zone of control!

Often we experience stress when we lack control, so the key to reducing your stress lies in focusing on what you can control.

Think of these three elements:

  1. Zone of control (blue) - the things going on here are within your control to change
  2. Zone of influence (white) - you can influence the elements within this area but you cannot personally control what happens here
  3. Zone of concern (green) - you cannot control or influence what happens within this area
Zone of Control diagram

You can reduce your stress levels by focusing your energy on the elements within your Zone of Control, those things that you can personally change. For example, you can make sustainable purchases, recycle and reduce your energy consumption to lower your impact on the environment. You might go further and change to renewable energy sources, choose to walk more often rather than use your car and so on.

How can we use this mindset at home?

When it comes to our homes, we are busy, have other things to focus on and often live with other people (or pets) who create mess too.

If you are getting frustrated with the state of your home, you could try taking action on the things that are within your control, such as:

  • decluttering and organising your side of the bedroom (often when we get organised this rubs off on others as they notice the benefits of our efforts)
  • organising your paperwork and start to manage it regularly so that it doesn't pile up
  • adding a weekly 'light load' diary reminder to ensure that you have shirts
  • helping your child practice tidying and giving away toys they no longer use (important skills for the future!)
  • create zones with accessible storage so that things can be tidied away easily when finished with

What other things can you do to organise the things within your control?

So the next time you feel stressed...

Where can you take control?

And remember ... let go of the things that you can't control!

(Yes it takes practice but it's worth it!) ;o)

Easy January Organising Challenge

Here's the secret to easy January organising!

Are you feeling ready to get organised after the busyness of Christmas?

All you want to do is create some calm, space after the busy energy generated by decorations, visitors, present opening and everything that comes with Christmas celebrations.

I know the idea of having a good sort out doesn't necessarily fill you with excitement. And it's true that often you end up making a bit of a mess before it all comes together.

But the easy thing about my January challenge is you don't need to do it all at once, you don't even need to do it all. You don't need to feel under pressure to work through a big list of tasks even though you are busy.

With my January challenge all you have to do do is pick one thing (it can even be part of a task I've listed, or something else that you feel inspired to tackle).

Pick something that appeals and just have a go!

I promise you, you will feel amazing and be so pleased with the result, you might even want to have a go at another task, maybe!

Kitchen storage

Kitchen Challenge

Simplicity is the key!

Our kitchen is the heart of the home and we spend alot of time here preparing drinks and meals to nourish ourselves and our household and clearing up afterwards.

A cluttered kitchen can make it difficult to do this and the chaos can impact our mood. You know what it's like when you try to prepare something and there is no free counter space to put things down. Its frustrating and makes you want to avoid it. Not only that, but scientists have found that we make healthier food choices in a clutter-free environment.

When you have a clear counter and a good looking space, your kitchen will look inviting (and be much easier to clean) and make you feel that things are in order!

So, how can you achieve this?

  • Aim to keep counters clear. If you want to keep a few items out on show, make sure that these are items that you use regularly and/or LOVE
  • Arrange your kitchen for lazy people! Put the things your household uses regularly in easy to reach places and other less used items in harder to reach cupboards and shelves
  • Sort through your food stuffs, dispose of any out of date items, donate anything you are unlikely to use before their BBF date. Store packets in containers by category and stack cans by category and labels older items near the front. This will make it easy to find what you need for a meal and avoid food waste
  • Sell or donate those gadgets and utensils that you don't use, or where functions are duplicated. You don't need a blender if your food processor can also do this function and don't need a coffee grinder if you rarely drink fresh coffee
Corner Chair and plant

Lounge Challenge

And relax!

The lounge is the place we go to relax, to read, watch TV, hang out with family members and maybe pets. We want it to be a haven of calm and relaxation not a dumping ground for chaos and stuff that doesn't have a home.

Think about what you'd like this relaxing space to look and feel like and imagine what it should look like.

  • Now zip around the room removing everything that doesn't live in your ideal lounge
  • Donate/sell/recycle anything that you don't need (including old DVDs, music and computer consoles you no longer play)
  • Display the things that you love
  • Create spaces for those things that you do love or use, on shelves, in cupboards or elsewhere in the house depending on where you will use them
  • store similar things together close to where you'll use them - books by your favourite reading chair, DVDs near your DVD player
  • Have a box, basket or drawer in your lounge for remote controls and other bits and bobs that you want to be able to access but don't want to clutter the room

 

Bathroom storage

Bathroom Challenge

This is arguably the easiest room to tackle because there is unlikely to be any memorabilia in here. And you either use the products or you don't! ⁠

Gather everything from surfaces and cupboards and have a good look through. ⁠

1) Before you do anything else it's worth checking expiration dates. Items left open too long won't be as effective and some could harbour germs - check the labels for advice. You'll want to use these up ASAP or dispose of them as appropriate. ⁠

2) Then let's have a look at categorising them. Group them into those you use daily, weekly, monthly and those extras you've bought in bulk for later.⁠

If there are a few of you in your home, you may also want group them by person.⁠

3) Keep only the daily and weekly products out on a nearby surface or cupboard so that you can tidy them up easily. Use containers like the one in the pic (I used a fridge container) for all or for each person to keep them together and looking neat.⁠

Those monthly products and bulk purchases are needed less often so they can go away in cupboards out of sight. ⁠

Towels and bathroom storage
Laura Wardrobe organising

Wardrobe Challenge

Give yourself the gift of a great start

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? ⁠

That's what it can feel like when you're under pressure to get ready for the day and are faced with a wardrobe of chaos.⁠

Give yourself the gift of an easy start each morning by organising your wardrobe to make it easy to find what makes you feel fabulous.⁠

What to try:
1) If you have time for a good sort out:⁠
- empty your wardrobe onto your bed and sort clothes into categories⁠
- review each category of clothing, filtering out items that are worn out, ill-fitting and you just don't love to wear⁠
- put aside items that you wear rarely but expect to wear again in future, considering size and style (e.g. ball gown, wet suit etc)⁠
- if you are unsure whether you will wear an item, return it to the wardrobe and make a note in your diary to review it again in x months⁠
- return items, organising into categories⁠
- turn hangers away from you and as you wear items turn the hanger towards you - you'll easily be able to see what you have not worn next time you review your wardrobe⁠

Some people organise by colour so that they can coordinate outfits quickly, others organise by occasion (work, casual, going out) and others prefer to hang items by fabric (thinnest to thickest). All work perfectly well, you just need to find what works for you.⁠

2) If you don't have lots of time:⁠
- have a cursory look through your wardrobe and pull out anything you know doesn't fit, you don't like to wear or is worn out⁠
- sort your clothing into categories as above⁠
- turn hangers away from you and as you wear items turn the hanger towards you - you'll easily be able to see what you have not worn next time you review your wardrobe⁠
- diarise another review⁠

If you like what you've read

 

Please help me share the organising love with your friends on social media!

Three Top Organising Principles

I was asked to share my top tips recently and jumped at the chance to share these top three organising principles.

These principles are so effective for helping you to get organised and keep on top of your clutter because they make you intentional about how you manage your things!

 

1) Have a place for everything.

One of the key reasons we get into a muddle is because we don’t have a home for our things so they are left lying around or put down in a spot to deal with later, and later never comes. As we know clutter attracts more clutter, and before you know it, your counters or floors are a mass of things that don’t have a home.

Make sure you decide on a home for the items you want to keep so that you and others in your household know where to return them when finished with. If you know where it goes, you’re more likely to return it to its place – whether that’s straight away or when having a daily tidy-up. You also know the first place to look when you need it again!

 

2) Store the things you use most often in easy to access spots.

Ofcourse this makes complete sense when we think about being able to find things as you need them, but the real reason we want easy access is to make it easier to put them back!

If you need an item, you are quite likely to get a stool out and climb up to a high shelf to get it, but you are also more likely to leave it out because you can’t face the effort needed to return it. You may think to yourself, I’ll need it again in a few days anyway so what’s the point in making the effort? That’s a recipe for clutter just there!

Make it easy to put away, and you will save yourself the clutter and a big tidy-up job later.

3) Review your things regularly.

Often we don’t even remember what we do have. Possessions get hidden behind other things, those items we use infrequently get forgotten and if we can’t find something, we may even purchase another when we need it. A regular review of your possessions (not necessarily all in one go!) is an invaluable way of understanding what you have and ensuring that it’s accessible. If it’s no longer needed, this also gives you a great opportunity to remove it from your home – selling, donating or recycling as you go.

The One in, One out rule is a helpful prompt for this review. Each time you buy something new, move an item on. It could be a similar item such as a when you replace a jumper or bathroom towel set, or it could just be another unrelated item of a similar size. The key is to maintain (or even reduce if you wish) the number of possessions in your home so that you don’t become overwhelmed with a build-up of things over time.

If you like these ideas, sign-up to receive for my Five Free Super Kitchen-Organising Ideas direct to your inbox.

Six steps to your post-summer declutter

It’s the end of the first week after the summer holidays, the weather is changing and thoughts turn to the last quarter of the year. It’s a good time to clear away the summer clutter and make room for your final goals of 2019. But it can be hard to know where to start so let’s think about how you can create more space in your home and your life with these 6 steps to your post-summer declutter.

You could sweep around your home, reviewing each room and removing the things that you no longer need but this can feel too overwhelming so try these 6 steps to work your way through your summer clutter systematically. Focusing on the items that you typically use during the summer means that you’ve recently used them (or not) so it will be easy to make decisions and you won’t miss them during the autumn and winter months. Work through these steps, tackling the bulkiest and easiest categories first to create lots more space for you and your household.

Why is now a good time to declutter?

Now is the perfect time to declutter! You've had a busy summer, spent lots of time outdoors, spent time with the family and less time in your home. You may have been away and accumulated lots of new things along the way. It's a great opportunity to review your things when you've recently used them. The weather is still fine (most of the time) so you have outside space if you need it. The light is still quite good and you still have some energy in the evenings. Make the most of it!

Where should I start?

Good question! I'd start with the bulkiest items or the room you use the most. Dealing with the things that take up the most space, or that are taking up space where you want to live, relax or sleep, that are well worth the effort and will make you feel motivated to keep going!

How can I make decisions/what should I ask myself?

Some things are really easy to make decisions on, some not so easy.

I'd suggest you look at the item and ask yourself....

  • Have I used it this summer? Or do I know I will next summer (e.g. you have a Scuba holiday planned for next year)
  • Am I likely to need it in the foreseeable future?
  • Does the ease/cost of replacing it when I next need it, out-way the inconvenience of storing it in my home?
  • Could I borrow it from a friend of relative next time I want one, rather than storing this?
Camping

Try these six steps...

Now we've tackled those questions, lets get started. These steps are easy to crack on with and will help you clear out the summer clutter. Who know's you may even catch the decluttering bug and tackle some of those other projects too!

  1. Start with seasonal items that you are no longer going to use. Clean, review and pack away your camping gear, sports equipment (such as scuba). Pack away suitcases, pop plug converters, wash bags, smaller travel bags inside the suitcase ready for your next trip
  2. Now move onto items that you’ve used over the summer and think about what you’ve not found useful. We tend to have more picnics over the summer so you’ve got a feeling for the containers that you’ve used and those that have not been used very much at all. Sort through lunch boxes, food containers, drinks flasks, and travel mugs, pass on any that you didn’t use this summer and don’t foresee using in future
  3. Review towels and bedlinen, donate any that are worn out or haven’t been used. Keep only enough for your household, allowing for wash cycles, and the maximum number of guests you are likely to have at one time
  4. Look through your summer wardrobe; shorts, t-shirts and swimwear, donate anything that you didn’t wear this summer. You may still wear some summer clothing over the coming weeks, but have a think about how you wish to store these clothes when you are finished with them. You might move them areas that are more awkward to access (high shelves or lower drawers) until next summer
  5. Review your summer shoes, sandals, trainers and donate any that you’ve not worn, dispose of any that are damaged
  6. Pass on or donate those summer reads and any books that your children have grown out of. Take the opportunity to review the shelves in your living space to simplify the visual landscape too.

These first steps are a great way to clear your space and freshen up your home for the autumn months. Good luck!

Would you like help getting organised?

OrganisedWell is Laura Williams. Read more About Me or How I can help you to manage your possessions and get better organised.

Discover how the Apps I love could make you better organised

All the Apps you need to be better organised are in the palm of your hand!

If you have a smart phone, you have a small computer in the palm of your hands and a fantastic opportunity to use Apps to help you be better organised.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to use my phone to stay organised wherever possible rather than collect bits of paper to lose and clutter up the place!

I hope that I can save you a little time, effort or stress each day by sharing the Apps that I love (ofcourse there are others available).

Audible - Audio book app

I'm not good at making time to read and have to regularly sort out the books I've bought but not read. Then I discovered Audible; what a game-changer! I can sneak a chapter in whilst walking to town, driving, hanging the washing out, tidying round the house... you name it!

Wishlists are great for queuing up the books I want to read and it's so easy to take a number of books on holiday without taking up space. I love that I can re-read chapters or books that I've enjoyed. And the best bit - storing my books is so much easier. No more overflowing book shelves and no piles of un-read books cluttering up the house!


Just so you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Be Focused - focus timer & goal tracker

You may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique - which provides a simple tool for improving productivity. The technique involves planning and prioritising your activities, breaking them down into 25 min chunks with a 5 min break.

This app is a great for planning, timing and reviewing your activities.

Podcasts

Ok, this isn't quite an app but wow what a world you can open up using your phone's podcast application.

Whenever I'm doing a physical task that doesn't need concentration, and if I'm not listening to an audio book, I'll often listen to a podcast or two. There are some great dramas, quiz shows, knowledge shows, specialist and inspirational podcasts available to start your day or keep you motivated.

Flora - Focus app

My hubby uses this lovely app to help him avoid being distracted by his phone at times when he wants to focus.

Plant a seed and it will gradually grow while you focus on what's important. Resist using your phone and see your tree grow and thrive!

Bonus print

I take a million photos on my phone and although I upload them to a drive regularly, I've wanted to find an easy way to print photo books for ages.

I dread the idea of sitting down at a computer and putting together elaborate books, but then I discovered this app and used it to pull together a quick book of our holiday snaps. It was really easy to do and within a week of returning we had a lovely book of memories.

All I need to do is go back over previous trips and do the same!

SimpleMind app

If you love a good mindmap, you'll love this app. Mindmaps are great for creating and remembering all sorts of plans, notes and ideas in a visual format.

I love that I can now create mindmaps on my phone. They are crisp, easy to manage and flexible so I can make amendments as I need to.

Stocard

This app really enabled me to significantly reduce the amount of stuff that I carry around with me - I even do away with my handbag on many occasions.

I store my store cards and most membership cards including National Trust and the library on the app. Now I have all the cards I need, even if I'm visiting a shop I rarely go to. If it has a barcode or a QR code it can be saved - you can even add a photo to easily identify it in your app.

I have found that some stores scanners don't always like the phone screen but you can always key in your card code manually.

Between this and Apple pay it's now really easy to travel light and still have all the cards I need whenever I need to!

What do you think?

Do any of these sound helpful for you? Are there any other Apps you've tried and love? Share your experience with our community in the comments below!

Would you like help getting organised?

OrganisedWell is Laura Williams. Read more About Me or How I can help you to manage your possessions and get better organised.