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The Perfect Time to Organise Children’s Things

The school holidays are the perfect time to review your children’s toys and clothes.

As you all take a breath after the chaos of the term-time routine, you will start to spot the things that your children no longer need, have grown out of and fallen out of love with.

The holidays provide a great opportunity to remove those old toys, unloved items, out-grown books and clothes. Whilst you could whisk some things away while your children are at nursery or school (and I have done this myself occasionally), it’s good to involve them, engaging them in the task, methods and reasons why it’s good to pass things and important to help them create healthy habits that will stay with them into adulthood.

You will help your growing child to make room for new hobbies, new toys (as birthdays come along) and  new interests and it’s a great activity to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day.

A good organising session will also mean you’ll all go into the new term feeling lighter, clearer and better prepared.

Organising our possessions is a valuable life skill we can teach our children - Laura Williams

It can feel daunting but involving your children in the activity gives them:

  • A joint activity to do with you
  • The ability to find what they want to play with easily
  • A sense of responsibility for their own things
  • Skills that will stay with them as they grow
  • Some appreciation of the toys they have
  • Ability to share their things with other less fortunate children
Baby dolls

In the same way you want to be engaged, enjoy activities and understand why you need to do them, so do your children.

How you engage them twill depend on their age and their personality, so here are 10 ideas to try:

  1. Explain what you are going to do together and why
  2. Make it fun with a game, playing music or having a race
  3. Create a competition with a prize for the most well organised room
  4. Talk about children less for fortunate than themselves and get them to imagine what it might be like
  5. Get them to make a list of their most favourite toys so that you can ‘protect’ these
  6. Show them that they will be able to find the things they want to play with more easily
  7. Explain that you’ll be able to store toys close to where they want to play with them so it’ll be easier to play
  8. Ask them to look around a messy room and ask them how it feels, get them to imagine what it would be like if there was clear space to play on the floor, do crafts or dance about 
  9. Show them videos, pictures from websites or leaflets from charities that support children, explain that these children don’t have any toys and will love to receive one of theirs that they no longer need
  10. Explain that there is not lots of room in the house so it’s important than when we no longer need something we give it to someone else to enjoy. Give examples of things you’ve managed in this way

Before you embark on your organising session make sure that you are ready for a declutter first:

  • Get boxes ready for charity donations, recycling and rubbish
  • Choose a room or area (such as area of room, a cupboard) depending on the time available
  • Think about how you are going to remove the items you’ve sorted out from your home before someone find them and changes their mind

Once you’ve decluttered and know what you want to keep, organise items by category, storing them where they’wll be used.

See part 2, coming soon, for storage ideas for children’s clothes and toys.

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser

 

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

Five ideas for staying motivated!

Now that January has come to a close is it starting to feel really hard to stay motivated? Here are my five ideas to keep you on track.

January is the ultimate month for new starts, but is your motivation waning?

Now that January has come to a close is it starting to feel really hard to stay motivated? Thirty-one days of good intentions and tested willpower can take their toll. Could those new plans, resolutions and amazing transformations you wanted to make be at risk as we head into February?

Well they don’t have to be! If you’re struggling with your motivation, I hope that sharing the little things I’ve tried to keep me motivated will help you keep going to achieve your 2019 goals. I’ve been inspired by my fitness journey over the last year but I think there are some valuable lessons for getting started and keeping going with home organisation projects too!

I hadn’t worked out for a while and I was feeling lazy. The problem was; I’d stopped my routine and had lost all motivation. I’d fallen into a routine that was comfortable; I quite liked being in with my family every night, hanging out in front of the TV and not having to get up early for gym classes. At the same time, I felt guilty for not doing anything to stay health but it felt like a big task to try to fit workouts into my schedule again. I didn’t really want to get out there in the cold or get up stupidly early for a class and I couldn’t really face it.

Go on, Eat the Frog!

I knew I needed to get creative, dig deep and just get on with it before I regretted my decision to not take action forever! I tried the following tactics to get motivated and you can too:

Accountability – I committed to a personal trainer friend before Christmas that I’d follow a schedule and although I’d stopped, I recalled my commitment and this really helped. If you want to start an organising project tell someone, tell everyone, what you intend to do and by when. If you feel ok with it (you may be not be entirely comfortable) make a public declaration on social media or contact someone you know will hold you to your commitment.

Get clear on your goal – when I get stuck, I think about why I want it, what will I gain and what the end result be, I visualise the finish line, the crowds and the amazing sense of achievement I’ll feel so that I know what I’m aiming for. For your decluttering project, you need to see the result – imagine the room you want to work on without the excess stuff in it. Walk around the room in your head, what will it look like, what will it feel like to be in that room, how will you be able to use that space? Why do you need this now and what difference will it make to you and your household?

Get inspired – 

Believe you can and you're halfway there! InspirationalQuotesGazette.com

I’ve watched documentaries about amazing people who run ultra-marathons. I don’t ever intend to do that myself but if it’s possible to achieve such amazing things with the human body surely I can manage to run for 25 minutes!

Read a book, find images or quotes that make you feel positive about your process or watch a film or TV show like Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up series to see what’s possible.

I love sharing beautiful quotes – follow me on social media by clicking on the links above and here.

Create a plan – with target dates or deadlines – I decided I want to exercise 2-3 times per week but keep my weekends free. I plan ahead each week and put the time in my diary so I know when and what time I’ll be exercising. You could create a plan outlining the actions you need to take, decide what date you want to be finished and block out time in your diary for the activities (preparation, decluttering session(s), charity shop runs etc) you need to carry out to complete on time.

Gain Support – I agree with my husband the days that work well for him to do the school run, and what commitments he has, so that I can easily plan my exercise routine. I regularly run with a friend so am committed to helping her keep fit and I ask my husband to give me encouragement when I’m tempted to cancel a session. When planning your declutter task, ask for help – ask a friend, family member or find a local Professional Organiser to help you. If you don’t need anyone to help you, you may still want someone to give you encouragement, enquire how you are doing and give you moral support when the going gets tough is great help.

You don’t have to do this alone in-fact you’ll be so much more successful if you visualise your success and draw on others to support you. If you need expert advice or practical support, I’m here! Call me on 07970 989955.


About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life.
I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

How to start your New Year declutter!

It’s a New Year and a great opportunity for a fresh start. If you’re keen to be better organised this year you’ll need to start with a New Year declutter; let me show you how!

If you’re keen to be better organised this year you’ll need to start with a New Year declutter; let me show you how!

Welcome 2019; it’s a New Year and an opportunity for a fresh start! Clearing out the old, unloved items and things that are no longer useful is a great way to set you up for the year ahead. You will gain more space, greater clarity and focus, a calmer environment and become more conscious about what you bring into your home. You will also save yourself time, money and effort finding the things that you do need.

 

What is decluttering?

Decluttering is the process of removing the possessions that are piled up or stuffed in drawers and cupboards, filling your home and your head with physical and mental noise, but no longer adding value to your life. Think of the items that are no longer useful or loved, old or broken, that you know you should do something with but haven’t got to or can’t face making a decision about.
 
A great way to set yourself up for change is to tidy away the old and pass on the things that you no longer need.

My 5-step guide to starting your New Year declutter!

Before you start any practical work, you need to get clear on what you want to achieve and why. Try to visualise what you want your home to look and feel like. What benefits will this change bring you and your family? This vision will help to guide your approach and keep you motivated when it feels hard!

  1. Prepare your space; make sure you have some space to spread things out in front of you. Have bags ready for donations, recycling and rubbish.
  2. Start with a small task that will be easy to achieve or feel like you’ve made a difference. It may not seem worth it but starting small gives you the fundamentals for good organisation.
  3. Your pen pot is a great place to start. Pens clutter every room but you can never find one when you need it. It’s a quick task and will save you time everyday. Zip round the house and gather all pens in one place. Pick up each one (therefore connecting with each item) and test it’s value (does it still work/do you love it?)
  4. Practice your decision making skills – if it is no longer useful or you don’t love it, can you foresee needing to use it in the next 6-12 months? If not, someone else could benefit from it; do you want to sell or donate it?
  5. For items you choose to keep, decide where it should live in your home. Giving it a home will enable you to tidy it away easily and find it again when you need it
Congratulations you’ve achieved your first declutter task! It may not feel huge but you’ve started on your journey. Celebrate! Go for a walk, have a cup of tea, read a chapter of your book (guilt free). 
 
 

Now pick another small task and repeat! 

Here are 10 other quick declutter tasks you might like to try.
  1. Kitchen cutlery drawer
  2. Underwear drawer
  3. T-shirt drawer
  4. Under the bed
  5. Desk drawer
  6. Cupboard under the sink
  7. Bathroom cabinet
  8. Towel cupboard
  9. Shoe collection
  10. Coats
 
If you struggle to get started or staying motivated ask for help. A friend or relative may be able to help. If you need expert advice or practical support, I’m here! Call me on 07970 989955.
 

 

 

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

Call me today!

How to avoid overwhelm this Christmas

Do you feel under pressure to create the perfect Christmas? You don’t want to feel completely overwhelmed and reach Christmas eve stressed out. Try these ideas to help you stay in control and avoid feeling overwhelmed over the next few weeks.

Ah Christmas, that special time of year where we slow down, contemplate the year that's past, give thanks, spend time with family, sing carols, eat turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy cheeky drinks with friends.

Are you looking forward to Christmas as we head into December, feeling calm and in control or are you starting to feel the pressure?

Do you want to create the perfect Christmas? It should be a magical time, full of wonderful memories and a time to enjoy well earned treats, shouldn't it?

But at what cost? You don't want to feel completely overwhelmed and reach Christmas Eve stressed out. You deserve to enjoy yourself too, to have a nice time and be present to enjoy time with loved ones.

You could try these ideas to help you stay in control and avoid feeling overwhelmed over the next few weeks.

  1. Stop! Doing more, faster and working late into the night may get you there eventually but it will burn you out in the process, making you stressed and taking the enjoyment out of it for you and your family. Make a little time to stop and take stock...
  2. Make quick lists of everything that is spinning around in your head - To do lists, people you want to give gifts to, Christmas card list, food shopping – get everything out of your head and on to paper (or your phone). Then let it go. You don’t need to remember everything now but won’t risk losing sight of all those important things. Now you don’t need to wake in the night worrying that you’ve missed something
  3. Breathe – take a moment to re-centre yourself. Find a quiet spot, sit and close your eyes. Take a few minutes to listen to your breathing (don't try to control it, just observe), calm your thoughts, watch them pass by you but don’t explore them. Keep bringing yourself back to your breathing and focus on how your body moves naturally as you breathe. Do this daily if you can, it will help ground you and bring clarity and calm to your busy mind
  4. Strategize – it may not be possible to do everything you would like to do in the time available and it will stress you out trying. Noone wants you to reach Christmas a frazzled mess so you need to be strategic. Think carefully about what is most important to you this Christmas – for example, it might be having a nice time with family, it might be focusing on your beliefs, or making time for community. Now go through your lists and prioritise. Pick out the things that align with what's most important and down-grade those that don’t - if you don't get to these it's ok (cross them off if you are really feeling ruthless!)
  5. Be efficient with your time – buy gift vouchers for experiences and treats that friends and family wouldn’t normally get for themselves, bulk bake biscuits or other treats – handmade goods are always special, send e-cards instead of physical cards or make a donation to charity instead of sending Christmas cards, give the gift of your time – what about a New years walk in a beautiful location

Less is more - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Remember, the best thing you can do when all feels overwhelming is stop for a moment. Refocus and think about what's important. You'll be much clearer on the priorities and feel more in control.

 

For that person who has everything - give the gift of calm space and more time.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays however you spend it!

 

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

Call me today!

How to organise paperwork

If you have yet to find the best way to manage your paperwork, I’m writing this just for you! Paperwork is a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be the cause of so much clutter! The good news is, it is possible to keep it all under control if you dedicate a little time to setting yourself up with a simple system so that you tackle it as it comes into your home.

If you have yet to find the best way to manage your paperwork, I’m writing this just for you!

Paperwork is a fact of life but where does it come from and does it have to cause so much clutter?

Like death and taxes, you can’t get away from it! Anything from owning a gadget, to holding a bank account, store card or mobile phone, being employed, having a family, running a home or car, all generates paperwork! And that’s the important stuff! Then there is the paperwork that just arrives without cause or invitation; the leaflets, marketing materials, menus, catalogues and magazines that come through our doors all the time!

Do you also generate your own paper? I know I do; hand-written notes, printed documents, tickets, itineries to take to events, because you may need them, or simply because you prefer to read a real document sometimes.

In a bid to hold on to paperwork that may be useful, you stash it in a drawer or file it in away but it soon mounts up.

According to US National Association of Professional Organisers:

we don't look back at 80% of the paperwork that comes into our homes

Searching through mountains of paperwork to find that one important document you need is so frustrating!! At best it can cost you time searching, at worst it can cost you the price of a holiday when you can't find your passport!

The good news is, it is possible to keep it all under control!

And it's not that hard to manage if you dedicate a little time to setting yourself up with a simple system so that you tackle it as it comes into your home. Make sure you take 10 mins every day to do the following (don't just stack it up to deal with 'later'!)

  • Open envelopes and sort out the useless paperwork
  • Recycle envelopes, leaflets, menus, instruction manuals (unless you intend to sell items in future) and anything else you can find online
  • Take action:
    • add any key dates and appointments to your diary
    • schedule payments, make phone calls, book appointments
    • login to your online banking and other accounts and indicate that you’d rather receive online bank statements
  • Once actioned, recycle or shred the document (unless you need to take the letter along to the appointment, e.g. hospital appointments)
  • If you don't have time or can't take action straight away - assign one shelf, basket or noticeboard for the paperwork that is Waiting to be Actioned

Then each week tackle your Waiting to be Actioned pile - ensure you go back to this location every week and take the actions needed (perhaps it's a Saturday breakfast-time job)! Once the task is complete, file, shred or recycle the document

Now you've got a system set up to take tackle your paper clutter each week, it's time to sort out your existing paperwork

  • Prepare - Choose a table or floor with space to spread out, grab a recycling bag, shredder and a folder with dividers
  • Gather all paperwork from around your home
  • Sort through it, shredding, recycling or filing
  • File the documents in sections in your folder

Don't forget to use a system that is as simple as possible but feels logical for you - afterall you need to use it!

If it's a huge task, do this for each room, then bring everything together in one and have another pass and it.

I've created an Important Paperwork Checklist that outlines sections and lists all the documents I'd want to keep safe to refer to in future. It offers a guide to how you could organise your filing and the types of documents you might file. I'm sure there will be other important documents that you'll need to refer to or keep as evidence for something and you need to decide whether to keep them. If in doubt, keep it and gain some advice!

What are you waiting for?

So get started and do let me know how you get on! I love to hear how you get on with my tips.

 

By the way, just so you know, I'm an Amazon Associate so I earn from qualifying purchases. 

 

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

We provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. We specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see our services or get in touch.

Call me today!