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!

Can decluttering be good for your mental health?

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter. I share why I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health.

I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health, even if you don’t have that much.

Google says clutter is ‘a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’. Interestingly we’ve used this term increasingly over the last fifty years.

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter.

Research published in 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience found that clutter means we have too many stimuli in our environment, which can make it hard to focus.

Humans are innately organised but we all have different styles that determine how we feel about clutter. Clutter can cause stress and lower self-image. It can cause anxiety about how and when we will be able to regain control or how others will perceive us. It can also take us longer to finish simple tasks making us feel incompetent.

According to a Lovespace survey:

a whopping 80% of people in the UK admit their mood is influenced by the state of their house with a less cluttered living space making people much happier!

The good news is, we can maintain a less cluttered home by sorting our things regularly and being more conscious of what we bring into our home.

A good decluttering session can feel quite therapeutic because it:

  1. Creates a sense of confidence as we use our decision-making and problem-solving skills
  2. Creates order and control – we only keep the things we need and have the space to organise them
  3. Gives you feelings of gratitude and abundance – you might find lost things, forgotten treasures, things you can sell or give away. All of which makes you feel that you’ve gained or can benefit others
  4. It can lift the weight of guilt, the feeling that things are left incomplete, makes us feel lighter, freer, calmer and leaves us with a renewed sense of ‘home’

Here are five ideas for maintaining a less cluttered home:

  1. Keep a bag in the boot of your car for charity donations. As you come across something that is no longer needed, pop it in the bag. When it’s full, drop it off at your nearest charity shop
  2. Practice the 1 in 1 out rule – anything new coming into the home has to be exchanged from something that you no longer need or love
  3. Treat pending school holidays, birthdays and Christmas as good opportunities to sort out possessions that can be passed on for others to enjoy
  4. Engage the rest of the household in the benefits of decluttering their own things (they will know where to find what they want and they may even make some money selling old things)
  5. Focus on tackling one room and rotate rooms over the year

So what are waiting for… rally your household, pick a room, put some music on and go for 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.

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!

 

My favourite toy organising ideas

Whilst I love having family time and the holidays have been lots of fun, it can be very a demanding and messy time. I’m desperate to create some order out of the chaos and distraction that has been filling my home and my mind! With the children back at school this is the perfect time to regain control and make space for another focus.

Thank goodness! I’ve done the first drop-off of the year, everyone is settled in and I’ve returned to a quiet house. I can take a breath, gather my thoughts and finally tackle those tasks that have been bugging me for a while now.

Whilst I love having family time and the holidays have been lots of fun, it can be very a demanding and messy time. I’m desperate to create some order out of the chaos and distraction that has been filling my home and my mind!

#Freedom-Lady standing in the sun with open arms, feeling free

With the children back at school this is the perfect time to regain control and make space (in our homes and heads) for another focus; a new project, work, other commitments, hobbies, to just feel better prepared or to have time to care for ourselves.

Children seem to have so many toys and spread them all over the house. I think there are probably only a few rooms in our house that don’t have toys or books somewhere (I know I’m going to miss this in a few years!).

I wanted to share my favourite ideas for organising children’s toys:

  1. Have a place for everything! Have labelled boxes and bags so that the children can easily see them and depending on their age, put them away!
  2. Keep toys together in categories so that they can be enjoyed with ease – e.g. keep all vehicles in a crate near to a floor with space to play, store pens and craft materials close to a table
  3. Don’t have too many toys out – rotate items, storing them and bringing them out a few months later to keep them fresh
  4. Give away duplicates, toys that are no longer age specific or no longer played with. Too many toys can be overwhelming and won’t be appreciated
  5. Create a mindset that toys are to be enjoyed then moved on. Encourage your children to help you to give away toys that they no longer play with to other children to enjoy. Good times to do this are after long holidays, before Christmas and birthdays. (If you struggle with letting go for sentimental reasons find pictures of your children playing with those items or take photos before giving them away for someone else to love).

When tackling toys, there are so many ideas out there so I’ve curated some great articles on organising toys for you to read with a cuppa.

How to Organize Kids Toys

Toy organising – how to get ahead of the game before Christmas

Mastering The Kids Stuff!

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!

My top tips for packing for your holiday!

Summer is well and truly here and children up and down the country have broken up for the summer holidays. Hurray I hear you shout!

If you’re going abroad this year, you’re probably thinking about packing very soon. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be trying to take way more than you actually need, because you never know what you’ll need!

Here are my top tips to help maximise your packing:

  1. have a small bag that is your power pack and assign this to someone to be responsible for the entire journey – pack passports, boarding passes, hotel booking print-outs, money, inhalers and essential medicines so that they are available whenever needed. This can be stashed in hand luggage if required as long as its secure
  2. make a list outlining the activities for each day that you are away – now plan outfits for each day (including changes and underwear)
  3. Ensure you have enough suitable outfits for each day and the day you travel home! Take tops and bottoms that you can mix and match and take Travel Wash to freshen them up between wears
  4. Use a roll-up compression bag to reduce the size of items that don’t crease – swim wear, underwear, bulky sweatshirts etc
  5. If you need to take shirts and other smart items in a small carry-on or rucksack – use Shirts Bag to ensure it all remains neat in your bag
  6. Get out the shoes you want to take – take shoes that can go with multiple outfits to avoid needing to take lots
  7. Take a quick drying sports towel for the beach as it takes up less space in your luggage and has the added benefit of drying quickly after each use (great for the last day when you need to pack after the pool!)
  8. Remember you can only take 1 litre of liquids in carry on and they must be in a small plastic bag. Take multi-purpose products if you can – all-in-one shampoo and conditioner or shampoo/bodywash are great examples
  9. Decant your face creams into smaller bottles or jars to fit them into your allocation
  10. Buy compressed deodorants and travel toothpaste as these are in smaller containers
  11. Get a multi-port charger so that you just need to take 1 plug and multiple cables to charge a number of devices
  12. Don’t forget a bag for dirty washing

 

Whilst we are talking about getting organised, don’t forget to:

  • Dig out EHICs and check they are in date if you are going to Europe
  • Find out your passports and make sure that they are all in date and crucially you can find them!
  • Check-in and print your boarding passes as soon as you can – there is nothing worse than coming to print them the day before to find you’ve run out of printer ink
  • email or save your insurance policy and contacts to your phone so that you have them for reference

 

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!