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.

An Organiser’s guide to surviving the school holidays

Does the thought of the school holidays fill you with dread?

Do you remember when you couldn't wait to finish school and have the summer ahead of you?
Hanging out with friends, long summer days and doing whatever you fancied. No teachers telling you what to do and only a little homework to do, which you left until the week before you went back. Oh the freedom!
Then we grew up and had children. Now we have all these responsibilities!
Summer holidays means juggling all the usual, plus extra childcare, trips and family activities! It can feel impossible to get it right and satisfy everyone.
So let's just keep it simple! Here are a few ideas for a calmer summer.

1) Don't stress too much about your home

I think I'm supposed to suggest that the school holidays are the best time to have a really good sort out, but frankly, who wants to be doing that when you'd rather be spending time with family, friends, or outside (hopefully enjoying nice weather), when you're not at work!

If you have time and can get your children involved, the holidays are a good opportunity to engage your children in some decluttering and organising because you all have the time and may be open to using some of it exploring old possessions and having a fun tidy. The good weather, fresh air and outside play may motivate them to free their inside space of old toys, books, games and stuff cluttering up their room.

Older children may also appreciate the opportunity to prepare a calm, orderly environment to support them when back to their studies.

My previous blogs give you ideas on how to approach Organising with your children and on Organising children's things.

If this isn't for you, that's ok. Don't worry about it. The family are likely to be outside quite a lot during the summer so you will all be less encumbered by your stuff.

Maintain as best you can during this time.

Recycle unnecessary paperwork as it comes in and donate any unused items as you spot them. Tidy out kitchen drawers and cupboards or sort wardrobes in preparation for new school uniform and autumn clothes.
You can recover after the holidays are over and you get back to normal routines. Perhaps you can get someone to take family out so that you can have a good sort out then. September is often a good time to reclaim control of your home and use the inspiration have gained from outings or hotel stays, to motivate you to make changes at home, in preparation for the autumn and Christmas.

2) Plan where you can

Getting organised in advance will take a little of time before hand but will be well worth the investment.
I've talked before about planning your week and creating meal plans before. It can really help you feel better prepared, have everything you need and have a smoother week. A shared wall planner (or electronic calendar) also helps everyone understand what's happening.
I'd advocate doing the same for the holidays - you don't have to stick to the plan but if you list the places you'd all like to visit, or things to do, this enables you to make time for these (don't forget chill out time too!). Make the most of any discounts and to prepare outfits (hello washing mountains!) and meal plans so that you don't need to think about meals and food shopping on the fly.

3) Get away

If you are planning on going away, whether abroad or in the UK, you can make life easy for yourself by using checklists to help manage your packing.

There is nothing worse than getting to your destination to find you only brought 17 sets of left contact lense (yes we've done that!).

Checklists may seem a bit over-kill but are a must have to save so much time and stress. It makes shopping and packing easy and you have the time and head space to get prepared!

I have friends who have honed their checklists, making packing a quick and easy task. They keep their lists packed away with the suitcases ready for future trips.

We do the same for camping gear making it so much easier to just throw everything in the car and escape for the weekend without worrying we've left things behind.

If self-catering or camping in the UK, meal planning before you go is so helpful. You can arrange a grocery delivery or visit a local supermarket and have everything for the week. Not only does it help you budget, ensure that you have meals that everyone will eat, but it's is a great way to make the most of picnics opportunities. It also takes the hassle out of dinner preparation and you can pack any extra bits you need to prepare a meal (such as special pan, ingredient or recipe).

Top 5 packing tips:

  1. Pack bags by person or categories so it's easy to find things when you arrive (e.g. chargers, medication, games, clothes beach items)
  2. Use smaller bags inside your suitcase or bag to manage groups of items (e.g. chargers, shoes, toiletries & bottles)
  3. Fold items that go together to make up outfits together so that you can easily bottoms and matching tops
  4. Pack smaller items into hollow items (e.g. socks into bras, pants into shoes)
  5. Nominate a responsible person who carries the bag with all essentials for the trip - tickets, money, keys, cards, important documents, chewing gum/sweets, hand gel, tissues, etc

My Packing Essentials checklists are perfect for making packing easy-peasy whilst ensuring that you don't forget those essentials.

I've created three tailored for different trips; camping, travel abroad and in the UK.

Seven ideas to create that holiday feeling at home

As I ponder our recent holiday, I wonder whether you can have this feeling all the time.

Is it possible to take the pressure off and rid yourself of distractions all the time? I think it may be. Here are my 7 ideas to help you create that holiday feeling at home.

I’m very lucky, last week I
took the opportunity to write this blog post in a little cafe with a fabulous seaside view! I reflected on our week and the fun we’d had but also felt a tiny pang of dread as a I realised that we’d soon have to return home. Here’s what I had to say…

Holidays are a fabulous opportunity to put aside valuable time with the family and make space to relax.

Clutter free

It’s been wonderful to have a little break away, to be able to kick back and relax together, but you know that feeling when you have to go home to normality. They’ll be no food in, a mountain of washing and plenty of jobs to do around the house and garden. And that’s before even thinking about the busy week ahead at work and at home.

It sounds strange but I’ll miss our holiday accommodation. We stayed in a gorgeous house, decorated simply and we only took the clothes and toilettries that we needed. It was cosy but calm. I love holiday accommodation because there is no clutter, no paperwork, no jobs that needed doing, and no toys and stuff to clutter up the space or make you feel disorganised or distracted.

Space to be…

Time away creates the time and space to relax. To play games as a family, spend leisurely mealtimes, read and enjoy ourselves without pressure. I’d planned all of our meals so apart from cooking and cleaning up afterwards, there was no pressure to tidy and no clutter to distract us. I had time to do the things that I valued with my favourite people.

As I sit drinking my lemonade, I wonder: what can you do to create this ‘holiday’ feeling at home? To remove the clutter, the excess and the pressure to free up time and head space?

Here are some of my seven ideas to create that holiday feeling at home!

  1. Designate weekends as holiday time – do as much of the washing and cleaning activities as possible before Saturday morning. Schedule washing loads (Tuesday is dark load, Wednesday towel load, etc) and cleaning tasks for evenings during the week
  2. Do food shopping during the week or arrange for a delivery on a Friday night (the cheapest time of the week for many delivery services)
  3. Have staples delivered regularly so you don’t need to think about buying them (here are a few companies that I love – other suppliers are available!)
    1. Milk and More – a milk delivery is better for the environment and takes the headache out of ensuring a regular supply of milk (includes non-dairy too)
    2. SMOL will deliver washing and dishwasher tablets according to your usage levels
    3. Amazon deliver eco-friendly toilet rolls, liquid soap refills, fabric conditioner and other household products
    4. Abel and Cole – get fresh fruit and veg delivered weekly so you don’t have to think about it. You know what you’re going to receive so can meal plan each week
  4. Focus on making your living areas (kitchen, lounge, dinning room) into your holiday home. Think like you were on holiday what would be the minimum furniture, equipment and possessions you’d need? Anything you identify as not needed for your holiday home can be sold, donated or recycled
  5. Make it a rule that the dining room table is left clear after meals so that you always have space to play games, draw, bake or do crafts
  6. Create storage for items that are needed for work or school in the hallway. This is the ideal spot to store bags, coats and shoes that you will need the following day
  7. Switch off phones, tablets and TV for an agreed period of time. Technology is a huge distraction, emails, social media, news app, etc, they are all designed to keep you interested. Physically removing your tech gives you the opportunity to unplug and focus on your family or just sit and be.

Try this a at home

If you like what you’ve read and try some of these out at home, do let me know how you get on! If you want to revamp your hall storage, I’ve collated my favourite storage products to save you time. Click here…

And don’t forget, I’m here for you if you want help with reviewing or organising your things, your diary or your routine.

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.

Spring Clearing Week starts today. Why Spring Clear?

Today marks the start of Spring Clearing Week; an opportunity to reflect on our lives and ensure that our home (our sanctuary) supports us to live our best life. It’s a chance to remove any physical clutter and create calm, order and space for what’s important.

What is Spring Clearing Week?

You’re probably familiar with Spring Cleaning – the practice of turning everything out and giving the house a deep cleaning. But did you know that 50% of the UK population have abandoned the traditional spring clean due to apathy and a lack of time (MoneyMagpie).

Happily, the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) is keen that we don’t lose this valuable chance to clear our homes of any physical (and associated mental) clutter so have launched Spring Clearing Week.

Isn’t it an outdated tradition anyway?

Spring cleaning is this thought to have many origins (read more here) but regardless of how it came about, Spring Cleaning – the act of turning out the contents of the home to clean, gave our ancestors chance to review their possessions and clear out what they no longer needed.

Arguably there is no longer the need to clean up the mess left from burning wood and whale oil and with modern inventions such as the vacuum cleaner it’s much easier to maintain a clean home. However, whilst our homes may be cleaner than days of old, they are substantially fuller. We have the technological and economic capability to acquire more things, but the lack of time to manage our ‘stuff’. We also know more about mental health and that our full homes are having a negative impact on our stress levels and ability to focus. It’s more important than ever that we maintain a tradition of sorting through our things.

The psychological benefits of creating a calmer more organised environment to live and work are well-known.

A good declutter will:

  • create a sense of confidence by practising decision-making skills
  • address the disorder that causes feelings of frustration and anxiety
  • enable mindfulness whilst engaging in physical activity
  • free up physical space for thinking and relaxing
  • remove distractions enabling focus and productivity

So Let’s go for it!

Have I convinced you yet? Come on! I want you to have a go – it doesn’t have to be your whole house, but try to tackle one area of your home as we step into Spring!

I’ll be joining you too! Every day this Spring Clearing Week, I’ll be sharing my experience and tips as I declutter our spare room and create space for a much-needed office.

See my progress and read my tips on social media:

Competition Time!

I’m also offering one lucky winner organising support from me worth £150

This support will be tailored to the individual and will include:

  • Up to 4 hours of practical tailored advice
  • Hints, tips and ideas to make the desired changes
  • A choice of planner to keep the spring clearing on track or organise household tasks
  • Support to tackle possessions
  • A sample of doTERRA essential oils to relax or energise

Storage Ideas for Children’s Things

School holidays are the perfect time to organise children’s things. You can engage your children in sharing the toys, books and clothes that they’ve out grown and learning important organising skills for themselves.

You can read more about decluttering with children in my previous blog. Here I share ideas for organising clothes and common toys:

Children’s Clothes

Store clothes that you want your child to access easily to get themselves ready, in drawers at their height. It’s a faff the first time, but if you fold everything into small chunks (Marie Kondo style so that they stand up in the drawer) and use small boxes or dividers to separate the vests, tops, leggings etc. It’s really easy to see everything and choose outfits quickly. It’s also easy to maintain.

Hang coats, dresses, things that crease easily in a wardrobe, putting items you rather they didn’t get hold off to the edge, out of the way.

Given that children grow so quickly, I find it’s unusual to have more than a few seasons worth of clothes out at one time, so I tend to hang things in sections – q) starting to grow out of, 2) fits, 3) need to grow into. Use high shelves to stash a clear plastic box of hand-me-downs and clothes you’ve bought in sales ready for them to grow into.

Lego

Lego and other construction toys can be tough to store because there’s so much of it and it gets everywhere. If you’ve looked at storage ideas before you’ll have seen there are lots of ideas from Lego tables, walls, drawers and so on. I think your approach to storage works best when tailored to the way your child likes to play with it. Your main aim is to make it as easy as possible to put away for everyone.

If your child likes to build the individual kits then store in individual bags or boxes of a suitable size and include the instructions too.

If your child likes to create new things from their kits, and you don’t see value in having different coloured sections, a large crate works very well. Everything can be swept into it at the end of a session and new things created next time. We keep the instructions in a magazine file but a clear pocket book is a good alternative.

(Just so you know I’m an Amazon affiliate so receive commission if you shop via these links)

Books

Create a cosy book corner or library area where all books live. Store books on little shelves, in book cases or boxes depending on the volume, size and age of your child. Add cushions, a comfy chair or bean bag and maybe a canopy to make it feel like a safe and special nook for quiet time. It’ll give them the freedom to choose their own stories, read independently and be a great place for your child to sit quietly and relax. Also, it’ll be easy to keep the house tidy – all books are returned to this place.

Crafts things

I love to use clear plastic crates with lids for craft items so that the contents can be easily identified. Large ones work for papers and coloured card. Smaller containers are good for beads, feathers, goggly eyes and the like.

If you have a cupboard to pop these boxes away that close to the table or messy area that works well.

These trolleys are also cute and enable craft materials to be moved around as needed. Pots are fab for storing pens, glues sticks and scissors and making them easy to access and tidy away.

Whatever you choose…

Whatever storage methods you choose, containers, whether clear plastic crates with lids or colourful boxes make sure to choose the shapes and sizes to suit your space. Aim to keep similar items together, creating zones for different toys close to suitable space to play and label as much as you can. Perhaps have a baby nursery in the bedroom and leave craft materials for a downstairs space, where you can supervise their use.

If you can engage your child in creating the labels and use colourful images this will be more meaningful for them and will help them remember where to tidy things back to.

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.