Declutter And Organise Your Home.

The Tidy Lady – Feel so much better.

Need help to declutter your home? Overwhelmed?

Finding it hard to let go?

Take control of your home, your space and your time.

You CAN declutter and organise your home without losing the things you love.

Decluttering & Organising With Kindness

I’m Liz The Tidy Lady, Auckland based Professional Organiser.

I’ve been helping Aucklander’s to declutter and organise their homes for years.

Experienced, no-judgement, discreet, gentle and kind, there is nothing I haven’t seen!

Let’s get stuck into that clutter you’re dreading.

Contact Liz:

~ Auckland based in-home decluttering and organising or national & international video consultations ~

I’m a professional member of the Institute Of Professional Organisers.


Discrete hands-on decluttering in your home.

You deserve to live a beautiful life, in a lovely, easy home that you have created for you and your family.

Liz The Tidy Lady
Latest Blog Posts
August 19, 2023Articles (Blog)Feeling it? Things that cause stress, big and small, are in every part of our lives. Our homes are often the cause of some low level (or high level!) stress, like losing your keys because there’s no handy space to keep them, or not being able to park in the garage when it’s pouring with rain, because it’s full of stuff. Read on for a few quick and simple tips to help transform your home to a convenient, peaceful haven. Take a minute. That means sit for a bit and think. Even if that’s only on the train, or when you have 5 minutes to yourself in your car. Why? I want you to think about the things that bother you the most about your home, big and small. Take a tour of the rooms, in your mind or in reality and note the things that annoy the heck out of you. Or keep a list on your phone that you can add to when you notice you’re feeling tense or grumpy about something around you. 5 Simple Steps You Can Take To Control Your Family Chaos. Focus on those annoying spaces, one at a time. Do you feel Pan Rage? The stacks of scratched and dented pans getting in the way and making the drawer so aggravating? You’ll probably find that the reason your pot & pan cupboard annoys you is because there’s too many. And you only use 4 of them anyway. Have a place for everything. If you’re regularly screaming around the house like a caffeinated Kermit The Frog looking for things URGENTLY you will definitely feel the benefit of having a smart spot for the important things. Im So Excited Freaking Out GIFfrom Im So Excited GIFs Keys go on the hooks by the door (buy some hooks!), mail goes in the tray on the computer table, scissors go in the vintage jam jar. You get the picture. If your house has busy people (well duh!), people with low tolerance for irritating things, and people who have to ask you every single time where something is? (Also called Thing Blind people) Here are some guidelines that might help ~ Put things you use most often within easy reach at the front or at shoulder height. Things you use less put at the back or high or low. (Just a tip – some people aren’t keen on bending and never look higher than the top of their head. This is useful information for hiding the good biscuits, presents and your sweetie stash.) This One Simple Pro Trick Will Make You Instantly More Organised! If possible keep like with like in the same space, so you don’t have to hunt in several places. Don’t worry too much if the place you’ve chosen isn’t the Perfect Spot. The place they already are, might be just right for you and your family. And you won’t have to re-train everybody. Nifty huh? Reduce the number of things. Take mugs for example. You may have 72, but you can’t find your fav? Ugh, it just doesn’t taste the same, right? It’s much easier when you only have to store 15 mugs. (Just an estimate, don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you go Mug-Minimal or is it Muginimal?) Be practical. Cute storage items are nice to have but no good if you can’t see what’s in them or they’re annoying to open. People Who Don’t Care or are SuperBusy are highly unlikely to lift lids or pick up shoes and put them in cute cupboards. Just an FYI. Always keep a Donate box or bag in a handy spot. Clothes that no longer fit, unwanted gifts, things you no longer need or like? Pop them in, when it’s full take it to your nearest charity shop, they’ll be so happy to see you! One Incredibly Easy Way To Stop Clutter-Build-Up. Every time you move from one room to another, have a quick look around for things that should be where you’re going. It’s like Plogging (Picking up rubbish while Jogging). Have useful things like glasses, scissors & sellotape in several places around the house. It’s ok to have multiples of useful things. That’s quite different to holding onto 17 laptop bags, just because they’re Good Bags. Put things back where you found them. This works best when you have a smart spot for things already, but even if you don’t, it’s darn good habit to get into. You might like to crack out your label maker, or just write on a bit of masking tape. Make sure you point out the helpful labels to the Thing Blind people in your household. Just pick one thing from the list above and give it a go. Maybe try another one. Before you know it, you’ll be simplifying your life and de-stressing. It’ll be mostly painless I promise. [...]
July 23, 2023Articles (Blog) / DeclutteringWhat is the purpose of decluttering and organising your home? It’s to make your life simpler, less stressful, less annoying, easier. You want to be happy in your home! A crucial part of decluttering your home is establishing systems to make sure it stays that way. It’s what I do automatically as I work with my clients. No one wants to be a slave to their stuff! That’s why I’ve created the Make-It-Easy Method for everyone to follow. It’s just 4 steps. What’s The Secret To Making Your Home Beautifully Easy to Manage? The Make-It-Easy Method. Once you have decluttered a space, it fits your vision and you’re happy with it, it’s important for your future wellbeing (and reduction of household conflict) for it to be effortlessly maintained. Or, realistically, causes YOU minimal effort to maintain.Bear in mind, if some household members don’t understand why they need to do something differently, or it’s adding another complexity to their own busy life, they are less likely to take it on board in a consistent way. In some cases domestic systems are so far from being a priority in the mind of some household members it’s very difficult to engage them in active change. So, we make it as easy as possible for the change in system to happen. Ideally it will be so simple that it happens automatically, without prompting or fixing it up later. If possible, getting everyone involved in designing a new way of doing things will create the very best results.The Golden Rule when creating a new system is… Make-It-Easy. For yourself when you’re tired or busy AND for other members of the household, so you get to consistently see the results you want.Instead of introducing several new systems at once, choose either the one that is most important to you and your household or the one that you think will be the easiest to introduce. You may need to be fully responsible for the upkeep of other systems for a while, but we are being strategic here! Introduce new ways of doing things gradually, one at a time.It’s amazing the difference small changes can make in the smooth running and maintenance of a clutter-free home.Follow these steps to design your own maintenance systems: OBSERVE Why does clutter accumulate? You already know what’s happening because it’s a problem, but WHY is it happening? Distraction. We can be tired, busy or not feeling well. Everyone has their own priorities in life, from teens intent on their devices to your partner who just wants to relax. Most of us will do the easiest and fastest thing possible with whatever is in our hands in order to move on to what we really want to do.Memory. Some of us just have poor memories and some don’t prioritise domestic matters, so the problem is not at the front of their mind. The default in this case, is what ever is easiest.Effort. Our capacity to perform yet another task can simply be at it’s absolute maximum. The energy levels and motivation of those involved will need to be accommodated. PLAN Before you start tackling a clutter-causing problem think of different ways that you might solve that problem. Customise. Work WITH the other members of your household or your own habits & preferences. Make any new actions very obvious, so everyone knows what needs to be done. Start with the easiest possible remedy.Relocate. Often we have paths or processes that develop without thought and are often not the most efficient or easiest way of handling the Things that are causing clutter. If you can, make a change to the place or path of the person or process.Delegate. Get willing helpers involved. This is a good opportunity to get household members involved in designing the new process, however small and simple. Talk to them about why this change is needed and ask for ideas. PLACE Make sure the Things that are left after decluttering are assigned a place that is convenient to access. Or, rearrange the path or process to include them.Habits. Use current household habits to your advantage or start a new habit. Inserting a new anti-clutter element into a path or process is a little easier than the repetition that is required to develop a new habit. You can use the new element to then introduce the new habit.Convenience. Make it so easy it’s effortless. The new system will require a little thought at first but if you have designed it to be as simple as possible it will soon take up very little mental energy.Storage. Be strategic and realistic with your storage. Consider how your household might use the style of storage and it’s contents. The more convenient it is to use the storage the more successful your new system will be at keeping clutter under control. SHARE Let your household know what the new clutter control system is and why you need it. You know the methods of communication that don’t work with your household. Try another method.The Meeting. Get everyone together for Show & Tell. This is your opportunity to teach everyone how to use the new system and to make sure everyone understands its purpose. Listen to feedback, you will learn more about how each person might use the new system.The Casual Comment. For the more… difficult members of the household, you may need a more subtle way of introducing new information into their awareness. Sometimes not making it a big thing gets better engagement.When To Let Go. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get engagement. Make it as easy on yourself as possible to make the new system work within your capacity. Remember, these changes are about making your home more organised so YOUR life is easier. Your goal is to have a happier home, a place that serves you, not you spending your precious time and energy serving your home. Liz. X [...]
June 18, 2023Articles (Blog)I have discovered over many years that perfection is overrated. It’s exhausting. Having said that, there are some areas of life where my control freak just has to run wild. Folding towels and linen for example. They must be folded just right! And it makes me very happy to see them tidily folded in neat piles every time I open the door to my tiny linen cupboard. Or my clients linen cupboards. The trick is to choose where you let your control freak loose, when to save your precious energy. I’ve had a couple of new clients recently who have been trying really hard to keep their kids LEGO sorted by colour or type. They love the way it looks in the storage boxes and bins. They reckon it helps their child to be creative, especially if they have kit sets. Decluttering Toys ~ The Secret To Not Traumatising Your Kids. Ah kit sets… You’ve cracked out the ziplock bags, found the instruction manual, sometimes even the box. It took hours to locate all the right pieces. Tidy in their separate little bags they look so neat and organised. And then, they get more kit sets. Every birthday. Every Christmas. Each child gets more than one. Every. Year. Are you going to keep organising them? All those specialised little bits! The problem? Time. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a LEGO butler? Someone to sort it all. Hovering on the side ready to make everything perfectly organised. All the time in the world. Nothing else to worry about. But your time is limited. Your schedule is packed. Your energy so, so precious. Kids don’t put LEGO back in the “right” place. They’re playing, racing from one fun thing to another. Or they’re hungry or tired or have to go to soccer. So the LEGO is left on the floor or scooped up higgledy-piggledy. Then mum or dad, if it bothers them, have to find the time to start all over again and separate all the different pieces. Over and over again. Or the kids feel bad for messing up the kits. Kind of defeats the purpose of toys and playing doesn’t it? 3 Rules For A Perfect Clutter-Free Home I have heard of LEGO fans who are keen enough and tidy minded enough to keep their equipment beautifully ordered in their playroom or bedroom. But this is not common or it lasts about a week. Kids usually don’t fuss if their toys aren’t organised. They dump out LEGO and just get stuck in building. What is important to you? Having fun? Getting the essentials done? Organising toys? Prioritising your time is so important. We all know about prioritising tasks, we do it naturally every day when we choose what we do from moment to moment. Make the bed or check your phone? Turn on the TV or do the dishes? Folding clothes for example. Perfection or not? I only have a small wardrobe and automatically hang everything, even my T-shirts. I don’t have a lot of time and I have a small apartment so I have to fit what I have to the small amount of storage I have. The only items of clothing that I fold? My knickers, because I have one small drawer they all have to fit into. Respecting Your Space – Where Does Family Space Begin & End? If you are racing to get your kids to after school activities, your mum’s place or to bed and you’re longing for the couch and that glass of wine, or de-stressing with a good book, or just getting the laundry done, why force yourself to organise something that is easily tidied away in a box, bag or basket until the next playtime? Product Alert! ~ Try searching Google for one of these – “lego mat bag nz” Unless of course, you absolutely love organising! If LEGO sorting is your Zen, lining up toy cars in rainbow colours puts you in your happy place, folding socks and underpants blisses you out… Then go for it! You’ve made a decision to prioritise your time. But please don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. A friend’s colour coded book case might be their heaven, and may be impossible for you if your little person likes to use them to build ramps for their Transformers. The perfectly tidy home you saw and longed for? Just think – how much time did that person invest in tidying and organising their home? How much time do they prioritise to spend maintaining it? Fun, relaxation, having time to do the really important things… Prioritising your time is about YOU deciding what’s worth doing. What’s worth taking up your precious time and energy. X Liz. [...]
May 31, 2023Articles (Blog)Are you making the most of your devices? Making them do the hard work? Back in the olden days, when I was young and we wrote stuff down, I used to walk around with little scraps of paper in my pockets. Anything would do, to help me remember all the little things that I had to do. Things that popped up on the fly, or were out of my usual routine. At the end of the day, I’d empty my pockets. What ever was left over I’d carefully store until the next day. I didn’t use a note book, they didn’t work for me. Sometimes I’d make a list, transferring all the little scraps to one piece of paper. Crossing them off was so satisfying! But so was tossing each little scrap as I finished each task. But now of course, we have devices! Clever, clever people invent apps and software to make our lives easier. Calendars & reminders are a godsend. They boss you and nag you but it’s on purpose! We NEED them to nag us. They help us organise our time and give us the capacity to focus on other more important things. Wouldn’t you rather be playing with your kids, making things, spending time with people you love? Instead of rushing around trying to get everything done when you suddenly remember? Juggling multiple printed timetables, other peoples schedules, scribbled Post-its and a diary? Keeping everything you need to know, remember and do in one place is another small win against the busyness that fills our lives. Of course there’s always the bullet journal, or any other paper based scheduling system. If that works for you, that’s great! But so often my friends and clients tell me they forget to take it with them, or lose interest in maintaining it. Post-Its are great, but not when they cover every surface, lose their stickiness through old age and litter the floor with good intentions. Does the thought of starting up a new system, entering all those appointments, putting that much energy into getting organised fill you with dread? That might be a sign that you really need to. If you don’t like the built in app for reminders or calendars on your phone get one that you do like. There are some very good ones that can structure your to-do’s like a game of 3-D chess and there are simple ones that are super easy to use. So what’s the difference? Calendars can be used for everything, but our busy lives often demand a separation of quick things to do today (or right now) and things that are coming up or happen often. Calendars are great for repeating events like: Really Important Stuff: Feed the cat special food morning only (or you KNOW what will happen). Regular Jobs: Fruit and veggie shopping, wine shopping, chocolate shopping. Regular Jobs That You Seem To ALWAYS Forget: Clean the car every fortnight before date night. Take one kiddie to gym, and one to dance, every Wednesday. Fitness Routines: Leg day, arm day, cardio, spin class. Secret Parents Business: Recycle kids art from bottom of old pile. Self care: Waxing, hair, nail, brow appointments. Fun Stuff: Swing Class, Girls Sunday walk, poker night! When you have to be somewhere, where you’re not. Calendars are also perfect for blocking out time slots. Some calendar apps have the capacity to structure several different calendars or events in different colours (gloriously organised!) For example: Green: A shared calendar the whole household can use to enter appointments. Orange: Sports practice and games. Purple: Planned nights at home – movie or games nights. Red: Work calendars. Pink: Chore calendars. Yellow: Wellbeing and medical appointments. Blue: Creative sessions for writing, filming, painting, pottery. I’m running out of colours here… You get the idea. Go nuts with colour, it makes your calendar look fun and it’s SO much easier to quickly tell the difference between appointment types. Reminders are great for quick things that will be sorted quickly but are likely to be pushed out of your brain by All The Other Stuff you have to remember. Reminder apps are great for prioritising a whole bunch of quick-ish things that need to get done. They’ll help your calendar to not get so cluttered up with little appointments. For example: Throw neighbours balls back over fence before dogs get out (remember the vet bills!). Buy ticket to School Disco (wish I was going, I could do with a good disco). Ask Nanna to bring a pav with extra cream. Get extra cream just in case. And kiwi fruit. Put jar of Nutella in backpack. A big one. KMART: Get more fluffy socks, hand weights and one of those shelf extender thingys. Use the kale before it gets squishy! Buy cupcakes for school fair. Keeping track of all the things we need and want to do can be difficult, and there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashion pen and paper, instead of, or in addition to calendars and reminders. If paper works for you, rock on! The cool thing about apps on your phone is… they beep, chirp, bong, trill and vibrate! Ignore them at your peril! (but it’s totally ok to reschedule, that’s The Joy Of Re-Prioritising.) A virtual assistant or even a real life assistant could also be that step you need to take to make your life so much better. What ever works for you and helps you keep all the strands of your life together is good. Make use of every possible method to make your life a little bit easier. We all want to have more fun and less stress and less panic about forgotten responsibilities. Wouldn’t you rather be stroking her tummy with a glass of wine in your hand than running around doing stressful, last minute busy things? It’s time to make YOU and your time a priority. Right now. And if your kids complain you’re on your phone too much, just let them know that you’re organising their busy social schedule! In fact, if they’re ever in ear shot, tell them every single time you’re doing something on your phone, for them. “JUST ORGANISING YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY OVER HERE!” “I’M GETTING YOU A RIDE TO GYMNASTICS WITH SIENNA’S MUM” …. you know what I’m talking about. There’s good secret mum’s business but sometimes, it pays for them to know how much time and effort you put in. They’re not psychic but they can be very judgy! Liz. X [...]
May 14, 2023Articles (Blog) / DeclutteringAt the age of 27… (sounds like the start of a song doesn’t it?) I decided to learn to drive. Talk about late bloomer! I had made getting around by public transport into an art. Two problems with this. 1. I’m Co-ordinationally-challenged. 2. I’m seriously Co-ordinationally-challenged. It took two full sets of 6-week driving lessons before I got it right and passed my test. (Don’t worry I’m a great driver now, as long as it’s an automatic…). The FREEDOM! It was seriously scary though, especially the motorways (The signage made no sense, I don’t want to go to Helensville! I want to go to Henderson!) Everybody else drove like bendy roads were straight and I was simply an obstruction in their path to race car glory! Dr Zeuss had it right: Congratulations!Today is your day.You’re off to Great Places!You’re off and away! You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourselfany direction you choose.You’re on your own. And you know what you know.And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Dr Zeuss That was it, I was OFF! But boy did I regret not learning sooner. The places I could’ve gone! The fun I could have had! Move Towards Happiness. Regret. As we get older we add to our collection of things we wish we had done, like kissing that cutie and travelling to far flung places when we were younger. We also feel regret for things we HAVE done. Declutterer’s regret is one of those things. I often hear from people who have been deeply upset by decluttering. Often they’ve asked someone to help them to declutter, and that person threw away something precious. Or they’ve had a decluttering brain explosion and thrown EVERYTHING out. Then they look for a family keepsake and can’t find it. Heartbreaking. This is called a Decluttering Accident. Do Not Do This! (Keep reading to find out how to avoid it…) I’ve heard tales… even from other Professional Organisers, who’ve personally decluttered things they really wish they hadn’t. There are three things to bear in mind if your fear of regret is holding you back from decluttering. Preparation. If you are struck by the decluttering bug follow this vital Tidy Lady Rule: Start with easier things, if you find sentimental or meaningful things put them to one side and deal with them later. This gives you time to do some excellent decluttering of things you really don’t like, want or need and get some wonderful results that will make you much happier with your home. Then you can turn your attention to your precious things. You have them all together in one place and can compare your feelings towards each of them. You can take your time and make measured decisions. Letting Go. Letting Go Part 1: If you have lost something important to you in a decluttering accident and it’s still making you mad or sad, it’s time to let go. It’s not good for you for a start, it’s corrosive to your happiness. Also, it’s just a thing. Even if it was money, it’s still just a thing. Let go of the negative feelings associated with it’s absence, breathe, be free. Letting Go Part 2. If you’re about to tackle a bunch of things that make you feel all the feelings follow this Tidy Lady Rule: Sort each item into one of three categories – I Love It With All My Heart | I’m Looking After It Because I Should | I Really Don’t Like It But I’ll Feel Bad If I Get Rid Of It. Do whatever you need to do to find a new home for things in the last two categories. Read my blog post below if you need more help. Decluttering For The Heart Centred. Future Thinking. Regret is, by it’s nature, backward looking. We declutter for our future. We shed the things that do not serve us in order to live our best lives now. We declutter things that we no longer care about in order to clear our path to a happier future. We declutter our lives to be free of the things that hold us back and keep us small. If you’re happy with your life and value every single one of your belongings, then you don’t need to declutter. If you’re not so happy with the way your home makes you feel and the things around you cause you stress or annoyance or any other negative feeling, then you probably do. Your future self will thank you. One of the most important things to remember when you’re decluttering is that it takes some thinking. Doing it properly takes careful consideration of the value of an object to you. Not just it’s monetary value but almost more importantly, it’s emotional value. You’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary heartbreak. X Liz. [...]
April 30, 2023Articles (Blog)Most of us need truck-loads of self-care and we’re not doing it. Oh you might indulge yourself once in a while when you have reached the absolute LIMIT of your strength. Or you actually do take care of yourself when you have the time or after your body sends you urgent signals like a splitting headache. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking massages, healthy meals, making time for friends, even exercise – now those are self-care. Not Decluttering! After all, it’s hard work. It’s not exactly fun and you just don’t have the time anyway. If you did you wouldn’t NEED self care! It’s a bit of a catch 22 that “I-don’t-have-the-time” thing. Give yourself the gift of time We all know that if we build-in self care to our busy schedules, we’ll feel much better, more often. Take some credit though – I bet you’re already doing some small self-care routines that really do help support you in your chosen life. You’ve just forgotten that they’re there because they’re habits now. If you’re not feeling the benefits though, you probably need to upgrade your self-care habits. It makes sense, your life changes constantly. Your energy levels fluctuate, the needs that support your energy will too. So how does decluttering help your energy levels? And all those other elements of wellbeing that self care supports? Control over your environment Decluttering gives you a feeling of freedom and liberation. The time you once had available to manage your things may have reduced with babies and lifestyle changes. But all the things you have to manage haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, there’s probably loads more coming into the house all the time! When you can’t keep up anymore, reducing the number of things you have to manage in your busy life gives you back the control you once felt. Every donation, every single thing you sell, is another thing lifted from your shoulders. One less thing to take up your time. Are You Choosing To Do The Best Things For You? Beat procrastination This is the old chicken and the egg thing. You’re procrastinating so you can avoid decluttering… but decluttering helps you avoid procrastinating? Minimising your belongings and getting them organised makes you feel good, you’re doing something productive and useful. You’re creating order and making your life easier. Everything is easier when you live clutter-free. It’s easier to find things, clean things, play with things and find peace and calm in your home. You have created an environment that gives you the time and space to do the things you want and need to do. Beat defeat Part of the problem with clutter is that we get used to it. We think we barely notice it, that it doesn’t affect us, but it does affect us in a sneaky way. Clutter affects us subconsciously, it makes us feel like we’re not capable if we can’t even sort this stuff out! It’s too hard! So when you DO tackle it, just a little bit at a time, you feel better about yourself. You can prove to yourself that you CAN declutter, you can keep your home tidy and organised. You might start to feel more confident about tackling other parts of your life too. The things that seem too hard, well, they might just not be as hard as you thought. Simplicity helps focus Find your focus Too much stuff around you fills your mind. It’s that sneaky effect that clutter has on your subconscious again. Clutter overwhelms your senses. Your environment is crowded and your subconscious mind is aware of this crowding. There’s just too much stimulation of your mind and you might not even know what’s causing it. You just feel anxious and stressed, all the time. Your ability to concentrate in different situations might be different to mine, but many studies show that a clutter-free environment really makes a positive impact on our ability to focus. Not just the kind of focus that you need for study, but to really enjoy yourself in your home, playing games, watching TV or trying a new recipe. Make your home your haven How do you want to feel in your home? Most of us just want to feel happy and contented in our home. We long for a place that is restful and restorative. But if you constantly feel like you need to tidy or the annoyance of stuffed cupboards preys on your mind, it’s hard to find that peace. Clutter also affects your sleep, especially if it’s the last thing you see before you close your eyes. More stuff means more mess. More stuff means more managing that stuff, constantly moving it and cleaning around it and trying to find a place for it. Under constant pressure to tidy, to organise, to find a space for another thing… it’s like a never ending to-do list. What a relief it is to live in a clutter-free home. A Tiny Tidy Tip! ~ The Luxury Of Empty Space. Eliminate negativity If you’re feeling discontented and unhappy with your home it might be because the things around you are the cause. They might make you feel nostalgia, guilt or worry. They might remind you of fights and unfairness. They might be holding you back, just by being there in your home. Or you might feel hopelessness about the sheer mess you’re struggling with. Decluttering will eliminate the negative feelings that your subconscious, (or conscious), mind, attaches to those things. It’s the action of letting go of those burdens, those obligations and unhealthy attachments. You’ll feel more positive about your home in general because you can see the positive effects of your decluttering work. What would you love to do in your home? Balance in all things Remember that it’s all too easy to get carried away with any behaviour. We’re human, we tend to go overboard and become obsessed with new ideas. If your decluttering work is causing you stress or conflict in your relationships it might be a sign that you need to ease up a little. Decluttering is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. The purpose of decluttering is to clear your path to an easier life so you can focus on the things that mean the most to you. Compromise will be required to find the balance of simplicity, practicality and style that’s right for you. Liz. X If you found this blog post valuable feel free to share it using the buttons below. [...]
April 16, 2023Articles (Blog)Kid’s and their stuff… where does it end?! My client Chloe was wrestling with clutter. Chloe was a tidy person with a new clutter problem. But it wasn’t her clutter, it was her kid’s clutter. The stuff that your kid’s attract seems endless doesn’t it? Don’t you sometimes feel like it’s taking over the whole house? You start out with a cot, push chair and changing table and end up with 40 plastic ponies, 252 toy cars and you can’t find a single pair of matching socks in the house even though you just bought a third pack of ten. Chloe felt like her entire house was the kid’s house! She felt like she couldn’t invite grownups over, except other mums. If you were her friend and looked at her house, you might not see what she sees. But I understood what she meant. 5 Home Happiness Hacks You Can Do Right Now. The Baby’s Room. Olivia, the youngest, was in the spare room. She was nearly three and that room was fast overflowing with little girl things. The sofa that Chloe had used for feeding was also her mum’s fold-out bed when she visited. The wardrobe was stuffed full of the family’s winter gear, some camping gear, extra linen, blankets and cushions. Chloe’s husband kept his sports gear in a big set of tall cupboards near Olivia’s cot. Olivia has a set of drawers for her clothes. She also has lots of toys, big and small, that didn’t fit in her room. They were kept in the living room, the hallway and the overflow of the bigger, messier toys were in Chloe’s bedroom. And Olivia was beginning to notice something. Her sister’s room was different. Their Own Room. Chloe’s eldest, Sophie, has her own room too, but it was a bit bigger and was exclusively hers. She was 7 and it was decorated in princess pink. Chloe LOVED Sophie’s room. She’d decorated it herself when Sophie was born. She adored organising her little girl’s dresses in her wardrobe, sorting her toys and ornaments and just making it a beautiful little girls room. Decluttering Toys ~ The Secret To Not Traumatising Your Kids. Sophie was messy. She loved collecting things. Stones, feathers, leaves and flowers. She was an artist in the making, insisting on her creations being on display. She loved anything sparkly and had to have EVERYTHING where she could see it. Sophie’s room was making Chloe crazy! No matter how hard she tried, Sophie’s room never looked the way she liked it to. Every time Chloe tried to tidy her room Sophie would get upset. Sophie even made her own sign for her door: Sophie’s Room – Private! Your Room. Some of my clients who are mum’s neglect their own needs. Yes, they have a bedroom and a wardrobe, but often it’s the last to be sorted out. Chloe’s room was the first to have stuff dumped in it. The room was pretty big, that’s why they’d moved some of the bigger, messier toys there. So of course the girls used it like a playroom. She’d hoped it would keep the living area a little tidier. It didn’t. Her wardrobe was stuffed full and not just with their clothes. It was full of presents, wrapping paper, games that were too old for the girls and bags and bags of gifted kids clothes they might grow into. She wished she could have her room back the way it used to be, tidy and grown-up. She was at the end of her tether and completely overwhelmed. Their home had never really been set up for their changing needs. Most People Aren’t Ready For This. Are You? Chloe told me she was considering moving Sophie into her and her husband’s room and making it also the spare/sleepover room. She was thinking of putting Olivia into Sophie’s room and taking the smallest room for themselves. On the face of it, it seemed to Chloe to be the perfect solution. All the family things from Olivia’s room would fit in the largest room with it’s walk-in wardrobe, along with Sophie’s things. Olivia would have a bigger room so all her toys would fit. She thought the smallest room would be fine for her and her husband and she could always put her overflow clothes in the girls wardrobes. The reason Chloe called me in was to have less clutter around the house. But our session turned into a conversation about respecting space and changing family dynamics. Especially as the girls were growing up fast and their needs were changing too. They’d be teenagers before she knew it! Are You Showing Respect For Your Self & Your Space? A Happy Family. We got stuck in and sorted and decluttered all the toys in the house (of course!) Then we tackled both Chloe’s and Olivia’s wardrobes. Chloe was amazed at how much was packed into them and was happy to donate quite a bit. Having less stuff to worry about helped a LOT. After a bit of reorganisation and moving things around Chloe’s bedroom was toy-free. There were no more toys in the hallway. Sophie and Chloe came to an understanding and Olivia’s room had space for her things. For the time being the sofa-bed had to stay in her room. But Chloe and her husband were thinking differently about that space and the kind of home they wanted for their family. Sometimes our homes evolve with us, sometimes they don’t. We’re often living in the moment with the pressures and busyness of life directing our energy and attention. We make do with what we have. It’s only when things stop working or become a problem that we realise something needs to change. Life is change. We are constantly changing and growing and so are our children. Getting your home to a place where your home life is easy and conflict is rare IS possible. Respect goes both ways. Liz. The Tidy Lady. Declutter Coach & Tidyness Expert. If you found this blog post valuable feel free to share it using the buttons below. [...]
March 19, 2023Articles (Blog)Ugh. YUK! I don’t wanna declutter Liz! You know you need to do it. You WANT to do it. You’ve started, many times. But given up. All the clutter is making you crazy, but you only ever seem to be moving things around. Or shoving it away somewhere and pretending it’s not there. You’re still not really happy. After a while you get used to seeing it and you maybe can live with it. Until you can’t. Or you’re feeling such strong feelings around even the idea of decluttering, that you just can’t. The low grade (or high grade!) stress of living in a cluttered home can wear you down. You get used to feeling tense, overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated. Or you don’t get used to it at all. Ask Yourself These Questions If You Have A Decluttering Block. Grumbling, throwing things, feeling angry with your home? Feeling overwhelmed at the sheer amount of STUFF in the home you once loved? Annoyed or ashamed that you’re buying things that you’re pretty sure you own, but you can’t find it? And yet, you STILL aren’t decluttering. When your head is in a cupboard and you feel like yelling in frustration, you suddenly get the energy! Everything gets chucked out onto the floor… There’s the thing you’re looking for! Now is the perfect time to declutter that pile of stuff! But you don’t. And it all goes back in the cupboard. Or it just stays there. Or you do declutter. A bit. But most of it goes back in the cupboard. Then after a bit, seeing as they haven’t left the house in 3 months… you think that the things you’ve just decluttered, actually might come in handy one day… So back they go. Over and over again. Decluttering just doesn’t happen. The 3 Clutter-Causing Secrets No One Will Ever Tell You. What’s going on? You might already name it – The Big P. Pro-Cras-Tin-Ation. It’s got a cute rep right? Oh, I’m SUCH a procrastinator! It’s just the way I am. I’m just procrastinating, I’ll get it done one day. I’ve always been a procrastinator! But I always get the important stuff done. Procrastination can come from little feelings: UGH. Yuk! Don’t wanna declutter! I want to go out with my friends and have a coffee! To big feelings: Panic attack, got to sit down, what if I throw out something important! Add on the reasons we think we can’t declutter… Decluttering: What Are You Scared of? Why? No time! I just don’t have the attention span! What if I throw away something I need? I have too many more important things to do! It’s ALL TOO MUCH! I’m going to be honest with you here. For some people, decluttering is fun. A joy! For them decluttering is like breathing. It comes easily to them. But for some folks? It’s like going to the dentist. (Sorry dental professionals.) Or even worse than that! You might go to the dentist even if you don’t want to, because you want your teeth to look nice and not hurt. But decluttering? What’s the silver lining in this torturous job? It’s problematic, it’s boring, it makes you feel bad and nothing terrible will happen if you don’t do it. Who cares if your quality of life in your home sucks. Who cares if you’re wasting money. Who cares if you’re unhappy. The Big P. The Big P is made up of a whole bunch of thoughts and feelings that meet up to make your enemy. The enemy of Getting Stuff Done. The enemy of decluttering. The Big P. How Can You Beat The Big P? Let’s look at another Big P – Priorities. I bet, even if you have a seriously short attention span, that some things grab your attention. They’re probably fun, interesting, or so important that you can override your habitual short attention. They become your priority, because you want to do them. ~ Note, I’m not talking about clinically diagnosed ADHD or ADD here. No time? And yet, if you want to do something, you find the time right? Someone you love needs you? You find the time. Passionate about shopping for a new outfit? Suddenly there’s time. Feeling Better: Why Decluttering Is Self Care. So decluttering. It seems like it’s not such a high priority that you can override Yuk feelings. Or the boredom you feel before you even start! Or enough for you to put aside other things that appear to be more urgent and get stuck in. How about changing how you see decluttering. If you see it as a way of improving your quality of life? Maybe it would make you feel better about doing it. If you see it making a real difference to how happy you feel in your home? Maybe you’d make it a priority to declutter. If you see it as a number of teeny tiny jobs that can be broken up into chunks, you’ll feel better about doing it. Maybe you’ll feel better about doing it if you broke up the whole massive job into smaller goals. With checklists or gold star charts, special treats or sharing your successes with a friend. Why ‘Decluttering’ Isn’t Working For You. Maybe you’re not prioritising YOU. Oh you might think you are… You make sure you do fun things and take care of yourself. But do you do the hard stuff? The boring stuff that looks after the whole of your life. Like working out a budget. Saving for your future. Maintaining the boring bits of your home, like the roof and the piling. Decluttering all the stuff that gets in the way of you enjoying your home. Decluttering the stuff that makes your life harder. Decluttering the stuff that drags you down. Fight The Big P! Stop avoiding and procrastinating. Stop pretending your clutter is not really there, or will evaporate all by itself. Do whatever it takes to take Action Against Clutter! Because your happiness matters. Liz. X [...]
March 5, 2023Articles (Blog) / DeclutteringThere’s a funny thing about life that I’ve learnt in my 54 years. Our lives are formed by our choices. Hard choices, easy choices, the choice to not choose at all and just let yourself go with the flow. Why is it funny? Because we choose to NOT do things that we know are good for us. Like prioritising our health and wellbeing, learning something that fascinates us, doing something hard but meaningful or rest when we need to. (That’s a really tough one for me, I have the Must Be Busy gene!) So, what are you choosing NOT to do today? Are you choosing: To NOT teach your household to do things for themselves. To NOT declutter the spaces that are important to YOU first. To NOT dedicate time and energy to things that make YOU happy. Are you choosing to NOT: Intentionally choose things that help you live YOUR best life, right now. Get the help YOU need, to create a home and a life that serves you, right now. Prioritise time to make small (and big) changes that improve YOUR quality of life. So many of my clients put everyone before themselves, and another funny thing, they often don’t realise it. It can be quite subtle. What About You? Why Getting Organised Is More Than Just Having A Tidy Home. They allow themselves to be taken for granted. They allow disrespectful behaviours. They give up when faced with resistance against changes they want to make in their own home. Note – A little context here. I’m not talking about abusive homes, I’m talking about households with a great mum/carer/keeper-of-the-house who is well and safe, but is simply not happy in their home. Often it’s down to the good old chestnut – communication. How many books and blogs and articles and movies and kids TV shows remind us about healthy interpersonal communication? They’re uncountable! Get Some Attitude! Even more than communication, I’ve found that creating change is often down to your attitude or mindset. YOUR mindset – The person who wants change, not the mindset of the people around you. A change in your mindset changes your behaviour, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Changes in your behaviour can also change your communication style. And I’m not just talking about the words you use, it’s also in your tone of voice, your body language, your persistence, your choice of where you direct your energy. Over The Mess? It’s All About Feelings! People (kids, partners, parents, colleagues) notice these things. Sometimes they don’t like it and sometimes they do. Sometimes it’s a subconscious awareness which changes their behaviour too. Interestingly, subtle adjustments in our behaviour can have an impact equal to (sometimes even greater than) enforced changes or requests to change. Together they’re very powerful. The New Normal. Even more powerful is consistency. Persistently sending the same message through your behaviour and language and expectations of others behaviours makes it the new normal. Managing behaviours and expectations in your household so EVERYONE is happier is the path to less friction. Compromise is crucial, managing people requires an understanding of temperament, habits and abilities, just like the workplace. Your household is a team, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. It’s important to adapt and try different things to achieve the change that you want to see – it’s the goal that’s important. Expectations can have a positive or negative effect. They can be ingrained and subconscious, or environmental – repeated exposure to certain behaviours makes people expect that they will continue forever. Like mum or dad, always picking up after the kids. What expectations will the kids have if that’s their normal? 5 Simple Steps You Can Take To Control Your Family Chaos. Allowing negative expectations to continue unchallenged will not help you reach your goal. I’m talking about the expectations of your partner, your kids, everyone. And YOUR expectations too. It’s very important to think carefully about the impact of your own expectations of the members of your household. Are your expectations helping your household to work together or causing conflict? What Is Your Goal? I want you to be happier in your home (and your life in general). YOU want to be happier. You might want more time, less family friction, more freedom to choose what you would like to do with your life and less time managing your home. Taking time to teach your household to be independent means you will make more time for you to do the things YOU want to do. NOT more time to do the things you HAVE to do. Want to do. It might seem more complicated and time consuming compared to doing it yourself but it’s worth it, and the younger they start the better. Cultivating respect in the members of your household for the interests and needs of everyone will have amazing consequences. Especially their respect for you. Is Your House Too Small? It’s worth taking the time to work on making your family home really, truly serve your needs and your household’s. The results of small tweaks in behaviours and habits are exponential. They have a snowball effect, a positive effect on the low grade stress you feel when working and living in a home that’s difficult to manage or filled with clutter. Liz. X [...]
February 19, 2023Articles (Blog)Imagine two women, let’s call them Rachel and Sarah. They’re each setting up their very first home. Sarah is very independent, but gladly accepted gifts at her housewarming party. Rachel already has a complete household of everything she needed thanks to her parents and boyfriend. Sarah went about it the smart way. She spoke to everyone who was invited to her housewarming and let them know what she needed. Radical huh? That way she wouldn’t be burdened with things she didn’t need or want or even like. She will never have to haul gifts around each time she moves because she feels bad about getting rid of them. You know what else she did to set up her new home? She only bought what she needed right at that moment. And she bought the best she could afford so they would last. She sorted through all the things that she owned so that she would only bring the things she needed and loved into her new space. She donated the rest, and felt really good about it. She assigned a Smart Spot in her new place for everything she owned. This Smart Thing Is Awesome But Only If You Actually Use It! She was organised. She was tidy. She had enough. She was blissfully happy. Her home was efficient and looked good. It was super easy to keep tidy and clean. She had storage space that was organised, with lots of room between things, so it was very easy to find what she needed. Sounds heavenly doesn’t it? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop? Hanging out for that “But then….” Here it is… But then… she had kids. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNNNN. 5 Simple Steps You Can Take To Control Your Family Chaos. During her first pregnancy she thought, “No problem, it’s just a tiny baby, it’ll be so easy to stay organised!” Ha! When her eldest turned 2 1/2 and she became pregnant for the second time, she’d been living in her house for 5 years. The cupboards were full. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. She was exhausted and couldn’t stay organised. There was nowhere to put anything! What happened??? No matter how hard she tried to fend them off, people kept bringing her baby stuff. Bags of preloved kids clothes, of all ages. Gadgets, toys, and other useful things were left at her door. The grandparents were competitive gifters. And she knew that it would happen all over again with the next baby. More toys. More clothes. More stuff! Being exhausted and overwhelmed didn’t help. She thought back longingly to the early days with her first pregnancy. The baby’s room was so simple. A dresser, a changing table, a bassinet and a comfy chair for feeding. Now it was crammed with SO many toys. They had more storage for clothes than she could believe. Kids clothes were in every storage space around the house. She bet she wouldn’t need to buy clothes for her kids for decades. And they were REALLY good quality clothes too. But people kept giving her more! And the next baby? The presents were already starting! Rena And The Unwanted Gifts. Rachel’s home after 5 years was also overwhelming her. She couldn’t understand how it happened. She and her boyfriend tried really hard to not spend too much, but somehow their house was full of stuff! They hadn’t gone crazy. But over the years they had slowly, and carefully, both bought all the stuff that came along with their interests: Sports, camping, and all their accessories. Crafts, of every kind. Cushions, pillows, quilts and linen, in every colour. All the clothes they fancied, until their wardrobe was busting at the seams and had overflowed into the spare room. They’d kept slightly broken things, with an eye to fixing it when they had time, or the right tool. When they upgraded something, they kept the old one “just in case”. They couldn’t find what they needed, when they needed it. So, they bought it again. It was faster and easier than digging through stuffed cupboards. They had run out of room and were thinking of taking on a bigger mortgage so they could get a bigger home. Obviously they “needed” more room, right? Their current mortgage rate had just increased, and the thought of paying even more made them feel a bit desperate! They were both really frustrated with how disorganised they both felt. And they really didn’t want to spend money on something they knew they had, somewhere! Is Your House Too Small? Both Sarah and Rachel thought to themselves… “There must be a way! There must be a way to be more organised! And there must be a way to just feel better.” In the last year both of them had bought more storage. They’d added drawers, cupboards, boxes, cute baskets and shelving units. They thought these things would make everything better. And for a little while they helped a bit. It gave them an opportunity to sort things out and make a place for things that had no home. Ahhhhh they felt more organised immediately. But wait… now it wasn’t working. Why did they feel just as bad as before? Their new storage was stuffed full. What ever was in the bottom of all those cute baskets, might as well have been on the moon. They couldn’t get to half the stuff in the cupboards because there was so much stuff piled up in front of it. The rooms in their houses were starting to feel smaller. Feeling Better: Why Decluttering Is Self Care. Both Rachel and Sarah (not their real names) were clients of mine. They’d had enough, and emailed me to help them get sorted. This is where I let them in on the Pro trick I’m going to share with you right now. Yes you guessed it! They needed to declutter! But not just a woosy little declutter. Oh no, NOT if they really wanted to see and feel a difference. They needed to get back to where they were at the beginning of this story. Not back to pre-baby and fun interests. Back to the philosophy of Enough. Plus… they needed to learn how to keep it that way. We went through their homes like an old fashioned dose of salts. They both wanted to feel like they did when they first set up their homes. We sorted and chose what was to stay and what could be donated. We cleared out all those extra cupboards that had been added. We found things that had been lost for ages. Treasures were discovered and carefully put to one side. Multiples of things bought in desperation were eye-rolled at, sorted, and donated. More and more space was being created. What Is One Of The Most Shocking Parts Of Decluttering? On top of general decluttering of every room in their homes: Rachel and her partner sold their old sports gear, making room for the things they were interested in right now. They put the old “just in case” things and “we’ll mend that one day” stuff on their local community Facebook page. They met lots of great people who were so happy and grateful to take away things that they could fix. In Sarah’s house a modest selection of clothes for the babies to grow into had been stored in the babies room. A radical change from the old way of overflowing storage in every room. It all turned out to be 8 big black bin bags of clothes that she donated! Instead of too much and too many, more and more things shoved in gaps and poked in spaces, piled up and toppling off… Things were folded. Easy to see. Easy to find. Easy to put back. They had exactly what they needed, right now. And they were determined to keep it that way. (Less stuff, equals more organised.) Liz. [...]
February 8, 2023Articles (Blog)I’m going to let you in on a secret… The Tidy Lady can get a little sweaty during a hard working day. So I searched the web for some deodorising body spray recipes (to use in addition to my natural deodorant.) I definitely noticed a difference when I used it. I found a number of different recipes, so I put together the ingredients and proportions that made the most sense to me. This is the recipe I use: Natural Body Spray Recipe. 1/2 cup boiled water 1/4 cup witch hazel  1/4 rosewater or 1/2 cup witch hazel in total if you’re not a fan 1 tsp baking soda – dissolved 1/4 – 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar Optional: 15 drops of fav essential oils 1 spray bottle. I use a large-ish one that can take the whole amount, just a smidge over a cup, so around 250mls – 300mls capacity should do it. You can get witch hazel and rosewater at most big chemists. I dissolved the baking soda in the boiled water, waited for it to cool and added the lot into my re-useable spray bottle. Give it a shake each time you use it. Spritz it on after you’ve dried from your shower, and spread it around. It dries quite quickly. You can have it unscented, or any scent you like by adding your choice of essential oils, which also have their own deodorising properties. Enjoy! Liz. Make Your Own Natural Foaming Hand Soap [...]
January 31, 2023Articles (Blog)If you’ve suffered damage from the recent floods in Auckland and the ongoing heavy rain, you’re probably very focussed on getting hold of mops, brooms, dehumidifiers, pumps and hoses rather than decluttering or organising. Often decluttering is thought of as going through our old clothes, or Nana’s china, and that’s sometimes the case. But it’s also a necessary task when a shed is infested by rats, the basement gets mouldy, or a flood destroys our belongings. I’ve supported many clients through this process and it can be heartbreaking. A few things to keep in mind: It’s ok to grieve. You’ve suffered a shock and loss, from a few thing to a whole home. You will have to make some difficult decisions, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself. It is absolutely essential that you ask for help. You may have noticed all the wonderful people out there volunteering. Neighbours and complete strangers WANT to help. Ask. Below are a few helpful, supportive and practical articles on recovery of a home after flooding.–so-where-do-you-start After the Flood Decluttering and Organizing When Life Throws You a Curve Ball (Decluttering After A Flood) Contact [...]
January 22, 2023Articles (Blog)Ahhh perfection… What does that mean to you? Those Perfect Pantry posts on Instagram? The lux-level simplicity of influencers? Perfection can be a problem. I’m not talking about Perfectionism though. That’s different. I’m talking about the constant struggle to make your home, your-self, your kids, look like a photo in a glossy magazine or social media post. The commercial world makes a HUGE amount of money from aspirational messages. They aim to make people excited about their products. They also make you feel bad if you don’t match up! Eventually you can start to feel bad about yourself. It can also make you mad whenever you see the word Perfect in a blog post! However, there’s a way to beat the system. And feel better. I call them rules but that’s just shorthand for an idea. Which you can choose to ignore completely because you are the boss of you! Are You Struggling With Perfection Syndrome? 1. There is no such thing as perfect. We humans are always dissatisfied. We always want new, better, faster, different. What was perfect to you once, won’t be soon. Your tastes will change, your priorities will change. How you look at something you want to be perfect, depends on your nature. You might be super easy going. Everything looks fine to you! Or you might have a super critical eye (which is not a bad thing – there’s always a flip side.) The trick is to not put so much pressure on yourself that it’s all you can think about. Or you feel bad. Bad about yourself, your home, under your kitchen sink. If you’re truly not happy with your home, there are things you can do to make it better. A place you’re not embarrassed about. An environment that brings you peace. Without making yourself crazy. Sometimes all it takes is a few tweaks, to make it closer to your dream. To make it better than it was. How To Be Content With What You Have. 2. There are no one-size-fits-all rules. Have you noticed how many “Rules” there are out there? Some are very similar. Almost identical. Others are literally the opposite of what you just read! It’s human nature to look for information that reinforces what we want to believe. We will ignore everything else and hunt out the one book, article, blog post or video that tells us what we want to hear. Especially if you’re exasperated by what you read. You might think that it’s impossible to follow the rules that you’re seeing. And that makes you feel bad again! Don’t we have enough stuff that makes us feel bad about ourselves in this world? But there’s nothing stopping you from picking and choosing some ideas from all those experts. Modify them and give them a go. Learn whatever it is that they are sharing with you. Give it a go. If it doesn’t work, tweak it a bit. If it still doesn’t work, learn from that. Try something else. What you’re doing is making your own rules, from a place of learning. Make your own rules that work for you. A Quick Guide To A Tidy Home For Rebels & Rule-Breakers. 3. Be kind to yourself. If your friend asked for your help you wouldn’t be mean to them would you? You’d be kind, gentle, take it at their pace. Right? It makes you happy to see your loved ones happy, but you also deserve to be living the best life you can. You spend hours of your life lovingly caring for those around you. Regardless of whether you work outside the home or not, looking after your family and keeping your house clean and functional is WORK! You deserve to have an environment, systems and equipment that make your job as pleasant and easy as possible. You need to prioritise your happiness and wellbeing right now! Not when you move house, not when you get that job, not when the kids start school. Still think your idea of perfection will make you happy and fix everything? So tackle your mission for perfection with gentleness. Don’t beat yourself up for stuff you haven’t done or aren’t able to do. Celebrate the small changes that you’ve made towards your dream. Liz. X [...]
January 8, 2023Articles (Blog)Have you ever thought “Help! My house is so messy I don’t even know where to begin!” Clutter seems to breed doesn’t it? One minute you’ve finished a massive tidy-up, then you turn around and it’s all back! Sometimes even worse! Or there’s a slow creep… You’re so happy with the work you’ve done, it’s looking good. Then some junk starts to pile up on a surface. Some shopping bags start drifting into corners. Boxes and papers seem to stack themselves on every flat surface. Maybe your house has been messy for so long you’ve forgotten what it looked like when it was tidy. “How did this even happen!” you think. You might get stuck on a mindset – “No matter how hard I try, I’m never organised!” “I might as well give up now, decluttering never works for me!” Free Decluttering Checklist For Your Home Maybe you’ve read all the decluttering articles and organising books. Maybe you’ve used checklists like the one above. Or maybe you’ve just reached your limit of tolerance for mess. Here’s what I suggest you do: 1. Decide What Will Make Your Life Better or Easier. Ask yourself which space has the most negative effect on you, in its current state. In other words, which space would make your life better right now if it was clutter-free. ~ It might be big: You’d love to be able to get out of your car inside the garage when it’s raining. But it’s full of junk to the roof! ~ It might be small: You can’t do your hair or makeup in the bathroom because the vanity is a mountain of stuff. It might be the kitchen bench, or the stuff blocking the front door. Maybe you hate doing laundry because of all the things blocking the washing machine. Maybe you’d love to hire a cleaner, but they won’t come until they can see the floor. Focus on that space. Ignore the rest for now. See how much you can get done. How To Declutter Without Feeling Like Crap. 2. Start Small, I mean REALLY small. Small means different things to different people. In this case I mean breaking up your Really Big Decluttering Job into more manageable chunks. Then repeat. It all depends on how you work best. Some folks can get bogged down trying to make decisions about tiny things. For some, one big pile is impossible to tackle. To start small you can do a few different things: ~ Chunk up your time. 15 minutes, one hour or one day in a month. What ever works for you. ~ Choose a type of thing (like fabrics, paper or toys.) Try to focus on an even smaller type of stuff if you have a lot of one thing. ~ Choose a small defined space. If you can’t fully open the door to the spare room, start by just clearing behind the door. ~ Carry one armful of stuff to a sorting space at a time. Try not to get distracted by other things. It’s a little different when you have a Professional Organiser with you. A lot more gets done, faster. We see things in a different way. It’s also really hard to overwhelm us. Thinking About Decluttering? Don’t Do These 4 Things. 3. Work From The Top Down. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to pull things out from the bottom of a pile. Gravity is not our friend in this situation! It’s also less daunting to just tackle what you can see. Limit your ambitious plans (unless you have help and time.) Instead of deciding to pull everything out of the spare (junk) room in one go: ~ Work step-by-step, layer-by-layer. Like folding a pile of washing. ~ Stop when you want. Set a timer if you like, or go by how you’re feeling. ~ Don’t think about all the work left to do. You’ll get to it. There’s a few jokes going around about getting distracted when decluttering. Darting from one thing to the next. It’s too easy to get in a muddle. Focus on your small area or thing. If you can work systematically, within your comfortable attention span, you’ll see progress. If you find yourself in a state of hyper-focus or enthusiasm, keep going! Are You Over Thinking Your Decluttering? 4. Sort Into 3 Types of Stuff. This is a zero judgement space. I’m a zero judgement person. So if you read the word Messy or Rubbish or any other word and feel defensive, please don’t. Your feelings are legitimate, but in this space Mess is normal. All I want is for you to be happier with your living space. If you have a Very Messy Home you might have several types of stuff in your home. It really helps to sort a bit as you tackle each space. An easy way to look at it is doing a Sweep of a space: Sweep 1. Scan for rubbish. Be broad-minded about what is rubbish. Sometimes Stuff That Might Come In Handy is better recycled. Sweep 2. Things that are in the wrong room or place. Why is there a bag of onions on the lounge floor? So that’s where all the scissors went! All the kids backpacks are on the dining table. Put things back where you’d like them to live. Sweep 3. Scan for the type of thing you’re looking for. Only gather what you can deal with. Don’t get distracted. Focus on the specific stuff you want to declutter this time around. Perfection is not required. Better is what we’re going for. Slow and steady is just as good as fast and big when it comes to decluttering. Liz. X [...]
December 18, 2022Articles (Blog)Feel like you’re working, tidying, cooking and cleaning all day long? All those necessary things we do to maintain our lives and home seem to blend into one extremely long episode of deja vu! And if you’re not working and doing housework do you find yourself doing something the kids want you to do? Of course you love them to bits, but what about you?! How do you work out how much of your day should be dedicated to upkeep and cleaning? How do you set a firm boundary for yourself that allows you time to do things that make you happy? There’s a risk of burnout, unhappiness, resentment and exhaustion if you don’t make sure that you get to do the things that feed your heart, soul and mind. Are You Settling For This In Your Life? Your time is precious! We forget this in the day-to-day rush to get everything done. Sometimes you notice that time is racing past, the kids grow so fast, grey hairs pop up, people you love grow older, projects never get finished. You tell your friends you’re desperate for time off or sleep and they get it. They’re stuck in the same routine of getting stuff done that you are! We’re all stuck in the cycle of work, duties, routines and chores. All the Should’s, the I Must Do’s, the I’ll Feel Terrible If I Don’t… Or we do things that feel good to do, but we’re really doing it for someone else. It’s wonderful to play or visit, to feel needed and wanted, but are these things truly fulfilling YOU? You’re not a robot, or a maid. Your inner life, your growth, your expression of yourself, your joy, your wellbeing – every part of you, needs to be nurtured. Dance, Write, Sing & Declutter! Are Your Thoughts Holding You Back? There’s 24 hours in a day. That’s 48 half hours or 96 quarter hours. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Let’s pretend for a moment that you get 8 hours sleep… that leaves you with 16 whole hours to play with! But in that time you have hours of work to do, whether in your home or out of your home or both. Getting the kids ready, getting yourself ready, laundry, dishwasher, breakfast, lunches, unpacking after school, homework, after school activities, snacks, vacuuming, dinner, bedtime, bills to be paid… you know what I’m talking about. You also have travel time, to and from work, shopping, school, practice, games, dancing… There’s a heck of a lot to pack into those 16 hours. Somewhere in those hours and days it’s important to set aside time for you. A Tiny Tidy Tip ~ Are You Feeling Like A Slave? 1. Good Old Boundaries. Other people forget that your time is precious, and take you for granted. Especially if you don’t remind them by setting boundaries and expectations. And sticking to them. Maybe you adore the people who take you for granted. It’s never going to stop if you don’t keep in mind that your time should be respected, just as much as anybody else’s. 2. Decluttering! I’ve written about living our best lives in other blog posts. The benefits of decluttering to give you space to do the things you want to do. Letting go of the objects and tasks that hold you back. Freeing yourself from the burden of the stuff overwhelming you. 3. Beliefs. The importance of letting go of old, unhelpful beliefs. Like having to do everything yourself. That you should always come last. Giving up everything that is YOU. 4. Scheduling. I’ve also talked about the importance of scheduling your time to include the things that you love to do and standing up for yourself when your family and relationship dynamics don’t serve your best life. 5. Systems. Processes and systems. Sounds boring? They pop up everywhere, for a good reason. Following a recipe is following a process. Someone had to invent that process so the results would be what they wanted. Working out (or getting help to work out) ways to make your home more efficient, will save you time and energy in the long run. How Do You Feel About This? Sometimes all of these things take time. Sometimes we can only do them one at a time, in little bits, because we don’t want to cause conflict, either with others or inside ourselves. And that is absolutely fine. Every small step you take towards a satisfying and fulfilling life helps support your energy, your resilience and your capacity to live the life you want to live. That life will have constant changes. Don’t be mean to yourself if you can’t finish a project, or don’t follow through on a promise to yourself. It just means your priorities have shifted. It’s an opportunity to experiment and investigate what truly feeds your heart, soul or mind, right now. Liz. PS: I’d love to hear how you manage your time, how you balance the work you need to do with things you want to do. If you found this blog post valuable feel free to share it using the buttons below. [...]
December 4, 2022Articles (Blog)365 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. You could do ANYTHING in that time, couldn’t you? Renovate a house? Declutter a house? Let’s do December. Ah, you just sprinkle a bit of glitter and Christmas is done! That’s what people think isn’t it? Sooooo easy! December is a busy month for us all. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s still the holidays for many. For Professional Organisers it’s extra busy! We get phone calls like this: My wife is so stressed, her parents are coming to stay and we need to declutter urgently! I have NO TIME! My kitchen is so disorganised and it’s my turn to have the family around. I’m cooking for 17 people! Our kids have too many toys and Christmas is coming, they’re going to get SO many presents from our family and friends, I don’t know what to do! Are You Over Thinking Your Decluttering? Already overwhelmed with all the things you have to do for Christmas? All the events in your calendar? All the shopping you have to do? All the organising and driving and coordinating? The last thing you want to do is declutter on top of all that right? So don’t. Take us as you find us! This house is lived in, get used to it! Don’t mind the mess, it’s called life! But… If you just can’t say that, and you feel like you have to do something to tidy up, here are some ideas: Christmas Post! Guests. Move Things Around. Need the spare room? But the spare room is your junk room? Kitchen already stuffed full? No idea how to fit the Christmas platters in? House generally in a state of chaos? Option 1. 23rd December – Race around at the last minute in a frantic state of high stress. Screaming helps. Find other places to hide things. Make piles and chuck a sheet over it. Hide things under the bed or in cupboards. Chuck it all in the garage and lock all the doors. Option 2. No screaming required. Start now. You don’t have to get rid of anything unless it’s obviously the best move. Re-home things somewhere else in your house. If you needed it, where would you look? That’s where it belongs. You CAN Have Those Decluttering TV-Show Results! Store It All Somewhere Else. Nowhere to move things to? The time is going way too fast! Quick! Think of something! Shove everything in the car and take it away. But where?! Mum’s place? Sister’s place? Friend’s place? Pay for a storage unit! Get one of those mobile storage box thingys! Burn it all! (Just kidding) Or… Domino Effect of Organising. Start Now, Declutter & Donate. Start early. Start now. Reduce your stress. Breathe. There’s always time. It just depends on what you say no to. Prepare. Get bags and boxes to put donations, recycling and rubbish in. Make room in the car if you’re taking it away yourself. Get someone to give you a hand. Family, friends, your community, a professional. Get baby sitters. Arrange a play date to get the kids out of the house. Donate. Make sure you have a way to donate that’s easy. Don’t let it get complicated. Find a place you can donate everything to in one go. Make it easy. Get a charity to pick it up. Get friends or family to drop it off for you. Schedule the pick up so you HAVE to get it done and out of your house. Donations Recycle. Before you yell “GET A SKIP” check out where you can take things to be recycled. But make it easy. Put the same stuff in a bag or box so it’s easy to carry. Get someone to drop it off for you. Or call a junk pick-up service that will do recycling. Be Smart, Be Ruthless. Be Smart – You know your family best. What can really go and what should really stay? What have they actually forgotten about? What’s in the wrong place? Read some of my blogs to get ideas on how to do this without causing a big fight. Be Ruthless – What is your priority here? You want a clear spare room and have no other space? Have you used the things in that room? Are they covered in dust? Should they be decluttered right out of your house? You were probably going to declutter them anyway right? Decluttering Toys ~ The Secret To Not Traumatising Your Kids. Be Kind To Yourself. Say no to more things. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING. You or you kids don’t have to go to every event you’re invited to. Could your guests stay somewhere else? Can you all eat somewhere else? Why not change up your holiday traditions? Maybe change how gifts are exchanged? Get help whenever possible. Get your family team organised. Delegate. This may mean you have to let go of certain standards you prefer. But it is NOT an excuse for you to be treated with anything less than respect. Take the easy path. Choose the things that are doable in the time you have. If you have to buy instead of make, so be it. Planning in advance and doing in advance will save you a lot of stress. Give yourself the luxury of time. Keep it simple. Everything will be ok. Liz. X Contact Need a website? Try WordPress! This is an affiliate link, if you like the look of WordPress and go ahead and purchase a plan I’ll get a small commission. [...]
November 20, 2022Articles (Blog)What is Invisible work? It’s so much more than housework. It’s the other job that you do. The one that keeps your family life going. It’s all those things that you do, that are unseen and taken for granted by those around you. It doesn’t always run smoothly. But even on the worst days, everything that you have done, shows. You know what they are: They’re all the things that keep a family on track. Remembering birthday’s & other events. Everybody’s birthday. Including your own. All the little things around the kids and their activities: gold coin koha, grown out of uniform, find the lost retainer, are there clean socks & undies, get the right kind of breakfast cereal, what are they eating, what are they not eating, wait… they ate THAT at their friends house!? Managing everyone’s emotions and moods: from toddlers to teens, partners and parents. Tantrums, getting in trouble at school, the difference between anxiety & drama, sadness, depression. Working out what’s going on when they can’t explain it either. Trying to help, soothe and comfort. What About You? Why Getting Organised Is More Than Just Having A Tidy Home. Getting the housework done. It’s not just vacuuming, we all know that. And everyone has different ideas about the tasks that make up housework. Here’s a list: Vacuuming. Washing floors. Clearing and wiping benches and vanities. Filling and emptying the dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand. Putting away clean pots and pans, and plastics, drink bottles, cutlery, dishes, glasses and mugs. Cleaning the toilets. Cleaning the shower. Doing the laundry. Making sure everything is dry. Changing the sheets and towels. Putting away SO many clothes. Taking the rubbish and recycling out. Guess what? – Stating the obvious I know, but every task on this list takes time. ~ This is an interesting one. I recently sat down with a client and helped her plan out her housework around her job and kids needs. What an eye opener! She needs jet-propelled roller skates to get everything done in the time she has between work and sleep. Sound familiar? Taking the time to write up a timed housework plan shows you (and anyone who might see it on the fridge…) exactly how much you have to do each day AND how long it takes. Running Yourself Ragged? Try This. It’s the mental load of remembering. Planning, coordinating, time and energy. And SO many texts! It’s the emotional load of caring. Being the family motivator, comforter, negotiator, dancing the tightrope of teenagers reactions. Maintaining relationships of all kinds. It’s all the work that’s unpaid. Did you just think “Well, of course it’s unpaid!” ? It’s essential work that keeps a family and home functional. It’s facilitating the wellbeing of those who live in the home. It’s creating a safe and comforting retreat for you and your family. It’s Project Management & Event Management. It’s being the person who knows what’s going on at an amazing level of detail: Noticing subtle changes in your kids behaviours. Which bits of toys belong together. Which toys they actually love and play with. Noticing things that need to be cleaned, organised or tidied. Noticing what’s running out, and shopping for it. Paying attention and listening and helping. Knowing everything that needs to be done, to get stuff done! And most of the time, the people around you think it just happens automatically. If it doesn’t happen, they get annoyed! They really have no idea. “Yes Liz, we all know this already!” You’re flat out, racing around trying to remember everything and get everything done. You might be feeling a bit resentful of the people around you who don’t help. You might even be on the point of burnout. So What Can You Do About it? Here are some ideas: Work That Phone! Make it sweat it’s working so hard for you. Let them know what you’re doing. Write out your daily housework plan and put it somewhere obvious. Say what you’re doing. “I’m just going to text your friends mums about your party”, “It’s time for me to put the next load of laundry on so you have clean underpants for tomorrow!” Put a calendar up on the wall and write everything, EVERYTHING, on it. It’s not passive-aggressive, it’s just the facts. Delegate tasks to the other humans who live in your house. The reality often is that they will not help, or it takes too much energy to make them help. And if they do help, sometimes it means you have to let go of your idea of How Things Should Be Done. Start young. Before they learn to flounce, ignore you, sulk or scream and roll their eyes. Beware, this starts a lot earlier than you think it will. Delegate even little jobs. It’s one less thing for you to do. Negotiate. Work out your team’s skill base. 3 Incredibly Easy Organising Tricks To Make Your Life, Easier. Hire people. You have a lawn person right? A mechanic, an accountant? So hire a cleaner, once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month. Babysitters give you back some of your time. Laundry services give you back some time. You get the idea. Schedule EVERYTHING. But have a back up plan. Chaos happens. Prioritise the things that make your life easier. Paper is just as good as digital, if it’s in your face and it works for you. Digital calendars, reminder lists and notes, voice memos and planner apps. They are all helpful, but you need to test them to see which works best for you. Paper calendars, planners, diaries, note pads and little scraps of paper. Need to remember? Write. It. Down. Immediately. White boards and chalk boards, pin boards or big art pads on an easel. If you need to work it out, and see it (and for others to see it too) make it big and obvious. A Tiny Tidy Tip ~ Do You Know These 3 Easy Hacks? Be smart with your time. Sometimes it pays to Do It Now. When you come home with the shopping, it’s just smart to put the frozen stuff away first right? You don’t have to schedule it, you just do it. I’m a big fan of putting things you’ve used away as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to put everything away instantly. But soon. Instead of letting it all build up to an humungous pile. Unless, of course that works for you and your schedule. Try to give yourself a little extra time to get things done. Instead of scheduling to the tightest minute, add a bit. If you end up with extra time, you can choose to do something else or just relax. Schedule rest time. Your quality of life is important. Liz. X [...]
November 7, 2022Articles (Blog)~ Queue Jaws Theme… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun Garages can be a scary, daunting place. Most of the time the door can be closed so you don’t have to look at it. Unless that’s also where your laundry is. Or the back door. Ugh. Feel a bit overwhelmed every time you walk in there? There are a few studies around that make you wonder… Between 25% and 75% of people have trouble parking their car in their garage. Why? Because the space is full of… STUFF. Garages have become storage units. The dumping place for: Things that might come in handy All the things you’ll fix one day Big awkward things that won’t fit anywhere else Overflow from the house Stuff you haven’t unpacked yet Vehicles that haven’t been driven for years Sports and exercise equipment that’re covered in dust Other stuff that just makes sense to keep in there Ok so what IS a garage for? What is the purpose of that space? Generally, when a house is designed with a garage, the architect or draftsperson draws a car in the space. They’re usually car-shaped, and car-sized. Which is a very similar size and shape to a storage unit. Handy hmm? Of course, if you’ve decided to repurpose your garage, and turn it into a gym, workshop, business or studio, all good! Maybe though, that’s how it started… Sex, Clutter & Housework The build up of stuff can begin slowly, or be done on purpose. Maybe the gym equipment was installed and used for a couple of weeks, or months. Then laundry started to be draped over it. Stuff was piled in front of it. Eventually it might’ve got to the point where you open the door, toss stuff in then quickly close the door again. Or maybe… you love to potter with your things but you’re always being criticised for the volume of “junk” in there. Especially if actually parking a car in the garage is the dream of someone who lives with you. What To Do About Garage “Junk”. It all depends on what you want to use the space for. And how you want it to look. If you’re after the Pimp My Garage look, you’re going to have to make some big changes. If you’d simply like to park your car in there… well maybe some big changes are in order for that to happen too. Luckily this time of year is great for sorting it out. It’s not too cold and not too hot. Though it can be a bit windy! If it’s your garage, and have total control or agreement over what should go in there, you can open the door and get stuck in! Ask for help, especially to lift and move things. Get some bright Post-Its in different colours to indicate things that can be sold, donated or given as gifts. Make zones in the space if you can, to temporarily hold each category. Unpack boxes one at a time to limit overwhelm. Hold a garage sale, make a bit of money from all the things that you don’t want. You’ll be surprised! Maybe get a skip or flexibin if you have things that can’t be fixed, recycled or donated. Call a junk company to remove things you can’t get rid of any other way. If you have the luxury of space, make a spot to store inorganic rubbish and make a booking with your local council if they offer this service. Get new shelving installed and get organised with bins and labels. Try not to pile things on the floor. Hang bikes, get a scooter rack, put things up on the wall or on shelves. What your clutter is telling you about your relationship. Part 1. Fairness. What If You Don’t Want to Get Rid Of Anything? I bang on about this quite a lot… You always have a choice. Even if you don’t think you do. The tricky part is working out WHY you don’t want to get rid of anything. Note ~ If you need to declutter and the thought of getting rid of anything makes you feel desperate, anxious or depressed and you avoid even thinking about it, you may need professional support. If you live with someone, compromises always need to be made. But it goes both ways. You might feel like you’re the one always compromising but they will probably feel like they are. Maybe you have to downsize, and you feel like you’re being made to clear out stuff you don’t want to. Or maybe you’re just a bit embarrassed by your garage but you’re really not motivated to get rid of anything. Your Choices: 1. Everything stays the same. Rationalise why everything has to stay. The person who lives with you has no say on what goes in the garage. Ignore the people who will have to clear out the space for you when you leave. You actually DO have the choice to do this. It’s a legitimate choice. However the impact of this choice on your relationships is worth thinking about. As is the quality of your life in that space. Blokes And Their Stuff: Workshops etc. 2. Make SOME changes. Listen to the people who are involved. Find out what they want and why. Find out what actually needs to happen. It may not be as difficult as you imagine. Ask for help, but you stay in control of what happens. Maybe all they really want is to be able to open their car door inside the garage when it’s raining. Demands to completely empty the garage might just be a reaction to their frustration. Compromising might mean moving some things around. Perhaps getting rid of just one or two things. Or it might simply mean building a carport for the car instead. Or putting up a shed to store your stuff in, away from the garage. 3. Re-invent the space completely. Sometimes we stick to our guns, simply as a defence. If you feel pressured, criticised or nagged, you might dig your heels in. Despite the fact that they might have a point. And you don’t really want to keep the things that are taking up space. But you can’t back down now right? But is that really how you want to go on? Maybe you enjoy the power battle. But maybe you’re over it and would really love the space to be renewed. And maybe your relationship too. Do the difficult things to make it work for everyone. Compromise with self-respect. Declutter and re-organise to accomodate the other persons needs as well as your own. Work with the other person. Convert it into your shared dream space. Most garages can be more usefully organised than they are right now. The biggest part of that change is getting rid of the stuff that’s cluttering up your space and your life. Honour yourself and the people you love by respecting everyone’s needs. Compromise with love and mutual respect. Make that garage work for you. X Liz. [...]
October 16, 2022Articles (Blog) / DeclutteringFrustrated, stressed and depressed with your way-too-small-home? Maybe you’re finding it difficult to find space for new things. Are your cupboards or drawers Full? Do you keep buying more and more plastic bins and storage cupboards? You might be squirrelling things away in every nook and cranny, making full use of every inch in your home. There’s no more room under the beds, or in those ridiculously high cupboards that you need a ladder to reach. Maybe the rooms in your house feel like they’re shrinking because of all the extra storage. Maybe they’re starting to feel claustrophobic and the space left to walk or play is getting smaller and smaller. You might be dreaming of renovating, extending your house to make more room for your family (and oh my, all that extra storage). Or maybe you’re simply thinking it’s time to upgrade to a bigger house with extra rooms and massive cupboards! A rumpus room! A double garage and a workshop! Wouldn’t that fix all your problems?! I know the feeling. Back in the day my kitchen cupboards were bursting with Things-That-Might-Come-In-Handy and my 2 wardrobes (the spare room wardrobe was mine too!) never seemed to have enough room for the new things I bought (I was an Op Shop-A-Holic). How I Failed At The Konmari Method & Learnt To Relax. Honestly, how many potlucks and dinner parties was I realistically going to hold? Did I really need two of everything? Did I really need 3 different sleeveless puffer vests (so practical!) that I rarely wore. Or dresses that I NEVER wore? (but were so pretty!). Maybe more drawers would solve my problem. Or an extra cupboard. Maybe we should move into a bigger place! Or maybe… (I bet you can guess where this is going….) Hmmm… Could it be? Maybe I had too much stuff? The amount of space you have in your home is fixed, it can’t be changed without spending quite a bit of money! But you CAN change the amount of stuff you have that fills up all that space. One little bit of context here – we’re talking about a house that has basic storage, a wardrobe in each bedroom, a few kitchen cabinets and a pantry, a linen cupboard and a utility cupboard/laundry. If your home does not have these things, install some storage! If you have a huge extended or growing family, you may need a bigger home to make sure everyone gets the space and privacy they need. If you need an entire extra room to store your incredible Christmas decoration collection which gives you immense pleasure, go for it! Your house, your storage… I’m talking about a standard home of technically adequate size to house your family. Imagine a home that has floor space for playing games, couches the whole family can spread out on, a dining table that can be used as a dining table. How about a standard sized kitchen bench? Spontaneous baking can occur! It’s the kind of home that’s super easy to maintain. Things have homes. They’re easy to put away and easy to pull out without having to move a ton of other stuff first. The kind of house that you spend a minimum amount of time maintaining. There’s no need to wander around with things in your hand wondering where you can fit them. How To Make Your House Look Bigger. No need to spend your precious time managing Things, moving them around to make more space. Moving them around to make more sense. No longer constantly tidying up after the people in your home because they don’t know where things go. Or it’s just too hard for them to put things away, so they give up. So what is the answer? You guessed it! Reduce the amount of stuff in your home. It sounds simple right? But you know it isn’t or you’d’ve done it already. So what’s stopping you? You might think you don’t have the time or the energy. But maybe it’s something else. Maybe you’re having trouble letting go. Letting go of things that are Still Good. That Might Be Useful One Day. That were On Sale! Maybe you actually like managing all your things and always being super busy maintaining all the things you own. Or maybe you just can’t bear all the yuk emotions that you’re feeling right now at just the thought of it. Maybe you simply can’t work out how to do it and it’s making you crazy. You keep trying and it’s not working. You still wish you had a bigger, better home even after hours of hard work organising the one you have. My point and I do have one (to quote Ellen DeGeneres)… is, if you’re feeling unhappy and overwhelmed by your perfectly adequate home you liked enough to buy or rent, then you might need to start reducing all the things that are the cause of your unhappiness. Feeling Better: Why Decluttering Is Self Care. No organising! Just reducing. I’m purposely not using the D word here, because it’s a subjective word, a catch-all word. My client Selena and I were talking about the D word when I organised her kitchen. She told me her instant reaction was “It’s not clutter, it’s GOOD STUFF!” And she’s right! Of course it’s good stuff, you wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t. But the Tidy Lady definition of clutter is: Good Stuff That’s Getting In The Way Of You Living Your Best Life. Right Now. There are many decluttering systems out there, with nifty catchphrases. But they all have some things in common. They help you to prioritise your belongings and prioritise space in your home. They offer ways to find freedom from Things. They give you permission to get rid of things. They give you an opportunity to think bigger than the micro level of constantly struggling with things in your home. Sometimes they even look beyond the things to the cause of your clutter and this can be immensely helpful. Talking over or simply thinking about how you’re feeling about your home and your belongings (and your life) can reveal thought patterns, behaviours and habits that are no longer serving you and the life you would like to live. If you are unhappy in your home you are clearly not living your best life right now. And of course you can renovate, buy a bigger home, install more storage. But you might find it doesn’t take long for the same feelings to come up again. It’s like the Bad Feelings are following you! So how about this – Change the way you think about your things. Right now your things as a whole are probably causing you to feel bad. But when you look at each item individually you Just. Can’t. Let. It. Go. For what ever reason. So here’s the part where a little self knowledge comes into play. Clutter Is Just A Symptom ~ Six Smart Ways To Invest In Yourself. What ever thought pops into your head when you can’t let go of something, is worth arguing against. Have an argument with yourself! Do you think you’ll never EVER be able to get this thing ever again? (is it the Mona Lisa?! Are we living in a 3rd world country where even the basics are hard to come-by!?)Would you die of heartbreak if it went to a home where it was actually desperately needed?Would you or your family cease to function on a societally acceptable normal level without this thing? (like you know, soap)Does this thing mean so much to you, you will lay on your death bed deeply regretting that you gifted it to a charitable cause close to your heart?Does the annoyance of not having 13 black T shirts to choose from outweigh the fact that you can’t close your T shirt drawer? Could you actually use up those products and not…. HORROR! Not buy or accept any more? (How many moisturisers, scented candles, and colouring pencils do you need?)Are you subconsciously prepping for The Zombie Apocalypse, the end of civilisation as we know it? Do you think you’ll need 12 sets of dusty wine glasses? (Look at the Civil Defence website – you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to prep for a real emergency.) Focus on persuading yourself that it’s OK to let things go, in what ever way that works for you. Then, start doing it. A bit at a time. Slowly, slowly. Or… Fast! Fast! Everyone is different, and we are different from moment to moment. Go with your flow, but don’t give up. You’ll find that you have a little more space here and there. That your life at home is just that little bit easier. Don’t lose that momentum… get excited about the fact that there’s a bit more room to move, that you feel lighter without the burden of all those extra things. Work through any anxiety that you feel, be kind to yourself, start with easier things. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings as they come up, they’re telling you something about yourself. They’re telling you the reason why you’re in this situation. The why is the key to your happiness in your home and in your life, right now. X [...]
October 2, 2022Articles (Blog)Snowed under? Having trouble locating the important stuff? Using too much mental energy keeping track of where your important paperwork is? Paperwork feels important doesn’t it? We have a horror of throwing out something REALLY important. Or worse, valuable! Or you might be a Paper Lover, needing to feel the paper in your hands. Maybe you like to underline, and write on things. (Don’t worry this blog is not about throwing everything out.) Maybe you’ve put a huge amount of love and energy into something paper based. It’s your strength of feeling that makes you want to keep it. The truth is that you may never look at most of them again. But you still keep every piece of paper that comes into your sight, Just In Case. You end up with an overwhelming volume of bits of mushed up trees with ink on them. You’re busy too! Running from one thing to the next, you open mail and shove it in the nearest file, bag or box. “I’ll get to that later” you think… Or you just don’t have the brain-space to make a decision, so you just keep everything. ~ Note: If you have Business Paperwork or you’re required to keep records for legal reasons, you might like to consider keeping them separate from your Life Paperwork. 7 years of papers takes up a lot of room and you don’t need to refer to them. Put them somewhere far, far away, but safely. Shred the oldest files when the newest are stored. Go digital whenever possible. There are loads and loads of paperwork systems out there. 3 Incredibly Easy Organising Tricks To Make Your Life, Easier. Because it’s such a scary/revolting job to sort and toss mountains of paperwork lots of people look for systems that will save them from paperwork horrors. But after a while the systems stop working. Or you give up after a week or two. Why? Because there’s still too much. Organising 1000’s of pieces of paper is always going to harder than organising 100’s or even 10’s of pieces of paper. You Don’t Have To Keep Everything. If you love filing, pretty labels and files and can stay organised, hurray! But if not… Now’s a good time to start sorting with an eye to discarding. Yes, I’m afraid it is important to go through them. I’ve had clients find marriage certificates and cash muddled up in school newsletters from 1998. If you’re anything like some of my clients, you’ve got a rough system, where you sort-of know where things are. They’re bunched together a bit. Even if they’re in plastic supermarket bags or piles all over the house. But even if they are all in total chaos you can win this battle! It really helps to gather all your paperwork into one room, if you can. A storage unit might be just the ticket if you don’t have space or time right now.Have a few boxes ready to sort into. Bring the recycling bin closer and maybe borrow or buy a shredder.Decide what’s important to you and create rough categories, with a box for each.Make sure you have a clearly marked box for special things and keepsakes.Flick through manageable handfuls and divide them into their assigned boxes.Try to put more in the recycling than in the storage boxes! Want A Happier Life? Try this. You might like to think about these things when deciding whether to keep a piece of paper or toss it: Will definitely need to use this document in the future (certificates, warranties, investments etc.) Scan and save a digital copy, store the paper in a secure place with other special documents. Make sure they’re easy to find when you need them.May need or want to read in the future. Also scan if possible. Bear in mind a lot of this stuff is possibly available on the internet, from the company or institution on request, is seriously out of date and is taking up a LOT of room.You realistically won’t look at it again. Remove names and addresses or shred, or if there’s nothing private on it, pop it in the recycling. You Don’t Have To Print EVERYTHING. Hello Paper Lover. Visual much? Love the tactile effect of paper between your fingers? Love to write stuff down? There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But if you’re a wee bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paperwork building up around you, you might like to think about these: If you need to print something to remind you to read it, make a Must Read spot that’s so in your face you HAVE to read it. Or email it to yourself.Just because you’ve printed something doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. Make space in your Must Read spot for the next thing that interests you. Once you’ve read something, recycle it.You know how to use a computer. Use favourites, bookmarks and lists to record website addresses that you’d like to go back to.If you have a habit of printing something that you know you can easily access online, like newsletters, statements etc. Break that habit.Make it a pleasure for you to read something online. Get your wine or coffee, tablet or laptop and get comfy.Arrange for paperless statements, bills and store receipts. You can save the emails or attachments to your computer. A Tiny Tidy Tip! ~ Paper Problem Solutions. You Don’t Have To Organise It All To Perfection. I have a lovely client who was a teacher many years ago. She still volunteers in areas of education that interest her. The reason she called me? Her flat was swamped with all her precious printed material from years of teaching various subjects. They lay in piles on every surface, and new papers were added every week. She’d gone to a huge amount of trouble to create some of the resources she’d used. She even had her teacher’s college papers from 40 years ago. It was ALL precious to her. She occasionally referred to material she’d kept for 20 years. She was also going to be a grandmother for the first time. She was beside herself with joy and excitement. She also realised that her flat was no place for a baby or toddler to visit. “I’m not getting rid of ANYTHING” she said. “I just need help to get it out of the way and safe”. She wasn’t kidding. In the end one small box full went into recycling. The rest were divided into large plastic boxes with secure lids and large labels. Each category meant something to her. The papers were roughly organised file-style in each box, which was enough for her. Then we stored all the big boxes on shelves in her garage. Her day to day paperwork was organised into smaller boxes which she kept in her room. When her daughter and new grand daughter visited for the first time, her flat was clear of paperwork, safe and tidy. It’s about making it work for you. It’s not about wholesale dumping of paperwork, unless you want to. Everything is a choice. Liz. X [...]

Liz, my wardrobe and drawers look SO AMAZING! I have been singing your praises (again) today  – its hard to find the words to describe how grateful and happy I am.

– F. N.

You came in like Mary Poppins, worked your magic with so much practical kindness, I could hardly believe it! I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a big black umbrella outside instead of a car! X

~ Penny

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Oh Liz, it looks amazing. Absolutely love it. My daughter doesn’t know I’ve got this done for her, am so looking forward to her delight. Thank you so so much. x CB

C.B for K

I really enjoyed my time with you Liz – honestly, I feel so empowered now. I really appreciate your expertise and advice. I definitely feel so much more freedom and it might sound strange, but my confidence has improved too. Thank you so much.