In preparation for the impending restart or surprise visit of Load Shedding, we did a little bit of homework for you.
Did you have electricity last night? Did yours go off when it was supposed to? The loadshedding schedule isn’t accurate? The traffic was so bad because all the robots were out!
I bet you these are the kinds of things you are hearing nearly every day when you finally get to the office. Whether we like it or not, unfortunately load shedding is a reality at the moment and one of those ‘out of control’ things that are what they are. In saying that, I’d like to share a few tips and tricks with you that can make loadshedding a little more bearable.
What often makes load shedding so frustrating is that the schedule isn’t always accurate and therefore we are left unprepared for when it hits and we didn’t know. It’s usually also at the most inconvenient times (bath time, bed time, kids suicide hour and rush hour) which makes your already long day even longer.
Don’t you find that as soon as the lights go off you are suddenly dying to have a cup of tea? Im not even a tea drinker really but, as soon as I don’t have the option to switch on the kettle, I want tea? Haha. There are of course numerous options to have your power kick right back on as the lights trip but for the majority of South African’s, items such as combo gas and electric stoves, generators and solar power are not readily available and cost a huge amount to outlay to get it.
Generators: If you have a generator, then amazing. Just remember to always have a spare container of fuel next to your generator in the event that the lights do go out and it needs to be refilled. People so often forget to check the fuel level after they have been using their generator, and it’s all very well having one but you have got to have the fuel to run it. To save on fuel costs too, try not run everything in your house all at once. Switch lights off in rooms you are not using and switch off appliances like aircons and heaters as they draw a lot of power.
Being stuck in the dark doesn’t have to be all that bad. Apart from forcing you to put away your work and phone, it can encourage you to spend some quality time with your family, talking! When last did you all sit together and actually talk about your day? Our technology-driven world consumes us and sometimes it’s hard to unplug from being accessible all the time. Look up from your screens!!! If you still absolutely have to have access to all forms of technology, then items like charged power banksmake keeping your phone charged very easy. I always have a charged power bank in my handbag in the event I get caught off guard and forgot to charge my phone. Most laptops also have a decent battery life and should keep you going until the lights come back on. Alternatively you could go to a coffee shop or restaurant (most places have a generator) and you can use their free wifi while sipping on a hot cup of coffee.
I’ve compiled a list below of a few extra items you could keep and pull out relatively easily when the lights go out.
Battery Operated Lights: Keep these in a server drawer or a drawer in the kitchen. When the lights go out, you can make your way to ONE drawer somewhere and access all this. It’s worth even creating a “loadshedding draw” with some matches, lightersand some candles. This way, you aren’t searching in multiple places for light options.
Candles: These can both be functional and decorative. So many people put candles around their houses for decorative reasons and then don’t use them. From an organising perspective, candles are a great way of killing two birds with one stone. Use the stuff you have!! I have candles on my dining room table, server unit, next to the tv, in all my bathrooms and on a set of draws in my room. They are in various shapes and sizes and match each room aesthetically. But, when the lights go out – I go to my server draw, grab my lighter and can move my way through the house to get some light.
Gas: We have a gas braai outside and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve used it to cook our dinner. There is no rule to say that you can’t put a frying pan or a pot on a gas braai to get your dinner. Also let’s be honest, we south Africans do love an impromptu braai anyway so most times you wouldn’t have to make a gourmet meal, just pull out some kebabs and a steak, run them under hot water to defrost and then dinner is served. No man is going to be unhappy about that. Gas heatersare also a win if you have one, at least you can stay warm if you usually rely on an electric blanket or heater.
Hopefully the above tips have helped you a bit, I could go on and on about meal options or planning groceries and food ahead of time but that could be a whole new post. If any of you amazing organisers have some additional tips to share, we would love to hear from you.
Can you believe it’s April already! Where has the time gone?! Before the month whizzes past, I wanted to touch on a very prominent and current topic of conversation – Recycling.
The images on social media are circulating at an alarming rate with horrid images of animals and the landscape being affected by pollution. I thought I would share a few small tips that you can do every day to help alleviate your carbon footprint.
- Plastic Bottles. It breaks my heart when I stand in queues at the grocery store and people have grabbed bottles of water in the queue. Ahhh! It kills me. Coca Cola produces 3MILLION TONNES of plastic every year; I can’t even visualize what that even looks like! And even though we are all becoming more and more aware of what’s happening to our planet, we still buy from these companies: why? Because it’s habit or because we think, ugh, it’s just one bottle and I’ll recycle it?Let’s do my math, just as an example. I drink 3 liters of water a day. Let’s say I don’t use a reusable bottle. I’m likely to buy, for arguments sake, 2 x 2 L bottles or a variation thereof per week while I am out on the road/ shopping and feel thirsty. That’s 104 bottles a year and, let’s be honest, not all of them will end up in the recycling bin. I have a reusable 2L water bottle that I fill up every morning and clean once a week; by filling up at home I have saved myself (R10 for a 1.5L Valpre x 2 x 52 =) R1040 a year on water.What’s even more entertaining is that when I work in Kitchens (ironically, despite my lack of love for cooking, I love organising kitchens) my clients always have cupboards full of reusable water bottles that are never used. Here’s what I say. Fill them up and put them in the fridge and get into the habit of reusing them.
A) You will also clear out a cupboard in your kitchen for other items that need the space
B) Save yourself some money and reduce your plastic waste (there are just over 56million people in SA and if even half of us stopped buying plastic bottles, imagine the difference we could make)
- Shopping bags. I am delighted that so many retail stores are moving away from plastic and towards biodegradable and earth friendly material bags. But we can also add our bit here. Again, in many kitchens I have worked in there is always “that cupboard” that is bulging with unused plastic bags. When I talk to anyone about being organised it’s just creating habits and being mentally prepared ahead of situations. By being mindful and present with your actions, you can have a profound effect on how organised you can be.Since 2016 I have had 3 fabric shopping bags (I am only human and on occasions I have left them at home). I worked out quite fast that I seldom buy any more than three bags at a time, when I am out shopping. On average I do one big shop a week so that’s 156 plastic bags a year and 468 bags from 2016-2018 that I have prevented from dying a lonely death in the kitchen cupboard, destined to never see the light of day again. Yes, I appreciate that we lead busy and frantic lives and very often upon our arrival at home we drop our bags and kick off our shoes and head straight for the escape of the couch. But if we spent 15min unpacking and putting our bags on the front door handle or in our handbags, then the bags would make it back to the car and in turn, back to the store and create a wonderful habit of conscious living.In many of the spaces I have worked in, I find many many shopping bags with their items still inside the bags and not even being used as they have been forgotten due to the items being out of sight. Which leads me to the next point…
- Retail therapy – ahh man, this is a tough one. My husband looks at my cupboard and gives me the raised eyebrow. Everyone has their weakness and mine is my clothes. I buy selectively, my shoes are mostly trainers and Toms and a few other styles, but I have got to a stage now where I only buy my clothing from 3 or 4 places because I trust the quality, the fit and I know that with the proper care the items will last.My husband is also very good in this regard; he is working towards a capsule wardrobe (I think it’s easier for men as they wear either tops, shorts or pants. Women have so many other parts to their wardrobe (like earrings – I am very big into earrings). He has worked out the colors that look great on him and now he only purchases items that will go with all his articles of clothing. So now he has fewer items and he wears all his clothing; his shopping is reduced as some items just don’t fit in to his colour pallet and his closet isn’t over flowing. He is much like me, he buys from a few select places and so he doesn’t end up with these impulsive buys that he doesn’t wear.We are so indoctrinated by fashion and it changes so fast that, having worn an item once, it’s already ‘so yesterday.’ I have a shopping list of items that I would like; I add to it when I see something I like and then I think about it (the leopard print jeans from Zara – all my jeans are from there because they fit me so well, are on the list and let’s be honest, leopard print will always circle back into fashion hehe) but I keep my list and think about whether or not I will wear it in a few years’ time and then make my decision. My goal for 2019 is to invest in experiences and not in things (Mauritius in June and Europe/ London in Sept/October). I bought my bikinis on special from my favorite place last year and I have been waiting patiently to give them their debut… Yippee!
That’s another point – shopping in sales – so many of my clients have garages lined with bags of clothing for donation and the tags are still on some of the clothes and they were so often on sale. Make a list of what you want before you go and stick to it. If you are feeling brave and fancy a closet clear out, start small; a whole closet overhaul can take hours and you may end up sleeping under a pile of clothes on the bed that you haven’t managed to get to. Underwear. Shoes. Gym clothes. Swimming costumes. Small tasks make you feel exuberant. If you aren’t sure where to donate your preloved items, then give us a shout. There are also wonderful second-hand stores that will sell your items for you. Put the bags in the car and donate them ASAP otherwise they can start to take over your garage. By donating them asap it finishes the task and you are less likely to want to go through the bags.
- E-Waste. I am so glad that there are more and more places that will recycle e-waste for you. What is e-waste? Computers, cellphones, batteries, CD’s, DVD’s, appliances, wires and cables that have lost their partners, light bulbs, old VCR tapes. These items I always collect when I am with a client because they often end up in the bin and in a landfill and they often have poisonous or toxic materials that end up not biodegrading. There are many drop-off points or companies that will collect this waste and then they recycle it or dispose of it correctly.
I saw a fabulous advert about how Iceland (which is the top in the world for Green Living) decided that they were no longer going to buy toothpaste in boxes (what is the point of them anyway?) and just buy consciously not buying the brands that sell in boxes, they managed to change the supply and demand of them. We can make a change. We can be more organized and we can live a more conscious, present life and we can make a difference.
If you have any questions or suggestions, we would love to help.
1. the action of delaying or postponing something.
“your first tip is to avoid procrastination”
synonyms: dithering, delaying tactics, dilatoriness, stalling, temporizing, hesitation, vacillation; More
To begin this post, I would like to point out that it has taken me over a month to start writing this blog. I’m sure many of you can relate to the dreaded attack of good old Mr. Procrastination and for many, it eventually starts to drown us as the pile so to speak gets bigger and bigger. I can’t really pinpoint why its taken me so long, but I think I keep finding something else to do that takes me away from something that’s out of my comfort zone, like writing. I’m much more of a hands-on person (perhaps why I love organising so much) and let’s be honest – most of us have a strong dislike for admin or paperwork. But the time has come to sit down and face my procrastination and share some thoughts with you about how I go about setting goals for myself so that procrastination doesn’t get the better of me.
When it comes to assisting someone with their home or garage, I so often hear my clients say to me: “I’m so overwhelmed” / “It’s all too much” / “The pile just got bigger then I didn’t know where to start”
And the result of all this is that people end up leaving it for another time, I can hear you saying you’ll do it tomorrow. Of course, this is us delaying learning for that test, stalling having to put the laundry away or getting our driver’s license renewed. Adulting is hard, especially when we must do things we don’t like doing too – haha.
Now I’m going to share a not so profound piece of advice with you. The secret is to start. Mic drop, mind-blowing advice – No! We all know this, I knew weeks ago that I wanted to write this post but always pushed it aside to do something else. The thing is, that the task at hand takes you half the amount of time that you think it will. That pile of laundry is only going to take you 5 mins, but you leave it for days, and the pile gets bigger, and then your clothes wobble over and fall on the floor. Now you have to pick up the clothes, refold some of them AND put the laundry away which is going to take you half an hour, so guess what – you leave it and go make a sandwich as that’s less overwhelming. In hindsight, if you had just put the laundry away the first time, it would have taken you 5 minutes.
I’m sure you are no stranger to the 5-second rule. In this case, I’m not referring to dropping food on the floor, I’m referring to how long it takes for your mind to make a decision. You’ve literally got 5 seconds. In those 5 secs, you’ll decide whether to do the task or not. My advice is to just do it. That moment that you trying to get yourself out of it, push that aside and put your laundry away. Once you finished, you’ll be so thankful you just did it and you realise it took you barely any time at all.
Here are some tips:
• Break tasks down into smaller sections. Don’t look at your whole room and panic, say to yourself: I’m just going to sort out my dressing table today. Or I’m going to go through all my socks. This way, the task seems much more manageable and you can focus your mind on more smaller tasks than looking at your room as a whole. Also, you don’t have to spend hours doing things you don’t enjoy, you can spend 30mins a day and be done with it.
• Make lists – I personally love lists and it’s a big part of how I get things done. Each week I write down what I need to achieve and slowly but surely, I tick them off. The great thing is that you really have a sense of achievement by actually ticking the items off.
• Put things in their right place the first time: When you take your shoes off at the end of your long day, put them straight in the cupboard rather than taking them off in the lounge then you have to move them again. Same goes for laundry, your groceries, bags when you come back from a trip. If you unpack, put away things straight away then you get the job done quickly and have more time to yourself to relax.
• Set reminders: Technology has improved so much over the years that the world is literally at our fingertips. Set up reminders in your calendar that repeat each year, for example – mark down when you need to get a new license disc for your car renewed. Your reminder will buzz on your phone before it expires and then you can add it to your to-do list. This way, you don’t have to actually remember stuff like this, technology reminds you.
There are so many more ways of beating procrastination and each is often specific to your own environment and what you are having issues with. There is definitely a relation between having a cluttered space and the effects it has on your mind. Should you ever need any help with any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Bryony so that we can help with all your organisational needs. Call an organiser and let them help you with areas of your home, garage or office that you have been procrastinating.
How much do you value your mental and physical well-being? We spend money each month to protect ourselves from any potential life disaster that may befall us; life insurance to look after our loved ones; income protection in case we are ill. We visit life coaches or therapists or any other kind of medical practitioner so that we can uncover and focus on our potential within, to be able to flourish. In business we have coaches, who hold us accountable for our numbers and motivate us to move forward and focus on the areas that will be most beneficial to us to help us grow.
That’s where Professional Organisers come in – how much value do you place on your surroundings around you? Countless research and studies have been done and prove that your space has a direct impact on you as a person, your emotional well-being and your mood and your productivity. In business, we strive to put procedures in place to create organization and seamlessness; planning and preparing so that we may remain stress-free and achieve our goals. At home, we plot our weeks to make sure we can attend to all matters. Interior designers have even pin pointed specific colours that enhance or improve our mood.
The thing is you don’t know what you don’t know until you know! Just like going to a nutritionist to give you advice to improve your health, Professional Organisers look at a space from a productivity and a use of the space perspective. Perhaps your space works: it’s neat. Perhaps you don’t even know what potential your space has, just because you have never considered another perspective.
So, when we hear potential clients say, ‘Oh no I don’t want you to see my space’ just think of the incredible possibilities your space may have that you are missing out on.
We don’t make you throw your things away, you make that decision all on your own. We suggest cost-effective, long term solutions to make your life easier. What if you are storing items that you use every day in a place hard to reach which frustrates you every time you try to get to them. Think of the reduced frustration of having them in an easily accessible place. We all know how something silly like things falling out of the cupboard and spilling on the floor can infuriate you when you are already late and possibly it puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
Research has also shown that stress is the number one killer in society today and it comes in all forms! Being late because something fell out the cupboard and you had to tidy it up is a stress trigger.
As professional Organisers, our aim is to make your space stream-lined and organised so that it improves your productivity and reduces anxiety. Sometimes it’s a case of moving a few things around and working out what you want from the space. ‘I have no space to work at my desk’ well, then let’s move everything that you don’t need on a daily basis to GIVE you the space to function better. Perhaps you need more of something to maximize the space you have. ‘I don’t have enough space to keep all my things organised so they just make a mess’ – chances are there is something in the space that we can work on to improve the organization, perhaps how things are stored or where.
Just like a Chiropracter is going to look at your office from an ergonomic perspective, to improve your space to account for your body and muscles, Professional Organisers look at your space and how it affects your mind.
Do you want to reduce stress and increase your mood and productivity? Imagine having a space in your life organised, so that it’s no longer on your to-do list in the back of your mind? Imagine what other magical things you can achieve without having it to weigh you down. Have a Professional organiser come and give suggestions and inspire you to LOVE your space around you.
Plan the Perfectly Organised Christmas With These Top Tips
With Christmas just around the corner, there is so much to get done: present-buying, food shopping and generally getting the house ready for your guests, just to name just a few. The more organised you are the more you’ll be able to enjoy things, and these top tips are really going to help you out.
Make a list, check it twice
If you write something down you’re far more likely to get it done than if you just rely on your memory. So make lists of everything that needs to get done, from presents to food. Write down the names of people you need to buy for, jot down gift ideas and even price budgets if you’re feeling economical. Make a shopping list before you hit the shops or order online, then pin it up on your wall and add to it as you need to.
Save the day
Your calendar is another key tool at this time of year and if you rely on the one on your phone it’s a good idea to transfer that onto paper too. That way it’ll refresh your memory about upcoming events and put you ahead of the game, rather than relying on a reminder 10 minutes before you’re supposed to be there! So whether you need to remember to post Christmas cards or to attend a friend’s Christmas drinks, you shan’t forget!
Do Secret Santa
There are so many people to buy for and not a lot of time to get it done, so organizing Secret Santa amongst your friends and family is a great idea. It saves a lot of time and money, and it’s great fun too. There are online tools you can use to randomly assign each person if time and distance mean it’s not possible to do it the old-fashioned way by pulling names out of a hat.
Think about gift cards
Gift cards are a good way of saving money and time too. Take a look at your present list and link individuals with certain stores or outlets. Most people secretly would love to choose their own gift so it’ll be highly appreciated. As an added bonus there’s no gift-wrapping to do, which is a great timesaver, and less paper means less mess and it’s better for the environment.
We all know the rush of preparing food for a group of guests, and it can be stressful, rushed, not to mention messy. You may find that you can save time by pre-preparing some of the food you’ll be serving. Of course some things you’ll want to take out of the oven fresh in time for dinner, but there will be dishes that you can have pre-prepared and then just reheat to serve. Chopping can take up a lot of time and create mess, so start chopping certain vegetables and herbs in advance of cooking; simply store them nicely and take them out when you need them on the day.
Make the house gleam
If you’re planning on having people round it’s a good incentive for doing a really good clean. Before Christmas week you can give the house a good once over and check that everything is in working order. If you’re throwing a party it’d be good to brush up on your bathroom cleaning skills too. There’s always that one guest ready to scrutinize every aspect of your home! And in case of any disasters in the loo, here is a handy guide for how to unblock a toilet. Nothing will ruin your party!
Plan journeys in advance
We’re all busily buzzing around over Christmas, so roads will be hectic. If you’ve got any long journeys to do, make sure you know how to get there long before you set off. Look at alternative routes and check to see which areas are best avoided and make a packing list of things you want to take in the car. Try and leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination in case of delays.
If you get ahead and get organised there’ll be no need to stress too much. From writing down lists to knowing how to unblock a toilet in the case of a minor disaster, these top tips can help you relax and enjoy everything about Christmas.
We are DELIGHTED to have Julia to join the Oh So Organised Family, we asked her to tell us a bit about her… Enjoy!
My love for all things Interior / Space Planning / Organisation and Design orientated started when I was in High School. Back then we did Home Economics as a subject and apart from the stereotypical “cooking” lessons we touched on the ergonomics of design. I had an amazing teacher who inspired me that I could do anything I set my mind to and as a result, excelled in the subject because I loved it. I went onto study a certificate in Advertising at Varsity College which helped me get a clearer understanding of Consumer Behaviour and Brand Marketing, then onto a 3 year Diploma in Interior Design at the Durban University of Technology.
I’ve had experience in office furniture / space planning offices / designing layouts / travelling internationally to the U.S.A to gain more experience / Country Clubs / New York living / Running a showroom / Managing a KZN sales team to being a Recruitment Consultant. For as long as I can remember I’ve been one of those people who colour coded my wardrobe, moved my bedroom around to change up the space and literally labelled everything. I made use of every inch of space but in a way that I could always find what I was looking for as it was accessible. I’ve even repacked my friends dishwasher when she wasn’t looking coz there was no way that last glass and plate weren’t going to fit in :)! I’ve done a full circle since then and now I am embracing my passion for all things Organised / Disorganised / Downsizing and Clutter.
On a more personal note, I remember just before I embarked on my travels to the States, I was in Somerset West with my Grandmother and she had moved into a retirement village from a substantially larger home, along with recently losing my Grandfather. It was tough for her to let go of the things she loved in order to downscale to a smaller home, and even tougher to go through the mounds of books / clothes and paperwork my Grandfather left behind. I can honestly say that was “the moment” (singing birds and harp sounds included) that made me realise that people like her needed help with decluttering and organising their space to accommodate their new lifestyles. I made a pact with her when I left that day, that when I got back from the States I was going to start a business that helped people organise / declutter / downsize and relocate them so that they didn’t have to make those hard decisions alone. Unfortunately a couple months later my Grandmother past away and as so many say, life got the better of me and I moved away from my dream! Until now…
My extensive experience overseas and in multiply corporate jobs has taught me about the consumer, how to arrange a space to best suit its function, interior & furniture trends on an international level, how important HOME is to me, how to deal with multinational / multicultural people at all levels of seniority, that money and security aren’t everything, but perhaps passion and sanity are, that dreams can be real, and that the hardest step sometimes is just taking the leap, and FINALLY, how passionate I am about what it is that I now do professionally.
There is a lot of truth in this commonly used quote:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”
With Oh So Organised, I feel like I have done just that! I am humbled by my friends and families support throughout this experience and feel brave that I’m now in charge of my own destiny.
April is a time of year when everyone takes a few days of leave (and gets most of the month off!) and plans family time or a vacation.
This year we kept it local and quiet and it was glorious!
When I talk about my business and about what I do, I often get the same question: ‘where on earth do you begin?’. Well, it’s simple, really. Organising one’s spaces often seems like a very daunting task but so are most tasks, so here are a few of my handy tips that might help:
I decided on Sunday morning that it was time to do a closet clean out. I got a bucket of my lovely fragrant all-purpose cleaner, my vacuum, a stepladder (for us minis out there), a drying cloth, a bin and a donations bag.
STEP 1 – when doing an organizing session – have all your tools at hand; think of all the possible items you may need: markers, labels, notepad and pencil, a box for items that don’t belong in the space, a bottle of water (so that if you knock it over it doesn’t spill). Rather have to many than having to go off in search of a screwdriver to fix your shelf, cause that’s when distraction sets in. Keep them all together in one spot and put them back there when you have used them otherwise you will lose them amidst the organising!
So I started at the top of the cupboard (the idea is that all the dust and bits you wipe out don’t fall into the shelf below that you have just cleaned) pulling everything out and wiping it out – I discovered to my horror that there were orange spots on the underneath of the shelves, probably a kind of mildew, living in a humid climate, thankfully it came off with ease, as it was September when I did this last so the little spots didn’t have a chance to take up permanent residence!! I also made sure that I dried the shelves – otherwise the colour transfers or mildew grows. I was VERY proud of myself; I donated 3 or 4 handbags just from the top shelf!
Step 2 – PULL everything out! Put items for donation straight into the allocated box to prevent confusion and don’t just throw everything onto the floor, go through each item. It makes the packing away easier. Have piles for like items so you can see EXACTLY how much space you need.
Give the space a vacuum or clean out, mend screws or make a note of shelves or doors that need fixing. Make a note of things thrown out that need replacing.
Step 3 – Once the space is clean and dry, start putting back. Take the box of items that belong in other spaces and return them (I had some of my fiancé’s socks and a scarf that needed to be returned home. Make sure you fold your clothing wide and flat, tall thin piles of clothes topple over and drive everyone mad! I hang as much as possible in colour coordination (tops, dresses, jackets) my trousers hang too, I fold gym clothes and have boxes for my smalls and bras. I store my shoes in styles.
Step 4 – put tools away and marvel at your space!!!
I spent an hour doing my closet, granted it was just a clear out. But start small. Don’t start with a whole room, a cupboard will suffice, and when you have had success, then you will feel motivated to start the next job.
Reward yourself! You are triumphant! I had an Easter egg!
Try and donate your items asap, otherwise they take up root in your garage or you accidentally go through the items and start having second thoughts! Give yourself a week to donate the items and keep in mind that some charities collect too!
If you have any questions, pop me a comment or drop me a line on my Facebook page.
– isn’t she pretty:)