Hands up who’s got a wallet chock-full of loyalty cards? We have the answer for you!
Stocard, a free app from iTunes and Google Play, allows you to select from hundreds of pre-set loyalty cards (or input your own) capturing your loyalty details simply and effectively, ready to be used immediately. The Wall Street Journal enthuses that it’s ‘a clever way of turning a smartphone into a virtual wallet’.
Use your phone’s camera to quickly scan your loyalty cards, and store them in your phone. As technology moves forward, many stores can already scan your smartphone to access the card information. No registration is necessary, so you can start using Stocard as soon as you have uploaded your cards. No login is required either…your information is safely kept on your device.
We believe many people underuse their loyalty programs because they have too many cards in their wallet, lose track of what they have, or just find the process messy or time-consuming. We LOVE this idea as a way to get organised and stay organised.
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Courtesy of our Guest Blogger This Month - Melissa Fallon
WHO DOESN'T LOVE SHOPPING?
Giving in to the occasional impulse buy is normal. After all, the majority of people enjoy shopping. The problem occurs when you or someone you know has succumbed to obsessive shopping. When it happens to you, a negative change in your spending habits is noticeable. For instance, you are likely tempted to dash off to the mall to buy items you don’t really need. Being constantly exposed to shopping ads on TV and the Internet makes things even worse. If you think you or a loved one is showing the telltale signs of compulsive buying or shopping addiction, you should seek treatment before the situation worsens.
Understanding Compulsive Shopping
The irresistible desire to shop is known as compulsive buying disorder or oniomania. According to a research by World Psychiatry, 5.8 percent of Americans are afflicted with the disorder, with women comprising 80 percent of the total number of affected individuals. Commonly known as shopaholics, these people are overly focused on buying and suffer from disruptive anxiety that can only be relieved by shopping. People with compulsive buying disorder are also likely to have other mental issues, including mood disorders, anxiety and substance addictions.
How to Diagnose an Addiction to Shopping (or Shopaholism)
Ruling out normal buying behavior is important. Given that the US and other wealthy industrialized countries have citizens whose leisure time is often spent on shopping, spending a lot of time shopping does not necessarily mean a shopping addiction. The holiday season, for instance, is often a common time for people to splurge on things that are normally outside their budgets. Shopping sprees are also common among people who have recently acquired a large inheritance or won a significant sum of money. As such, the apparent impulsive buying done by these people does not necessarily constitute an addiction to shopping.
How to Recognise a Shopaholic
Identifying if someone is affected by a shopping problem can be achieved by referring to the signs listed below. Manifesting four or more of these behaviors possibly points to shopaholism:
- Spending over your budget
- Buying more than what is needed
- Keeping the excessive buy a secret from friends and family
- Returning bought items because of guilt
- Alienating relationships due to a shopping preoccupation
- Preferring the use of credit cards to cash
- Shopping in order to eliminate feelings of anger, depression or loneliness
- Arguing frequently with other people about your shopping habits
- Experiencing guilt and shame after a spending spree
- Mulling over money matters
- Delaying paying bills and opening new credit accounts to allow more shopping
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Compulsive Buying
When you recognize that someone is dealing with shopping addiction, several measures are available to help manage the disorder. Your presence and advice are very important during the whole process, especially when you’re a parent trying to assist your teen in overcoming addiction. The road to recovery isn’t an easy path, which means patience is needed.
Talking to a Shopaholic
One essential step to curb compulsive buying is to avoid scenarios that can lead to shopping binges. Indiana University professor Ruth Engs compiled a list of these possible situations. For instance, convince the shopaholic to enter a store with a shopping list in hand, instead of arriving unprepared. All credit cards must be paid off, cancelled and destroyed, save one that must only be used for emergencies. Furthermore, talk the affected person out of carrying a wallet all the time. After all, without financial means, the temptation to shop cannot be fulfilled.
Adolescents and Teens
If you are a parent or responsible adult helping out a teenager, the first step is to get the child to acknowledge the problem. You can expect the teen to deny the addiction, hence the need to be persistent. Convincing your child to open up is usually the best tactic. You can also point your teen to other activities that do not involve shopping. Exercising, jogging, reading and listening to music are just a few examples of healthy ways to keep your child occupied.
Learning to Cope With Shopping Addiction
To successfully deal with shopaholism, knowing what goes in the mind of an affected individual is important. Contrary to popular belief, shopping addicts are not always easygoing young women who are only concerned about the latest shoes and handbags. Truth be told, the shopaholic often suffers from emotional problems, has low self-esteem, and desires the approval of other people. Positive encouragement is a great way to help the addict follow constructive advice. Let the person realize that self-worth is not related to the items that they buy.
A shopping addict also has trouble controlling impulsive behavior, which can be addressed by dealing with the underlying issues. Finally, the shopaholic often has a profound sense of materialism, with the assumption that affection and admiration can also be bought. A real social connection with other people helps to reduce this problem.
How to Treat Shopping Addicts
According to WebMD, the origin of addictions remains unknown, although some evidence indicates that the addictive behavior may be partially exacerbated by genetics. As such, no standard treatments for shopping addiction are available, and current treatments involve a couple of sophisticated approaches. For instance, antidepressants may be prescribed to shopping addicts who have also been diagnosed with underlying depression. Therapy, on the other hand, involves addressing maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes. Support groups and credit counseling are also used in dealing with shopaholism.
Deciding Between Shopping Addiction Solutions
Different people respond well to different therapies. For changing unproductive thought patterns, such as negative thoughts that influence the behavior regarding money and shopping, one approach may involve cognitive behavioral therapy.
Sharing experiences with people in an empathetic atmosphere is available via Debtors Anonymous, an organization that offers a free 12-step program for people who want to stop acquiring unsecured debt. If you prefer self-help, you can buy books or join online support communities. For help in managing debts, you can try credit counseling. Companies who offer this service also have debt management plans to help you create reasonable payment arrangements with your creditors.
Where to Find Shopping Addiction Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
If your own efforts are not working and you want to seek outside help, you can consult professionals or organizations to treat shopping addiction. Remember, recovery begins with acknowledging the addiction and seeking help.
Given all the personal and professional measures available, overcoming shopaholism is entirely possible. On the other hand, breaking free from this insatiable need to spend requires time and effort. You can’t expect recovery to happen in a few days. In fact, temptations and relapses can happen while attempting to change for the better. Patience and perseverance are essential when trying to defeat your addiction.
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Here is a gorgeous B & B called Cottonwood Cottage - a stunning space to relax and unwind in beautiful Bellingen, NSW Australia, an inspiring country town on the North Coast of Australia. (Visit www.cottonwoodfarm.com.au) to see this stunning website.
I am lucky to stay in this B & B each time I visit my twin sister and her husband. The style and taste is exceptional and one doesn't want to step outside the door of this amazing space once you have arrived. Every inclusion has been thought of - every touch placed to perfection.
Suzanne and Daniel Maher, have built Cottonwood Cottage to share their amazing country property with the outside world and the build was a years labour of love. Lorance McLashan, their builder is an absolute perfectionist, clearly demonstrated here.
For many years, Suzanne & Daniel have travelled the world, selling their inspirational cards and books (visit www.affirmations.com.au) and in their downtime have collected the coolest things - books, magazines, art and momentos from Paris and regions of France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Japan and New Zealand - everything you find on the shelves in Cottonwood Cottage has a special place in their hearts. I am sure you will love these too.
The walk-in wardrobe with two long glass shelves, is designed to unpack your clothing on to with french vintage crystal knobs in different designs on the wall to hang clothing. The kitchen is fully equipped and self-contained. Beautiful tiles from Jatana Interiors line the benchtops. On arrival you will be welcomed with a fridge full of nibbles, fresh eggs from a friends farm down the road, fresh bread from Hearthfire Bakery in Bellingen, wine (and they are good at choosing wine!) all to set you up to relax amidst pristine views and the quiet of country life. If you do visit Cottonwood Cottage one day, you will appreciate the fine selection of interior design books and magazines.
I particularly love the full wall of shelving which stores a constantly changing display of much loved collectibles. I must mention the bed. I have never in my life slept on such an exquisite bed - it feels like floating on a cloud.
The wallpaper is a rare historical book called 'The Book of Palms' which includes watercolour paintings from an artist who travelled the world by boat for three years in 1623, on an expedition to find and document for the first time, the worlds palm species. The pages were trimmed to create this wallpaper - how stunning and unique!
There is also 400 metres of Never Never River to swim in - fresh water from the mountains and you can even become a member of the 'Cottonwood Swimming Club' whilst there. How cool! Sit by the river on colourful lounges and doze to the sounds of rippling water or read and swim in total privacy.
And I MUST mention the bird life, which is growing steadily due to the planting of thousands of trees on the property which adds so much to the scene…You will hear the beautiful sounds of 'Pukekos' calling out to each other, ducks quacking and racing over the paddock being chased by Charcoal the resident black rabbit, a cute and funny sight, plus colourful Rosellas come to visit, and of course Charcoal will come to visit you. She's very social and loves being fed wild bird seed and is up for a cuddle - so CUTE.
Enjoy, if you ever get to experience this dreamy place!
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I recently decided to downsize my own home-office space, because I realised that a BIG office isn't absolutely necessary now. This advice is something I 'impart' to my customers regularly, but in running my own office from my home, I was adamant that I wanted a big office to run my business from.
It's time for change - for a shake-up. It must be in the planets, as I feel like changing my life completely, and in feeling that, like synchronicity, many things are happening. My business is reshaping and being refined, my attitudes are transforming and adjusting and therefore I don't want the same things. I want my whole life to change - now.
I live in a 2 bedroom apartment, so making the switch between bedrooms was going to take some energy and organising knowhow...
I planned it for about a week prior, whipping out my tape measure a number of times to ensure it would work, and I drifted off to sleep each night visualising my new office space and new larger bedroom.
I lined up a friend with a trolley (and his handy mate) to help me and was SO excited all week.
When my friends arrived to move the big furniture, they both commented..."gee you're organised", I think without realising what they were saying…Of course I was organised! I wanted it to run like clockwork! My friend had already told me he only had an hour to help, so I had to maximise the use of their time and this meant being totally ready when they arrived.
I vacuumed, cleaned, wiped skirting boards and dusted after I had taken out all of the small items from both rooms - all before they arrived, so all they needed to do was to move the furniture.
It took them half an hour to make the move, and within a few hours I had both rooms back to normal - fully functioning and operational again.
It felt wonderful to make this change, shifting my life, ready for some new energy to unfold. I think it is important to change things around a bit - as they say, change is as good as a holiday and now I feel like I've moved to a new home and that also feels amazing.
Of course, the key is having the right storage for filing, paper and resources - and then you definitely don't need a large space to operate a business from. My 3 staff members are all virtual assistants so I don't need a second desk space, nor to rent another office space - just yet anyway.
It was a revelation (even to me) to realise that I could fit my large desk and my lateral filing cabinet into this smaller, compact space, and be happy to juggle all the tasks needed to run this company in this smaller environment.
If you have recently made a shift in space, realising it was for the best - send me your comments and I will share some stories...
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One of my all-time favourite activities is trimming the Christmas tree!
I have been collecting Christmas baubles for years now, slowly adding to my collection with special pieces from around the world and around town.
From the start, I decided to have a general theme to my collection, so that the tree would look good in my home, but also so that relatives and friends who wanted to buy me a decoration would have some idea of how to fit in with my tastes.
Christmas decorations make lovely, thoughtful, inexpensive and frivolous gifts for just about anyone, so there’s an option for a stash of gifts for loved ones! Here are some tips for you to consider:
- Make dressing the tree a family activity – bite the bullet, invite the kids, and try not to fuss when they put things up differently to how you would (you can always shift things around a bit after bedtime – oops! Did I say that?). Bring out the champagne with your friends, and make a celebration of it!
- Consider the layout of the tree. Lights first, inner branches, outer branches and the top. Plan to put your largest, heaviest ornaments toward the base of the tree, and the daintier, lighter ones to the top.
- Fairy lights! Aaargh! Who hasn’t got at least one half-dead set of these lying around the house somewhere, lacking a bulb? First rule of thumb – when you buy your fairy lights, buy lots of spare bulbs! The manufacturers have got you here, because the spare bulbs cost nearly as much as the string, but they change style often so buy lots that match your string, and keep them with your decorations, or the ‘light-bulb’ section of your very-organised garage.
- Unwind the lights before you start, turn them on, and check for blown bulbs. You will find that if one has gone, usually a length of 10 is ‘out’. Begin methodically, and take out the first dead light in the row and replace with the new bulb. If this doesn’t result in the string coming on, take the bulb you removed, and swap it for the next one in the line. You will know when you have come across the culprit, because when you have replaced it, the whole run will come alive! A wonderful feeling. Lights go on the tree first, because it’s almost impossible to conceal their wires afterwards.
- Choose your decorations with colour in mind. If you know you have 20 red cherries, distribute them over the tree. If you have 6 magenta baubles, place them in careful randomness over the branches. If Aunty Eliza has given you an ‘unusual’ decoration from another planet, well, trees have to be decorated all the way around, even at the back, don’t they? (I will get a bad reputation if I keep this up!).
- Put your most glorious baubles in the most divine, obvious places, but be aware of children running past and don’t let your antique glass heirloom dangle near a thoroughfare over a tiled floor – guaranteed tears!
- I have limited my collection to silver, gold, electric blue/purple and red, with some variations in between. I can’t be too...’particular’...because that seems, well, a little scary, but it does pay to have a colour scheme in mind, as this will unify the potential random nature of tree decorating.
- Dispense with any ragged, broken or overly plastic pieces when you can, and replace them with your treasures. Be organised, but not too ruthless. This is one area of the home where it pays to loosen up a little (or, so people tell me...).
- The angel is last, of course, your crowning glory (get those corks popping.!.)
- If you haven’t got a tree? No problems. Find yourself some interesting branches, spray them white and voila! Or, simply hang a collection of baubles from the ceiling at various points in your home with thumb tacks and fishing wire. Tiny holes in the plasterwork will go unnoticed afterwards, and it’s so easy! Make sure they’re not really heavy or, crash!
- Still have some left over? Baubles look divine wrapped around Christmas pressies, and add to the gift for the recipient. They also look terrific around table napkins or on dinner tables. Inexpensive, good-looking ornaments are so available these days, use them with abandon!
- Finally, when it’s all over, take a deep breath, and pack them away. At this point, all of Santa’s little helpers will have mysteriously disappeared – so, it’s probably all up to you (and probably just as well...).
- Purchase several storage containers – one or two large and several smaller ones for individual groups of decorations. Use rectangular, lidded containers, preferably clear so that you can easily see what’s inside them. Keep any boxes or packaging that comes with your decorations so that you can re-pack them safely.
- Arm yourself with acres of white tissue-paper, to wrap your baubles in separately, to protect them from each other.
- Wrap each bauble separately, and place the heaviest, most robust ones at the bottom of the storage boxes. Use their proprietary packaging where appropriate, and take your time. The most precious ornaments break if you breathe on them, so look out for special containers to house them in. I find old sunglasses containers are strong and protective. Package strings of beads, tinsel etc. separately, or you will just end up with foil soup and frustration! Think about next year, and the joy that you will have in opening your cherished, organised and unbroken collection for another year, because this activity make take an hour or two!
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I've just returned from Athens, Santorini (sigh...) and London. I've been wanting to visit Smythson for such a long time and finally got to their Bond Street store in London, for all things luxury.
Leather goods and personalised stationery, so classical, stylish, beautifully made and INCREDIBLY inspiring! How does a gal choose from their gorgeous range of colours? I could not, but fell for the softest, palest duck-egg blue that we Francofiles love!
Smythson stock leather notebooks, passport wallets, wallets, credit card wallets, jewellery and stationery boxes with drawers and makeup storage boxes. It was all a bit much really...I was drooling just being there and had to share some pics with you. It's all so elegantly, elegant...
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We love recycling at Get Organised and loved this idea for recycling paperclips to turn them into lanterns.
Such a creative idea don't you agree? It beats having paperclips clutter up your drawers and surfaces if you've got a spare (few) hours and a spare few hundred (thousands) or inclination to do this!
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Just surfing through the internet the other day… did I say surfing? I meant, working and looking for something for a client...(A girl’s gotta have some relief from all that invoicing)...I found a fun article on Fergie and her (ahem) penchant for organising her wardrobe.
See, even the stars can function with a little OCD! Feel better?
With THREE large closets, it is apparently a little like our beloved Sex In the City movie, and Carrie's comment – "If you live here, what is there to fight about?".
Fergie's beloved, Josh Duhamel, gets a wobbly rack whilst Fergie lords of the other large walk-ins…her territory, no doubt. Well, she needs space for all that stagewear, right?
Apparently, she has one room dedicated to glam and one to casual. Yeah, ‘room’. And, I am almost afraid to say, is quoted as never throwing anything out. Now, come, ladies, don’t get excited. She has, after all, got 3 rooms and a terrific clothes budget which almost ensures that her purchases have a degree of enduring…something or other. Did that sound like rationalisation?
Anyway, she at least has the talent for keeping her (extensive) stuff organised. But where does she find the time, as well, to remember – and sift through all the options of what to wear. I would have a complete Libran flip-out whit so many choices! And I’m not even Libran!
Imagine having the funds to decorate your wardrobe in more glam than most of us have to decorate our house…and the hutzpah to use chandeliers and zebra print. Still, it’s a private space…..
Sneakers are her favourite, and whilst I splurged on a pair of Converse the other day, she doesn’t like to get them dirty, so she wears them, ah, once. And them, presumably, never throws them out. Good grief!
Read all about this lady’s fashion fixation here and sneak a peek at her admirable wardrobe organisation habits (maybe she has her own professional organiser??).
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Are you drowning in a sea of photographs (still)?
Is your computer groaning under the weight of a terabyte of imagery (sounds scary)? It’s a very common issue which faces nearly every one of our clients and we’re prepared to bet you have a little of this going on too...
Here are some tips for organising your physical photographs:
• You will need some plastic folder sleeves, or better...some good sized zip-lock bags (LOVE these bags), some address-style adhesive labels, a plastic tub or two, depending on how big your stash is, and a medium Texta (marker pen).
• Go find you photo collection
– don’t be afraid!
• Make sure that you designate a place, now, for further additions to your photo empire – that plastic tub? Memorabilia box?
Or, for the truly inspired, a photo quality archive box from Zetta Florence - http://www.zettaflorence.com.
• Break this task into manageable chucks if it’s too daunting.
• Grab a handful of photos and lay them out in groups according to type. That may be ‘friends’, ‘family’, mum’, ‘frisky’ (a cat, not a state of being...) etc. You could organise by year.
Try to be somewhat specific, the more specific the groups the better.
• Use the Ziplocks to store groups of photos for future organising into albums or, let’s face it, for many of us, just to stop them straying into chaos-land and making them impossible to find at that precise moment when you’re trying to convince Uncle Harold that he really was wearing his pyjamas on his head last Christmas!
• Make a note on the outside of each bag as to its contents – yes, I know they’re see-through but let’s make this as easy as possible for the future. Make the labels as simple and informative as possible, and place them toward the top of the bag in a consistent spot – think about what you will look for in the future to find Uncle Harold’s photo – Christmas? Harold? Family secrets? Blackmail..?
• Had enough for today? Easy! Find that box and place the Ziplocks inside – upright and neat, labels visible (was I going to say anything else?). Consider using alphabetical order – that’s always a goodie.
• Don’t spend a disproportionate amount of time going through and storing/sorting images which are irrelevant, damaged or lacking any photographically redeeming features (i.e. blurry, out-of-frame multiples of uninteresting moments – we all have a few of those!) Yikes! Dare I say – chuck them?
• Pack up the remaining photos you haven’t categorised and put them in the container to one side – to deal with later.
• Make a time to complete this task later - say 2 hours a day, or while you're watching TV is a great multi-tasking strategy.
• Complete this task later.
• We’ll give you some more computer photo-organising tips in an upcoming newsletter.
Seriously, our advice is always to break down a big task into smaller chunks in the interests of making them achievable.
Each time you work on a group of photos, you can place them into Ziplock bags, label them and come back later to continue. A great job for TV-watching nights.
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Every home has a collection of warranties and manuals which are less that delightful to store, but absolutely essential to retrieve when the time comes.
Knowing the how’s and where’s of these highly specific and necessary items is essential. At Get Organised, this is how we do it:
Consider the extent of your warranties collection in advance, if you can, and be prepared. Plastic see-through tubs are readily available and ALWAYS useful, so don’t be shy to get a few, especially the deeper A4 size.
Arm yourself with about 20-40 clear envelopes with a press-clip (bought at Stationers - Marbig have a great range), a few folder-sized zipper display bags that you’ll find in an office outlet, some labels and a marker (or, in a perfect GO world, a labelling machine) and several smaller/medium plastic tubs.
Begin by weeding out the old transistor radio and 15 year old food processor manuals that ended up in the Council Tip 10 years ago. If the trannie still works and you love it, hold onto the instructions – they may be worth something one day!
Now, sit on the floor or at a cleared table, and sort
through what you have left. Get rid of the useless bits of advertising diagrams or anything else in a language you don’t speak, and try to ‘group’ lost articles with their mates. This is where the plastic bags come in.
Don’t choose a size yet….but you can see where we’re going with this. Once you have all the relevant booklets in each pile, along with the corresponding transformers/battery packs/spare gizmos and bits that only the tech guy would understand, you are ready to select the most appropriate plastic bag for each product.
Slide the instructions and warranties into the bags
in such a way that they can be readily identified at-a-glance, and put the hardware behind the paperwork. Squeeze any excess air out and zip the bag closed.
Choose a standard label (we like ‘standard’) and a marker or labeller, select a corner for the label (we like ‘consistent’) identify the product on the label, stick onto place on the bag, eh voila! Done! Almost….
Finally, group the product bags by room, and select a clear plastic tub which suits its contents, stand the relevant bags upright within (organised alphabetically) and label the box (in one corner, all the same) with the relevant room.
Leave space for the ridiculous quantity of ‘stuff’ that will come with the flat screen, so you don’t have to upgrade boxes every 2 months. Most modern appliance info comes in ziplock bags anyway, but be sure to group it all into one larger one.
There you have it! Done! – We make things so simple, don’t we?
Well, if you find the concept useful, but the task unreachable, give us a call on 1300 881 384 and we can come and do it for you, along with the myriad of other clever organising tasks that will make your life so much easier!
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