Carol's Blog

The Harsh Reality of Clutter in Our Homes

Get Organised - Living with Clutter
Living with clutter has become more and more common for people as the tendency to accumulate possessions increases in modern culture. 

We own more, and not just the larger ticket items like houses, cars, furniture etc. but most people have considerable quantities of the smaller, less significant items. 

These can include everyday, useful objects like kitchenware, books, clothing, artwork, collections, tools, ornaments, accessories, linen, toys (a big one!) and so on.

However, in the course of our work, we see an incredible array of useless, outdated, expired, broken and irrelevant items which clutter up our client's lives. 

This is not an extraordinary reality for most people; on the contrary, it has become more typical of the everyday experience many individuals, families, and especially the much-touted and never-eventuating 'paperless' office.

One thing we are becoming more certain of in the course of our work: our industry is in its 'growth phase'. 

The reality of living with clutter for many people now was the extraordinary case only a decade or two ago. In a recent study conducted in 2008 it was found that:

88 per cent of homes have at least one cluttered room, and the average home has three or more cluttered rooms. The spare room is the most cluttered in the home, following by cupboards, the garage and bedrooms. Not surprisingly, people living in detached houses had more clutter than people living in townhouses or apartments, and people with kids in the home tend to have more clutter than those without. Victorian homes are the most cluttered, while New South Wales homes are the least cluttered. Four in ten Australians said they feel anxious, guilty or depressed about the clutter in their homes’.

Josh Fear wrote an extensive paper on the subject, entitled ‘Stuff Happens – Unused Things Cluttering Up our Homes’ and goes on to document the research methods used to conducts the study, the nature of clutter, how clutter affects people and what people think about clutter, amongst other fascinating reading. 

Even if talking on the subject of clutter fills you with dread or you just want to hear how the other 90% of people live, this short and highly informative article is worth a read. It is well-written, engaging and not just a little incredible, and is a must-read for anyone who thinks that they are alone in the fight with the irrepressible clutter-monster.

Probably one of the more interesting parts of the study (which we always impress upon our clients but is often regarded with scepticism) is how the reality of living with clutter has a significant psychological impact which, when cleared, results in tremendous feelings of well-being and freedom. 

Many people just see it as mess, and don’t give credence to the possibility that those out-of-control cupboards, however well-hidden, carry with them a tangible weight of guilt, depression, stress and frustration. Time for action, we say! 

So, have a look and learn some salient truths about the ever-increasing problem of too many possessions. And, take heart, you are not alone...
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Win a Gorgeous Moon Diary this Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, we’re giving away a lovely and unusual diary which is hand written, designed and produced in Australia. The original Southern Hemisphere 2011 ‘Moon Diary’ celebrates the sacred feminine with Lunar Lore from many cultures and ideas for simple rituals that observe seasonal festivals. 

It provides important insights into the phases and transits of the moon, information on planting by the moon and musings on all things feminine. The diary is lovingly handwritten, richly illustrated and produced in Australia on 100% recycled paper and printed with vegetable based inks.
Get Organised with Moon Diary
With information about lunar lore, myth and ritual and exquisite illustrations, the Moon Diary is an ideal gift for yourself or a friend. Moon phases, transits and void-of-course moon times enable accurate moon watching:

·   Moon phases
·   Astrological transits
·   Void - of - course Moon times
·   Week at a glance
·   Menstrual calendar
·   Completely handwritten
·   Illustrated throughout
·   Size 13 cm x 17 cm
·   Wire spiro bound
·   Written specifically for the Southern Hemisphere
·   Wholly produced and printed in Australia.
·   Printed with vegetable inks.
·   Printed on Australian made recycled paper using 100% post consumer waste.
·   Printed by a carbon neutral process using world’s best environmental practice.

All you need to do to enter is:
·  leave a short comment with your full name under the this post, and this will be recorded on our database.
·   Alternatively, click here to invite 5 of your friends to become fans of Get Organised with the following message: ‘Win a gorgeous Moon Diary from Moon Diary Products and Get Organised at’. Then, just ‘like’ the Moon diary post on our page and your name will be automatically recorded!

They retail for $29.95. Visit the Moon Diary website for a look at this great product!
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Save the Environment by Reducing Landfill.

OzRecycleis an Australian Recycler community dedicated to reducing landfill by creating opportunities for consumers to give away, donate or receive things for free. 

Launched in 2007, their website hosts a Classifieds section for people to advertise a diverse range of give-aways such as books, electronics, homewares, furniture, collections, toys, Whitegoods, artwork, music and so on.

OzRecycle encourages membership and exists because of support in the form of donations from happy customers, motivated and concerned individuals and environmentalists alike. 

People offer donations because they have saved tip fees or have received something for free. Donations can be made via a secure payment gateway and are simple to do.

Anyone can post an item in the Classifieds for someone who may need it, check the ‘Items wanted’ categories to make a direct contribution, or, of course, list anything needed in this section.

Information from the website about items posted can be managed through an instant RSS feed to your email program or mobile phone. Be the one of the first to know!

Simply visit the website, sign up and have some fun! Who knows what may become of your efforts? At the very least, you will be joining the voice of environmentalists and engaging in the power of action to make a contribution to the welfare of our planet.

WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Christmas Lights Collection Tips

Here are a few tips for managing your Christmas Lights collection:

·   Purchase a couple of packets of new bulbs along with the lights. 

Manufacturers seem to redesign the connectors each couple of years, making the string redundant if you don’t have the matching spares. 

They aren't cheap (nearly as expensive as a new string of lights!) but they help to cut down on environmental waste by not needing to throw out whole sets.

·   Untangle last year's light sets, and stretch them out (if you haven't already done this last year before you packed them away!) Check for frayed cords, exposed copper wire, blackened or melted bases, broken or loose bulbs. Don’t plug them in yet. Throw away the lights if there’s anything wrong with them other than broken or loose bulbs.

· Start by establishing which run of lights is out. Begin working with a new bulb and replace the first light along the section. If this does not solve the problem, take the new bulb and move it along to the next spot. At some point, the dead section will come alive.

· Remove loose bulbs from their sockets. Tighten them by bending the two copper wires on the sides of the lamp base so they are straight, pulling the bulb further into the lamp base, then folding the wires flat along the sides of the lamp base again. Don’t replace bulbs with higher voltage bulbs or your light string could overheat and cause a fire. That’s why it’s useful to purchase spares.

· Remove broken bulbs from their bases. Carefully insert the replacement bulb into the lamp base. 

· Plug the string into the wall outlet. Check for any additional blown bulbs. Unplug light string and replace these as well. If your entire light string does not light up, you will have to replace the fuse, or purchase a new set.

At the end of the season, take the string and wind them around a piece of sturdy cardboard with slots cut out to hold the strands. This will stop them tangling so that you won't have to struggle next year! 

It doesn't have to look cool, just function well!
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Buried Treasure - What's Hiding at Your Place?

A SIMPLE spring-clean turned into a $2.5 million bonus for a Melbourne woman, when she found a five-month-old Tattslotto ticket on her desk.Get Organised with Your Home-Office

The woman, from suburban Doncaster, bought the ticket for the Superdraw on September 12 last year but thought she had lost it. 

She said... "I was just doing some spring cleaning and came across a ticket clipped to some other paperwork by a bulldog clip", the woman said. "I knew West Doncaster News and Lotto had sold a division one winner but I thought I had lost my ticket. Then I found it filed away yesterday and thought I'd call Tatts to see if I'd won anything. I really had no idea that it was the actual winning ticket".

She was one of two division one winners from that draw.

The woman plans to share some of her win with her family and put the rest in a term deposit to give herself time to think about what to do with her unexpected windfall.

"I lead a simple life and I intend to keep it that way", she said.

You never know what you may find when going through piles of paper or cupboards in your home or business. 

At Get Organised, we've found many thousands of dollars, refund cheques, bags of change adding up to healthy sums of cash and more. Clients have even recouped the cost of our services by finding missing funds. It is always literally amazing to us when we find paperwork indicating the existence of large sums of money - or, the actual cash! What fun!
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Get Organised With Your Travel Documents
Get Organised

This is a really useful piece of luggage that many of you may find useful when travelling. 

There are so many things to think about when you’re travelling; passports, credit cards, international driver’s licence, boarding passes, tickets, etc. etc. It’s hard, so much to think about on that holiday...

This little gadget sums it all up in one go...easy to use, functional and really secure. 

The company, Pacsafe, specialises in well-designed, useful storage solutions with a distinct edge for safety and robust design. They have an entire range of useful, sturdy and great looking accessories. 

No more fumbling with your ticket, passport and other travel documents at check-in, customs or security checks when you've got the PouchSafe 200 Travel organiser

The PouchSafe 200 combines the convenience and quick access of a pre-boarding pouch with unrivaled compartment layout to provide a very efficient travel and ticket organiser.
  • Slashproof adjustable neck / shoulder strap
  • Tamperproof front security flap conceals zippers
  • Clear fold over ID card flap
  • 2 passport pockets - internal and external
  • 2 ticket / boarding pass holders - internal and external
  • 2 internal zippered pockets, 2 sim card slots, memory card and spare photo holders
  • Card slots / pen holders
  • Rear pocket to store neck / shoulder strap when not in use.

They sell online in Australia, so check out the website for a list of Australian stockists. So, the next time you’re off to the south of France, do it in style and safety knowing that you are totally organised, and totally envied by me!  
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Elle McPherson - Celebrity Organising Tip for the Beach

Spring feels like summer here today in Sydney - everyone's at the beach and the water is tres delicious - not too cold now, just a perfect temperature to cool off and loll about...

Here's a new idea I came up with recently. I thought about how to protect my Iphone while I'm at the beach...

Pop a small zip lock bag into your beach basket and store your IPhone in it. It's the perfect size to protect your mobile from sand and salt water and you can even see through the ziplock bag without opening it at the beach without fear of damage.

Also, I LOVE this summer Organising Tip from Elle McPherson. 

I read in 'InStyle' mag recently that Elle organises all her bikini's and cossies into ziplock bags and colour codes them for easy retrieval. I just did the same for mine and store them in a favourite limed rattan basket..No more tangled cossies nor wasted time looking for matching sets.
Thanks Elle - love your style.
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Get Organised for Christmas! - November 2010
Christmas Shopping Service

"It's good to have money and the things money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things money can't buy"
. George Horace Lorimier – editor-in-chief editor, Saturday Evening Post. USA

Christmas is a wonderful time of year…family, friends, gifts, wine and laughter…At least, that’s the idea, isn’t it? Why is it, then, that so many people feel financially stretched and time-poor throughout the festive season? 

There is so much focus on buying presents for everyone that somehow the concept of giving a gift in the pure sense seems to have been lost. 

Pressure from retailers and advertising hype, desire for the latest and greatest must-have, and the fear of forgetting a distant friend or relative drives us all towards a spending frenzy which leaves us exhausted and somewhat glad when it’s all over! Sound like anyone you know?

At Get Organised, we are always looking for ways to simplify our lives, and from our experiences, we know that many of you feel the same way. This doesn’t mean stripping away all of the wonderful things that we are lucky enough to enjoy in this country, but learning how to be more selective with what we do choose to have around us. 

Buying quality rather than quantity, enjoying experiences as much as ‘things’ and identifying with a lifestyle which supports us, rather than one which we have to work hard to support. 

Christmas is a tricky time, where many people feel reluctant or even embarrassed by their lack of enthusiasm or even disdain for the entire concept. It’s sad, isn’t it, that what began as a loving celebration and exchange of genuine thanks has, for many, become an expensive chore. Even the family get-together comes fraught with hard work and stress.  

Consider for a moment the gift-giving. If we had the time to really evaluate the sorts of things that a treasured friend may truly want, could we even afford it? So instead, many of us buy something – a gesture, no less, of love, but it is possible that the item may just become something to store, to dust, or (oops!) to return?  

Deciding what to give someone is hard work so we’ve put together a few ideas to help you along…

·   Listen carefully when a beloved person says the words ‘I’d love……(whatever it is)’. Make a note, if you can, at the time – you may forget later – like forgetting the name of that movie your friend recommended, whilst staring at the rows of DVD’s at the local Video shop! Create a list, or a file, and write it down…soon.

·   Consider an ‘experience’ as a gift: a facial, manicure, restaurant gift voucher or a joy flight! Most people treat themselves last (if ever) and rarely get that massage, even when their health insurance has savings covered by it! There are real benefits for treating your loved ones to an experience, like no dusting or storing, and they can be unforgettable times – however, if it’s that joy flight, make sure that they like the idea of flying, to start with!

·   What about getting together with relatives or friends and buying the thing that your friend really wants (like a bridge climb!) when you can’t muster all that cash at this time of year. A piece of outdoor furniture – that chaise longue for relaxing that your mum never quite gets around to buying. Try to buy quality and choose for their tastes, not your own.

·   The old fashioned Kris Kringle works really well for many people – you know, put your names into a hat, pull one out and that’s the person you’ll be buying for – put a reasonable dollar limit on everyone’s purchase, and stick to it. Many people are relieved when this idea is raised – Wow! A $40 pressie for one person instead of 10! That sounds easy (unless you pull out dear old grandpa’s name, or…he pulls out yours!).

·   Delicious food can be a wonderful treat, especially for people who rarely treat themselves, or an elderly relative who has all the things they could want or need. One of our consultants buys her father delicious cheeses, pate, dips, biscuits and chocolates each year – he loves it! Being a pensioner, he would never dream of paying $39.00 a kilo for Jarlsberg or hand-stuffed olives! Yum!

·   Magazine subscriptions can be wonderful gifts – the present keeps coming, month after month – delightful! Make sure that you don’t give this to someone who already needs a truck to deal with their outdated interior design magazines from 1982…

·   A delicious recipe, hand-written, and presented with the meal. Homemade chocolates or biscuits – make them with the kids! – these are always great to have pre-packaged for that last minute guest or friend who arrives from out of town. Make sure that you have a gift tag tied on, ready to write their name on. I use cut-outs from last year’s Christmas cards, with a hole punched into them.

·   One idea I read about was called ‘passing the white elephant’! each year, make it a game to pass on one gift that you have received but, for whatever reason, didn’t need (want, sssh – like?) onto another family member, and make a game out of it…giving a reason, a joke even, about why the next person to receive it has the dubious honour! Takes a bit of courage, but most people prefer the idea of the gift being well received by someone!

Encourage your family to take the wrapping carefully off the gifts, cut or turn over the sticky tape that is on it (so that it doesn’t stick to the paper), fold, and keep for next year – do you really know how much money you spend on paper and cards each year? Or how much energy and toxins go into producing that paper? 

At least try to recycle…that will feel good, and save money! Keep a large paper shopping bag to store the paper in, and a basket for all the ribbon. Make sure the bag is in an easy place to reach (don’t make it too hard, or you’ll never do it!). I have some beautiful papers and ribbons in my collection that  others have given me.

WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Remodelista - Home Styling Resource

Billed as a home design and remodelling resource, Remodelista is the combined work of a group of US women with impeccable taste. 

Here, they explore colour palettes, paint choices, storage, among other home basics. You will also come across great houses from all over the world, as well as inspirational round-ups of everything from lights to rugs.

We are a group of friends who share eerily similar design sensibilities; a collective design DNA. We care (OK, we care a lot) about interiors. We wake up in the middle of the night to bid on Thonet dining chairs;we page through stacks of design magazines every month.

We love Ikea as much as DWR; we believe a mix of high and low—and of vintage and new—animates a space. When we need to make a daunting investment decision (ever bought a couch?), we research it to the ends of the earth. We favour classic and liveable over trendy and transient; streamlined interiors over cluttered environments. Our style is minimalist but not monastic. We choose thoughtfully designed products over mass-market, disposable goods.

We believe the best advice comes from like-minded friends. We’ve survived a dozen remodels among us, and after years of midnight consultations and email debates weighing the merits of a particular cabinet pull, we created an online forum for sharing our finds. Why go looking for the perfect faucet if your style-savvy neighbour has found The One?

We all have friends who appreciate beautiful interiors but don’t have the time (or the maniacal drive) to obsess about the details. So we’re making it easy for our similarly inclined readers by offering an edited, screened, preapproved selection of our greatest hits.

If you’re design savvy, you’ll realize we’ve done the hard work for you. If you’re a neophyte, you can’t go wrong. Whether you’re embarking on the gruelling marathon known as the remodel or simply looking for a design voyeur fix, we invite you to peruse our offerings'.

Visit their website for an ever-changing look at the world of design, colour and flair. Or, pop by their Facebook page for up-to-the-minute ideas and fresh content! They also have a 'My Design Files' area where you can collate your design ideas to reflect upon and share with your friends, designers and architects alike! Truly interactive!

Let us know what you think! We're inspired!
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Post It Notes Organising

Have you ever had a 'to-do' list that was so long it felt like you'd never get to the end of it? 

Or, have you ever started the day with a manageable list, but by the end of the afternoon it was longer than when you began – because of all the things that got added during the day? 

Too many days like this, and your to-do list starts to look like a wish list.

Take a look at this light-hearted but serious topic by Mark McGuinness on the Behance website to read his excellent take on the topic and post you comment below...we'd love to hear from you!
WillShall Consulting | Monday, June 01, 2015 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
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