Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clutter Personalities

According to Geralin Thomas, a clutter expert who appeared on the Nate Berkus Show there are 5 Clutter Personalities. These are people that are;
  1. easily distracted - starts on one pile, then goes onto the next without fully resolving anything
  2. procrastinators - would rather do other things than sort and organise their space
  3. bargain shoppers - can't pass up a bargain, even if they don't need the item
  4. sentimental - feels guilty letting anything go
  5. perfectionists - hesitant to do anything unless it's done absolutely perfectly. They tend to paralyse themselves.
As an organiser, I think it's important that people recognise which type of clutter personality they may be, as this will give valuable insight as to why they have clutter. Once you realise why you have it, you can focus on solutions to get on top of it and also stop bringing the clutter into your space in the future.

Regardless of the personality type, the best way to get started even if you only have a day is to go for 'good enough'. Realise that you probably didn't get into this situation overnight and it's not going to be undone in a few hours. Pick one area, maybe its collecting all paperwork from around your home or office and put it in one place to sort through. Then continue on with this, e.g. all clothing, toys, recycling etc. Put it in the appropriate room, then sort from there.

Getting organised is usually a marathon, not a sprint!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Restyling on a budget

Creative Surrounds was recently featured in an article in the property section of the Northern District Times and Hornsby Advocate. The premise of the editorial was about styling your home for sale on a budget and I wanted to summarise a few of the points here;

1) Decluttering is key! A survey showed that 56% of house hunters are turned off by clutter.
2) Think about your potential buyer. If you have a small apartment, it's possibly going to be young professional couples looking so set up a table/chairs on the balcony where they can envisage having a morning coffee. If you have a 3/4 bedroom house, it's probably going to be families looking to purchase so ensure you have lots of open space and don't fill up storage areas.
3) Flooring. If your carpet is tired looking, investigate if you have floorboards underneath. It's a minimal investment which you will benefit from at sale time.
4) Don't forget curb appeal! This is people's first impression. Mow the lawn, trim back the trees and shrubs. Plant some colourful flowers.

For the full article, go to the News page at the Creative Surrounds website at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Enemies of an Organised Space

The more I'm invited into people's spaces to resolve their clutter issues, the more patterns I see. There seem to be 3 main enemies to getting organised;

1) Flat surfaces - Cupboards, shelves, sideboards, dining tables etc. When people use an item or come home with something new, it's too easy to get into the habit of putting it on the nearest flat surface and dealing with it 'later'. Before you bring home new items, you need to think about where it's going to go. If it doesn't have a home, maybe it shouldn't come into the house?

2) Too much storage - This probably sounds odd, but ultimately the more storage you have, the more you'll accumulate. Instead of buying more storage containers, pair down what you currently own to make space.

3) And now that I've said 'too much storage' the other issue is 'not enough storage'. I'm shocked at how many homes don't have linen closets. This usually results in people stashing linen in completely obscure rooms. I would suggest either purchasing a nice chest of drawers for a hall area or somewhere central and storing all the linen there. Otherwise, you can utilise high shelves in the wardrobe of each room and store the linen for that room in that room.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dinner with Julie Morgenstern

Wow, what a month! Last night I was invited to a dinner with several other Professional Organisers to welcome Julie Morgenstern to Australia (yes THE author of Organizing from the Inside Out).

We had a great discussion about differentiating the clients from those that have de-cluttering needs and those that have organisational needs. The de-cluttering clients are really about reducing the amount of 'stuff' and the organising clients need help setting up systems that they can maintain.

What was interesting to me was the comment from Julie that the need for Professional Organising is a universal thing. Wherever she goes it's a similar discussion of what the client needs are and what Organisers are providing. So many people have issues with organising and find such relief when they realise they don't have to tackle the problem by themselves. There is professional help out there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Peter Walsh - Meeting an organising legend!

I was honored to be invited to a breakfast yesterday hosted by Dymo and Corporate Express, for National Organising Week. The guest speaker was Oprah's Organising Guru - Peter Walsh.

I'd like to share some quotes from Peter which I thought were absolute gems!

1) The biggest friend of clutter is the term 'later'.
2) If you start something, finish it.

He spoke a lot about 'finishing the cycle', meaning whatever the task is, do it to completion. If you're doing the dishes, wash them, dry them and put them away. When you get home and change out of your work/day clothes, put them in the hamper. It seems like a simple concept, but how many of you take your clothes off and leave them on the floor saying to yourself 'I'll put that away in a minute'. If you just finish the cycle you can move on to the next thing and you're not surrounding yourself with clutter.
Peter also spoke about not multi-tasking which follows on from what I just wrote about. The ideal is to focus on the task at hand and finish it. If you're trying to do several things at once, they usually don't get done as well and you're extremely stressed out.

Another great piece of advice is that the best time to organise your day is the 10 minutes before bed the night before. Write your to-do list for the following day just before bed. This will help you priorotise better and also sleep better.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

National Organising Week 6th - 12th September

Starting Monday 6th September it's National Organising Week! What a way to start the spring season.

In honour of this week and to help out any lost souls needing advice I'm getting together with two other colleagues (Claire Lane from Urban Assistant and Michell Cudmore from Paperwork Rescue) and hosting a stand at the Belrose Supa Centre from Monday 6th - Wednesday 8th September.

So if you have any questions or need any tips and advice on getting and staying organised, please come and visit us at the National Organising Week stand on the Ground Floor of the Belrose Supa Centre.

You can also go into the draw for your chance to win a 3 hour organising consultation and a $100 Howards Storage World gift voucher!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Keep Australia Beautiful Week

Next week (23 - 29th August) is Keep Australia Beautiful Week. The best way to do so is to start in your own home! Make a difference by following these few steps;

  • Choose an area that has been driving you nuts for a while now
  • Plan how you want the space to work
  • Set aside some time (put it in your diary so it's a commitment)
  • First de-clutter the space of anything you don't need, use or love
  • Sort the remaining items into groups
  • Put back in the space in an organised way, using baskets or labels where necessary
  • Enjoy your new space!

For other suggestions to keep Australia beautiful visit