How to organise your cords and cables

One of the things that I see most frequently cluttering up people’s lives are cords and cables. They are very easy to lose, very easy to duplicate and seem to breed when you’re not looking.

Here’s a simple way to organise the ones that aren’t being used much (some live permanently on desks – I know my iPhone one does!). You’ll need a box, some ziplock bags, a label maker (or white paper and some sticky tape will work too) and a permanent marker.

1. Collect them all together
2. One at a time, establish their purpose, what device they belong to and whether you even need it anymore
2. Label the cord with a meaningful description and put it in a ziplock bag, making sure you also label the bag (you can store duplicate cables in the same bag)
4. You may need to have a bag of “Unidentified” cables if you don’t have the courage to part with them.
5. Stand all the bags up in the box. They’ll be labelled for easy identification and won’t get tangled.

Store chargers separately, if they aren’t plugged in at a charging station, but you can still use the same storage method for them.

We need to be more grateful!

Okay, soapbox warning.  I’m up there and I’m standing VERY TALL.

I read an article recently (you can read it here if you like) that basically listed the 50 most annoying things we (a British study, but I know it applies to all of Western society really) have to put up with. It made my blood boil and so I’ve written this in response -

50 things to be grateful for in this world.

1. Pressure selling – people continuously trying to sell you something you don’t want? Great – you have choice!

2. Spam emails – oh, you have email and are connected to the world! Great!

3. Pushy sales people – At least there are sales people that aren’t ripping you off blind and will tell you all you want to know about a product

4. Foreign call centres – you get to speak to someone from a different country, cool! You get to hear another accent, cool!

5. Being put on hold – you can clean your nails, reflect on life, slow down a bit

6. Dog mess on the pavement – you don’t have to drink water from the same area the dog has pooed

7. Pot holes in the road – you have suspension. And a car or a bike.

8. Spam text messages – you have a mobile phone

9. Drivers who take up two spaces – There is loads of space a few metres away and you’re not having to walk 5kms just to get there.

10. Getting stuck behind really slow drivers – they’re driving carefully, not like idiots. At least if they hit something they won’t do much damage

11. Queuing – waiting is good for the soul.

12. Really slow people in front of you at the till – again, waiting is good for the soul. You get to have a chat to the person behind you and meet someone new.

13. Rude customers or clients at work – you get a chance to lighten up someone’s bad day. See it as a challenge.

14. Getting stuck in traffic – thankfully you aren’t likely to get hijacked as you sit there.

15. Having to stand on the train when you’ve paid loads for a ticket. Really? You’re not walking home; isn’t that a great thing!

16. Having to pay to use public lavatories – that are clean and safe.

17. You unload the washing to find a tissue has covered everything. Oh, my god. You have a washing machine and don’t have to cart a bucket of dirty water from the river.

18. Credit card offers through the post – you get stuff  in the mail and it’s not intercepted by corrupt mail workers

19. Bird mess on the car – you have a car. There are birds close to you.

20. Middle lane drivers – you have lots of other lanes to use should you want to. Why stress about something you can’t control?

21. You put on a couple of kilos in weight when you think you’ve been good. It’s clear you have enough food. More than enough, really. Many wish they had this problem.

22. Cars not stopping for you at a zebra crossing – there are zebra crossings.

23. Your delivery gets lost in the post – you have enough money to replace whatever it was

24. You hang the washing out only for it to rain – you have enough clothes to survive in the meantime.

25. Spelling errors in books. You have books. You can spell. You’re educated.

26. Company ‘reply to all’ emails that aren’t relevant to you – at least you have a job!

27. Having to shave – you have a normally functioning hormonal system and arms to shave with.

28. Having to find spare change for the supermarket trolley  - you have access to a supermarket, and don’t have to carry your stuff on your head.

29. Banks phoning you to offer you a credit card / loan / overdraft – You have access to credit if you need it

30. Being sold something different from what you paid for – you have the ACCC to back you up.

31. You close the computer or the computer crashes and you’ve forgotten to save your work. You have a job. You have a computer.

32. Predictive text – you have a phone, iPad or computer. Most likely all three.

33. Being duped by a sales person – you have authorities that will try to help you out that you can trust. You have enough money to survive a loss.

34. Self-serve tills – you get to play with a toy all by yourself.

35. Your partner leaving crumbs / mess on the kitchen side. You have someone to share your life with that loves you.

36. Delayed trains – You have a train to catch that will take you home.

37. Getting a paper cut – it’s not going to get infected, and if it does, you are very unlikely to die from septicemia because we have a health care system.

38. Calling companies complaints lines – there are complaint lines with people there to listen to you.

39. You miss the train by a couple of minutes – there will be another train shortly and you won’t have to walk miles home in the dark on your own.

40. Realising you’ve left your phone at home – you have a phone, and a home, that you can go back to. In the meantime you get to enjoy the peace.

41. Banks phoning you to check your personal details. Your money is safe.

42. Losing the remote control.  Now you can get some exercise!

43. You forget to put the bins out on rubbish collection day. Your rubbish isn’t piled up at your door. It will be collected next time. You don’t have to sleep in it.

44. Your shopping bag breaks and you lose your goods all over the floor.  You have enough money to buy a bag of groceries.

45. The milk has gone off. You and your family have plenty of food and drink to be healthy.

46. Breaking a nail. This doesn’t even warrant a response.

47. Dishes being stacked on the draining board. You have fresh running water to wash your dishes with. And a draining board.

48. Automatic direct debits. You don’t have to line up to pay your bills.

49. Keypad tones. You have a mobile phone.

50. Someone rings you and they lose reception straight away. Again, you have a mobile phone.

And I’m adding another:

51. Articles that show how pathetically privileged we all are without knowing it. I can be grateful that I have a computer to read it on…as much as it angered me!

 

Will it stay or will it go?

When you’re trying to reduce your belongings, it can be hard making the decision to keep or discard an item.

Here’s what I ask my clients:

1. Do you NEED it? This one is relatively easy to answer once you get the hang of it. If it’s a bike bell and you don’t have a bike, you probably don’t NEED it. Notice I didn’t say “want”. Be careful you don’t confuse the two – western society has a pretty warped sense of need these days.

2. Do you USE it? If you don’t need it you still might use it. I don’t NEED a white coat and a brown one, but I do use both of them regularly throughout winter.

3. Do you LOVE it? Is it neither a necessity nor used? Is it a teacup that belonged to your grandma’s special set? Not needed, not used, but certainly treasured.


If it fails all these tests, then it has no place in your life. Period.

 

Be careful: it’s at this point that the “other” criteria pop up in your head because fear kicks in….

“I might need it one day”

“I really should finish that project; I’m a failure if I just discard it now”

“What if Cath notices the frame that she gave me isn’t on display anymore”, or

“But I spent good money on it and now I’m wasting that money by giving this item away”.

None of these are good enough reasons to keep something. Don’t let the fear take over.

If you don’t need, use or love it, it’s making life that little bit harder for you. That little bit more cramped, that little bit more complex. Let go of the fear and experience the freedom!

 

Embrace the idea of less stuff so you can have more of life.

 


Do less, be more

I have many clients that aren’t hoarders, but have too much stuff.

They don’t over-shop, but they are always in a mess.

They don’t refuse to throw things away, but they still never get around to it.

These people are busy – really busy. They have jobs (often more than one), they have study, kids that have stuffed-to-the-bursting schedules, friends that they drop everything for, hobbies, groups, committees, coaching and other commitments. 

They are cluttering up their schedules, and that in turn clutters up their spaces and their minds. They are overloaded.

I am constantly bleating on about slowing down, about dropping all but the essentials. My clients’ lives – YOUR lives – will not change if they don’t.

You don’t NEED to be doing EVERYTHING all at once. Slow down. Drop stuff. Pare back.

We have a long life, at the end of which very little apart from our near and dear will actually mean anything.

You don’t need to be doing all that stuff to be of value. You are of value just as you are.

Do less, BE more.

Weekend Weightlifter – the cutlery drawer

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My cutlery drawer after a little spruce-up

This week we’re tacking the cutlery drawer. It’s a short job, but with great satisfaction because you use it so frequently.  I did it today myself and it took me only 8 minutes! (mind you, mine was more dirty than cluttered so most of the time taken was cleaning the cutlery tray!).  It should still take you less than 15 minutes.

Here you go:

  1. Pull everything out and place it all in like groups on your counter-top or table (knives together, spoons together etc)
  2. Take out the cutlery tray, if you have one (if you don’t, get one as it prevents a lot of searching!) and give it a good clean.
  3. Wipe out the inside of your drawer
  4. Assess your piles on the counter. What do you use all the time? How many do you REALLY need? What do you never use? What can you live without? (ie, if you didn’t have one, you could still make do).
  5. Put the frequently-used items back in the drawer in their groups
  6. Find homes elsewhere for the stuff that doesn’t belong
  7. Donate or trash never-used, duplicates or broken items
  8. Smile every time you  open the drawer!

 

Weekend Weightlifter – organise your car

It’s quite common for our cars to get a little messy inside.

This weekend your mission is to clear out the junk and make sure you’ve got all the things you need in your car.

1. Empty out the rubbish.
2. Take out things that don’t live in there and out them in their homes inside the house or garage.
3. Give it a bit of a wipe down and vacuum if it needs it.
4. Make a list of things that are handy to have in the car. It may include: tissues, rubbish bags, shopping bags, maps, first aid kit, spare sunnies, books, notepad, pens, a bottle of water (for the radiator, not to drink), spare hats, spare umbrella, sunscreen (essential in our hot Aussie summer!) or anything else you find you need when out and about.
5. Find suitable storage for those items (you can get special organisers for the car or just make up your own) and put it all back in.
6. Try to make a habit of tidying your car whenever you get home and teach your kids to do the same with the back seat.

Weekend Weightlifter – cull some paperwork

This weekend we’re going to attack some old paperwork. You don’t need to spend all weekend on it – you can spend as little as 15 minutes and make a difference!

Find some old filing in the home and take a handful of it out of the files.  Assess each piece of paperwork one at a time and ask yourself if you need to keep it or not.

Reasons to keep papers include:

  • It was used as supporting documentation on one of your last five (seven in the US) tax returns (invoices, receipts, superannuation)
  • It has historical significance (your grandfather’s migration documents)
  • You need to keep it for legal reasons (your car registration papers or your Will)
  • You need to keep it for warranty reasons (the receipt for your vacuum cleaner)
  • It’s useful when something goes wrong (your dishwasher user manual)
  • It’s a hand-print of your daughter when she was a baby
  • It proves something (residency, that you paid for something, that you did a certain qualification, medical records etc)
  • You’re going to use it soon (a gift voucher)
  • It makes you very happy. VERY.

Reasons to ditch papers include:

  • It’s a document you can obtain online whenever you need it
  • It’s a user manual for an item you don’t have anymore
  • It’s a bill that was paid 2 years ago and you didn’t claim it as a tax deduction
  • It’s one of 3,000 drawing of stars your daughter drew (a handful of the same drawing from the same age is sufficient)
  • It’s one of 50 payslips from 1987 (again, keep one for nostalgia, sure – but you don’t need them all)
  • You took it out of a magazine several years ago because you thought you might make that stool/soft toy/cake/party decoration one day (you can get SO MUCH online these days)
  • It’s memorabilia that makes you sad/angry/guilty

You can spend as little or as long as you want, as long as you ditch as much as you can in that time!

 

How to ditch your ironing basket

I used to iron most of our family’s clothes. I didn’t bother with underwear, sleepwear or linen, but ironed pretty much everything else. My friends used to tell me they never ironed, and I couldn’t believe it – I expected they’d be all wrinkled up, but they weren’t!

I would spend around 3 hours a week ironing, and I hated the ironing basket. It was always full and always there, staring at me and reminding me I had to do something I hated doing. However, I was compelled to iron because the clothes were always so creased. I could not conceive not ironing.

Then my life changed when we went on a 4-week family road-trip style holiday. We lived out of suitcases the whole time, frequently moving and therefore frequently packing and unpacking (and never hanging anything). I realized that we didn’t look all wrinkly all of the time, and that it wasn’t so bad, this No Ironing Thing.

So when we returned home, I repurposed my laundry basket (it’s now our shopping bag basket) and never looked back. I got hints from my best friend, who had some great ideas (thanks Kym!) on how to prevent creases, and I’ll share them with you now.

Firstly, I still try not to use the dryer. It doesn’t rain much where I live, so we dry outside on the clothesline most of the time. We do this to save on electricity usage, mainly – cheaper and more environmentally friendly. When I do, I just apply the same rules as below, essentially (except for the drip-drying).

- I set my spin speed on my washing machine to the lowest spinning speed that I can
- I often don’t spin at all (especially in summer) and instead drip-dry the clothes
- I give them a good shake when they come out of the machine and hang them on the line as soon as possible
- I smooth them out on the line and leave them as smooth as I can to dry
- I always peg socks together in their pairs (this isn’t an ironing tip but it saves time later)
- As I get them off the line, I put them in the basket in this order: undies, socks (paired immediately), sleepwear (folded), shorts & pants (folded), things that don’t crease (folded). Then finally I lay flat out over the top of the basket the clothes that usually crease a little like t-shirts dresses and shirts (hanging stuff).
- Once inside, I take the hanging clothes off the basket and lay them on the back of the couch. I put the most creased pieces on the bottom of the pile. I smooth them out individually as I add each one to the pile (sort of like ironing them with my hands)
- I put all the other stuff away in the wardrobes
- A few hours later I hang the hanging items – they have ironed themselves on the back of the couch (sometimes I lay them flat on the bed, too).

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Sometimes I’ll get something out of the wardrobe to wear and it’s a little creased – so then I give it a quick iron, but this is rare.

I have also learned that your body heat will also smooth out wrinkles once you’ve had it on for a little while, too.

It’s also useful, of course, to buy clothes made from fabrics that don’t crease easily!

Finally, ditch your perfectionism – no one will notice, trust me! And you’ll be a changed person!

The “To Donate” spot

It’s a great clutter-controller to have one spot to put things you want to donate.

Find a box that is a fair size (too small and you have to head to the charity place too frequently!) and create a home for it that’s fairly accessible, but not in your high-usage areas. I’d suggest the bottom of a laundry shelf, bottom of the linen closet or in the garage.

Label it “To Be Donated” and teach the family to put anything in there that they no longer need, use or love in there so it can be loved by someone in need.Whenever it gets full, take a quick trip to the nearest charity and drop it off, replacing the box in its spot again to continue the cycle (don’t leave it in the car for 3 months!).

The 2012 Christmas Countdown Planner

Source: http://www.design-decor-staging.com

Back due to popular request is the Clear Space Christmas Countdown Planner. Download it here: Clear Space 2012 Christmas countdown calendar

It’s a simple “one task a day” planner that isn’t fancy or complicated. It doesn’t promote perfectionism, nor does it have unrealistic expectations of you.

It’s just a no-frills, get-it-done kind of thing!

Enjoy!