Tidying Up before the New Year

Let’s jumpstart the New Year with a clean and tidy home. With the Christmas holidays that have passed, we might feel sluggish and uncomfortable from overindulging. One way to get more active and improve your state of mind is by tidying up and cleaning your home. Having an organised house will make you feel more positive and satisfied.

Is creating an organised home one of your New Year’s resolutions? You can easily achieve this by creating and maintaining a personalised tidying up routine that will suit your lifestyle. If you need help with this, you are welcome to contact me. Remote assistance is only one click or phone call away… 

Remove all Christmas Decorations

  • Get your storage containers ready.
  • Start with the Christmas tree and remove all the baubles, garlands and Christmas lights.
  • Collect all the other decorations and place everything on the dining table. 
  • Group items according to type, colour and size.
    • Group baubles by colour and place each colour in a separate clear bag. 
  • Place the other Christmas tree decorations in small clear bags and stack them in clear storage containers.
  • Separate the Christmas light strings and place each in a separate clear bag. Place all the smaller bags in one large, clear bag. 
  • Store all Christmas decorations in large, clear storage boxes, available from Ikea.
  • Return fake Christmas trees in boxes or wrap them up in large plastic sheets.

Clean out the Fridge

  • Use up all the Christmas leftovers. There are many great recipes you can try out.
  • Remove everything that has expired, especially meat and seafood.
  • Wipeout your fridge, before returning any food items.
  • Group foods by category.
  • Make use of plastic containers to store food groups such as cheeses and deli meats, which will make your fridge more organised.

Tidy up all Rooms

  • Discard any old and unwanted things.
  • Return items to their proper storage places. 
  • Use storage containers and old boxes to contain items.
  • Keeping things in storage containers and cupboards will make a room appear neater.
  • Make a list of any new items which you require or items that you need to fix.
  • For every new item you get, you have to let go of one or two items. This will help you to reduce clutter.
  • Clear out all your recycling containers that contain old cardboard, empty water or glass bottles. Drop off old clothes. 

For an in-depth and thorough decluttering plan, check out my 52-Week Organise your Life Programme, which will cover each room and household aspect in more detail.

 “When your environment is clean you feel happy, motivated and healthy.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Setting Goals for the New Year

Each year is filled with new opportunities and challenges. Setting goals and preparing for the coming year will help you to be more productive and manage your life better.

People who set themselves specific goals each year achieve more in life. They also have:

  • a clearer focus and direction
  • more control
  • a sense of greater purpose in life
  • more satisfaction
  • more long term success

Important Life Goals

There are many aspects in life for which you can set new goals. You can choose one or a list of goals.

  • Learning a new Skill (a new language or hobby)
  • Big life Purchases and Changes (a new car or moving house)
  • Career Development (a new course or new job)
  • Financial Stability (setting a budget)
  • Physical Health and Fitness (a healthy diet)
  • Mental Health and Balance (more relaxing activities to reduce stress)
  • Social Connections (meeting new people)
  • Spiritual Growth (attain more peace)
  • Social and Environmental Responsibility (reduce your carbon footprint) 
  • Organised Home Life (tidying up and smart storage solutions)

Your goals don’t have to feel like homework with regular reviews and analysis of the progress. Write down all goals to make it more official, e.g. losing weight, learning a new hobby or buying a new car. Even if you give up halfway through the process, it won’t be the end of the world. You can try again at the start of a new month, season or year, unless you realize that a new hobby, course or fitness regime is not working for you. Then try something else. You will see the more you do, the more you will get done.

Once you have decided what your goals are, start doing some research to learn more about each topic. Then prepare an action plan with the important steps you need to action, like getting the contact details and costs. Planning allows you to be more efficient and helps you to achieve your goals. It’s easy to talk about goals and plans, but taking action and committing to a plan takes more effort.

Happy goal setting and planning!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Organising a Party

Hosting the perfect party that will leave your guests impressed depends on timing, planning and attention to detail.

There are many occasions to celebrate, from birthday parties and weddings to dinner and cocktail parties. The size of your party and how elaborate you want it will determine the costs.

Follow my Stress-free Party Planning Checklist:

  • Calculate your budget
  • Confirm the date and time 8 weeks before the party
  • Decide on a theme, e.g. Mad Hatter Party, Gatsby, Black & White
    • Get great party ideas from Pinterest and Instagram 
  • Create a guest list 
  • Book a venue if you are not hosting the party at home
  • Plan the food and drinks menu 
  • Book and brief a caterer (optional)
  • Book entertainment, e.g. a DJ, magician, visual artists, etc. (optional)
  • Create a digital or personal invite to match the theme
  • Invite the guests 6 weeks prior, giving them enough time to plan
  • Plan your decoration and combine the following important elements:
    • Flowers, lightning, backdrops, furniture, party decorations, table décor and gifts
  • Purchase and rent decorations, props and party supplies
    • Make your own decorations with beautiful craft ideas
  • Organise your party costume or dress
  • Purchase party foods and drinks if not using a catering company
  • Compile a playlist for the ultimate party atmosphere
  • Remind all outsourced parties about the party and make final changes 3 days prior
  • On the day of the party set everything up and coordinate all parties involved
  • Get dressed before the guests arrive  
  • Greet guests and have arrival drinks ready in the entrance area or delegate the function to someone else
  • Let the party begin!

“Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.” ~ Osho

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Organised Travel Packing

Do you dread packing for a trip and then end up with excess baggage? Most of us ladies only wear 60% of what we pack. Travel packing is about efficiency and learning how to pack faster, smarter and stress free. 

Take some time to plan what you want to pack for your trip. Proper organising and folding of clothes are helpful to ensure that you have all the essential items you need and enough space for everything.

How to Pack Like a Pro

  • For a leisure trip, pack 80% casual and 20% smart.
  • Pack for the right season.
  • What is the duration of your trip? You will need two outfits per day if you plan to go out at night. If you can wash your clothes during your visit, then you can pack less.
  • Use the x3 principle. Each item must be combined with three other items. 
  • Mix and match by selecting wardrobe classics in basic or neutral colours, e.g. black, navy or beige. Match them with some colourful or patterned tops and accessories. 
  • Dresses are a great option as they give you a complete outfit.
  • Plan to wear some outfits twice on your trip. You can change the look with accessories and shoes.
  • You might find a packing checklist helpful. Check on Pinterest and see which one suits you best.
  • Lay out your clothes and accessories on your bed to get a good overview. 
    • Start with your bottoms. Each bottom has to match with three tops.
    • Add your tops.
    • Select two or three dresses. A black dress is always a winner.
    • Add one casual and one smart jacket.
    • Lastly, add shoes and accessories. 
  • Edit ruthlessly and avoid packing anything that you are not sure about or that doesn’t fit you well.
  • Avoid too many printed items and clothing that can crease easily.
  • If you are travelling to a cold destination, try to wear all the heavy items on your flight, e.g. a coat and thick jersey to save luggage space and weight.
  • Place your beach hat in a hamper to take as onboard luggage. 

How to Pack

Ideally, fold your clothes to prevent them from creasing and taking up the least amount of space in your suitcase. 

  • Place heavier items like pants, jackets and skirts at the bottom.
  • Follow with the lighter stuff like tops and dresses.
  • Pack underwear in the spaces on the sides. Stack your bras and place them on top next to the cosmetic bag.
  • Pack shoes (toe to heel) in clear plastic bags.
  • Pack cosmetics in a toiletry bag.

Onboard Suitcase

Your overnight bag should include the following items:

  • Reading material
  • Earphones and neck pillow
  • A small travel bag with your essential items, such as a sleep mask, earplugs, moisturiser, wet wipes, etc., which you can keep by your seat during the flight.
  • Your valuable jewellery, camera and laptop.
  • A set of clothing and underwear just in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive.

” Only choose clothes that make you look awesome.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Preparing for a Vacation

Planning a trip in detail will remove the stressful aspects of travelling like check-in, flying and following directions to an unknown location. The longer you stay in a place, the better you will get to know it and the more relaxing your time will be. Also moving around too frequently makes you spend more money.

There are many different types of holidays from wellness and beach resorts for those who want to relax, to adventure trips and city tours for people who want to explore new places and gain new experiences. You can combine different aspects in one holiday to strike a good balance. It’s best to determine if you want to prioritise experiences or luxury when planning a trip.

Follow these Helpful Steps when Planning a Vacation

  • Choose your dream destination. 
  • Do research
    • Check what time of the year is best to travel.
  • Check online for great-value flights and compare prices.
  • Search for the best hotel or self-catering unit to suit your style and pocket.
    • Make a list of your preferences, e.g. balcony, sea view, swimming pool, Wi-Fi, etc. 
    • Check out the location on maps to get a better overview.
    • Confirm hotel facilities and restaurant options.
    • It’s worthwhile visiting the official website of the hotel and compare prices with online booking portals. You can often get cheaper deals when you book directly with the hotel.
    • If your budget is limited, then start the holiday with a budget option and end it with a superior option. End it on a high note!
  • Prepare a budget. It will determine the price class of your accommodation and flight options.
    • Calculate an estimate daily cost per head for meals, drinks and excursions. 
    • Allocate extra money for indulging yourself, e.g. wellness and shopping.
  • Book flights first and then accommodation. Flights are limited, but usually there are a great number of lodging options. 
  • See if your passport is still valid.
  • Check the visa requirements. If you require a visa, get all the paperwork ready and make an appointment.
  • Book a rental car or organise a transfer from the airport. 
  • Prepare an itinerary with the correct dates and times, especially if you are visiting different places. 
    • Add all the sightseeing spots and activities, to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything. 
  • Take out travel insurance if you don’t already have annual travel coverage.
  • Organise enough holiday cash for things you can’t pay by card, like souvenir places, markets and taxis. 
  • Get all your medication together.
  • Take along important documents such as booking confirmations and make screenshots, so you can access them even if you don’t have Wi-Fi connection. 
  • Pack your suitcases and weigh them to ensure that your luggage is not overweight. Don’t forget locking them.
  • Double-check that you have your passport before you leave for the airport.
  • Happy holidays!

“Travel does the heart good.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Organising a House Move

Moving house can be an equally exciting and daunting experience. Visualising how you will be decorating your new place is fun, but the thought of sorting, packing and moving can make you feel stressed. 

Proper planning and preparation will reduce the strain of organising your move. Start early, at least three months before moving to ensure that your move runs smoothly. A move is also a good time to declutter your space to avoid bringing unnecessary things into your new home environment. It will also lower your moving expenses.

Action List 

  • Book a reputable moving company and request a quote. 
    • Ideally book a morning time slot when movers are more energetic. You will also be able to get more done on the day of your move, like cleaning and unpacking.
    • You might want to arrange for a consultant to visit your home to assess the size of the move.
    • Be careful not to choose the cheapest movers. You get what you pay for.
  • Book a carpet cleaner and organise a general clean up before the moving date.
  • Organise boxes, bubble wrap and packaging tape.
  • Make a list of items and furniture you will need for the new home.
  • Inform all important service and utility providers that your address is changing to redirected your mail.

Decluttering

  • Try to eliminate the number of things that are old, broken or that you no longer use. 
  • Check out my Questionnaire for Clearing Clutter with questions to help you with the decluttering process.
  • Sort out all your stuff and group them into 3 piles.
    • Things you want to keep and pack.
    • Things you want to give away or donate.
    • Things you want to sell.
  • Organise a yard sale or advertise items online.
  • Drop off the things you want to donate to charity or give away to friends and family.

Packing

  • Start packing at least a month before your move.
  • Wrap all glassware and ceramic items in bubble wrap.  
  • Pack by room and label each box with a number, the room type and content.
  • Use a thick black marker pen to label all boxes.
  • Ensure that boxes with fragile content are clearly marked as such.
  • Keep hanging clothes on hangers and pack them in suitcases or flat boxes. 
  • It’s advisable to have one or two essentials boxes with items which you will need immediately upon arrival in your new home, e.g. bed linen, basic dinnerware and bathroom items. Ask the movers to pack them last and place them in a specified place upon arrival.  
  • Cover all your furniture with bubble wrap and seal with packaging tape to avoid any stains and fabric tearing.
  • Make a list of all the boxes and furniture.

Actual Move

  • Empty the fridge of all food items first thing when you wake up and keep fresh/frozen items in a cooler box.
  • Moving can be very unsettling for young kids and pets. Arrange a space where you can keep them while the move is happening.
    • Fetch pets after the move. 
  • Pack your car with valuable items you want to move.
  • Once the movers arrive, brief the team leader of the moving company and go through all the important points, e.g. which items should be handled with extra caution, what items to leave behind and what to load and unload first. 
  • Before the movers leave, do a quick scan in and around the house to see if everything has been loaded.
  • You might want to keep the vacuum cleaner and a basket with cleaning products aside to do a quick clean up after the move. 
  • Once all boxes and furniture have been placed in your new house, check that everything has arrived as per the list you made. 

“Cleaning out the Past, Packing up the Present and Preparing for a better Future.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Decorating your Home

Your home is an extension of you and portrays your taste and personality. If you feel it’s time to upgrade or transform your interior, look for inspiration on social media or in home magazines. All you need is time, energy and some money.

Decorating your home, will not only make your place feel more comfortable and warm but also bring more structure into your home space. Check out my other posts on how to decorate with Colours, Wall Art, Lighting and Houseplants.

Follow these Decorative Tips to make your Home more Inviting.

  • Stick to a Theme: The consistency of colours and style helps the objects relate to each other and the rest of your home.
  • Colour Selections: Items should complement or match the existing colour scheme of your room. 
  • Colour Repetition: If you introduce a new colour, repeat the colour in the room.
  • Create Contrast: Use different colours, object shapes, patterns and designs for contrast. 
  • Group Items: Use uneven numbers when creating a group of objects.
  • Less is More: Don’t clutter your tables or shelves with too many items.

Decor Ideas

  • Pillows & Throws
    • Choose a colour palette for your home and inject accent colours with pillows and throws.
    • Create interest with a mix of pillows in different texture, sizes and patterns.
    • Drape throws over the lounge chair and place them along the end of your beds.
  • Rugs & Floor mats 
    • Use rugs to define areas, especially in an open space setup. 
    • If your space is small use a light coloured rug to make your room appear larger.
    • Floor mats are not only decorative but also practical, as they dampen noise, protect flooring and add warmth.
  • Curtains 
    • Hanging curtains adds colour and warmth to a room.
    • Heavier fabrics create a more formal look, where lighter fabrics are more casual.
    • Curtains are an essential finishing touch for every room and can instantly upgrade your interior.
  • Candles 
    • Decorate with candles to create a cosy ambience and mood.
    • Place beautiful candle votives with tea candles on tables. 
    • Display a group of candles on a round tray or plate.
  • Ceramic & Glass Objects 
    • Create a group display with different shaped ceramic bowls or empty vases. 
    • If you get tired of a certain colour you can spray paint it in a new colour.
    • Display valuable collections in a glass cabinet.
  • Vases 
    • Perk up a room with fresh flowers or twigs in a vase.
    • Place them on tables, shelves and windowsills.
    • Vases are an affordable way of adding an accent colour to a room.
  • Mirrors 
    • Mirrors make great focal points. You can also hang a group of mirrors on a wall for a wow effect. 
    • Use large mirrors in a small room or narrow passage to create more depth and make a space feel more expansive. 
    • They absorb light and provide a sense of brightness in a room.

“A room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Decorating with Houseplants

Plants are a great way to add life to a room, fill empty corners and create visual interest. They clean the indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen. Also, plants help to boost your mood, reduce stress and improve your concentration. 

There are many different ways to display plants in your home: 

  • Plants in baskets and pots, placed on the floor, on a cabinet or shelf. 
  • A plant placed on a pedestal stand or in a basket with legs. 
  • Hanging plants in macrame plant hangers.
  • Wall-mounted boxes or shelves with plants. 
  • Ladders with plants clipped onto the middle section.
  • Glass terrariums which are little indoor plants in glass jars for table displays.
  • Plant stems in vases for table placements.

Houseplant care

  • When selecting a plant, you need to check how much light it needs. A plant that requires sunlight won’t do well in the bathroom. 
  • Keep the potting soil moist. Ideally, it shouldn’t be too dry or wet.
  • Depending on the type of plant and climate you have, you need to water them once to twice a week. Water succulents and orchids once a week.
  • During spring and summer use a liquid fertiliser to feed all your plants every month. In winter fertiliser can be withheld, unless a plant is dropping its lower leaves, showing weak growth or an overall yellow-green colour.
  • Regularly cut off dead leaves.

“What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Decorating with Lighting

Proper lighting has a significant impact on the functionality and atmosphere of your home. It can affect how you feel in a room. Complement your décor and rooms with optimal lighting. There are so many different styles available to choose from – modern and retro to classic and vintage lamps. 

Different Type of Lamps:

  • Ceiling lamps give a central glow to a room and are available in a variety of designs, shapes and styles. 
  • Recessed downlights offer a clean, streamlined look in a home and can make a room appear bigger, through increasing the amount of light.
  • Chandeliers create a statement in any room, e.g. dining room or bathroom.
  • Wall lights offer supplemental light and create a more atmospheric effect. 
  • Table lamps create a softer light in the bedroom or lounge.
  • Standing lamps are ideal for reading or illuminating empty corners.
  • Desk lamps are essential for any desk space.

The 3 different Types of Lighting

Task Lights

These lights are intended to help you carry out a task or function like cooking, reading or work. Task lights come in the form of ceiling lamps, recessed downlights, desk and reading lamps. The light should be bright enough to prevent eyestrain and angled down to keep the light on the task. For a homely feel, choose LEDs with a warmer colour temperature. 

Ambient Lights

Ambient or general lighting serves as the central source of light in a room. It sets the tone and overall glow for each room. Ambient lights come in the form of overhead fixtures such as ceiling lamps, recessed downlights, chandeliers and table lamps. Use light dimmers to adjust the intensity of the lamp and create a more cosy atmosphere.

Accent Lights

They highlight a particular feature like a painting or a unique design element and build upon the ambient lighting of a room by adding dimension. Accent light comes in the form of wall-mounted lights, spotlights or recessed downlights, which you can turn to illuminate a piece of artwork. Use LED lights which don’t give off any heat.

“Let your light shine.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Decorating with Wall Art

Wall Art is an essential part of decorating your house as it makes your space appear more chic and homely. Artwork is a great way to add interest to any room. You can also use the colours of a stunning painting to create a colour palette for your home.

Use landscape artwork for wide spaces, portrait paintings for small and narrow spaces, and square-shaped wall art for large, windowless spaces. 

Types of Wall Art

  • Canvas artwork 
  • Paintings in frames
  • Wallpaper prints
  • Vinyl wall decals
  • Collection of mirrors, sentimental items or plates.
  • Picture frames showcasing your own photos, postcards or prints. 
  • Your own decorative artwork painted on canvas. Just follow one of the easy step-by-step tutorials on Pinterest. 
  • Holiday photos printed onto canvas. This is an affordable way to create artwork for your walls.

Display Options

There are many ways of displaying artwork and frames in your home. 

  • Hang a large painting in the centre of the wall.
  • Group picture frames or artwork in a straight row. 
  • Create a gallery wall by hanging frames or collection items on different heights. 
  • Place a large artwork on the floor and lean it against the wall.
  • Display artwork or picture frames on a shelf or cabinet.
  • Create a focus wall by installing a wallpaper print onto a large, windowless wall.

Essential Tools for hanging Wall Art

  • Level
  • Pencil, Eraser & Ruler
  • Nails / Screws – depending on the weight of the painting
  • Drill machine
  • Hammer

When hanging artwork it should be in the centre of the wall space. I like to keep the height aligned with the top of the door frames. Wall art that gets a lot of direct light will eventually fade, especially canvasses, watercolour paintings and photo frames.

” Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Picasso.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme