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10 things to do at home during lockdown

We are currently in Lockdown here in New Zealand due to the Coronavirus, and we are not the only ones. Many countries are also in the same position which means that for a lot of us, we are stuck at home, most of the time. For some it will be a blessing, for others, a curse. Here, I have a compiled a list of 10 things to help you survive this stay at home crisis, and to utilise the time we have been gifted.

Connection and support

Psychologists say that the one thing most associated with emotional resilience is social connection and support. Our mental wellbeing is paramount to our survival during this period. You will need to check in with your family during this potentially stressful time, be kind and support one another. To connect with friends and family outside of your bubble, set up a Messenger or WhatsApp group. Arrange ‘virtual time’ such as a regular coffee catch up, a cocktail hour or even dinner together. It’s important to stay connected and support our loved ones and community – now more than ever.

Check in with your elderly neighbours

I live in a street with a number of people over the age of 70, the age that is the most at risk it seems. We have a member’s street Facebook page, where we can offer or ask for help and it is working well so far. This is a great time and opportunity to share any resources you might have, such as books, puzzles etc, to help pass the time. Again, WhatsApp and Messenger are great for keeping in contact too. For those neighbours who don’t use the internet, we check in on them regularly (keeping a safe distance of course!) to see if they need any supplies or errands to be run. I feel more connected to my neighbours now than I ever have and that in itself, feels great.

Structure

The first thing to do is to create some structure in the day. Of course you will especially need to do this if you have kids! Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively manage themselves and their environments and makes them feel safe. If you’re a bit stuck and need some help, Pinterest is a great place to search for this kind of thing – it’s a fantastic platform with loads of ideas and inspiration. Also check out the App Store and of course Google. Whatever you decide to do, I suggest creating a weekly family calendar, where everyone can see what is happening at each time of the day.

Meal Planning

I am a huge lover of meal planning, especially at the moment. I don’t want to be going to the supermarket too often during this time and by planning in advance, it means that I have everything I need to make a meal. I write all of the meals on our whiteboard and we can choose what we want each night. I promise you it will save you time, energy, money and creates less waste. If you need a helping hand there are free apps such as Foodplanner and Veganized. If you are not a fan of cooking, there is always My Food Bag and Woop for example, who will deliver your menus and produce directly to your front door even during lockdown.

Organising/decluttering

I would have thought that now is the best time ever, to declutter and organise your home, especially if you can’t work from home and therefore have more time on your hands. HOWEVER….. I recently read an article on RNZ that said that we all need to be mindful if we are throwing things out. Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil said “It will only create more rubbish for the team to sort through and add pressure on the staff….” Not only are charity shops in NZ currently closed at the moment anyway, but kerbside recycling in some areas is not operating either. If you are keen to get stuck into some decluttering all the same, just be mindful of what you are getting rid of. If you have a spare room/area in your house, use that to store your charity items until this whole thing has blown over. And recycling? I’m going to continue to recycle but will wait until it is safe to move it on again. Need some help? I have written a number of articles here on the blog page that are designed to help you, so check them out.

Cleaning

When I’m working with clients, I tend to clean as we go – keep this is mind if you are going to get stuck into some decluttering. I for one, am using this time to get into some deep cleaning Here are some ideas:

Pull out the fridge and dishwasher and clean underneath them

Clean walls and wall switches

Wipe down doors and cabinets

Vacuum under the bed and other hard to get to places

Clean your oven

Clean and sort under the sink

Shannon Lush has some great tips here on how to keep you and your home clean during lockdown too.

Paperwork

One of the most dreaded categories for most of us…… it tends to build up so easily doesn’t it? And  creates stress and overwhelm, especially when there is no system in place. Use this time to chip away at it – schedule in time to do it each day or week, or perhaps you would prefer to do it in one foul swoop. Choose a time that will work the best for you and when you are less likely to get distracted. The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your paperwork wherever it is lurking in your home and I mean ALL of it. Then it’s a matter of sorting it – I tend to lump categories together in the beginning to make it easier. Manila folders and post it notes work really well for the sorting stage – it means that if you want to come back to it, you can, easily. Now it is decision time. Make piles of keep, recycle and shred. Once you have done that it is time to create a filing system that will work for you. If you get stuck, check out the book ‘Paper Flow’ which has been written by a Professional Organiser. It’s super easy to read and has simple strategies and tips on how to organise your papers. The next and most important step, is to schedule into your diary WHEN you will action your paperwork! If you don’t do this, the very systems you create will fall apart super fast.

Projects

Photo organising, sorting out the garage, repairing, mending, re-styling, up cycling and the list goes on……how many of us have projects that we have been wanting to tackle but haven’t had the time to? Now would be a great time to action these. Create some space in your week to get stuck into your project(s) – you could even use your family calendar here. You may need to settle your kids into an activity in order to free up some time to do this, depending on their ages.

Home work outs/meditation

Where would we be without the internet?  It is one of our best friends at the moment as I am sure many of you would agree. Whether you are into yoga, pilates, gym workouts or meditation, there are so many platforms out there which allow you to keep fit, focused and positive, in your own home. The benefits of exercise are endless. Among other things, it promotes the release of endorphins and helps to keep your immune system working effectively – super key right now. You Tube, App Store, Facebook and Instagram are awesome go to platforms that I enjoy.

Participate in social media challenges

I for one, LOVE to have fun. Get involved in fun social media challenges – set up your own or join in on a friends. Themes could be: A costume of the day, creative ideas, 3 grateful things, acts of kindness, funny stuff, you get the idea. It stimulates you to be creative while passing the time and connecting with others.

So there you have it. I hope these ideas inspire and help you to not only make your days more enjoyable, but to keep you sane in these unknown times!

Enjoy, stay well, stay safe and be kind 🙂

 

 

 

 

Create your dream garage

The garage is often an area where items get dumped and tend to have a clutter affect. It seems to be a magnet for random items that we either don’t know what to do with or have just not made a decision on. Summer is the time of the year when I receive lots of calls from people who want to get their garage organised, while the weather is warm and there is less chance of rain. If your garage needs some TLC and you are not sure where to start, check out my blog ‘6 Steps to an organised garage’ where I have broken down the process into bite size chunks. Today I am adding a few more tips on how to create a garage space that is functional and organised.

How do you want it to look?

It’s important to have a vision for the space before you start. How do you want it to look and function? Do you have any storage? Do you need to create better storage solutions? If items are lying about on the floor of your garage, it may be that you don’t have the necessary storage to house them. Functionality is key, but your garage can also look cool too!

Creating a budget

You might want to work with some of the storage you already have, add a few pieces in or get a completely new look altogether. It will come down to your budget so spend some time planning that. It does not have to cost the earth to get your garage organised – it depends on how much stuff you have and need to store. Firstly though, I never recommend buying storage of any kind until you have gone through the process of decluttering first, so you know exactly how many items you are working with. Many people make this mistake and often blow their budget by spending too much on storage before they have even begun. Some basic shelving and clear plastic boxes work a treat in your garage and is a very affordable option, keeping items contained and visible. Whatever you budget might be, it is important to be able to see your items, know where they are and gain access to them.

Planning your garage

It’s important to create zones for items as this not only makes it easier to find them, but by putting ‘like’ items together, it just makes sense. Think of it like a Bunnings store where they have made it easy to find what you need. Items need to have a place (zone) that will make sense to you and the people you live with. Every day items should be in your ‘Prime’ space and occasional use items either up high, lower down or in those not as easy to get to spaces if you have them.

Get creative

Mitre 10 and Bunnings have some great storage solutions for your tools that are very affordable. Anything from a pegboard to wall or modular cabinets, hooks, sturdy storage boxes and bins and shelving units. Wardrobe World have some good options for fitting out your garage including storage for sporting goods, fishing gear and golf trolleys. If you have a lot of sports equipment, Torpedo7 are the people to see and if you are wanting a complete re fit and budget is not an option, check out Gladiator Garage – they are the mac daddy of garage outfitters!  If you want to get creative and DIY, Pinterest has some amazing ideas that can give you some inspiration as well.

Do you want to park your car in the garage?

Is it in your vision to be able to park your car in the garage or do you want to use it just for storage? Maybe you want to set up a gym in there or use it as a creative space? Folding workbenches might be an option along one wall if you want both. They are hinged and can be lifted up to create a useable workspace or folded down when not in use. Either way, if you want to be able to park your car in the garage you will need to keep your storage as streamlined as possible. Use all of the available wall areas where possible as well as the ceiling when planning your garage space. My top tip here is to get items off the floor where possible.

To finish

Try to get into the habit of not using your garage as a dumping ground! Work on making decisions about your things first. It’s a good idea to have a clear out of your garage each season, or of that’s too often at least yearly. You’d be amazed at how quickly ‘Stuff’ builds up in this area. A garage sale can be a good option if you need to move items on – it’s a great way to get the family involved and lots of fun. Read my blog ‘How to organise a successful garage sale’ here….

I’d love to hear if you have any more storage solutions that have worked for you, so feel free to let me know here. And if you’re feeling inspired to get stuck into your garage before summer is over, all the best of luck! 🙂

The lowdown on downsizing

It happens to most of us at one point in our lives, whether we like it or not. For many, it is a very overwhelming task that forces us to face our stuff. Now for those of us that have not faced our stuff on a regular basis, the thought of letting go of a lifetime of possessions is daunting and unthinkable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was recently interviewed by the NZ Woman’s weekly on this topic and I explained how it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in life. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how this process can be made SO much easier.

#1 Live in the moment

Downsizing doesn’t mean that you will loose everything you own. Sure, you won’t be able to take every item you own with you – it is just not possible. It forces us to make many decisions which can be very difficult, depending on our circumstances. Taking only the things we truly love and use now and which add value to our lives, causes us to live in the present. And what a wonderful thing that is! Having only those items in our homes that make us feel good, are the ones to surround ourselves with. Not the ones that cause us to feel any kind of negative emotions, which is distracting to say the least. Viewing downsizing as a positive experience where we can pare back and be honest with ourselves is truly liberating.

#2 Plan well in advance

This is one of the biggest problems I see – people just don’t give themselves enough time to prepare in advance. And believe me, the process takes a lot longer than you think it will. The more things you own, the more time it will take to make decisions. And if your belongings have not been reviewed regularly, the harder it will be to make those decisions. The more organised you are prior to the big day, the less stress you (and family members) will encounter. If you are pushed for time, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional to help take the stress out of the process.

#3 Ask for help

One of the hardest things people struggle with is letting go of possessions. If it’s all too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Whether it’s from a family member, objective friend or professional, it’s okay to reach out if you are struggling at any point during the process. It is so much easier making decisions when you have a support buddy to help you and speeds the process along when you are feeling stuck.

#4 Ask the right questions

It is important to ask the right questions throughout this process. “ Do I love it?” “Do I use it?” “Does it add value to my life now?” are key questions to ask. Our situations change over time and items may no longer have the value they once had. We move on from things as we change as people – this is very natural and a part of life. Embrace who you are now and be honest with your decision making, remembering that you simply cannot take everything with you anyway.

#5 Capture your memories

There are so many memories behind our belongings. Most items in our homes have stories attached to them. I find that once the story has been told, it is easier to let go of the item. Take photos of treasured items and record their stories. These can be passed down through generations and the legacy lives on. Remember that our memories are inside us and will be with us forever. We don’t always need to keep the item to remember the experience, but having a photo triggers our memory and allows us to reminisce.

By following these tips, your downsizing experience can be a truely positive life change. You will most definitely go through many emotions as you face your belongings. But what might seem like an overwhelming task to begin with, can turn into a wonderful opportunity to create new memories and a new start in life!

 

 

 

 

5 steps to organise ANY space in your home!

Yay for Spring! I love this season and have been enjoying getting into some decluttering after what seems like the longest Winter ever. If you’re as keen as I am to get into some of those spaces in your home that need some attention this Spring, my 5 step method will really help you to conquer any of them.

Before you start though, make sure you have some tools on board. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Banana boxes (for charity, recycling and relocate items)
  • Rubbish bags (also great for bulky items that get donated)
  • Cleaning items (so you can clean as you go)

Not sure where to start? Start somewhere small, like a shelf, junk drawer, a cupboard or the likes. Your car is a GREAT place to start! Just don’t start in a sentimental area or an area that is too emotional for you. Especially if you haven’t decluttered in a while.

Finally, create a vision for the space. How do you want it to look, feel and function (function being the most important.) Ask yourself what is working in the space and what is not working?

 

Step 1: Which ever area you decide to start working in, take everything out of the drawer, cupboard, shelf, box, you get the idea. Simply take all of the items out of the space.

Step 2: Put like with like items together. By doing this, you can see exactly how much of each item you have and when they are all together like this, it makes it a lot easier to make decisions on the items, whew!

Step 3: Time to make decisions on the items – pop over to my blog on “10 questions to ask yourself when you declutter” to help you here. Be honest with your decision making and ask a friend to help you if you are struggling on your own. Here’s where you use your banana boxes for charity, recycle and relocate items and the rubbish bags for rubbish and the bulky donate items.

Step 4: Move onto the next shelf, drawer, cupboard and repeat steps 1 – 3. Once you have finished, it is time to reorganise the items you have decided to keep. Reorganise them in a way that makes sense to you and at their point of use. The most important thing to remember is that the area needs to function well. You can always pretty it up later. Keep what is working in the space and change what is not working.

Step 5: Take the rubbish and recycling to your bins, the charity items to your car (rather than sitting around the house as you or others might be tempted to go back into them!) and put your relocate items in their correct place. If they don’t have a home, you will have to create one.

 

 

 

 

If you are struggling to get started, put a date in your diary at a time that will work for you and stick to it. Call a friend to hold you accountable. Get the family on board to help! Doing a little each day even if it’s only ten minutes, will eventually add up. It’s completely okay to do a space in stages, if that is what will work for you. Set a timer and reward yourself when you are done, put on some music and make it fun!

 

Have an awesome Spring, good luck with your decluttering and let me know how you get on 🙂

How to organise a successful garage sale

Thinking about a garage sale? Want to get rid of those items that are no longer loved or used? Not sure how to go about it? Well there’s no time like the present in my book – I believe that any time is a good time to have a garage sale these days. It’s all about advertising in the right places and being organised in advance, so that you not only make some money, but also have fun whilst doing so. There’s always someone out there looking for a bargain, no matter the time of year. (more…)

6 steps to an organised garage

Winter is a great time to get stuck into your garage and get it organised before spring kicks in! With these 6 simple steps you will have an organised garage space in no time at all 🙂

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