Monday, 20 April 2009

Life's 'Problen Solvers' - including Professional Organizers

You may have read an interesting article in The Age's 'M' magazine a little while back about 'Problem Solvers', not surprisingly including Professional Organizers, or P.O's as they are commonly known.

Organize Your Life are members of both the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers (AAPO) and the American equivalent NAPO and have met/had contact with countless PO's over the years. As a result and can vouch for the great work they do with their clients - usually everyday people like you and me -who just need a helping hand to keep on top of their home affairs due to leading such busy lives.

These days, hiring a cleaner, dog groomer or an image consultant is becoming part of everyday life for many people. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1:5 Australians works more than 50 hours a week. That’s a lot of people with very little spare time for chores and errands. The rise in the outsourcing of all manner of domestic help is linked to more and more women in the workforce, rather than at home as in the past having more time to do the household chores etc. So people are basically buying back time chewed up by all we have to fit into our busy lives.

If you fit into this category then go to for a list of great Australian Professional Organisers.

If you need some motivation to Start the Organizing process yourself you may like to read my article "How to Organize Your Home"

Here is a snippet for you -

How to Organize your Home

by Claire McFee

Home is truly where the heart is. It can be welcoming or overwhelming depending on how we organize our time, possessions and our psyche. The ultimate goal for ourselves is to have a home that calms and soothes us, but equally invigorates us and excites us about our future and where we are heading. For most of us mere mortals this doesn’t just ‘happen’ miraculously, it takes a bit of effort and of course Organization. With guidance it’s easier than you would think. Here are some points to think about in this important life area.

Keep on top of your ‘Stuff’

Too many possessions can be the death of a person. It is imperative to continuously ‘move on’ items that are not used or are broken beyond repair.

Do regular ‘Culls’

The average home needs to do 2-3 clear outs per year to maintain a semi-clutter free space for you and/or your family.

Get the Family on Board

If you have a partner and kids it’s only fair that it is a team effort to have a happy, well functioning household. Setting a good example is imperative here and also taking into account different personality types plays a big part too. If you have a child who couldn’t find his own teeth to brush if they weren’t attached to his head then allowing some leeway for his room to not have to be perfectly sorted everyday. Pick your battles!!

‘One in one out’ Rule

A good general idea to stick to is whenever you buy a new item for the house, you need to pass on a similar older item. This can apply to clothing; toys; books; old tools; jewellery; kitchen appliances etc.

To read full article go to "How to Organize Your Home"

Organizing Overboard!

I have long been a fan of Good Weekend Writer Stephanie Dowrick and this weekend her ever-thoughtful column was related to Home Organizing in an article titled "The tyranny of Tidiness."

The article espoused healthy 'untidy' homes, as opposed to unhealthy ones. I must say I agree with her comment that "The ordinary tumble of daily life does not fall into that (hoarding) category. I say we should not be servants to our homes! Rather, homes should serve, happily - those who live in them." Having a slightly dis-organized home does not mean you live in constant chaos and need 'help', it simply means you are busy like everyone else and are choosing to 'live' life (at least some of the time) rather than be a slave to it.

Some people can go overboard when it comes to having a well presented home and overly house proud. There is a fine line between being house proud and being obsessive about it to the point of not 'living' ones life as a result. As one of my favourite quotes says "On your death bed, what will you remember more the sparkle of your kitchen floor, or the sparkle in your children's eyes."

Yes of course it helps to have a home that is organized to a degree, as long as there is room for 'real life' to fit into it, without the worry of how it will 'look' to others. Make sure your tidy/untidy, organized/dis-organized house expectations of yourself and others are realistic, and if not, stop giving yourself such a hard time - Life's too short!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Organize to buy healthy children's cereal with help from The Parent's Jury

Heard of The Parent Jury? They are a fantastic advocate for Australian Families. Their most recent Parent's Poll has announced the 'Worst Cereal offender'. I don't know about you but I have to closely watch what my kids eat or we suffer the consequences. I have to be really organized when I go shopping - with a list of nasty additives that they are allergic or intolerant to - a sadly long list. I use a great business card sized list that you can easily print out online by going to this link.

Parent Jury joined nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton as part of an ongoing campaign to reveal the truth behind the marketing spin on popular children's food and drink products. They compared the on-pack claims on 14 children's cereals, nominated by members of The Parents Jury, with their actual ingredients and key information on the Nutrition Information Panels.

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain cereal was announced as the outright worst offender, with its traditional reputation as ‘Iron Man Food' that 'helps fuel growing boys' unable to stand up to its very low fibre content and high levels of sugar and sodium. Despite a re-formulation, Nestle Milo cereal was also criticised for its brazen packaging that features many ticks and statements about its wholegrain and fibre content, as well as the lines 'nutritious energy cereal' and 'now better 4 you'. With its 30 per cent sugar content Milo cereal cannot claim any "superior moral ground for good nutrition".

Along with the The Parents Jury, I strongly support the introduction of a mandatory 'front of pack' traffic light food labelling system that uses red, amber and green colour coding to rate levels of fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium on packaged foods, enabling consumers to make informed choices at a glance. The more consumers let themselves be heard the quicker these important changes will be made. It's worth finding the time by being organized to do this. Go to for more info. The 'Choice' Magazine website has a lot of useful information too. Go to

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

I organized to sponsor a child through World Vision!

I'm really excited about getting myself organized to Sponsor a needy child through World Vision. His name is Frank Luis and he is 8 years of age and lives in Peru. To be honest I don't know why I didn't take this step earlier. We donate to many good causes but for some reason stopped short of this commitment.

Maybe it's partly due to the wake up call of The Australian Black Saturday Fires, which reminded me of just how much we have here in Australia and that we can ALWAYS spare more.

So although we are a bit cash strapped building a new house, we can find and extra ~$10 per week for such a good cause. It's about organizing your priorities really - spending less on those ice creams for the kids or that coffee for yourself, or the expensive bottle of wine you don't really need.

I'm not sure exactly what it is, but as you will see from my last few posts, there is a them of being proactive in an environmental and social way. I have taken an interest in, and actively participated in many ways in these areas over the years, as I've always felt compelled to help others and know that we all can individually and therefore collectively make a difference. The encouraging thing is that more and more people are doping the same thing. Mainstream media really seem to be taking these issues seriously and help promote all manner of important causes in a way they rarely did say 5 years ago. The media CAN be a great influence for good when it wants to and should be encouraged for that.

Anyway back to our sponsor child. I was thrilled to learn that through World Vision you can organize to send e-letters, which are translated for you and then sent via snail mail, which I know my kids will love helping to do. They will love even more, the responses we get in return telling us about the life of our new friend on the other side of the world. I will keep you posted with what we learn about him and in turn about ourselves.