Friday, 13 December 2013

Little Nest Busy Bag Giveaway

Well I don't think that this giveaway couldn't have come at a better time with school holidays, family vacations and weeks and weeks of long summer days ahead of us. Thanks to Little Nest I have one super doper Little Nest Busy Bag Flight Pack to give away to one lovely reader.
The Busy Bags come in a Little Nest cotton tote bag which is ideal for your pre-schooler to take on a long-haul flight for hours of entertainment!  The Mini Busy Box contains 10 different educational activities including lacing, colour sorting and shape discrimination.  The Cupcake Shop and Pizza Factory Busy Bags are fantastic for imaginative play, while the Foam Bead Threading and Pom Pom Pick-up Busy Bags are excellent for practicing fine motor skills.  Finally, the Popsicle Stick Patterns Busy Bag is great for colour discrimination and pattern replication.

Each Flight pack is valued at $60.00 and can be purchased direct from the Little Nest Etsy Site (along with all of the other individual fantastic products in the range).
Entry is below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • The Giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is only open to Australian readers
  • The announcement of the lucky winner/s will be published via the Utterly Organised blog (via Rafflecopter Widget) and announced on the Facebook Page
  • The lucky winner/s will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
  • Failure to claim the prize within this period will result in another winner being drawn
  • Any questions on the competition can be directed to
  • Entrants MUST like both the Utterly Organised and the Little Nest Facebook pages  

Little Nest is run by Sarah Grose who lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Sarah is a SAHM with a 20 month old son, a 6 month old son and another baby boy on the way at the end of April. After discovering the concept of Busy Bags some time ago, Sarah saw a gap in the Australian market for these portable, self-contained educational activities.  Little Nest was born out of hard work, many late nights, a passion for creativity, and a mother's determination to make her family proud!


Monday, 2 December 2013

How to Host a Stress Free Dinner Party

In our busy lives, there’s nothing quite like a night in with friends bantering over good wine and delicious food. Dinner parties aren’t like going to a restaurant; you don’t have to compete with other patrons for the waiter’s attention, there’s no fussing over splitting the bill and no incomplete or missing orders (we’ve all been that guy whose order came twenty minutes after everyone already finished – awkward!).
While it’s all fine and dandy when you go to a friend’s dinner party, throwing one yourself is a whole other ball game. The moment you put the word out that you’re having one, you are suddenly overcome with what if no-one shows up syndrome. I’ll be the first to admit that parties never go to plan. Whether you’ve run out of drinks too early in the evening or you’ve nearly burned the kitchen down ten minutes before your guests arrive. If you’ve had some entertaining nightmares or are holding back from throwing a party because you’re afraid you’ll be too stressed out, never fear help is here. Planning the perfect evening doesn’t have to be a hectic affair as long as you follow these steps.
1. Make something you have cooked before
Regardless of whether you are the type of person that follows a recipe to a tee, the first time you cook a new dish is always stressful and it never turns out the way you’d hoped. When you are cooking an unfamiliar recipe for a dinner soiree, there’s also an added pressure to getting it just right. If you don’t, it will quickly turn your mood sour for the rest of the evening. That’s why it’s better to organise a meal that you are well versed with. You know it tastes good, you know how long it will take, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how your friends will take to it – like a fish to water hopefully.
2. Check your guest’s dietary requirements
We know, we live in a crazy world right? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is following a strict diet regime. Whether it be paleo, lacto-vegetarian, lactose free, or gluten free – the list goes on. While you don’t need to make sure everyone loves what you are planning to make, take note whether someone you are inviting is kosher/halal, vegetarian/vegan or has any type of food allergies. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a dinner with friends and realising you can’t indulge in anything.
3. Set the table the night before
Give yourself one less thing to worry about by setting the table the night before. It will save the hassle of trying to find the salad forks or having to clean the good china an hour before your start time.
4. Set the music and leave it
Everyone fancies themselves a DJ, however you’re music tastes may not suit the tone you are trying to set. Figure out who the music person is in your family and have him/her set up a playlist that is long enough to not repeat songs. Once you’ve set it up, turn it on and leave it alone for the rest of the night.
5. Prepare in advance
Avoid rushing around like a madman of party day and buy all your ingredients the day before. You can even start buying storable items weeks in advance. There are obviously going to be some spoilable items you need to purchase on the day – Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cake anyone?  But it’s much easier to only pick up a few forgotten items rather than doing big two hour supermarket excursion.
The most important thing to remember when hosting a dinner event is to have fun and relax! Happy planning.

{Sponsored Post thanks to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream}

Friday, 29 November 2013

Win a Date with a Personal Stylist

This week on the blog we were fortunate to have gorgeous Personal Stylist, Agnes from Paper Doll Personal Styling, here as a guest blogger. If you missed out on her posts on maternity dressing, you can catch up on them here and here.
I am absolutely thrilled to annpounce that Paper Doll Personal Styling are offering one very, very lucky reader the chance to win a date with the fabulous Agnes herself!
One lucky winner will have the choice between a 2 hour Wardrobe Analysis or a 2 hour Personal Shopping Trip (both valued at $200). And because I didn't want my lovely readers not living in Melbourne to miss out, if you are interstate you will have the choice of an Online Styling Consultaion (valued at $135) instead.
If one of your goals for the New Year is to tackle your tricky wardrobe or to learn how to finally dress for your body shape, then this prize is a dream come true!
Entry is below and good luck...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made right here on the Utterly Organised blog
- The lucky winner will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Voucher expires on 30/06/14
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised and Paper Doll Personal Styling Facebook Page
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to
If you are interested in the Services of Paper Doll Personal Styling, you can find Agnes online or on Facebook.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Best Places to Shop for Maternity Clothes

In case you missed it earlier on this week, amazing personal stylist Agnes from Paper Doll Personal Styling shared with us her top 10 tips on maternity dressing. You can catch up on that post here.

Now that we know exactly what styles, shapes and colours to wear during pregnancy, we now need to know where to get them! Today Agnes shares the best places to shop for the perfect maternity pieces or outfits.
Brands and stores to try:
1. ASOS Maternity at has a wide range of maternity basics and jeans to mix and match. This UK based store offers free shipping to Australia and returns are only $7.85 per parcel.
2. Queen Bee at - probably the biggest Australian online maternity stores with a vast range of maternity and nursing wear from basics to special occasion pieces. They have a large collection of jeans and lingerie and shape wear too. 
3. Mavi’s Maternity Jeans are legendary; if you are a fan of skinny jeans, you don’t want to miss them: 
4. On you can browse and shop outfits put together for pregnant bodies: 
5. Lola Australia is not a maternity label, but their lightweight, silk and cotton dresses and kaftans in beautiful coloursare perfect for the summer even with a growing belly: 
 6. Hatch Collection: for that special outfit you want to splurge on. Their gorgeous collection is designed in a way that you can wear the pieces before, during and after the pregnancy: 
7. Isabella Oliver: This UK brand is “dressing women
in quality designs with effortless styles
for pregnancy and beyond”. You can get lots of inspirations from their Style Diary on their website. They have essential pieces for your work, after hours and off duty wardrobe too:
 8. The Bag Department: is a Melbourne based company, whose handbags are stylish, practical, easy to use, timeless and yet modern at the same time. They are made of gorgeous soft leather in beautiful colours and they are simple, understated chic styles that go with absolutely everything. They are roomy to use them everyday without compromising on the aesthetics.They actually give you the choice to create your own on the TBD website (by choosing the leather, the handle and the hardware), which I find so much fun. It makes the bags become absolutely yours. And the best of all is that you can actually use them as a non-traditional nappy bag after the baby arrives:
Thanks again Agnes for all of the amazing advice on pregnancy dressing - trust me I need it at the minute. I have been trawling ASOS and this is my pick for some great maternity pieces at some really affordable prices.
Pregnant or not, Agnes has one very amazing giveaway coming right up on the blog this week.  If you have always wanted your own personal stylist to take you on a shopping trip or analyse your wardrobe, then you are in for a treat!! For those not in Melbourne, don't despair as you have the option of a fabulous online consultation instead. Stay tuned.... 

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Stylish Mum To Be – 10 TOP TIPS on maternity dressing with a growing belly

With only 8 short weeks until bub arrives, I am definitely now well in to maternity clothing. I have been pretty lucky up to date, as I lost a lot of weight early on in this pregnancy with being so sick, so the belly was slow off the mark to develop. But in the last few weeks, I am finding myself struggling in my 'normal' clothes and searching for maternity or stretchy styles, especially as we approach the festive season with so many little events and soirees on the cards where my stretchy gym pants just won't do!

I am so pleased to have the lovely Agnes from Paper Doll Styling here on the blog this week as a very special guest writer. Agnes is a Melbourne based personal stylist and shopper who offers not only personal shopping and styling for women and children of Melbourne, but she offers a fabulous online service for those anywhere in the country. You can find out more about her services here.
I have asked Agnes to share her shopping and styling wisdom this week when it comes to dressing with a baby bump. Thank you for your tips Agnes....
Expecting a baby is such an exciting time in a woman’s life but it also has its challenges, and dressing your baby bump can be one of the first.
However nothing should stop you being stylish and confident in your skin and clothes so I am here to help with 10 top tips  I learnt when I was expecting my daughter –on how to dress when your belly and emotions grow.
Tip #1: Shop your own wardrobe
Learn what’s in your wardrobe (and even in your partners) and find out what you can use from it throughout your pregnancy. Your stretchy tops and dresses will still be good for the first trimester. Button up shirts (even your husband’s or boyfriend’s) with leggings or worn over a tank or a T-shirt tied in front will be your best friends.
Wear your smart jacket with anything and roll up your sleeves for an effortlessly chic look.
Nothing should stop you being comfortable and chic during pregnancy
Tip #2: Be comfortable
Being stylish and comfortable at the same time? Yes, it is possible. From your underwear to your shoes, you want to feel comfortable throughout all the months with your growing belly and the hormones changing your mood and body temperature. Choose natural fabrics (cotton, silk, cashmere, wool, etc.) and well-fitting bras and underwear. Your shoe size easily can go up to 1 to 2 sizes during pregnancy (and for some it stays like that after birth too), so make sure you are wearing the most comfortable footwear possible. Ballerina flats go with everything, lace up brogues will accentuate a relaxed, understated look, while jeweled flat sandals dress up and add charm to any summer outfit. Wedges are great alternatives to high heels. 
An oversized button up shirt worn with skinny jeans or leggings will be your best friend
Tip#3: Mix and match 
The basics in your maternity wardrobe are just as important as in your pre and post pregnancy one. Buy good quality basics that will not disappoint you and that you can mix and match for endless number of looks. Dress them up or down with accessories that you already have in your wardrobe. 
Tip #4: Up-size
You don't have to limit yourself to wear only maternity clothes to look stylish. Opt for standard pieces in one or a couple of sizes larger than your normal size. Drawstring pants and shorts, cotton tops, button up shirts, maxi dresses are all comfortable and stylish choices.  
Tip #5: Wear colours 
Your best colours are still your best colours during pregnancy, so don't be afraid of wearing them, especially close to your face to bring out that special glow even more! Dressing in monochrome is not only super trendy at the moment but also creates the illusion of an elongated body. You can add a splash of colour to a one-colour outfit by adding a scarf, a handbag or a statement necklace. 
Wear your best colours to flatter your face
Tip #6: Accessorize
A cosy scarf, a pair of big sunglasses, a stunning necklace will all look stylish and can give polish to your look. Their other advantage is that you can wear them throughout the whole pregnancy and you already have them in your wardrobe. Use them to sharpen your look and bring a sense of individual style. The trick is: to choose a one statement piece and keep the rest understated. 
Tip #7: Layer
Cardigans, wraps, shawls keep you warm, comfortable and you will not outgrow them.
Use the ones you already have in your wardrobe, or buy some new ones in flattering colours. They will come handy when your body-temperature changes in a second and after the birth too while breastfeeding. 
Jeans, stripes and a trench coat - always a stylish choice
Tip #8: Show off your belly 
Form-fitting pieces that are not too tight are much more flattering than really loose, baggy clothes. Make sure they are stretchy and comfortable to wear. 
Tip #9: Show off your best features 
Do you have great legs? Wear skirts to show them off. Are you proud of your cleavage? Show some skin (but not too much) with a low-cut top to flatter your face.
The rule is always the same: show off your best features and hide those that you are not happy with. It’s all about balance.
Tip#10: Splurge
Even if you don’t spend too much on your maternity wardrobe I recommend investing in at least one stunning outfit, that you feel gorgeous and confident in. You will get great use out of it; put it on every time when you want to feel glamorous and change the look with accessories.  
Have fun and look amazing before, during and after baby! 
Agnes xx
Thank you so much for the amazing advice Agnes. Stay tuned because Agnes will be back later on this week with her advice on exactly where to shop to pick up some great maternity buys and there is a giveaway in the mix too!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Nursery Inspiration for Baby #2

Well yet again hubby and I cannot agree on finding out the gender of this bub to be (he doesn't want to know and I am not allowed to find out!). This little predicament is a teeny bit hard for an organised person like myself - okay I will admit, it is sheer hell!! I want to order everything and have this room done and dusted by the time this baby arrives in a few short months, but am instead attempting to be very patient. If you missed out on my gender neutral nursery planning (and frustrations) posts from Mr B, you can catch up on them here.
So what am I going to do? Well once again I am going to try and go with a neutral coloured room and inject touches of colour once the bub arrives. Last time I was in hospital literally hours after the birth ordering bits and pieces from Etsy - that is no joke!
Here are some rooms that I am loving - from Pinterest of course.

Image Source

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So it would seem that I am drawn to;

- A white room with touches of pale grey - adding in elements of colour later - maybe aqua or mint and red for a boy and coral or ice pink for a girl. This is what I elected to do when I was pregnant last time and it was a colour scheme that I still adore - win!
- White furniture which is pretty handy considering I have this part already sorted. I am contemplating painting my Ikea Poang chair (which has a birch wood frame) that I used in Mr B's nursery - anyone done this?
- Polka Dots!!! I have decided to do a single Polka Dot feature wall and have ordered some pale grey dots from Etsy so I can get started on this as soon as they arrive in my hot little hands

- I love the idea of accessorising with clouds or with stars (cushions, mobiles, buntings etc). But I have decided to wait and order these in colours

I must admit with a nursery, big boy room and a playroom/family room conversion all to plan and design by January - I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. But hubby was on holidays last week so we have now shifted everything out of the room, touched up the white walls and are hoping to move the nursery furniture in, order Mr B's new bed and accouterments and get ready to 'polka dot' the wall next week.
Gee it would be so much easier if we knew the gender....
Did you find out the sex of your baby to be? Or did you opt for a surprise?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Children's Play Table - on a Budget!

The reality of a baby being here in just under 12 weeks is making me panic about just how much I need to do and organise in a relatively short time (plus Christmas in the mix!). One of the many projects that I am working on at the moment is converting our third bedroom in to a nursery for #2. This means that the bigger project to deal with first, is dealing with all of the mess, toys and my clothes being stored in this room - tell me that we all have a junk area, don't we?!!

Previously this room was set up and used as a playroom, which was great. I loved having all matter of toys stored in here and being able to close the door of a night if it was just too hard to pack everything up. But sadly, with only having a 3 bedroom home, the luxury of having a dedicated playroom has come to an end.

I am fortunate that a few years ago, we added a family room on to our home, which means that we can have a space for adults (our lounge) and now a space that we can share as a family - our family room. So I am currently converting the family room in to a space which will also serve as a play area too - watch this space!!
One of the must have items for this area, has been the inclusion of a little table that can be used for play as well as for snacks throughout the day.
I shopped around for a suitable play table, but to be honest I just didn't want to pay upwards of $60 just for a small table alone. So I decided to head to my favourite store - Ikea - for a cheap and easy solution.
  • 1 x Ikea Lack side table in white which retails for $9.99
  • 2 x Ikea Mammut Seats which retail for $14.99
  • 1 x Ikea Mannut Stool which retail for $7.99
  • 1 x Small square of oil cloth to protect the table for $4.00
For a grand total of $52.00 (less than a single table!), I am pretty happy with the results and so is Mr B...
What do you all think?
Next up to sort out and move all of the toys in to the family room... wish me luck!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Giveaway: Win a Hickory Hill Home Gift Voucher!

Gorgeous, classic, durable and affordable - that about sums up the amazing online store of Hickory Hill Home. If you missed my post yesterday with more information on this divine online store and me sharing a few of my favourite buys, then you can check it out here.

Once again a BIG thank you for Hickory Hill Home for providing one lucky reader the chance to win a very, very generous $150.00 gift voucher to spend at their fabulous online store.
This voucher is just in time for Chrissie shopping - yes it really is that time of year again! I must admit that I am quite a shade of green with envy of the prize-winner - there is no shortage of goodies that I want and need from the collection let me tell you!

The conditions of entry and the entry via Rafflecopter is below - best of luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made right here on the Utterly Organised blog
- The lucky winner will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised and Hickory Hill Home Facebook Page
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to

Good luck everyone, I look forward to announcing the lucky winner!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Welcome to Hickory Hill Home

Oh how I love hearing about a good Aussie business success story!! For Country Gals Edwina and Gendy, they turned their frustrations at not being able to source great bed linen and accessories in to a successful online store (and a gorgeous one at that) called Hickory Hill Home.
Hickory Hill Home was recently launched in May of this year, but has already enjoyed great success since inception and to be honest - I am not suprised!
The online store has the most divine and fantastic quality, collection of cashmere, pajamas and bedlinen that have been designed by these two very clever ladies. The collection is very beautifully classic - think gingham, seersuckers, soft cottons and stunning colours - right up my alley!
I absolutely love the fact that this store offers free shipping and a no questions asked return policy - it is perfect for avid online shoppers like myself - or for those in rural areas.
For those with littlies, you are going to fall in love with the classic range of pajamas and bed linen available for your little one (or big one!).
Here is just a few of the items that I am lusting after:
                                Blue Gingham Doona Set - love everything about this room!

                               100% Cashmere Baby Blankets - perfect for my 'one on the way'!

                            Dusty Blue Boys Gingham PJ's - adorable stocking stuffer for Mr B!

Thanks to the lovely (and very generous) ladies at Hickory Hill, I have a $150.00 gift voucher to give away to one super, super lucky reader of the blog. Stay tuned because this giveaway will be kicking off tomorrow and I am sure you don't want to miss this one!!
Until then, please check out the Hickory Hill website and remember to sign up to receive a special discount off your very 1st order.
See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Product Review: Philips PerfectCare Aqua Pressurised Steam Generator Iron

I am the first to admit that when it comes to ironing, I can be a little bit OCD. I don't go as far as iron tea towels and underwear, but I do put my hand up to admit that sheets, pillow cases and hankies are included in my ironing pile each week... a little bit sad I know!

Now it is not that I have too much time on my hands, but rather just like my home, I like my linen and clothes to be neat and orderly (well most of the time!). So when I was contacted to try out the newest steam station ironing revolution from Phillips - the PerfectCare Aqua Pressurised Steam Generator Iron (try saying that after a few drinks!) - I was more than a little bit excited to say the least!!
The ironing pile - on a 'good' day!!
This little wonder boasts a whole heap of product benefits - but the promise to make my ironing life a simple and speedy experience - sounded just too good to be true!!
For me, of the major benefits of this steam station iron, is that unlike the regular run of the mill irons, you don't need to fiddle around with the controls to alter the settings to suit each individual garment. Ever been guilty of singeing hubbys work pants because you were still on the ultra hot cotton setting?! Yup I have been there more than a few times and created pants that are a little bit crunchy and shiny to wear...

Well this is an issue of the past with this little wonder, because thanks to its super clever OptimalTemp technology, you'll no longer have to worry about fiddling with settings again (and getting it wrong time and time again). It was a very strange experience using this unit for the first time and not having to flick a dial going from my cottons to my woollens and on to my silk dresses.
Thanks to the continual steam pressure, you really do experience a quicker and easier ironing experience. I definitely found myself shaving at least 10-15 minutes off my usual ironing time - a PB!
The unit has a massive - and I mean massive 2.2Lt water tank - so no more having to fill up the iron a good 1000 times just to get through a small pile of ironing.


The ironing unit itself is quite large if you are used to just a good old fashioned iron - but it is comprable in size to other pressurised steam generating irons out there on the market. However if you don't have a lot of room to store in your laundry cupboard, then this style of iron may not be for you.

The RRP on this unit is $399 which may seem a little much for some consumers when comparing to a traditional iron. But trust me, this is not a traditional iron and you need to see it in action and you'll want to get your hands on it at any price! I have it on good authority that this unit does go on sale regularly, so keep your eyes peeled and pop it in on your Chrissie or Boxing Day sale wish list.
Overall I absolutely loved the iron. It is definitely worth clearing a spot for this in your laundry - because it is a time (and sanity) saver and I have never seen hubbys shirts look so crisp - winner!!

Want to check it out for yourself? This unit is available to purchase at all major electrical retailers for an RRP of $399.00. You can also check it out in action here on YouTube.

A big thank you to Phillips for letting me try this out.

Do you have a steam station iron too? Love it? Hate it? Love to hear your thoughts.

Please note, I was provided this unit to try but was not paid for the review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Product Review & Giveaway: Fruities Cordial

I am always looking for ways to get hubby to drink more water. The only way that I can get this grown man to drink it, is with the aid of a little 'sweetner' - cordial. Cordial and Gatorade are his guilty pleasures.

Yes of course I worry about the sugar and the artificial colours that he consumes each day, but how do you argue with a grown man?!! Seriously if you have an answer for this, please do tell..

I must say when I was offered up the chance to try Fruities - a radical new cordial concept on the market - I was super keen to introduce it in to our home.
Fruities boasts about being the only cordial on the market to contain zero preservatives and absolutely nothing artificial - including colours, flavours and sweetners. Each bottle contains 50% real fruit juice and instead of the regular nasty white sugar, it uses the natural sugar substitute - Stevia.

If you, like most Mum's (or wives!!) are wanting to avoid all the colours, numbers and confusion out there, then Fruities could be the answer - for little and big kids alike.

Hubby initially turned up his nose at the product, saying it is not that Diet Cordial is it? But was surprised that it tasted better than the regular brand that he consumes - winner! Fruities is stocked nationally at Coles, so be sure to check it out on your next shop!

Keen to give it a go too? Well lucky for you thanks to the lovely folk at Fruities, I have 3 Spring/Summer fun packs pictured above to give away - perfect for a family BBQ or picnic in the park! Entry and the t&c's are below...

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made right here on the Utterly Organised blog
- The lucky winner will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised Facebook Page
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to

Good luck everyone!!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Our News...

Hello there!! Remember me?! I am not surprised if the answer is a big fat no, as it has been an awfully long time since I put fingers to keyboard and belted out a blog post and for this I sincerely hand on heart apologise.

The long absence certainly hasn't been intentional at all. But finally after 5 oh so long months I can finally share with you the cause of this little break.... 

Big Bro to be!!
No, no, no, not because Brodie is such a messy eater... The fabulous news is that come January 2014 this little guy is going to be a big brother and us a very much longed for family of four.
The pregnancy certainly hasn't been smooth sailing and I have once again been whacked with the very ugly sick stick of having hyperemesis gravidarum - also known as acute pregnancy sickness or simply hell on earth! But the details of this part of the journey are probably best left for another blog post...
So for now, please bare with me as I try and find my feet (and way out of bed again) and fire up my laptop and blog again. The great news is that I have plenty, plenty of organising projects to share (feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number to be done actually!), giveaways to run and reviews to feature.
Thank you for sticking around and to all those that messaged and emailed during my absence, thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of me xx

Thursday, 20 June 2013

10 Easy Steps to get Organised - for Home and Office

Today we have the lovely Alison (great name by the way!) from The Thrifty Issue join us and share her 10 Easy Steps to get Organised in the Home and Office.

Don’t pay hundreds of dollars on time management courses, or thousands to hire a professional consultant to get you organised.  Here are 10 easy and free steps to guide you on the path of organisation.   

There are no blitzes, huge clean-outs or expensive diary systems.  Just simple tips.   

1.      Distractions 

Are you surgically attached to your mobile phone?  Perhaps the TV is turned on, and stays on for the entire day?  Is your email and Facebook buzzing you every time someone makes an update?   

Set aside specific time for replying to emails, Facebook and internet browsing.  If you are not specifically watching a TVshow, turn it off.  All distractions should be turned off, including the notification settings on your mobile. 

2.     Allow Some Fat 

Need more hours in the day?  Find you’re running from one event to another.  You have meetings backed up one after the other and just … can’t … stop.   

Try allowing some fat.  When a meeting is scheduled for 9am to 10am … then put it in your calendar for 8:30am to 10:30am.  This means nobody else can steal that time from you.  Allow for travel time, and always add 30 minutes either side of your meeting. 

Use that “fat” time productively.  Debrief yourself, do any last-minute preparations, update your calendar or to-do list with action items.  Delegate or share what you can.  Action any urgent emails before your next appointment, but don’t get too involved. 

3.    Be On Time 

Are you notoriously late for everything?  You’re madly rushing around all the time and never have time to get anything done?   

Steps 1 and 2 will help you be on time.  Another trick is to get ready super early.  We also set a timer to go off 5 minutes before we need to walk out the door.  If there is spare time after we’re completely ready, that’s when we can drink coffee, watch TV, catch-up on Facebook etc.  Try and remember “Work then Play”. 
4.     Procrastinate 

Procrastination is one sure-fire way to get distracted and fall behind.  Remember “Work then Play”.  Schedule the toughest or least desirable job first thing!  This will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  My husband mows the lawn first thing Saturday morning, then we can enjoy the fruits of his labour all weekend.  Particularly when we hear everyone in the street mowing late Sunday afternoon! 

5.    Quick Check
Do a quick scan of your desk or the room before you walk out.  Is there something you can pick up and put away?  Pick one 2 minute task to do before you head home after a hard day’s work (i.e. wash your coffee mug, tidy your papers, empty your bin).  Make sure it is something quick, you don’t want to get caught up with distractions.

6.     Put Away, Not Down 

Don’t put things down, put them away.  Nothing further said. 

7.     Notepads 

Avoid complicated systems.  One notebook divided into “To Do Today” and “Notes” should do the trick.  Keep it with you and whenever an idea pops into your head, don’t distract yourself from your current task by deviating. 

Write your idea down under “Notes” to be done later.  You can use your calendar/notes phone app for this as well.

8.     Review and Re-write 

Pick your time: Either go to bed 10 minutes early every night with your notepad, or do it first thing in the morning.  Review the days activities and tick off your completed items.  Anything not completed, re-schedule for the following day.  Keep it simple.   

I also have a “Reminder” note stuck on the front of my notepad.  It reminds me to consider… “chores, home projects, me, kids, food, work, family and friends”.  I don’t try and do all these things in one day, but it makes me consider the big picture.

9.     Learn to say no 

If your list is becoming too long or your calendar too cramped, learn to prioritise and say “no”.  If you can’t say no, then defer those items to a time when you’re not so stretched.  Ask the other party for a raincheck.   

10.   Reward Yourself 

When going through your “to-do” list, give yourself a pat on the back each day for everything you have achieved, whether that be completing a task, turning up on time, saying “no”, or just being able to have 10 minutes to yourself at the end of the day. 

We’ve provided you with a free printable summary page to stick on the front of your notepad or at your office desk.  Print it here and refer to it regularly and refresh your memory.  

Hi, I’m Alison and I created The Thrifty Issue because I enjoy sharing ideas and creating things with my family and friends, on a budget. The Thrifty Issue is a place to visit for stylish, funky and fun ideas on saving time, money and stress. A place to meet, greet and explore come and join us here.
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