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 Having too much on your mind? Your thoughts speeding from your last business meeting, to the taxi that has just about taken you out – no wonder, that  you can’t  remember where you left the house keys!

 Stress builds up and you get a wrenching feeling in you gut: “Did I actually lock the doors?” You send yourself on a guilt trip with questions and worries on all kinds of everything.

Does this sound all too familiar? Take a look at how you can simplify your life, by being mindful in all that you do, meaning; “that you think about something and consider it when taking action”, e.g. when putting your key in your bag, consider in which of the many pockets you place it. This way you will remember what you did with it. Now make it a goal to place your key into that specific pocket every time, until it becomes a routine, establish a habit and an automatic life changing action will begin to take shape. Take baby steps, establish small routines, make tiny changes but do them mindfully constantly.

I find lists upon lists; “to do lists” and “want to achieve this by-lists”, during my decluttering sessions, that were never ticked off and never achieved. These lists mean nothing if you are not going to act on them.

Remove items that create obstacles in your mental and physical life, making it stressfull. Focus on what you want to accomplish in the here and now to make your life easier by changing things that frustrate you. Look at your frustrations and try to figure out what is causing them, then try to resolve them.

Turn as many of the following frustrations into life changing habits over the next couple of months:

What to wear? Be decisive about what you intend to wear the night before, lay out work things, indecision stands in the way of being productive. I knew somebody once, who felt that she didn’t have time to get dressed before taking the kids to school. Then one day, I found her next to her broken down car on the road with curlers in her hair, dressing gown and slippers on her feet. Since that day I get dressed as I get up!

The bed wasn’t made! There is nothing worse than coming into the bedroom at the end of the day and the bed is still unmade. Make the bed as you get up. Open the curtains and windows, breathe in the fresh air and be thankful for having another day.

The bath looks so grubby! When taking a shower or a bath, clean it while you are there. I learned this while visiting a friend, who pointed out a cleaning cloth in the bathroom and just saying, “Please clean the bath and basin after you have used it, this makes cleaning up so much easier for me”. Who would not respond to such an honest request by doing just that? Teach your family well.

I will do it later! Don’t keep putting off things that you don’t know how to do or feel like doing, make a start and “Just do it!”(Nike)

Where will I put it? You have too much stuff. Keep a container and place all the items you no longer need or want in there to give away. Don’t have anything in your home that you don’t love or need. “Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place”, is a well loved saying amongst professional organisers. NEVER say,”Let’s just put it here for now!”, it will most probably start to live there.

Don’t know what to cook? Plan a monthly menu. Refer to it when compiling your shopping list. This cuts down time when shopping and being indecisive when you have to prepare the supper.

The kitchen is a mess. Prepare some warm soapy water before preparing a meal. Rinse the dishes and cutlery as you finish using them. Put dishes into the dish washer immediately. Train your family to take dishes and cups to the kitchen and to place it into the dishwasher or next to the basin to wash up. Wipe surfaces as you go.

I’m so tired of doing everything myself! Involve the family in setting the table, clearing the dishes and cleaning up. Give the children age related jobs.

Too much laundry? Hang clothes that can be worn again. Put others straight into the laundry basket. Don’t dump them on the floor. Buy good quality low maintenance clothing.

Too much ironing? Hang items that where washed on the line immediately, shake out and smooth the article before you hang it. Remove clothing immediately from the tumble dryer and fold them to minimise creasing. Turn socks and hoses right side out when taking them off. This will help to fold them quickly.

Paperpiles seem to be growing by the minute. Be mindful as you walk into the door with mail, keys and book case. Put your keys in their allocated spot. Take your book case to your study. Open and sort the mail immediately tossing the junk mail and envelopes. Attend to the school notes that your children have left on your desk and only then have the long deserved cuppa. This action should not take you longer than five minutes but might save you hours later.

Get rid of any hotspots. Clutter seems to attract clutter and when not sorted, will spill over into other areas of your beautiful home. Pick up things that do not belong in the room before going to bed at night and put them in their right spot. Straighten out cushions and throws on the couch before going to bed.This way your home will remain tidy and you will never have to fear unexpected visitors and you will never have to use the excuse, “Please excuse the mess, my domestic didn’t pitch for work today.”

Grocery shopping. Clean the fridge before shopping. Shop using your list. Put groceries away as soon as you come home. Clean out your purse.

Using your car. Fill her up on your way home. Plan your routes to have an economical run, combining activities and duties. Check your map before you go anywhere. Draw a summary map with only the streets that you are going to travel on. You will know at a glance where you are. Leave yourself enough time to get somewhere. E.g. 50km / hour. Unload your car everytime you get home. If you allow eating and drinking in the car, keep a trash bag for the trash, empty it out when getting home.

Leisure activities and crafts: Take out only what you need and pack away when you are done with it. There is nothing like,” I will pack away tomorrow or later”. Tomorrow might never come.

“We must really have a cuppa at some stage.” Have you found yourself saying this after catching up with someone for a long time in the supermarket? There is no better time than now! Haul out your diary and make a date and make sure to follow up. Life is too short to keep running and not to make time for friends and family, make dates with them or allow yourself to invite people over on the spur of the moment, these are normally the most funfilled moments. I had a wonderful experience the other day, when one of my clients invited us over for supper after my husband and I had finished a session of fixing cupboards at her home. It was a delightful evening, filled with much laughter and fun. This gesture was much appreciated, as I didn’t need to go home and still prepare supper.

I wish I had time for…  Well, now is the time. Pamper yourself, do something you enjoy, you deserve it.

Take time and focus your mind to make mindful decisions it will change your life and enrich that of those around you. Good luck and do let me know how you get on. I’m always pleased to hear your stories and any tips for decluttering or storage that are working for you.

Heidi Meyer, Professional organiser

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