Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Top spring cleaning tips from Louise D’Allura

I have to confess, I'm a bit envious of Louise D’Allura. Organisational skills are not something that come naturally to me, and organising myself and my family is not my forte -it's something I have to work pretty hard at. 

Louise is the Director of The Revamp Experience, a Home Economist/ Nutritionist and Professional Organiser (a title I can only dream of!). I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to interview Louise recently as part of our Spring Cleaning blog series. But it was tough limiting myself to five questions. When I meet someone like Louise I just want to 'absorb' their organisational prowess. Here are a few of Louise's gems of wisdom...

1. What are the top 3 'hot spot' areas of the home or office that give the most 'bang-for-buck' results the people should tackle first?

Louise says: 

1) Create a Landing zone - a place where your wallet/ laptop bag/ and all incoming paper lands. Once you've got that set up you can create homes for your paper items and tasks - e.g. Action tasks (such as Pay Bills; search on line/ calls;  Refer to it later - paid bills / projects.

2) Declutter kitchen and pantry - Having a kitchen you can cook in makes it easier to eat healthy foods - and a great way to save money immediately because you can meal plan much more easily and take lunches/snacks.   

3) Wardrobe - make your day start well by finding what you want easily! 


Image from www.therevampexperience.com.au


2. How can people avoid getting overwhelmed by their list of spring cleaning jobs?

Louise says: The best way to get yourself started is to set yourself a goal. It might be setting a date to invite family/friends over for lunch or dinner. You might need to get the spare room sorted so you can offer them a bed for the night if they had a little too much to drink!

To get started: Start Today by doing a 15-minute dedicated round of decluttering – looking for those things that are obvious rubbish AND items in good condition that you know you can donate immediately. Have two garage bags handy and repeat this process at least twice a week (e.g. Tuesdays and Thursdays) and you'll have bags of donations and rubbish. Make life easier by focusing on the perimeter in the first instance. 

Once you've tackled some of that obvious surface clutter you're ready to think more about splitting up that goal (I've got to get the whole house organised) into teeny tiny manageable tasks.

The most important part here is CREATE A LIST of the tasks you can do in 10-15 minute pockets and stick it on the wall in the space, in your office/ study, in your phone or in your diary!!  

This list needs to be tailored to help you achieve your bigger vision. So for example if "organise my study" is your number one goal and you've got a set of draws, just go through one draw per day, until it's all complete. Identify items to toss and start putting like-with-like, until you have all the draws done and you can organise the whole chest of draws. 


Image from www.therevampexperience.com.au



3. I tend to get distracted when I start a job. For example, I'll start cleaning in one room, then go to put something away in another room and start cleaning something in there without finishing the first job...any tips on how to avoid this?

Louise says: Organising by yourself can lead to YoYo organising! YoYo is all about starting in one area, then finding something that belongs elsewhere (e.g. tea towel), and before you know it you're organising the whole area that you were just meant to drop something off in e.g. linen press or tea towel draws in the kitchen.  

The trick is to have a few tubs/ baskets set up and labeled as: return upstairs/return to others.  

Just notice the frequent areas and pile them up for now - don't deliver them or you will never get finished! Practicing mindful organising means you need to keep asking yourself "WHAT am I doing right NOW". Walk away from the linen press and put the tea towel DOWN!!


Image from www.therevampexperience.com.au


4. What advice would you give on managing mess on a daily basis so that cleaning and tidying doesn't become an overwhelming job?

Louise says: Everything in your home or office needs to have a home - a place that is logical and close to where you use/or look for an item. If it is an item you use for every day, you need it to be within easy reach and readily accessible for everyday use. It is a good habit to train your ITEMS to return home. When an object strays from its 'home,' it can easily be lost, and these items build-up in random locations.

Choose ONE AREA that you rely on daily. This might be your pantry; your incoming mail zone; your paperwork flow. It might even be your time. Whatever is causing you the biggest grief - stop wasting your precious time, your energy and your money tolerating a really really inefficient system. 

Allocate 30 minutes to PLAN how you will tackle it - break it down into little jobs and schedule it in. Focus on one thing at a time instead of cluttering your mind with multiple tasks. Multi-tasking is overrated!!

Once you've achieved a win - set aside a regular time to do a quick straighten up - 10 minutes is often enough to do a quick mad dash to pop things away - get the family and your staff (at the office) involved and responsible for their own items.

5. Any other tips people should try out this spring to get their home, office, wardrobe or kitchen organized?

Louise says: Plan before you start! Put pen to paper and map out the R-E-V-A-M-P Process:

What is the purpose of this room/space/cupboard (R-emember)

What works/doesn't in this space? (E-valuate)

What items need to be here/would I like to have here? When was the last time I used it/wore it (do I look positively fab in it)? Can it be re-purposed e.g. a bedside table is re-purposed as a printer stand! Could someone love it more than me? (V-alue)

If I do keep it what will I do to use and honour it and where will it live? Where will I keep the things I need the most? (A-ssign)

What can I do on a regular basis to monitor ‘stuff’ (M-aintain)

What can I do to celebrate the new space? (P-arty)



Louise D’Allura from The Revamp Experience

These tips were kindly shared with us by Louise D’Allura from The Revamp Experience. Louise is a Home Economist/ Nutritionist and Professional Organiser. She helps busy people get organised at home, at the office and for healthy eating. Louise works hands-on with clients, runs workshops and teaches the personalised Meal Planning Your Way system. Check out www.TheRevampExperience.com.au for more info, or contact Louise 
on 0408 723 559. 

Visit www.TheRevampExperience.com.au and get your free guide - The Art of Stress Free Living. 

When was the last time you decluttered your home? 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Top spring cleaning tips from Chantal Imbach

The first day of September is commonly regarded in the first day of spring. However, the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is equal) doesn’t take place until 23rd September this year (source: www.timeanddate.com/calendar/spring-equinox.html). 

If you haven’t started your spring cleaning yet, then now is a great time to start because:

1. The days are getting longer, giving you more opportunity to do things in day light and get outside after work
2. The weather is warming up (but it’s not too hot to get out in the heat of the summer sun)
3. Hopefully the combination of the above means you have more energy to get stuck in and spruce up your house before the crazy Christmas season and holidays hit. 


Image from www.guaranteegirls.com


We've sought the advice of some experts who’ve shared their top tips on how to get the most out of your spring cleaning this year. Our first post in this series includes advice from professional organiser, Chantal Imbach – here are Chantal’s top five spring cleaning tips:

1. Plan 
Any extra jobs around the house (in addition to the usual housework) need to given priority if we want to get them done in our household. Chantal recognises that “Spring-cleaning can be a big job,” and advises to “Not only estimate how long it will take but schedule it in your diary. Otherwise, chances are that it’s never going to happen.” Make sure it’s also in your partner/children’s diary too so everyone can be involved. 


Image from www.adviceplan.com.au


2. Share the Load 
Many hands make lighter work and Chantal recommends making “it a family affair and involve the whole family and/or friends. Delegate or even outsource jobs if you can”. You could even outsource the routine weekly stuff, like the ironing, to free up time so you can focus on one-off jobs like decluttering and clearing out cupboards. 


Image from www.famouspoints.com 


3. Declutter 
The less you have, the easier and faster the actual cleaning will be. Sort, purge and find a home for everything,” advises Chantal. The beauty of this tip is that it will also make tidying up easier in the future too, as hopefully everything will have a place. Once you’ve sorted everything, you could also label shelves and draws so other family members can put things back in their rightful place. 


Image from www.inklingwomen.com.au


4. Discard 
Don’t hang on to the things you no longer want. Immediately bring them to the op shop, recycle or bin them. If you want to sell them, group the items and schedule the sale. If it hasn’t happened by this date, donate it,” says Chantal. The key is separating unwanted belongings from wanted ones i.e. putting them in a box in the garage, but also taking action quickly, otherwise you’ll just keep moving unwanted stuff around your house. 

I also love the idea of putting things you’re unsure of in another box and if you don’t use it within the year, get rid of it too. For clothing, trying turning the coat hangers it’s hung on in the opposite direction. When you’ve worn a garment and are putting it back in your cupboard, turn the hanger the right way around so you can keep track of the things you don’t wear. 


Image from www.usableinterfaces.com


5. Celebrate 
“You’ve worked hard, now it’s party time! Treat yourself and all helpers with a special reward,” says Chantal. You could even put the proceeds of the things you’ve sold towards a special family dinner. 




Above: Chantal Imbach of Simply In Order

These tips were kindly shared with us from Chantal Imbach of Simply In Order, Melbourne. Chantal is a professional organiser and offers decluttering and organising services. Check out more of what she does on her website, www.SimplyInOrder.com.au and her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/simplyinordermel

What spring cleaning jobs to you enjoy? Which ones do you hate and put off?

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Top ten handmade Father's Day cards

If you haven't bought a Father's Day card today it's not too late to whip one up! You don't have to be a craft whizz to create a half decent card - here are ten simple ideas that you can try out yourself or with the kids...
 
1. A very sweet handmade card with an owl (owls are very on-trend at the moment!)
 
 
 
2. Love the notepaper background of this card. You could also replace the stars with any shapes, such as hearts. Trace around cookie cutters for a neat shape.
 
Image from www.trendymods.com
 
 
3. A funny handmade card
 
 
 
4. A great card for the DIY dad
 

 
 
5. A simple card with a lovely message
 
Image from www.etsy.com
 
 
6. Felt is great for cutting out cute shapes like this little car. The buttons are also a sweet addition. If you're not a sewer, you could forget the stitching and glue the shapes.
 
 

7. A lovely pop-up card idea



8. Trace the outline of your kids' hands for a personalized card
Image from www.dodoburd.com


9. A cute way to use bow-tie shaped (Farfelle) pasta



10. And last, but not least...our favourite card. Who would have thought that chocolates could make such a gorgeous card!
 
 
Image from www.pinterest.com
 

Friday, 5 September 2014

What to write in a Father's Day card

Do you struggle to find the right words for messages in greeting cards? If so, you’re not alone. Purchasing the gift is often easier than working out what to write in the card, especially if you’re not a sentimental person. Here are a few things to consider when you’re thinking of the perfect message in the card:

The personality of the recipient – are they fun-loving, serious, sentimental? This will help you decide what type of message you write. A fun-loving person might roll their eyes at a soppy message, whereas a funny message might be lost on a serious person.

What you’re trying to say – sounds obvious, but what is the main message you’re trying to express? Appreciation and gratitude? Love, or simply a message that will make them smile?

 
Image from www.imgion.com


Top tips:

1. Use a special quote or saying that means something to you both

2. Think of a special moment you’ve enjoyed together previously (this could be from when you were a child, or more recently) and say why you enjoyed this. You could also thank them for something kind they’ve done for you lately.

3. Father’s Day is about taking a moment to give thanks and show appreciation for everything the Dad’s in your life (father, husband, grandad, Godfather) do for you and your family.

4. A Father’s Day card can be sent to any man who has inspired you and had a positive influence in your life.

If you’ve bought your Father’s Day card, but are stuck for words, read on. Here are some of our favourite messages to write in a Father’s Day card – feel free to tweak and customise these as necessary…

To dad, from you:

1. “I’m so proud to call you my Dad. I love you!”

2. “Thanks Dad, for your love and guidance throughout the years.”

3. “Thanks for being there when I needed you – I’m lucky to have you in my life.”



To dad, from the family:

1. “You’re irreplaceable - thanks for being such a special part of our family, we love you.”

2. “We’ve always looked up to you – thanks for setting a positive example for us to follow.”

3. “For all the fun times we’ve shared, and fun the times ahead, here’s to you, Dad.”

 
Image from www.urlbaron.com


To Grandad:

1. “You’re the rock of foundation in our family. Happy Father’s Day, to the world’s best Grandad.”


2. “Happy Father’s Day, Grandad. I hope my grandchildren have fond memories of me, like I
do of you. I treasure the time we’ve spent together.”

3. “Grandad, I’m grateful for all you’ve taught me (even your bad jokes!). You’ve had such a positive, calming influence on my life and I admire the man you are. We love you so much, happy Father’s Day.”

 
Image from www.hongcurley.com

To other Father-like figures, i.e. Uncle, Godfather, Mentor, Step-dad, etc.:

1. “We’re thinking of you on Father’s Day and are so grateful for all you’ve done for us.”

2. “To the best Godfather in the world, my parents did well when they chose you – you’re the best man for the job.”

3. “Thanks for the love, support and wisdom you’ve shared over the years. You’ll never know the difference you’ve made in my life”.




To Husband or Partner:


1. “Not only are you the father of our children, you’re the love of my life. Happy Father’s Day to the world’s best dad and husband.”

2. “I’m grateful for every day that we share life, love and parenting together. I couldn’t ask for a better partner and father for our children.”

3. “There’s no one I would rather share our life journey with than you.”

Whatever you say, and however you say it, we wish you and your family a very happy Father's Day.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Best Father's Day Gifts + FREE DELIVERY

Ok, so there are more than ten ways to thank dad this Father's Day, but here are ten gift ideas to get you started.

Be quick - there are only 4 days left until Father's Day!

Plus, we're offering FREE DELIVERY on all orders placed from Tuesday 2/9/14 until midnight Saturday 6/9/14.

Use Coupon Code DAD in the Coupon Code field when you place your order. 
SHOP DAD GIFTS
1. Gentlemen's Hardware Cocktail Shaker $29.95
Martini anyone? Dad will feel like James Bond when he mixes up his drink of choice in this stylish cocktail shaker.

Here's a great classicCosmopolitan cocktail recipe...
2. Ashortwalk Moon Thermometer Time Clock $64.95
This clock has the trifecta: clock, thermometer and lunar cycle gauge in-one. But what makes this clock even better is that it's made from recycled coffee cups - a stylish clock with an environmental conscience.
 
3. Gentlemen's Hardware Waiter's Friend Bottle Opener $15.95
No man should be without a classic Waiter's Friend-style bottle opener. This one ticks the box when it comes to quality. 
4. Ashortwalk Bird Apple Feeder $18.95
A clever feeder that helps reuse unwanted food and bring the birds back into your garden.  
5. Gentlemen's Hardware Wash Bag $39.95
This wash bag is worth booking a great holiday for. 
6. Weather Station with wired sensor $49.95
No gadget-loving dad should be without a weather station. 
7. Gentlemen's Hardware Bicycle Repair Kit $23.95
This is the ultimate bicycle repair kit...the only thing it doesn't include is a needle and thread to repair Lycra cycling tights, sorry! 
8. Tool Set - Essential 15 pc $19.95
A handy, compact tool kit for the fishing or camping box, or car glove box. 
9. BrewSmith Beer Making Kit, Summer Citrus Blonde Ale $69.95
A light, refreshing beer for dad to make and enjoy this spring. 
10. MAN LAW Glow in the Dark Steak Gauge, set of 4 $15.95
The easiest way to cook a perfect steak for everyone.