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?
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!
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.
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!!
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)
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?