What’s in my handbag?

I showed you what’s in my handbag just over two years ago.

I can’t believe I used this small handbag πŸ™‚

What's in my handbag? | www.organisingqueen.com

And then I bought a brown leather handbag – I still have it – that I used non-stop for about a year and a half before I started swopping out bags again.

The brown bag | www.OrganisingQueen.com

And then a colleague brought in a bag she’d bought online that was so soft I couldn’t stop touching it, and smelled so good that I had to put in my own order.

Here’s a picture of my bag!

But this post is not about the bag, but about the contents. Although you should get one or three πŸ™‚ This post is not sponsored but I’m a huge fan – customer service is outstanding and the quality of the bags is amazing. Please sniff and feel mine when we meet πŸ™‚

I tend to keep two sets of items in my handbag:

1. things I always have with me

  1. wallet
  2. phone
  3. make-up
  4. tissues
  5. charger and powerbank
  6. glass microfibre cloth (for glasses and iphone)

2. things I add when I’m going to work

  1. bullet journal
  2. Moleskine
  3. pencil bag

I keep the first set of stuff in a silver pouch except for my phone which always (no matter the bag) belongs in its own separate pocket.

I toss the silver pouch into whichever bag I’m using.

Then if I’m going to work, I add the second set of things, or if I’m going to gym, I have a water bottle and sweatshirt instead.

If I’m going to church all the things go in, but I add my church notebook and the water too!

I will add that I always have an apple and bottle of water with me, but not when I’m going to work since I take a whole lunch bag (which has an apple) and there’s water there πŸ™‚

It’s very simple and yet works so well for me.

What’s in your bag? I’m really keen to see what is different for you.

And please, as always, ask me any questions in the comments!

My moleskine happiness

At the beginning of the year I told you all about how my actual favourite planner wasn’t available in our bookstore, and how I was using the shining planner instead.

That is all still true.

I’m also using a hybrid bullet journal/ planner system for this year.

What I may have not mentioned on the blog but my Instagram friends have definitely seen in my weekly planning posts is that I bought myself a Moleskine weekly notebook diary.

A local bookstore had a sale during February and had all their 18-month 2016/ 2017 diaries on special.

When I saw a nice purple one, I grabbed it and have been happily using it ever since.

So what do I now use for my weekly planning process?

  1. Shining planner
  2. iPhone
  3. Moleskine
  4. Bullet journal
  5. Delicious gel pens

(this seems like a lot but it only takes me 5 – 7 minutes after I uncomplicated my life again)

The Moleskine is thin enough that I can easily carry it around with me, together with my bullet journal, and it makes me so very happy to have all of my life visible and in one place πŸ™‚

The point of this post (and today’s life and organising lessons) is to say this:

You can change your mind. If you thought something might work for you and it’s not doing its job quite like you envisioned, feel free to change it.

There are no gold stars for sticking with something that’s clearly not working.

Also, if there’s a tool that will make your life easier and you can afford to get it, do so! I’m talking about a planning tool here but I remember DesignMom once saying they had 5 hairbrushes in her girls’ room to make getting dressed easier.

In the comments do let me know if you’re doing something that’s no longer working for you.

Is there a place in your life that could work better if you bought something to augment your system?

PS next year (or later this year, I should say) I’m not faffing around – the minute the diaries appear in the shops, I’m looking around for the Legami and I’ll just hand over my card πŸ™‚

What I learned in May

I love these monthly round-ups of what I learned.

Last month, I learned that:

I read fewer books when I have too many non-fiction in my batch

I’ve always known that I read faster when I read fiction only but in May, I read a total of 10 books (previous two months equalled 12 books each), 4 of them non-fiction!

Does your reading speed change depending on what you’re reading?

My headaches are hormonal

I tracked the days when I had headaches especially since the weather is cooler, and noticed that they happened on the same two days of my cycle.

Still not sure what to do as my gynae was all “yes, that’s normal” the last time I mentioned it, but at least I’ve isolated it.

Konmari first, then organise clothes

This year I swopped over my summer and winter clothes, and it was SUPER fast. Like in 30 minutes. Here’s a photo of my wardrobe if you’d like to see, and here’s a photo of my long-sleeved tops.

I have a strong suspicion that it’s because I’d Konmari’d before.

You have to act immediately if you want to catch seasonal photos

Autumn in Johannesburg is a tricky beast. One weekend the leaves are still green, the next they start turning, you have a few short weeks of that glorious golden glow and then they fall off.

This year I had a full weekend when the leaves were glorious, and then the next weekend it rained non-stop the entire weekend, and then half the leaves were gone. I still made the most of it and ended up going on 3 photohunts for beautiful autumn leaves.

I have to track my sleep forever πŸ™‚

I reached my 3-year Fitbit anniversary on 26 May. More than anything else the Fitbit can do, I most appreciate the sleep tracker.

I’d been easily hitting my sleep goal of 7.5 hours, but I’ve really had to work at maintaining that this month. No idea why but I suspect it has something to do with my natural night owl tendencies.

More on this because I need to focus on sleep in my year of happy project for June as the theme is nourish.

What did you learn in May?

PS Thank you for completely indulging my love for all these photos πŸ™‚

Let’s talk about hygge (2)

A little over a week ago I wrote part one of this post. We spoke about what hygge is, why you should care, and which books to read and podcasts to listen to if you’ve never heard about this concept before.

Have a read here to catch up.

This week I want to finish up with how you go about creating hygge.

First off, remember creating hygge, as with everything in life and organising, is a very personal and individual approach.

How do you create hygge in your own home?

Decide which room (s) to focus on.

I definitely want my lounge and bedroom to be super cosy because these two places are where I spend most of winter. Think about small changes you can make to cosy up your space.

Use colours to impact your mood

Change blankets and pillows to warmer, more luxurious colours.

Focus on lighting and good smells

Bring out the candles but never leave them unattended, especially if you have small children.

I’ve discovered that if the fragrance is subtle, I quite like certain of these reed diffusers. See top pic πŸ™‚

Celebrate the season

Even if you don’t enjoy the cold weather, it’s here to stay for about 3 – 4 months, so you may as well enjoy the bits you can.

Get out the heaters and electric blankets, and plenty of real blankets too.

Buy/ make some hot chocolate, make soups, creamy pastas, casseroles, and food that celebrates the cooler weather. I look forward to enjoying soup when I go eat out with friends because many restaurants have a winter menu with thick, hearty soups.

Look forward to times of snuggling up on the couch with a good book and a mug of tea.

Choose 1 – 3 small things that you can easily do to make a difference to your mindset.

  1. Buy a tin of hot chocolate or speciality tea
  2. Get out the flannel sheets and pillowcases.
  3. Put more throws in the lounge for comfy TV watching or reading
  4. Make a list of comfort recipes to try (I had 6 on my list, but have already made 1)
  5. Last but not least, invite some friends over for pasta, or muffins with tea πŸ™‚

A warning while you make your action steps

Don’t become overwhelmed! Keep it simple and remember, you don’t have to do a thing if you don’t want to.

Hygge is more about embracing connection and living in the moment fully, than it is about anything else.

Your silent to-do list

I like to think of tolerations as silent to-dos.

What are tolerations?

They’re those things that are not glaringly obvious but annoy you a little bit every time you see them or think about them.

And they definitely drain your energy. They also make you feel guilty (I really should change that lightbulb/ clear off that end table/ take that donate pile to the car) or resentful (why doesn’t person X/ Y or Z see this thing that needs to be done?!)

I’ve written about tolerations before and how lovely they were once they were taken care of. Interestingly, one of those tolerations has reared its head again. Grrr.

A toleration for you might not be one for me, and vice versa.

I can’t stand broken things or things out of place or things that have run out and not been replaced (toilet roll, roller towel, soap, etc.) so those kinds of things are my hot buttons. A photo frame or canvas that’s skew doesn’t phase me in the least unless it’s really bad.

Notice your tolerations and how they show up in your life.

  • Do you literally groan out loud when you see a toleration?
  • Does a part of your body tense up ?
  • Do you sigh? Do you frown?

Notice the physical and emotional signs that show up for you.

Now what?

Write these things down on a master to-do list or on my Get it done day list. This is a separate list aside from your House to-do list. The reason is you can knock off a whole lot of these quick things in a short time, and they’re usually really low cost.

Gretchen Rubin often talks about a power hour and that is a really good use of that time to knock off some tolerations too.

So, once you have your list, take an hour every weekend (we all have an hour!) and schedule in your get it done time (I used to do a once a month Get it done day and take 4 hours to knock off a ton of things). If you need money to take care of these things, then set aside some money every month to get some things done.

Who’s ready to tackle some tolerations this weekend?

Tag me on Instagram @organisingqueen so I can cheer you on.

5 steps to a tidy study

I seem to have “tidy study” on my to-do list every week so I decided to go back to basics and share those basics with you too.

Here are the 5 steps I’m following to my organised home office:

1. Have a plan and make the rules clear to all those who use it
Do not allow anything in there that doesn’t belong. Decide what the space is used for and only keep items relating to that purpose there.

My kids can use the table in the study but they need to take their stuff out afterwards.

2. Divide the space into zones
There may be a children’s desk for homework and school projects, a reading corner, the filing area and a computer desk. It is easier to keep the study organised and neat when you know where everything should go, e.g. books should only be in the reading corner and not on every desk.

No-one but me uses my actual computer desk because the crafting area is my big, green table.

3. Store items where they are used
If two people use the study, then have a wastepaper basket at each desk. And have two sets of staplers, scissors, etc. This will prevent your stuff going β€œmissing” from your area. Have a punch and file tabs wherever you do your filing, if you like to file.

4. Batch routine tasks
Keep all items that you need to file together so that you file 5 pieces of paper at once. Make all your telephone calls at the same time. Write out all greeting cards and wrap gifts for a month at a time. Your friends and family will feel loved and cared for, and you will feel accomplished!

5. Tidy your study every day
Take just 5 minutes and do a quick tidy-up of the desk when you’re finished working every day. Throw trash away, make neat piles of paper if they’re in-progress (label with post-it notes), put pens and pencils back in the holder and take cups and glasses to the kitchen.

This is where I slack because I often forget to leave 5 minutes to tidy up on the evenings I’m on my computer.

When you keep things under control on a daily basis, it is easy to maintain the order of an organised space.

Do you have a routine to keep your office space neat and tidy? Or does it not matter to you?

Do you store clothes for your kids?

This month I’m focussing on our physical space.

Part of that focus was going to be the kids’ clothes but I got to that at the end of April since that was a good time to sort it out with the weather getting colder.

The thing with kids is they keep growing.

I bought two pairs of school PE pants for each child two months ago during a cold spell and Kendra’s already outgrown that. No, I was not happy about that at all.

Back to the question of this post.

Do you store clothes for your kids?

Most of the time, I don’t.

I used to store a bit in the early days but now there really is no point. Unless it’s an item of clothing a good 2 sizes bigger that will definitely fit during the next season.

Interestingly, I’m a finisher and I noticed that I can’t wait to get done with clothes and get them into the donate box. The good thing is I’ve involved the kids in the process of fitting, donating and moving on since they were babies so there is usually not too much drama when it’s time to let go.

Kendra and I do something which might help for you – if I notice an item of clothing to be too small, we wear it “one last time” so she can savour the wearing of a favourite item.

This is her hugging a favourite sweatshirt as this was the last wear.

The only time I store clothes is if they receive a gift of clothes for a size or two up, and they already have enough for the current season. Or underwear πŸ™‚

I do have a box of clothes for each of them in their wardrobe but that’s purely because they (again) share a room and so we only keep the current season out and hung up/ on shelves. The off season’s clothes are all folded (after the smaller ones are donated) and stored in plastic containers. I actually love our system because it forces me to go through their clothes properly, at least every season, to make space for bigger sizes.

Tell me, do you store clothes for your kids? Do you have a rotation system?

PS Here’s the frugal girl on storing children’s clothes

My house also has a to-do list

For about 18 months before we moved out of our old house, we finally did all those things on our list that we needed and wanted to do.

I had a to-do list I was working off of, and when we found the current house, I had about 12 small things left on the old list (from about 60).

So then I decided we will no longer leave things and only fix when we’re selling.

Be realistic with time and money

This is not your fantasy life; it’s your real life. You still have to work and rest and do other stuff on the weekends, so do pace yourself.

Things in the house cost money, even if it’s to buy new pillows or a tablecloth, it all costs money. You have to realise you need to keep money for paying off the bond, emergencies, holidays and doing your house to-do list.

Balance big and small things

I’ve shared before about a small change we made in our bathroom. I’m so glad we made this change otherwise I would have been unhappy for years because we can’t afford a bathroom remodel.

You can go even smaller – a new duvet cover or pillow cases do wonders too.

This might not work for you if you’re a maximiser; this is someone who has to have the perfect solution and will happily wait til that can be done.

It’s not about being discontented

I feel like you can be content with where you are in life, but still make a few changes to be happier. The Nester’s blog is a great place to read more about this concept.

A few small changes that have made me super happy in the past – my yellow desk, yellow cushions, a new side plate, my navy blue kitchen, etc.

How do I plan my house to-do list?

I make a gigantic list. I used the 100 things to do page from my shining planner but my master to-do list (it’s in the pack when you sign up to my list) works just as well.

I walk through the house, room by room, and write down everything that I want to change in the next year or two.

I have quick things like get a plant for the landing, and big things like redo kitchen floors, on the list.

And then because I’m looking at this list regularly, about once a month, I have those things in mind so if I see the perfect rug for a child’s bedroom, I can get it.

That’s it really.

Does your house have a to-do list too?

If you’ve never made a master list for your house, why don’t you do that this weekend?

Which do you need more? Inner or outer calm?

I’ve written on the blog before about how, for me, outer order leads to inner calm.

To quickly give you a few examples, I feel like I can relax when my house is ordered and everything is in its place.

I feel like I can settle down and do good work when my desk is in order and there’s not a lot of stuff laying around.

I heard something on one of my favourite podcasts, Personality Hacker,Β a few months ago that I want to run by you.

I’m an ESTJ on Myers-Briggs. That J means I like order, structure, things in their place.

What they said was that for Js, outer order equals inner calm. That means a J’s environment must be sorted and orderly for their brains to feel calm.

Completely true for me.

And for Ps, their thinking needs to be orderly and sorted for them to feel calm.

They don’t need their environment to be completely orderly to feel calm.

Wow – such a different take on the process.

Does this resonate for you?

Not?

Nevertheless, most people do say that they feel better if their environment is orderly.

Where do you need to create some order in your home? Is it in your bedroom, living area, kitchen, kids’ room?

Which small steps can you take over the next week to create more order in your life?

{my year of happy} – April update and May project goals

So as some might remember, my April project was to look at what was not working for me and to fix those things.

Before I tell you about that, let me give you some fabulous news about my no-spend month for books. I did buy 4 titles from my list before our holiday because I wanted a good holiday read. But I still ended up only spending 66% of my allowance this month. It’s the first time in years I’ve come in under-budget so I’m doing the happy dance.

Personal email

I got completely up to date with my email. It needs a tweak now so I’ve put it on my weekly goals list for next week to spend 30 minutes saving documents to sort it out

Blogs in my feedly

This one I’m particularly proud of. I started off with 80, deleted 20 and could probably delete about 15 more. I also reordered them all and deleted some categories so that I have fewer, more descriptive categories.

Podcasts

Here I started off with 20 and I now have 12 I’m subscribed to, and 4 occasional ones.

I was also supposed to go through my instagram properly but I’m doing that more organically, like if I notice I’m following an account that I’ve already commented on from my other profile, I’ll just pop into the other profile and unfollow from there.

I was on such a roll that I also went through my Kindle sorting the entire thing out. The good news is it’s super sorted but the bad news is I had many more books unread than I thought I did, so am working through those now. And until I get where I’m happy with the number of unread books, I’ll be continuing my no-spend on books.

So that was April and I’m very happy with all of that sorted.

What about May?

In May, the OrganisingQueen intentional calendar (which you can get here) says:

It’s time to focus on your physical space. How can you make your space more inviting? How can you make your physical environment work better for you?

  1. I’m going to get up some blog posts this month focussing on physical spaces.
  2. I need to buy some Queen-size winter sheeting.
  3. I want to buy a few throws for use in the lounge. Is there anything better than cuddling up with a warm blanket, tea and a book? No, I think not.
  4. There are two things on my car that need sorting out.
  5. Our fridge is leaking. We just put a mat underneath but I need to get a fridge person in to look at it.
  6. Before any of those things can get done though, I need to sort out our budget after our holiday πŸ™‚

What’s on your list for May?

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