The bookshelf – before pics

I had big plans to reorganise this bookshelf on Sunday afternoon but I made a mistake.

I opened the kids’ wardrobe to take out their clothes for the week and……things were out of order.

Before I knew it, baskets were out, containers were open and clothes were everywhere.

I’m happy to tell you the kids’ clothes are sorted again, labels abound and this is on my agenda for the weekend 🙂

bookshelf front
bookshelf – side

You ask, I’ll answer – storing Christmas decorations

Nicola once asked…

Christmas stuff……when the holidays come round there are always bits and bobs in terms of decoration, home decor and then kitchen napkins, candles, etc, etc… you keep the separate items with the same other items (ie: candles with candles, etc) or is there one place where Christmas get stored the other 11 months?


Well, I think in broad categories so in my house, everything Christmas is stored together with the exception of my red hand towels for the bathroom 🙂

That said, I don’t buy special tablecloths, serviettes, etc. I just use a green tablecloth with red placemats but those are used throughout the year with other colour accents to not look Christmassy.

I do store the Christmas tree decorations all together

here are some Christmas posts.

Gift wrap and cards

How we decorate

Where do you store your decorations?

Medical organising

Years and years ago, my friend Suzanne gave me this awesome idea which I’ve used ever since I heard about it.

Write your medical issues in a separate little daily planner so that you know exactly what happened when.

Great for gynae appointments, regular monthly happenings, when you get a cold, stomach flu, etc.

The best is when you go to the doctor and they ask you questions you can just page through your little diary and all the answers are at your fingertips.

I have a similar one for the kids too. I can tell exactly when they’ve been sick, how long it’s all lasted, instead of having to rely on my memory.

Are you drowning in email?



While the majority of people mention paper as their biggest organising challenge, a close second is email.

Did you know that for every email you send, you get two back?

(that was accurate a few years ago; it may have changed since then)

The revamped Organise your office product bundle has some new thoughts and techniques on managing emails and information, e.g notifications from social media sites.


Of course in addition to the email, paper and the computer also need to be organised, both of which are tackled in this product.

If your office is less than what your dream looks like, then please take a look and see what you think.


I know this will help you!

For fun, tell me what the worst part of organising any office space (whether physical or digital) is for you..

The best way to organise your home


We are so excited in Johannesburg as the weather gradually starts warming up.

Spring is nearly here.

I find the change of seasons to be so energising, don’t you? Both the going into and out of the cooler seasons.

It’s pure nesting time for me.

And also the perfect time to get your home organised. There’s a good reason why they call it spring cleaning.

The absolute best way to organise your home is the same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.

In the Organise your Home system I broke down the entire home into itsy-bitsy sections so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Best of all, it’s a step-by-step way to organise your home in a few hours every week. Not every day but every week.

Take a look and see what you think.


Go vertical for storage

I used to keep all the healthy snacks in this pink metal basket. There was nothing really wrong with it as it looked cute and the snacks were easily accessible but it did take up more space than I liked.



So when I got my jars from Consol, I decided to put one of them to use since they take up less horizontal space on a shelf.


The jars come with a stick of chalk but some of you might remember how I’m not really a chalk person. However, in a moment of madness sometime last year, I threw some chalk markers into my Amazon shopping cart and those are working really well.

Back to my healthy snacks jar…

From the top…


I love it – looks so pretty and yet you can see exactly how much you’ve got.


If you’re battling with storage anywhere really, look at going vertical – either taller storage containers, or use your walls.

Where in your home do you use vertical storage?

PS By the way, I define healthy snacks as prunes, raisins, fruit flakes, fruit rolls (I think this is what you call fruit leather in the US?), fruit sticks, etc.

Which is more Important? Time or Mo.ney?

I’ve said this before but I honestly feel time is much more important than mo.ney.

You can always make more mo.ney (in theory) but you can never recover lost time.

Last year when I flew to the USA, I was a bit conflicted between spending R3 500 extra for a direct flight to NYC or doing an extra leg via Heathrow, therefore taking longer but saving the mo.ney.

I eventually decided to fly direct because I wanted the extra two days with my kids.

Most time/ mo.ney decisions have a payoff – I realise that – but it’s up to us to decide which we value more.



This month’s resource

Organise your time


The Organise your time system will walk you through a mindset change on time/ mo.ney, but also on which activities are actually worth spending your time doing.

Contrary to most time management experts, I don’t believe in multi-tasking and trying to cram as much as you can into your time; however, I do believe in choosing which activities are right for your life and making the time for those ones.

Of course there are tons of tips and tricks on how to maximise your time in all the important areas of life 🙂

If you could use a time makeover, then please take a look at the information page and see what you think.

I know this will help you!

The Best Way to Organise your Home

When we were on holiday at the coast last month, I was thinking about my home.

I love travelling but I also really love being at home. That wasn’t always the case but certainly for the last 7 – 8 years or so.

Our house is not fancy but it is comfortable and I like knowing that everything has a place and that it functions well.

Best of all, it actually feels like a sanctuary which is really what it’s all about, right?

The absolute best way to organise your home is the same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.

In the Organise your Home system I broke down the entire home into itsy-bitsy sections so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Best of all, it’s a step-by-step way to organise your home in a few hours every week. Not every day but every week.

Take a look and see what you think.

One of the biggest organising myths

One of the biggest organizing myths is that you have to have large chunks of time to accomplish anything meaningful.

Not true.

If you wait for two-hour blocks of time, you might wait for a long time.

Lfe is way too busy with work, kids, husband, cooking, gym, etc.

My suggestion is that you start by walking around your house with a notebook and pen.

Identify the areas that bug you the most or that you just really want to see organized. Make a list, room by room.

You now have a choice – either choose a room and work through it section by section (this is my personal preference as it is then DONE!) or choose similar tasks and work through them all in your entire home. For example, organize all the paper in the house – kitchen, entrance hall, bedrooms, etc.

Which approach do you prefer?

11-01 940

Break down the area of most concern into 15-minute segments like this – if you have a chest of drawers with 4 drawers and they’ve not been decluttered or organized for a year, you may need 15 minutes per drawer. That’s 4 little tasks.

Your coaching challenge

  • Choose your four mini tasks to do each week of Jan
  • Do mini task 1.
  • If you feel motivated after mini task 1, then by all means, continue.
  • Otherwise, relax and be proud of a job well done.
  • Need some help? Contact me for your Success Strategy Session. Otherwise, have a look at the Organise your Home system.

my book


Get organised before you go on holiday

Do you remember what it’s like getting back from leave?

You’re all relaxed, birds are chirping, the sun is shining, there’s no tension in your shoulders and everything’s wonderful.

Then you get to your desk.

After you look at your desk, and then see the 2000-odd emails that have piled up, you’re about ready to take your bag and your car keys and go right back home!

By the way, I don’t believe in taking your work with you on holiday unless it’s critical. I’m planning to block my emails from coming through to my iphone and ipad so that I’m not distracted from lazing on the beach.

I have a few ideas to help you prepare and get organised for your holiday:

1. Advise your clients and friends that you’ll be away.

I suggest that you write separate emails because…well…the tone and content will be different for each of them.

For clients, you’ll be explaining how long you’ll be away, what to do for queries and who your stand-in is. For friends, I like to tell them to please not send me any personal emails. After all, you don’t want to return to an Inbox full of PowerPoint presentations and the friends who really want to talk to you have your cell phone number if they want to chat. Right?

If you’re on Facebook, update your status too.

2. Delegate as much as possible

You need to be motivated to delegate! Now just think how lovely it will be when you get back from your holiday and after scanning through your emails, you only have to attend to about 10% of the emails.

You can delegate to a virtual assistant or my favourite, an auto-responder. I have an auto-responder set up to manage my mailing list so that it delivers my free Time Management Purpose Pack automatically to any subscribers and removes people who want to unsubscribe. Just putting this one thing into practice saves me at least an hour a week.

In your personal life, set up some systems to help you get ready to go and return from holiday. I’ve just asked our cleaning lady to come in on the weekend before we leave and again on the weekend following our return to help me get the house sparkling clean again.

I have checklists but I also update them after each holiday. My husband usually packs some things and I pack others (kids’ clothes). It’s helped me not micromanage and also lessened the load. And worse comes to worse, we’re not holidaying in the middle of nowhere – you can always buy if you’ve forgotten something small but the peace and sanity is worth the delegating.

3. Update your website if you’re a small business owner

Go through your Sent Items to see what type of questions you get a lot. If they’re not questions you have to think about and answer fresh every time, they probably belong on your site as a Frequently Asked Questions site or on your website somewhere else.

4. Turn on your out of office assistant

Remember to give the dates you’ll be unavailable, if your clients need to route their query to someone else and a number to contact you if it’s urgent. If at all possible, leave your out of office on a day longer than you need to gain some buffer time for easing back into work.

5. Declutter and get organised

Do a good clear-out of any paper, both on your desk and in your files. While you’re feeling the lovely rush of endorphins, do a good clear out of email and document folders too.

I have two hours scheduled next week to declutter and organise at the office so I can start 2013 on a clean slate. Honestly, I can’t wait to toss paper! I also can’t wait to break open a new notebook 🙂

6. Plan for when you’re back

Write down the top 3 – 5 things on your to-do list for the day you’re back at work. Jot down a maximum of 5 items because you know you’ll be catching up on email!

This will ensure that you hit the ground running and that you beat the feeling of overwhelm.

Enjoy your holiday!

Marcia Francois is a time management coach and speaker who inspires busy women to break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and take purposeful and focussed action so they have the time and freedom to live life to the full. Visit for your free Time Management Purpose Pack.

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