5 Uncommon Things To check Before The Holidays

Ah, Christmas and New Year, the nation’s favourite holiday every year. A joy for some, but a heart attack for others!

Stress, anxiety, panic, we feel all these before we approach the festive season, especially if you are the person who is hosting dinners and giving gifts for kids and adults. The best way to eliminate all these unnecessary feelings is by planning ahead of time.

They are common and obvious things you need to do before the day comes, like gift and dinner shopping. But check out my 5 things to check off your list that doesn’t normally occur to you before the holidays:

  • Have a list of family and friends who are not living in your town/city. Send them cards/gifts a month before to avoid tardiness. Nothing wrong to send out your greetings ahead of time before the traffic starts!

  • Have a good stock of dry goods in your pantry such as rice, lentils, sugar, salt, spices, etc.

  • Do a good declutter and cleaning round for rooms where guests will stay over. Make sure sheets, towels and extra toiletries are ready. Always treat your guests like royalty!

  • Clear out all rubbish from your bins so it won’t accumulate and look nasty in front of your house!

  • Check your local supermarket’s opening times during the holidays. We all know that emergency trip to the shops!

I know it very tiring, but seeing the smiles on the faces of your loved ones really deserve everything you have been through the past month.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Fasting & Decluttering. What do they have in common?

We all heard about fasting, which is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. A lot of recent reports are praising fasting for its medical benefits. There is even a medical clinic in Germany that specializes in Fasting! Individuals fast for various reasons, either for religious, spiritual or dieting purposes. Of course it is hard in the beginning, but then your body gets used to less food and water and adapts to this new routine.

Whatever your purpose is, fasting is a form of decluttering. Why? Because you are minimizing your intake of food and water and detoxing your body from toxic and unhealthy substances.

Hunger and thirst, and therefore eating and drinking, preoccupy us sometimes from certain aspects of our lives, our relationships and our belongings. Same thing with clutter, it makes a barrier between yourself and the outside world.


When you are willingly fasting in a correct manner, you suppress your hunger and thirst and eventually you become more aware of the surroundings around you. Since eating & drinking are no longer a priority during this period, you can be able to focus on other things.

And that is the same thing with house decluttering. It is a process of removing unwanted items in your crowded home, making room and learning to take in fewer things in your home. After this process, you will have space in your home and an emptier mind. Therefore, you will be ready to take in new challenges and new resolutions.

Fasting and decluttering both have common teachings and findings. Some of them are:
  1. Minimalism: Going through these journeys teaches you accept less, and cherish the true treasures and riches in life.
  2. Social Responsibility: Giving excessive food, clothes and other items in your home for donation while fasting or decluttering raises your awareness for people in need.
  3. Concentration: as clutter or food/water are shifted away from in front us, you will find the time and space to focus on other things, like contacting your relatives, going out for activities and experiencing the environment around you
  4. Inner Peace: They will lead to less stress and more calmness and relaxation in your life.
  5. Controllability: You will be able to resist temptations easily and be in control what goes into your body or home.


Fasting, like decluttering, must be done slowly on a long period of time with no exhaustion. Preparing yourself mentally and physically is a vital key for successful results. Consult a doctor or a professional organiser for an effective plan.

My Nan’s Tweezers

When a close relative or friend of yours passes away, you will go through a tough grieving stage. Grieving differs from one person to another, but it is important to have someone to support you during this hard period. One factor that is similar to all grieving cases is the deep attachment to items that belonged to the deceased.

We feel so emotionally attached to those items that it will be so difficult (maybe impossible) to let them go. It is absolutely normal to keep some items as a memory from our loved ones, but how much is too much? My friend referred me to (N.M) 6 months ago who wanted my advice: They still keep their mother’s paintings, large antiques, and other small items, in their small apartment even though she has passed away 7 years ago.


N.M was not willing to give away any of these items, even though they are affecting their lives on a daily basis. Space is very scarce in their home and they needed the extra bedroom (where the mother’s things are placed) for an expected baby. So, in order to convince N.M to let go of some items, I told them the story about my nan’s tweezers.

The story goes like this:

My nan was the most elegant, sophisticated, loving grandmother in the world. She was a respected figure in the community and was known for her beauty and wisdom. She was loved by every member of my family and going to her house during the weekends was a delight to me, my siblings and my cousins.

Unfortunately, she had Rheumatoid Arthritis the last 10 years of her life, which affected her knee joints. She stayed most of her time in bed but was able to move around the house with her walker.

My nan had a very distinctive scent that was similar to baby skin. It was so comforting and soothing, that I used to love lying beside her and talk to her for hours and hours.

I lived with her during my studies at university, and managed to catch up with her the last 3 years of her life. Her health deteriorated the last six months and then gracefully passed away on 8th March 2005 (on International Women’s Day).

The shock, the tears, the sadness, and the pain were very distressing and blinding to the extent I can’t remember when my aunties managed to sort out her stuff! After the funeral, I started to look for at least one of her night dresses so I can keep it for myself to remember her scent, but alas, all her clothes and personal belongings were gone.

I was very mad, that I wanted to beat myself up for not being aware of what was going around me. I kept looking around the whole house to find anything that will remind me of her. Before I completely gave up, it occurred to me to look under her bed.


For my surprise, I found her tweezers. Yep. Old rusty, chipped tweezers that I am sure they were hers because she had asked me previously to pluck some of her unwanted facial hairs with these tweezers.

Could a pair of tweezers be a satisfying object for me to keep as a memory from my nan? Since that was the only item from her in the whole house, I put the tweezers in my pocket in dismay.  Even though I wanted a piece of her clothing to remember her scent, my auntie told me that the best way to remember our loved ones who passed away, is by mentioning their good deeds during their lifetimes, giving charity in their names regularly, and pray for peace in their afterlives.

I carried out my auntie’s advice, but my longing need for that scent never left my mind. I tried all the perfumes in the world to match it but couldn’t find any to my satisfaction.


It was not until I gave birth to my twin daughters, when I found my nan’s scent beneath their skin! I cried that day so much and realised my mistake. We should never assume that keeping items that belonged to our loved ones will keep their memory. It is their legacy and their family members that will keep them alive among us.

Funny as it may seem, I held on to those tweezers till this very day. I still use them; they are functioning very well, probably better than any tweezers I bought later on. I can’t say I remember my nan whenever I do my eyebrows, but every time the twins sneak into my bedroom to play with my makeup things (including the tweezers), we always end up talking about my nan and how a wonderful woman she was.

N.M laughed after hearing the tweezers’ story, but I wasn’t sure if they will take my advice.

I haven’t heard of N.M for a while but was told they gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby. N.M called me a month ago, and told me: “I found a silver hairbrush among my mum’s things. I want to keep it and let go of the rest. I want my baby to have a decent nursery room. When are you available?”

I laughed this time. After that phone call, I went to my bedroom, took out the tweezers and said: “Thank you Nana. May you rest in peace.”

10 Things You Forget To Clean

As a Professional Organiser, a clutter-free space is an objective I always thrive to commit to. I keep this in my mind while working with clients, talking in social events, discussing with my local community, and dealing with my home. I totally believe that helps you clear your mind and become a better person. As a result, my mission is to show how you can be in control of your belongings and your life instead of the other way round.

Decluttering a home is very similar to a weight loss programme. Normally, a fitness coach or a nutritionist is there for you for guidance. Professional Organisers’ job is to give you advice and motivation, explain the decluttering process and support your journey.

Decluttering and cleaning are different practices but link to each other eventually. Ideally, decluttering comes before (if not during) a big spring clean. If the decluttering aspect sounds daunting you can consult a professional organizer to help overcome the initial hurdles and give you an action plan for progress.

After you finished decluttering, comes the cleaning. You may perform a big spring clean, but is that enough? You have to develop habits to keep up with the results you achieved.

Since it is National Spring Cleaning Week, I am happy to share my own cleaning tips that you may forget to include in your weekly cleaning routine.

Here are my 10 “things that you forget to clean”:


  1. Baseboards and Over Door/Switch Edges

Baseboards drive me crazy! Even though they have a thin, camouflaged surface, not dusting them on a regular basis can easily be seen by the thick layer of dust collected over it. Especially in areas where there are furniture in front of them!

Also, if you look above your doors or light switches, you can find a little edge where dust sits too.


Dusting baseboards and over door/switch edges is now included in my weekly dusting routine. I use this long static duster and slide its narrow pointy end on the surface.


For hidden baseboards, I leave a gap about 2-3 fingers wide between my furniture and the wall so I can slide my duster in the gap and wipe the dust of the baseboards.


  1. Heating Radiators

Radiators become dusty and can get really mucky eventually. Wiping them from the outside is pretty obvious, but what about inside the panels? I use my long static duster as well because it easily slides through the panels dusting away those pesky particles.


  1. Window and Patio Door tracks

Cleaning the windows from the outside is a project by itself, especially if they are not on the ground floor of your house. But whenever you wipe your windows from the inside, window tracks must be cleaned too. Water, dust and insects are always found there! Therefore, make it part of your window cleaning routine. The easiest way I found is to use the smallest nozzle you have for your vacuum cleaner, vacuum all the dust, take an old toothbrush and scrub the tracks with a little bit of soapy water, then wipe it with a dry cleaning cloth.

  1. Telephone Cords and Electric Extensions

Ever notice that your telephone cords and electric extensions get discoloured overtime, especially if their colour is white? Well, that is because they do not get cleaned regularly. Best way to tackle them, is by disconnecting them from the sockets first, then take a soapy damp cloth and wipe them thoroughly.


  1. Toilet Brush and Holder

General rule: you must ALWAYS clean your cleaning tools whether your clean yourself with them or clean items in your home, especially in the bathroom!! So, does it apply to Toilet Brushes AND their holders? Yeeees, of course! How do you clean them you ask me? Well, after you scrub the inside of your toilet, don’t put the brush immediately into the holder. Whatever disinfectant you use (bleach or a green home-made recipe), put some of it on the brush and some of it in the holder. Wash the holder, put it aside then place the brush handle between the toilet seat and rim making the brush end positioning over the toilet bowl. The brush and holder will naturally air dry (open windows or turn on extractor for better results). After that you can safely put back the brush to the holder.


  1. Toothbrushes, Hair Brushes, Makeup Brushes and Razor holders

I’m sure you heard about cleaning your toothbrushes, hair brushes, makeup brushes and razors before, but what about the holders?? In case I skip cleaning mine for two weeks, I end up with ugly brown circles and hair inside of them. So, cleaning them while you do your bathroom routine is a must, with a sponge, with a cloth, whatever method you choose, but make it a habit to tackle them on a weekly basis.


  1. Electricity Box and Lamps/Shades

Does it occur to you dust your Electricity Box? Wherever it is located in your home, up the wall, on the side, it needs dusting. Use a very dry cloth or a duster to clean it. Put this item on your dusting routine, otherwise the handy man won’t even touch it!


Lamps and shades are sometimes forgotten, because they are either hung from the ceiling or they stands upwards. Again, use a very dry cloth or a duster to clean it.


  1. Beneath your shoes

If you and your family are used to walking in your home with the same shoes you came in when you were outdoors, you need to think again. You would be stepping on to God-knows-what out there and you don’t want them on your hard floors, carpets or wardrobe! So, the best thing probably is to take off your shoes when you enter the house. But even so, cleaning them especially from beneath is crucial. Use two cloths, one damp with soapy water and the other dry. Wipe beneath your shoes with the soapy cloth then dry it with the dry one, then place the shoes on their sides on an old towel (if they are very muddy, consider cleaning them in the garden). This way, the shoes will get air dried and any excess water with drip on the towel. Then put shoes in their designated place or you are free to wear them indoors.


  1. Washing Machine Tray

This is not the first time I point out about this, but many people neglect their washing machine trays thinking that because it holds washing products, it is clean. WRONG! Mould eventually builds up in the tray and inside the gap where it is located. Best way to clean it: Dunk the tray in a bowl of water and leave it overnight, then scrub it the next day. Ways to prevent it: Keep the tray and the washing machine door always open!


  1. In the kitchen …

The Kitchen by itself is a nightmare to manage especially while spring cleaning, as it is the place we prepare food 3 or more times a day and it results with crumbles, stains, leaks, greasiness, grubbiness, you name it!

Other than the normal “wiping the kitchen counters and floor” ritual, think about these things and try to fit them with your weekly kitchen routine in any order or frequency you like to save yourself lots of scrubbing and blitzing effort in Spring:

  • Inside fridge, outside and over
  • Inside oven
  • Inside microwave
  • Oven extractor
  • Over kitchen cupboards, kitchen cupboard doors
  • Gas hob knobs
  • Sink drains
  • Sponges and towels
  • Aprons and oven mitts
  • Inside bins
  • Utensil Trays and Holders
  • Spice racks
  • Toasters
  • Sandwich Makers
  • Coffee Makers
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers!

National Spring Cleaning Week logo with dates screenshot.jpg

I will be participating in National Spring Cleaning Week that will take place between 6th and 12th March 2017: http://www.springcleaningweek.com/ by using the hash tag: #springcleaningweek on social media. I will be offering lots of help online to motivate you to declutter, so follow me to keep up!

Spring Cleaning; TON’s Guide

Spring is FINALLY coming! Winter was so cold and depressing last year and I am thrilled that it will be over soon!

There are so many things I’m looking for this spring, and one of them is … Spring Cleaning!

Yes, Spring Cleaning! Why have you raised your eyebrows? For many, it sounds like a daunting task and reminds you of your parents when they made you help them with this yearly event! Cleaning may not be an exciting project and does not bring joy to you at first, but there is an event coming soon that will change your mind:

I will be participating in National Spring Cleaning Week: http://www.springcleaningweek.com/ by using the hash tag: #springcleaningweek on social media. I will be offering lots of help online to motivate you to spring clean, so follow me to keep up!


Basically, I define Spring Cleaning as performing a cleaning ritual (deep or light) to items that are normally unreachable, unseen, or covered on a seasonal basis. The reason why it occurs in Spring (or sometimes Summer) is mainly because of the change of weather. You are free to wash more and air dry things quicker, Ventilating rooms is easier as warm fresh breezes rushes through, your mood is better because of longer days and you can see your cleaning process better because it is brighter!

Now, before taking out your mops, cloths and cleaning products, you need to describe the current status of your home. I have three names for homes and each one of these homes has a different approach for a spring clean (with all due respect to all householders):

  1. A Cluttered Home
  2. A “Need for Deep Cleaning” Home
  3. A “Well Maintained” Home

ONE: A Cluttered Home:



I don’t mean here the messiness you leave behind during the week and you eventually clean and tidy up in the weekend. No. I mean that your home possesses too many items that blocks you from cleaning from the first place.

Approach: You can’t spring clean if you have clutter in your home because cleaning always become after decluttering. Therefore, have a thought of how you are going to declutter and plan it out. Read my blog about how to Spring Declutter.

TWO: A “Need for Deep Cleaning” Home:


You may have finished a long decluttering process or your home is clutter free but cleaning your home was not something you do on a regular basis. Here, Spring Cleaning is a must and it will take longer and more hard work to get rid of months (or years) of accumulated dust and dirt.

Approach: One room may take two days to finish as you need to “remove the scum off the surfaces” first, and then tackle the rest afterwards.

THREE: A “Well Maintained” Home:


Your home is clutter free, all your items are in their proper places and you have a cleaning routine. Your spring cleaning will be a piece of cake. Since you maintain your home regularly, the only tasks you will do this Spring are cleaning items you don’t clean on a weekly or monthly basis but on a seasonally basis, like pillows, curtains, walls, etc.

Approach:  Spring cleaning in this case will take one day for each room.

If you noticed, I have numbered these home names on purpose as these are as well stages of reviving any home from a chaotic house to a livable space. So eventually, if your home is number one, you have to go to number two before three and so on.


I by coincidence found my spring cleaning list I wrote when I did my Spring Cleaning last year. I have written things I don’t clean on a frequent basis to make them my main focus. I will share on my social media channels the way I cleaned them during National Spring Cleaning Week, but in general, the points I considered while spring cleaning are:

  • If your home is a 2 or 3 story house, start from the upper rooms to bottom, starting with lofts or storage rooms, then bedrooms, lounges, bathrooms and leaving the kitchen to the very end.
  • Specify one room each day (you can do a room once a week, or 5 rooms 5 days a week, depends on your timetable and energy limits).
  • You can do it alone, but if you will use ladders, lift or move heavy things or try to clean outside windows, ask for support. Don’t put yourself under any dangerous risks.
  • Make sure children and pets are preoccupied away from you during Spring Cleaning a room.
  • Consider swapping your summer clothes with your winter clothes in your current wardrobe before spring cleaning your bedroom.
  • If you plan on decorating, bear in mind these rules: Before spring cleaning you can paint walls, take out old furniture/appliances, mending anything that needs repair, install tiles, and fit in fitted furniture. After spring cleaning you can fit in new carpets and bring in new furniture/appliances.
  • Unplug any electrics/lighting while cleaning and disconnect electricity while cleaning chandeliers/lights/vents.
  • Keep your washing machine empty and handy as lots of wash will generate from spring cleaning.
  • You can use commercial cleaning products or home-made recipes, it’s your call. Just make sure they don’t cause you any allergies.
  • Make sure your cleaning tools are clean before cleaning!

When you are done Spring Cleaning this year, my biggest advice for you is to develop habits and routines to always keep your house clean. Therefore, you will not spend too much time and effort in Spring Cleaning the year after.

Spring Clearing (Decluttering)!

Who is ready for Spring Clearing?!

For sure you have heard of Spring Cleaning, but what about Spring Clearing?

Never done it before? Don’t worry, I got your back. Who is better to give you advice than a professional organiser and declutterer?

Clearing (Decluttering) simply means to prioritize your material possessions through a process and remove unneeded items from your home. In other words, a massive tidy up! You need to prepare your mind set and boost your motivation up to the highest as it needs lots of dedication from yourself and support from your family and friends.

Keep in mind that you must declutter before you do any spring cleaning. In order to declutter, you need to see your home as a project. Therefore, you need a strategy.

Consider these 10 points while planning for your Spring Clearing:


  1. Tackle a loft/storage rooms first, then bedrooms, living/dining rooms, bathrooms and finally kitchens.
  2. Each room needs 1 to 2 days to declutter depending on the amount of stuff you have, your timetable and energy limits. So, using a dairy or a calendar really helps.
  3. You can do it alone, but ask for support because decluttering tends to be very overwhelming. Consider taking a 5 minute break every hour and a half
  4. Do not buy anything extra during this period (except for daily food) since decluttering will reveal the buried treasures you have hidden in your home
  5. Make sure you have no distractions from kids, pets or phones. Otherwise, your task will be left undone
  6. Prepare your decluttering tools, especially bin bags. Use different coloured bags for each type of findings. Example: Black for rubbish, Green for recycling, Blue for donation, etc.
  7. Be ruthless when giving decisions about items you know deep inside that it should leave the house
  8. Deal with sentimental items at the very end of your decluttering journey. They may spark memories that will slow down your process.
  9. Dispose waste/donations generated from the decluttering process the very same day. If not, it will slow down your decluttering journey
  10. After a room is decluttered, give it a light cleaning (dusting, vacuuming). When the whole house is decluttered, you can start Spring Cleaning!


When you are done Spring Decluttering this year, my biggest advice for you is to develop habits and routines to always keep your house clutter free. Therefore, you will not spend too much time and effort in decluttering later on.

Good Luck!

Organised Desk, Better Productivity!

Whether you work in a company, work remotely from home, or have a home office, it is essential to keep your workspace in order and free of distractions.

Here are my top 6 tips in maintaining your workspace:


  1. Keep frequent items on desk, infrequent items away: Things you need on a daily basis like stationary, notebooks, diaries, phones, etc should be in front of you. Keeping in mind that things like pens should be in limited quantities. There is no need for 10 pencils or 15 blue pens stacked in your pen holder! Check the ones that are working, store them as inventory, and keep one or two pens available at your reach.


2. Put items on your desk in containers: To avoid items getting scattered, put all similar items together in a container. Example: Pens in pen holder, paperclips in little jars, mail in paper trays, etc.


3. Mugs/cups/plates: I prefer not eating at all on your desk, but I know that sometimes you have to. To avoid crumbs, keep a tray under your plate or food. Big rule here is; when you are done with mugs/cups/plates, take them to the kitchen immediately! It’s not nice to find your mug the next day with coffee stains! That itself demotivates you!


4. Put a board up!: Hanging a board for timetables, reminders, etc is a an effective way to visually see your notes. If you prefer to go green, keeping your notes electronically on your phone, tablet or even your desktop is a good idea as well.


5. No personal/sentimental items: Photos of your kids, cards, souvenirs or any personal items are a distraction to your focus and working time. Try to avoid them as much as possible.

Image from IKEA

6. Keep current Paperwork only: It is extremely important to not pile lots of paperwork on your desk. Paper clutter will avoid you to work and anxiety will build up. Make three containers/trays for paper work: One for unread/to do (this must not be ON your desk), one for pending/current paperwork (this should be on the desk), and one for archiving/filing (also must not be on desk). Taking into consideration that when these containers/trays are full, they must be emptied immediately.

Open the windows and smell the fresh air!

I can’t stress enough how ventilating your home or office is EXTREMELY important. It helps new supply of fresh air to enter the space you are in, and eventually maintaining a healthy, cleaner and fresher environment for you and your family or colleagues. I don’t use air freshers because it only gives fragrance to the room and it all falls on the floor. It can never be a substitute for ventilation. So, here is my ventilation routine (especially in Winter):


I open my windows fully first thing in the morning for 5 to 10 minutes on a daily basis to allow fresh air in and get rid of all the sleepiness odours. You may imagine that this may seem a bit harsh especially on cold mornings. But believe me, you will notice the impact of this practice later on. During this period, fluffing pillows and making beds are essential since any dust particles generated from this task will lead itself out of the windows. After shutting the windows, that is where you may turn on the heating system, light up some aromatic candles or oils, and enjoy a fresh and warm atmosphere.

I do this same routine while I am dusting as well. Even if I have good absorbing dusting cloths, there are no problems in ventilating while doing so.

So don’t underestimate the power of ventilating your home or office! It is one of those little things that make a big difference!

Setting your mind is the key …

We must admit that our houses are getting smaller, our items are increasing and our time is flying out of the window! The result is, unfortunately, a cluttered home.

The fact that our lives nowadays are infected by the fast, dynamic and demanding economy is becoming so overwhelming; we can’t even scratch our heads. If we don’t catch up with it, we will be left far behind. The same applies to our homes and offices. If we don’t keep the order sustained, it will accumulate to the point where we might not be able to walk through them.

It’s not about being a messy person, but not being able to keep a system in our lives can cause clutter in our homes and workplaces without even realising it. This may develop into more extreme cases of hoarding if it is not tackled at an early stage. People get ashamed of their clutter, which is normal, and end up isolated in their homes. So, they need to seek help before it affects their health and wellbeing.

I know many cases where people with clutter seek help from family members or friends. Most cases do not achieve any outcomes because of clashes and disagreements between both parties. Turns out that hiring a “stranger” is more effective and can reach to the wanted results.

So, when that day comes, and I meet those eager clients, everything should be “accessible”, “flexible”, “practical” and “effective”. I hear these phrases all the time when I see them during my 1st assessment, whether it was in a domestic or business atmosphere. Everybody is BUSY. That’s another word I hear all the time. But is it an excuse?

If that busy-ness includes 2-3 hours browsing all your social media on your phone while you are sitting on the sofa with your partner and watching TV, you need a desperate makeover in your life!

It is so essential to measure your time and make sure you are investing it in a way you don’t regret doing other things later on. There is a saying that goes: “Time is like a sword. If you do not cut it, it will cut you”. There are too many precious events we can’t let them slip away, like meeting friends and family, new experiences, etc. Life is too short to be wasted on invaluable things.

Motivation and determination are essential keys to start any transformation. It is a journey, an emotionally bumpy ride, where all members should hold hands and support each other. Mistakes may happen, but one must not stop there. Learn from the mistakes and do corrective actions to avoid making them again.

Decluttering a space from accumulating items is that bumpy ride that must never be underestimated. Memories, valuables and lots of other stuff turn up in this process. Therefore the relationship between the space owner and the declutterer must be built on total trust and honesty.

Decluttering is the hardest phase in this transformation and it always come before Organising your space. I used a framework with my clients during their journey which is (Calm, Agile, Effective)


In the organising world, there are soooo many different methods to maintain your items. There is no right and wrong. You should find the method that suits your individual/family/business needs according to the space you have. If you are not sure, you can always ask an organiser to guide you to the best solutions.

So, as you see, it all starts with that little desire of change for the better. Change is difficult; no one can deny it, especially if that change involves habits. It all depends on foreseeing the positive results using SMART objectives (Specified, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed). It is an investment, and any person needs to be convinced of the returns of that investment. Common sense and reason play a big role as well. I am sure that each one of us standing here wants the best for themselves and for their loved ones. It does take courage to admit our weaknesses sometimes, but we are humans at the end of the day, and we can never reach perfectionism. So, speaking up and seeking help and support is the best way to reach our goals. Success, happiness and satisfaction for sure are the Holy Grail we humans seek for. Hard work and dedication are the routes to them, but every person’s experience looks, tastes, smells, sounds and feels different. This uniqueness must be celebrated.

Receipts … Keep or Throw?

When you empty your bag, purse, wallet, or pockets, how many of you end up with a pile of receipts and tickets?

No wonder! Since we are likely to purchase at least one product or service each day of the week, we end up finding we have around 7 to 30 receipts and tickets, if not more! It’s truly a menace, especially when find them lurking on every desk, table, in drawers and even over the microwave! Aghhhh!

Purchasing systems nowadays are obligated to print out these receipts/tickets. But if they will end up piling in our homes and offices with no real use for them, we will hoard them and it will eventually take a long time clearing them out.

There are many ways to nip these receipts/tickets from the bud. It is really up to why you might need them in the first place. If it is for your bookkeeping or to record your expenses at work, of course, keep them. You have to make the decision the moment you purchase your item/service. If there is no need for them (other than the reasons I mentioned before), simply ask the person at the till that you don’t need the receipt/ticket. Some of them don’t mind and if they didn’t agree, you can immediately tear it up and throw it in the bin. There are some cases where you need the receipt if it involves delivery or customer service information, or if you will probably return that item. That is definitely a keeper until a certain period of time.

Now at home or your office, you must contain these receipts/tickets in any kind of container. It can be a box, a cup, in your diary or even on your board if you have one. It must be placed in an area where you can see it and must be identified as a container/place for these receipts/tickets only. No bubble wraps in there, please!


For sure I’m not going to ask you to file them when each and every receipt/ticket that comes in. You can save them up for 7 days and you must assign at least 30 minutes once a week to deal with them. I do advise not to keep them more than 7 days without being sorted out since they will double the week after.

The key here is to really make the effort to devote yourself to this task. Some people sit hours browsing on Social Media without noticing. 30 minutes of your time will certainly not keep you off your busy schedule! Time by time, it will be developed as a habit without even thinking.

When you go through the receipts/tickets, you need to sort them by deciding if you need to keep them for filing or bookkeeping, or if it is alright to throw them away. If you make the decision to throw them, make sure you shred them if you have a shredder or tear them up, as they contain sometimes your personal information and your card details. For the receipts/tickets that you decide they need filing or bookkeeping, it really depends on why you need them for. If they are for work, most businesses need them scanned or attached to an expense form. Either way, when your claim is paid, there is no need to keep them and you can dispose them with a clear conscience!

In terms of bookkeeping, you may enter the values electronically on a simple Excel sheet. The reason why I like Excel is that you can do all the calculations and do some analysis of the data you recorded. After entering them on Excel or any electronic method, you can scan the receipts/tickets and keep them in a separate folder on your computer. You can link the receipts/tickets with the date recorded as well. That way you have saved paper and you can shred those receipts/tickets and take it for recycling.

If you insist to record them manually, that is totally up to you. I know for a fact that some people prefer still to use actual diaries or read paper books instead of smartphones or tablets. As long as you have the space to store and file them, that is absolutely fine. For the self-employed in the UK, I know for a fact that the HRMC asks you to keep your records up to five years. No need to keep them more than that!

So, it’s simply knowing the need and usage of these receipts/tickets and dealing them as soon as possible. Setting up your mind for this needs time but once you get in the habit of doing it, you will find it a piece of cake and your home/office/desk is clutter free from these little buggers!

“I can do it by myself”

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Organising is my favourite thing to do since I was very young. All my dolls were always sitting on the window sill in a very neat row. Soft toys were stacked smartly in my bookcase. I attached each notebook to the schoolbook designated for in my bag. I helped my mum with her spring cleaning. I was an expert in loading the dishwasher with maximum dishes possible! I made a timetable to study and finish before the exam date in university. I did inventories for books and a file system at work. I feel great satisfaction when I make things in order and now, I get to do it for people who need help in organising and decluttering.

My collection of photos in a neat and tidy way back when I was a teenager

Starting a career as an Organiser was such an important milestone in my life, as I get to use my “talent” (if you call it so) as my daily job. So, doing the “job” is not the issue. I helped many of my neighbours and relatives the past 6 months with unpacking, tidying, decluttering, and many others things.

Organising and decluttering for others is a very different experience from doing it for your own home. As for organising for my home, I am the only decision maker and I tidy how I find it fit for my daily practicality.  In this situation, I have to ask the homeowner of every change I will make. It does make the progress a bit longer and so mentally tiring, but it is an obligation I have to take. As a result, I overcame the anxiety of entering other people’s homes and going through their clutter. The final results are so satisfying and all homeowners were very pleased.

With the help of APDO-UK’s training course (www.apdo.co.uk), I can now do this job in a professional and standardised way. I’m ready!

Now, I am facing many challenges. One of them is the client’s “I can do it on my own” attitude. I don’t mind at all people dealing with their own clutter and managing it by themselves. On the contrary, an Organiser’s goal is exactly that, to make people understand the importance of having a clutter-free life and the benefits of it. Some people know how to do it, bravo for them! They are Organisers by nature. But what about the other people who don’t know how? Or need help? Or probably just in denial? How can we reach them? How can we spread the word that there are professionals who can do this service for you?

The culture of hiring an organiser/declutterer is still not common in the UK. Many people fear strangers entering their homes and being judged by their “mess”, as they call it. Even though our code of conduct strictly states to never be judgmental and each client has their unique circumstances. Some underestimate our profession and see it is a waste of money. Therefore the “I can do it on my own” attitude that I spoke about earlier comes through their minds and the clutter stays where it is until the homeowner chooses the day to do it ….. and they don’t! That is why Organisers such as myself have a responsibility to spread the awareness of our profession. We need you to know that hiring us is the best choice instead of leaving the task untouched. After a short period, that clutter will turn to a difficult hoarding problem that us declutterers may not be able to help anymore. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask help. That is our job and we are everywhere!

All of my colleagues in the decluttering business participate in fairs, community and networking events, conferences and even do voluntary work. We do collaborations with cleaning companies, estate agencies, charity institutions and local councils as well. In addition to all that, the traditional marketing methods of business cards, flyers and newspaper ads. And to keep up to date with the tech side of things, Social Media is indeed helping us in do so by setting up accounts on famous social channels such as WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Youtube. TV programmes helped with the awareness such as Oprah, Ellen and Rachel Ray in the US, and The Big Spring Clean and Making Space in the UK.

Capture Screen from Channel 4’s website, (Making Space) Programme.

With all this, we still have to enter each home and shout out that there are professionals out there to help you. And don’t say “I can do it on my own”! Call us before it is too late!