Capsicum as big as a tin of milo

Confessions of a Professional Organiser

Don’t let the shiny red capsicum as big as a tin of milo deceive you. I am no gardener. As evidence of this, I must confess that I once killed an air plant, which as the name suggests, really only needs *air to live. I wish I was a gardener though. The gardeners I know seem so happy, relaxed and rightfully proud of the peaceful sanctuaries they’ve created. I want my garden to be like that too, I really do. I imagine it would be an inspiring and joyful place to spend time and who doesn’t need more of that in their life, am I right?

I have moments of inspiration when I really try to get my garden on track and sometimes my efforts pay off. But it never seems to last and more often than not, it doesn’t work at all. No matter how hard I try, the plants fail to thrive, or worse, die with no regard to the huge effort (I think) I put in. I find it hard to get motivated to garden at the best of times but when plants die despite my efforts, it’s nearly impossible to find and maintain the motivation required to grow an inspiring and joyful garden. And then my garden is trapped in a downward spiral of my own making (or lack of making much effort more likely). My garden gets neglected and it feels harder, more time-consuming and just too overwhelming to even contemplate how I will get it back in order, let alone try and do it.

Sometimes, when things get desperate, I spend a whole weekend ‘blitzing’ the garden just to get it back to some kind of starting point. But then I am so burnt-out I don’t want to garden again for a month (or six) and I end up back at square one.

I have had to admit to myself that gardening just doesn’t come naturally to me. I have trouble visualising what I really want and how best to use the space. Even if I did know clearly what my ideal outcome was, I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start in order to make it happen.

The funny thing is, knowing this doesn’t stop me wishing I was a better gardener and hoping that I will be one day. It doesn’t stop me reading the books and articles, or pinning the photos of all the beautiful gardens I aspire to have even just a slice of in my own backyard. Occasionally I get a bit green-eyed at the people who seem to have it all together in the garden department but more often than not, it just confirms to me that this is something I really want for myself because I know how much better my life would be if I could just conquer this struggle once and for all. But I know deep down that wishing, hoping and feeling inspired isn’t the same as GETTING IT DONE!

When I think about it, the only time I have any real success in the garden is when I have help. My mum is an excellent (and very patient) gardener and I love gardening when I am doing it with her. It’s just more fun with someone else there encouraging me and showing me how easy it can be. Plus, she has the vision and I like it. She knows what tools I need and what plants would be best. I mean, she knows about plants I’ve never even heard of! It’s just fun to garden with her and I always make progress with her help.

So I guess I will continue to garden in the best way I know how… with mum (or any other willing participants) by my side. And, I’ve recently had a professional gardener and landscaper come in to help me clarify my vision and give me ideas I never would have come up with on my own. I know it is going to take a combination of strategies to get my garden growing but I also know the effort will be worth it. And where I can’t do it myself, I am ready to call in the experts!

And so it is with organising. My struggles as a gardener have given me invaluable insight into the struggles of those who find it difficult to get organised. I realise that all the feelings I have about gardening, they have about organising. And so I feel blessed to be asked to help every single courageous client that chooses me to guide them in finding their organised sweet spot. I say courageous even though there is no shame in asking for help. Just as there is no shame in hiring a gardener, a personal trainer or a caterer. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To me, it demonstrates their true dedication and determination despite the challenges. And so, it is my privilege to witness their life-changing transformations and these everyday heroes are my daily inspiration.

So to all my clients, past, present and still to come, I thank you for trusting me and I salute you with my gardening brown thumb. I can hand on heart say, I understand your struggles and I promise, we can do this together.

 

*I know that air plants also require water and I suspect I may have actually over-watered mine, much to my dismay considering my problem is usually not watering enough. So no need to email me with your gardening tips for air plants… I feel so bad about it I promise to never take one into my custody again. At least not until I have a full time gardener on staff 😉

Tiny capsicum

Actual size of the one and only capsicum I grew this summer. Credit: Coles for the mini tin of milo that my son lent to me to help me feel accomplished.

 

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Where to get rid of your joyless stuff

Are you, like everyone else in my news feed, doing the Marie Kondo? If so, what are you planning to do with all the items you have that no longer spark joy? Hopefully you’re utilising landfill only as an absolute last resort. But where else can you send your unwanted stuff?

Check out the Resources Page on the little miss sorted website for lots of ideas on how to declutter with a conscience. We are adding to it all the time, like today, with this great find:

ANIMAL SHELTERS

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Each one will vary so check before you attend, however we do love this list taken from a local animal protection society website that demonstrates the wide range of items they are looking for including:

  • pet food and feeding items
  • newspapers
  • empty egg cartons
  • outdoor mats (for cats to scratch)
  • rubber outdoor mats (with holes in them to make snuffle mats)
  • new fleece fabric off cuts
  • blankets
  • towels
  • muffin trays
  • balls
  • pipe cleaners
  • chicken/beef stock or stock cubes
  • ice cube trays
  • bubble blowers

I’m wondering what they do with the stock… Do you know? Or do you have another nifty resource that we’ve missed in our library? Please tell us!

Special New Year Offer for Family & Friends

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This time of year can be hard on the family and friends of someone who hoards. If you want to help your loved one start fresh in the New Year, this limited time offer from the amazing ladies at Hoarding Home Solutions is for you.

Hoarding Home Solutions for Family & Friends online training allows you to learn in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

The education includes:

  • how to engage your loved one, even if they’re resistant to help
  • strategies to keep them safe
  • decluttering techniques that protect your relationship and actually work

Until January 8, the usual price of $495 for Hoarding Home Solutions for Family & Friends is reduced to only $99.

Follow the above link, select the Family and Friends course and use Coupon Code: NewYear99

A note from Sophie: This is an affiliate link and I will receive a small payment if you decide to buy this course via the above link. I only recommend products that I know will benefit you or that I have used myself. I have personally completed the Service Provider version of this training to help my own clients and I know this training will be valuable to anyone who wants to help a loved one who hoards.

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release

COFC013_HHS-Course-Graduate-badge-x-3_IND-PROVIDERS_April18_FAHoarding is a complex community problem, requiring skilled practitioners to employ a fresh perspective for effective long-term results. Hoarding Home Solutions is a practical approach to this complex problem. It was developed to bridge the gap between hoarding research and practical application with clients.

Sophie Bland, founder of little miss sorted has demonstrated a commitment to her professional development and business by completing the Hoarding Home Solutions for Independent Service Providers training program. Graduates of Hoarding Home Solutions have gained the knowledge, skills and practical strategies to bring about change in a hoarded home with confidence and compassion, and in an industry where lack of training and self-regulation can often have negative consequences, especially in complex cases, this is much needed.

“I have over 10 years’ experience as a Professional Organiser however it is from that experience that I know time alone is not enough to tackle the complexity of Hoarding Disorder. Completing the Hoarding Home Solutions course has given me the practical tools and resources to compliment my experience, knowledge and years of practice to work for better outcomes in these complicated situations.”

Sophie from little miss sorted is dedicated to meeting people where they are at and providing services in a non-judgmental way.

“We are proud to offer the highest level of service to all our clients, regardless of their situation or need.”

If you, or someone you know needs organisational help, contact little miss sorted via their website www.littlemisssorted.com or call Sophie directly on 0402 678 675.

Happy New Financial Year!

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If you’re in Australia, it’s time to dust off your calculator, pull out the shoe box full of receipts and get organised for submitting your tax return. FUN! Urghhh…

If you dread this time of year and want to know if there is a better way, the answer is yes! Imagine life where tax time was easy, receipts were organised, and you were ready to submit and claim your return this month, not October, or February next year or years and years later. It is possible and easy if you’ve got the right system set-up. And with a fresh new Financial Year unfurling before you, there’s never been a better time than today to start new habits and never experience tax time headaches again.

Call or message little miss sorted today or submit your details below and take advantage of our free 30 minute no obligation phone consultation to see how we can help you tackle tax time. After that, phone and in-person tax time organising packages can be tailored to suit your budget, starting from $60 for 30 minutes.

Got your taxes sorted? Awesome! Perhaps you know someone else who could use a hand so please help us help them by sharing this offer with your contacts and supporting a small business!

With gratitude,

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Good morning sunshine!

This is not an April Fools’ joke. This really is the most confusing day of the year (if you’re a resident of NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS or SA). The clocks went back one hour at 3am as Daylight Saving came to an end, so it’s actually only 7:15am on the East coast (6:45am in Adelaide) not 8:15am. But, most of you can’t just roll over and enjoy your extra hour of sleep… there’s a certain Easter Bunny 🐇 situation that requires your attention!

And while you’re at it, please remember to change the battery in your smoke alarms, and perhaps replace your toothbrush, dish cloth, vacuum cleaner bag, water filter, mascara and any other similarly neglected items in your home. Then, you can have a sleep-in. No joke.

Unless you’re a parent of young children. Then you get nothing… sorry. (Don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone)!

From my family to yours, Happy Easter.

We have NOT gone fishin’!

melissa-walker-horn-605716-unsplashEaster and the school holidays is often a busy time for most people. Lots of family get-togethers, an opportunity to finish that lingering DIY job around the house or perhaps to go camping and get away from it all. But for some, it’s an opportunity to get organised whilst you have a few days off work and perhaps some kids around to help or some help to mind the kids!

little miss sorted is open and taking appointments for the whole of Easter & throughout the school holidays to support you in getting organised when it suits you, but get in fast as spaces are filling up quick!

I’ve already got bookings for one Saturday night, Easter Monday and throughout the holidays. Not many other Professional Organisers offer an out-of-hours service like this and even less if any offer an out-of-hours service without a surcharge, so this really is a fantastic time to get help if it’s something you’ve been considering.

However you choose to spend your Easter, may it be a very happy, peaceful and safe time.

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Community Announcement

msfin

MSFIn-standards

little miss sorted aims to provide a decluttering service that is as environmentally sustainable as possible, supports our local community and provides a high level of service to our valued customers.

As part of our desire to continuously improve in these areas, we have recently reviewed our clutter disposal policy and are pleased to announce that going forward we will be a mobile collection point for items that you wish to donate to Mums Supporting Families in Need. What this means is we will happily deliver to the MSFIN warehouse on behalf of our clients, any items earmarked as suitable for donation. We are also willing to collect donations from our followers and supporters when we are next in your area. Simply email sophie@littlemisssorted.com to arrange a pick-up or check the Service page on our website for further details.

We hope this changes makes you feel better about letting go of quality items that no longer serve you, knowing they will live on in the hands of someone in need whilst giving you the space you crave.

What’s in your garage?

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Welcome to Day 7 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge:

Garage Clutter

The garage is often home for everything but your car. Car parts, boxes that haven’t been unpacked from 2 house moves ago, all the things you’re “definitely” going to repair, craft supplies you will use one day but can’t fit in your house at the moment, baby gear “just in case”, tax papers from fifteen years ago that you’ll sort out one day and all the amazing art your children have brought home since they were 4. And sometimes there’s even some junk that’s actually been earmarked to go but hasn’t quite made it out the door yet… It all makes for a cluttered mess and when the time comes to turf it, a serious health and environmental hazard if not disposed properly.

The World Health Organisation say that stockpiles of waste tyres sent to countries like Vietnam has caused the spread of Dengue Fever and other mosquito borne diseases by providing a perfect breeding ground. But recycled, they are useful for making sporting & playground surfaces, brake pads, insulation and constructing roads and drains among other things.

Another big problem is batteries. Australia has one of the lowest battery recycling rates in the world. Each year, over 300 million household batteries are thrown away with ordinary waste, meaning a staggering 8,000 tonnes of batteries end up in landfill. Batteries leech toxic metals into the ground which contaminates our soil and finds its way into our water systems.

Top Tips to sustainably declutter the garage

  • Hazardous waste should never go into landfill. Check out this blog post for destinations for most types of rubbish including making use of your council hard rubbish collection service which is often your best friend when it comes to cleaning out a garage
  • Determine what is of no use to you, and what is of no use to anyone. Donate the former and ensure the latter is sent to its proper destination. The RecycleNearYou website is a great resource
  • Anything sentimental or of value should never be stored in the garage, where temperatures can vary wildly. If it’s important, it deserves a place in your house

Top Tips to organise the garage

  • Create zones for the different types of things you keep in your garage, such as tools, gardening equipment, car paraphernalia, sports gear, outdoor living and the like. Store like things together and ensure small items are contained
  • Keep the floor clear as much as possible by utilising vertical space. Shelving along a wall, hooks, brackets and even rafters are important to make the most of this space whilst still being able to park your car here
  • Create a dedicated area for items that are ready to be donated or disposed of. Don’t make it too big. That way, when it is full, you are reminded to empty it (regularly) in order to make more space

Environmentally friendly resources when decluttering the garage:

ITEM

DESTINATION

Chemicals, paint, batteries, fluros, etc Detox your home collects items throughout the year at various locations. Use this link to find a date, time and location near you and to see what they accept

Battery World accepts all types of batteries

Aldi accepts household batteries  (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sizes)

Sports/Playground equipment Progress Pikinini donates suitable items to children and schools in need in Vanuatu
Furniture suitable for a classroom such as desks, large tables and chairs Progress Pikinini
Old tyres Tyrecycle is one company recycling used car tyres. Check the list of participating retailers on their website to ensure the place you get your tyres changed is committed to recycling them, or if they’re not on the list, ask them before you book in.
Bicycles Bicycles for Humanity
Cars Kids Under Cover
Tents & Swags Rumbalara
Everything else 1800-got-junk? is a handy resource for your back pocket. They will remove your unwanted item (whatever it is and from wherever it is) and take it away. They divert as much as possible from landfill and you pay based on the amount of truck space you use. Considering it includes two men with lifting power this is often a very good solution when you just don’t know what to do with your unwanted stuff or can’t move something yourself

These resources and more will be added to the little miss sorted Resources page on the website. We are constantly updating our Resources Lists so check back regularly.

Today is the last day of National Organising Week and our week-long sustainable decluttering challenge. Congratulations on making it to the end and I hope you’ve learnt something new and got a little closer to finding your Organised Sweet Spot.

Getting organised is not a one-time event. It’s a life long journey that requires your ongoing commitment and prioritisation, much like you health and garden. At the end of the day, its a choice between the stuff or the space. There is no right or wrong choice, but it is important to acknowledge you can only have one or the other and to work out what the right balance is for you.

If you want to maintain momentum on your decluttering journey and would like one-on-one help with sorting your space, please call or email me for an obligation free chat. There is no pressure to take any action right now, but it is always empowering to know your options for when you are ready. I can do in-person consultations in Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and West Gippsland. I also have a brilliant & trusted colleague based in the Gold Coast for our Northern Friends in Brisbane, Northern NSW or anywhere in between. So whenever you are ready for more time and space, we are ready & waiting.

Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.

Conquering kiddie clutter

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Welcome to Day 6 of little miss sorted’s 7 Day Sustainable Declutter Challenge:

Kids’ Clutter

Kids today think they need a new pair of shoes when the shoe-lace is frayed*. This is the throw-away society we have become. The toy industry is worth over $20billion in the U.S. alone and growing. Unfortunately, so is its impact on the environment. Plastic toys make up 90% of this and are notoriously hard to recycle with most ending up in landfill. Not only that, but often the batteries do too. A double-whammy for our planet.

 

Top Tips to sustainably declutter kids’ stuff

  • Start by thinking about your acquiring. Do you really need another toy, book or item of clothing? And if you do, can you buy it second-hand? Also consider the amount and type of packaging and the materials that the item is made from before you hand over your plastic for more plastic
  • Landfill should be a last resort. Wherever possible, pass your toys, clothes & other kids’ stuff on to friends and family or donate or sell them. Also consider whether a broken toy or piece of clothing can be repaired. Most cities have a doll hospital or something similar to restore the life to many a toy and clothing can often be repaired (by someone handy if you’re not)
  • Don’t hold on to items just for sentimental reasons. Take a photo as a memory and move it on

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”― Phyllis Diller

 

Top Tips to organise kids’ stuff

  • Give everything a home. Although it mightn’t spend much time there, it means you could theoretically put everything away if the Queen (or your mother-in-law) was coming
  • Don’t have every toy you own accessible to your children all the time. Have a space set aside for a selection of toys you’re happy for the kids to access and store everything else up high or out of sight. Rotate them every so often to keep them interested and the amount of potential clutter limited
  • Use open baskets or containers stored low so the kids can help you put things away. Have a pack-up song that you play or sing to signal that it’s time to put everything away. It might take some time to establish this as a cue but it really works. Little children can’t read so save your labels for the pantry. A photo on the outside is a better way to show what belongs in each basket

 

Environmentally friendly resources when decluttering kids’ clutter:

ITEM

DESTINATION

Soft toys in new or lightly used condition suitable for under 3 years of age only  

MSFIN

 

Books in English including storybooks, picture books, colouring books (unused), textbooks of any subject; for all ages and reading abilities.

Stationery e.g. writing materials, paper pads, notebooks, art supplies (coloured pencils, paint, etc.), rulers, erasers, etc.

School supplies e.g. backpacks, drink bottles, lunch boxes

Bedlinen, clothes for boys and girls of all ages

Progress Pikinini offers a collection service in Melbourne and a drop-off service in the Riverina, NSW. If you live outside these areas, they are worth contacting to see if something can be arranged for your area.
Art & Craft supplies Reverse Art Truck accept donations of your unwanted items – anything that could creatively be used for art & craft. If you’re not in Melbourne, try Reverse Garbage or your local childcare centre or kinder
Used toys & clothes MSFIN accept lightly used clothes

You can also sell on consignment at places like Kids Warehouse 

If you’re not in Melbourne, most charities accept kids toys & clothes in good used condition

Alternatively, you can go online to places such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or your local buy, swap and sell sites to move items at no cost

Unwanted Nappies – don’t have to be in their packet MSFIN
Batteries Battery World accepts all types of batteries for recycling including button batteries

Aldi accepts household batteries  (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sizes)

Old blankets Animal shelters such as the Lost Dogs’ Home
Toy Library Toy libraries are a great way to access just about any toy you can think of without having to buy it, permanently store it, or get rid of it when the kids no longer use it. The Frankston Toy Library is a great local resource that we use but many councils throughout Australia offer this service

These resources and more will be added to the little miss sorted Resources page on the website. We are constantly updating our Resources Lists so check back regularly.

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. Well done for sticking with it! Tomorrow we venture into the deep dark corners of your garage. I’ll have lots of hints, tips and resources to help you safely declutter your unwanted items from that zone. It’s also your last chance to drop your unwanted items to me for sustainable recycling. Here’s where you’ll find me:

Sun 11th March
Sandbox CafĂ© – Sandhurst Golf Club
75 Sandhurst Blvd, Sandhurst
10-11am

*The shoe-lace story is based on an actual conversation with one of my children… eek! Do you have a story like this? Share below – no judgment here.

Happy Sustainable Decluttering! The planet thanks you.