How to never forget your work pass again


With most work places these days having some sort of security measure in place to ensure only their employees gain access to work sites, a security pass has become something that you just can’t leave home without. If you’ve ever left that item at home on a work day then you’ll know just how disruptive this can be to the morning routine and the general flow of the day.

From observation the most common reasons for forgetting passes are:

  • swapping bags;
  • just returned from holidays;
  • wearing a different jacket or belt to the day before; and
  • leaving it somewhere… the bench? desk? in the hands of a small child?

Observing such patterns in yourself is really useful. By making note of what the common factors are around such oversights you can apply that knowledge towards the creation of a new daily habit.

A habit that is generally successful for many, and that is also one of the simplest ways to avoid forgetting that pass – is to ensure that it has a home. This is a basic yet invaluable mechanical organising principle. With this in effect, your pass can only be in one of two places – on you or in its home.

Developing this strategy depends on what works for you, however.

First, to find the perfect home for your pass you need to take your living arrangements into account.  Do you live alone or in a share house? Then observe where you gravitate to when you first walk into your home or room. Whether it’s a table, a bookcase or a couch, could that area or somewhere near it work as a home for your pass?

Having found the ‘neighbourhood’, try re-purposing a splendid bowl or platter and place it within reach of your arrival area. If you can only really leave things in your own room, a bowl or platter will still help as it triggers your mind towards identifying a certain spot as a “destination”. Making the deliberate choice to place your keys, sunglasses, change or travel cards there will eventually make the habit part of your routine. If you are an intensely visual person, taking a mental snapshot of where this home is and what surrounds it might be a good way of cementing the solution in place.

This may also be a good spot for other things to live that frequently go with you into the outside world: purse or wallet, money and/or cards, ID, keys, watch and maybe even your mobile. Many of these items are must haves for daily tasks so the likelihood of forgetting your work pass is drastically reduced by having such items together.

Getting your body involved is another way of supporting such a strategy. The inclusion of the body can be extremely useful for tactile minded people as a way of making such forward planning more tangible. When about to head out the door, starting from the top of the body make your way down – touch your head and check off glasses or sunnies, touch your right hand for keys, your mid section for wallet/cards and your pass.

When at work, use accessories like a lanyard or bracelet or retractable clip holder to keep your pass on your person. And think creatively as to where to attach the clip if nothing obvious seems available, like the neck or under arm of a dress. Keeping your pass with items like your phone may also be what works for you – a phone cover with card slots is a handy way of keeping all your essentials together.

As security passes become more and more a work place necessity – exploring these ideas to find what works for you sets you up for an effective and stress free morning routine. A fine start to the day!






How to simplify your space by remembering and letting go of ‘props’


Letting go of something that didn’t quite work, that perhaps shouts “MISTAKE!”, or brings to mind a significant amount of money spent (for little gained) every time you see it, is a hurdle that many of my clients face when detoxing their environment. Such things are often ‘props’ that assisted at certain times in a person’s life to help them explore a part of themselves or deal with a particular situation.

Everyone has many roles and personas that come together to make their identity and their life. Possesions can reflect this. For example, I was a university student, I had dreams of taking up the violin again, I was an avid thimble collector, I used to think that tartan high heels were cool. If I hadn’t donated or sold things related to these past roles and interests, but had held onto them in the hope to return one day to these hobbies and stages, there would be a lot of unnecessaryand complicating clutter in my home. That’s not to say that I don’t keep some sentimental items but those kept are very special and support the evolving history of who I am now and who I am becoming.

The question is often how do you work out the difference between something that is just contributing to the clutter in your life and a possession that adds to your present life? One aspect to notice, and something I focus on when working with clients, is to observe and draw attention to language choices.

What do you notice about these two phrases?

“I used to love this dress!”

compared to

“I can’t wait to wear this again when the weather gets warmer!”

Yep! One is past tense and the other is future tense. To me this shows that someone is still going to use an item and enjoys doing so!

Being alert to such language helps in two areas: it lets you think expansively about releasing ideas you hold about yourself. And it creates more spaces to honour who you are now and all the amazing things you are doing at the moment that are leading to your future.

It’s empowering to replace guilt or the label of “MISTAKE!” with the possibility of being, as Amanda Brooks says, ‘inspired by your own past triumphs and amused by your mistakes’.

As for the most sentimental objects or those favourite old clothes and shoes you may be having difficulty letting go of, thank them for the joy they once brought you and the points of departure they provided.

Another empowering and leveraging technique is to take photos of sentimental items, such as awards, trophies and old t-shirts. Such photos can be the bridging tools to deal with a fear of completely forgetting something and yet still moving it along so you can also “move along”.

With those thoughts in mind, looking around now, do you see things that represent the you that lives in the present? Are they part of the thread taking you towards the future or the anchor holding you back?

Organising heart, head, and home


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How to remember what you stored in that out of sight storage option


Recently I worked with a client who throws a lot of parties. She’s very good at it and so as well as hosting her own, many people come to her for help or to borrow her equipment. By the time we started working together her party equipment was being stored across many spots ranging from the garage, to the pantry, to the multi purpose study room.

My client complained that she was often buying duplicates of things because she’d forget what she already had as her collection wasn’t centrally located. Another problem that emerged from this complaint was that my client would often think about her garage storage at inopportune times (when it was too dark to venture out or when there wasn’t enough time to rummage).

With this information at hand we developed an action plan. Firstly, we collected all the party things together and went through it to make sure that only what was relevant was left to store.

Secondly, we categorised and got the items stored in a manageable and accessible way.

Using the garage proved to be the best home for the party equipment but what changed my client’s relationship to the garage and her way of handling the party equipment, was photographing her party equipment collection.

By taking photographs of the party gear and saving these in Evernote – my client can refer to them easily and quickly whether inside her house or speaking with friends and family about an upcoming party.

If you’re unable to photograph your out of sight storage space then sketching a note on a phone app or taking a photo of a doodle is a useful method. I do this to keep track of what I’m storing under my bed. I have several plastic roller containers that I use for off season clothing and for other irregularly used items. Rather than dragging out what I think might be the correct container, I check my sketch and get it right every time! Saves time and muscle energy!

What out of sight storage have you under utilized of late? Will photographing or sketching it help you efficiently retrieve it later?





Organising things based on your natural inclination


Every item in your home needs its own home. But what if sometimes an item could make sense in a few different places?

Take scissors or sports underwear for example.

Scissors could be kept with other like tools and sports underwear could be separated out into general underwear categories. But another way of determining where to store an item is to think about where you most use it. Where do you naturally end up using that item?

Do you use the scissors the most in the kitchen? In the bathroom? Near the wardrobe so you can attend to loose threads when getting dressed? Any of these spots are perfectly fine.

Personally, moving my sports bras away from the other bras, and keeping them in the same drawer as my workout clothes, streamlined my gym preparation. Opening one draw when getting dressed for a workout not only speeds up the process but helps derail any lazy thoughts of skipping it!

So this week, observe if something is not being housed in a spot where you most seem to need it. Try moving it there and see if your tasks become more streamlined as a result.






Organising Gems from my Dad


With Father’s Day having just rolled past for another year, I began thinking about the top gems that I’ve garnered from my Dad that effect my organised life style:

  • Always make your bed (which I wrote about in depth here).
  • Keep your shoes polished and you’ll feel prepared for anything.
  • Always ask if that’s the best rate a company can offer and don’t sit still with a provider for too long – loyalty rewards no one it seems.
  • Mark where you want to hang something with a pencil before committing hammering a nail into the wall. Or better yet – use Commander 3m damage free hooks.
  • Computer maintenance is key to a healthy laptop and saves you much money. You can’t blame a computer for being slow if you don’t treat it to some defragging once in a while… it’s like saying that your car won’t move but not giving it petrol.

What organising gems have you gained from your Father?

Organising heart, head, and home


Two ways to keep simple tasks off of your to do list


Every day things will come up that need attention. Related to personal items, household, work, future dreams and fun. Some of these things will have to be done at a later date and should be added to a to do list. However, some simple tasks can be ticked off as they come up.

If you’re able to do the task as it comes up I find it’s less effort to ‘Just do it!’ rather than taking the time to add it to a to do list and think about when else to do it.

A method that I’ve found works well is to collect a bunch of these tasks and simply plan to have a ‘Pottering Marathon’ – there’s nothing I love more than a home day and just having the time to potter and see what pops up as I move around the house and check in with my possessions. I find these times rather cathartic and a good grounding exercise. A Pottering Marathon can go from mending a shirt, changing a bulb, cleaning the windows, making a call, to consolidating my household’s collection of plastic bags.

Between doing simple tasks as they arise and having the space for a Pottering Marathon where you can come across simple tasks while being able to action them, you may be surprised as to how much more efficiently your life can run.

Organising heart, head, and home


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How finding your personal mantra can help you be a finisher


My personal trainer used to say “What’s another 30 seconds…? What’s another minute…?” when motivating me to keep going on the treadmill during our sessions together. And he was right – by the time I was nearing the end of my run I’d gone so far that another 30 seconds or a minute was not really worth fighting about – I just did it!

It’s a phrase that comes back to me whenever I feel tired and think about doing something simple later – such as putting away my clothes, hanging up my necklace or returning my little shopping cart to the garage. The thought “What’s another minute? You’re going to do it anyway, why not now?” will get me to push on through.

It’s finding personal mantras like this one that I find help clients stick to their organising goals. If a client can get into the habit of automatically putting things back for even a week, by the end they are amazed at how much more organised they and their space has become.

What’s your mantra that helps you push through?

Organising heart, head, and home


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Get the ball rolling to kick procrastination to the curb


Procrastination affects us all. I’ll often get stuck into something after putting it off for so long that I wonder why I dreaded it so much. Sometimes I find that all I needed was a way in to get the ball rolling, just a little task that gets my interest into gear and kick starts the project.

I’ve found that a small win will help motivate clients to keep going for their organising goal. Starting with decluttering – if you keep feeling stuck, simply pick one of the below tasks and go for it! Set a timer for 20 minutes and see if breaking such a task into more manageable pieces feels more doable.

  • Old stationery and crafting supplies
    • dried up paints
    • glues
    • pens that don’t work
    • notebooks that don’t inspire you
  • Clothing
    • Broken or cheap/free clothes hangers
    • Socks that are threadbare
    • Knits you didn’t wear last winter and knits with unmendable holes
    • Clothes that you have always felt wrong in – for starters, jeans
  • Kitchen
    • Mismatched or excess cutlery
    • Baking accessories that you haven’t touched in years
    • Fancy platters, place mats, doilies that aren’t ever used
  • Bathroom
    • Expired makeup (foundation and concealers especially)
    • Worn out towels of any variety
    • Candles you’ll never use and that have lost their smell
  • Household items
    • Expired vouchers stuck to the fridge door
    • Keys that you can’t match to any known lock
    • Cards that aren’t meaningful
    • Broken, old or unused toys
    • Worn out, rusty or broken gardening tools that you don’t use

Have a go and let me know what it is that you found surprising?


Organising heart, head, and home


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How being organised is beneficial in an emergency


Staying somewhere that isn’t familiar brings out the differences in people. Two broad categories that show up are nesters and tornados. Nesters come in, secure an area and return their possessions to that point, in comparison, tornados unpack everything on arrival, use all available space and their possessions end up scattered everywhere. One type needs to look under the bed before leaving just in case and the other type knows that there is nothing under there because they didn’t put anything there.

I fall into the nester category and I recently had an experience that made me grateful for it. The experience made me consider that organisation is a silent support that can be counted on in times of need.

In my case, I was the only one present when my friend started to have a serious medical emergency late at night, my nesting tendency meant that I was able to quickly call for help and be effective. Likewise, before heading off in the ambulance I was able to grab a set of clothes and all essentials set for a full change at the hospital. I didn’t have to think and I didn’t second guess myself, I just knew that I was covered. Organising had my back!

Hours and hours later in Emergency, my phone was nearing empty and I was again so grateful that I had organised packing a spare battery in my day bag. It was the little things at that stage that were keeping me grounded and seeing that spare battery was just like getting a huge hug. And in a way it was because it kept me connected to my sister who was supporting me via text message on the other side of the world.

Since then I’ve stayed in other rooms that aren’t my regular place of abode and I have renewed vigor in nesting. When you have a strong experience of something working for you it becomes easier and easier to keep the habit up.

What are your habits when staying somewhere unfamiliar?


Organising heart, head, and home


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Being prepared for forgetting is organised and human


In my last post I suggested that a healthier perspective to feeling you’ve failed is to instead observe your patterns and tweak for better results. Changing and adapting to situations when new information becomes available, is in fact, being organised.

The same goes with forgetting things. Being organised is not about never forgetting anything ever again but being able to do something about it quickly when you do.

Case in point, I was rushing for a doctor’s appointment and forgot my Medicare card. In the span of 30 seconds I went from saying “Doh!” to “Ah! I have the number listed in Evernote.”

Disaster averted!

And how did I know to have that number listed else where? You got it! Because I’d forgotten before. Live and learn is the phrase, not live and beat yourself up!

What’s something you can do to help your future self?

Organising heart, head, and home


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