Why do we buy presents? 

We received our Riverford box this week and the message from Guy was about waste veg.  Having been responsible for the waste contract of a large restaurant and pub chain I’m always interested in what’s next and how we can reduce waste as it’s scary what volume is thrown away on a regular basis.

This then got me thinking about gifts (tenuous link I know) and how gifts can be wasted.  Why do we buy gifts?

It’s Easter which means chocolate.  I know Easter doesn’t mean just chocolate but unfortunately that’s the first thing that the commercialised world thinks about.  Back in the day I was given a CD from someone instead of chocolate and now my tiny human is given cash.  Don’t get me wrong, this is lovely but how has it got to this, why do we feel the need to buy presents.

Birthdays and Christmas are difficult.  How often do you get too close to the date and panic about what to buy people.  There are some people who you will find easy to buy for – everyone thinks they are easy to buy for but they are wrong, some of the time anyway!

When you have that panic, what do you buy?  How much thought goes into it? Maybe you resort to a voucher?  To me a voucher is a bit last minute and to some of my friends, thoughtless but just think you can literally buy anything with an Amazon voucher and when I say anything, something you actually want.

This is the problem with gifts, some of them become clutter straight away in your home.  I’m not ungrateful but, think back to what gifts you have received which you don’t like or have never used.  I come across this so often when working with someone, they want to keep something just because they were given it – they don’t even like it but feel guilty about throwing it away.

My suggestion to this is to try and sell said item and use the money to buy something you love then, there’s less guilt as technically they have bought you something you would use and enjoy and you have less clutter in your home.

My advice to the gift buyer, if you’re not sure what to buy someone should you be buying them a present?  Controversial question?  Not really.  When I spend time with my friends and talk to them – face to face or facetime to facetime I get an understanding of where they are, what they’re up to and what they need.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not the perfect gift buyer (I’m envious of those people) but I like to buy people what I think would be useful to them.  If you’re buying for the sake of buying then would a card or other gesture be fine instead?  What would you like to receive?

Alternatively, buy someone an experience.  We’ve started this in our family and we are off gliding in the Summer – when would you have ever done that?!

It’s not to late to get Christmas organised!

It’s only 1st December and for some it feels like everyone else is far more organised for the 25th this year!

Don’t despair, there is still time (23 days to be exact!) and to help I have created a different kind of advent calendar free for you to download, print and put somewhere you can cross off as each job is complete!

Use the link below to download to your computer to help with your decorations, gifts, food and reminders of what to do to have a fantastic Christmas this year!

Organise Christmas Calendar

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The Boxing Day Petition – For or Against?

What do you think of the Boxing Day Sale Petition?   Maybe you’ve signed it?  Maybe you’re scared of it – hello retail CEO?!

Parts of me understand the Boxing Day Petition; extra “things” from a Personal Organisers’ perspective should be purchased as a need and not on a whim, seeing things on sale creates a sudden need in people who go on to purchase items they never use, wear or even take out of the box or remove the tags from.

When buying more, people have more things to take up space in their home and then need to find a place to store them. In turn, they get more disorganised and take longer to make decisions on what to wear or use – wasting time; “I should wear this as I purchased it in the sale but never have worn it.”  Everyone has done it, not only is it having extra things to put away or have sitting gathering dust somewhere it is a waste of hard earned money.

The petition is about making memories and respecting the day as a religious holiday, years ago we managed without it – remember Wednesday early closing and Sunday’s as a day of rest?  Aimed for the retail workers who work tirelessly leading up to Christmas, having 1 day off (if they are lucky, there are shops open Christmas Day, let’s not forget those!) then having to end their celebrations early with a extra early start to meet the queues.

I’ve no doubt that the retailers have done their research, looked at timelines and how possible this could happen as they will lose a days sales. Boxing Day for some is a huge day, moving stock that would otherwise not shift (yes, there will be old stock on the shelves as people buy because it is on sale) and responding to the queues at the door at 6am.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has commented that the shops are responding to customers demand.  This is true, if people didn’t get up at 6am to queue on the high street the shops wouldn’t open, staff costs are high and many managers will not want only 1 day off but, profits on Boxing Day are high so they do.

The way to bring change, behaviour needs to change.  There are few out there who will get a buzz from finding what they wanted at full price now less than 50% off but others will not enjoy the stress and sometimes fights – yes, fights, remember the videos on social media in previous years of people storming in shops on Black Friday?  So why go out?

If you really needed an item you would purchase it at full price to avoid the risk of unavailability rather than wait just in case it may go on sale.  Yes, you are spending more but if it is worth it and you can’t live without it, spend per use will be lower than anything you buy on sale just because you may want it at that time.

To stop the shops opening, stay at home with your family, make more memories on the extra day that so many people do have as a Bank Holiday.  Fewer customers will mean fewer staff needing to work – fact.  You’ll save money and have more time to do what you enjoy most.

I’d love to hear peoples views and thought on this, do you agree and have signed the petition or do you go out every year and enjoy it as an event?  

If you can relate to feeling disorganised, please get in touch via E-mail or phone to discuss how I can help.

National Organise Week 7th – 13th November – Day 5 / Tip 5

Thanks all for watching my clips, I’d love to hear how you have all been getting organised this week.  Send feedback, pictures and information on what you have done or, if you are already organised do you have tips to share?

Today is all about finding everything a home, to easily find things and be happy with what you have in your home, everything should have a place – from the cans in the cupboard to your favourite pair of shoes!

Have a watch and let me know what you think.  Today starring my 1 year old….

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Feel like you can relate and need help getting more organised at home or work?  Please get in touch via e-mail or phone and let me know how I can help give you more spare time!

NOWOrganise Week 7th – 13th November Day 4 / Tip 4

Thanks to all for watching my videos this week.  Please let me know how organised you are, whether you’ve tried any of the tips I’ve sent and send before and after pictures.  I love to see how others are organised as it means different things to different people.

Today is all about asking for help and using your strengths to make the most of your time.

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If you can relate and need help organising, get in touch via E-mail or phone to discuss how we can work together to organise your home or work.

NOWOrganise Week 7th-13th November Day 3 / Tip 3

Today I was at Glasswells in Bury St Edmunds with Hammonds Furniture so recorded my tip there.

Have a watch and let me know which rooms in your house have lost their function.


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If you can relate and need help organising, get in touch via E-mail or phone to discuss how we can work together to organise your home or work. 

National Organise Week 7-13th November Tip 2

As you may have seen yesterday I am videoing a tip a day on how to be more organised!

Apologies  to anyone sensitive and my slight camera wobbles, I’m learning everyday when it comes to recording!

Please take the time to have a look and let me know how you get on, I love to hear from people!


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If these tips are helping you and you would like to be even more organised, please get in touch to discuss how I can help E-mail me or Call me

NOWOrganise Week 7-11th November 2016 – Day 1

As promised, here is my first tip of the week to help you with some Monday motivation for National Organised Week.  Look out for a new one each day to help you become more organised at home or work.

Watch the video and then take action, when you are sat rewarding yourself for becoming more organised let me know how you go on, be great to hear your feedback!

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Feel like you can relate to this and need some organisation help, get in touch via phone – 07772 773992 or e-mail – sarah@starfishorganisers.com If I am unable to help, I can find someone who can.

We provide an initial free consultation via phone or Skype or, visit for an hour for £25 + mileage which is redeemable against your first booking.

Never able to find that piece of paper you need?

Organising your office or, household admin is never the most interesting task to do but is necessary to avoid losing time or even money.

  • How much time do you spend looking for a key piece of paper, envelope, bill?
  • How often have you missed the deadline for a payment or replying to an invitation?
  • Have you ever overpaid for something purely because you’ve forgotten the renewal date?

If any of the above sounds familiar then you need to start to organise your paperwork-life, it doesn’t take long (even if you have a house rather than a desk-full) as you do not need to hold on to as much as you think you might.

I purchased a new file from Paperchase which holds all the important documents and is not a huge file so doesn’t take up a lot of room and you can add additional tabs if required. The standard labels are for the most obvious things but, everyone is different and has varying needs.

It is tempting to keep every piece of paper which looks vaguely important or has account details on or you feel you may need it ‘just in case’ but you definitely don’t.  There are certain dates you need certain copies of paperwork for (personally, look here for HMRC) and in business it is 5 years after the tax year – most companies recommend 7 years to be sure.

Most things can now be kept digitally with online accounts – electricity, gas, however, it would be wise to always keep backups so I would recommend always keeping your most current copies of any bills in case of errors – need I comment here about checking each of them through thoroughly, mistakes are made! So, why not make a start today…..

  1. Find a space, a big space! Dining room table, kitchen worktop, living room floor
  2. Have a diary or calendar to hand, the one you use the most phone or old-school paper
  3. Get everything out! All the paperwork, unopened post, files you may already have
  4. Start some piles, work, personal, house, sentimental and have a bin at the end
  5. Go through methodically, throwing away any rubbish – empty envelopes etc – yes it sounds obvious but there is no need to keep rubbish
  6. Divide into your chosen piles, only keeping the most recent 2 personal bills after checking them and last year of household bills
  7. Make a note of dates for insurance renewals, contract dates with a reminder 2 weeks before to review and obtain quotes
  8. Once the big pile to sort has been sorted, start labelling and putting away into suitable folders
  9. Find a place to store the folders, where you can update and access as required, everyone is different – kitchen cupboards, office, under seat storage….you choose!

Now you have everything in place, keep on top of the pieces of paper.  As post arrives, open it, deal with it and remember to check your reminders to keep on top of your paperwork.  Then, you will always know where that piece of paper you were looking for is.

Feel like you can relate to this and need some organisation help, get in touch via phone – 07772 773992 or e-mail – sarah@starfishorganisers.com If I am unable to help, I can find someone who can.

We provide an initial free consultation via phone or Skype or, visit for an hour for £25 + mileage which is redeemable against your first booking.

My ideal home is on Pinterest, if only I could create it in real life – and not a Pinterest fail!

The P for procrastination, Pinterest.  Not heard of it? It’s the app to look at whilst you make yourself a cup of tea for 10 minutes, then the next thing you realise, your tea has gone cold and at least an hour has gone by…….. but, you’ve found your ideal home, every room in your home, planned every birthday, Christmas and halloween (even though you’ve never celebrated halloween in your life!)

Now, for home stuff when searching (if your home is anything like mine) you need to add “small” in the description as being mainly American you need a ranch or house in one of those cheesy family films to have rooms the size of the whole of my downstairs!  I started with a “house” board and now I have one for every room the only problem is actually getting stuff done.  It was different when having a tiny human as we had 9 months, a deadline and a plan for the room which gives you a bit more motivation to get the room how you would like it.

In normal circumstances you have the ideas and pass the room or job every day and just think you should really get that done, without a timeline, push, help, things don’t always get done, plans are not followed through and tasks are not completed.  This is where a personal organiser can help.  If you were building a house or a large extension you would have a planner or project manager to ensure tasks are completed and the job finished to your satisfaction, an organiser does this but on a small scale to work with you to ensure your home is finished to the standard you would expect – and make it your home!

We can declutter, tidy, put your possessions in order and find homes for things so you can find them again but we can also organise tradespeople to finish tasks, put up pictures and finish those small annoying jobs which you walk past everyday.  It may even be that you no longer notice them and have forgotten that the door handle will fall off it you pull it too much or until a visitor comes you realise you have to explain how to turn flush the loo properly.

Make a cuppa and grab a pen and pad, walk around from room to room and make notes in each of what tasks need finishing or doing full stop, what annoys you when you are sat in the bath or when you’re making the spare room up for guests write it down.  Alternatively, if it’s something that will take 5 minutes, do it straight away.  Once you’ve got your list, give a personal organiser a call to talk through.  We can give you an idea of costs and timelines to make your house your home and your sanctuary.

Feel like you can relate to this and need some organisation, get in touch via phone – 07772 773992 or e-mail – sarah@starfishorganisers.com If I am unable to help, I can find someone who can.

We provide an initial free consultation via phone or Skype or, visit for an hour for £25 + mileage which is redeemable against your first booking.