Stop buying stuff, do you really need it?

We all like to spend money and buy stuff whether it is because it makes us happy or we need it, I mean, really need it or is a distraction from something else.  However, if we only spent money on things we actually needed and had a purpose how much would be saved every year.

Every house could do with decluttering in some way.  Whether it is stuff, paperwork or even food, there will be a drawer, cupboard or room even that will need organising – even Monica in Friends had a cupboard full of stuff!

I have to admit I’m not a great shopper and cannot wander rounds shops all day.  I go in, buy what I need and leave.  That’s not to say that my house doesn’t need decluttering sometimes.

When looking around the house or even the room you are sat in now, have a think about what you may have which you either don’t like, use or have any sentimental feelings about.  There may be other reasons why those items are in the room but, if not, how do you feel about them?  Do they bother you? If so, they could be zapping your energy.  If not, then no worries – carry on!

Where you do have energy zappers they need to be addressed to make you feel better about life.  Mainly because life will be so much simpler without them.  Sounds crazy?  Imagine that feeling when you’ve sorted the washing pile or dishes and cleaned up, it’s the same feeling when you’ve cleared items that bring nothing to each day.

The simplest way is to not buy stuff but where is the fun in that? Another way is to sort through what you have already (possibly finding things you forgot you had along the way – I met someone who forgot they had a 20ft yacht, true story!) go through everything in the house, breaking the house down room by room and getting rid of things which do not meet one of the 3 criteria mentioned above.  If you are unsure about anything then box it up to put in the loft to think about it again in 6 months time.

When getting rid of things, have a think about where stuff can go.  Can you sell them? Should they go to charity or are there things that just need to go in the bin.  Obviously anything that can be sold is a bonus as it is money you don’t have!

Once you’ve gone through everything which could be from kitchen utensils to clothes then work out where the gaps are, what you need, what are you missing?  Or, if you have managed to sell something, use the money to treat yourself!  Don’t go out and buy mindless stuff as this will lead to cluttering again.

I’ve found that thinking about purchases and deciding how much they are actually needed has saved us money.  We have either not purchased something as actually we didn’t need it in the first place or, found a substitute in something we already owned.  So many purchases are not thought about or, bought on a whim – yes, we own a drone.  No idea why and it’s been used twice in a year so is now cluttering up the spare room and bothers me every time I go in there.

Have a think, look around and I promise, if you got rid of things that are not useful, sentimental or not liked you will feel so much better about your home.

Don’t run out of coffee on a Monday morning

There’s a lot of stigma around the food shop still which always surprises me as the weekly food shop at Tesco on a Saturday morning is a thing of the past in our house.  There is so much variety now in terms of shops, food, opening times, ways to shop – you don’t even have to step foot in a shop anymore!

It’s changed but many peoples habits haven’t.  I grew up with a weekly shop at the local Co-op. (who have interestingly changed their marketing strategy to not be a full shop but I digress) Then, every 4 weeks there were the bigger items, washing powder, toilet roll, tea bags and coffee.  This is fine as we had storage space but some people don’t, nor do they drive to be able to bring a massive shop home.

You don’t want the above to happen though, running out of coffee – or tea if you are a tea drinker, that’s the worst!  When I visited a house and they had run out of coffee it made me think about this post. Also, when you’ve put the kids to bed, the other half is out and you have the sofa and TV to yourself, bliss, until you fancy some chocolate / ice cream / family bag of crisps, but there’s none in the house and the baby monitor doesn’t reach as far as the shops! Bad times.

This is where organising your shop comes in.  I’m not talking the weekly shop, same food, same list so you find yourself having spaghetti bolognaise again for the 4th time in 2 weeks because it’s just easy and that’s what you buy I’m talking being slightly more organised and creative than that.  Plus the more organised you are the more money you save! Win-win!

So, how do you do it?  It depends how organised you want to be and how far you want to go so tailor and adapt the below to what works for you.

  • What are your shopping priorities?  Being quick / cheap / on a diet / no time at all or, being fresh / local / having lots of storage space?  This gives you where and how you should shop – examples as below :
No time to shop? Order online, yes, the first time takes a while but after that favourites remembered – bonus!
Quick or no storage? Local shop like the Co-op, Tesco express or shop on your way home from work as and when you need bits
On a diet / meal planning or prep? One place, online or visit but with a full list and weekly meal plan done first
Save money / cheapest Aldi, Lidl, market and then local shop for the bits they don’t stock
  • Then, organise your cupboards.  Everyone has that tin / box of custard in the back dated 2010, if you know where everything is and use it regularly you will not waste food or space in the back.
  • When you put your food shop away, think of where the products need to be, don’t hide anything new as you’ll soon forget it is there, back to the above.
  • Keep a list going, we have a chalk board as we get near the end of things – or, add to your online account even better!!
  • Keep a meal plan, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy or for a specific diet but it means you can work out how much you need to avoid wasted food and money.
  • Overcook and freeze portions for those nights you just can’t be bothered – just remember to label them as no matter what you think you will forget what it is and freezer roulette is not as exciting as it sounds.
  • Buy in bulk if you have storage and what is on offer if you will use it – any offers on things which go out of date before you use them is a rubbish offer!

So the main thing is plan and be organised, Yes I would say that and yes you do have the time – remember that “lost” hour on Facebook?? I can help get you started from an hour just that one time to monthly or even weekly, if you don’t do any of the above you may find you even save more than you expect with my time!


What is a personal organiser?

My business is split into 2, organising for home and business.  The business side is sort of easier as I explain and sell myself as a virtual assistant which most people have now heard of but then need a little more explanation of what I do.  The home side always requires a little more explaining.

There are still many people who are unaware that personal organisers exist and we do, there is even an Association of us – check out APDO UK to see just how many, where they are and who does it.  In the main we do the same thing – help you get organised but each person is slightly different in what they help with or specialise in.   I’ll leave you to have a google and research the site to see what everyone else does as they will tell you better than me but what I do is below.

Most people get in contact through my website or social media.  From there I arrange to visit them or Skype depending on what they require.  I specialise in moving house and bereavement.  I can help organise things from the kitchen drawer (you know the one!) where you can never find what you’re looking for but it’s always full to a whole house or garage.  I can also help organise the household paperwork including diarising and working with people to ensure they are not over paying for anything.

When I make the initial visit which is normally 30-45minutes we discuss what is needed help with, how long I think it will take or, how long the client wants help for and how much it will cost.  I am not there to judge and have even shared pictures of my house and rooms before and after I organised them – this, in the main has been due to inheriting collections and items following bereavement.  We decide what the end goal is and how the client would like the area to look after I have visited to ensure I can meet expectations.

When I visit which is normally in blocks of 3 hours, I can work longer but normally people feel that this is enough for one day, we make a start on the drawer or room which needs sorting.  Yes, the client has to be there so they can tell me what needs keeping, binning, donating to charity or an “other” pile.  There is always an “other” pile depending on the room, things which belong to someone else, things which need repair……

Just because we are decluttering and organising the room does not mean that we throw everything away, I am not there to turn you into a minimalist, I’m not, and do not expect anyone else to be unless they want to and that is their end goal.  It is going through things quickly and effectively to decide where they should live – if everything has a home you will find it easier next time – remember that drawer??

I specialise in bereavement as going through inheritance or a someone else house is never easy.  I can take an outside view on it without the emotion but having done it 4 times myself over the past year I fully understand what the client is going through and work with them as they need it.  The same as moving house, it is such a big life event that doing it alone or alongside others in the same situation can be a bit too stressful, I work with you to remove that stress.

It is a team effort between myself and the client, it isn’t just for celebrities or the rich, you can have a personal assistant too and that can be me.  You don’t need to tell anyone, you can be that organised person who seems to have every plate spinning perfectly at the same time – we definitely all have too many plates!

So get in touch, by social media, e-mail, text, phone call or quickly complete the below and I’ll call you! Even if you just want more information or advice, I am here to help make your life easier.