Posted by: Sara | February 3, 2012

Declutter Linen Closet Challenge

Professional organiser Sara Hall from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services sets a linen closet declutter challengeI was recently shown a picture of a reorganised linen closet.  The towels were all beautifully aligned and colour coded and it look fabulous, the only thing was, the closet was very full and would be hard to keep tidy.

If this is you (or you just have a very full linen closet organised or not) – I have a linen closet declutter challenge…will you take it?

The challenge is, to find an unused container and put half of the towels in it, and label it (could be just a temporary label by writing on a piece of masking tape and sticking it on the container).  Put the container out of sight and put a reminder in your diary for a month or so.

Alternatively, you could use one of the shelves and put half of your towels on one out of reach shelf.  Put a label on the shelf saying not to use that shelf (or using masking tape, put a couple of strips of tape diagonally across the shelf breaching it so it is hard to get towels without breaking the tape). And put a reminder in your diary for a month or so.

The question is, after the month is up if you didn’t run out of towels and still have enough spares for visitors and the odd unexpected use, do you need the number of towels you have?

The reason I am suggesting this, is it will make it so much easier to keep organised and the 80/20 rule usually applies to towels (we only use about 20% of the towels that we have, so even if you added another 30% for just in case, there would still be enough).

Up to you, would you like to take the challenge 🙂

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Posted by: Sara | February 2, 2012

Organising Christmas cards

Professional Organiser, Sara Hall from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services gives tips on keeping Christmas cards Professional Organiser Sara Hall from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services gives tips on keeping Christmas cards

I was recently asked for advice on keeping Christmas cards.

With your Christmas cards, first of all have a look at the cards and decide whether it’s really worth keeping them:

  1. Is there a nice personal message in the card or is it a generic message with a signature?  I would suggest only keeping the cards that have a personal message with special meaning to you
  2. Are you keeping the card because you like the design of the card or because of the person that sent it to you?  If you are keeping the card because of the design, what will you use it for?  If you are using them to make gift tags next year, tear off the image and store with your Christmas wrapping paper ready to use next year.
  3. Have you kept cards from previous years?  How often do you look at them and how many do you have?  It is great to look back on a past and remember good times but sometimes we feel the need to keep hold of too much and then we are less likely to enjoy them because we are overwhelmed by the amount of sentimental things we have kept hold of.  Keeping a select few with special meaning will bring much more joy.

For the ones you want to keep, there are different ways you can organise the cards – you could scrap book them, keep them in a memorabilia box or scan them to keep a digital record and throw the physical card out.

Many people keep memorabilia scattered around their homes getting ratty and torn.  A memorabilia box is a great way to keep all your sentimental items in one place and safe.  If you like the idea and don’t have one, first of all think about where you will keep the box, if it’s in the house because you often look at your memorabilia than consider buying a decorative box that goes with your decor.  If you will be storing the box away, than it will need to be water-proof and air-tight.  If you have photos going into this box, make sure the box is acid free so that your photos will be preserved.

One way of making sure your memorabilia doesn’t get out of hand is to decide on a maximum, for example if you have children, having one container for each child.  When the box is full, something has to go before something else can be added.

If you decide to keep them in a memorabilia box, and have Christmas cards and greeting cards spanning over years, I recommend you first group them together by person you have received them from.  If you have a lot from one person – have a reread of point 3 and make sure you really want to keep all of them.

Group cards by person or year and tie a ribbon around them  or find a small box to keep them all together before putting them in the memorabilia box.

If you have any questions, pop it in the comment box below and I will get back to you.

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of sentimental items you have, we can help.  Simply contact Finer Details if you want friendly professional help decluttering/organising your home or office.

For a bit of humour, check out Kevin James view on greeting cards

Organising digital photos

tips by professional organiser, Sara Hall

Back in the 60’s a few million film photos were snapped worldwide, with an estimated 55% being of babies.

Nowadays, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world have a digital camera.  According to the Canon Consumer Digital Lifestyle Index, the average Australian takes 111 photos a month, averaging out to around 4 a day.

For many people, photos can end up being stored in a myriad of places with names varying from the generated name to whatever pops into our heads.

If this is you, there are 2 things you can do:

  • buy software to organise your photos. Creative Memories Memory Manager 3.0 Software is one of them. Click on the link to check this out.
  • follow my steps below on how to get your photos organised.  And there are tips at the end.

Steps to getting your photos organised

  1. Start a folder called ‘temp photos’ on whichever computer system you would like to store your photos on.
  2. Move all your photos into the ‘temp photos’ folder – remember to check, laptops, computers, tablets, cameras and phones.
  3. If you have a computer generated ‘my Pictures’ folder, this would be the best place to keep all your photos, otherwise generate a folder where all your photos will be stored permanently.
  4. If you are using the ‘my pictures’ folder and there are already photos in there, move them to the ‘temp photos’ folder.
  5. Decide on main categories to divide your photos into within your main ‘My Pictures’ folder.   I have 3 folders – ‘Business’, ‘Perth’ and ‘Trips’.  Everyone thinks and works differently so it is important that we come up with categories that make sense to us and will work for our own situation.
  6. To make it easier to find photos quickly, it is a good idea to then create sub-folders for photos to be stored in within each folder.
  7. tips by professional organiser, Sara HallDecide on a naming policy for your sub-folders and photos. For my folders I use the date backwards and the description of the event.  This way the folders can be sorted by date order. For naming my photos, if it’s a trip (or an event that is longer than a day) I have the date backwards – location – description (eg 20101105-Shoal Bay-Nick_Charlie fishing) and if it’s just a one day thing, I have location – description (Floreat Kiosk-Sara_Lyn)
  8. Tips from professional organiser, Sara HallOpen both your ‘temp photos’ and ‘my pictures’ (or whatever name you decide for your permanent folder), reduce the folders down until they are both visible on the screen.
  9. Create your main folders in the permanent folder.
  10. Set the view of your temp photos folder to ‘large icons’ so that you can see what each photo is for and start to drag them into the relevant folder within your permanent folder.
  11. Once your ‘temp photos’ folder is empty, delete this folder and start to organise each main folder into subfolders.  The easiest way I have found to do this, is to open the folder twice.
  12. For Window users, you can do this by clicking on the start button and clicking on documents and navigating to the relevant folder and then repeating the exercise.  Reduce the folders down until they are both visible on the screen.  So for example, I would open my ‘Perth’ folder twice.
  13. Tips from professional organiser, Sara HallChange the view on the right hand side folder to ‘list’ and leave the other view as ‘large icons’. start to create folders in the right hand folder.  We do this because if you have a lot of photos you will need to cut, scroll down and paste, this way you can scroll down to the folders in the right hand side window and have the individual photos visible in the left hand view of the folder.
  14. Grab each photo individually from the left hand folder and place in relevant folder on the right hand side.
  15. Keep going until all the loose photos you want to file are in a folder.
  16. Go through each sub-folder and name your photos, using your naming convention.  Do it systematically so that you don’t get in a muddle.
  17. Once you have finished one main folder, start on the next, by following steps 12 to 16, until each main folder has sub-folders and named photos inside each one.
  18. Get in the habit of downloading photos, creating sub-folders and naming photos as soon as you can after each event, so that you don’t need to go through this process again.
  19. Back –up your photos on a regular basis!

Tips

tips from professional organiser, Sara HallBecause it is easy to keep digital photos, many people do not cull their photos and end up with e-clutter instead.  If you know the 80/20 rule (eg we use 20% of our things 80% of the time) – this rule applies to our photos!

On average only 20% of our photos are worth something to us.  For myself, I know that I don’t really look at photos of scenery, I am more interested in photos that have people in them (people I know and like).  So I made a rule  to only keep a couple of photos to set the scene and keep mostly ones of people.  This helps when taking photos and when culling photos.

What do you enjoy looking at and can you set rules to help you now and in the future?

As you start to put photos into subfolders, really look at what you are keeping and whether it is worth keeping them all.  Do you really need lots of photos of the same thing, and if you can’t remember where it was taken or who it is of, is it really worth keeping?

If you have a lot of photos and can’t be sure where or when it was taken, come up with some general sub-folders to put these in and then start using your naming convention for all new photos coming in.

Get into the habit of downloading photos regularly, filing them and clearing your memory cards.

Any questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you

If you have physical photos that need organising, contact us to find out about our ‘hands-on photo sorting’ workshops.

Posted by: Sara | November 30, 2011

Have an organised and stress free Christmas

The lovely Brooke Evans-Butler recently asked me to share tips on how to take some of the overwhelm out of preparing for Christmas, for an article being published in The West Australian Habitat magazine this Friday (2nd December 2011).  As I have a habit of sharing too much and they won’t be able to mention all my tips in the article, I thought I would share the full list of tips with you in my blog.

I was careful not to share the same tips as the ones mentioned in Habitat in 2010 and  2009 (click on the pictures below to read the articles) – although a couple snuck in there!

Sara Hall, Professional Organiser from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services asked for Christmas organising tips

The West Australian 2010 Habitat article 'Stress-free Christmas countdown'

Sara Hall, Professional Organiser from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services is asked to give Christmas tips

The West Australian 2009 Habitat article 'Christmas-proof your home'

And I’m also once again offering my free Finer Details Christmas organiser (and e-newsletters) – just email me at admin@finerdetails.com.au if you would like to receive these 🙂

Here are this year’s tips for having an organised and stress free Christmas…

Decluttering your home

Sara Hall, Professional Organiser from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services gives tips for an organised, decluttered, stress free ChristmasStart early!  Make a list of everything you want to achieve before Christmas and break each tasks down into small steps.  Divide your rooms up and tackle them area by area.  Even 15 minutes a day will make a difference, if you stay focused and don’t get side tracked. Allocating the time on your calendar will help with the planning.

Declutter by separating items into what you want to keep, throw away, donate or sell.  At the end of each week (at the least!), take your donate items to your favourite charity – get them out of your home before Christmas!

Here are some suggestions of what you can achieve in 15 minutes:

Grab a rubbish bag and quickly declutter your pantry, fridge and freezer – get rid of out of date and old food items, empty bottles, items you no longer use and make room for Christmas items.

Get the spare room ready for guests – take 15 minutes to declutter the floor and surfaces and then allocate the next session to drawers, then cupboards etc until the whole room is decluttered and freshened.

Declutter your handbag and wallet – get rid of unused loyalty cards, scraps of paper, unneeded receipts

Purchasing gifts, wrapping gifts/organising and sending cards

Sara Hall, Professional Organiser from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services gives tips for an organised, decluttered, stress free ChristmasGo through your contact lists and start a spreadsheet of who you will be sending cards to and giving presents to (or use our free Finer Details Christmas organiser to do this) . Do you have a list from last year or do you need to start one from scratch.

If you receive Christmas cards from someone this year who wasn’t on your list – add them now, at least you won’t forget them next year!  If you get any ‘return to sender’ – make note to get their new address.

Think about your Christmas cards – will it include a family update, photos, invitations? Draft up a letter and recheck it in a couple of days before writing it up.

If you have a really long list of cards to send, break the lists down into categories, like friends, businesses, overseas, family and tackle one category at a time.

List all the occasions you will need gifts for – don’t forget dinner, office party host gifts, Chris cringles and stocking fillers.

Brainstorm ideas for Christmas gifts for each person and make a list of ideas, especially if you are the ‘go to person’ for gift ideas (if this is you, make a note of who is buying which gift so that the gift receiver doesn’t end up with lots of the same thing).  Note down dress or shoe sizes for clothing, also note things like favourite colours, animals etc.

It’s important not to forget yourself in the list, how often do you think of things you would really like, but when you get asked the question, not one idea comes to mind!

Also think about getting a couple of extra generic gifts you can have in, just in case an occasion occurs where you need a gift.

If you have gifts to send overseas, note the sending date on your calendar, as these will need to be sent earlier.  Here are Australia Post’s deadlines

Consider buying experiences, like a balloon ride, dinner, zoo keeper for the day, whale watching rather than physical items.

Designate a drawer or cupboard to gifts and keep wrapping paper, cellotape, scissors, ribbons, gift tags and a nice pen in with the gifts.   If you have a lot of ribbon reels, use a paper towel dispenser to store them on.  This can be used all year, and is great to make sure you don’t get double ups or end up finding gifts after Christmas!  An under the bed container is also great for keeping wrapping paper and gift wrapping paraphernalia in.

Create a simple spreadsheet for recording gifts received so that on Christmas day, all you need to do is grab the spreadsheet and jot down what was received by whom to make sending thank your cards later a breeze.

Sara Hall, Professional Organiser from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services gives tips for an organised, decluttered, stress free ChristmasWrapping paper tips:

  • An easy and quick way to wrap gifts that looks fantastic – Buy plain white boxes to put the gifts in and decorate with a strip of festive wrapping paper and a ribbon, both wrapped around the centre of the box.
  • Buy a second hand or cheap children’s Christmas illustrated book and use the pages as wrapping paper for smaller items.
  • For gifts that are too big to wrap and put under the tree, either wrap a toy/model size version or an accessory (like a remote) instead
  • If you run out of paper, use alfoil.  Keep the alfoil flat and uncreased, fold over the edges to make it look neat before wrapping the gift and decorating with ribbon.
  • For large gifts – buy a festive disposable table cloth to use as wrapping paper.

If you want more tips, check out  my blog from last year where I extended my tips given for the countdown to Christmas Habitat article – Getting organised for Christmas

Have a fantastic Christmas and if you would like  friendly professional help organising your home or office, simply contact Finer Details

Shannon Bush interviewing Sara Hall from Finer Details Personal Concierge Services on Eradicate the Overwhelm of Clutter (in your life and business) and Breeze through your day Feeling Free, Clear and Focused

I’m so excited!  Tomorrow (26th October 2011) Shannon Bush will be interviewing me on Eradicate the Overwhelm of Clutter (in your life and business) and Breeze through your day Feeling Free, Clear and Focused.

Click here to sign up to listen to my interview tomorrow!

This is almost the end of Shannon’s eight week content rich COMPLIMENTARY weekly interviews, but if you’re only just joining and have missed out on the other interviews – that’s ok, Shannon has recorded each one and by signing up, you can listed to all of the recordings 🙂

The line up…

Wednesday 17th September – Turning Converstations into Clients: How to get a resounding YES to your programs and services in one conversation regardless of price! with Barb Wade

Wednesday 14th September – Stop Procrastinating….. Start Earning! with Carrie Greene

Wednesday 21st September – Finding Your Authentic Voice: How Knowing What Makes You an Expert Opens the Doors to More Clients, More Money and Greater Opportunities with Katy Tafoya

Wednesday 28th September – Effortless Success: How to Embrace the Gift of Conscious Empowerment to Make More Money, Connect with Your Right Clients and Grow Your Business with Shannon Bush

Wednesday 5th October – Powerful Personal Branding So You Can Get Noticed, Hired & Paid What You’re Worth, INSTANTLY! with Annemarie Cross

Wednesday 12th October – The Right-Brain Business Plan – How to Leverage Your Creative Genius with Jennifer Lee

Wednesday 19th October – How to Ignite Your Business Mojo by Uncovering Your Unique Entrepreneurial Mindset with Lenore Miller

Wednesday 26th October – Eradicate the Overwhelm of Clutter (in your life and business) and Breeze through your day Feeling Free, Clear and Focused with Sara Hall

Click here to visit the website and sign up to listen to these amazing free webinars!

I was sat in the hairdressers the other day, listening to the normal chit-chat and got drawn to a conversation across the room.  A young woman was chatting to her councillor/confidant/hairdresser about how far away her new boyfriend lived.  And that she never stayed over anymore because it was too much of a hassle and stressful – amongst other things she found it too hard to remember what she needed to take, and going straight to work in the morning was a nightmare as she always forgot something.

Finer Details Personal Concierge Services - professional decluttering and organising servicesI was drawn to this conversation because I can completely relate to the situation.  My partner lives nearly an hour away and I’ve recently started to spend some weekends up there.  At first it was a nightmare for me too, getting ready after a long week, rushing to pack because I wanted to get there before dinner on a Friday night and always forgetting something!

 

Our lives are fluid and forever changing, my tip to anyone whose life circumstances have changed, is to sit down, access what has changed and think about what will make life easier – sounds simple, but how many of us do this?  Whether it’s starting uni, marriage, divorce, a career change, moving, starting a new business,  living arrangements changing or something else – it’s these times in our lives where life can start to get even more complicated and staying organised becomes challenging.  And it’s also a time where we can start to accumulate clutter – holding onto things from the past that are no longer as important to us, but either not recognising it or having an attachment to the way things were and not being ready to let go.

Finer Details Personal Concierge Services - professional decluttering and organising servicesMy change wasn’t that complicated and my simple solution for my situation was to create a checklist.  I wrote down everything I could think of that I might need, created an excel spreadsheet and added things as I remembered them until I had a comprehensive list.  Now, 6pm comes on a Friday that I am going up to Quinns Rocks, the checklist comes out and it takes me less than 15 minutes to pack.  The checklist also contains reminders of things I want to do before I leave, like wash my sheets, turn all the power points off and divert the home phone to my mobile.

If something has recently changed in your life, what simple habits or processes could you add to support the new change, before things get out of hand or it becomes too hard?

If you’ve had a change in your circumstances and need a helping hand – please don’t feel alone, overwhelmed, or stressed by the situation – we can help.  Simply contact Finer Details if you want friendly professional help decluttering/organising your home or office.

Finer Details Personal Concierge Services – decluttering and organising now servicing the Quinns Rocks and surrounding area, on selected Fridays and Mondays 😉

Posted by: Sara | September 6, 2011

Finer Details Photo Sorting Workshop

Finally get your treasured photo memories sorted….

Commit one day and enjoy a lifetime of memories.

After visiting many homes and seeing photos, those treasured memories stuck in boxes, drawers, cupboards getting ratty and torn.  Not looked at and creating clutter….

We’ve listened to your feedback on the problems with organising photos, we know your time is precious as are your memories, and we have the solution!

Click here to secure one of our limited spots

Workshop outline

Join Perth’s de-clutter queen in this hands-on workshop, and in one day you will finally get your photos in order.  Sara will guide you through sorting and organising your photos.

1.You will have support and a de-clutter expert guiding you
2.You will not get distracted by other things or go down ‘memory lane’
3.I will share tips on how to showcase your photos
4.You will finally get this project finished!
Click here to secure one of our limited spots

Logistics

Location: Tuart College

Time: 9.30am – 4pm

Date: Saturday 24th September

Cost: $229 (includes a decorative archival photo box valued at $50)

We are keeping the class small and only have limited spaces, so first in best dressed!

Click here to secure one of our limited spots

Simplifying your life

Finer Details Personal Concierge Services

Website: www.finerdetails.com.au

Email: admin@finerdetails.com.au

Tel: 08 9275 2576

Posted by: Sara | September 5, 2011

Thinking outside the box with advertising

As Professional organisers and a Personal Concierge service, Finer Details consultants often need to think outside the box.
I love these examples sent to me by email of creative advertisers doing the same thing in their industry…

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

www.finerdetails.com.au loves these example of thinking outside the box, as professional organisers and personal concierge it's what we do in our business!

If you have a project or task on your to-do list that needs a bit of thinking outside the box, simply contact Finer Details for friendly professional personal concierge services or professional organising help.

Posted by: Sara | August 19, 2011

Organising paperwork for small projects or events

I would like to share with you a really easy way to organise paperwork for small projects or events.  I’ve just finished organising some paperwork for a client, and  the system I used would work well for most small projects or events.

So what sort of paperwork might you have, that you could use this system for?  It might be something on-going or one-off.  To give you some examples, they might be one-off projects, like a small home make-over or a party.  Or paperwork for something on-going, like a medical issue, a pet or paperwork you might have scattered around your house that all fall under one category (like manuals and instruction books).

The following tutorial has been broken down into steps:

  1. The issue;
  2. Sorting the paperwork;
  3. Organising the paperwork;
  4. What you need to create this system;
  5. Another way to use this system.

So can you relate with the following senario in this clip?

The first step to organising your paperwork is to sort.  As you go through this step, really have a look at the paperwork and make sure you need everything.  Look out for double-ups or paperwork that has been superseded (like a contract that has been updated) and throw away (or shred if the paperwork has personal information) anything you no longer want or need.  I have already done this step with my client before taking it away to be organised.

In this next clip, I show you a really easy way to sort your paperwork:

After sorting and purging.  The next step is to organise the paperwork:

In this next clip I show you what you need to get to create this system at home – the shopping list:

And in this final clip I show you how to use this system for manuals and instruction books:

If you have any questions or want any advice on sorting your paperwork, I would love to hear from you.

All too hard? Simply contact Finer Details if you want friendly professional help organising your home or office.

Posted by: Sara | July 12, 2011

Sara Hall features in Fernwood Fitness magazine

I was recently interviewed for a  Fernwood Fitness magazine article.  We all know that being fit and healthy has many benefits, but have you ever thought about the benefits on our wellbeing when we de-clutter?  Clutter not only causes obstructions in our homes and offices, it also effects our mental and physical wellbeing.

I was asked to comment on how clutter impacts the well-being of our Finer Details’ clients.  The article ‘A Clean slate’ was featured in the May/June 2011 edition of the Fernwood Fitness magazine and also includes my de-cluttering tips.  To read the article, click on the picture below.

Simply contact Finer Details if you want friendly professional help organising your home or office.

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