Isabelle de Grandpre’s children and friends used to jokingly call her the “Neat Freak” and so when she started out as a professional organiser, her nickname seemed the obvious choice for her business’ name. Isabelle works with private and corporate clients to help them organise their space and time in order to tailor-make a plan which will streamline their business systems or personal lives. Neat Freak also has an online shop offering products that make becoming organised simple and easy. As this is the season for cleansing and clearing out, we asked Isabelle to share her tips for Spring Cleaning:
- Ask yourself the question “What do I want?” The answer to this is very important in motivating you to implement change. It may be that you want to use the time you waste searching for misplaced items on playing with your children or that you want more space to display a treasured item.
- Clear everything out of the room. It is very difficult to organise amongst the existing clutter.
- Start by getting rid of things. There is no point in organising something which will be thrown out in the end. Decide what needs to go, what can be donated and what can be recycled.
- Group like with like. For example in a crafting studio, keep all the scrapbooking items together and in a kitchen, keep all the baking things in one place.
- Think about how the space is laid out. Does this furniture work in this room? Think about repurposing existing furniture you have in your home. It is easy to give an old chest of drawers or a filing cabinet a new lease on life with a lick of paint.
- Get things off the ground as much as possible. Use the inside of cupboard doors. In a bedroom for instance, get jewellery organisers which hang inside cupboard doors, or a small towel rail to hang your belts up. Think about adding an extra shelf to a bedside table. Think out of the box.
- Label, label, label. This is a cliché associated with professional organisers but there is method in the labeling madness: not only do you know where to find things, but everyone knows where to put something away and that is the key thing.
- Maintain your organisation by creating routines. Decide on a day when you are going to do something, such as filing or paying bills, and schedule it into your routine. There will be chaos in your home or office at times, but know where to put everything away once the chaos has died down. It is also essential to tidy fairly quickly instead of letting things build up to the point of needing to repeat the process. Put routines into place which will allow you to be lying on the beach somewhere this time next year instead of having to spring clean all over again.
- Don’t take on too much each day. Spring clean your time and diary as well! “No” is a full sentence and we should to use it more often in order to make time for the things which are important to us.
For more information, tips and the Neat Freak online store, go to neatfreak.co.za. Interviewed by Candice Botha