Set yourself up for success when starting a photo organising project

Hi, Chantal from Photos In Order here.

Today, I want to encourage you to take some time to set yourself up for success if you are starting a photo organising project.

What do I mean by that? I mean that it is worth creating a work space that is not only functional but that ideally, you like spending time in.

Let’s start by looking at this when you plan to work on your printed physical photos. Let’s say you want to digitise your prints. Ideally, you would start by gathering all your photos, be they lose, in albums, framed and so on. You can already imagine that this will need some space. That means, you will need at least one table to spread out. When I did that, we worked in the spare room and also used the guest bed to make year piles. Ideally, you can work in a space that is light, clean, friendly and as dust free as possible and not draughty. You don’t want the wind blowing away your photos.

If you have pets such as cats, it would be good to be in a space that they can’t access. The last thing you want is the cat walking all over your sorted photo piles, let alone leaving hair all over the place.

Then there is some equipment you will need, such as a rubbish bag and a recycling bin, index cards, photo safe pencils and certainly boxes or zip lock bags to store your photos in temporarily.

Depending on your project and your photos, you will need even more.

So, that’s the printed photos.

When you are working with your digital photos, it is a bit easier since you will not need so much space. Again, working in a nice room will surely help but also to have a computer that is up for the job. If your computer is very old or running out of space, it will be frustratingly slow when you are working with your photos. Sometimes I come to clients who haven’t upgraded their computers and programs in years and that doesn’t help either. Make sure that everything is up-to-date. It will make the job a lot easier.

Happy photo organising and see you next time!

How I lost and recovered my photos!

You will not believe what happened to me!

Very shortly after doing that Facebook Live session talking about the 3-2-1 backup method I accidentally dropped my external hard drive on which I store my photo collection or hub as we call it. I kid you not, I’m not making this up!

Imagine my shock, when I realised that the drive doesn’t show up at all when I plug it into my computer. Plus it makes that clicking noise, never a good sign.

At this point, I was grateful for two things:

  1. It was my own drive and not one of my client’s
  2. I knew the drive is 100 % backed up with Backblaze

So, no need to stress out and panic (I don’t even want to start imagining how it would have felt if I hadn’t had a backup …). Thanks to using the 3-2-1-backup-method, all I had to do is to go to my Backblaze account and restore the drive with a few clicks. Because it’s so much data, I am not downloading the restored files from the cloud but Backblaze does that and sends me a new external drive with all my photos. I haven’t made this up, it really happened and you can imagine how grateful I am to using this cloud backup service. It’s really affordable and soooo worth it.

Using the 3-2-1 backup method I of course have another backup on another external hard drive. However, I don’t backup daily to that drive. I could have restored everything from there but would have lost a few hours worth of work that I had invested to work on our photo collection over the past weekend. Hence, I decided to get the 100 % restore drive back from Backblaze.

Here is the link if you would like to try it out for free (2 weeks). And yes, it is an affiliate link but I’m not sharing this to make money but because I care about your photos and I don’t want you to experience the same without having a backup of your most precious memories.

Go to Backblaze

3-2-1 Backup Method for Digital Photos

Are you worried you might lose your precious digital photos and videos?

In our photo organising industry the saying goes that it is not a question of if it ever happens but when. In this day and age we have to expect that we will lose digital data sooner or later. And that of course includes photos and videos, that are so close to our hearts and very precious. So why is it, that we are not always making sure that they memories are safe at all times?

Yes, we are all time-poor and lead very busy lives. Today, I’d like to share the industry standard for backing up your photos: the 3-2-1 backup method! It is nothing difficult, it doesn’t require a lot of time or any fancy setups. Yes, it will cost some money but hey, restoring a computer, a phone or an external hard drive is muuuuch more expensive! And we’re talking about precious photos, so let’s keep them save.

Watch this recorded Facebook Live video and learn how easy the 3-2-1 backup method really is.

If you are interested in trying out Backblaze, you can sign up here for a free account and a 2-week trial (affiliate link): Backblaze

THE best New Year’s resolution for photos!

If you pick one New Year’s resolution, pick this one!

Best Ever New Year's Resolution for Photos

Do you do New Year’s resolutions? Have you maybe even thought of a resolution with regards to your photos?

Personally, I have given up on New Year’s resolution long ago because it simply doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried many years, but nothing really sticks. After a few weeks – the latest – they all go out the window. Which of course makes me feel like a failure, not a nice feeling. Can you relate?

Instead, I like to keep things real. Yes, I do want to improve in many different areas of my life. And photo management is a very important area, too. Not only professionally, as a photo organiser, but of course also for our personal photos. However, I had many plans over the years but I still struggle to keep up. Time is just flying and before I know it, another 6 months have passed and I haven’t done much with my own photos.

Decluttering and organising is of course a very popular New Year’s resolution and mind you, I have nothing against this at all. However, let’s stop and think for a minute … why do we have to declutter and organise in the first place? Yes, we have too much stuff! That’s true for photos, too. We are drowning in photos. We are overwhelmed by the amount of photos and often also the technology and the speed of its development. We are time-poor and there it is … the photo chaos is complete and out of control!

There are many ways to get the photos back under your control, decluttered and neatly organised. Today though, I would like to encourage you to focus on the very first step in the photo management process – so to speak. Yes, you guessed right, it’s about taking photos!

A warning: chances are that you will not like what I’m about to ask you! Building a new habit and changing behaviour is usually a hard thing to do. So, if we think of changing anything, let’s think about what new habit will have the biggest ripple effect.

Let’s nip photo clutter in the bud and think twice before taking a photo! 

Think about why you are taking that photo, what are you going to do with it, will it be of interest in the long run? Thinking about these things will most probably change your habit and before you know it, you will take fewer photos.

Pick this one habit and it will help you long-term 

The positive ripple effect of course is that you will

  • have to spend less time managing these photos,
  • need less digital storage on your devices and in the cloud, hence
  • will spend less money for storage.

Another benefit might be that the overwhelm is not quite as big and chances are that you actually enjoy doing something with your photos, for example photo books. Or – if you have children – think about your legacy. They will be grateful one day if they have to deal with less photos that don’t mean anything to them.


Now, if you just can’t see yourself taking fewer photos, you could tweak this habit and set some rules for yourself, e.g. delete some after you have posted them to your social media account/s. Or save screenshots in Evernote rather than your camera roll because they don’t really belong to the family photos, do they?

I hope these thoughts encourage you to fight photo clutter before it even starts. 

I’d of course love to hear what you think about taking fewer photos. Is this realistic for you? If not, why not? What are you struggling with most? Please don’t be shy and ask away or share your experience with us on Facebook or email me at 

Add up to 5,000 items to a Shared Album (Mac/iPhone)

Shared Albums in iCloud

Did you know you can add 5,000 items to a shared album on your Mac or iPhone? That’s a lot.
Personally, I don’t need or want to access my entire photo collection on my phone (I’m not using iCloud Photo Library but download my phone photos manually to my Mac). Instead, I like to use shared album for photos I want to see on my phone. Maybe from a holiday or often it’s business related. I add the photos to a shared album and then delete them off the phone.

Apple Photos discontinues its Printing Services – How to still order from Your Photos Library using Mimeo

If you are an Apple Photos user you might have heard the news that Apple is discontinuing their printing services. This is a real shame, I have always liked their products. The photo books and other products such as cards are very easy to create and to order. As a Swiss living in Australia I especially liked the fact that I could have calendars printed in Switzerland as gifts for our Swiss relatives and have them sent directly to their address.

However, no reason to panic! Apple has teamed up with third-party apps and you can still order your print products from within Apple Photos :-). All you need to do is to install these apps, which is a matter of  minutes. If you want to order printed products, you will need to install Mimeo Photos, which you can do from within Photos. Once you have it ready to go, you’ll see it is just as easy as it was before to create your print products.

I haven’t ordered a book yet from Mimeo but I am expecting that the quality will be the same as it was before.

Here is a short tutorial for you about how to install Mimeo – or other integrated apps such as Wix, Whitewall or GoodTimes. Please note that Shutterfly is not available for Australian users.

Have fun creating new photo books or other keepsakes!

Update: I have in the meantime had an album printed and I am happy with the outcome and the service. The quality looks exactly the same as it always did with the Apple photo books … printing, paper, binding everything the same in my view. The only thing I could say is that the photos appear darker than they do on the screen. But this was always the case and also happens with other suppliers.


SmugMug buys Flickr – what does that mean for you and your photo collection?

Image SmugMug buys Flickr

You might have heard in the news that Flickr is being bought by SmugMug. What exactly does this mean for you if you have a Flickr account?

First of all, nothing will change at the moment, so no need to panic.

If you have a Flickr account, you won’t see any difference. You can use your usual login and do whatever you where able to do until now – as you would have been informed by email. What changes at the moment is the ownership. What SmugMug will do over time with Flickr we naturally don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.

Should you not agree with the change in ownership and choose to not have your account transferred to SmugMug, you will have to go to your Flickr account, download everything you want to keep and then delete your account in your account settings. This will have to be done by 25th May 2018. Should you need help with this, I’m more than happy to give you a hand – just call me on 0413 216 589.

However, if you’re not bothered about the ownership change, you don’t need to do anything. Your account will be transferred to SmugMug and their terms and conditions and privacy policy will come into force (read here:, and here:

While this all sounds kind of harmless, it is one of the reasons why companies and service providers like these shouldn’t be used as backup systems. At least these accounts shouldn’t be your only backup. It is entirely out of our control what they do and how it affects our content. Whilst they absolutely do have a place (I often use and like SmugMug), we shouldn’t rely on them heavily and stay in control of our photos.



A Family Photo Project: How I Tackled the Sorting and Digitising of our Family Photos

'A Family Photo Project'


Even Professional Photo Organisers have to deal with their own family photo collections. Often, working on these projects is at least part of what triggered a photo organiser’s passion and interest in working in this field to help others to achieve a similar result and peace of mind.

In this article, I share the personal story – and the steps – of helping my mother sort and digitise her entire collection of family photos. Her living in Switzerland and me in Australia of course didn’t make it any easier. In an ideal world, the project may have been conducted slightly different. But we had to work with what we had at the time and this is an account of a very realistic and pragmatic approach.

I do hope that it inspires you to tackle your own family photo collection, whether by doing it yourself or by outsourcing some or all of the work. Because work is involved, there is no two ways about it. However, the result is ever so satisfying and the peace of mind knowing that your precious photos and memories are digitised and backed up is invaluable. Not to mention the joy that these photos can now be shared so easily with many others in the family. A project like this can also be a very connecting experience due to the stories that are inevitably being shared. Working together on your family photos will become a precious memory in itself!

Please click here to read the whole story:

I will soon write another article about how we continued work together once the photos were scanned. If you haven’t signed up yet, use the form on your right hand-side to make sure you don’t miss future posts and tips about photo organising.


Prepare and Backup Your Photos BEFORE Natural Disaster Hits

How do you prepare your photo collection for the worst case?


Living in the bushfire prone outskirts of Melbourne, in beautiful Nillumbik – which is also called the green wedge – has triggered my passion for keeping photo collections safe at all times but especially during summer.

It can be a very overwhelming project and there is no doubt it is usually very time consuming. Read in this guest blog how you can prepare and backup your photos before natural disaster hits. If you are time-poor, the quick solution will be scenario 2 mentioned in the article. I call it the ‘Grab and Run’ scenario. Ideally however, you are able to set some time aside and work on your photo collection to prepare it even more. Either way, you will gain peace of mind knowing that your photos are as safe as they can be.

Click here to read the complete article.

How to Declutter and Let Go of Photos!

So, you’ve decided to declutter your printed and digital photos but struggle to let go because photos are so precious and sentimental? Let me share a few things I’ve learned since I’ve started to specialise in photo organising.


How to Declutter and let go Photos - Personal Photo Organiser Melbourne


I think we all agree that photos belong to the sentimental things we own … the category,  which is the hardest of all to deal with. There are a few strategies one can apply when dealing with sentimental clutter (watch this video to learn more about it). One of the common tips is to take a photo of the item you want to let go. Obviously, this doesn’t work with photos …

What can help us to declutter our photos then? I suggest the following approach:


Create a Vision

Think about what you are going to do with the photos you will keep. Maybe albums? Frame some? Create gifts? Leave a nice photo legacy to your loved ones? There are many options and it helps to be very clear about the purpose of a photo or of the whole collection … apart from of course bringing back memories and documenting events.


Gather all your photos

Yes, this seems like a big task and it usually is. Hence, when working with printed photos, make sure you put the piles in a place where you can let them sit for a few days if not longer. Doing it all in one go will make it easier to make decisions. You will look at many photos and you will remember whether you’ve looked at similar ones an hour or a day before. If you wait too long, you’ll have forgotten about it again.


Sort like with like

Make piles by year when you work with your printed photos (or any other category you like, e.g. by event). This has the advantage that you can immediately see how many photos you have.


Declutter you photos!

There is a great way to sort your photos, developed by Cathi Nelson, the funder of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organisers). It’s called the ABCS of photo organizing.

A = Album. These photos belong into an album. They are the most precious and treasured ones. Your absolute favourites. Prints in this group should be digitised as a backup.

B = Box. B-photos are also kept but not necessarily in an album. You can keep them in an archival box and it is recommend backing them up by digitising them.

C = Can. These pictures can go – that’s what it’s all about today. How do we decide whether a picture falls into the C-category?

Here are some further criteria and questions you can ask yourself when you struggle to let go of a photo:

  • Is it a good shot in terms of the quality or is it blurry? Over or under exposed? 
  • Is the photo too damaged?
  • Do you know who is in the photo?
  • Do you want to be reminded of the person/s in the photo?
  • Is it a duplicate?
  • Are there similar photos? Keep the best only!
  • Does the photo tell an important story? If yes, it belongs to the S-photos.
  • Do you like this photo? Does it make you smile?
  • Would you use this photo in one way or other in the future?
  • Think of future generations … would they want and keep this photo?

S = Story. Photos that tell a story are not necessarily great photos but they always tell an important story which means we keep them. They can be put with the A-photos.


How to let go of your unwanted photos

Unlike other items, photos are not really the type of possessions to donate to a charity or to sell. The easiest way is to simply throw them in the rubbish bin. Unfortunately, they cannot be recycled. If you are concerned about identity theft you can shred them before they go in the bin.


Backup your photos

Now that you have decided which photos you want to keep it goes without saying that you should back them up (if you haven’t done so yet). Digitise prints and backup your digital photos.

Once you have decluttered and saved your photos you can do many things with them (remember your vision?). Frame your favourites and display them, create photo albums or books, make photo gifts, collages, slideshows, look at them via Apple TV or the like. There are endless options to finally look at your photos and enjoy them.

One more tip which should help you to maintain your photo collection more easily and to prevent you from future overwhelm: Let go of the inclination to constantly take photos in the first place! Once you’ve been through the process of going through your whole photo collection I am sure this will be much easier than it might sound right now.

If you would like help getting your photos organised, find your personal photo organiser at


Should You Apply the KonMari Method for Your Printed Photos?

Is the KonMari method really suitable to declutter your printed photos? Read about the pros and cons from the point of view of a personal photo organizer.



Photos are very precious to most of us. They tell stories and bring back memories. Photos tucked away in a messy box though don’t bring us any joy. We need to be able to access and enjoy them in a different way.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I used the KonMari method in my own home and documented my experience here. To be honest, I have only done clothes and books so far, mainly due to the lack of time to tackle the other categories. Furthermore, I don’t really feel the need to declutter big time right now. However, I have recently started to specialize in photo organizing which means I help my clients to manage their printed and digital photo collections. Since the KonMari method worked well for me as far as clothes and books were concerned I am naturally interested to have a closer look at her method with regards to photos. Obviously, most people have tons of digital photos these days but most also have printed photos or might inherit them in the future. That’s what we are going to talk about today: Applying the KonMari method for PRINTED photos.


As a reminder or in case you don’t know Marie Kondo yet, this is – in short – what she suggests doing:

  1. Declutter in one fell swoop (have a tidying festival).
  2. Work by category, not by location.
  3. Only keep things that ‘spark joy’.
  4. Start with clothes, then books, documents, miscellaneous (komono) and finish with sentimental (photos belong to this last category).


Marie Kondo suggest decluttering the printed photos as follows:

  1. Gather all the printed photos.
  2. Create sub-categories (like with like). E.g. lose photos, negatives, slides (transparencies), albums, photos on cards, envelope from the developers, framed photos, film rolls etc.
  3. Hold each photo (yes, take them out of the album) and decide whether it touches your heart and sparks joy for you or not. Note: this is only about your photos, not any other person’s!
  4. Put the ‘keepers’ in an album and throw away the others.

This sounds straight forward, right? Let me share my thoughts about this process looking through the lense of a personal photo organizer.

Firstly, before you start your photo organizing project be aware that it can be very time consuming. So, set aside enough time. Furthermore, don’t forget that there is no KonMari police – you decide what you keep and what not, there is no right or wrong and it is not about minimalism.


Photo Organising Melbourne | Shoebox full with old photos

Things I agree with when sorting printed photos according to the KonMari method:



I do agree that it is best to gather all your printed photos first. Only then will you see what you have. She suggests dedicating a box to collect all the photos you come across while you work through the whole KonMari process. Remember, photos are part of the sentimental category which comes last.


If you do go through the complete KonMari process I think it is a very valid point to do photos at the very end. I think she is right in that you will hone your decluttering skills along the way and it will be easier to work through photos when you do it as one of the last sub-categories. Furthermore, you will have collected all those you found along the way which will speed things up, at least a little bit.


In her second book, she says: ‘… we shouldn’t still be sorting photos when we reach old age. If you, too, are leaving this task for when you grow old, don’t wait. Do it now. You will enjoy the photos far more when you are old if they are already in an album …’. I totally agree with that. Now is the time to do it. Most of us don’t want to leave a messy legacy. So, do it now!


Also in her second book, she suggests sorting family photos together. Meaning, if your parents have boxes of photos, help them to go through these and make it a family project. Because guess what … you’ll end up with these boxes anyway. Another big advantage of this: your parents can tell you the stories that go with the photos. After all, the reason we take photos is to tell a story. So, use this precious time to connect and to learn about the past.


She also suggests picking the best ones and displaying them, e.g. in an album. Of course, there are many other ways you can display photos, that’s totally up to you. This actually corresponds nicely with a method many of us photo organizers use. It was developed by the funder, Cathie Nelson, of our association APPO and is called the ABCS of photo organizing.
A = Album (important and great photo, album-worthy)
B = Box (stays but doesn’t need to be in an album, can be kept in an archival box)
C = Can (throw away)
S = Story (not necessarily a great photo but it tells an important story)
Translated to the KonMari method this means the A+S photos are those going into that album. They are the most precious ones. The B photos stay as well but they’re not quite album-worthy. Hence, they can be kept in an archival box. C is self-explanatory … these photos are thrown away.

Where I disagree with Marie Kondo:


Pulling every photo out of an album.
I encourage you to first have a look through the album. If it is a beautifully done album or scrapbook you will hesitate to pull it apart. And rightly so (in my opinion). You have invested a lot of time to put it together. Also, they are in an album. This means – at least in the past – you had decided that they are A-photos and belong in an album. Maybe you would change your mind about some of them. But is this really worth ripping it apart? I’d keep them as they are.
However, in some cases you might want to consider her suggestion. For example, if your photos are in magnetic albums. They can be quite damaging to your photos and you want to take them out. Another reason could be that there are only very few photos in an album or only a few that you want to keep. Or your album is damaged in some way or moldy.


Marie mentions that we often keep photos with the plan to sort and enjoy them ‘someday’ but that ‘someday’ will never happen. Yes, this is very often true and I encourage everyone to sort them now and not later (see above). As to the enjoying of photos I do believe that we get to a stage in life in which photos might become more important to us than they seem to be right now. Someday might come and we’ll appreciate that we have them, especially if they are already sorted and nicely presented (this should not be an excuse to keep them all though!).


Her tip to keep only about 5 photos per day of an event or a holiday makes sense and it would reduce the overwhelm dramatically. However, people have various reasons to keep more than that and I think one shouldn’t concentrate too much on the numbers here. I’ll give you a personal example to explain what I mean. We have always loved to travel and been fortunate enough to visit many countries and places. Of course, we took a lot of photos. Quite reasonable amounts when we still used printed photos, clearly too many with the digital camera. Hubby likes to take scenery photos and to try different things with the camera. We do delete many of these and I’m aware that most of these kind of photos we keep will eventually be thrown out by our children because they mean nothing to them. Still, reducing them to 5 per day would be too unrealistic for us at this point in time. I’m pretty sure though that ‘someday’ will come, and we will be ready to part with most of them so we can leave a meaningful photo legacy to our children. Remember, there is no KonMari police fining us for keeping more ;-)…


Getting rid of the negatives. Most people probably do throw them away because it’s considered kind of old fashioned. I recommend to keep them for two reasons: firstly, you can keep them as an additional backup. Secondly, if you ever want to digitise these photos you will get a much better quality scanning the negative rather than a printed photo. Especially if the print has already suffered from fading or been damaged otherwise.


What comes after decluttering the KonMari way (or any other way for that matter)?

What are your next steps after decluttering your photos, regardless whether you are applying the KonMari method or not?

  1. Discard your purged photos. Note that photos can’t be recycled and need to go in the bin. If you’re concerned about identity theft shred them first.
  2. Donate anything you can, such as frames or unused albums.
  3. Digitise your printed photos! Not only is this basically the only way to back them up (except if you have another printed copy, but who wants that …) but will also make it a lot easier to share and enjoy your photos.
    Scanning lose photos is easy but what about the ones in the albums? One of the easiest ways is to take a digital photo per album page. There are of course more sophisticated ways but this is quick and easy and better than no backup at all.
  4. Archive the scanned prints in archival photo boxes, create albums or display your photos in any way you like.


Bonus tip: a pile of approx. 100 prints measures about 1 inch or a shoebox can hold around 1,000 prints.


Sign up below to never miss a blog post again! The next one will be about using the KonMari method in the digital photo world.


Related posts:

My KonMari Journey – Part 1 – Clothes
My KonMari Journey – Part 2 – Books
What you need to know before starting with the KonMari method

19 Clever Uses for Magazine Holders

Magazine holders can be utilised for so much more than, well …, holding magazines. Here are some ideas that show how you can repurpose these clever little storage products that not only come in cardboard versions but also in metal, wood, or plastic. The wooden ones are especially suitable to be transformed into something else.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and purchase that product or service, I will be paid a small commission; however your cost will be the same. I only recommend products or services I know and trust.

Magazine Holders in the Kitchen


This solution doesn’t work for all tins. As always with storage supplies, measure first to avoid disappointment.


I use this storage idea in our home and I just love it! Previously, I had stored the bottles in one big container but it was a bit messy. This solution is so much cleaner and it also shows the space limits very clearly as well.


This is a very sleek solution to store onions and potatoes in your pantry. These vegetables like to be stored in an airy, dark, and cool place. Always take them out of the plastic bags.
These particular magazine holders are from Amazon.

Magazine Holder as Glad Wrap Storage

This is a very neat solution to store things like Glad wrap, baking paper, or aluminium foil.

Magazine Holder as Cutting Board Storage

Store your smaller chopping boards neatly in a magazine holder. I’m not sure about the plastic one used in this example. I would probably rather try with a metal or wooden one so it’s actually strong enough to stand alone.

Magazine Holder as Storage for little boxes

Who doesn’t love IKEA products? Well, I really like this wooden magazine holder that is used in this example to store smaller items. If you don’t want to damage your door, you could use another favourite product of mine: 3M Command hanging strips.


Magazine Holder as Storage for Paper Plates and Picnic Ware


Do you throw parties from time to time? How about storing your paper or plastic plates, serviettes, or even placemats in a magazine holder? As you can see in this example, a wider than usual one has been used.

By the way, if you love RV hacks, check out these awesome storage tips here:

Magazine Holder as Freezer Organizer

Struggling with a messy freezer? Try to use plastic magazine holders to keep it organised!

Magazine Holders as Gift Hampers

Magazine Holder as Gift Hamper


Well, this is quite an extraordinary idea and can of course not only be used for engagement gifts but all kinds of other gift hampers.

Magazine Holder as a Gift Hamper

If you’re creative you can transform a simple magazine holder into a beautifully decorated gift as this example shows.

Magazine Holders in the Wardrobe

Magazine Holders as Shoe Storage

In Aussie land people just loooove thongs and this storage idea could come in handy if you’ve got more than one pair. You could of course also use it for other flat shoes.


Magazine Holders used in your hobby / craft space

Magazine Holders for Wool Storage

I love to knit and crochet but my stock fits into one box. However, if you do have heaps of yarn, you might like this storage option.

Use Magazine Holders in your Office

Magazine Holders used as Mail Station

Do you need a mail station? Why not use the versatile KNUFF magazine holder from IKEA?


Magazine Holders used for Paper Storage

Another simple yet effective idea about how spare paper can be stored in your home office.

Magazine Holders as Mail Sorting Station

This creator has been even more creative and decorated the KNUFF magazine holders. You’ll find the instructions by clicking on the link to the source.

Magazine Holder to hide Modem and Router

Routers or modems don’t look very good and there are a few solutions out there showing us how to hide these machines. However, I reckon none of them is as simple as using a nice magazine holder.


Use Magazine Holders for various stuff around the house

Magazine Holder to store little bits and pieces such as keys or phones

Here’s another use for the KNUFF magazine holder that is rather simple but very effective. Finally there are no more excuses for losing the keys in a messy home because everything now has its place, right?!


Magazine Holders as Bedside Table

Who would have thought that you can even make furniture out of a simple magazine holder!? Click on the above link if you’re interested in building one yourself.

Magazine Holders in your Bathroom

Magazine Holder to store your Hair Dryer

An oldie but a goodie … store your hair dryer, your hair straightener, your razor, or other grooming utensils in a simple magazine holder. Whether you affix it to the door, or to the side of your vanity using 3M Command hanging strips, or just put it in the cupboard, it will keep your appliances tamed.


Things to Make from Children’s Artwork

So, you have displayed your children’s artwork, rotated and decluttered it and have digitised at least those you love most. If you have missed the two posts explaining how to do all this, have a look here: How you can display children’s artwork and How to digitise and store children’s artwork.

Finally, in this last post of the series, I share some ideas about what things you can make from children’s artwork rather than just throwing the ones you don’t want in the bin.


How to Digitise and Store Children’s Artwork

Most children produce a lot of artwork over the years. We can’t put it all on the walls or fill entire shelves with these masterpieces (read in the first part of the series how you can display children’s artwork). So, what can we do to save space and also keep at least the most precious pieces safe? Read in this post how to digitise and store the children’s artwork. The last post of the series finally talks about what things you can make from children’s artwork.

Click here to get to the tips about how to digitise and store the children’s artwork.

How to Display Children’s Artwork

Are you drowning in your children’s artwork? Read in this guest blog series I was invited to write about how you can get more joy out of these masterpieces before we then move on to talking about how to digitise and store the children’s artwork and finally sharing ideas about what things you can make from children’s artwork.

Here is the first post about how to display children’s artwork.


How to Backup Photos While Travelling

Pinterest - How to backup photos while travelling

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and purchase that product or service, I will be paid a small commission, however your cost will be the same. I only recommend products or services I know and trust.


I have travelled quite a bit in my life, mostly before I had a digital camera and a smart phone, and backup was never even mentioned. So, after the holidays, I had a few rolls of film that needed developing. From there, they went pretty much straightaway into an album. Easy peasy … until our children came along and we bought our first digital camera and a video camera.

These days, digital cameras come in all sizes and shapes. There are also several other devices such as iPods and tablets, and of course a mobile phone that takes pretty good pictures and is easy to carry around.

Especially when travelling, these things can easily get lost, stolen, or damaged and you might lose all of those precious photos you took (possibly even those taken before your trip if you haven’t got a backup system in place). So, what can you do to keep your photos safe and backed up during your trip?

I’ve listed some options for you and have tried to cater to as many needs and budgets as possible. Just go through the list and find which method suits you most. You may even vary between methods from one trip to another depending on where you go.

Photo organisers recommend that you save three copies of a photo. This might not always be realistic while travelling but keep it in mind. Also, downloading your photos to a backup place and then deleting the photos on your camera is not a backup – it’s just a relocation of your photos!

These are general tips and I haven’t tried all of the mentioned methods and products. Technology changes all the time so please do your own research with regards to the equipment you need.


Backup from a Phone

Young woman taking a photo with her phone in London

To the cloud (automatically or manually)

You might think that the whole topic is a no brainer because you just upload everything to the cloud, possibly even automatically. Well, when you’re travelling you might not have easy internet access or possibly only a very slow connection. Therefore, in many cases, the cloud will not be an option.

However, if you do have internet access it is a great way to backup your photos. Especially because photo organisers recommend that you not only have three copies of a photo but also in two different locations.

I recommend checking out two of APPO’s partners – either Forever or Mylio.

Dropbox has worked well for me in the past. There are of course lots of other services such as iCloud, Google+, OneDrive, etc.

A word of caution: read the small print of all providers before you make a choice. Just as an example: there are some who will charge you if you want to download your photos from their cloud service or with some of them you won’t get back the original resolution or you might have to download them one by one which takes ages.


To a portable hard drive with WiFi

Together with the right app (depending on your phone) you can upload your photos wirelessly to a portable hard drive. An example is Seagate Wireless Plus.


To a portable hard drive without WiFi

This is a bit trickier because you will need a computer via which you can copy your photos to (see below how to do this). Don’t shy away from the idea of using a portable hard drive. I use Seagate all the time and they’re really light and small; perfect to carry around.


To a computer

If you take a laptop on your trip you simply need to connect your phone to your computer and download, or rather copy your photos (remember – if you download and then delete them on the phone it’s not considered a backup!). To be even safer you could then copy the images to an external hard drive or  USB to backup your computer – et voilà: you’ve got your three copies J.

You may also use a computer in a hotel business centre or in an internet café if you travel without your own.


To a USB flash drive for smartphones and tablets

There are various USB flash drives which you can connect directly to your phone and download your photos to. They come in various sizes and are pretty easy to carry around. This is definitely a favourite of mine.

Examples are the PictureKeeper, SanDisk iXpand, or SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive.


To a tablet

The fastest way if you don’t have internet access is probably to use Airdrop (Apple only), which creates a peer-to-peer network. SHAREit works similarly.

To an SD card

Some Android phones actually include a mini SD card. Make sure in the settings that this is where the photos are stored. If you want to transfer photos from the SD card please see below for options.

iPhones cannot export or copy photos from the phone directly to an SD card. It is only possible via a computer.


Backup from a Camera Memory CardMemory card


Remove the memory card from your camera (or your Android phone) and use a card reader to import the photos to a computer, your phone, a tablet, or another mobile device. Make sure you have the correct reader/s and adapters with you.

If a computer and a portable hard drive is too much to carry along, a memory card backup system like Nexto DI or Hyperdrive might be the ideal solution. They are like a hard drive with slots for the memory cards and come with a display as well.

Camera lens close-upBackup from a Camera via USB Connection

Connect the camera to a computer via the USB cable and copy your photos. While you’re at it, you might make another copy to an external hard drive or to the cloud if you have internet access.

Wireless Backup from a Camera Memory Card

Invest in an Eye-Fi memory card which can transfer photos wirelessly to your device or computer. Keep in mind that the camera will have to be powered on while photos are transferred which requires battery power.

Once you have copied the photos from your camera to a computer or other device, you can use the above-mentioned tips to back these up.


Before You Travel


  1. Work out a backup plan that suits your needs.
  2. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment formatted correctly (especially portable hard disks).
  3. Don’t forget at least one international power adapter.
  4. Think about how you want to transport these things so they stay organised and safe. Try to keep the camera away from the backup.
  5. Make sure all your cameras always have the correct date/time setting (of the time zone you’re in when taking the photo). It will make your life a lot easier because you will automatically have the correct chronological order (especially if you use several cameras and devices).
  6. Once your trip has started, keep in mind to set aside some time to backup your photos regularly.
  7. Enjoy your holiday!


After Your Trip

Remember, these backups are meant to happen while you’re travelling. If one of the copies you made is now already in your photo hub (e.g. Dropbox) it will save you the time to download everything again. If they are not in your usual hub yet, you’ll have to move your photos to your hub as soon as possible and use your usual photo management workflow.

Save Trip!






This post was also published by Save Your Photos, an initiative by the Association of Personal Photo Organisers (APPO) to celebrate ‘Save Your Photos Month’ in September. Read it here.


Things you need to think about before starting to organise your digital photo collection

Recently, one of my newsletter readers wanted to know what to do about all the digital photos they have floating around on their various devices.

Things you need to think about before

The good news first: this is a very common issue and you’re not alone!

These days, our photos are on all kinds of devices such as phones, tablets, and computers. Of course we can also find them on the memory card in our digital camera/s, in email attachments, and in many other places. To make matters even more complicated, most of us also have printed photos. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Let me know if this doesn’t overwhelm you because then you should probably be a photo organiser ;-)!

As with any organising project we start by creating a vision. What do you want from your photos? Making albums or other keepsakes? Do you want to share them with your relatives and friends overseas? Do you want to be able to find a specific photo within a few seconds? How about leaving a meaningful photo and story legacy to your children? Think about this vision or goal before you do anything else. The reason it is important is because it will help you make decisions further down the track. Not only with regards to which photos you want to delete but also when deciding which photo management software is suitable for your skill level and needs.

Let’s have a look at the basic system:

Digital Photo-Life System



I reckon the input side is probably the easiest part. Think for a moment and write down where your photos are at this point in time. To make things easier I have prepared a checklist for you which you can download here.



Deciding what your hub is going to be is already a bit trickier. Imagine the hub as a big bucket in which you throw all your photos. It’s nothing more than the place where you gather and organise all your photos. The hub is also what is (hopefully!) being backed up regularly.

The first question you need to think about is whether you want to store your collection on your computer (which can also mean an external hard drive if you have a lot of photos) or in the cloud. There are of course pros and cons for either solution and it will depend on your needs. The cloud might be better for you if you want to access your photos from different locations. I won’t go into detail at the moment but will talk about that comparison in the next post.



Once you’ve gathered all your photos in one place and hopefully organised in one way or another it is time to actually enjoy your photos. How would you like to do this? Through photo books? Canvases? Keepsakes? A digital photo frame or a video slide show? Prints?

Again, this in itself is an extensive topic and I will write about it in another post in which I will also give you links to suppliers of the mentioned kinds of products.

Until then, why don’t you take some time to think about what you want from your photo collection and go through the checklist of the input devices. You can then start to gather all your photos from these devices and places. If you’re not sure about your hub yet, let’s assume it is going to be your computer. If you haven’t already started some kind of organisation there for your photos, you could create a core file structure which is nothing more than a folder per year with sub-folders per month to which you add your photos accordingly. It looks like this:


This is a lot of work though and there are photo management systems that do this automatically for you. Here is the link to the checklist again if you haven’t downloaded it already.

I hope this helps you get started. Good luck and don’t forget:


All great changes

I’d love to hear in the comment section about any questions or experiences you have had with photo organisation. The more you let me know about the challenges you encounter, the better I can serve you with sharing tips.


Looking forward to reading your comments – best wishes,



A holistic approach to getting organised

Since I’ve become a professional organiser, it has become clearer to me that a holistic approach is necessary to create order and, more importantly, to keep it that way.


Oftentimes you hear people talking about decluttering, but what comes afterwards? Or you buy some fancy organising and storage products and are disappointed because the mess is not going away. That’s because one doesn’t work without the other, or at least only for a very short time.

The third issue is maintenance, which is often overlooked completely. You can declutter as long as you want. If you don’t build new routines and/or habits, the mess is going to be back pretty soon. Same with storage: The best organising products don’t make you tidier or more organised as long as you don’t declutter beforehand and change your habits at the same time.

In my view, we need to fuse all three factors in order to be successful. Let me explain each of the three circles and my holistic approach in more detail:



What is decluttering anyway? If you Google a definition, sentences along these lines will come up: ‘Remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)’ or ‘To simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications, etc.’

Mess, dresser with scattered clothes, shoes and other things

I think we can all agree that it’s about letting go. Usually, the first things that come to mind are, of course, physical possessions. However, I think it is much more than this. How often do I hear (after a decluttering session): ‘Wow, now I can think a lot clearer!’? Some people even lose weight after decluttering their physical spaces!

Digital clutter is becoming a serious issue in this day and age as well. So are constant interruptions and impressions that we need to deal with. Our brains are overloaded (or at least feel like they are), and we struggle, too, with the FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome.

I see decluttering as a shift in one’s attitude towards things, thoughts, and even people. Knowing where you want to go in life, knowing your purpose and priorities, is important when decluttering. It makes it a lot easier to make decisions. Does this item enhance my vision or not? Maybe it’s even a hindrance! So, focussing on the positive side and on the outcome, letting go becomes easier.

Also see my post about ‘To Purge or not to Purge …’ that gives you guidance if you struggle to decide what to let go or don’t know how to do so.



In this context, organising means arranging things systematically, putting them in order, arranging them in an orderly way.

So, let’s analyse this a bit closer. It’s about systems and order. For me, it answers the question about where and how things are stored. Again, this is not only for physical things but also for digital ones. We need to create a storage system that suits us. And because we are all different, there is, of course, no one-fits-all solution.

In short, it’s nothing other than about, everything needs a home! If things don’t have a storage place, they will be put in random places. An example that is quite common: People don’t have a place to put their keys (or don’t use it) and constantly waste time looking for them.

As mentioned above, a system can’t stand alone; it always includes habits and routines. Let me give you an example: I really like my SpaceCube. Let’s say you use it as a command centre. If you don’t change your habit to drop your paper mail on the kitchen bench top instead of using the SpaceCube as an inbox, it won’t help you at all. The letters will still pile up on the bench top.

That brings us to the third circle: Maintenance.



Maintenance means preserving a condition or situation. So, after we have decluttered and found a home for everything, we want it to stay like that. This is only possible if we invest some time and energy into maintaining the current state.

Motivation is What Gets You Started Habit Is What Keeps You Going written on chalkboard

I like to compare it with dieting. After shedding 10 kilos, we can’t just go back to the old eating habits. If we do, we’ll carry the lost 10 kilos plus possibly more around again a few months later. We need to change habits to sustain our new self.

Of course, changing habits is often difficult. It takes discipline and some time until a new routine becomes a habit. However, we may not have to change everything at the same time. Pick one new habit and only work on the next one when you actually get used to the first.


As the three circles imply, I think the three topics are interlocked. They are not necessarily in sequence though. For example, before I start working with a client, I often ask them to start working on one new habit. It’s a myth that you can only start a new system or habit once you’ve decluttered and reorganised everything.

If, for example, paperwork is an issue for you, nothing stops you from creating an inbox and throwing all your mail in there instead of piling it up on the kitchen bench. This is a habit you can easily get into before you start decluttering the piles and piles of old paperwork.

As you can see in that example, organising and maintenance go hand in hand. Having a physical inbox and putting the mail in there is organising. It’s a system. However, the actual action of putting the mail into that box is going to become your habit, hence maintenance.

The Heart

By the way, if you are wondering about the heart in the centre of it all … decisions are usually not made based on logical and rational reasoning. I encourage clients to listen to their heart (or guts), especially when they are decluttering. There is no right or wrong, it has to feel good for you.



This hopefully gives you a better idea of my holistic approach to organising. If you’d like to learn more about how I’m working with clients and what packages I offer, don’t hesitate to call me on 0413 216 589 or email to

21 Habits of Organised People

21 Habits of Organised People

We can declutter and organise as much as we want. However, without routines that eventually become good habits, we will be back to Square One after a while and be frustrated because the decluttering and clever storage solutions don’t work – or so it seems.

Not everyone is a fan of routines because they feel it’s boring and too hard. Personally, I think routines and habits are one of the keys to both a more orderly home and a simpler life.
Some of the tips below are actually more about cleaning and tidiness than about organising. Even if an organised home is not the same as a tidy home, I feel these habits help create a calmer, healthier and more functional environment, which helps us thrive.

Just pick one or a few of these suggestions to try out, and I’m sure you will see an immediate positive impact!

Quote: You'll never change


21 Habits of Organised People

  1. Never walk empty-handed – if you leave a room and see something lying around that doesn’t belong, take it with you and put it away.
  2. Always do the dishes while you’re cooking – start washing up, loading the dishwasher and keeping the bench top clear instead of watching the pasta water heat That way, you can sit down for a more relaxed meal, knowing that you only need to put the used crockery, cutlery and pans in the dishwasher.
  3. Tidy up and clean your kitchen every night – before you sit down or go to bed, make sure the dishwasher is loaded (and turned on if full), and that the surfaces and the sink are clear and clean.
  4. Empty the dishwasher in the morning and leave the house with a clean kitchen – nobody wants to come home to a kitchen with dishes piled up in the sink or dirty bench tops. Allow enough time in the morning to clean after
  5. Make your bed – it takes less than a minute to make a bed, but it makes a huge difference coming back in the room later. It automatically looks so much tidier.
  6. Put things away immediately – have a home for everything and put it back after every use. Throwing the dirty clothes into the laundry basket doesn’t take any longer than dropping them on the floor! (Read more about putting things back here.)
  7. One in – one out – when you bring something new into your home, let go of another one to avoid clutter build-up.
  8. Have a laundry routine – whether it’s a load a day or per week, it doesn’t matter. Find a routine that works for you, stick to it and you will always have clean clothes in your wardrobe.
  9. Tidy up every day – take 10 minutes every night to quickly tidy and straighten things up.
  10. Deal with your mail daily – whether it’s paper mail or e-mail, go through it daily, immediately recycle envelopes and junk mail (having a sticker on your letterbox so you don’t get it anymore would even be better). Action things immediately or throw it in an inbox to deal with it later.
  11. Unsubscribe from unread newsletters – when you receive newsletters and updates you were once interested in but realise that you haven’t read the last few ones, immediately unsubscribe.
  12. Take the rubbish from your car with you – whenever you come home and have rubbish or other stuff in your car that doesn’t belong, remove it immediately.
  13. Meal plan – you can save so much time and money when you plan your meals and don’t have to run to the shops every night. (Read blog here – link).
  14. Cook more than necessary – and freeze the leftovers for the days you can’t cook, or for lunch the next day.
  15. Allow buffer time when going somewhere – if you have an appointment, always consider travel time and add some buffer time. If you’re early, you can always read a book, catch up on emails or just relax for a bit.
  16. Have a donation box – place a box or a bag near your garage. Whenever you no longer want something, throw it in there. Go and donate it when the box is full.
  17. Plan, plan, plan – take a few minutes on Sunday to plan your week ahead and don’t forget the buffer time! Also do a quick calendar check every night to plan the next day.
  18. Prepare the night before – if mornings are stressful for you, prepare everything you need the next day the night before: put out your clothes, pack your briefcase, and maybe even prepare your lunch as far in advance as possible.
  19. Think twice before buying something – do you really need another pair of shoes? More toys? That fancy kitchen appliance? If yes, what can you let go to make space?
  20. Have one – and only one – place to write down your to-do list – have a master list with all of your to-dos and ideas. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical notebook or a digital solution as long as it’s all in one place.
  21. Have a filing system – having a home for everything includes paper or digital files. Create and use a system that works for you and always file documents as soon as possible (if you actually need to keep them).


Have you got any habits or routines that help you to be organised? I’d love to hear about it. Just leave your comment below.


Best wishes,

My KonMari Journey, Part 2 – Books

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and purchase that product or service, I will be paid a small commission, however your cost will be the same. I only recommend products or services I know and trust.

In this post, I share my experience of using the KonMari method to declutter my books. The method is based on Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am interested in her approach, not only as a professional organiser, but also for us as a family.

Book decluttering using the KonMari method, during and after

If you’ve read my first blog post about the clothes category, you know that I actually started the process a while ago. I have to admit that there was quite a long interval between working through the clothes and the books. Marie Kondo recommends doing it all in one big sweep, or at least as fast as possible. Life happens, though, and personally I need to be in the right mood to tackle a project like this, hence the delay.

So, what happened? First, I have to tell you that I am a book lover and always have been. I’ve got an emotional attachment to many of my books. However, I have pretty much stopped buying books in recent years. Instead, I have become a very regular user of our beautiful local library. This obviously stops the influx, which is a good thing.


Working with subcategories

In contrast to the clothes category, I didn’t declutter the books in one go, but worked through various subcategories:

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction professional
  • Non-fiction personal
  • Reference books
  • Travel books
  • Magazines
  • Cook books

There are more possible subcategories, which were not relevant to me, such as textbooks, comics, phone books or music books. I mostly used the coffee table in our lounge room as a sorting place and sometimes I added a trestle table.

To keep or not to keep … where the joy question wasn’t always enough

Marie Kondo says not to read the covers or extracts of books, but to pick one up and feel whether it sparks joy. I have to say: I found this more difficult with books than with clothes. I naturally did sometimes read the covers before I decided what to do with it.

Once I had decided, the books ended up in one of the following piles:

  • Keep
  • Keep but discard of when read once more
  • Keep for the sentimental category
  • Go to the German Community
  • Go to the OP shop
  • Go to the recycling bin

I did keep some books that I will eventually give away. First, however, I want to read them again (I often read books several times). So, I made a little pile of about 20 books that fell into this category. In the meantime, I have already reduced this pile and given away the ones I re-read.


Because I hate waste, I did some research first

Having lived in Switzerland for almost 40 years, most of my books are of course in German. This means that I can’t just bring them to the op shops here in Australia; at least, I wasn’t able to find one that is interested in these books. After quite a bit research, I found a retirement home with lots of German immigrants who love to read books in their native language. Knowing that the books would be appreciated made a big difference to me when deciding to let go or not.

I also knew that the local library has a magazine swap box in the entrance, so I brought all of mine there.

The professional, reference and travel books were the easiest for me to let go because I knew the contents were dated. That’s really a no-brainer.


Going through the process I was able to let go of about 126 books which represent almost exactly 50 %. Pretty good for a bookworm, don’t you think? I’m happy with the overall result, and it does feel great.

My top tip with regards to the book-category would be to think about where to bring the books you no longer want before you start the process.


Decluttering books using the KonMari method

Next up will be documents / paperwork. Sign up below to be the first to hear about future blog posts!

Related posts:

My KonMari Journey – Part 1 
What you need to know before starting with the KonMari method
Should You Apply the KonMari Method for Your Printed Photos?

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 6

Wardrobe Detox - Day 6

You did it – congratulations! I’d love to see some before and after photos, please share them in the comment section of this post on Facebook or email them to me so I can celebrate with you!

Image of a happy dance

Before we celebrate though, I’ve got two more tasks for you:


Take one or several after photos.


Make sure that everything you want to donate leaves the house today! If you decided to sell a few things, diarise it right now so it doesn’t block the entryway for the next 6 months ;-). The same goes for things you want to pass on. Grab the phone and find a date in the near future to meet with the person who will receive the treasures you no longer want.

  1. Think about how you will maintain the order in your wardrobe as of today. Think routines and habits. For a starter, I suggest to strictly stick to the rule one in – one out!. Another important maintenance routine is to put everything back to where it belongs. Forget that floordrobe once and for all!

Now we’re ready to celebrate your achievement! A toast to you and your hard work – I hope you enjoy your ‘new’ wardrobe. 

Signature Chantal

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 5

Wardrobe Detox - Day 5

Today it should be easier than the two past sessions, since you’ve honed your decluttering skills and volume-wise, it’s also probably less … except if you ‘collect’ shoes 😉 ..

These are the last sub-categories to go through:

  • Hats / caps / beanies
  • Belts
  • Bags
  • Accessories (e.g. scarfs)
  • Shoes

Again, same process as before:


Take everything out.


Give the closet / shelves / containers a quick clean.


Declutter by asking the question: ‘Does it spark joy?’ and make piles according to your decision (keep, donate, sell, hand down, put in rubbish bin).


Re-think the zones and storage solutions, but don’t buy new storage solutions yet.


Keep like with like (as always) and put everything where it belongs.

By the way: hooks are great and don’t forget the back of a door as storage place.

If you find that you really do need new containers, dividers or other storage solutions you can go shopping :-). A word of caution though: always measure your space in which the storage product should fit!

Best wishes and see you tomorrow for the last little challenge,

Signature Chantal

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 4

Wardrobe Detox - Day 4

Hi there!

How did your first decluttering session go yesterday? Here we go again! This time you can tackle these things:

  • Outerwear (jackets, coats)
  • Underwear (undies, bras, singlets)
  • Socks (incl. panty hoses)
  • Robes
  • Swimwear
  • Sports wear

You will basically use the same process as before, which is:


Take everything out.


Give the closet / shelves / containers a quick clean.


Declutter by asking the question: ‘Does it spark joy?’ and make piles according to your decision (keep, donate, sell, hand down, put in rubbish bin).


Again, re-think the zones in your wardrobe and possible subdivisions for the smaller garments. If you need new dividers or containers, improvise with what you have at home and buy new storage solutions later. If you need some inspiration, check this out on Pinterest!


Fold everything neatly and enjoy the new look (for the Marie Kondo fans: check out this video)!

See you tomorrow for the last bit of decluttering :-). And don’t forget that you are more than welcome to share your progress and thoughts on Facebook!

Signature Chantal

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 3

Wardrobe Detox - Day 3

Are you ready to go? Let’s do it! Today and the next couple of days will be about decluttering and organising your wardrobe.

Image of the word Joy

You can either work in sub-categories as listed below, or you can wait until you’ll have received the two subsequent emails and do it in one big sweep. Up to you.


Take out all garments listed below from your wardrobe or wherever they are stored in the house. Throw it all on one pile. This is important so you can see how much exactly you have of each category.

– Tops (t-shirts, blouses, shirts, tank tops)
– Bottoms (long and short pants, leggings)
– Skirts
– Dresses
– Costumes / evening wear


Give the closet / shelves a quick clean.


Working through the sub-categories, take each piece in your hands and ask yourself this one question: ‘Does it spark joy? (read more about this method in this blog post). If this question doesn’t do it for you, click here to download and use my Wardrobe Detox Flowchart.


If it passes the test, it goes on the ‘keep’ pile. If not, decide here and now what to do with it – donate, sell, hand down, put in rubbish bin?


Before you put the ‘keepers’ back into the wardrobe, re-think your zones. Is it all going back to where it was or do you want to re-arrange things? Don’t forget to give the most accessible space to the garments you wear most often.


Put everything back neatly and enjoy the new look!

Happy decluttering!

Signature Chantal

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 2

Wardrobe Detox - Day 2

How did the first day go? Did you have a chance to work on the vision? In case you missed yesterday’s email / blog post, I’m running a FREE wardrobe decluttering challenge this week to celebrate NOW (National Organising Week).

You can still join us and find the first challenge here if it’s not in your mailbox.

Now, let’s move on to the second step of this challenge.

Image of a donation box
Before you start decluttering (the most time consuming part of the process) I invite you to think about what you are going to do with the garments you no longer want or need.


Does it all go to charity? Would you like to sell some of the items? Can you hand it down to a friend or family member? I promise it will be much easier to let go of things if you know where they’re going.

If you want to donate it all – where will you take it? Or do you need someone to pick it up? If you are not a regular donor, think about a charity or cause you’d like to support and find their addresses and conditions. If you’re Melbourne based, you might find this list helpful.


If you want to sell it – check out the options, e.g. local Facebook Buy Swap and Sell groups, Gumtree, ebay, or think about commissioning someone to do the work for you. You’ll get less money but hey, your time is valuable, too!


If you want to pass it on to someone else – think about who might be interested.

Maybe it’s a no-brainer for you because you will donate everything to your usual op shop. If not, I invite you to do the necessary research and note the options you’re interested in.

Best wishes until tomorrow (when you’ll start the hands-on work!),

Signature Chantal

Wardrobe Detox Challenge – Day 1

Wardrobe Detox - Day 1

This week we are celebrating the National Organising Week (NOW) in Australia, which is hosted by the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers (AAPO). AAPO dedicates this week to a special topic every year and this time round it is all about wardrobes!

So, how about a little challenge? I will send an email every day of the week with an assignment (if you don’t receive my emails yet, please sign up below!). Some of the tasks will be short and sweet and others might take a bit longer. I hope you join in! If you do …

… your wardrobe will be decluttered and nicely organised by the end of the week!

You’ll even have the opportunity to benefit from a little gift if you successfully complete your challenge (only subscribers are eligible though).

If the timing is not right for you, just keep the emails and action them when it suits you. Or wait until you’ve received all the emails and get it done in one fell swoop.

Let’s get started! Here is your first challenge:

Image of the word Vision

Every decluttering and organising project should start with a vision. We first need to know  exactly where we want to go.


Have a good look at your wardrobe, just look and feel.


Take one or several before photos.


Grab a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorm thoughts about how you want your wardrobe to look, feel and even smell like. What should it do for you? Look nice, enable you to easily choose matching clothes quickly in the morning, etc.?


Summarise your thoughts in one or two sentences. Word it positively and keep it short and simple.

Not ideal as a vision: I don’t want a floordrobe anymore. Better: My wardrobe enables me to quickly choose matching clothes in the morning.


Put that piece of paper on your wardrobe door and let it sink in.

Done for today :-). If you care to share, please hop over to the Facebook page and leave your vision in the comment of the post or just send it to me by email, I won’t share it with anybody.

Best wishes,

Signature Chantal

To purge or not to purge – that is the question!

Decluttering and getting organised is high up on the to-do lists of many people, especially when the urge for spring-cleaning resurfaces. However, when it actually comes to decluttering, the question of what to purge is not always an easy one. Furthermore, there is no one-fits-all solution.


Young woman think with yes or no choice looking up isolated on white background

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and purchase that product or service, I will be paid a small commission, however your cost will be the same. I only recommend products or services I know and trust.

Every organiser has her or his own approach to help clients with making decisions. Whatever method or organiser you use, something they all have in common is the first step, which is …

Creating a vision

Vision concept with hand pressing a button

If you don’t know where you want to go, you most likely won’t arrive, so take some time to really think about how you want the space to look and feel. What activities are you going to do in that space? What colours would you like to see there? How do you want to feel in that space? You even might want to think about how it should smell.

The clearer your vision, the easier the next step, because every time you need to decide whether to keep something or not, you have to ask yourself whether it has a place in your vision. If not … you know the answer!

Now, you’re in the middle of decluttering and you feel stuck because you’re not sure whether to keep a certain thing. Here are some questions to ask yourself that might help you make a decision:


Does it spark joy?

Joy concept, watercolor splashes as a sign

Marie Kondo came up with this question (creator of the KonMari method and author of the books ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and ‘Spark Joy’). I really like this approach, because it’s about focusing on the things that make you happy and bring you joy. It really is a change of mindset, which is why I reckon it’s so powerful.

However, sometimes there are things that might not bring joy, but we still want or have to keep them. This is totally ok. As I mentioned in this post, there is no KonMari police who will tell you off if you keep something that drags you down. In that case, further thoughts might be necessary to make a final decision.


Do you need it?

We all have things that don’t spark joy, but we simply need them: for example, a work uniform. We have to keep it, no question. However, we might start and try to think differently about it and be grateful that we have a job that we like and that pays the bills (if this is not the case, you might have to rethink the job). So, indirectly, it can still bring joy.

Paperwork is a biggie, too. Some things can’t just be thrown out; we have to keep it for legal reasons. I’ve yet to meet a person who finds joy in tax-relevant documents … Maybe you could keep the documents in a beautiful folder that sparks joy, instead.

Other examples might be a toilet brush, furniture or kitchen appliances. We all need these things, but few people can afford to throw them out just because they don’t bring them joy (also think about the unnecessary waste!). However, maybe you can replace certain things over time. I guarantee you: if you start using the ‘joy-question,” your shopping habits will change, too.

If this hasn’t helped so far, I always like to use this question:

What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t have this item anymore?

worst case scenario - risk concept

Usually, the answer to that question is not very dramatic. Even if you lose or throw out your passport by accident … it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it would be absolutely annoying and would involve time, effort and money to replace it, but it’s not impossible to do so (I would still recommend holding on to it, keeping it in a safe place and preferably have a digital (and of course backed up) copy!).

Please note that – in my view – the above tips don’t count for sentimental items. This is a whole different issue, and I’m talking more about it in this post and sharing some tips.


If you still struggle, I’d like to ask you this:

  • When did you use it last?
  • Is it working?
  • Do you have another similar item?
  • How many do you need?
  • What else can you let go to make space?
  • How hard is it to replace?
  • Is it making your life better?


I’d love to hear from you about what question/s work for you when you need to decide whether to keep something or not. Please use the comment function below.

Looking forward to hearing from you – happy decluttering!





The Australasian Association of Professional Organisers ( is hosting the National Organising Week from 7 – 12 March 2015. This year, it’s all about wardrobe organising and I will run a little challenge during this week.

Sign up here to participate:




3 keys to organising your children’s sports gear

Most children these days will sooner or later be involved in one or several sports which in itself can be an organisational challenge for the whole family. Part of sportive activities also involves looking after sports gear which can be anything from really small to rather big and also expensive equipment.

Organising Sports Gear Pinterest Original

I never really gave much thought to the concept of children and sports except that it’s a good and healthy thing. As it happens, I became a soccer mum because Mr. 11 has loved ballgames ever since he learned to walk. Throughout the last few years he’s had several soccer training sessions per week, and of course a game every Sunday. I have to admit: I was rather glad that his brother chose not to do soccer as well, as this would have become quite an organisational challenge. Instead, he practices Judo, and they both have swimming lessons for a fraction of the year.

Of course, we support our children in their sport activities and we invest quite a bit of time as a family. However, I also find it important that children learn from an early age that we don’t do everything for them. Organising their sports gear independently is one of the many things they can learn early on. Here’s how:



Have a home for everything

This is a very general rule that, of course, also applies to sports gear, however big or small. When deciding where the sports gear will live, consider these aspects:

  • Size and numbers – how much space is it taking up and how many do you have (maybe you can get rid of some)?
  • Seasonality – is the gear used throughout the year, or can it be moved to a different place when not used?
  • Shape – some things take up a lot of space due to their shape (e.g. balls).
  • Ventilation – think shoes … it’s better to keep them in a well-ventilated container and room.
  • Accessibility – make sure the children can access their gear without your help.
  • Dirtiness – how dirty is the equipment? Let soccer boots live in the garage or the entryway so your child doesn’t walk through the house with them.
Storage diynetwork

courtesy of


Storing sports gear

Make it easy for your kids to put their gear away. It doesn’t need to look great; it just needs to be accessible and practical.

Possible storage options and some examples of what you could use them for:

  • Clear plastic containers (shoes, balls and pretty much anything)
  • Wire baskets (things that need ventilation)
  • Racks or hooks (helmets, skate boards)
  • Umbrella stand (cricket bats, pool noodles, hockey sticks)
  • Net bags (balls)
  • Special hooks (bikes)
  • Special bags (swimming gear)
  • Laundry baskets (balls, shoes, helmets)

If you need more inspiration, have a look on Pinterest.


Image courtesy of



Routines around sport activities

Another key to achieving organisation success is having a routine before and after sport activities. Let your kids prepare and pack everything they need for the activity, including water and snacks – of course with your help depending on their age. You also might want to create a checklist with your child.

Using our family as an example, this would be:

  • Take off soccer boots in the garage
  • Put them on the shoe shelf in the entry hall
  • Put drinking bottle in the kitchen
  • Put sports bag away in the laundry (where it lives)
  • Get undressed and throw everything in the laundry bin (or hang on the wall rack in the bathroom if it’s wet)
  • Take a shower and get into pyjamas or fresh clothes



Extra Tip

Clean and polish sports shoes before you put them away for the next season. Otherwise, the leather will dry out and the shoes will be too uncomfortable to be worn.


What sports do your children pursue and how do you organise their equipment? Make life easier for the family by applying these organisation tips to your household today!

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