Shelina Jokhiya, professional organiser and founder of Decluttr Me, shares her advice for sorting out your home, thoughts, to-do list and more this summer.
While helping clients decluttering and organising their home, office and life, I often get asked what are my top tips for staying organised. Over the years I have built up tricks and habits to keep on top of everything (especially when juggling life as a solopreneur, home owner and social media addict). Here are my favourite tips that I use on a daily basis:
1. Create a to-do list. I use the app TickTick on a continuous basis. It syncs on my computer and phone so I can update wherever I am. The beauty of this app is that it allows me to create projects and then lists within these projects (which follows the “Getting Things Done” principles that I have implemented into my life).
2. Write down everything. Take it out of your mind and reduce the stress of trying to remember what you were thinking about before. I write down my reminders in TickTick and any other notes in Evernote. Having my phone by my side even when having a shower (I have a small towel next to the phone to wipe my hands – yep I am organised!) helps me to quickly drop those thoughts into one of the two apps before I forget again.
3. Use one tool and stick with it. Stick to one that you are comfortable with and keep on using it. If you prefer to write in a notebook, use that notebook for everything. If you like to use apps on your phone or computer, use that, but be consistent.
4. Don’t multi-task. I used to think I could multi-task, but the reality was that I was jumping between different projects and wasting time rather than focusing on one matter and finishing it quickly. Now I just do one thing at a time.
5. Do it now! Don’t throw the dress on the floor, put it in the laundry straight away or hang it in your wardrobe. It will take five seconds.
6. Use FAT. File, Act and Toss for everything you touch or see (emails, paper, food, clothes, etc).
7. Have a place for everything. If you don’t have a place for the item: a) find a place for it b) get rid of it c) or get rid of something else to enable this item to take its place.
8. Keep backups. Buy two 3TB (terabyte) hard drives. Save all your files, music, movies, pictures in one hard drive and make a duplicate copy. Store them in different locations. Add an entry in your calendar to update them every three months.
9. Scan copies of your important documents. Spend half a day scanning and saving important documents such as your birth certificate, education certificates, passports, residence visas, land titles, insurance policies. Put them in one folder and mark it “Important Personal Documents” or something similar. I would save these files in a cloud-based service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud so you can access them at any time wherever you are in the world.
10. Bought something new? Get rid of two items. Whenever you buy something new, make it a habit to get rid of two (yes two!) items out of your life to make way for the item. If you are getting rid of good condition pre-loved clothes and accessories, Shedd (sheddapp.com) is a great app to remove the item out of your life and make some money!
11. Check the expiration date on food. I check the expiration date of the food in my cupboards once a month. I find items that are close to expiring and put them in the front of the cupboard or on the counter to use next. Anything expired is thrown away immediately and I make a note in my shopping list (on Evernote) or any items that I need to replace immediately.
12. Create an inventory of pantry items. Keep an inventory using a note book (online or offline) so that you and the household know when items are due to run out and to ensure you are not overstocking.
13. Unsubscribe. In this part of the world, I notice that companies love adding us to their mailing lists and spamming us. I spend a few seconds to Act (remember FAT in point 6) and unsubscribe from any spam emails.
14. Clear the hotspot. Every house and office has a hotspot for clutter. Usual suspects are the sink, dining table, entry hall console, lounge table and bedside cabinet. Take note of these places and tidy them up daily using FAT.
15. Delegate the cleaning and organising. Start the family as soon as possible to build their organising habit. They say a habit takes 21 to 30 days to be formed, so if you start today they should be organising pros by the end of the summer holidays.
16. Store your passwords in a safe app. How many times do you forget your password and then start looking for them on various pieces of paper? Not only are you susceptible to fraud happening on your online accounts, but it also means you waste precious time looking for the passwords. Store them using a secure app such as 1Password and Lastpass. The ultra secure apps ensure that you can find your passwords whether on your computer or phone.
10 ways to make money from your unworn, unwanted fashion…
Shedd, the UAE’s fashion marketplace app, offers a handy guide on creating the ideal listing that will get your preloved items sold.
Clean and prep
Show everyone how much you love your item by giving it a little TLC prior to snapping a photo. It’s highly recommended to clean and iron your item before shooting. A few creases are acceptable, but if you plan on selling that shirt crammed in your drawer somewhere, the one that’s been living there for the past year, a quick iron is a sure way to bring it back to life.
Set the scene
Let’s be honest, none of us would go on stage without taking a last minute glance in the mirror. You are promoting your item to potential buyers, so having a washing machine or your pet
cat in the background is not a good look.
Find the perfect backdrop
Get your item to stand out by having a clear background. Keep in mind the focus should be on the item, however, you don’t always have to use a plain background. Arrange your items in an interesting and clear way by experimenting with different backdrops – play around with texture and print. Be creative and explore areas of your home i.e. table tops, fluffy rugs, tiled flooring.
Snap a picture
You don’t need to be a professional, all you need is the camera on your phone and a little creativity. Try to photograph your item in the morning, as natural daylight is best. If you’re indoors open as many curtains/blinds as possible! Never use the flash – there is nothing worse than clicking through the photos from Friday night to find your face covered with a massive beam of light, and your preloved fashion feels the same way. Using images that are blurry will most certainly turn off the buyer. Aim for a crisp, clear photo. It may take you a few attempts to get there, but it’s worth it.
Price your item
As a seller you’re in control of how you price your item. Consider cutting at least 15% off the original price if the item has never been worn; 30% for items that have been used a few times and 50% if used often. If you’re still unsure, explore similar items on the app. If your item is too expensive compared to similar items on the market, it’s unlikely it will sell.
Write a description
It’s important to let the buyer know the details of your item. Consider including where you purchased it; the condition; the original price; the size, making sure to state the country i.e. UK or US; the brand and material if relevant. The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be for the buy to take the decision to buy your item.
Add at least five #hashtags
Shedd uses hashtags as key search words. If a user is looking for a silver clutch bag for a wedding, they would type #silver #clutch #bag #wedding in the search. For your item to be searchable you must hashtag relevant key terms within your description. Remember to include a space in-between each hashtag and note that spaces are not used within a hashtag. For example, #knee high #boots would only return #knee and #boots in the search results, missing out the term ‘high’ because of the missing hashtag.
The hard work is over – now sit back, grab a cup of coffee and wait for potential buyers to show interest in your item. The faster you respond to messages and comments, the more likely a buyer will stay interested in your item and you as a seller. A buyer may request additional photos of your item, so be prepared and have a selection stored on your camera roll in case you need to send them through the Shedd in-app messaging function.
Spread the love
Promote your Shedd profile through your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Tap the ‘Share’ button on your profile or on your individual item to generate a unique link to your page. Spread the word and ask friends to join the community and show your Shedd closet some love.
Shedd is much like your favourite clothing store – without fail, you visit this store every time you go to the mall. Buyers that made a purchase from you, or even showed slight interest, are likely to return to your Shedd profile. Keeping your profile fresh with new additions is key to making the most out of your Shedd closet and increase your chances