In 2002 Lissanne Oliver made a decision that changed her life, and thousand of others.
After 16 years working in broadcast production, Lissanne decided to put her organising skills to work and, in doing so, helped found a new Australian industry. Professional organising was a fledgling concept when Lissanne founded her business ‘Sorted’. “It was the best decision I ever made,” she says.
Since then she has written several books, made numerous television appearances and trained thousands of other professional organisers. “I think there’s a growing acceptance of us as a professional service,” Lissanne says.
What does a professional organiser do?
“People’s needs are diverse,” Lissanne says. “It can be hands-on going through stuff, to a bit of beautification or practical assistance on running a garage sale.” (Lissanne is also an ambassador for the Garage Sale Trail.) “One of the things I love to do is help people with memorabilia and helping clients sort out their paperwork.”
Above all, Lissanne said being organised was not about being a “neat freak”. “Anyone who’s got a life has a bit of mess in their house,” she laughs.
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Kids can be the chief mess-makers around the house, so it's only fair that they should play their part in helping to tidy up.
While youngsters (and not so youngsters) will come up with every argument under the sun to not help tidy up — "that's not mine"; "that is mine but someone else got it out"; and that old chestnut, "I'm tired!"
Lissanne offers some tips in her book Sorted.
"In all my years of consulting (and nannying) space has never been an issue in kids' rooms," she says.
"The volume of stuff is the problem. There are too many clothes, too many toys, too much furniture — but rarely enough books."
Lissanne then asks the pertinent question: "Are the contents of your child's room more an indication of your attitude to stuff than a true reflection of your child's need for it?"
She advises that "dump bins" or baskets are the easiest form of storage for children to maintain.
"Avoid using lids, and make sure they can easily get to the storage space," she says. "A small set of wall-mounted shelves is best for any 'precious' bits and pieces. In your living area, allocate a box or basket for each child. Stray socks, toys, school work and so on can easily be placed in the basket or box, and then the whole container can easily be taken to child's bedroom.
“Organise a tidy-up day with all your kids and have them get in on the act. Don't be a slave to fetching or picking up after them. A simple routine is to ask them once a week to pick up everything off the floor so you can vacuum."
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Lissanne’s top organising tips
time for it – even if it’s just 5 minutes.
the thing you least want to do first.
about every project can be broken down into 5, 10 and 15 minute tasks.
if you’re overwhelmed, there will still be a 5 or 10 minute job that you can make a start with.