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10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown

I use these 10 tips for coping during lockdown every single day. They work and help me keep on track of what is a crazy time at the moment.

Make friends with your slow cooker

I’m a bit of a slow cooker connoisseur. I prep my veggies, and get them all cut up and meat ready the night before. Then, in the morning all I need to do is pop them in the slow cooker. After a challenging day of home schooling and wrangling kids and trying to juggle work (and stay sane) I don’t have to think about dinner as it’s done.

 

10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown. Image Ref: ablissfulnest.com

10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown – Image Ref: ablissfulnest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batch cooking

If you’re making Spaghetti Bolognese, make a double quantity and freeze the other batch. This week we are having Pumpkin Ravioli, Spaghetti Bolognese and Shepard’s Pie, all out of the freezer. Then all you need to do is cook some veggies or makem a quick salad and dinner is done.

 

10 minutes a day keeps the pile away

Ironing is probably the last thing on your mind at the moment but if you do 10 minutes a day it will keep it in check.

 

I miss my cleaner

Obviously, my cleaner cannot come at the moment and the last thing I have time to do is clean. So, I just do 5 minutes here and there. As soon as I have showered, I wipe out the shower. It’s amazing the difference this makes and your shower won’t need a proper clean for weeks. A quick wipe over the bathroom mirror and vanity after the kids have cleaned their teeth means another job done. Five minutes here and there makes a big difference. Although one of the benefits of lockdown is that no one will be coming to visit you anyway, so maybe cleaning doesn’t need to be high on your list either!!!

Take 10 minutes for yourself

Before the craziness of the day starts I make a cup of tea and go and sit quietly (away from the kids) and take the time to drink it in peace (and whilst it’s hot). Its amazing how you feel if you can just get 10 minutes here and there to yourself.

10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown

10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown – Image Ref: followtheyellowbrickhome.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book that appointment

We won’t be in lockdown for ever (even though it does feel like that some days). So, book that facial or massage now so that when lockdown is finished you have already secured your spot.

 

Plan out your week

Map out those important meeting that you cannot miss and plan your day around them. Let the family know too. If you need to get the kids set up with Google Meets first thing in the morning, then schedule any “must do” meetings in the afternoon.

 

Recharge at night

Be sure to recharge all your device e.g., iPads at night ready for the next day of learning.

 

Bribe your kids

Normally not one that I would suggest but do whatever it takes to get it all done. If you have little kids perhaps start a reward chart for them. They get stickers (and eventually a reward) for doing good things like not coming into the office when you’re on a Zoom meeting, or completing their school work for the day.

 

The last of my 10 Tips For Coping During Lockdown – Up your vitamins and greens

Let’s be honest, we are all probably burning the candle at both ends. So now is the time to up your dose of Vitamins so you can cope. I know I finished work at 11pm last night so I definitely need some extra energy today.

Good luck with lockdown 5.0. Hopefully it won’t be long and we will be back out again.

Want more tips on coping during lockdown? Then check out our blog on: Master Working From Home.  

Whilst we cannot go and do any home organising we are still helping our clients virtually. So if you need some help, we are only a phone call away.

Organising Your Paperwork for Tax Time

Organising your paperwork for tax time can be a time-consuming and stressful at the best of times. But it’s a hundred times worse when your tax documents and receipts are scattered all over the place and in no logical order. So we have put together some tax time tips to help get you organised.

If you are still using the old shoe box storage system or if you have got receipts shoved in your wallet or worse still you have got no idea where they are, then it’s time to review your home office filing system.

Having a well-organised tax record filing system is the key to making the process a whole lot simpler, quicker and hassle-free.
Here’s our 8 tips to help get you organised.

Home Office

Organising Your Paperwork for Tax Time. Image reference: www.kateknowleshome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Set up a filing system

Systems don’t need to be expensive or complicated. A 2-ring binder folder, simple colour-coded manila folders or a concertina file will work if you don’t have a filing cabinet.

 

2. Understand what you can claim

It’s a good idea to talk to a tax professional and get an idea of what expenses you can claim. This is especially important now if you’re working arrangements have changed (and let’s be honest, nearly all of us have had changed working arrangements in the last 12 months).
Have you purchased equipment so you can work from home – a laptop, desk items, stationery etc.? Find out what you can claim and ensure you have the receipts to prove it.
For more detailed information on what you may be able to claim, check with the ATO.

 

3. Organising for Tax Time – Decide on your categories

Possible income and expense categories might include:
Income

  • PAYG Payment Summaries from your employers
  • Interest earned on all bank accounts
  • Dividends received on any shares you own
  • Distributions paid from Trusts or Partnerships
  • Rental income on your rental properties

Expenses

  • Working from home expenses.
  • Work car related expenses
  • Work travel related expenses
  • Other work related expenses, such as printing, subscriptions, stationery. Do note that they must relate specifically to your employment.
  • Donations
  • Education/professional development expenses
  • Cost of managing your tax affairs, ie your accountant’s fee for preparing your tax return

 

4. Collect all the paperwork scattered around the house

You know the ones that have been put in your car, shoved in your wallet, your jacket pocket, in your bedside table or some other random spot.

 

5. Just do it – Once

Papers don’t file themselves. Set time aside to do this. The best option is to file an item away as soon as you receive it. If you cannot do that, set aside a few minutes each week or month to do this. Perhaps make the last day of each month the day when you will do this. Then, you will avoid a big pile of paperwork and emails to file at the end of tax time.

 

6. Go Digital – Tax Time Tip

Don’t want papers and files sitting around. Then perhaps its time to go digital. Create folders on your computer and in your inbox so you can file electronic receipts, invoices, bank statements and other digital tax-related documents in the appropriate folders as soon as you receive them.
There are some great apps and online programs like Xero or Myob if you need something more specialised.

Home office

Organising Your Paperwork for Tax Time: image source: homebunch.com

 

7. The problem with paper

Apart from the clutter that it causes, the other issues with paper records is that once they’re gone, they’re gone. Paper receipts fade and accidents happen. The best way to store receipts these days is electronically. Take a photo and keep it on your phone or laptop or get an app to keep all your receipts in the cloud. Just make sure you set up an online filing and file it logically, so you can find it.

 

8. Book that appointment

Now that your organising for Tax Time is done and all your paperwork is organised logically in one spot, it won’t take long to pull it all together. So book that appointment with your accountant and get your tax done. And hopefully, now that you have all your receipts together, you might get a nice refund too.

 

Running A Business From Home

Running a business from home and need some extra support, setting up XERO or Myob, imputing data or lodging your BAS statements. We work with a great company who can manage all your accounting requirements. Just contact us for more information about them.

Need some help organising your paperwork for tax time? Then contact us. We love organising paperwork and home offices.

Master Working From Home

Master working from home with these tips.

 

Home office

Home office

Declutter your Space

There is nothing more distracting than having a heap of stuff laying around. Whether that’s in the spare room, on the kitchen table or on your desk. A cluttered space creates a cluttered mind. So now is the time to clear out the stuff you haven’t used for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

Home Office Ideas

Home Office Ideas

No PJ’s

No, its not okay to crawl out of bed and still in your PJs start work. Get dressed, get organised, do your hair (and makeup if you normally wear it), ready for your day “in the office”.

 

Home Office Ideas

Home Office Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set Some Boundaries

This is super important especially if other family members are also at home. Set boundaries with anyone else who shares the home, so they respect your work time.  So that might mean if you are working in a spare room, when the door is closed, that indicates you are at work and you should not be interrupted. Or, if you are working at the kitchen table, family members understand that they should not be interrupting you. Easier said than done if you have kids at home too, so you just need to start the conversation.

Image credit: Williams Cabinets

 

Working From Home

Working From Home

Check your Internet Package

You cannot function without it. You may need to upgrade your plan to ensure you have enough data, especially if other family members are also online.

Image credit: Hayfair.com

 

Organised home office

Organised home office

 

 

Business as Usual

Keep the same schedule you had at the office. So that means getting up at the same time and starting the working day with the same tasks you would have done at the office.

 

 

 

Small home office idea

Small home office idea

Stay Connected

For some, working from home is great. No distractions, no annoying co-workers and office gossip. But after a while you may start to feel a bit isolated. So, to help stay connected, make calls on FaceTime, Skype or Zoom instead.  That’s another good reason to make sure you are dressed, hair and makeup done!

Image credit: The DIY PlayBook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Office Decor

Home Office Decor

Take a Break

Just like if you were in the office, schedule breaks throughout the day, especially if you are sitting in front of a screen. However, be careful not to get caught up doing “household chores”. All of a sudden that load of washing that you went to put on gets you side-tracked from your actual work and you have lost half an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your new work space!

The Lifestylers Group provide decluttering and home organising assistance. We also offer virtual PA services to help people get organised and stay organised.

Clearing out and decluttering an estate

Clearing out and decluttering an estate can be a costly exercise especially if the process is not well organised and planned out in advance.

Here’s 8 of our key tips to help you manage clearing out and decluttering an estate in a cost effective way.

Locate the key financial documents first

Estate Clearing

Estate Clearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The aim is to make your solicitor’s job easier and ensure you don’t have to replace missing documents.  You may need to find the latest Will, recent bank statements, life insurance policy, Certificate of Title//property deeds, share certificates, tax returns  etc.– all the documents that a solicitor will need to complete the estate administration.

Keep in mind that it’s expensive to replace documents. Currently the fee for replacing a lost Certificate of Title is $189.10, plus an “indemnity contribution” (similar to insurance). This is based on the value of the land and the circumstances under which the paper Certificate of Title was lost or destroyed. Costs could range from $100 to $600, so it’s worth finding these documents as soon as possible, before the declutter and cull starts. Plus, there could be additional legal costs associated with the replacement process.

Keep an eye out for hidden cash

Money hidden inside old shoe boxes or jars still exists. I cannot begin to tell you how much cash we have found when clearing out estates over the years. Be meticulous. Check every pile of paper and inside jacket pockets and boxes.

I often find that the older the client the more money is found. We once found over $5765 in “hidden” cash which had been stored in various/random places throughout the house. Without attention to detail it could have easily been thrown out, but instead it remained with the estate.So when clearing out and decluttering an estate be on the look out.

Organise valuations

Clearing out and decluttering an estate

Clearing out and decluttering an estate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the untrained eye it’s often hard to determine if a piece of art work is an original or not. You may find yourself asking: is Mums old crystal worth something or not. Organise to have furniture, jewellery, crockery and artworks valued by an expert. Or utilise our estate clearing services and we can help manage the process for you.

Start the cull/declutter process early

Depending on the size of the estate it can easily take a number of days/weeks to declutter and clear.  So start the process early. If you need some tips on decluttering, this blog  might help.

Find cost effective ways to dispose of goods when clearing out an estate

Rubbish removal is one of the biggest expenses in clearing out an estate. Properly managed though, this fee can be reduced down substantially.

We use a 4 step process to rubbish removal, with each step designed to reduce down the actual amount of goods that ultimately need to go into paid rubbish removal. So my big tip here is to think about the process of disposing of goods well in advance. Plus, try and make use of your free council rubbish pick up, if available.

Look at what items can be sold

You can use Gumtree or eBay to sell goods that you don’t want to keep or distribute to family members.  However, just be realistic about the resale value. It does take time to take the photos, measure up items, write the description and list them along with more time manage all the enquires that you will receive.

Do a project plan

Clearing out and decluttering an estate is a big job. However, if you map out a project plan, listing key dates and tasks to be completed, along with a budget, it helps to manage the process. So set some time aside at the beginning of the clear out.

Get professional help

Decluttering an estate is an emotionally draining process, especially if family members are involved, because of the emotional attachment to items. Plus, people often don’t know where to start because they are just so overwhelmed by the sheer size of the job.

Plus, with family and work commitments, often the family doesn’t have a spare four weeks to spend decluttering and clearing an estate. Or there may not be any family at all to assist with this process. This is where a professional organiser who specialises in estate clearing can be a good strategy, both in terms of emotional support and practical experience.

If you would like to discuss how we can help with your estate clearance, please contact Natalie Morey on Ph: 9421 1070 or 0419 754 784.

 

 

Declutter your books

When did you make the time to declutter your books? If you’re like me, I’m tipping it hasn’t been recently.

Declutter my house

Declutter your books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declutter your books in 5 easy steps.

When your books start to build up and create clutter on your bookshelves, bedside table or book shelves its time to declutter. So here’s 5 steps to help make the process of decluttering your books easier.

Set time aside to declutter your books.

You need to set designated time aside if you want to declutter any space. If you don’t have an hour, then just allocate 10 or 15 minutes and don’t stop till the time is up. Just remember though, once you have culled and decluttered your book shelve, bundle the books up ready to be dropped off (also set a date by which they must be dropped off). If you only have 10 or 15 minutes for a declutter session, then also make sure you set yourself a goal as to when you want to have the entire book shelve decluttered.

One shelf at a time.

Like any declutter project you need to start small. So in this instance when you are decluttering your book shelf, start decluttering one shelve at a time. Work from the top down. And if they are spilling out onto the floor, then that is the best place to start your declutter.

Will you really read it again?

I know myself, I had a heap of books that I was never going to read again. So I decided it was time to clear the clutter and let go. With any decluttering that you do, maximum impact is made when you can let go of more items. Plus, it is so much easier to organise and style a book shelve that is not jam packed with books. So keep that in mind with you when you start your declutter.

Why are you keeping those books anyway?

I realised that I was keeping a heap of my old university books. Why? I think it was because of all the memories that they brought back. But the reality was, I was never going to use my Macro Economics book again (I hated the subject then and my opinion has not changed), so why was a keeping it, so they had to go. Declutter and be gone!

Declutter your books and donate.

Feel good about decluttering your books by donating them to someone who can use them. I recently did a declutter for a client and we donated books that were in very good condition to her local library. The library then sold the books and used the money to buy more books.

Other places to donate books to include:

http://www.brotherhoodbooks.org.au/donate/

https://www.footpathlibrary.org/contact-us/ they have branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

The Lifestylers Group provides decluttering assistance in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. For assistance with any declutter project (the kitchen, bedroom, office, wardrobes, garage) contact us.

Image credit: http://bliss-athome.com/about/

 

Don’t make these 4 mistakes when decluttering

Don’t make these 4 mistakes when decluttering. If you keep motivated and inspired you will achieve great results. Make sure you have a plan and keep focused on the job at hand. Their is nothing more rewarding than standing back and admiring your work, once the job is done. I often find myself going back to a cupboard that I have organised, opening the doors and having a quick peek in to see my decluttering effort.

 

 1. You don’t think there is a problem

Time to declutter your wardrob

Time to declutter and organise your wardrobe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have become so use to living in a mess that it has become normal. It doesn’t worry you anymore that the dining room table is full of papers and stuff. You cannot see the office floor because of all the paperwork lying around but that is fine because you have just become accustom to it. You get frustrated when you go to get dressed for work because you cannot find anything, but that’s just normal now because it happens every morning.

 

2. You procrastinate

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the job at hand and just not do anything because you don’t know where to start. If you are struggling then perhaps book the services of a declutter expert to help you. It’s amazing how motivated you become once you know someone is coming to your house to go through your wardrobe!!

 

3.  You don’t have a plan

To do list

To do list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You need a vision if you are going to get anywhere. Often clients stand at the door to the room and because they don’t know where to start, they simply close the door again.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed so having a plan or a vision is essential. I always ask clients how they visualize the room once it has been decluttered. It helps them to get inspired and motivated about the declutter process plus they have a goal to work towards.

I also recommend decluttering one shelve at a time. Start small, work through that area then start on the next one. Use these 4 categories as a guide to help you group declutter and group items.

  1. Keep
  2. Cull (throw)
  3. Donate
  4. Repair.

 

4. You lose motivation

Declutter and get organised

Declutter and get organised

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to lose motivation especially if you cannot see much of an impact in the room you have been working in.

Decluttering can be a big job especially if you have a room full of stuff. If you are decluttering an office it can be much harder than decluttering a wardrobe because you physically have to inspect each piece of paper in case it relates to tax. Where as you can make a big impact in a wardrobe in a small amount of time by simply throwing out a couple of big, bulky items. Therefore, it’s important to remind yourself that your mess that may have been building up over a number of months or years, is not going to disappear in a matter of minutes. It might take a couple of hours or even a couple of days to see a difference.

It might also be a good idea to get a declutter expert to help you. They make you accountable and they can give you work to do in-between visits. We often give our clients “homework “to do before we come back and see them again. It helps our clients stay motivated because they have a deadline to work towards.

The Lifestylers Group can work with you to declutter and organise any part of your house: the kitchen, pantry, home office, bedrooms or garage.