Memory-keeping on a budget: My 5 best tips

I want to talk a little more about realistic memory-keeping.

I wrote a blog post about that before which focussed on the time aspect.

I thought I’d add to that post by talking about the other realistic side of memory-keeping, the budgeting part.

Here are my 5 tips on realistic memory-keeping on a budget.

1. Consider all your options before you start

We waste a lot of money (and time) when we don’t properly think through things. Some things you might want to consider are …

- what is your style?
- what is your budget? (your actual budget, not the idealistic budget) We all know this kind-of thing is a luxury so give yourself the permission to acknowledge that
- what do you NOT want to do?

I love the look of photobooks and so I bought some vouchers from 3 separate companies about 3 years ago. Well, I can now tell you I will never ever ever make a photo book again. I will happily pay for someone else (with my clean, visual style) to do it for me but for me, no thanks. You see, the book cost about R200 on special but I spent about 3 torturous hours putting it together. Not worth it for me. I would rather pay more and have someone else do it.

The next set was easier but still the time investment was a killer, and the third time (I don’t learn very quickly, do I?), when the system kept bombing me out, I asked for a refund and remembered why I do not do photobooks.

2. What is your minimum level for memory satisfaction?

There are many f.ree apps available and some very cost-effective ones too.

Is it snapping a photo with your phone?
Is it Instagramming it?
Is it putting a folder on Facebook?

I did a Project 365 last year. Most of my photos were also instagrammed but a lot weren’t. I didn’t want to Instagram hard days at work but they’re part of my story so those photos are saved to my Project 365, for my eyes only :)


3. Do you want to print anything?

After the photobook disasters, I decided that I’m just fine with photo albums. I love my photo albums. I have a big one for each child from 1 up to 5 years old. I print just 4 photos a month per child. I love having that creative boundary because it’s just supposed to be a snapshot in time of what that child was like at that point in his/ her life.

4. Choose your method of storage carefully

I have the same type of photo albums (200-page) for everything so they stack nicely on a shelf. They suit my style of photography because I mostly take landscape-layout pics.

Some people do a monthly or weekly Project Life . I do a monthly Project Life because I don’t like the idea of having weekly pressure :)

When you’re choosing how you want to store your photos, consider current and future costs.

When I ordered mini albums, I ordered 3 so that I was sorted for 3 years. That might not work for you if you like everything new. It doesn’t bother me to not have the most current everything so I’m good.

I love the idea of Project Life but not the shipping costs to South Africa. And so, my best budget memory-keeping advice…

Lime Album

5. If you do Project Life, buy only what you want from the digital kits

I paid about R1100 for my first kit – just the kit, not the albums – with shipping costs. That’s crazy expensive and hurts my head every time I think about it too long.

Next time around I ordered digital project life files off the site (only the 4 X 6 filler cards because I use a mini album – as I said, I LOVE boundaries!). I mixed it up so I got the Honey and Sunshine kits because they made me happy, printed off the PDFs and now I’m set. The only slight nuisance was cutting them out because I don’t have a paper trimmer. I only paid about R100 for the files and printing on cardstock. HUGE saving of R1000.


In my opinion, even if you do a weekly PL layout, you will still never finish the entire box in a year. Yes, you could use the cards for list-making (I do this too) but why waste money to start off with?

Which one of those was your favourite tip?

PS Do pop over to Pink Ronnie to read her tips on keeping to a memory-keeping budget.


{I love stationery} Wax highlighters

I love stationery - neon twister highlighters

I seriously love highlighters.

  1. Every month I type out my goals, print them on an A4 sheet of paper and stick them on the wardrobe next to me with Prestik. As I complete goals off the list, I highlight them. Why? I still like to see what was there before but the highlighter  shows me it’s done.
  2. I do the same with my daily eat the frog list. As I complete tasks they get highlighted.
  3. Beth and I chat weekly and we set goals for the week ahead in both our Business and Personal categories. I write these out while we’re talking and again, as I finish things off, I highlight them. I have a special trick with these goals. I use a different coloured highlighter for each day I work on them :)

So you can see. Highlighter love.

When I saw some new highlighters at the shops, I decided to try them even though they’re a bit more expensive than regular highlighters (R45 for 5). I was hooked when I read that they don’t dry out.

I’m happy to report they are all that and then some!

Lovely and waxy, and I don’t have to worry about a lid always being on.

I made the mistake of using them when Connor was with me in the study and he loves them too, and has since claimed two of them as his own.

I love stationery - neon twister highlighters  I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters I love stationery - neon twister highlighters

Do you use highlighters?

Have you seen them at the shops?

Have you tried them? What do you think of them?

This is (sadly) not a sponsored post; I just love these highlighters :)

#67 minutes for #MandelaDay | Before and after {Organising} High-traffic areas

Well friends, today is Mandela Day in South Africa and for my #67minutes, I’m about to do an audio recording of the 5 love languages.

I’ll have to speak slightly faster because this is at best a 90-minute workshop :)

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, pop along to my site and read some more.

Links to the handout and recording will be sent out on Monday if you order today or anytime over the weekend.

Let’s talk love!


Just thought I’d share a quick before and after with you.

And at the same time, reassure you about something.

A lot of people get frustrated when they constantly have to reorganise.


Especially in a high-traffic area.

For me, this box on my desk is a high-traffic area. I’m dipping into and out of this box on a near daily basis. So sometimes it gets a bit messy.

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

It got a good clean-out and all papers were put back in their place or tossed in the recycling bag. This is different from a proper declutter and organise session because the box is organised, so the tidy took less than 5 minutes. It took me longer to take all the photos :)

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen


Organising a high-traffic area | Organising Queen

Moral of the story
Don’t get frustrated when you have to tweak your high-traffic areas.

Some examples in most homes:

  1. kitchen counters
  2. bedside tables
  3. chairs in bedrooms
  4. dining-room tables
  5. entrance tables

How often do you fix your high-traffic areas?

7 weeks with my Fitbit Flex: what I like and don’t like

I heard about the Fitbit for the first time on a blog. Since the blogger and I are very similar with regard to goals, I immediately paid attention and thought that I should get one.

When I investigated further, I figured out that I could use some banking reward points and save nearly 30%. Sold! I went online, bought my one and waited eagerly for it to arrive.

I received my Fitbit on 26 May, immediately registered and sorted it out and so it’s been 7 weeks of use since then.

For those who don’t know what a Fitbit is, you wear it on your wrist like a watch and it tracks the number of steps you walk per day, the distance you’ve walked, how many active minutes you have, calories you’ve burned and the sleep you get. In the iphone app, you can also track your daily weight (if you weigh daily like I do), how much water you’re drinking and the foods you’re eating.

I don’t use all of the functionality – I only track water, weight and sleep, and the app tracks my steps and tells me I’m not active enough!

I thought I’d take the time to share some of the thoughts I’ve had since getting mine.

1. I’m highly motivated to finish all my water every day

There’s a picture of a girl (maybe it’s a boy if you register gender as male) on my app and the girl fills up with water as you log all you’re drinking. I love it! As you get closer to 2 L, the girl turns orange and then green. We’re aiming for green.

I get to my 2L most days but on the days I don’t, I make sure I drink at least 1.5L.


2. 10 000 steps?

I’ve only reached 10 000 steps twice since I’ve had the Fitbit. I’m not sure why it’s proving so difficult. On the first day I reached 10 000 steps, I went to a very intense Zumba class in the morning, organized and cooked up a storm (lots of walking around my house) and then went to two different shopping centres in the afternoon on the hunt for photo albums. I was walking back to the car at the second shopping centre when my wrist vibrated and an email came through congratulating me on the 10 000 steps.

The second day was the day of my kids’ birthday party, but even then I only hit 10 000 just before midnight!

My lifestyle is such that I’m probably not going to ever reach 10 000 in a day unless I start running daily. If I’m out and about, work doesn’t get done, and yet, I go for a walk at least 5 times a week in addition to my 3 exercise classes. I’m still figuring it all out but since I started feeling like a failure (and that’s never good), I reduced my goal to 6666 steps. That was a bad idea because I’d rack up even fewer steps than before per day. Of course when I realized this I switched it back to 10 000. That proves once again that I’m the type of person who HAS to shoot for the stars so that I can reach for more.



3. Increased time management is not good for fitness

This is very interesting.

All the stuff we organising and time experts teach about having zones in the kitchen and batching tasks so you don’t need to walk up and down in the kitchen? Great for efficiency but not for fitness.

It’s actually better walking to the cupboard for flour, and then walking back for the vanilla essence than walking once and getting everything.

It’s obviously a silly example but these days I don’t bother to collect everything in a room like I did before because I need the steps!

Or maybe I’m just obsessive!

4. I love the weekly progress emails

I get a kick out of seeing how many THOUSANDS of steps I’ve walked for the week, and how many kilometres that translates to, etc.

Because the email is sent weekly, it’s easy to compare week-on-week to see how I’m tracking.


5. Sleep stats are confusing

I can’t seem to figure out how to properly work the Fitbit sleep part, so I try and activate the device on my wrist but because I’m a slight control freak, I also use the app.

Apparently I have between a 97 and 100% sleep efficiency rate and the longest it’s taken me to fall asleep is 7 minutes. I may not be looking in the right place but I think I can only get access to detailed sleep stats (more than a week) if I sign up for the premium version which I’m not prepared to do just yet.

The Sleeptime app I used before seems to be better in displaying the light and deep sleep data. I may have to triple check my sleep ?

6. Oh my gosh, the strap

I hated the strap when I first got it. It is really difficult to use at first, so much so that I even showered with it on, which I would never normally do because the device is so expensive.

It’s promoted as shower-safe but after that first time, I just felt too reckless so I preferred to take it on and off before showering.

I’m used to it now but it took a good month to figure out.

7. Charging the batteries

The batteries do indeed need charging every 5 days. The great thing is that when the Fitbit’s running low, I get an email telling me so and then I just plan to sit still and do some computer work while I charge it with the USB.

(I’ve been charging it while writing this very article).

On the whole

While I still have to fine-tune my usage, I love my Fitbit a lot. I’m the type of person who really likes dealing with facts, figures and graphs (that’s why I track my goals success on a spreadsheet) and now knowing all the specifics of my fitness motivates me. If you’re the same, you will love it. Get it!

If you don’t like tracking anything (and you don’t like feeling guilty), maybe this is not for you.

As always, don’t concern yourself with what other people are doing – do what works for you!

If you do want a FitBit, here is the link to Amazon

{Mindset} How to make your chores more pleasant

Make your chores more pleasant | Organising Queen

I’ve written before about how laundry is my most-hated chore.

I do like seeing a row of clean laundry on the line though.

With things I don’t like doing, I like to make it as pleasant as possible.

So I bought packs of gorgeous, bright, happy clothespegs.

Make your chores more pleasant | Organising Queen

I also hate filing.

So I keep as little as possible and these days, I only file once a year.

I put on a favourite CD and it’s done in 35 minutes. I timed myself.

I don’t mind cooking (I really like the eating) but when I have to do a couple of dishes, I take my ipad into the kitchen, pull up a podcast and I listen while I’m cooking.

It makes the time pass so quickly because there are only so many times you can quickly straighten a kitchen cupboard. I do that if I’m waiting for the kettle to boil so for real cooking, I need something else.

With any task, make it as fun for yourself as possible so you’ll want to do it.

What are some of your tricks to make doing your chores more pleasant?

{Organising} Office odds and ends


Years ago I had this nice, new pink shoe bag I bought in the kiddies section of Mr Price Home that I used in my study for cables, chargers and such.

Office odds and ends, if you will.

It had shoe bags on both sides so when the one side started looking too grubby, I just turned the thing over and used the other side.

But a few weeks ago, I took something out in a hurry and the pink pockets tore.

I looked closely and saw that the whole thing was actually long overdue for the rubbish heap because it was falling to shreds.

Still, I’d had very good use of something I paid R40 for at least 6 years ago.


I try not to go shopping for something unless I’ve totally exhausted in-house possibilities so I went looking in my cupboard and sure enough, I found a mesh bag that is actually intended for the shower.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be organised.

Determined not to exceed these 6 pockets, I ruthlessly decluttered to make it all fit.

Tell me, why do we keep old cell phones that nobody would even want to have?!

Here is the result.



Took me about 15 minutes to decide what to keep and put it all back neatly.


(taking the photos and editing them took longer)


For the record, I keep an iphone charger at my desk and another on my bedside table. I also keep the kindle charger in my bedside table drawers.

Where do you keep your office odds and ends?

Free printable, picking my brain and community

Three quick things today:


There’s a free printable waiting for you in your welcome pack when you sign up to the newsletter. It’s a lovely planning tool for you to choose just three organising tasks/ projects per month for the rest of the year.

I think I’ll create one for 2015 too :)

Have fun using it!



I have a few Pick my Brain sessions left for July at $100 each; the other 5 are $147 each, which is still a steal as other coaches/ consultants offer them at $250 and upwards.

In the past, people have picked my brain on these kinds of issues:

- how to run a business while working full-time
- how do I write the book I know is inside of me
- I’ve written my book. How do I get all the bits and pieces together so it gets Kindle-ised and up on Amazon, or ready for publishing?
- I want to start doing talks. How do I get clear on my message and how do I get my first talks booked?
- I would love to be a professional organiser. How do I get started? (this is very popular)
- how to save towards a big juicy goal like taking a sabbatical (like I’m doing!)

actually, the sky’s the limit!

What do you want to chat about?


Live Organised Community | Marcia Francois

The one thing I’ve really been missing for the last two months is connection with people (I’m an extrovert).

I also like variety and shaking things up a bit.

And so, when I was at the hairdresser’s at the end of last month, I started making some notes about what you wanted and told me about in the survey, what I wanted and I came up with a fabulous idea!

The Live Organised Community – a place for you to get support while you move towards a more intentional and organised life.

We’re going to start in August. August is my birthday month – isn’t this a good way to celebrate my 40th birthday?

Have a read here… and please send me your questions so I can keep updating the page.

Also, if you’ve got a name that’s catchier, cooler or more creative, email me. There’s a special gift for you.

My babies are 5

Today Connor and Kendra turn 5.


I can’t believe 5 years have passed.

On that last day of being pregnant, I had a coaching session with a client; Dion and I went to ante-natal classes, had supper and watched Survivor, and went to bed.

And then all the drama happened at exactly midnight and three hours later, I had babies!

At just 32 weeks.

I never want to relive those 10 months of sleep deprivation – so glad that’s behind me now.

0 - 1 month

And then I blinked and the kids are 5.

Now we have real conversations, take photo walks, read, craft, bake and cook.

WOW. winter walk 3 3006

Happy birthday also to my friend, Laura, who shares a birthday with the babies. Laura does great work in Mozambique – go read her blog and say happy birthday to her :)

{Organising} CDs… for those of us who still use them

Happy 4th July to all my American readers! Enjoy the long weekend :)

11-01 1282



This lovely pink suitcase holds my CDs in my car.


I used to have an even lovelier little box but that one was stolen WITH all the CDs a few years ago.

I really hope those thieves enjoy Praise and Worship, Air Supply and Rod Stewart :)

This is a bit of organising I really only get to when it’s driving me absolutely mad (4 – 6 times a year).


I exchange CDs, put them in the nearest box I can find, and when I’m filling up my car with petrol, I’ll do some organising.

However, it needs to be done a bit more thoroughly every now and again, otherwise the CDs and boxes are all mixed up, especially because I just bring a new CD or two to the car every week, so the craziness escalates.

I brought the box plus all the loose CDS into the house recently to sort out the mess.

The pile on the far end are all mismatched and I now need to track them down.

You’ll be happy to know I’m only missing one CD now.

IMG_5114 IMG_5112

I keep promising myself I’m going to be good … until the next time :)

Do you still use CDs?

Some people tell me I need to get some device to connect an ipod to my (old – 2005) car’s music system but I have an ipod that’s nearly as old (the ipod nano) and it doesn’t even have half my music on it.

For the moment, I’m happy to still be living in the “olden days”.

How do you organise your CDs… if you’re still living in the olden days like I am?

5 questions to ask as you do your half-year review

As you know, I do a goals review every month before I set goals for the new month ahead.

I find that it helps me take stock of what went well and why, and what I need to work on.

So now that we’re 6 months into 2014, technically I should be half-through my goals.

Of course, it’s not that straightforward because there are goals that are recurring and there are once-off goals. Also, some areas of life may have been flowing beautifully but some haven’t.

My question to you is this – are you on track with your goals?


For the moment, go through these questions with me and answer them honestly. I’ll give you some of my answers as examples of a typical half-year goals review:

1. When I think about the last 6 months, what do I feel? Am I excited, disappointed or apathetic about my progress?

I’m relieved, excited and content.

2. Which areas of my life are working well, which are neutral and which are not doing so well?

Well – Family, Fun, Personal, Friendship, Business

Neutral – Work & Health/ Fitness

3. Why? Or why not?

No need to bore you here. This is where you take a few minutes and go through each category.

4. What do I need to let go of or are there places I need to lower my expectations of myself?

I need to let go of unrealistic expectations about getting to my 10 000 steps daily when I currently don’t have a very active “job”. Also, I need to relax more and appreciate this gift of time.

5. What can I do differently to make sure the next six months move me closer to my goals?

Do something every day, no matter how small, to keep moving me towards my goals.

Stop comparing myself to others!

And a bonus question…

6. How am I living out my word of the year?

It sometimes doesn’t feel like I’m shining but I’m doing a million times better than last year so in comparison, yes, I’m shining.

Over to you.

My challenge to you is to answer these 6 questions honestly and then take some consistent action to move you closer to your goals.


How to set and achieve your goals

Big, Juicy goals

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