BBC's Dilly Carter on The Power of Organisation

18 February 2022

To add to the growing list of speakers on our amazing Inspirational Speakers Programme, we invited Dilly Carter along to tell us all about the power of organisation, specifically how it can improve your mental wellbeing and create the inner calm we all need.

Dilly’s a professional organiser, author of ‘Create Space’, Founder of ‘Declutter Dollies’ and most recently, TV Presenter on BBC One’s ‘Sort Your Life Out’ alongside Stacey Solomon. She’s known for ‘zhuzhing’ the homes of A-list actors, authors, fitness influencers and CEOs.

With life in general being so busy, be it your personal or work life, how we cope with the ups and downs can often be put on the backburner.

Mental wellbeing is so incredibly important and I think sometimes we forget about our own wellbeing because we tend to focus on others. This talk was all about reassessing different aspects of our lives to enhance our own wellbeing, aspects that we probably take for granted day to day. And man, did Dilly deliver!

What I love about her is her no-nonsense, straight-talking approach. Dilly spoke candidly about her life, where she came from, to where she is now – and she didn’t hold back! Something Dilly said during the talk really stood out to me: ”It’s the minor things that can become pretty major.” So true, and although some of the tips and fixes she spoke about may seem small initially, it’s those little things that can make the biggest difference.

Organisation really is the key to success, to inner calm and creating a healthy wellbeing system.

Dilly also talked around the ‘trail of destruction’. This is something I think we ALL go through from time to time. As soon as you wake up in the morning, the trail of destruction can affect your entire day.

You wake up and trip over the pile of books next to your bed, you go downstairs and yesterday’s coffee is still sitting at your workspace, you trip over the washing pile and struggle to find a clean towel, you open your cupboard and can’t find your favourite shirt for today’s important meeting, you go to your cereal cupboard and everything comes toppling out because it’s rammed full of stuff, you get into your car that’s full of empty water bottles and takeaway coffees…

By the time you get to work you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and you can’t think why. This trail of destruction has a knock-on effect, and the small changes you could make to your morning could help you feel an enormous sense of calm and assist you in feeling more productive and organised for your day ahead. I myself have suffered from this dreaded trail of destruction, but after making tiny changes, it’s had a huge impact on me and my day – again, it’s the minor things that can become pretty major.

Do you have your own ‘trail of destruction’? What can you do to ensure it’s minimised? Ask yourself the questions below.

  • When you sit down at your workspace how does it make you feel?
  • Do you have to fight your way through piles of stuff before you can see the surface of your desk?
  • Do you feel instantly inspired and organised with a set of goals, or do you feel immediately overwhelmed and unprepared for the day ahead?
  • How do you prepare the space you’re in for your working day?
  • What would help you think clearly and feel productive?
  • How effortless is your day?
  • Is everything at your fingertips, and is everything easy to achieve?
  • Is your space a reflection of who you really are?

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as that piece of work you need to get done for a client or colleague, so take it seriously. The better you feel, the better you’ll perform.

Unsurprisingly, after Dilly finished her fantastic presentation, we had so many questions from the Fortus team and ran out of time unfortunately. However, Dilly’s kindly taken the time to answer every question we sent to her…

For someone who’s in a real pickle and wants to start to declutter but feeling overwhelmed, where do they start?

The most important place to focus on when decluttering is the room that is affecting your daily life. What’s causing you the most stress and affecting the way you go about your daily to dos? Is it affecting your relationship? Your sleep? This is where you start.

If this feels like too much – start small. One drawer at a time, one area at a time. Write down the areas you need to tackle and number them in priority order. Once you’ve tackled the worst area, ripped off that band aid, the rest will feel easier.

Don’t forget to ask for help from someone if you need it. Don’t struggle alone!

How do you juggle your growing business and family life?

I get help. I can’t do it alone.

For so many years I struggled trying to do it all, but now I prioritise my weekends and family time by asking for help from external sources. I would rather pay someone to do my ironing and cleaning than spend hours at an ironing board or cleaning on my only days off.

I value my free time. I’d rather invest in getting that help, than say going for dinner four times a month! If you spent less somewhere else, could you get help to relieve some chores, housework or childcare? What do you value the most – your time or your stuff?

Which room in the house do you feel is the most important to be clutter-free?

The bedroom is the most important room to keep clutter-free. You have to try and make that feel like your little sanctuary!

What are the biggest success stories you’ve seen from people taking your advice?

So many it’s hard to choose, but one that stands out is from one of the families we filmed for the BBC. The daughter had been very badly bullied at school, causing her mental health to really deteriorate. After the show aired, the bullies both called to apologise for what they did to her. It was pretty amazing to receive a message from her to say thank you -the show has changed her and her family’s life.

How do you manage to de-clutter with kids? Any top tips?

Organise by category. Paw patrol. Barbies. Educational toys. Large/small plastic or wooden/soft toys. Always try and create zones if you can so kids have a reading zone, an arts and crafts area etc. Label as much as you can with kids, it really helps them. They learn to be neat, tidy and organised at school, so continue that at home. Oh and remember – the only person in control of buying the toys in your home is you. So if your home is over run with toys, why is that?

For more tips and advice from Dilly, be sure to follow her on Instagram.