Organize Now! – Week 2

Okay, week 1 is finished! Yay! How did I do? Hmmm… overall, not bad, I’d say.

I answered most of the questions on the previous post, so now I’m going to quickly fill you all in on the rest: It advises getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. There was only one night I didn’t accomplish this, which is a massive improvement in my life. I’m starting to feel better, at the end of my days I want to sleep. This is really a good thing. I used to go to bed at about 2, wake up at 7, feel dead in the afternoon, nap if at all possible, and then go to bed at 2. This schedule just wasn’t working out anymore. I really had to sit down and have a chat with the boy, because honestly he was a huge part of why my sleep schedule had been so skewed. I suck at going to bed without him there, and he stays up playing video games or whatever until that time. Now he gets off at 10, and we’re in bed by 11. I feel tired at nighttime, not during the day, and therefore my days are much more productive again… even with two children running around!

Although I don’t specifically write out a to-do list every morning, I usually do it the night before, and if there’s nothing specific, I have my regular daily to-do list made up for each day of the week. Most of them are pretty simple, but on the days when I know I’ll have a bit more time to accomplish a bit extra (like cleaning the bathroom or putting away the laundry) I stick it on to one of those days.

I have yet to get my exercise time scheduled in, but don’t worry! It’s coming, I promise.

I have begun doing more and more organizing, although it is a long, slow, tedious process. This week I organized the top of the bookcase in the back of my living room. I hadn’t touched it in about 6 years. I went through everything, and now there are only 4 small decorative vases, a lamp, an old picture of my property, and one extra vase that has some glass roses. The books underneath are also organized, although I want to do something a little more special to it.

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So, now on to Week 2:

There are some more general questions I’ll answer to the best of my ability for you all :). This week it’s all about priorities.
I most value my children. Out of the entire world, my children come first. I love them to death, even though every once in a while we don’t see eye to eye. I’m not going to lie and say I’m the perfect super-mom. But at the end of the day, I love my children with everything in me.
The things that are most important to me would have to be my children, my relationship, my health and my life in general. That is so odd to say, I know. But I can’t be specific as right now, it’s the whole thing. I’m trying to figure out what I want to become, how my life will work out, etc.
I’m here because this is where I chose to be. I’m unsure of where I’m going. I just recently began looking into getting back into school and completing a college or university degree geared towards counselling.
My purpose is to provide a better life for my children, and to become someone I am proud of. I want to really be proud of myself.
My top ten priorities for life are:
1. Getting my children ahead in their lives.
2. Figuring out exactly what I want to become, and the best route to take to get there.
3. Organizing my house.
4. Organizing my life.
5. Becoming a healthier person/family.
I guess I just don’t have 10 priorities right at the moment. My life is simple, and although shortly enough I feel like I will add to the list, that’s it for right this moment.

Tomorrow I’ll schedule down the important stuff in my life :).

Like I said, this is a simple week, so I’m pretty much already done! However, I do need to go to bed so that I can get those 7 hours of sleep ;).

Goodnight everyone!
Make sure you all keep being hot bosses in your lives!
xoxo
-Barb

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Organizing the Filing Cabinet

Here we go!

In my house, the filing cabinet is a fairly big an usually overwhelming task. Who wants to sit down and sort paperwork and place every piece of paper in correct chronological order anyway? I know I don’t. It’s like I told my friend, “I’ll know I’ve finally become an adult when I make my bed every morning”, well… I really feels like this follows suit. In my defence, I’ve switched a lot of our bills, statements and general filing cabinet items online. Therefore, there’s a lot less work going on in this paper-filled cabinet nowadays. I made a first attempt at this about 2 or 3 years ago, when the filing cabinet was about ready to burst, and it was well in need of another good going-over. This time, I made a few changes to make it easier for me to use on a steady basis. A lot of the old tabs and organization was outdated, and no longer relevant to our household, so that needed to be updated to the raw basics, with the addition of some new labels that I wished I had had over the years. This is what I started with:

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Look, I know a lot of people laugh at me when I say, “Go buy the pretty things! If it makes you happy, you’ll be more willing to use it!” But honestly, this is no joke. You know what prompted my re-organization of the filing cabinet? These pretty new folders! I bought them at the dollar store, and I love working with them. I wanted to see these suckers every time I opened the filing cabinet instead of those old drab plain folders that everyone else has, and it was just enough motivation for me to sit down and get it done.
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Aren’t they nice? You never know where you’ll find the pretties, so keep your eyes out for something that suits your tastes!

Anyway, the very first thing I did was whip out my new label maker. Easy to use, a good amount of options, etc. etc. etc. and I broke down what labels I use, the ones I didn’t and which new ones I should add. Obviously these may differ in your household, so you should figure out what paperwork you feel you need to keep, and how you want to organize it. For me the categories were as follows:
-Bills
Power
Phone
Phone/Internet
-Accounts
Credit Cards
Bank Statements
-Income
Taxes
Pay Stubs
-Vehicle
Registrations
Insurance
-Warranties (This was an important new addition)
Electronics
Batteries
Living Room
Kitchen
Appliances
Other
-Barbara D. Photography
Contracts
Model Release Forms
Receipts

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After my labels were done, my next task was to go through the paperwork that was currently being stored in my filing cabinet. I shred pretty much anything that comes out of here for a heads up, in case you were wondering. You might feel as though you don’t need to, if you store something non-personal, don’t worry about it, but it’s a safe bet that you want to shred anything that might give someone the ability to steal your money. I tossed anything that was before 2012 unless it had a special significance, think income tax paperwork. Many things didn’t, and therefore a vast amount of my papers disappeared. Once I had finished going through that whole mess, my filing cabinet already started to feel much more manageable and I hadn’t even put any folders in there yet! So I emptied my filing cabinet and went from there.

I began by using the hanging folders in a colour-coded system, instead of just throwing them in however I wanted to. Yellow = Financial (I would’ve preferred green, but couldn’t find any!), Red = Business, Blue = Important General Paperwork. So I put my label-maker to work again, and got to work with the categories. Once they were placed in the filing cabinet, I added the sub-category folders to them as well.

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Then, all that was left was to throw in the remaining paperwork!
BEFORE:
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AFTER:
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Hahaha, please disregard the idiot date-stamp, I never remember to change/get rid of it!

Isn’t that much nicer? The larger labels are easier for me to read, the simple system I put in place makes it easier for me to find everything, the addition of a “warranties” area makes my life tons easier when something breaks down, especially car batteries! I am still working on improving this, so when I get my new budget underway I’ll probably devote another spot for that, as well as one for each of my kids as they age and begin creating paperwork for me to look after. But for now, this works, and I’m using it.

If you’re reorganizing your filing cabinet, these are my biggest recommendations:
1) Go through your current paperwork. Make a list of new categories you need, and omit those that you’re not using anymore.
2) If it’s over a year (max. 2) old, toss it. EXCEPTION: Income tax paperwork.
3) Keep it simple. Go back to basics. You can add more if you find you really need to, but if you make it too complicated, you may lose track of where exactly you put that bill since it appropriately goes into three of your folders ;).
4) Put your paperwork in chronological order, either back to front or front to back, but decide now and do the same thing for all folders.
5) If you can keep it online, do it! I’ve begun saving the .pdf files to a usb drive in case I need them for future use. Much less space than all of that old paperwork!

Let me see pictures of your new filing cabinet using the hashtag #3toa10life!

Keep going, it’s the only way you’ll make it there!
Barb

The launch of 3toa10life.com

Hey guys!

Just finished updating my blog, I said when I reached a certain amount of followers I would off the .wordpress.com bit and I’ve reached that goal! So, now everything is just under 3toa10life.com!

Squeeek! Excitement, the next step is to host my own domain or something, but I’m not anywhere near that… because, to be honest. That stuff totally scares me, lol. I’m not very good with technical stuff and I anticipate many problems when I switch to that. For the meantime, this works great, and I want to thank you for your support!

 

Much love!

Barb

Have money, will spend. (Budget Envelope Introduction)

Part of my organization and clean-up is my financials. I keep telling myself that I’ll go pull out money for this and that when I get a chance, and next thing I know… POOF! The money seems to have vanished. Am I the only one this happens to?

Didn’t think so ;).

There are two “worst parts” to this for me personally, number one… it makes no difference if it’s $500 or $5000, if it sits in the bank account, it’ll be gone before the next pay. Secondly, it doesn’t seem like we’re living a much more enriched life or anything if I spend it as opposed to bank it away. At least if we had a ton of awesome stuff to enjoy it would feel slightly more acceptable… but we don’t.

So now that we’ve wasted some money over the past few weeks, I’ve decided it was really time for a change. I want to be able to save more for the more important things in life! My dreams include travelling with my children, going out to places you dream about… I would love to see Australia and New Zealand one day. So, now what I’ve done is gone over my expenses and come up with these envelopes. I made them all from my random scrapbooking paper, because beautiful things make me happy, and at the end of the day, if it’s pretty I am more likely to use it. I know, I know, it’s stupid… but… why not?

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There are seven envelopes:
Gas 1
Gas 2
Groceries 1
Groceries 2
Bills
Mastercard
Extras
(Others you might want to include would be Rent/Mortgage, each separate bill, Children’s activity fund, or gym/classes fund)

These are our regular monthly expenses and it just about covers everything. Because of pay days, we get paid once a week, however, we tend to focus on a bi-weekly system. What I want to work down to is filling the envelopes once with the first pay of the month, and top them up throughout the month if absolutely necessary. This method will get the money out of my easy access, since I’ll no longer be able to simply swipe a card with seemingly endless possibilities. It makes sure that we’ve covered our basics (not that we’ve ever been in such a bad position that we couldn’t, I enjoy spending money… but I’m not THAT compulsive). Also, taking the money out means more will go directly into our savings, which is ALWAYS a good thing.
Beginning next month, I’m also going to start tracking receipts and transactions so that I can get a clearer image of what exactly it is that I’m spending money on and I can adjust my budget accordingly. My guess for the big money drain? Junk food. It’s time we started going full out grocery shopping again so that we don’t need to make a trip to the store every night to get supper. This is awful for so many reasons! But mainly in this instance I’m talking about the budget reason. I can usually feed this household three meals a day, for seven days (at least 3 adults and two children) for less than $200 a week. Usually, it’s more like $160. I hear that that’s nearly impossible, but with healthy, whole foods, I can do it all the time. All I need is the motivation to sit down and fully prepare a list. This is starting again now, due to this budget. I refuse to waste hard-earned money on crap food, which is just pushing me further away from both my health goals, as well as the financial goals I’m now coming up with!

The other plan I’m implementing with these envelopes is to pay my bills ON PAY DAY. I write down the exact amount I need to pay on each bill directly on my calendar located in my planner. On pay day, I just write “Pay bills” on the morning of to remind myself to look. This way I don’t have to look up all of my bills online and figure out how much I have to pay here and how much there, it’s all right there, no excuses. This way my bills are sure to be paid perfectly on time. I’m strongly considering putting aside an “emergency” fund as well, this way I could use it for things like replacing my windshield, instead of having to use either savings or having larger sums taken out of my pays.

Alright, well… I’m off to do a little more budgeting work to get this all figured out so that I can implement it next month. Should be including new meal plans too, since I’ll be making them myself!

Remember, if you don’t like the way you’re living… Change it!
Barb

Organizational Update

So this is the first post in reference to the “Organize Now!” book that I got myself while I was up in the city. I’ve thumbed through it numerous times and finally put my foot down and basically told myself that it’s time to start doing it! So here it goes, week 1. This should be fairly easy, so I’m actually going to do what I can here on the blog since most of it is writing things down.

The vision I have for my life:
This is such a toughie, I imagine so many things. I would love to earn an income being a teacher, a counselor, a landlord, a photographer, a farmer, etc. The list really does go on. I’m so undecided and have no idea what I want to become. My days would be filled of fun, love and laughter. I’d wake up early, have some time to myself, get my kids ready for their days and we’d go on fabulous adventures around town! I would live more, and worry less.

In the next 56 weeks, I want to accomplish the complete organization of my life and my house (mostly my house!) I cannot live like this forever, I need to be able to live in a house that functions much better than this one. I need to be able to easily walk through my hallway, and be able to find those damned things I put away for future use and then turn around and buy more of. I want to sit down and make a schedule that gives me the ability to workout, eat healthy, and lose some weight. I want to spend more time bonding and loving my children than I do cleaning up everything.

I’ll start going to bed earlier. Starting tonight. We’ll be going to bed at 11, unlike our usual 1 or 2 in the mornings. My ending plan is to get my bedtime pushed back to about 10:30, that way I should be able to wake up at 6:30 and get a good start to my day. The kids only have to get up around 7:15 when we start getting them into daycare/activities so it should work out. It’ll give me enough time to do at least a few minutes of cardio and just to sit down and breathe.

I think I’m just going to count this blog as my journal. It catalogues my life events and whatnot, so I might as well. I have other journals on the go which are more focused on notes for my future generations to read, so this should suffice to get my ideas, thoughts, emotions and whatnot written down.

The rest of the things this week will focus on small steps towards making my life a little more sane. It includes scheduling a few 2 or 3 minute breaks just to take a breather, scheduling some exercise time and limiting the amount of television we watch. The last one there is of considerable importance in this household. I want my children to be more focused on childhood activities than the t.v. Now that I finally have my boyfriend’s work schedule for the rest of the week, I’m going to head off and actually plan out those days!

I’ll let you know how the rest of the week went next Monday when I move on to week 2!

For now though, I’m off!
xoxo,
Barb

You know… sometimes, life happens

Wow, I would love to be able to tell you all about how busy I’ve been, and how awesome my house, weight loss and personal lives are coming along. Although I can’t brag about my non-existent sparkling clean kitchen, or my non-existent organized cupboards, I can tell you about the small steps I’ve taken which are slowly pulling me closer to a more organized chaos. This post may be a little all over the place, mostly just updates and some previews about what’s going to be coming up, so if you’re only looking for a post that contains one subject, skip along. If not, stay for the update after my impromptu-vacation from blogging.

I might as well start by telling you guys that I was going to blog, I’ve been over at my computer every night recently. Especially at the crazy hours like this (big mistake), however, when I was cleaning up my desk area (yup, finally got around to it! I CAN ACTUALLY USE MY DESKTOP AGAIN!) I found an old copy of a book I had began writing and instead decided to work on that instead. I feel a little guilty, because, you see… I had so many ideas about what to blog about, but some of them were fueled by the emotion I felt as these things were ongoing, and therefore I’ve lost the ability to write about them as passionately and focused on my book instead. I guess I was hiding from my blog while working on my book. That’s going to change, when I become more organized since I’ll have to include weekly dates for both tasks. However, this time, I AM going to FINISH this book. It’s about time that I finally finished at least one of the damn things I started… and this is really an idea that has stuck in my head throughout the years. Although I gave up on it last time due to a lack of ideas, amazingly enough, after picking it back up again my head is filling with all sorts of new ideas and turns for my story to take… but enough about that, I’ll let you guys know if I ever manage to finish it!

Secondly, I went up to the city and we went to the large Chapters store up there. All I can say is, wow! I’m not usually a bookworm, and I tend to stay away. Recently, however, I’ve found myself in them all the time. Ours is quite small, and I’m sad that I’m going to have to start ordering in online but they really don’t have much in the way of organization or decorating. I actually added a book to my cart a couple of weeks ago and decided to put it on hold until I was 100% sure about the purchase… and then found it at this place! I was so excited! The book is called, “Organize Now!” (the updated & expanded version) and it’s written by Jennifer Ford Berry. It’s a good handy tool to use for self-motivation, although not a really detailed book and I find it lacks slightly in ideas about how to accomplish everything on your weekly list. That being said, the only thing I actually have a problem with about this book is the fact that she recommends that 80% of your weekly groceries be pantry items, while only 20% be fresh. I cannot even begin to tell you how much that drives me crazy! I believe that an organized life, should be a healthier life. 80% pantry items does not a healthier life make /endrant. Really though, if you’re looking for a way to figure out everything you need to do, and a timeline on how to get it done, go have a look at the book at least. I’ll be making weekly posts about my progress from the book, or how I’ve changed things around.

So I was looking online at those books, right? And came across the most beautiful planner I think I’ve ever seen! It’s got a shiny peacock pattern on it, and it’s slightly larger than my usual planners. It began in July 2013, so I took that as a sign that I just needed to have it in my life! Currently everyone is colour-coded, yeah… I know that will never last! Still worth a shot though, makes it look prettier… which, in turn is actually helping me to use it a little more. The only problem I seem to be having is the fact that I’m too shy to make the phone calls I write down that I need to make… for no reason other than the fact that I usually sound like a total idiot whenever I get on the phone. I really believe this little planner will help me with the kids this upcoming year now that they’re old enough to get into activities and the like. My oldest daughter will be starting preschool and dance lessons for sure, as well as speech therapy if her preschool teacher refers her. Not too much going on with the little one, there’s still a little over a year left before she’s old enough to join these programs.

In other news, I hate grocery shopping… like, really. This is probably the biggest reason I’m not eating a healthier diet. I think the prep work for the grocery trip is probably the biggest factor keeping me away from the store, although I will fully admit that I’ve skipped on it for a day or two when I had the list in my hand. This is something new… it’s been a fair amount of weeks since I actually went to the grocery store and picked up enough food to last my family for the week. I try telling myself that if I could work it down to just having to go bi-weekly, I would make time for it. But personally, I know that’s still a lie I tell to comfort myself. As soon as I get one child into preschool, I’m going to start going every Thursday. This way, even if my boyfriend is at work, it’s not a big deal for me to take the little one with me.

On that note, it brings me around to my second weekly update which will be going in effect starting now. Every Thursday I’m going to be doing a weekly weigh-in… or at least a make-shift one. I am fat, fact. So fat, that I am not comfortable posting my weight online right now. So I’m going to be weighing myself once a week, letting you guys know how I’m doing, but it’s going to be in a +2 lbs or -2 lbs format until I hit a personal goal. Then I’ll convert to actually telling you guys how much I weigh.

Anyway, since it’s almost two in the morning, even though I didn’t manage to write everything… I’m going to bed now. Goodnight!

P.S. Happy birthday to me!

Thanks for reading,
Much love to you all!

Barb

Vacation gone wrong

Well, after writing nothing for a little over a week, I thought I would put up a quick post to let you know that I am still around.
How did the vacation turn out? You ask. Terrible, hahaha. We managed to clean about 1/3 of the basement, and my father’s room. We never touched the attic, or cubby, or hell… even the living room and the kitchen! Those two areas caught the crap and now I’m going to spend today getting them back in line for our daily living. Also, our dryer is currently oit of commission. Usually at this time of year, I don’t care. I prefer line-drying my clothes anyway. However, our weather hasn’t felt like cooperating up until today, so I have this mountain of laundry to go through! I think laundry is one of the more frustrating things in this house. I get all caught up, and then BAM something happens… something ALWAYS happens when it comes to laundry.

Well that sucks, you might say, but was I able to keep a healthy lifestyle? Get running and all that jazz? No. I never did. I think we ate out probably 80% of the time, which of course wreaked havoc on our finances and our health. I put on 4 of the pounds I had already worked so hard to lose!!!

Well, with that all said, I’ll go get back to fixing up my house so that I can at least have a clean living room to sit in tonight while I work on…. something. Or don’t. I might just play video games or read, lol.

Sometimes, it’s not about beating yourself up over the things you did or didn’t do, it’s about how you pick yourself up afterwards and carry on. I’m choosing to go get some stuff done, and then enjoy this beautiful day with my family. Because the one thing we did accomplish, was spending more time together, and at the end of the day, I think that’s what my daughters enjoy the most.

Talk to you soon,
Barb