Organize Now! – Week 4

So week three is done now. I’ve found that I accidentally left my planner in the car though, and never seem to have brought it back into the house… don’t fret! I’m bringing it in tomorrow. Things are really going to change (two days a week anyway) as my oldest daughter will be starting preschool this Thursday. I’m not sure exactly what that’s going to entail… but hopefully she’ll make some new friends and get ready for school.
There’s not much else to say about week 3…

So on to week 4!
Yet again it’s another fairly boring week. So this should be quick. To be honest, I have accomplished more just by setting my mind to it than I have because of this book so far. It’s good to get your life organized, don’t get me wrong… maybe it takes others a full week to do these things? But seriously… this week is about organizing my cleaning schedule, something which I already accomplished 3 weeks ago when I had a few moments in the morning one day.
So I’ve already gone through and figured out my daily, weekly, monthly chores for the different rooms around my house.
I made a bare-minimum list for 4 days a week. I have decided that I will do this bare minimum list once a day, so if I sweep in the morning, and then one of my kids drop a few cheerios on the floor, that’s tomorrow’s problem. This way I’m not cleaning ALL of the time, but yet my house still remains reasonable-looking because I’m not getting so frustrated at my lack of a spotless house that it builds up. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays get a little extra tacked on, like putting away laundry, bringing out the recycling/garbage and those extras.
I’ve begun taking 15 minutes a night before bed to tidy up. I usually do this about 30-45 minutes before bed though, that way I can relax for 15-30 minutes again before bed. In these 15 minutes I usually refill and run the dishwasher, give a quick wipe to the kitchen surfaces, and pick up any stray toys that the girls missed. It just makes it that much nicer every morning when I wake up.
I do extra cleaning whenever I can, like I just recently did my porch, my bookcase, the top of the entertainment center, the top of the wardrobe, basically a large portion of the clutter-holding surfaces. I fit this in to my 15 minutes at night usually if I only spend a couple minutes putting a few dishes into the dishwasher.
The rest of these things are already done. Quick little things, like switching to an all-purpose cleaner, keeping disinfecting wipes in the bathroom, etc. Those are all pretty good little ideas.

Hm, guess this week was quick!

Talk to you soon! I’m starting my weekly weigh-ins this Thursday, so stay tuned!
Barb

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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

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

There’s a party in my future.

This may not be considered really upgrading your life to some, but to me… it’s a pretty big step.
My bff will be coming down to town for a weekend, and last time she was here we had a little gathering with friends, drinks and games. It was a blast! You see, I am so.friggin.shy. So much so, that I don’t have many friends. So I’m inviting the friends that I do have, plus some of the friends that my bff has down here, and having another party. This one a little larger. We have 5 people confirmed, with the potential for 11 or so. I think if I made it up to six or seven people that would be fantastic, lol.
I love the thought of entertaining, but usually in this house it consists of having two guys over and them playing video games with my boyfriend all night long.
First I need to clean the house, then I’m going to pick up some new glasses for the drinks, followed by maybe another new board game. Like taboo or something. We currently have the game of things, and I strongly recommend it!
The party is only starting around 9 or so because the kids will be asleep in bed at that time. There shouldn’t be so much planning involved in this, because it is such a small group, but we have so much to celebrate! Today is my 7th anniversary, my bff just found out she got the apartment she wanted!
I think to me, this party or at least all parties I’m hosting in general will help me out. I gain confidence, I meet new people. It’s just a really fun time to sit down and unwind with friends! Everyone can use more of that. So Saturday’s post will likely include the prep and party coverage!

I’ll give you guys updates on what I’m buying through instagram so follow me @3toa10life on instagram!

What are your favorite party games?

Wish me luck!
Barb.

All work and no play makes Barb a dull girl.

So much has been going on lately!

On the good news front, the more money I make through working, the more I have to spend on extras for my daughters and to put aside to save. Also, I have actually been asked to photograph my first event! I don’t want to fully release the details as of yet, as it is still in the works… but wow, I am so excited!
Bad news? I can’t seem to find the time to eat healthy and work out! Ugh this sucks! It’s amazing just how much difference I have noticed in myself since I stopped going for a daily run! It’s so insane! I feel like I put on at least 10 pounds (in reality I haven’t added any weight), I always feel groggy and tired, and I am so lazy!

With that all said, my trip to Jamaica is really becomming official! I’ll be heading down for a week with a friend to photograph my sister’s wedding next spring. This is a big motivation factor to light my fire to get up and get moving again. The other thing that I can now add to my motovation? I just ordered 2 pairs of black milk leggings that were limited when they had their museum sale, and I’ve got probably a month before they get here. So here it goes!

I’m going to start doing at least three blogilates videos a day at least 4 days a week, and a half hour of cardio at least 6 days a week. I might switch over to endomondo instead of c25k for the actual runs, using the c25k format though. I also want to get up earlier (which goes along with switching my schedule in time for the massive week of cleaning) and start my day with an automatic mini-workout. So like 3 sets of 15 thighs, 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 15 crunches. I’m also going to begin calorie counting again. I got stuck in a terrible plateau (although on the plus side I took a week off and never gained any additional weight back) and I really feel that it’s caused by the fact that even though I’m eating good food, I’m still eating too much. And just for you fit people who may suggest that I’m building muscle instead, I’m not losing any inches either ;). That was the first thing my friend actually got me to check on when I told her about it.

So, what’s your morning routine? And how do you keep it up?

Barb.

Getting ready for the big clean

Well today marks two weeks until Aldric will have his first vacation this year. Why is this so important? We’re going to spend the entire week cleaning the house like CRAZY! Ending with a two-day yardsale, whatever doesn’t sell during those two days will be off to our local salvation army. We’ve already managed to fill the lower part of our hallway with things to sell, be it baby items, clothing, knickknacks or whatever, I want it out if here.

My daughters make the fifth generation of us to live in this house on the property, which means lots of items to inherit, and all of the usual storage space has been taken up by this collection of items. I’m not looking to get rid of everything, but I am looking to end up with a house that is easier to clean, because everything will have it’s own spot. No more having to deal with the clutter and junk before getting time to clean!

So far we’ve managed to make it through our bedroom, the kitchen and the living room, there are a few things I’m still unsure of, like the cupboard full of old vhs disney movies and whatnot, so as of yet they haven’t gone anywhere. But mostly those rooms are done. This still leaves my daughters’ rooms, the hallway, my father’s room (which has become a catch-all), the rec room, the attic, the basement, and the extra room. Even I can admit I would be a little over-ambitious if I expected to fully tackle each of those areas, but I do need to make a serious dent in them so that we can start living a relatively more normal life.

I’m going to make a plan of attack, one area per day, and I use the keep/sell/toss/donate sorting idea, generally limiting myself to how many containers I’m allowed to keep (say 1 or 2 per room). This really helps me to retain the important items. If I haven’t used it in over 6 months (because that covers winter/summer items) it’s an automatic sell. This has opened up so many more storage options already, I’m reclaiming space that I should’ve had in the first place, and it’s a really accomplishing feeling.

So, what do I have to do within the next two weeks to get ready for this? Number 1: make a plan. Starting around 8 every morning, ending around 5 every day (or taking a break in the middle and working into the evening).
Number 2: Plan some organization. Every room will go back together organized, places like the attic or cubby will have inventories so that I can remember where exactly I put all of thia stuff.
Number 3: Change our sleep schedules. We usually go to bed around midnight and get up as late as possible. This needs to change (preferably permanently).
Number 4: Make a meal plan for the week that consists of self-cooking or little-work healthy meals so that we don’t need to detract from our main objective, and we won’t have to be ordering crap from our pizza store.
Number 5: Get some busy bags/playtime ideas ready for our daughters. Hiring a babysitter for the week just isn’t an option for us, so we’re going to need a way to keep them entertained while we work.

PINTEREST HERE I COME!

Let me know which aspect you guys are most interested in hearing about!

Barb

Estelle’s room

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Currently cleaning up my oldest daughter’s room to make space for her “big girl” bed. Have to go through everything too since she’s turning three shortly and doesn’t have many toys for her age. Also, going to put a bit more organization into it so that she can help clean up from now on. Stay tuned and follow along for the updates on today’s project!