Week #6 – Pantry

Boy, I was so enthusiastic earlier last week… The kids were out of the house, except one that is in a boot. I have been struggling with our storage for food. We have a closet in the basement that is large, my husband had put in metal shelving years ago. It has been a huge mess… buy extra food when it is on sale, bring it to the closet downstairs… forget that it is there, except for maybe the paper products. When there is some time, clear out the expired foods. It is an endless cycle which has caused us a loss of LOTS of money.

I have another closet off the kitchen before the bedrooms (we live in a bilevel home). I have used it for sheets and towels. It basically was a mess. I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a pantry – something small, for the foods that we use often… pastas, chips, sauces, etc. My daughter and I got to business – emptying out the sheets and towels that I had forgotten that I had. Two big bags to go through later! (I will be storing two sets of sheets for each bed in the bedrooms!) Towels, we have a nice shelving unit in our bedroom.

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We then started to put in the foods that we needed to store. You will see that we are big fans of pasta, mac and cheese and my husband’s favorite, peanut butter! There is nothing wrong with a sale, but you have to use the food for it to save you money. We are beginning to find that out!!

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I had bigger dreams this week, but life, again, has gotten in our way… it is slow and steady progress!!

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Week #4 – Organize Your Papers

Week 5 – Organize your papers
(In the book these are located in Weeks 5 – 12)

Before I begin with my blog’s entry, I haven’t quite kept up with the challenge as well I would have liked. I was feeling way too overwhelmed, thinking that I had to be perfect and finding a way to “finish” each challenge. It was causing great stress in my life!

I spoke with Jennifer and she reassured me that it is okay – when you have great clutter, you need to do things in babysteps and you will take each day. So my house will not be perfect, any time soon, but it will be a clutter free space before I know it.

A few things about my home – we have lived in the same house for about 15 years. It is a 1980s house – we have not done much in renovation and the kids had taken things over. When my in-laws had passed away, my husband began to bring more things home from his parents house that he could not part with – those are all in the garage! I am hoping that the garage isn’t on the challenge until the summer! We don’t have a lot of closet space and we have a lot of stuff! We recently adopted a shelter dog. I have three children whom I love dearly and my husband whom I have been married to for almost 16 years. I have always worked full time, being an administrator/teacher in a school has me working long hours at times.

I will say that planning out my week and having a routine has been something that I have been working on on a regular basis. My calendar which I posted a few weeks ago has been a God-send! I am keeping track of all of the activities that my children do plus make sure that we know who and when we are picking up at the various locations. I am definitely a paper calendar person!

Week 5 – Organize your papers

(In the book these are located in Weeks 5 – 12)

The first thing that the book asks is if I could easily locate your family’s birth certificates, security cards? I can honestly say I can. We have a two drawer file cabinet that we have most of our important papers. I have filed in the recent months – general file names on the tabs with individual folders inside. Sometimes it gets too hectic and papers get placed on the side for a later date.

I will be creating a folder in the front of my file drawer with important information that can be easily accessed if necessary:
Family Health:
Doctors Names/Phone Numbers
Dentist Names/Phone Numbers
Allergies
Finances
Credit/Debit card numbers and important phone numbers **I will say this would have been handy when my purse was stolen out of the car!!
Bank account numbers and phone numbers
A budget (hmmmmmm – need help with this one!!!)
*home insurance / Auto insurance has been filed appropriately in the drawer
Safety
Emergency numbers (in the closet for the babysitter)
License plates and VIN numbers
Current photos and info on all the family members

We already have a fireproof box that we keep the social security cards, birth certificates, titles – I have the marriage certificate in the file drawer.

Organizing Mail (week 12)
This is a something that we have worked on this week. My kids love going to mailbox and bringing it in the house. However, it rarely makes its way to me. Typically, I will be walking around and I will find it three days later!

I have instituted that they bring it to the kitchen and leave it on the counter. It is near the family calendar. What I have tried to do is open it, toss the envelopes in to the recycling bin (under the table) and put the due date on the calendar. We are trying!! Sometimes this seems impossible but we try!

We took our name off lists years ago and this has helped the junk mail – if we do receive something, it goes right into the recycling bin.

Organizing Magazines and Newspapers (week 10)

I feel I have mastered this one!! We have the newspaper delivered only on Sundays; however, they do deliver Thursday too! On Fridays, I put the newspapers into the recycling so that we don’t have the papers lying all over!

One suggestion that Jennifer says in the book is to only pick up magazines when you have the urge to read it. I have done this and it is great. I have to get better at cutting out the important pieces or articles I want to read. This is a long term goal.

So I have been working and in closing – remember it is baby steps and you don’t have to be perfect on the first try!

Next Week: Pantry!

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Week #2: Kitchen Cupboards

This week has been a rough one! I began the week with my husband not feeling well and trying to keep the house in some sort of order… a difficult task!

The cupboards are filled! We have lots of food and snacks in the cabinets, along with trying to keep some of the appliances off the counter.

I decided to begin with the snack cabinet. I looked through all the food that was past its expiration date. There was food everywhere! Way too much waste!! I organized the food so that the breakfast cereals were together and that the kids snacks were also together. I put paper products and plasticware (napkins, plates, utensils) in another closet.

Pots and pans cabinet was next. This is the bane of my existence! I organized and made sure that the pans and pots were in size order. The kids just place them in and they are all over! I bought a lid rack for the lids and put it on the shelf so that I didn’t have to worry about the lids.

The container closet is still being organized. I am matching the lids with containers now and will be getting rid of anything that we don’t have lids for. My tupperware products usually get pushed to the back and I am not sure if I truly use them — we will see if I keep them!

The cupboards are going to take longer than a week… there is a lot going through and seeing if we need items. I will be continuing this while I look at the bedroom closet.

I will update with pictures and get back — this is just the start!!! Have a good week!

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Week #1: Organize your schedule

Before I begin, I would love to thank Jennifer for an amazing opportunity to work with a small group of women, all trying to organize their lives! I am hoping that through this challenge, we can encourage each other to be our best selves!! This is my first blog — I have made them for work, but not on something about me or for me… so I hope that you enjoy this!! Please keep me posted!!

I began the challenge by reading Week 3 – Organize Your Schedule.  I have HUGE issues with our schedule, being married, having three children with really busy schedules and working full time, I knew that this would be rough.  I began by thinking about a calendar to keep all the information that I needed to.  In the past, I would write things down all over the place, hoping that I would remember everything.  Usually, that meant, that I would forget to send in a special snack or a form to my daughters class, missing an appointment with the orthodontist or just getting off track! 

My goal for this week is to find a calendar that I can use.  I have not had huge success with a fully electronic model – I enjoy the paper copy… writing in pencil. 

This picture shows the full page – three days. I really like the length of the day that it shows!![/caption]It is the beginning of the year, so i can really look at what to use that would help me with my goal. 

I have tried all different models and this challenge has shown me that one with times, broken into smaller chunks is best for our lives. It has been increasingly more difficult to manage more or less, 5 calendars (put in the dog and we have 6!!!)

At the start of the week, I had tried to keep my school calendar, a family planner, a wall calendar, etc. I went to Staples and found a Daily Planner that was broken into weeks. Each dad had appointment times from 7am through 9pm. Many of my kids activities are all at night (i.e. basketball practice) however, many planners that I looked at had ceased at the end of the day — 6pm! So I picked up a Day Minder 2013 calendar. I LOVE it!!!

I color code my children’s activities. I entered in all the basketball practices, games and other daily/weekly activities. I put in my appointments. I have begun to put in my work schedule. As a teacher and administrator, I have alot of appointments that I have to maintain.

On Sunday last week, I began to list what dinners we were going to have for the week. On Monday, I did my food shopping. I have also decided to begin exercising again and watch what I eat — may have taken on too much!!

My to do list begins to get increasing longer each day — make appointments here and there for the kids — I typically remember when I am driving to work in the morning and then during the day I forget… sometimes I jot things down in the car, sometimes I am sure that I will remember, and I don’t.

So this week, I have begun to take some time out of my day, to think! To think about what is coming next rather than living in the moment — a little pre-planning. My husband just changed shifts at work, so we are still working on that schedule as well. It is difficult to preplan, especially since we haven’t had to do so… we seem to always be living on the run — running to each place, quick meals, always two steps behind. How many times have we all received that phone call of your child missing something important because you all did not plan ahead. We worked on remembering band lessons, chorus and having a ride, getting to practice 10 minutes early so we are not the last to arrive, having our sneakers packed when we have gym. If we can have my son remember to grab his breakfast off the counter before we left for the babysitter, that would be great!!!

This picture shows the full page - three days.  I really like the length of the day that it shows!!

This picture shows the full page – three days. I really like the length of the day that it shows!!

Day Planner #2

I am going to keep my planner going and we will see what happens!! Wish me luck and let’s see what happens as week 2 begins!!!

Week 2: Kitchen Cupboards!! This will be an adventure!!!

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Welcome to the 12 Week Organize Now Challenge!

Welcome to the 12 Week Organize Now Challenge!

Each week, with the help of Jennifer Ford Berry’s book “Organize now!”, I will be working on organizing my home (and life) and becoming clutter free!

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