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Last week on the podcast, Joy & I talked briefly about managing our email inboxes. I’m at a point where it’s getting out of control and I need to take ACTION. We received quite a few comments/emails  from our listeners with suggestions on how to manage email. It was SUPER helpful, so thank you!

In the next few weeks I plan to streamline  my inbox(es). I currently have 5 different email addresses- One hotmail, one gmail, some old one from years ago and two that belong to my website.  I use the ones associated with my website constantly and the other three I have for what I consider “junk” mail. The problem with the junkmail accounts is that they are FILLED with daily emails from newsletters I subscribed to A LONG TIME AGO. Real talk: My hotmail account has 20k emails and they’re all pure crap. I call that email the BLACK HOLE.  It doesn’t stress or overwhelm me because it’s not an address that I normally use. I just feel a tremendous amount of shame for letting it go and getting to that ridiculous number.

So I’m ready to power up and TACKLE.

MY OBJECTIVE:

-clean out my junk inboxes/unsubscribe to as many newsletters as possible (this may take awhile)

-create folders in my inbox and sort emails (one of our listeners suggested sorting emails into boxes based on ACTION). I like this idea because sometimes flagging something isn’t enough for me remember to take action. And sometimes I don’t need something until later so it would be helpful to have a folder for archiving. I hope to have the following FOLDERS:

INBOX: A place for sorting (ideally, this area should be cleared out CONSTANTLY)

ARCHIVE: A place for storing information I need to reference at a later date.

ACTION: Emails that require follow-up (once finished, they will either be trashed or moved to ARCHIVE)

RECEIPTS: I’ll put anything tax-related/blog related into this folder

I was contemplating merging all of my emails account into Gmail and having that as a hub for my email addresses. Do you do this? Is it worth it? I was thinking it would be a good option for someone like me who doesn’t always use the same computer to write/read emails.

I suspect this is going to take A LONG TIME, but I know that once I have a better way to manage this, email might not get out of hand. In the process I would like to work on managing my contact list. The amount of information I have scattered on different devices is frightening. I need to get it merges & centralized!

If you have any tips/tricks you’d like to share before I go FULL FORCE with the email purge, please let me know! I can’t wait to get my inbox down to ZERO!

After spending a week away from home on a MUCH needed vacation, I came home feeling refreshed and ready to start anew.  I also felt a bit worried about falling back into our chaotic routine. It was really nice to have a break from the day-to-day because I was able to evaluate what aspects I missed and figure out a few habits/behaviors I want to change around the house.

In my Organizing Goals for 2013, I wanted to figure out how to change/pinpoint bad habits that contribute to our home mess. Having some distance from my routine really helped me figure out what I want to change, so here we go!

-One of the main reasons why things get chaotic and unkempt around the house is the fact that we are all doing too many things at once. I am super guilty of this behavior. As someone who takes on too many things at once (including making multiple recipes in the kitchen at a time!) I feel like most of the time the tornado that I make in the process of doing something isn’t worth the hassle. I also have a 4 year old who adds additional mess to the situation, but that’s not something that I can entirely control.

I think it would help if I reminded myself that I need to SLOW DOWN and BE MINDFUL of my actions. If I slow down, I am less likely to make more of a mess and I won’t spill things as often.  If an action takes a few seconds (like putting away my clothes or putting back a pair of scissors after I’ve used it) I should just DO IT. Because when I have a whole bunch of little things that pile up, it overwhelms me and I feel paralyzed. Plus it’s not rewarding to clean up a bunch of little things. It never ends!

-The weeks go by so fast and I never feel like I have enough time to do all of the things I accomplish. It’s frustrating! Spending a lot of time without reliable internet connection on our vacation made me realize that I waste a lot of time messing around on my phone. I know that my whole family could benefit from me being away from the computer/phone more often. If I have my head in too many places at once, I get stressed. I am guilty of getting short tempered with my son if he’s interrupting me while I’m reading an important email on my phone.  The fact is, if I am around him most of what happens on the internet/computer SHOULD WAIT.

How do I combat this? Set boundaries for myself. My phone and computer usage could be off limits during certain times of day. One of the first things I do is look at my phone when I wake up and then I get sucked in the zone of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Shutterbean checking. And once I start doing that I keep getting worked up. It can actually alter my mood.  I’ve been testing the waters and ditching my phone while I get ready for work and it’s already helping my productivity. I hope that in the future, I can increase my time away from the phone/computer. Perhaps spending on weekend day unplugged might do the trick? Maybe I could do what Shauna does and not check my phone/email/computer until after I drop Cooper off at preschool. I think it would take a lot of effort, but it could prove to be rewarding.

And with that said, if I have more time to get things done (in a productive/uninterrupted manner) I could actually get ahead of my schedule and do things ahead of time so I’ll be able to build in more relaxing/creative time for myself & family. Perhaps setting timers on my phone so I can go a period of time without using it will help? We’ll see!

-I have a lot of stuff. The problem with having a lot of stuff means that I have to MANAGE a lot of stuff.  I’m constantly trying to manage things, some items get lost in the shuffle. This means I end up buying a lot of things that I already have. It is EXTREMELY annoying to find out that I already have agave syrup when I just bought more? I went through a period of time thinking I didn’t have dish soap and ended up buying three separate containers to find out that I had a few tucked deep in the back of my kitchen cabinet.

I could benefit greatly from setting out time and going through all of our cabinets and getting rid of things I need/don’t need. If I have a designated spot for items, I would be able to glance at the space where I keep q-tips and know that I need more q-tips. In a perfect world, this would be easy. Am I too much of a micro-manager? I dunno.

The fact is, I have to be on top of getting rid of unnecessary items in my house. If I don’t buy new/unnecessary things, I’ll be happier because it means that I have less to manage and we’ll save money. It’s a win/win situation.

-For a long time I used to do laundry one day a week. I really thought that was the right way to do it. Turns out it doesn’t really work for me. When my mom suggested that I do a laundry multiple times a week, I thought she was crazy. It seemed like I would be doing nothing but laundry. Turns out that processing one load of a laundry a night makes it REALLY easy to stay on top of laundry. This one little change has made such a difference!

I am sure there are other ways I can help streamline our day/routine. I always appreciate finding new ways of seeing things and shaking up my routine.

In the next year, I hope to simplify, be more mindful and find new ways of operating that will help my productivity/sanity. It’s going to take a lot of patience and perseverance but I know it will be worth it!

Have you made any big discoveries yourself recently? Are there any shortcuts you’ve found that made a HUGE impact on your sanity? I’d love to hear!

 

 

Before we moved into our new/old house there were already a few drawers in the family room allocated for toys.These drawers house my nieces old toys and some of Cooper’s toys that my parents saved for when he visited.  So when we unpacked, we all just threw Cooper’s toys in there without any rhyme or reason. I knew that one day I’d clean out/organize them and that day came a few weeks ago!  We’re on week 3 of organized drawers and it’s going really well so far!

Let’s look at the before:

Drawers from the side. There are two of them.

It was just a THROW IT IN and PRAY IT FITS situation.

I started removing stuff from the drawers. There were things in there from my childhood!

I had a few piles for sorting:

STUFF THAT GOES UPSTAIRS

STUFF THAT GETS DONATED

STUFF THAT DEFINITELY DOESN’T BELONG IN HERE

BOOKS

ROGUE TOYS, ETC.

I also went through the toys and donated the ones Cooper doesn’t play with anymore. That’s liberating!

These crayons are from my childhood. There were SO many random things in that bin.

Old lip gloss, staples, glitter, broken pencils, YOU NAME IT. It traveled to Sort-town.

The crayons are now in a container that has a lid!

I also sorted all of Cooper’s art supplies and put it in a portable basket so we can grab them all out when we want to do an art project!

His art supplies, puzzles & board games are in this one cabinet next to the drawers.

And after about an hour of sorting, the drawers looked like this:

I used old boxes/tupperware to separate some of the toys.

And in the other drawer I separated things in bins.

LEGOS / ACTION HEROES / CARS

I’ve found that when I give Cooper some guidelines of where things go, he keeps with it!

Hallelujah.

 

A few years ago I started organizing the Cooper’s first year’s worth of clothes and then stopped.  I guess I lost steam or I put my attention other places? Maybe I just wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions of putting my baby’s clothes away. Yeah, that’s it. I also needed to sort through the clothes we borrowed from my sister-in-law and separate ours. I always figured that would take awhile…

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I’m baaaaaaaaaaack. December was a doozy. Things were so hectic with planning/entertaining that it barely left room for me to keep myself organized. December literally took the life out of me. For real. I am really not sure how I managed to breathe, but I now know that I will take on less obligations in December. The first few days of the New Year were spent getting my house back to normal. It’s pretty crazy how much better I felt once I purged all of the holiday leftovers & cleaned out my fridge! REFRESHING! I hope you’re starting the new year right!

Anyways. I am happy to be here and I am happy you’re here. I have missed you. Continue reading

Hello Hello!  It’s been awhile. Things have been super busy in my neck of the woods. HOLIDAYS!!! Ahh.

Here’s a small project that I worked on that made a HUGE impact on our life. When we first moved into our house, I put all of our liquor in the cabinet above our oven. It was fine for awhile and then I got frustrated because the cabinet is higher than eye level so it was hard for me to see what we had. I was pleased that everything fit, but I didn’t quite know what I had and how much booze was in each bottle. Also…the oven made my booze warm. NO LIKE.

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Here’s the deal with all this unpacking.

I’m still working on moving my parent’s stuff out. Instead of waiting for my mom to go through each room, I decided to move the process along faster. I started each room with a preliminary screening. I tossed things in the dumpster that clearly need to be there and then I’ve put items in open boxes so my mom can sort through when she has the time. Hopefully I don’t overwhelm her with too many boxes!  We’ll eventually move all the boxes into the garage so we aren’t living with them all around us because right now there are several spaces in the house that are just pure chaos.

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You guys! I’m almost done with my cabinets! I just have to sort out my dishes & glasses and we can move onto something else. I can’t tell you how much these little improvements have impacted my life. It’s crazy.

 

This week I decided to tackle 4 different cabinets. All of these cabinets suffer from me not taking the time to put things away properly. I also realized in this process that I didn’t make good use of these cabinets, but we’ll get back to that shortly.

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