Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Done!!!!! Now that's wishful thinking....

Day 21 of the 21 day challenge has come.  The challenge for today was to pick your own challenge.  Easy enough right?

The only problem with that is I had a VERY hard time finding the inner strength to actually think of a challenge.  I really wanted to just call it good and take a break for the day.  About 12:30 I finally thought of something that needed organizing. (There is actually plenty that still needs organizing but finding something that I wanted to work on today.)

Here's my project:  Sort, itemize, bag up and haul away the donation pile

I know - not really something that will stay with me but something that needs to be done anyway.  Over the past 21 days we've already hauled away several donation piles but a big one had accumulated again.

Here's what I started with:
Then I sorted everything into piles so that it would be easier to itemize.
I made a list of everything I'm donating and the condition it is in.
There you go! All the piles are bagged and boxed and ready to drive down to the Donation Center. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for my oldest son to get home from school so that he can haul it to the car!

I'd like to thank Kristen for joining this challenge so that I could find it and Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons for putting this challenge together. The last several months I've really been feeling the need to get my house in order but didn't know where to begin. I often start projects and don't finish them because with 9 people in the house my days can get busy really quickly and I'll often put projects off for later.

This challenge was very motivating for me because I knew that I couldn't put things off for tomorrow because tomorrow there would be a new challenge. It feels great to have gotten so much done. I've created a mental list of things that I still need to organize. But I need a little R & R first .... is that really possible? We'll see.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Master Closet

I actually did this a few days before it was assigned ... yea me!

I've only got this one before picture. I already had my system in place but things needed a little tidying up. Hailey and Katie were more than happy to earn a little money helping me in here.
Some new finds ---

I found this at Bed, Bath & Beyond a week ago and thought I'd give it a try. So far, so good!
I found this belt hanger in the dollar section at Target only right now not very much is actually only 1 dollar. I think it was $2.50 but I wish they had more! We took the last one and I haven't seen anymore since then.
I also found this scarf hanger in the same section. I bought one for each closet but haven't gotten that far yet.
We got these shoe cubbies at Costco a few years ago. It has really help keep things organized. The girls loved helping me put away my shoes. We emptied them all, picked the ones up off the floor and re-loaded. I moved the summer to the back of the closet and put the boots closer to the front.

We started buying these milk crates at back to school time when they are on sale. I've stacked and zip tied them to the shelves to create cubbies. Cheap and easy fix. I have to sort them a couple of times a year to switch seasons.


Desktop & Keepsakes

Have I ever mentioned that paperwork is my nemesis??? Well ... now you know. I have many flaws as I am far from perfect, but I would have to say that paperwork is right their near the top, if not at the top!

If you've come over and their has NOT been piles left around for later that means that it was stashed away out of sight. Not dealt with but successfully hidden. All you have to do is open a few desk drawers or some cubbies and you are bound to find many stacks of paper.
Or as these pictures show, just look at the desk! Embarrassing, but true!
For all of the above reasons I approached the assigned tasks with great trepidation and fear. Can I really conquer paperwork? That has yet to be seen but I'm certainly willing to give it a try.

I'm not gonna lie and say that I've finished this task but I've gotten an excellent head start. Since I started the challenge late I never did the desk top so I figured I'd start there. We have a very large table so I made that my command center and moved everything off the desk on to the table so I could give the desk a good dusting. I put everything back in the office (minus the paperwork) with a master plan in place. How can I create a space that will make paperwork easier for me? I found these paper boxes at Walmart and decided I'd make a box for things that I need to keep track of that wouldn't involve me filing right away.
I have 5 total for right now:

1. Taxes - We get my husband's W-2, and then lots of 1099's for my Internet business. Not to mention all the statements from the mortgage company, banks, property taxes and such. I can put them all together and file them after tax season. We wait until April 15th because who wants to send money earlier than needed.

2. Donations - I itemize everything! Therefore, before I take anything to Goodwill or DI it involves an itemized list and a note of it's condition. This way I can create the list, put it in the box and then attach the receipt when we finally take the load.

3. House receipts - I'm going to put a few files in the bottom of this box for different years. When we get home from Home Depot or do any renovations, we just drop the receipt in the box. If it gets full I can file it away but at least everything will be in one spot.

4. Business expenses - We have an online business so this box is for any receipts or paperwork involved.

5. Medical receipts - this isn't for medical bills but all of my out of pocket expenses. Prescriptions, co-pays, etc. We have a flexible spending account and anything over that can be put on our taxes.

It took all day but I got task #2 complete! The Desktop

As I said, not completely done putting everything back into place but the table is only half full still. We ate in shifts today. :)

This doesn't fall into a specific task but I'm excited about it still. Along with the desktop I cleaned out the cabinets over the desk. I temporarily took out all of the DVDs & Cd's and ordered some new holder's for them. This was an idea I got off of Toni's blog at A Bowl Full of Lemons.

With these containers from the Container Store:

I will take all these movies, music, software & games -
And fit them on this shelf!

We already have a version of this system in place for the kid's movies. There's are in one of those big notebooks but I think this will be better. It will be kind of like the library. I will make a chart inside the cabinet door that tells them what number slot each movie goes into. They should easily be able to get out what they want and put away what they watch. It will take some training but I know my kids are capable of doing this. I just need to lay down the law!

I'm excited for them to arrive!

On to Day #18 Keepsakes --

I don't actually have this done because I don't have all the supplies yet but they are on their way and I created a space for them.

Over the years I've tried many different versions of this but I'm excited to try a new one. Maybe this one will catch on especially with my new found determination to conquer paperwork.

My last system was the file cabinet and cubbies and since we all know how good I am at paperwork I have stacks of papers to put away and the kids end up getting into them before I'm done. The cubbies were supposed to be where they put their paperwork from school and every once in a while we go through them and pull out what we really want to keep and file them away. The kids have taken ownership of their cubbies and it is where they keep EVERYTHING including unfinished sandwiches. (Yes I have found a baggie with a half eaten sandwich in my 4 yr old's cubby)

Anyway we tried and failed so I'm gonna try Toni's system and see if I do better at it. I ordered a paper holder that has eight slots and conveniently fits on this shelf where these plastic ones are:

I know your probably thinking why not just stick them in the notebooks in the first place but I've come to realize with me that is just not going to happen. I love this idea because it gives me a place for my "stacks" of paper in an orderly way and it gives the kids something to do when they are bored. It's a win - win!!!

Teenagers & Buffets!

So last Tuesday the kids were out of school and I took them down to a local fun center ----- you know the places with arcades, laser tag, mini golf and SNACK bars. My oldest was slightly grumbling about going so I told him to invite his two best friends along also.

After we were there a little while the teenagers started to get hungry. (The bag of pretzels I'd brought along just wasn't cutting it any longer) After talking to an employee of the joint they (the teenagers) came to me with a plan. There was an all you can eat price of $10.95 for anything on the menu and they would share. Well since a thing of chicken fingers was about $5 it seemed like a no brainer. So I go up and order the buffet and then I am presented with "the rules".

2. Food MUST be eaten inside eating area - a.k.a. "we're watching you!"
3. If any rules are broken you are banned from getting any more food.

Their marvelous plan was foiled ..... at least until the friends decided to purchase their own also.

Let the Feasting Begin!!

Do you know how many Dippin' Dots one teenager can eat? Let alone three teenagers? My one son ate about 10 servings at about $4.50 a piece. He definitely got his money worth. Not to mention the corn dogs, pretzels, pizza, cheese burgers, churros and unlimited sodas.

I was nervous as we traveled back up the canyon home that we would see all that beloved junk food once again but luckily my mom-sense was wrong ... this time.

It made the boys day and we're wondering how long the "all you can eat" will be around once they do their books. At least for now I've got three boys in "hog heaven!"