Hi friends, a couple of things:- head on over to Jen’s blog to see a familiar name, a celeb chef and a giveaway!
– a shout out to my friend Rebecca for an amazing Sunday friend-day together to celebrate my upcoming birthday! Mexican food, shopping, ice cream, and girl talk was just what this girl needed.
– and lastly, please forgive me in advance. For how long this post is. Get a sammich. And a cold pop. And settle in a comfy spot. You are in for one long-winded lecture.
So I have a secret.
My closest friends know about it and accept it.
But I do have a secret.
I am a neat freak.
I said it.
Lately, there is almost a shaming that goes along with being neat or having a clean house.
I don’t do it to rub it in your face.
I just can’t live with the mess.
I can’t physically do it.
It’s a sickness really.
I am the same person that will pick up clothes on the ground at a department store.
Or straighten cans at the Wal-Mart that are all in disarray.
I. Can’t. Help. It.
Now, I do have kids.
Therefore I have messes.
And that is okay.
I am not living in a museum and my kids play in our home, make messes, throw toys around.
It’s all good.
There is a big difference between mess and disaster.
One involves the dust buster for me and the other involves Prozac.
Do you get me now?
So I am here to share my formula to keep my house organized.
This is not a show-off tutorial just an I am overly organized to a fault and you can too tutorial.
A love story, really.
I only have two kids and yet, I feel like I am running around with my head cut off on most days.
Especially now that the two are active in sports, school activities and appointments.
I can’t always keep up.
And I say “I” because the husband is working.
So I have to be organized or my life will eat me alive.
Here are some ideas I use around my house to make sure I don’t drink on most afternoons.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
First thing I should mention is that I have the most supportive husband.
He will fold laundry without me even asking.
He will clean up after dinner if I make the dinner.
Basically, he is the yin to my yang.
If you want to get on the organizational train, get your hubs/life partner on your team.
Because you can’t get most of this done without him/ her.
Organization In Sector 3
This is key.
You need to have “a place”.
You know, ” a place” for your “stuff”.
Am I being too vague?
Do you know where your landline phone is?
Or where it would be if you had a landline phone?
Make that your organization command center.
This is what should be there:
a container of pens or pencils address books, school directories, notepads, cell phone chargers, etc.
There should ideally also be a “junk drawer” near to your “place” to store post-it notes, tape, paper clips, yadda yadda.
Also, and this is huge, GET RID OF THE JUNK MAIL.
I have been in homes where the junk mail is piled, PILED by the phone.
And then it becomes a project.
And then you have to spend a day to sort through it.
And then you decide you would rather go out to the store and get a Kit Kat bar than sort through it.
And then more mail comes in.
And then your child’s report card comes in the mail.
And it gets mixed in.
With the coupons from the sushi place down the street.
As soon as you bring your mail in, go to the garbage can.
Rip up and throw away all the junk as soon as you get it in your little paws.
Do this for humanity.
And do it for your sanity.
And just like that, I made a riddle.
A Calendar Is Your BFF. Or Homie.
This calendar was the best two bucks I ever spent on anything.
Now, I bought it on clearance in February at Target so not sure how much it was full price but I will pay full price next year.
Because this has saved my sanity since February.
And that is saying a lot since we all know how much I dread winter.
And lack sanity from December to March.
Scratch that, April.
I keep this on my kitchen counter in my “place” and it is a lifesaver.
As soon as I make appointments, I write them on this calendar.
And you won’t be searching for something to write on, right?
Because you are in your “place” and in your “place” you have post-it notes, pens and pads of paper.
Do you see it all coming together??
Side note for those whose children go to school: as soon as they come in the door or as soon as they get in your car or as soon as you are in their presence after the school day, this is the second question you ask them after you ask them how their day was:
“Do you have anything to give to me?”
Then take those papers, fill them out, attach the check and put it back in the backpack.
I mean it.
This is serious.
Because if this gets put off, it will come back to haunt you.
Do not let your child be the only child who didn’t have lunch on a field trip, who didn’t have any lunch money, who didn’t get to go on the day trip to the botanic garden because you forgot.
I have never had this happen to me.
Because I am a ninja when it comes to gettin’ that crap back to the school.
And you will be too.
Lists People. LISTS.
See that list pad above.
That is my sidekick.
So I have the calendar in my “place” and right next to it, is its partner in crime.
The list pad.
This is where you will see my OCD up close and personal.
Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it.
Every weekend, I transfer what is on the calendar on my list pad giving each day of the week a sheet of paper.
Embrace the OCD.
Then I check each “to do” off as I go through my day.
I don’t remember when exactly this started, I know it was after my youngest was born.
I truly think it is because I am running this house alone most days and I don’t want to forget anything.
Embrace it with all of your being.
I stock up on these babies every couple of months.
Target has these bad boys in their dollar spot for a buck each.
Michael’s used to have them but not as much anymore.
You don’t have to go this extra step but it works for me so if it isn’t broken, I am not fixing it.
Hi Bill, Nice To Meet You
Do you have a bill pay area?
Do you understand what language this is, that I speak?
I think most of us have a “bill pay area”.
For some it is the recliner in the family room, others an office and for me, it’s the kitchen cabinet.
I wish I had a dedicated “office” but for now, this works just fine.
Because this “bill pay area” is suspiciously close to my “place”.
I think not.
So as soon as a bill comes in, I open it, shudder violently, then look at the due date.
I place it in a bill filer (just a plastic thingy with three separators…you can find these everywhere) with the ones due soonest to the front.
Then I close the cupboard and pretend for just a second that I am a millionaire.
And that my butler Jeeves will be handling the money later.
After he deposits my movie deal money in the Swiss bank.
Oops did I say that out loud?
I have all our bills, lists of what I need to save money for (taxes for the crappy state of Illinois. Sorry. Using my blog for a jab.), a calculator, more post-it notes, receipts, a spare change jar, paper clips, postage stamps (I still do bills old school. Don’t judge.), important documents etc.
All in one place.
So no more bills sitting in with the junk mail.
Because the junk mail is where???
The garbage, yes!
And the school notices are where??
In the backpack already signed, dated and paid for, yes!
And the bills are where?
Piled up in the secret cabinet where all bills go to die.
The Other Side of The Fridge. A Horror Story
So menu planning and grocery shopping.
Who else hates it?
Can I see a show of hands?
I used to love going to the grocery store.
When I was 10.
And went with my mommy.
And didn’t have to worry about paying for it.
But as an adult, planning meals, budgeting for it and the actual execution of going shopping is painful.
Wal-Mart on a Saturday.
So I have a “system”.
Create another “place” in your kitchen.
I can hear Y’all with small kitchens groaning out there.
This all doesn’t have to be in your kitchen, by the way.
My kitchen isn’t massive either, just to give you a reference point.
But I am lucky in that I have corners or “niches” in my kitchen that allow for my OCD tendencies.
On one side of my fridge, it faces one of those “niches”.
I keep things like ingredient conversion magnets, a great article I cut out from Real Simple about when food is good and how long it lasts (had this for YEARS and it has saved my butt many a time), a magnet board that I keep the recipe cards on for the meals I am making that week and I keep my “running list” pad there.
Just like that, back to the list pad.
STOCK UP, PEEPS.
So I see this a lot in the virtual world.
People complaining about never having enough ingredients, about list making and the grocery store.
Start keeping a “running list”.
This is where the list pad comes in.
Running out of peanut butter?
Write it on the list.
Only four more rolls of tp?
Paint for a science project?
I am only as good an organizational guru as my list pad.
If I didn’t write things down, I would have piles too.
Umm, not the piles that are medical.
Keep this on your fridge, in your “place”, wherever.
Just keep a “running list”.
You will thank me.
Especially when you are out of toilet paper.
Menu Planning Doesn’t Have To Be Dirty. Or Does It??
Someone once made fun of this menu board.
And that is okay because haters need not apply here.
This is revolutionary and those of you who are doing this?
I have a very organized friend (ahem, Rebecca) who can’t do this and that is alright because it isn’t for everybody.
She is like my Mama in that she can go into a grocery store and create an awesome meal in her head.
I, sadly, cannot.
I am like my Dad.
In that, if I ended up at the grocery store without a list, would have a cart with Dinty Moore beef stew, Ho Ho’s and root beer.
Sorry dad, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
So I need to make a list.
And stick to it.
Here is what you will need:
a recipe collection (or Pinterest), a list pad (embrace it), pen, and coupons (if you are into that sorta thing).
Here is what I do:
Have your “running list” in front of you.
Have an empty list pad in front of you.
I also have this list pad:
This is my secret weapon.
And I will be out of ammo soon because there are only a few more pages.
And I haven’t found another list pad like this.
And trust me, I have looked.
I write each meal, I will make on each day listed and write instructions on this as well.
For example, if I am making bread maker bread for a particular meal, I write a note on here to make bread or thaw out meat or marinate something.
Then I write it on my calendar in my “place”.
So that I can transfer it onto my list pad.
It sounds like I spend a lot of my week writing things down.
And you would be right.
But not all at once.
And it is worth it in my world.
So after writing down all the meals I will be making, add the ingredients for said meals to your running list.
When you’re done, re-write the list according to how your grocery is set up.
This is big.
Because it will help you from running all over the store AND it will save you money.
So as not to wander into the makeup section.
Or the lamp section.
Or the book section.
Then add the meals to a dry erase board, chalkboard, a piece of paper stuck to your fridge, a post-it note stuck to your forehead.
It doesn’t matter, just as long as you have it in writing.
The beauty of this is that it doesn’t have to be rigid.
I make the menu up usually a week or two ahead of time and then change it up when the day comes because sometimes I just don’t feel like having chili on Wednesday or tacos on Monday.
So it’s flexible too.
And who doesn’t love something flexible??
OMG, this was a long post.
They say people stop reading a post at around 300 words.
That was three sections ago.
So if you scrolled to this point here, I will tell you that you missed out on:
a naked picture of Kroy Biermann
a giveaway of 1000 dollars
a link to where you can get chocolate for free
and a recipe for a fat-free, 0 calorie margarita.
Better to go back and read carefully.
And bring a list pad.