The Top 3 Ways I Welcome the New Year

The Top 3 Ways I Welcome the New Year

With every New Year comes a rush of energy and thought processes. Resolutions are often times geared towards health, fitness, organization, doing more, giving more, changing habits. Something about the turn over of the calendar year sparks energy around wanting to better ourselves. While I am not a big believer in setting New Years Resolutions, I do think that this is a great time to ride that energy wave and set some goals. There’s nothing like a fresh start, and the first of the year is a natural time to start new.

The top 3 ways I like to welcome the New Year are to Clean up and Downsize, Set up a Calendar, and Set Attainable Goals for January.

Clean Up and Downsize:

Once the holidays are over, my first step is to clean up. Our family celebrates Christmas, which comes with a host of decorations, wrapping supplies and inevitably new gifts scattered all around. Come New Years Day we are ready to pack everything up for next year. Putting away our wrapping supplies, taking down the decorations and removing the tree from our living room can already create a sense of relief. As much as I enjoy Christmas, having an open space back in our living room already gives me the visual sense that we magically have more room! A quick clean of the house always gives me a sense of starting fresh. Just having to vacuum up the pesky pine needles means I know have a freshly cleaned floor…bonus! There’s nothing like a clean floor, or a freshly organized kitchen that makes me want to keep it that way.

My next step is to try and downsize. With all of the new gifts coming in it’s a great time to eliminate and downsize on some of our unused items. If you have children, when you bring in new toys take a few minutes to remove toys that are no longer being played with. This is a perfect opportunity to choose toys for donations and gift to children who didn’t have such a fruitful holiday. As your children get older, encourage them to participate in this. You will be helping them develop a sense of pride and giving. Being aware of what we are blessed to have and how we can provide to those less fortunate are life lessons that will certainly stay with your children. And, it clears up some space in your house!

Set up a Calendar:

I don’t make fancy layouts, but do enjoy using a bullet journal for my list making. Each day I use a new page with my daily to-do list, and then I keep a number of running lists. Some examples might be recipe ideas, grocery lists, on going to-do’s, etc. I try and keep my daily to-do lists realistic, and the running to-do list a list of everything I would like to complete. Being able to check things off my lists is hugely motivating for me, but seeing a list that I barely made a dent in can seriously keep me up at night. If I have completed my daily list, and end up with spare time, I just check my running to-do list and see what else I have time to accomplish. My productivity tends to sky rocket when I feel like I’m really making progress.

Our family has always struggled to sync our calendars, so this year we are going old school and giving a paper calendar in the Kitchen a try. I use my phone to organize my personal calendar and work calendar, but I’m not always able to keep up with my husbands schedule. This year we are hopeful that having something hanging in the kitchen will be the visual reminder we need. It should certainly cut down on our arguments around whether we remembered to tell each other about a schedule change! You have to find a system that works best for your family, and really work to implement it!

Set attainable goals for January:

Look at the year and set a long range goal, then break that down to small chunks. If I don’t have a long range goal, setting goals just for the month is my go to. I then take that goal and break it down even smaller so that I know it is something attainable. When I sat down to think about what I wanted to achieve in January my list was long! Some examples were:

  • Drink more water
  • Use a meal plan
  • Bring lunch to work
  • Track our spending
  • Read 1 book

That’s a lot! Then I worried that I was setting my sites too high and would be setting myself up for failure. So I took each of those goals and I broke them down into more achievable chunks.

  • Drink more water – 8 oz. in the morning, 8 oz. in the afternoon
  •  Use a meal plan – Block off time on Sundays, plan 5 meals
  •  Bring lunch to work – pack lunch in the evenings so that I’m ready to just grab it in the morning.
  • Track our Spending – enter our weekly spends each Saturday rather than at the end of the month.
  • Read 1 book – read for 20 minutes 2x a week

I’m also giving myself the flexibility to know that goals change and adjust and it’s just for one month. By February I will know how well, or not, my goals went and will have a better idea of what comes next.

How do you greet the New Year? Do you set resolutions? If so, are you able to keep them for the full year?

Cheers to a successful 2018!

Erin Condren Life Planner – April 25th – May 1st

Now that work has picked up I’m managing two planner, a life planner – My Erin Condren, and a work planner – a Lilly Pulitzer.  How many of you use multiple planners, or do you merge everything into one?

Erin Condren vs. Lilly Pulitzer
Erin Condren and Lilly Pulitzer

They both serve very different purposes, and right now I need that.  Perhaps eventually I will merge the two, but for now it is much easier to keep work and home separate.  Work is full of all the meetings and calls I need to keep straight, as well as where I need to be.  Currently I am working remotely, sometimes at home sometimes at other locations, so I need to keep it all straight.  The Erin Condren I keep updated with daily happenings, meal plans and personal to-do lists.

This weeks meal plan was:

Monday – Chicken Patties and Tater Tots (Guilty pleasure, I was at a CPR/First Aid class until 9pm and wasn’t coming home to cook…)

Tuesday – Meatloaf and Potatoes

Wednesday – Crock Pot chicken tacos

Thursday – Pasta and Pesto Sauce

Friday – Chicken Sausages and Sweet Potatoes

Erin Condren vs. Lilly Pulitzer
Home life vs. Work life…the struggle!

I don’t want my work planner to be full of washi tape, stamps and stickers, but a little flair and motivation here and there never hurts!

I was excited to see that my local Michaels is finally starting to carry some Happy Planner supplies.  I scored some great stickers on 40% clearance this weekend.  And I have already put them to use!

The Happy Planner Stickers
The Happy Planner stickers from Michaels…40 percent off, score!

Does anyone else find that they have to actually schedule time to plan?  What is that nonsense!

Happy planning all!

Erin Condren Life Planner – February 22nd-28th

Hello!  Back from a short hiatus, lots of happenings going on around here!  I did my favorite kind of shopping this weekend, gift card and coupons in hand…spend $0 of my own money!  They BEST!  And I got all kinds of cute things at the dollar spot at Target:

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Target goodies!

Among my haul were Easter Stickers, stamps, 2 packs of Gel Pens, adorable little clothes pins and binder clips.  My favorite was this phrase it stamp set:

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Phrase Stamp set from Target, $3 bargain!
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Comes with a blank ink pad and everything, target bonus!

I used my own stamp pads, but for $3 it was a total bargain!  Perfect for my Erin Condren planner.

Here is the blank weekly spread:

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Blank Spread – February 22nd – Erin Condren Life Planner

Definitely loving the winter we have had, it was in the mid 50’s all weekend, and it’s not even March!  So I was channeling Spring for my layout again.  I started with some fun Teal Washi Tape from…yep, Target.  And then I used the Phrase Stamp set to add a few highlights, and then just added in a few fun springy stickers.

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Layout before the writing, Washi Tape and Stickers

A little closeup because I really do love the Phrase Stamp so much, I’m already getting my $3 worth!  And I didn’t even have to spend any money thanks to gift cards!

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Closeup with Stamping

And I added my new Gold Butterfly clip, such a simple but elegant touch.  I love it.

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Ready to start the week off! – Erin Condren Life Planner

We are also so excited that we can finally see our Debt Snowball paying off!!  We made our final payment on the first loan we tackled this weekend.  It is an incredible feeling!  Check out the beginning of our journey here.  I will be updating again in a few weeks to share how the first two months have gone.

Well, we are gearing up for another busy busy week here.  Hope you all have a great one!

Organizing Clothing Drawers

Alright, admit it, who has drawers that look like these…..
IMG_0792Messy drawer of shirts…
IMG_0793…and pants.

Well, I definitely do, considering I snapped those photos of my very own drawers!  Most days I’m lucky if the clean clothes make it out of the laundry basket and find their way, folded, into to the drawers.  And when they do, they certainly aren’t neatly organized and easy to find.  I recently saw an article all about storing clothes vertically, so that it was easy to see what you had, and much easier to store space wise.  I decided to give it a try.  Stay tuned to see how I wound up with this:

FullSizeRender-9Ahhh, neatly organized and so easy to see what I have to wear!

I did used to work in a clothing store, so folding clothes was a specialty of mine.  I’ll show you a neat trick for making them even, but once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy just to eye ball it.
Let’s start with a shirt.  I’ll apologize in advance that they photos are taken on the sheets of my bed, but somedays thats just how it goes…

Step 1:  Lay the shirt out flat.  Find something that is about the width of what you want your final product to be, I used a pocket folder that we had lying around.  Center it on the back of the shirt.FullSizeRender-2
Step 2:  Fold one side over

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Step 3:  Fold the other side over, and slip the folder out.

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Step 4: Fold the bottom of the shirt all the way up to the collar.

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Step 5:  Take the bottom and fold all the way up to the top again.  Voilá!

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Nice and neat, and all the same width.  So easy to see what I have to work with!

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Tank tops work a little differently, but with the same real feel.  Generally I just fold down the straps first, and then follow the same basic steps:
Straps down, and then follow the same steps as you would for a Tshirt.

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As you get the hang of it you won’t need something as a template (how I used the folder), you will be able to just eyeball the right width.
All shirts organized, I love it!

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Pants are another story, but don’t get discouraged, I promise that they aren’t hard!  Step 1: Start by folding your pants in half, and popping the crotch triangle out.

Step 2: Bring the ankles up to the belt line.

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Step 3:  Tuck in the crotch triangle, and fold the bottom midway up, this will hold the crotch tucked in, creating an even line.

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Step 4: Take the bottom and fold up to the belt line.  Now that everything is tucked in it makes a nice even rectangle without any edges or corners sticking out.

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And for the final product:

Tada!  Nicely organized clothing!

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I love this.  Clothes take up way less space like this, and it is SO much easier to see what I have.  Oftentimes I have shirts that will get lost at the bottom of a drawer, and I forget I even own them!  This makes it so much easier to see what I have, and its simple to just grab and go in the morning.  Plus I was able to store way more this way, so I cut down on the number of drawers I needed, and the number of piles on the floor.  Now I have no excuse not to put my laundry away!

What tricks do you use for organizing your clothing?

Organized Work Space

Speaking of school (check out my post here), I decided it was high time to get an organized space going.  Since moving back in the with the folks last spring, my space is somewhat limited.  But with Sister #2 off at college, I decided to commandeer her desk area, and give it a little inexpensive face lift.

Here’s what I started with:

Gotta love the outdated calendar and the Gandhi Poster!

A little messy, since it is full of things she didn’t need at school with her.  I did a little shopping at my go-to spot, Ikea!  I picked up a plain white magnetic board, some fabric – I needed less than a yard, but have plans for the left over fabric! (I loved the blue and white pattern with the small hints of orange – this was my color scheme), magnets in orange and white (they matched my fabric so perfectly, it was unbelievable!),  small magnetic boxes, matching orange and white magazine holders, and a couple paper boxes in the same shade of orange.  Overall I spent just around $50, which I was more than ok with.

Home I went, happy as could be with my organization goodies.  First thing I did was iron the fabric to make sure there were no wrinkles.

Next up, it I plugged in the trusty old glue gun, and let it heat up.

Then, I measured my fabric and cut a piece big enough to cover the magnetic board.  Then I spread out the fabric, put the magnetic board on top and glued around the edges.  Once I got to the corners, I trimmed the sides and wrapped like a present, gluing as I went.

Wrap the corner like a present

 I had decided to prop the board against the wall, rather than hang it, but I took the time to trim off the fabric where the nail holes were incase I decide to hang it on a wall in the future.

If you plan to hang your board, steer clear of the nail holes

Here it is all wrapped and finished.

And the front view, propped against the wall.

Sorry for ALL the crooked pictures…it’s my lack of picture taking abilities, the room is straight!

And now with the matching magnets…I love it!

See the subtle hints of orange in the fabric?

Here is my finished board, covered in the essentials.

Again with the crooked picture taking…ahhh

I added a magnetic box on each side, one to hold things like a ruler, scissors, tape and the other to hold extra magnets.

Because my board is propped against the wall, the boxes are resting on the table, but they have hefty magnets and would stick to the board if it was hanging on a wall.

Then I have a couple pictures, coupons, and a weekly meal planner.

And of course a monthly pad of paper to jot down quick notes and make lists.  Pretty soon I need to go find my February list…yikes!

On each side of the board I added my magazine holders.  I love that the orange and white help tie everything together.  One side holds cooking magazines, like the Food Network and Everyday with Rachel Ray goodies.

The other side holds decorating and household magazines, like Veranda, and Good Housekeeping.

Then I put together and added the cute paper boxes on top of the wooden filing cabinet (sister #2 painted that herself!).  One box holds craft supplies, the other holds school papers.  I still need to label them, but I like the nice and organized way to hide some of my mess.

Here’s an overview of what my small area of the desk looks like.  Much better huh?

And we can’t forget the Easy Embroidery Project I made here.  And the Even easier Yarn Wreath I made here.

Now I just need to get started on some more crafts and school work…yippee!

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