Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Musings

Welcome to a new feature (in testing) of my blog.... Monday Musings.  I haven't been consistent with posting so I am hoping this will help.  Each Monday I will post about things currently on my mind.  Could be a recipe I want to try, could be something cool I found on the internet, could be something from church this past weekend, could be about my crazy schedule.  We shall see.

April 16, 2012 Monday Musings:

1. My blog about my file system re-do was featured as a Top 5 feature on the Organized Homelife Blog.  Awesome.

2. That same post is now on pinterest, which makes two of my posts on pinterest. (1 and 2).

3. I worked my first estate sale this past weekend, which is part of my new job.  I am exhausted.  I have done garage sales before (and twice a year we do a big one at local school, which is insane) but this was beyond crazy.  I am literally dead on my feet.  And speaking of feet, they were so swollen last night that after I took my shoes off and took a shower, I couldn't even put flip flops on all the way....

4.  This past weekend made me realize just how out of shape I am.  Must get going with the walking and zumba again soon!

5. Chad and I have added reading a chapter out of a book together, along with our nightly devotions and I am loving it.  We are currently alternating between a relationship book and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book.  I love this hour we spend together every evening, and I think it is strengthening our relationship.

6. Speaking of Chad, I am really worried about him.  He has some medical stuff going on and we aren't sure what exactly the problem is.... he goes to the doctor tomorrow, so prayers and good thoughts are most welcomed. 

7.  I am not a big sports person, but I am loving this time of year right now in St. Louis..... Blues are in the playoffs and the Cards are doing really well so far.  Like I said, not a big sports fan, but it is fun seeing all the blue and red and reading all the facebook and twitter posts about... Yay for Team Spirit!!!

8. My plate is really full this month- I am still watching D three days a week until the 27th.  My school semester is wrapping up.  I started my new job.  I am taking my Elementary Education Praxis later this month.  I am finishing up the paperwork to receive my Masters of Education in August, I am finishing up my Teacher Work Sample so I can receive my teaching certification, I am filling out teaching applications to hopefully get a job next school year (prayers needed please), I am taking a class at my church, and that doesn't include cleaning, cooking, laundry, and all that other normal everyday stuff.... Whew!

9.  As mentioned, I am taking a class at my church.  It starts tonight and goes for 8 weeks.  It is one of two classes that are requirements to get involved with a ministry.  I want to be a greeter or work in the church book store, so I am taking it.  Will tell you more about it next week.

10.  I love receiving comments on my blog, but rarely get them.... so lease me a comment please and tell me whats on your mind this monday.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

File System Redo

So awhile back I posted that I wanted to change my filing system (this is what it originally was).  I am happy to say, I am finally done and super super super happy with the results.  I have also re-designed my desk and items on my desk.  The old system worked, but the new system works perfectly. I have also been tweeking my financial system, but that will be a different post.

First the big file cabinet was moved over by the tv.  I will show you why it moved in a bit.  Because it was going to be farther away I changed the drawers to hold stuff that I do not need every day.  More long term files.  The top drawer has family stuff- this includes previous years tax papers, car paperwork, titles and certificates (which will move to the safe soon).  The next drawer down is my stuff- school paperwork and other keepsakes, the third drawer is Chad's- his school paperwork etc.  The bottom drawer is our Articles drawer- this holds articles we have printed for papers and such or book reviews, bible studies, etc.  On the side we have pictures in little plastic frames.

On top of the file cabinet sits my purse when its not with me.  Along with things I need to take to my parents (currently a star trek book to return to dad).  Behind it is our photo albums and my past 2 clippings journals.  I started the clipping journals this year, currently on my third.  In it I put the magazine articles I clip and other things I like.  I also keep track of my sleeping patterns, eating patters, exercise, water consumed, stress, and migraine notes in here.  Maybe I will write another post about them for some day.  At some point these will need a new one because I will run out of room here, but for now this is where they live when completed.

On top of the dresser in my office area (we use it to hold office supplies, swim stuff, misc electronics, bags, and extra sheets) is misc things.  The wire rack holds computer disc that contain games or photos, as well as extra paper, notebooks, and sheet protectors)  The blue binder holds all of our manuals.  I need a bigger binder for this, but this is what I had so it will work for now.  In the little holder is my loan repayment binder, coupon binder, and an extra binder that I haven't found a use yet.  Of course next to it is Prince's bed.  I had to have this there because he has to be near me when I am at my desk and it is just to hard to get work done with him in my lap, so I put him here (sometimes he stays).

The little file cabinet sits between the dresser and the computer side of my desk.  I love this cabinet. LOL.  In the top drawer is my monthly folders.  The weekly folders I was using before just weren't getting used, it was a waste.  I already have the next four years of folders set up.  For each set the first folder is the tax folder, where I can immediately put tax related papers after I am done with them so they are easily found during tax time.  Then I have six hanging folders, with two month of manilla folders inside.  The current month goes in the wire rack above the file cabinet (more about that in a minute). Why four years?  Well most papers can be thrown away either at the end of the year, or after 7 years.  I didn't want to overcrowd the drawer by doing all 7 years (plus knowing me I could change the system before then) and 4 years worth fit with enough room to hold super full files.    If I continue to use the file I will expand up to 8 years... 7 years of stuff to keep and the current year.  I always do one more year than needed so that you can be working on cleaning out the oldest year (which is past its 7 year mark) during the current year.... In these files goes anything that needs to be filed- bill receipts, loan documents we get, bank statements, that months financial papers, ticket stubs, event stubs, anything that is not tax related.

The bottom drawer is fairly empty right now.  It will be used for overflow of my 8 years, if needed.  But right now it has a folder for address labels and address lists.  This was over in the Family drawer, but I needed the labels every time I paid bills and I didn't like having to go over to the other file cabinet, so I moved it here.  Behind that is 4 folders to go with my seasons Jan-Feb-march; April-may-june; July-aug-sept;Oct-nov-dec.  In  these hanging folders I am putting anything that will be used in that month almost every year.  For instance the advent stuff we used last year, plus the one we want to use this year has been placed in the dec section.  Printables that I had displayed during Valentine's day have been been placed in the Feb section.  That is all for now.  I will be adding to it as the years progress.  I will have activities to do during certain times of the year, or Easter devotional will be added after Easter, special recipes for certain times of the year.  Stuff that I want to save for when we have kids to do.  ETC.  This way when I go to set up the months calendar and decorations ( I do different decorations each month--- currently Easter decorations will remain up all April).  I can look and see what I got for that month and its all in one place... I don't have to look through each years files to see what we did the previous years.  

Here is another picture of whats on top of the cabinet (although a few months old).  Here I have the current months calendar... that has everything on it- birthdays, anniversary, events, work schedules, school schedules, bills due dates, etc.  I don't need this as everything is in my planner.  This was more for Chad, so he could easily see what was going on, without me telling him all the time or him asking.  Though I am not sure how much he actually looks at it, since he still asks, but at least when he asks I don't have to flip through the planner to look, its right here.  (need to work on getting him to look though!).  The first section holds current bills.  Any bills that are due this month, go here.  Every Sunday, I pull this out when I pay bills.  It also holds things that I have ordered that haven't arrived yet.  This is so I can track their status each weekend.  Once a bill is pay, or the item arrives, the paper moves to the monthly file which sits in the very back.  The middle section holds future month's bills or things we are saving for (new tires for Chad's car, etc).  It also holds other items for future months, such as my summer school schedule (since I already registered).

The bottom 3 horizontal shelfs hold: bills, reciepts, etc that haven't been filed yet in the top part.  I do all my sorting and filing on sunday.  One day a week.  So when I open mail, if its not something I have to take care of right then (like Chad's loan company sending us a letter saying he is no longer in school and his payments will start soon- which is incorrect) it gets placed in this top slot till sunday.  I found doing things once a week has helped me manage my time and stress.  I don't have to spend time every day doing these tasks and I don't have to stress about missing deadlines either.  For instance we have a bill due on the 8th of this month, I paid it on the 1st when I paid bills, a week ahead of when it is due.  Happy to say we have gotten our finances under control enough to do this.  The second slot holds recipes that I need to put on my food blog.  Not to many of these currently, because we have been cooking out of some books I got and we keep using the same books so they don't have a chance to make it here.  The bottom shelf holds extra computer paper.

You can't see it here (but you can in the picture above) but behind the rack is where my cricuit sits (my mom got a bigger one so she sold me her first one, I don't use it much now, but hopefully I will when I get a teaching job next year).  On top of that is my card box.  I have started sending out birthday/anniversary cards to family and friends every month.  These were somewhere else, but I like having everything within reach on Sundays when I sit down to do everything.  the last Sunday of the month i will fill out all the cards for the next month.  Any that are before the 15th get mailed out right away, any after the 15th get mailed around the 15th.  Right now I only have immediate family, Chads dad's side of the family (they gave out calendars at Christmas with everyone's birthdays and anniversary's listed), and people I am facebook friends with, but I am working on getting the rest of the ones we need this year.  My grandma used to send out cards to everyone, and I remember loving getting them in the mail, so I am hoping it brings a little joy to the people who receive them. 

I keep my desk fairly cleaned off.  This is the computer side.  In that little magazine rack is label and specialty paper for the printer.  The top shelf where my monitor sits may look disorganized, but its not.  It has a baby food container that I plan to put some paper around to make it look better.  This holds my pens and such.  Then my tap and white out are here.  Along with the coupons I got from Chad for Valentines Day.  They weren't here, but I wasn't using him, so I put them here so I can see them.  There is also a container of binder clips, a watch I need to return
A stapler and a lighter for candles.  Along with some misc things.  Those hole punches and CDs are under the shelf so they are accessible but not in the work space.  Usually that book isn't there, but I need to read a chapter of that today to study for my Elementary Education Praxis I am taking later this month, so it is out.  The camera is out  because I took these pictures today. 

On the printer you can see the little book I have that I keep special days in (birthdays, anniversarys, etc.) Normally it has a home in my home binder, but I am trying to work on a list of dates I still need to track down, so it is sitting here so I can work on it when I can.  You can't see it, but next to that are the cards I need to mail around the 15th.

This is normally more cleared off too.  This is my work space part of the desk.  That blue binder is my home binder that is still a work in progress, but this is its home.  My planner sits in front of it, when I am home.  That Signing book is for class today, and I had to finish my homework so thats why its out (normally that and the Praxis book go on top of the dresser when not in use, since I need them frequently right now, otherwise they would be put away under the bed).  That red notebook is my current clippings journal.  Sometimes it sits here, or by my bed, or in the magazine holder I will show you soon.  Usually before I go to bed, I get out stuff I need for the next day, which is why the journal and 2 books are out right now.  As I finish what I need to that day with them, they get put in their home. Under this part of the desk is my recipe bag (which I went through and pulled out a bunch to put with the rest of the cook books till we have time to try them.  I use whats in here to create our monthly menus... at some point they will be more organized, just no time.)  Under that is my box of file folders and a box of computer paper. My trash can is here, that always seems to be filled no matter if Chad just did the trash or not.  Which I guess is good... I throw stuff away immediately.
This was the main reason for the file cabinets moving... my mom gave me this craft table that I put at the end of my desk.  In the drawers are my crafting paper and supplies.  The one side has a table I can put up to do some small crafts.  On top (besides the glue, scissors, and markers that are there) I put things I need to either put away, need close by but don't want on my desk (like my cell phone and the book I am currently reading that you see above) as well as mail that needs to be taken to the post office, stuff that needs to be taken upstairs.  Etc.

 The other side has a magazine rack... Here I put book and recipes needed for this months menu (but not necessarily this week).  Also when I get a magazine in the mail, it goes here till I have time to go through it and pull out what I want to keep.  Sometimes my clipping journal goes here, if I plan to work on it soon.

 That is pretty much my new system.  I really like how it has all turned out and I really love that I only pay bills and files etc one day a week.  It has really helped my stress level.  I can't always do everything on Sunday.  For instance, Friday Chad and I went to a credit union to open an emergency fund.  (Yay, for finishing Dave Ramsey's baby step 1).  Banks aren't open on Sundays, so we had to find time during the week for this.  Also, yesterday I had to call to pay some bills, hospital billing departments aren't open on Sunday's either.  (Yay for paying off 4/25 debts we have.... our Dave Ramsey baby step 2 is rolling!)  But mostly I do things on Sunday. Sunday tends to be a quiet day for us.  Bill and Sharon (Chad's parents who we live with) are gone most of the day with church activities and Chad sometimes has to work too.  Usually the only thing we do is church.  I have been working on making the weekend meals on thursday or friday so I don't have to worry about cooking over the weekend.  Usually I have to make Monday's meal sometime Sunday too... but other than that, Sundays are open.  So it worked out nice to have that my work day.  I use my time to get the financials and filing done along with getting ready for the new week.  Usually this takes me at most 2 hours and then I relax the rest of the day.

My main reason for writing this loooooooong post was to say this.... When it comes to filing, bill paying, orgazination etc... it is important to find a system that works for you.  I have been pretty organized the last 10 years, but my system wasn't working perfectly, so I changed it.  Find what works best for you, and if your needs change, change your system.  You don't have to pick one system and stick with it.  As I said early, I have also changed my financial system and hopefully I can post about that later.  If the system is working for you... change it.  Yes, it will take time to change it, but after its done you will be much less stressed about it and probably spend alot less time using it.

Now, I must run... I need to leave for school in the next 5 minutes or I will be late... YIKES!

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