Things I Love Thursdays – Say Cheese!

This week I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things ever….my camera. I know what you’re thinking….”everyone has a camera, how is that an original idea?’ But I just have to mention the reasons why I love it so much and one of them is very pertinent to what is going on in my life right now.

-First off, I love it for all of the reasons most people love their cameras – photos of my family and friends. I am marginally obsessed with taking pictures. Now I am NOT a photographer, I just love taking pictures of pretty much anything. And I do like to pretend I’m a photographer every once in a while and try to get crafty with my shots. I actually look at my pictures all the time. I try to print them, but I also keep them on my computer and I go through them a lot. I also upload them to a photo site so I can share them with friends and family.

-Reason Two! I also take pictures of things I want to have the memory of, but don’t want to keep. Case in point…I do crafts with my son all the time, but do I really need to keep every finger painting, pipe cleaner animal and sticker chart? No. So I keep my very favorites and take pictures of the rest. Well, I actually take pictures of all of them, but that allows me to be very picky with the ones I keep. He is the cutest little artist. Look at this masterpiece!

-Third Reason: I try to always keep a camera with me just in case I really need it. Here are some scenarios I’ve come up with in my mind. If I get in a fender bender, I might want to document possible damage to one of the cars. If I happen to see a bear or some other fleeting wildlife scenario, I want to be able to capture it on film. Here’s an example:

My husband and I were on a drive and all of a sudden we came upon 11 deer, all bucks, in a field. Now we have a lot of deer in our area, but to see 11 big Bucks is pretty rare for us. It’s not the best shot, but I’m so glad I had my camera!

-Fourth Reason: Photos are a great way to take inventory of your home and possessions. Right now, we are plagued by wildfires in Colorado. I am not currently in danger of being evacuated, but I have friends who have been. We actually are watching 2 dogs that belong to a Colorado Springs police officer (who we have never met!) because his home is evacuated and he is working in the Springs. We also had friends stay with us last night. There have been almost 350 homes lost in this fire in the last several days and this was clearly completely unexpected. Here is a shot my husband took from the town next to us:

It’s incredibly sad and my heart goes out to all of the families who have lost their homes. Right now, we are doing things at our house to prepare in case we might have to evacuate for any reason. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to inventory what you have. It literally takes 5 minutes to walk through your house and snap photos of every room, closet, appliance and valuable. You might be thinking that you are not in danger of a wildfire. But what about house fire, floods, burglary? You never know what kind of situation will come up so it’s best to be prepared. And you know what else? My house is quite a mess right now. The organization bug in me wanted to clean the whole house before I took pictures, but then I realized these pics are not for the masses. They are only for documentation. Once I got over that hurdle, I was able to quickly snap photos of every room so I always know exactly what I have. I plan on redoing this every year and I’m uploading them to my photo site so that I can access the ‘Home Inventory’ album from anywhere at any time.

Please take 4-5 minutes and walk through your home with a camera. Snap photos of each room and inside each closet and cabinet. Then download them into a file and back the file up. This could save you a ton of time, money and sanity if something should happen to your home. They don’t have to be pretty or even good, just take the photos!

I don’t want to leave you with that, so I’ll just leave you with a couple of my favorite photos from the last couple years:

Stay Safe!

~Erin

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Kid’s Space – 1/2 Closet, 1/2 Play Area!

I’m so excited to share my most recent organization project….my kid’s closet! We are very lucky that the house we moved into has a ridiculous amount of storage. Whoever built this house was desperately afraid of running out of closet space, so we have benefited from that paranoia! Our kids room has a walk in closet with great shelving and a window for natural light. Love it! Our kids just don’t have enough clothing to necessitate this kind of space. However,ย  we do NOT have a separate playroom for their ridiculous amount of toys. Soooooo……we decided to use the top half of the closet for their clothes and storage and make the bottom half a mini playroom for them. Yea! Here are the shelves in the closet:

Right Side of Closet

Left Side of Closet

And here is what we did with the bottom half of the closet. Our 3 year old, Evan, is the only one old enough to play in it right now, but he absolutely loves it.

This is his tent fort and a football that holds all of his stuffed animals (except the 4 million animals that are on his bed).

There are 2 bins here, one for trains and one for animals. The top shelf has a basket for blocks and his ‘Alphie’ robot. He loves (I mean loves) this toy. This was a gift from Evan’s Aunt Maria and family (shout out!) and it’s great. Highly recommended!

The left side of the ‘play closet’ has a mini rocking chair (family heirloom!) and a magnetic board from Nanny and Pap (also a favorite!). Notice the very subtle subliminal message on the board. The boys’ laundry basket is also here.

The right side has a Lego table, car racey toy thing (technical term) and a shelf for books. The basket under the Lego table holds additional Legos and I got the basket at a dollar store…score!

Now that’s the fun part for Evan. Here’s the fun part for me ๐Ÿ™‚ย  First, I took all of the non-toy items out of the closet. Then I sorted through and organized the clothes. Here was the process:

-Separate everything into piles: keep, donate, sell

-Then I went through the keep pile and put all items that I wasn’t using for a while in one place. This included things my older son had outgrown, but my younger son would not be in for a while. These were separated by size and placed in bags or bins for storage (and labeled of course!).

-Then I separated the leftover keep pile into short sleeves, pants, long sleeves and outerwear.

-Then I decided that my younger son, Owen (we call him O-Man) would get light blue and dark blue hangers and my older son, Evan (we call him Ev-dog) would get green and white.

-Then I re-arranged the bars in the closet so that I could put O-Man’s stuff on top and Ev-dog’s stuff on bottom. Here are their clothes!

That was the longest part of the project by far! Then I moved onto organizing everything else.

I found some cute baskets somewhere in my house and put them in here. Since there are so many shelves, we aren’t going to use them all, so I added some photos of the dogs!

Shoes…and more dog photos!

Baskets and bins gathered from around the house! These will be used for mittens, hats, sheets, and extra baby wipes.

A personal and sentimental touch. This is a beautiful decoration my sister Kelly (more shout outs!) brought us from India when I was pregnant with Evan. I hung it by the window in the closet.

So excited about this one! I had a pile of blankets that didn’t fit nicely into any bin I had. They always fell off the shelf and if you wanted to get one, you couldn’t do it without making a mess. I hung a bar from this shelf and just hung them up. Easy! Love it!

This is the left side of the closet now. I love how open the space is and how everything has a home! You can barely see it, but at the top of this photo is a plastic bag filled with clothes. Those are the next size up for my younger son. He is growing so fast that I wanted to keep them accessible. When I take them out, the current clothes will go into that bag and a new label will go on.

Also, I hadn’t mentioned the drawers yet, but the bottom 3 are used for larger toys for Evan since he can reach them. The upper two are hats and swimsuits.

This is the right side of the closet now. I had an extra square of space so I just hung up an old Chutes and Ladders board on the wall! This was actually my husbands game when he was younger. My son has the new version and loves it so I thought it would be so neat to have this hanging up as art!

Now you may notice that the walls are blank and I don’t yet have any fancy labels for my bins. Well, that will eventually come. But for right now, my favorite part of this whole project is….it only cost $3.00! The only thing I had to buy was a couple packages of plastic hangers. Everything else I already had. This has been a great project for both me and the kids. We can now all use the space effectively and enjoy all of it’s functions. I’m elated!

Lessons Learned:

-Don’t be afraid to use a space for something other than it’s original intention.

-Shop your house before you shop the stores.

-Using personal touches in organizing and decorating will make a house into a home and a ‘Good Space into a Great Place’. Write that one down people! Should I just trademark that phrase now? I think I will.

Have you all had any successful organizations lately? I would love to hear about them! Til next time…

~Erin

Safe and sound….and preparing for more

Hi all! Earlier last week I posted about Nixle, which is an emergency notification system that can send you emails or texts with any advisories or warnings in your area. You can read the post here.ย  Well, it turns out I have been using that service quite a bit this week. I live in Colorado and yesterday a fire started just west of Colorado Springs. It has already grown to over 2500 acres and is working its way towards my community.

It probably won’t reach us, but the little town close to us is on pre-evacuation standby. This means every0ne has to be ready to leave. This is scary stuff. Here are the things I am doing to prepare:

-I have texted or emailed friends in the pre-evacuation area to let them know they can come to our house if they are evacuated. The reason I am texting and emailing is because the phone lines are in heavy use and it can be difficult to get through.

-I have filled our truck up with gas. You never know when you will need to leave and when you’ll get a chance to fill up.

-All of our windows and doors are closed because the smoke here is fairly heavy.

-I have let my out of town friends and family know what is going on and that I am ok.

-I have been in contact with my neighbors so we are all on the same page with what to do if this gets any closer to us.

-I have the news on, am keeping an eye on internet updates and am getting my Nixle texts.

-I TRIED to go the grocery store to stock up. Let’s keep in mind that the closest good size grocery store is 30 minutes away and towards the fire. My husband was out of town (and is trying to get home!) so I packed up the kids and went all the way to the store. I pulled into the parking lot, reached over for my purse….and reached for my purse…..um, no purse. Are you kidding me? I forgot my purse? So I texted my husband to pick up water on his way home and I drove ALL THE WAY home. We have enough food to get us by if they close the grocery store, so we’re ok, but I was so frustrated. That taught me the following HUGE lesson:

Keep your written evacuation checklist handy! So I wasn’t evacuating and it wasn’t technically an emergency yet, but I was flustered and I forgot a critical item when I left the house. I don’t think I’ve left the house without a purse in 15 years! If this had been an actual evacuation, I could have been in real trouble. I do have an evacuation list for when we have to leave to the house, but this little incident showed me how being distracted, scared, busy or time crunched can really affect your thinking. So if you don’t have an evacuation checklist already, get one now, get it printed and make it easily accessible.

I have found several good resources for examples of checklists and evacuation info:

Red Cross Evacuation Checklist

FEMA – this is just a good reference all the way around when it comes to emergencies

Phantom Ranch Checklist – This is probably the most in depth list that I’ve seen. I have no idea really what this website is about. It’s actually a mish-mash of topics, but they are all very well thought out and informative. There is an extensive list of items to take on the checklist and also a list of what to do before leaving.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always have long to grab things before evacuating. I just heard the best idea for if you have only a couple minutes….Grab the P’s!

The P’s:

People

Pets

Papers

Prescriptions

Photos

Easy enough right? Well, it’s still a good idea to have a written list that you can check off, but if you only have a minute, remember the P’s! I’m exhausted so I’m off to bed. But look for an upcoming post with links to my checklist, which I plan to post. I’m hoping that even if people don’t write their own checklist, they might at least download one for reference!

Sunday Survey Time:

~Erin

Memories all around

Wow, where did yesterday go? I completely missed Things I Love Thursdays! We’ll be back next week with that feature!

In all seriousness, we had a car in the shop, my husband went out of town, I had both kids, and then went to dinner with friends. It was a busy, productive and fun day overall. Of course, I can hardly let a day go by without getting bitten by the organizing bug, so I was in my room at 10 last night going through boxes of pictures and memories. I have tried numerous systems over the years, but none of them allow me to completely reach my goals with these types of items. Here is what I want from photo/ memory organization:

-I don’t want to keep too much. There are so many little trinkets, tickets, photos, maps, boarding passes, etc that you have to draw the line somewhere.

-I want to be able to look through all of the photos and memorabilia easily and share them with my friends and family.

-I want them stored in a manner that’s out of the way, but still pretty to look at.

So there are the 3 main goals. Here is what I started with:

Not the prettiest photo storage I’ve ever seen

So many boxes (all completely uncoordinated) and they were in several places in my house. Also, they were so difficult to go through…fun, but difficult. So here’s my plan to streamline:

-Go through each item and carefully consider whether I need it or not. (So far I’ve gone through several boxes and you wouldn’t believe how much I threw away.)

-There are some items I want to somehow keep, but they take up too much room (such as thicker greeting cards) or I don’t see a reason to keep the physical item. For those items, I’m going to scan them in to my computer. Then for scrapbooks, I’m going to print small, flat versions of them. That way I have them scanned and printed, but the amount of space taken up is greatly reduced. (Sidenote: Even for some of the stuff I kept, I still scanned them in case something happened to the actual photo album they end up in)

-I’m going to actually put these into my scrapbooks! This part will take a while, but then the items will be out of boxes and they will be easily accessible to look at and to share.

Between last night and today, I’ve already spent about 5 hours doing this and I’m only completely through 2 boxes! And that’s just sorting, purging and scanning…not even putting them in albums! Wow.

Lessons Learned:

-I have to keep up with this from now on. I have 7 years of memories piling up in the batter’s box waiting to go into albums. That’s not even counting pictures printed from previous years and stuff from when I was a kid. I mean I literally had a whole box of stuff for each of the last 7 years.ย  Let’s do this!

-I have to be more selective of the memories I keep. Looking at the pile of stuff I threw out, I realized that I should have been a tad (understatement!) more picky about what went into the boxes in the first place.

-I have to plan ahead for future storage. Whenever I needed a new storage box, I would go buy one, but they were always different than the previous ones so nothing matches. I’m going to buy enough boxes to store my current stuff, but then add a few extra so the ‘memory’ corner can look more uniform. I have found so many I like, but most are pricey, so I’m thinking “can I possibly make something beautiful and functional from a cheap blank slate of a box?” I think I’m gonna try! Here is some inspiration for me though:

This is actually home made! I’m so jealous of the skills!

 

This is a plain box which has been decorated with stencils. So many possibilities here!

 

I’m ‘kind of’ obsessed with cube storage so this might be an interesting way to get my memories corralled but still have them look great!

 

There are so many ways to store and present your memories, but it doesn’t make much sense if you can’t keep up with it and easily enjoy them once in a while. I will keep you posted on the progress. This is a HUGE project people!

~Erin

I Have been Nominated for an Illuminating Blogger Award!

Illuminating Blogger Award

I’m so excited that I was nominated for an Illuminating Blogger Award. Thank you so much to Thea from http://organizedlivingessentials.com! I’m new to the blogging world and she has already been a source of inspiration and support. Thank you Thea! Check out her blog for posts on organizing, crafts and life inspiration. The format is great. Posts are often separated into ‘The Situation’, ‘The Problem’ and ‘The Solution’. What an easy and helpful way to organize posts and ideas!

Here are things nominees are supposed to do to continue the nominating and encourage recognition of each other and also the site that hosts the award!

-The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because itโ€™s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners). (Check!)

-Here is the official award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/)

-Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post. Here goes nothing…I could do all of these things every day: Take pictures of my kids; go on scenic drives with my husband, eat mac & cheese, sing, read, sit on my front porch, and make to do lists ๐Ÿ™‚

-It is also my pleasure to nominate 5 blogs that inspire, intrigue, teach and fascinate me!

http://lifesprinkles.com/ – Inspiration for a balanced life. How can you possibly fit everything in? Ask Life Sprinkles! ๐Ÿ™‚

http://alotonyourplate.wordpress.com/ – A great blog about a little of this and a little of that!

http://southernbellesoulmountainbrideheart.blogspot.com/ – This girl can do anything. Love it!

http://spaceforlivingos.com/about – She runs a business, but it’s also her passion. How inspiring!

http://modernchristianwoman.com/ย ย  – Delicious recipes and tips that even I can handle!

Thanks everyone!

~Erin

Burned out

A few weeks ago, there was a safety fair in the town pretty close to me.

The sad thing was that there was NO ONE there! I mean nobody, except the exhibitors. It was sad really. Safety in your home, on the road, in the wild, with your family is so important and NO ONE was there! I guess there’s just not a big exciting draw to car seat safety and bear attack prevention booths.

One thing I did find out about though was…

Nixle. Have you heard of this??? It’s a national notification system that offers free email and text notifications for alerts, advisories and warnings. Now, in my neck of the woods (in the Colorado mountains), many times these alerts and warnings are about forest fires.

You may be saying “Well, I’m living in a concrete jungle or suburbia. Why in the world do I care about forest fires?”

Well, Nixle is not just about natural disasters or rural issues. Let me give you an example. I have signed up to alert for my zip code, but also for my parents zip code and my in-laws (you can set up to 5 zip codes to automatically alert). My in-laws are in Atlanta and the other day, I got an alert for them because there was a major accident on the highway closest to them and it was closed. Now isn’t that useful and timely information? For free.

Back to rural Colorado. So we have had forest fires near us and I hadn’t been too concerned because they usually are able to contain them in a reasonable amount of time. But combine high winds, high heat, and no rain, we just had one get out of hand about 8 miles from us.

Springer Fire – Eleven Mile Canyon – June 2012

Smoke Blocking the Sun

It is called the Springer Fire and is now slowly being contained. But we had the possibility of evacuation if the fire came this way. Instead of me searching online or calling the fire department, I have been getting daily reports on the status of the fire, any closures, and the amount of containment. Genius!

So go to their website and spend 30 seconds getting yourself set up for these alerts. It could make a difference in your commute or it could save your life. Either way, it’s worth the time.

http://www.nixle.com/

~Erin

 

In honor of Dads….

In honor of dads and Father’s Day:

Here are a couple ways we organize my husband’s stuff. To be honest, he is as much of an organizer as I am….he just doesn’t have a blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ladder on Hooks

Ok, so hanging a ladder on hooks isn’t a new idea, but I thought I would point it out for two reasons:

1) We have a shed where we keep most of our larger items, but we use the ladder fairly often. So by making a space for it in the garage, it is easier to access and saves us time and hassle.

2) This ladder is fairly lightweight so even I can get it off the hooks. It doesn’t make sense to organize something if it isn’t functional for the people who are using it. If this ladder was heavier, we probably would have it lower. But because it’s light, I can get it down and it stays way out of the way!

Our camping supplies are also in our garage. However, they are on a high shelf which is hanging from the ceiling. It created a ton of storage space but still allows easy access using the aforementioned ladder. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have labeled bins which make various supplies easier to grab.

My husband keeps his most often used tools on a pegboard in the garage and the ones he doesn’t use often are kept in the shed. Even I know where each tool goes and I try to always put them back. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here fishy, fishy

Sidenote: I just thought I would snap a photo of his tackle box. He keeps this super organized as well and is constantly refining the system!

Last but not least for today: He always keeps a cover on the grill when we’re not using it. He is of the opinion (and I agree) that if you have something nice, you should take care of it and protect it.

Speaking of taking care and protecting something, I just want to thank my husband for being such a caring and protective father. I can’t think of any way he could be more devoted or set a better example for his two boys.

Fishing

And I also want to thank my own dad for being so wonderful and caring.

Me, My Dad and The Boys

I’m lucky to have such wonderful men in my life. Happy Father’s Day!

~Erin

Sunday Survey!

Things I Love Thursdays – Once A Month Cooking

I’m going to borrow a little here…..

The concept is widely known, but I’ve chosen to use the Onceย  a Month cooking from:

http://onceamonthmom.com/

I’m also borrowing from a post I already posted on my other blog:Self Pursuits.

Self Pursuits is a blog I started with my friend Katie and the plan is to pursue a new hobby, activity, etc for one month within a given category. We are on a small hiatus for June because we are busy and exhausted people. But come July, we’ll be back in Pursuit!

Anyways, one month the broad category was food/ cooking so I decided to try ‘Plan Ahead Cooking’. This involved going through my cookbooks, organizing my pantry and Once a Month Cooking! I made about 18 meals in one day. It was the craziest day, but it fed us for weeks and the meals were delicious. You can read the full post on my adventure here:

http://selfpursuits.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/i-must-be-crazy/

So even though it makes your kitchen look like this:

It is totally worth a try!

Why I love Onceย  a Month Cooking:

-It gave me loads of food for a whole month and all I had to do was heat everything up.

-I saved a decent amount of money. Not only did I not go heavy food shopping every week, but since I wasn’t going to the store as often, I was foregoing those extra purchases that just kind of come up when you’re at the store. I’m notorious for going off the list at the store, which is something I’m working on….”Don’t I need more paintbrushes? …Oh look at that bathmat! I have to have it! … Maybe I should get 2 gallons of ice cream since I can’t decide.”

-The meals were delicious and unique. I’m also notorious for slapping a piece of chicken or fish and a side f broccoli on the plate next to a piece of bread. No fancy dishes served here friends! So the new flavors and recipes (read Peanut Butter Crock Pot Pork, Chicken Stuffed Shells and Chicken Calzones) were a fun treat for my family!

-My freezer was so organized! It was just full of yummy, unique dinners and all I had to do was grab a bag!

-Not only did I not have to cook for most of the month, but I hardly had to clean the kitchen for a month. We just cleaned the crock pot or pan and the plates we used. No other cooking dishes necessary. Yeah!

For someone who likes to be organized and does NOT like to cook very much, this is the project!

~Erin

The Office Reveal

Well the office reorganization is finished….for now! I made a lot of changes and I can’t believe how much more calm of an environment it is to work in. Here’s the breakdown:

Remember this?

Ok, so I couldn’t see the top of my desk and my shelves were completely non-functional. I had some decent ideas going on with the shelves, but none of them were working right. My drawers and cabinets were a mess and I hardly used the space at all. Time for some changes!!!

First I took every single thing off the desk, shelves, out of drawers, etc. As I looked around, I realized how much unnecessary stuff there was. I had a huge box of stuff that didn’t belong in the office at all. And then another box of stuff that just needed to GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! I realized I could have literally opened my own office supply store (how many pens does one girl need?) so I got rid of a lot of stuff I didn’t have a real use for. Clutter be gone!

After I got rid of all unnecessary items, I reevaluated what I needed access to most. In this case, it was folders for work, my stapler, my shredder and better access to files. Those were my priorities. Let’s take a tour of the new digs!

Top Drawer – Before & After

Most of the stuff in my top drawer I didn’t use regularly (wait, are you saying I don’t need constant access to 6 rolls of packing tape???). So I designated this area as a place for my most frequented supplies. One basket is just for ‘mail’ and includes my address stamp and labels, letter opener and stamps. Then there are a couple of the other usual suspects. Notice the stapler is no longer there. It is on top of the desk now because I use it all the time.

Bottom Drawer – Before & After

Wow, this bottom drawer was a disaster. I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer on a regular basis. Correction…I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer…ever. Useless stuff out, file folders in! I took all of the stuff which was previously housed in harder to access storage and put them hanging files. So much easier to reach and sooo much prettier to look at!

Desk Cabinet – Before & After

Ok, so this cabinet technically didn’t change a lot. But let’s keep in mind that some of these boxes were previously stacked elsewhere in the office. Now all of my envelopes and blank folders are in one place. Should have done THAT a long time ago.

Desk – Before & After

I really have nothing verbal to add here. The picture says it all. Clearly I needed to just get that stuff off the desk and put it where it belongs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Note the addition of the file cabinet which also gave me a great place to set my shredder. Yeah!

Shelf – Before & After

Ok, here’s the big change, so take note. At first glance the actual shelf organization doesn’t look much different between the before and after. It really looks like I just got stuff off the floor. However, what you might not know is the function of the space. In the before picture, I had stuff for my regular day job and then… a lot of other useless fluff. In the after picture, I not only have all of my day job stuff, but I have 4 drawers for extra office supplies, I have folders for the new Neaten Your Nest Organizing business, I have a file cabinet for all of my personal files and I have all of my scrapbooking supplies! I cannot believe how much I was able to fit into this shelf! It is amazing to me how using space efficiently can change your life. Not only was I able to use this space so much more effectively, but I was able to clean up several other areas of my house. Before, I stored my craft supplies in my room. I stored my personal files in my closet. I stored misc papers on my kitchen table. I stored extra office supplies on my kitchen counter. So the before picture at the beginning of this post isn’t completely accurate. Here is what the ‘real’ before picture should look like:

And here is the official ‘after’ picture:

I love, love, love it! It’s easy to use, easy to clean up, and let’s admit it, a lot easier on the eyes than the ‘before’ picture. Now I have a clean office, a clean kitchen counter, a place to hang my clothes in my closet, a place to access my craft supplies easily and a place to be efficient. I could not have asked for more in this reorganization. I would say that it took me about 7 total hours, which includes cleaning, purging, filing, shredding and reorganizing. I probably spent an additional 1 1/2 hours just staring at the space to figure out what I needed to do.

Lessons Learned:

-Don’t put off an organization task because it seems daunting. Large tasks can be broken down into a series of smaller tasks and be made much more manageable. Also, progress encourages you to continue so just get started!

-Create easy access to the things you use the most. This will save you time and sanity!

-Consolidate! There’s no need to have office supplies in 4 different rooms. There’s no need to open mail in one place and sort it in another. There’s no need to make a pile on the stairs, to be put in the room on a box, to be filed later. If you can consolidate like items, you are MUCH more likely to keep them organized and clean.

-Take time to look at a space. Even if you feel like you’re not being productive because you are just sitting there, you will actually save a lot of time because all options are carefully considered before you dive in. This was absolutely invaluable in this project!

So I’m going to take some time to live with all of the changes and see what works and what doesn’t. I also plan on revisiting this room to ‘gussy it up’ a bit. I’m going to eventually get some fun wall decor and make it just prettier to look at. But for now, I’m going to be uber excited about how much an improvement I have made. I actually love working in the office now!

~Erin

Time for Change

So this weekend was time to take a break from the routine. Stop the work, stop the cleaning, stop the organizing and get out of town. Me and the fam escaped for a one night mini vacay to Pagosa Springs, CO. And how did we pay for the majority of our trip? Quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies friends! We have been planning this trip for a while and had already booked the hotel, but we still had to pay for everything else. So last week, we gathered up the change we had around the house and had ourselves a counting party!

We keep little containers for change around the house so it doesn’t end up hanging out on the counter or in our pockets. We prefer to use pretty containers so they blend into the decor and can be functional AND beautiful.

I’m so pretty!

We rolled the change into coin rolls, exchanged them at the bank and had enough money for road trip groceries, a tank of gas and a decent dinner! This was perfect! We just did a one night trip and we made lunches for both driving days. Our hotel offered free breakfast so we only had to eat out once. Instead of doing costly activities, we walked along the river, stopped at two different playgrounds for the kids and sat in the garden at our hotel in the evening. On the way back, we stopped at the Sand Dunes National Park, which only costs $3.00 per adult (and kids are free)!

Now why should you care about all of this? ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, this post is about two things that are very important to me (and I think to most people)…Spending and Saving. That is, SPENDING time with family and SAVING money. I think it’s so important to have a clean and organized house that makes you feel comfortable and secure. However, what good is that if you don’t invest time with the ones you love and also plan for your future. I will be back with the organizing this week, I just needed to post about what is most important to me in the long run!

Sunday Survey Time!