mysemiorganizedlife

Just another WordPress.com site

Follow Me On Twitter

The long and short of it–most of my content will be on Twitter @semiorganizedme

I have to laugh a little at the fact that I haven’t been on this site for 6 months (mainly because I kept trying to login but had the wrong password in mind.  Finally made myself sit down and figure it out today.  My last post talked about how I hadn’t looked at this blog in a year, yet all of my goals were still the same.  It’s amazing how 6 months later they are STILL the same, and I am still struggling with the same good/bad habits-and yet I  know exactly what I need to do do correct that situation.  MUST GAIN CONTROL OF MY LIFE!  But, I’m working on it little by little.  Hope to have more progress and not let the everyday life get in the way so much.

But, I digress.  One of the things I loved about this blog was being able to share the things I am doing in my life with whomever might be interested.  I found that lengthy blog posts and stylized photos just really aren’t my strong point.  I kept getting caught up in the fact that my blog was NEVER going to look like all those fabulous, professional bloggers out there.  Mainly because it is not my profession/full-time job, and I didn’t really have the desire to find the time to make it look like theirs.

So, I decided to share my thoughts on Twitter instead.  I can totally handle uploading pictures from my phone with a very limited text count.  To keep myself organized and dedicated, I decided to have a theme each week and do a post each day on that theme.  (What you do everyday is sometimes easier than what you do once in a while–thank you for that insight Gretchen Rubin).  I’m a few weeks in, and so far so good!  I’ve covered books I’m reading, home projects, DIY Dry Erase systems for kids, funny organizing memes, and menu-planning.  And, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping up on it.  I feel like this is more my speed, and I’m pretty happy that I’ve found a way to share my passions and ideas with people in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m competing with any sort of ideal.  I’m just me, and this is what I can and want to do.  I’ve even got a few themes and topics ready to go for the weeks ahead.  So, if you have any interest in seeing what’s going on in My Semi-Organized Life, please feel free to follow me on Twitter or check out the sidebar.  A few longer posts may end up on here from time to time, but tweeting seems to be the best option for my season of life right now.

My advice is to be and know yourself.  In a world of too many pressures to be picture perfect, find out what works for you and makes you happy.

(Oh, and if you have any idea on how to make your twitter feed the same as your main blog post area in WordPress, let me know.)

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Flouting Routines = Expected Outcomes & Insight

This post is sort of a bridge between the Fall Craziness post and the Audiobook Awesomeness post.  My routines got a bit off track for a little while, but I knew at the time that I really, really craved my routines.  I function better and am happier when I do things in a logical and intentional way.  Plus, I lose my keys less.

Somewhat by accident and sort of on purpose I started flouting my routines for about a week.  I didn’t get up in the morning to exercise (pinched nerve in my back).  When I went to the store, I had no grocery list, something I haven’t done in a very long time (because I just didn’t feel like making one).  As a result, I forgot the chili seasoning for the chili and a vegetable for another dish.  It all worked out ok, but I know it wouldn’t have been as likely to happen if I had been working with an actual list.  My cleaning schedule got waylaid and most of my daily tasks were either scrunched into one day or completely abandoned (busy, busy evenings).  I was so discombobulated one day that I managed to lock my keys in the trunk of my car…at work…1/2 hour from my home.  Thank goodness my dad is retired and could come to my rescue.  I haven’t locked my keys in a car in YEARS!–not since I got electronic locks.  Why were my keys in my trunk?  I was digging around looking for lunch money for the cafeteria (which doesn’t accept cards), because I was working out of two purses (and three bags) and hadn’t planned ahead for lunch.  A lovely friend offered to drive so we could pick up something to eat.  I am truly blessed by a loving family and sweet friends.

Did life go on?  Yes.  Were we all clothed, clean, fed, and safe in our comfortable house?  Yes.  Did I still feel like a bit of a train wreck?  You betcha.

I know if I want to feel happier and more in control of my life, something has to change.  Quite a few of the audiobooks I have been listening to lately are all about living with intention, choosing what’s important, and making thoughtful decisions about what your focus to be in your life.  Then, you can begin the work of habits and happiness and planning what to do with your 168 hours.  So, this is what I’ve come up with, with a little help from the authors:

 

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Re-Post: My Top 7 Organizing Tips

As  I shared last week, this month I am tackling a few other writing projects, so in order to keep the momentum going, I am re-posting some of my favorite posts here and there.  Any time I organize these tips go through my head to help me stay on the right track.

Want to start getting organized–or want to become more organized?  After reading a ton of organization books over the last year, attending an organization seminar this summer, and living through my own organization journey, I have come up with these Top 7 Tips.

1) PURGE–be realistic.  What do you actually need/use.  Donate what you can (though you may not be able to with some products), throw away what is broken or damaged, and put misplaced items where they truly belong (especially if it is in another room).  For sentimental items, figure out why they are sentimental.  Can you take a picture of the it and hold onto that memory just as well, would someone else love it more than you, are you keeping it out of obligation?  A yes to any of these questions means let it go.  Do you or someone in your house use it frequently or love it dearly?  If yes, keep it, but find a way to organize it better so it doesn’t cause you stress.  Some people call this de-cluttering.  I like the word purge–because it helps you eliminate and cleanse your space opening it up to new possibilities.  (Eliminate and cleanse are both synonyms for purge…)

2) Think about where you are most likely to reach for/use items…and put them there.  Seems logical, but that’s not always what we do.  We put it where it might look best, but not where it would work best.  If you find yourself constantly looking for things, you are losing valuable time every day.  Place items where they make the most sense and make sure they get back there each and every time.

3)  Use storage containers that make sense and fit your space.  Do not buy everything you think you need right away.  Chances are you’ll end up returning something (or in my case reusing it somewhere else).  For that matter, before you run out and buy something, look around your house to see what you already own that you could possibly re-purpose.  If you do need to buy something, do some research to check out the possibilities first–buying on a whim can create more clutter and stress.  And be sure to measure!  You want containers that will fit.

4)  Use labels when you can.  This helps you (and your family) get things back to their home location (which you established in step 2).  If you don’t have a laminator or label maker–no problem.  Print out or hand write your label and use clear box tape as your laminate.  Or buy sticky labels from the store to write on or run through your printer.

5)  Make it visually appealing for you.  Having a pretty space can help relax you and lower stress.  It is much more pleasant to cook, get ready in the morning, or do paper work in a pretty space than a drab one–and an organized, uncluttered one for that matter.  At least I think so.

6)  Do not get overwhelmed.  You will not be able to organize your whole life in one day, week, or month.  Organization is a process that takes time, but does not have to be time consuming.  Many people don’t have an entire day to devote to organizing a room of their house, but they might be able to find 15 minutes each day to tackle one part of one room.  For example, break your kitchen up into sections (pantry, lower cabinets, upper cabinets, drawers, fridge, etc.) or your bedroom into sections (dresser, closet top, closet bottom, night stand, under bed, etc.).  Once you’ve finished everything in one room, move onto another.  I’ve heard tackling the most annoying problem area first is best, but I’ve also heard getting easier tasks out of the way is better, both for the same reason.  They give you a sense of accomplishment.  Pick which one you think would be best for YOU and go with it.  Once you have finished a room or space, move on to the next.  But, have a plan.  Decide what order to do things in and when–schedule it in your calendar if you need to.  By having a plan, you are more likely to finish your project, because you know exactly what you want to accomplish in that space and will not wander around from room to room only partially starting/finishing things.

7)  Realize that you will probably make changes.  It can take multiple tries to get something the way it will work best.  Chances are you may still make small changes as you get older and your life changes.  Be open to that possibility.  And, if something isn’t working the way you thought it would, change it.  So the organizational tool/system you thought would work best didn’t.  Big deal.  Do not think of this as a failure.  You’re just implementing system 2.0.  Don’t be afraid to try again!  You know more now than you did the first time and chances are you’ll get it closer to right this next time.  Plus, I’ve found that organization is fluid process that is never truly “done,” because our lives are changing all the time and our systems should therefore change too.

 

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My Ode to Ikea

 

 

 

Oh, Ikea…how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  One, your crazy frugal pricing.  Two, your seemingly endless options.  Three, the organization potential in every aisle.  Four, the impossible to pronounce names of your merchandise.  Five, the acrobatic carts that can roll in any direction.

In all seriousness, I LOVE Ikea.  If you are a home or organization blog reader, chances are you’ve heard of this store and how the simple systems can help you organize and decorate your home.  You may have seen the many Pinterest boards and blog posts showing off creative Ikea hacks.  And, if you are anything like me, you can really only drool over the items on virtual display, because there isn’t an Ikea near you…at all.

The first time I visited an Ikea, I was speechless…and so excited.  What a cool store this is!!  I want to come back all the time!  But, sadly, it was almost 3,000 miles away and in another country.  We were visiting relatives and friends, and we were back every few years, but since we were traveling, our ability to bring things home was limited.  Each time we visited, I stuck to things that could be packed flat like plastic tableware and collapsible storage bins.  But, I yearned for more.

Then, recently, when on vacation, I visited my first Ikea in the U.S.  In the parking lot, I asked my daughter for a favor.  I said, can you please be patient for mommy while we are in this store?…It is one of my favorite places.  No lie.  It is.  We spent over an hour and a half wandering the aisles and picking up what could be stuffed into our already overflowing SUV for the six hour drive back home.  (She did pretty well.  She spent a chunk of time giving us tours of the various rooms on the upper floor as if she were a host on HGTV.  Then, she found the fake computers and proceeded to do some “work” while we looked around.  Pretty cute and kept her entertained).

For less than I thought it would cost, I was able to replace some items we bought several years ago from the other Ikea and add a few more items for our kitchen (mostly).  Since we didn’t have a ton of space in the car and I have already put their storage bins and drawer dividers to use, I didn’t buy a whole lot more.  Though I enviously looked at the spice racks that I have used for a multitude uses other than storing spices and the rail system with your choice of hanging doo-dads to organize pretty much anything–I knew I didn’t have a clear purpose for them and didn’t want to buy them just because I was there and other people had done cool things with them.  Though, to be honest, two of the spice racks made it to the cash register with me before I surrendered to logic and told the cashier I didn’t need them.

Here are just a few of our purchases from that day:

For the kiddo.  I adore these plates.  Super easy to store and use.  I replaced the old model oval shaped plates with these new round ones.  Love that these have an edge to them.  I also bought the bowls.

For the kiddo. I adore these plates. Super easy to store and use. I replaced the old model oval shaped plates with these new round ones. Love that these have an edge to them. I also bought the bowls.

Food storage containers.  There are MANY options at Ikea, but we chose these because they are a bit sturdier and have a steam vent.

Food storage containers. There are MANY options at Ikea, but we chose these because they are a bit sturdier and have a steam vent.

We bought a few of the small round plates in this finish a few years ago to replace a few broken ones from our large set (not bought from Ikea).  Looking around for other replacements we stumbled upon these rectangular ones in sets of 4.  After using them a few times, I wish I would have bought another set and just replaced all of our old larger round ones.

We bought a few of the small round plates in this finish a few years ago to replace a few broken ones from our large set (not bought from Ikea). Looking around for other replacements we stumbled upon these rectangular ones and picked up one set of 4. After using them a few times, I wish I would have bought another set and just replaced all of our old larger round ones.

drommar-cake-decorating-set

And something fun for the kiddo and me to play with as we continue our cake baking and decorating adventures.

We got a few other things including a bathroom rug, a metal colander, new round cork trivets, new dish scrubbers (so inexpensive here!), straws, and some other odds and ends.  Nothing too big and mostly replacements or additions to Ikea items we already had.  I told my husband that we’d be in trouble if we lived near an Ikea because I’d spend oodles of time and money there.  He didn’t seem to see the problem with that–which is why I love him.  He tolerates and usually supports my organization habit.  He even found a desk system that he likes that we may have to get a hold of sometime soon.  And, the good news is that I may not have to wait a few years until I step foot inside an Ikea this time.  They are opening one only 3 hours away from us!  (I know that still seems like a crazy distance to drive just to visit an Ikea, but I do have friends that live there to visit as well 🙂 ).  And, I can always order online if I feel like I want to pay the shipping.  But, I really do love to visit the store in person.  There is something about the piles of everything, the bright lights, and the endless possibilities that get me every time.  Oh, Ikea, if only we could have a more permanent relationship.  I guess I will just have to settle for renewing my love for you every so often–unless of course you’d like to come to my home town.

Is there a store that you love to visit, but only have access to at certain times or in certain locations?  Does it make the place more special because you are not able to go as often?

 

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Blog Themes…

Just a quick note to say I am test driving some blog themes this month.  While I am very frugal and reluctant to spend money on a blog theme just yet, I do still want my blog to be inviting and pretty to the eyes.  So, if you happen to stop by more than once and see that the blog theme has changed, that’s why!

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Accountability….or Why I blog…

It has been quite a long time since I have made any posts to this blog.  Some of it has to do with time getting away from me, some with being too exhausted to add one more thing to my plate, and some to do with it falling out of my routine.  When I was posting regularly, I posted on Sunday mornings—a pretty quiet time around my house.  Then, one of my professional responsibilities need to be taken care of Sunday mornings, and the blog slipped by the wayside.

Also, I really needed to take stock of why I was even writing this blog.  Did I plan to become a famous blogger and quit my day job?  No.  Did I intend to share it with people I know?  Did I want others around the web to read and comment on what I write?  Was it just a personal record for me?  I would say, again, a little bit of all of these, but mostly I use this blog to hold myself accountable for the routines and systems I am setting in place.  I know I work best with a routine, and by putting my goals and aspirations into print for all (or more likely very few) to see, I feel like I am required to fulfill them.  I said I was going to do it, therefore I really should.  I guess it is similar to having a workout partner.  You hold each other accountable for going to the gym or walking around the neighborhood, because you don’t want to let the other person down.  This record of my thoughts keeps me focused and determined when sometimes I really am just too darn tired to want to do anything besides crawl in bed and sleep or read a book.

With that in mind, I plan to post every week again my goals and my thoughts on organization, kiddos, and home life.  Whether or not anyone else reads this is really not the point, though if someone stumbled across this blog and found something useful to them, more the better.

Here are just a few of the posts I have planned for the future (again accountability folks!)

  1. What I’ve changed about our routines and systems from previous posts (because really it is a never-ending process)
  2. Why routine (and scheduling) is a must for me
  3. New gadgets and gizmos we’re using around our house
  4. My new home office space!
  5. Fitness Goals and Routines
  6. What I learned from books by professional organizers
  7. I’m starting to help others purge and organize!—and how that all went
  8. Organizing for Road Trips
  9. Setting up a school-agers after school organization routine
  10. The bag lady—how I organize the many bags in my life

According to this, I have 10 weeks of blog posts already worked out in my head.   I may write all of these, I may write only some of these because better ideas might come up.  I may get super excited and post more than once a week.  Either way, I have a plan—and I wrote it down and shared it.  So, NO EXCUSES!

My first new real post should be going up soon (not a Sunday, but you gotta start somewhere).  Happy Organizing All!

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I Have NOT Given Up on My Blog

It may seem a bit like it, but I have not given up on my blog.  I swear!  Life has just been very, very busy of late.  Full time-job, part-time job, multiple committee responsibilities, and oh yeah…being a mom.  All of this has led to very little time to write anything for this fun little hobby of mine.  Rest assured, some big events are over this week, and I hope to return to sharing my thoughts and ideas on organization, crafting, kids, and everything else.  Until we meet again…

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