31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 7 (Entry Way)

Ok, so now onto organizing things in the home!

One of the things I am most excited about with the new house is the long empty wall as you enter the front door. While this wasn’t written on my “must have” list it was something I was looking for. Why you ask? Because I have wanted to have one of these in my home since I started seeing them on Pinterest.

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Ultimately, I would love for this piece to organize all of our scarfs, gloves, hats, umbrellas, sun glasses, keys, purses, diaper bag, etc… Thinking about eventually being a family of four, I want everyone to have their own space. At the same time, I don’t want it to look cluttered.

I have started to brainstorm how we can put one of these together. After playing around with Photoshop, I came up with this. Each of us would get 2-3 shelves in the cabinet as well as a basket under the bench. IKEA has great add on like drawers, shelves and trays. I also discovered rod iron hooks with letters and think it would be adorable to each have our own personal hook for purses, bags and backpacks.

Each cabinet is $180/each (IKEA), 1×5 cubes $59.99/each (IKEA), Wainscot Panneling $79.99/8ft (Home Depot) and baskets $16.99/each (IKEA). This total for this would be around $645 which is a little pricey so we may try to alter a few things. I am not sure about the white or the overhead bins and may do a nice mirror and shelf with picture frames instead.

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I was thinking of making one of these for inside the cabinets to hold all of my sunglasses. I probably can’t use a picture frame since it may hit the shelves inside but something thinner would do just the trick. 
I also want to put hooks on the cabinets inside for lanyards and keys so they are out of the way. 

I also found this on Pinterest and thought it would be so cute in an actual mud room. I just had to share because it is such an easy DIY project. Michaels has these wooden crates and after a little paint and sturdy nails, vola, you have storage with character. We may do this in the garage by the door for rain boots!

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That wraps up day #7 for me! Check back tomorrow where I will be showing you are linen closet and how to creatively use those TP and paper towel rolls to make things a little more organized! 

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31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 4 (Cleaning Schedule)

If you have been following along with me the last few days, you probably have noticed that my focus of this week is using documents to organize different areas in our home. I have found overall that spreadsheets, checklists and schedules work best for my family and I.

Today I want to focus on how to keep your home clean and tidy without stressing about it one day a week. I find myself to be much happier when my home is organized and clean. This gets a little difficult with a little one at home.

I decided to make a list of everything that needs to be cleaned around the home. I started making the list at my kitchen table but then realized that I needed to walk around the house to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I created a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually list based on what I came up with. I also came up with a few items that should be done 2 or more times a week.

To help me on a weekly basis, I created another document by day. I love checking off accomplishments so this is great to have on the fridge for easy updating. 
I can’t wait to put this list in action and see if it helps keep our home a little cleaner and my stress a little lower!

31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 3 (Meal Planning)

In our home, meal planning is essential to an organized week. If we don’t do the prep work, we often find ourselves eating quick fast food meals that deplete our wallets and increases our belt loops.

I will admit that I am kind of cheating here because I hosted a month challenge in September called, Meal Planning On A Budget. I never got around to doing a month wrap up so I am gonna sneak that into today’s post. Not to mention it is WW Wednesday so you are getting 3 posts in the viewing pleasure of one!

It is amazing to me how counter intuitive organizing can be sometimes. Specifically with meal planning, if you have a busy week in store, just eat out was always my thought! My main reason for starting to plan our meals was financial. I realized after the first week however, the benefits were so much more than that!

In the month of September, we spent each Sunday morning planning our meals for the week, looking through the coupons in our paper and going out to shop. We spent maybe 30 minutes preparing and about two hours out. We stayed within budget of $50 each week, tried a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ate 100% better than we had been.

In order to make it easy each week I created a few documents to help. They were extremely helpful over the last 4 weeks and I am going to continue to use them each week. It was amazing how much food we had in our two freezers and pantry. Some of it was going to expire soon so we used that which felt great because it didn’t go to waste. I loved mapping out everything on the month calendar so we could see ahead days we would be eating out, when we would be home for a few days to make a large meal for leftovers, etc… The meal plan and grocery list were essential to keeping to our budget. It kept us away from buying extra ingredients or more snacks than we would need that week.

I also went through our cookbook shelves and dwindled it down to 1 shelf of our favorite books and a binder divided up by category. I took pictures of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tore out pages from the magazines we had to add to the binder. Unfortunately  I forgot it at home and am visiting my parents for the week. I will make sure to share a picture when I get home.

Planning ahead also allowed me to maximize my WW point allowance each week. This has been really important to keep my supply up for P. Eating a few quick junk food items a day was horrible on my supply, energy and self esteem  I was able to eat more than twice the amount of food and stay within my points. Rob and I also had more “family” meals together that were quite tasty. This month is a little crazy with me visiting my parents for a week, vacationing in OBX for a week and now possibly moving the end of October but we will push through and plan ahead 🙂

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That wraps up day #3 for me! Check back tomorrow where I will be talking 
about making it a little easier to keep the house clean!  

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31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 2 (Finances)

OK, now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of this challenge! I figured the best place to start is with the backbone of any home, finances. Some weeks, if I get nothing else done but our finances in order, things are a-ok. I know that this post isn’t about physically organizing but it has been very beneficial in keeping an organized home. While this may seem like a lot of work, it has made life much easier. I just spend about 15-20 minutes a few times a week entering in our receipts. This makes it much easier to see if we can afford something at any point in the month or wrap everything up at the end of the month.

Throughout the years I have utilized Excel to create documents to track our checkbook, monthly budget, spending summary and payment history. While they will always be a work in progress, I think they are pretty inclusive and extremely helpful in keeping our finances organized.

Checkbook

I never really liked the checkbook register. I would always forget something and then have to cross out a ton of entries or ripe out a page and rewrite. This allows me to move things around as needed and the formula does all the math for me :). I use red type for deposits and black for purchases/withdrawals.

Monthly Budget

Any incoming money goes under the income button. This includes paychecks, gifts, etc…

All reoccurring bills are listed under reoccurring bills. The dates in parenthesis are the due dates and they are listed by the date I plan to pay them. I include how they are paid and if they are automatic. As you can see, automatic is my favorite kind of bill.

Under spending, I list anything we spend money on. Column F is the date spent and the store. I enter purchases with a – sign to deduct the amount from our monthly budget (G). I also include the payment used which helps remind me when I use a different card (like a Kohls charge card or credit card we do not normally use). I can’t stand paying late fees because I forgot about a charge I made. I then categorize the purchase. Common categories are groceries, food, transportation, baby, hobbies, gifts and medical. This helps me look at where we are spending the most amount of money each month and what can be changed to lower our budget.

Throughout the month, I will check our bank and credit card sites and confirm the deposits and purchases  This helps if hubby forgets to give me a receipt. Once I have confirmed a payment or deposit, I highlight that in yellow.

Spending Summary

This is one of my favorite worksheets because it allows me to see how much I spend on certain categories each month. It helps me predict higher spending specific months which I can then plan ahead for. It takes some time entering in all of the purchases but is well worth it at the end of the year.

Payment History

The payment history worksheet is a quick way to check if and when you paid a bill. The remaining balance column also allows you to see what accounts you have an outstanding balance. I tend to include credit cards, merchant cards, student loans, conservancy payments and utilities.

Some of my favorite tools to help keep our finances organized
This little gadget is amazing! It is simple, easy to use and very effective. I am constantly scanning receipts that I want to have the information for (warranties, rebates etc…). It is very sophisticated and can pull information from the receipt to enter into the computer. 

I don’t think I could ever have enough accordion folders! I use one to keep current receipts from the various credit cards and bank cards we use. It is extremely convenient to be able to look through one section quickly to find the right receipt. I typically keep any receipt where there is an option to return the item. This system has prevent many breakdowns at the return desk of stores.

I also have an accordion folder that is for memberships and warranties. I have them divided up by category. This has really helped when we need to exchange something because it is damaged etc…

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That wraps up day #2 for me! I apologize this is getting out at the last possible moment (only 10 minutes to spare). Things have been quite chaotic around here as things are progressing with the sale of our home and purchase of our new home. Check back tomorrow where I will be talking about meal planning! 

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As I was typing this post, I realized that some people may not have enough time to create the workbook I talked about above. I decided to list the document on my Etsy shop, designsBYmcm. This is actually my very first listing! The document is not anything fancy but it will save time and you can edit it to fit your personal needs.

31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 1

When Rob and I found out we were expecting, the conversations of me becoming a SAHM started. While I really liked my job, the commute was long and expensive. Since I always wanted to be a SAHM, I was happy that we were in the situation we were. I had all these grand ideas of being able to do EVERYTHING in the home so Rob could focus on work and then relaxing/playing with P when he got home.

P is three months old and I don’t know what I was thinking! I guess this is one of those situations where you don’t really know until you are there. Most days, I don’t have time to shower, clean up the house or make dinner. I will never regret the hours of cuddle time with P but wouldn’t mind being a little more productive during the day. I know this is possible if I just take a step back and look at everything I want to accomplish and create a clear plan to do so. If you know me, you know that means getting out the notepad and making to-do lists.

A challenge hosted by The Nester, couldn’t have come at a better time. Every year, she hosts a link up where bloggers can take the challenge and blog about a certain subject for the 31 days of October. Originally, I wanted to focus my 31 days on making a happier and healthier me. After brainstorming a little though, I realized that my time would be better spent focusing on organizing my life. That in itself would make a happier and healthier me.

I hope you follow along as I reflect on what I currently do to organize my life and what I can do to make it a little more organized. I will be focusing on every room in the house and even on organizing with a baby and living with what I call, “the unorganized”. With a few giveaways sprinkled it, I am very excited about the month ahead and how things will look on October 31st.