Friday, October 31, 2014

Bullet Journal - Getting and Staying Organized

Today I came across something called "Bullet Journal" which I took a keen interest into reading more about it and have been checking out Pinterest to find more links of people using this system.  It says:-

"For the list-makers, the note-takers, the Post-It note pilots,
the track-keepers, and the dabbling doodlers.
Bullet journal is for those who feel there are
few platforms as powerful as the blank paper page.
It's an analog system for the digital age that will help you
 organize the present, record the past, and plan for the future."

On the "Bullet Journal" there is a short 3 minute video here for you to look at to see what it's all about.  It is not a product to buy, it is simply explaining a system, how to be more organized ON PAPER.  We all know with the digital age there are so many apps that provide facilities to do just this however having a pen and paper is still pretty good and it's at your finger tips.  You do not need your computer on, you do not need to get a magnifying glass to read the tiny writing on your iPhone, you just open a book and start writing in it.  Sound simple.....I'm hoping this is going to be a great system for me from now and moving into a new year ahead.

All my life I have been an organizer, a list maker and in control of all those things.  In the days of Albums (or records or vinyls) I had them all organized in alphabetical order and in fact at one of my job interviews years ago for an Executive Assistant role my boss to be asked why I thought I was organized and I told him that all my records/albums at home were in alphabetical order and I got the job and he used to brag to everyone that his Executive Assistant was very organized.

Before I had kids I had a "Day Timers" Diary at work (before electronic schedules and meetings) and for my social life, I had a month at a time diary which cost me about $2 which fit into my wallet.  My social engagements were all listed in my diary which was in my wallet which was on me at all times so if someone wanted to catch up with me or there was an event on, I had the diary handy and could write it in immediately or alternatively I could organize a better date to catch up because I had the diary in my wallet.  It was simple and I was organized and this process worked for about 10 years or more I loved it.  When I had kids I kept up with the little pocket diary for a number of years until you need to start write in all those "kid events" into your diary and my little diary didn't cut it any longer.

You know, dress up date, bring a plate of food day, homework, swimming gear for school, library day etc. etc.  There diary supersedes your engagements so I then transitioned to a wall calendar a month at a time with big squares for each day and I use this system.  The problem with this system is that the big calendar is hanging up in the laundry (which is next to the kitchen) so it's great if you are at home but no good if you are out and about.  I need this calendar close to the kitchen where most of the school paper work gets filled out of an afternoon and has to go back into the school bags so the laundry is handy.

When I'm in the study which is not near the kitchen I don't have the diary.  At our last house you came into the house via the garage with the study on the left and next was the kitchen and therefore the family diary was located in the study with the computer, pens, paper etc.  Having the study there also meant that any mail that was collected was dropped off to the study on the way to the kitchen so there was no paperwork sitting on the kitchen bench.  I was always organized and the paperwork only had one location at all times.  We moved into this house over 3.5 years ago and once entering the house I end up putting my bag, keys and mail on the table at the kitchen and the mail stops there until at a later stage I then have to re-handle it and take it to the study. We are only talking about 10 metres however it's not in the direct path of come in from the garage, drop your bag, keys and mail and start the afternoon tea and wash up the kids lunchboxes etc.  So if I have to pay bills they may not be in the study I have to check another location.  Totally silly but this is what happens because I am not walking past the study (hub of paper work and household organization) on the way to the kitchen where afternoon tea is started.

In the study I also have a notebook style diary on the desk which I write things down like a "to do list" in but then on the kitchen bench there are post it notes for things to do tomorrow that need doing, school stuff and other things as well, so what I'm trying to say is there are too many separate systems and I don't really feel in control or organized but haven't come up with a better solution.  This is something that I struggle with since I'm a Virgo and organization is my middle name.  I feel like I'm dropping the ball and if I think of something that I need to do, depending upon where I am, it has to be written down there and then whether it be on my bedside table or kitchen or study so everything is all over the place.  Not good and it frustrates me but up until now I wasn't sure how to handle these separate zones where diary dates/bills get paid/lists get made as we are talking about the kitchen, the laundry, the dining table, the study and my bedside table so way too many zones.

Fast forward to today where I read about the Bullet Journalling and I'm going to give it a go.  I am going to get a notebook that will fit in my bag so when I'm out, I have the diary with me, notes etc. all in one place.  There are lots of ways you can make this more personal to suit your needs like "daily or weekly chores" instead of writing the calender 1-31 down the page some people have printed a little "month calendar" and glued that into their book.  The beauty of this system is that whilst it is a structured way of being organized you can change it or add things that suit you.  Add a Books to Read, DVD's to get out.  How many times have I gone to the video shop and thought I have no idea what that movie was that I wanted to get out next. Creative goals, Bucket List, Weight Loss Graph, Favourite Family Meals and the cookbooks they are in.  The list is endless.

One thing the Bullet Journal does is only write up one month at a time however Shandy from Aprons & Pearls wrote up her months all in one go so that she could just write events in ahead.  I like this idea because we all have things that need to be written in over a couple of months like when Sienna did Auskick it went from July to August etc. so that is one thing that I will set up for myself so the 7 weeks could be noted immediately in the diary.

This little system doesn't matter if you are in the work force, studying or a stay at home Mum or a single person with lots of craft projects to do, it looks like it will work for everyone.

If you are at home you could have your "Declutter" task as your header with "Bedroom 1, Bedroom 2, Bedroom 3" etc. Make soap, buy seeds, plant seeds, transfer to garden etc. the possibilities are endless.  What about making birthday gifts and having a list of people to make things for so when you have time, you start.  You could have a list of blogs to read or look into.  Recipes to try etc. Your weekly, monthly and seasonal chores.

I'm hoping that this system is a "ONE STOP SHOP" for me so I'm going to give it a try.  I actually get excited about being more organized and writing and setting up my book will be something I look forward to doing next week.  One thing that will probably annoy me and I will have no choice is the book will have to be carted from the kitchen, study, bedroom, handbag but I think because it will be one book with everything in it rather than lots of random calendars, diaries, notes and post it notes all over the shop.  All of my things to do, lists, ideas, reminders, Christmas planning etc. are going to be housed in one book.  It's worth giving this system a go in my opinion.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October - List of Things to Do

I'm a big fan of "To Do" Lists and I usually have a few going at a time as one will be in the study, one will be in the kitchen and I usually end up with one on my beside table as well.  There are other creative projects outside the "To Do List" like Photo Books I would like to create for our memories so lists everywhere.  I've decided to put a small "To Do List" on the fridge of things that I want to accomplish in the month of October.  I still have a master list with everything else on it however just having a few things on the fridge should be achievable and a reminder every time I open the fridge I'll see it.

I previously did a post on some rolls of shelf protectors that I had in my kitchen cupboards for years so that has inspired me to go through my kitchen cupboards and de-clutter.  We've been in this house for over 3.5 years and things are basically in the same place in the kitchen as they were when they were emptied from my moving boxes.  I have a few times sorted things from time to time but not a big declutter of things that are doubles or I find I just don't use any more so that's on the October list.

The other thing I have put on the list is to get some photos printed for the empty frames in the lounge room.  I got some help from my brother in law to put 3 amazing frames on the wall over 2.5 years ago and they are still on the wall without photos in them.  Embarrassing I know, since I have thousands of photos to choose from however I couldn't decide what sort of photos I wanted in these frames.  Black and White or Colour photos or photos of our life now, or when the kids were little and since nothing was decided the frames are still empty.  The crazy thing is once the photos are picked it would take probably a total of 2 hours and the frames would be filled.  That includes driving to Harvey Norman to print the photos and coming home and popping the photoes in the frames yet for 2.5 years these frames have remained empty.  It has been an extremely stressful few years and sometimes other things take over my life and these things get left behind.  I've decided that in October I'll print and put some photos in these frames even if they aren't my "forever photos" to go in these frames at least they will have family photos in them.  I know it will be great when these frames are full of memories and I will think back on how ridiculous it was that it took me over 2.5 years to do this 2 hour job.  In my defense all I can say is "That's Life Isn't it".

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Strawberry Picking on the Holidays

One of the things I wanted to do these holidays was to go Strawberry Picking with the kids.  We've only been once before and that was when we moved into this house 3.5 years ago.  The Pick Your Own is open from June through to the end of October depending upon if the weather is really hot and then the season might end early.  We went to Rolin Strawberry Farm which is on the way to the Sunshine Coast and not to far from Brisbane.

The kids love it and the strawberries are amazing and it's also a fun activity to do so we were really pleased that we drove up there this afternoon and picked some lovely strawberries.  My two sisters and my niece came with us so we had a lovely time and at the end of picking and paying for our strawberries we had the most wonderful cold strawberry ice cream.

These cows and bulls were across the road from the Strawberry Farm.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Decluttering - How Long Have I had that thing (Really!!!)

Last week I spent everyday sorting and clearing every surface in my family/kitchen/dining room and including piles of things on the floor which ranged from toys, magazines, baskets of clean washing, recycle boxes for Sienna's crafts, school notes, drawings and anything else you can think of.  I was determined to only focus on these three rooms which are effectively one big room anyway that we live in everyday.

Seriously it took me all week and I worked hard at it.  I wish I was wearing a "step counter" because I'm sure I walked 10,000 steps every hour.  If there were 3 hair bands I just picked them up and walked into Sienna's room and put them near her hair stuff.  3 marbles had to go somewhere, play dough animals had to go in the container somewhere.  I even pulled out our huge leather lounge and swept and mopped underneath it and found water bottles, papers, marbles, hats etc.  It was a massive massive job but it's done and I feel amazing even just walking into the room now.

We've been in this house for 3.5 years and I still feel really disorganized.  At my previous house I could lay my hand on anything in a matter of minutes but not so with this house I feel my "normal organizing skills" aren't there as well as they could be and I opt to do something happy with my time like sorting out my photos and editing them vs spending 4 hrs decluttering.  I do declutter things in a small way but this room, in fact this house needs the 100 % once over in each and every room and then I will feel like we can maintain our home.

I've listed a whole heap of Becky Higgins Scrapbooking items and here so that I can recoup some money back for these brand new items unopened sitting on a shelf.  These items weren't in the family/kitchen/dining room but were on shelves in the hallway.  I used this system for a while but decided to go with the digital version for Project Life instead of the physical pages so all these new and unopened items I've had for ages I can sell, get some money and clear my spaces.

Which brings me to the most crazy part of when you declutter and that is when you actually realize how long you have been holding onto something.  I purchased some rolls of plastic lining years ago which goes on your pantry shelves.  I bought these rolls of lining for my previous house which I built and moved into in October 2006 and I didn't end up using them.  We moved to this house 3.5 years ago and of course I brought them with me to line the pantry shelves at this house and I never did.  These 4 rolls (3 unopened and 1 opened) have been in the cupboard ever since and every time I need the rolling pin I have to move these rolls to one side, pull out the rolling pin and then do the reverse when the rolling pin has to go back.  The other day when I decided I was going to donate them to charity I thought since I was selling things on ebay I might list them and that was until I looked up the item on the Ikea website and found out they are $2.99 a roll.  A couple of things happened when I read that and the first one was I laughed out loud, and the second one I thought OMG these items are worth a total of $12 and I have had these in my possession in my kitchen (in two different houses) for a period of 8 years.  Seriously.............I immediately put them at the garage door to give them to charity as I haven't used them in 8 years then I'm never going to.  The funny thing is when you declutter you almost convince yourself where you can use them since you already have them in your possession.  I said to myself "I should use these on the garage shelves" and then I said to myself  "don't be silly, get them out of your house, 8 years is long enough to not use them".

I think when I worked out how long I had owned these 4 rolls of lining it was easy to think this is so crazy but in my day to day life these things didn't affect me at all so out of sight out of mind.  It was only when I needed to get the rolling pin out that I thought of them and it was annoying having to move them each time.  These items were perfectly good when I moved house last time so I didn't end up getting rid of them at the time.

It's easy to have things and the years just fly by and you don't notice time.  I do love my stuff and I have more stuff than all my friends (not in a "Jones" sort of way more I have craft stuff that they don't have etc.) and that's just me however I'm working towards having less stuff but it just takes time and it was nice to think that I will not have these 4 rolls of perfectly good shelf lining in my possession anymore.  These are going to be donated, end of story that is 8 years old.