Monday, January 26, 2009

Keeping My Resolutions: Organizing 15 Minutes a Day

I've got to get organized! I've got to get organized!

Does this sound familiar? Most of us have this mantra running through our brains when the New Year arrives. But for me it's everyday, regardless of the time of year. I'm still working on completing my office/school/craft room.

I started on it when we moved in July 2006.

I do find, however, I get energized about organizing again while I'm making all my other resolutions. It's like the year is a clean slate. I can wipe away all I didn't accomplish previously and begin anew.

But I don't need to wait for a new year. I've discovered I have a blank palette each new day.

Whether it's one 15-minute organizing session or several throughout the day, I feel great about sprucing my space in such a short amount of time. It's easier for me to feel good about my home and myself when I break tasks down into manageable steps. If I've accomplished at least one task on my list, then I give myself permission to let the rest go. Understand, this is not anywhere near easy to do.

Hello, my name is Melanie and I'm a recovering procrastinating perfectionist.

I have ADHD and am OCD. I self-medicate with Starbucks and Dr. Pepper while pouring over awesome blogs like SimpleMom and Nesting Place. When my husband attempts to help, I sound like Rainman, mumbling and shouting. What'd you do with my stuff? Where's my stuff? I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH MY STUFF!!

He rarely does this anymore.

I don't think 15 minutes is a magical number. You can do it for 5 or 30 minutes. What's important is giving yourself a time limit and praising yourself when you're done. Be careful not to look at every other cluttered space and beat yourself up. Nester has great advice on this here.

She has numerous examples of how she tried something that didn't work and moved on to the next idea. (I think all her ideas are great and want to be her when I grow up.) But she's right--just like her blog states--"it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" and there's no wrong way to get it done.

Your home is a reflection of you so make it what you want it to be. If it doesn't work for you, try again; it's your space. Own it. Make a plan of attack and stick to it. Your home will look great and clutter-free in no time.

Now, if only I could figure out how to keep the family from using it.

How about you? Do you have any tips on getting organized?

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Sound Mind, Sound Mom" Book Club

simple mom book club

What a great idea! I've often thought of joining or starting a book club in my local coffee shop or bookstore, but really, who has the time? Between homeschooling my children, running a home business, being wife and mom, and making time for myself once or twice a month with girlfriends, I just don't want to take the time to be away another night.

That's why this book club is so great. Every Thursday you go to the forum to discuss the chapter you just read. Tsh asks questions, as well as those in the forum. This online community is nice too because Tsh doesn't put up with any of the negativity or attacks you find on other forums. She'll delete ya right off the page; so watch what you type! (I'm assuming this; don't know it from personal experience. Yes, I know this will be hard for some of you to believe.)

I love hearing others' perspectives. I learn things I didn't know, find challenges to my current thinking or get the opportunity to share why I believe/think/care...the way I do. Plus, I find out how many women really are going through the same things and I'm not alone.

Check out SimpleMom's book club. We're currently reading Your Money or Your Life. Great place to start with the current economy. Hope to see, read ya, in the forum.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Keeping My Resolutions: Christmas Cards

I know, I know. You're thinking Christmas cards?! What?! Bear with me.

One of my resolutions is to procrastinate no longer. That means planning ahead for things I want to accomplish and giving myself more time than I think I need because I always end up getting that part wrong and then staying up til the wee hours day after day after day....

The last three years I have made my cards. Stampin' Up! is my favorite stamp company. I purchase everything I need to make 20-40 cards for family and friends. I really enjoy it but end up never giving myself enough time and I'm rushing at the last minute. I was up til 2am (more than one night) finishing them so I could get them mailed out four days before Christmas. Crazy!!

By the way, here it is:

I was so disappointed in myself that it actually fueled my determination to stop telling myself "I'll do it later." Realizing it was not as quick and easy as I had believed, I decided to copy an idea from a fellow stamper. She makes a certain number of cards each month over the year so that when Thanksgiving rolls around they are completed and ready to mail out. Great idea!!

Here's my plan:

January - order supplies and gather addresses.
February - cut all cardstock, ribbon, etc. then stamp images.
March through November - assemble five cards each month and place in stamped envelopes.
December - address and mail out cards the first week. Rejoice in a job well done!

How about you? Is there something you believe you could have done better and are determined to transform this year? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

100 Things

RULES: There are 100 statements and you bold the ones you have done. Grab it and play for yourself!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Had stitches
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten cavier
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (Does fish count??)
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, January 12, 2009

Keeping My Resolutions

In this post you will find some of my new favorite sites that are helping me keep one of my resolutions for the New Year: to reduce clutter and stay organized. The clutter has been taking over certain areas of my home for far too long. I am determined to procrastinate no longer and get in gear.

Thanks to some enterprising and ingenious folks, I am on my way to keeping this yearly resolution with the following widgets, sites, etc. (I found these in the January issues of Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens.)

Better Homes & Gardens Recipe Widget

This widget helps you find recipes, plan meals for one day or one week, creates a shopping list based on the recipes you choose and even finds coupons for you to use at your local grocery store.

You can also visit for an awesome calendar that helps busy families keep up with all the appointments, extracurricular activities, to-do lists, even photos and more.

This website is great if you seem to only remember things to do while doing something else. I suffer from this almost constantly. It's why I keep a notebook with me everywhere it seems but then I have a gazillion "lists" in several notebooks. Not conducive to reducing clutter and staying organized.

Anyway, my favorite feature about is that it turns your voicemail into text that it then sends to you when you tell it. So if I remember a long grocery list while driving (which always seems to happen), I don't have to hope and pray for a red light to type it into my phone. I simply call the toll free number, leave my list then it transcribes my words into a text and sends it to me when I need it. How cool is that! Are you as excited as I am right now?!

I have all kinds of piles...mostly stacked in my office/craft/school room. I usually know what's in them but am overwhelmed by the clutter. I have a condition that causes me to keep magazines, even from two, three, dare I say four years ago because I am sure I will forget some idea I saw or moving article I read that must be immortalized.

I have given away many to various people because I cannot just throw them away. I have to know they're going to a good home. And when I do give or throw (gasp!!!) them away, I keep a record of my favorite ideas in a separate notebook so there is still paper to stack, file, save....

With evernote, I can stop being so OCD and let the paper go because it will store it for me online: recipes, articles, etc. No more print outs because I might not remember it later. Similar to, it will create checklists for me. It will even store "clips" with its Webclipper.

I am sure there are many more wonderful sites like these out there. I have offered just a few of my faves. I hope they encourage, inspire and motivate you to reduce clutter and stay organized.

By the way, I will be offering a weekly post about keeping resolutions so look for it every Monday. My goal is to keep myself accountable (no more procrastination), learn from and possibly inspire some of you. Please share your New Year's Resolutions and what you are doing to keep them.