Organizing papers – Paper management Part 1

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Ok, I know I keep complaining about how small my apartment is, so I won’t bring it up here once again, but I need to point out how hard it is to be organized when what you cruelly lack most is space…

This is the spare room when we have our desk, my vanity and where my fiance has his clothes.  Please don’t mind the chairs, this is our brand new dining room set we are super proud of, we don’t want to unwrap it until we move.

We generally file our important paper… everywhere, I can’t even take a picture for you, we have banking information in 2-3 locations, insurance policies, I hope to find them and bills… since I have a tendency to lose paper, I pay them as soon as they enter the mailbox, this way I am sure I won’t be late.  You can understand we need something better… With shame, I must admit that we indeed have a filing cabinet! Filled randomly with craft supplies and junk…

 

So, the first part of this challenge will be to find a place to organize my craft supplies.  I have the perfect place in the office.  I have a bookcase, filled with books I will move to the living room and I intend to relocate my craft supplies to this bookshelf.  With a plastic organizer with drawers, I think we’ll be good to go!

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The first drawer contains all the craft tools I have (glue gun, punch, glue stick…), the second one is for the stamps and stickers and the last one is dedicated to Washi tape. I thought I would organize the bookshelf first and then the papers, but then, I realized that some of the papers were in that bookshelf and needed to be organized in the first place, so I started my quest…

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They say it needs to get worst in order to get better, I think we are in the worst part now…

I worked for about 3h and I haven’t finished yet.  However, I like how neat it already looks! I took my inspiration from Toni’s first cabinet however, since she is in the US, her categories are slightly different than mines.

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Here is the on going process. At home, I already had the purple inside file folders. I went to Staples and purchased the grey hanging folders along with colored tabs  My subcategories are pretty straightforward, my boyfriend and myself have our own purple folder in the main grey categories.  The purple folders are labeled in pink for mines and in blue for his. For the shared subcategories (such as joint account) those are labeled with a clear label.

Here are what my categories look like so far

Red Tabs
Bank XXX
Checking (pink)
Saving  (pink)
Joint (clear)
Saving (clear)

Bank YYY
Checking (blue)
Saving (blue)

 

1 folder per credit card

REER
1 pink and 1 blue

Retirement
1 pink and 1 blue

Employment
1 pink and 1 blue

Yellow tabs
House Insurance

Car Insurance
1 pink and 1 blue

Apartment Insurance

Med. Insurance
1 pink and 1 blue

Life Insurance
1 pink and 1 blue

Green tabs
Apartment

House

Car 1

Car 2

Clear tabs
Tax 2017
1 pink and 1 blue

Tax 2016
1 pink and 1 blue

Tax 2015

 

So far this is the longest challenge, I have been working for 3 hours straight and it’s far from complete. However, with the pantry, I must say this is the challenge I am the most proud of.  I’ll be posting the final result in the next few days… Til then, why don’t you start your own? Speaking of this at work had me aware that most of us are way too disorganized when it comes to papers.

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Closet

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Ok… Today won’t be pretty… Every time I need to find something that is not on a hanger, there is a certain amount of danger related to this quest… Because yes, finding something in my wardrobe is more a quest than a trivial pick-up.

Although my clothes are fairly sorted (tops, pants, jackets and dresses) whatever is on the shelf or on the floor is… well, I can’t find an appropriate word… in French we say une image vaut mille mots (a picture is worth a thousand words?) Please note that I can’t remember the last time this door closed…

 

Needless to say, this space deserves love.  However, in my defense, I have a very small wardrobe… I don’t want to invest in some shelf unit or organizing system because, as I said in previous posts, we are about to move and believe it or not, in our new house, we will have a walk-in in the master bedroom, yes, a WALK-IN (heaven sound) and from what I remember from our visit, we will need to purchase some closet units, so the goal here for this project is not to have something as neat and organized then we can find at Toni’s place but to declutter and be able to grab a purse without have the world falling on me.

Every organizing blog talks about decluttering, it seems easy to do, however we (I assume I am not alone in my case) tend to be very attached to objects and material stuff.  I know we should keep in mind that the memories are within us and not within the object, but nevertheless, it seems easier to say….

I emptied my closet and decided to keep only my nice designer purses and the ones I love the design AND color.  Some of the purse I had, I bought them because I was fond of the color but the design wasn’t super functional for me.  As a result, I threw away about dozen handbags.  I will bring some during my next trip down south for the maids and give the remaining to charity nearby.

Honestly, I am not super satisfied with the top shelf, I need a second shelf, but until we move, this will do the job.

It was the shortest decluttering challenge I had taken in the past days, it took only 35 minutes!

 

Organize your day

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Although it seems pretty obvious how to get your day organized, many people seem to struggle with this trivial thing.  It always amazes me how people never have time to do such and such.  If you start your day knowing what your priorities are, you will likely focus on accomplishing those tasks.  I have been using a planner since grade 6.  At that time, the planners were provided by the school.  During high school, we had weeks on 2 pages planners with each day separated in 4 blocks for the 4 courses we had during the day plus an additional block for evening/night planning.  Let’s face it, planning when your entire life revolves around school it’s fairly easy.  When it comes to what they call “real life” might be less trivial…

To be honest with you, I struggled a lot those past years finding the right planner for me.  Most of them didn’t have enough space for me to write whatever I had to write, but I don’t know how, I found they wasted so much paper! monthly section, yearly section, weekly section, daily section, important tasks, notes, appointment… I fell like these planners for grown-ups were A) boring and B) not functional at all.  Then, I found the Erin Condren planners, there is an entire facebook community for these planners.

I’ll be honest with you, they are very cute and somewhat functional, but! If you live in Canada, be ready to pay an additional 25$ when it gets delivered for custom.  Also, it didn’t really solve the problem for the lack of space.

Last year, I discovered the Bullet Journal. (heaven sound)

This is a highly customizable system you can build into basically any notebook you have.  I had a pink Leutchtturm 1917 last year, but for this year, I moved to a traveler’s notebook system.

The traveler’s notebook system offers a flexibility a hardbound notebook doesn’t offer.  I recently purchased a Foxyfix cover to hold up all the inserts I want to use on a daily basis.  These products are made in the US and are highly customizable too.  I purchased the espresso leather with pink elastic, I wanted something that could match pretty much anything, wouldn’t get damaged or dirty like white or any other light color.  The leather is really soft and feels nice when you touch it.  It reminds me a bit the leather of the Michael Kors wallets…

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I still wanted to use a regular calendar for long term planning instead of the Calendex or any other fancy techniques promoted by the bullet journal community, it didn’t work well for me.  This is why my first insert in my traveler’s notebook is a 2 years calendar where I put all the upcoming appointments, I also keep track of the income and any bills to pay.

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Then, on a weekly basis, I plan my week with the high priorities, appointment, calls to place and so on.  This is my second insert. I also like to plan the meals for the week, this way, I don’t run all over the place when I shop for grocery.

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And finally, each day gets a special page where I write down every morning the tasks I want to accomplish this day, how I fell during the day, anything that pisses me off, the daily page is somewhere between a planner and a journal.

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I find that writing everything down helps a lot to get things done.  If I think during the day: “tonight, I will organize my wardrobe….” If I don’t write it down, when I arrive from work I am like: “I am too tired, let’s do this tomorrow…” If it’s written, I am like, ok! one last task! Let’s get this s* done!

What do you think? Do you commit more when you have a plan/schedule?

Dresser organization

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Last night was the dresser organization, my dresser is from Ikea however, this specific color is no longer available .  When we eat, I sit right in front the dresser and all I see is a total mess, completely disorganized.  And, since we are soon moving, all I can think about is: “I need to put all this junk in boxes…”

As you can see, everything is all over the place, we have travel mugs on every shelves, the cloths are falling from their boxes, we have alcohol on three different shelves…  We need to do something!

Yesterday morning was my cut-off, again at lunch time, I stopped at the Dollorama (Canadian equivalent for Dollar Tree), but this time, the only thing I purchased was stackable “wire shelf”

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I thought I could use them to organize my tea cups (David’s tea cups)

Also, for the cloths, I had to find a better way to keep my cleaning cloths from jumping over their boxes, I though I could use the “kleenex system”

Using white ducktape, I completely covered the boxes to make them sturdier and cleaner (I need to add another wrap) and I just threw my cloths in the box, so now I just have to pull them out.  I have a box for my cleaning cloths and one for my table cloths.

And finally, all was left was to empty everything and reorganize the shelves, here is the final result:

Again, with the little crafting project, the entire work took something less then an hour, which seems to me very good!

Go ahead! what are you waiting?

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Pantry Organization

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We are soon moving from our 2 bedrooms apartment to our new house.  Having moved at least twice a year during my bachelors degree, I am fairly aware of all the hassle around moving.  If you are like me, packing for your new place is such a huge thing, you feel discouraged before you even started.  And I haven’t talked about unpacking in an unknown environment…

This time, strong of like 5 or 6 moving experiences, I want to make this one a breeze! Therefore, I started, last week to reorganize, declutter, purge and clean my entire apartment, this way, I have a good feeling packing will be easier, faster and we’ll have less boxes.

My first has been the pantry.  What a mess in this cupboard.  My kitchen is probably the tiniest kitchen ever, I usually say I cook in a wardrobe…  When we come back from the grocery store, we dump every boxes and containers anywhere they fit in the pantry.  Which gives something like this:

Princess / Housewife

Anytime we have to take something, let’s say it’s quite adventurous… and as you can tell, we have a bunch of duplicata, honestly, I didn’t even know what was in my pantry #shame…

At lunchtime on Monday last week, I stopped at the Dollorama (Canadian equivalent for dollar tree) and bought a bunch of plastic containers of different size and format.  When I came back from work, I emptied my pantry, throw what was expired, combined what we had twice in a single container to get to this result:

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Everything is labeled with chalk sticker and chalk marker, you can label your containers the way you want. Now, we might think that this process was a long and overwhelming journey, but honestly, it wasn’t! The whole thing was done in a bit less than 1h30.

I think you can do it tonight!

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Princess on Daytime, Housewife at Night

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Hello there!

Welcome to my brand new blog! I have been always wanting to share with people tips on make up, organization, fitness and recipes.  Yes I know, I have a very wide spread of interests.  However, people always seem amazed when they see someone put together with a clean house and a membership to a gym.  We are not superwomen (men) we might have a  few organization tips you are not aware of.

Is my house permanently cleaned? No.
Is my house decorated by a designer in a swell area? Nope, I live in a 2 bedrooms apartment south-shore of Montréal, Qc.
Do I wear high-end designer clothes? Nope, my favorite places to go shopping would be San Francisco Boutique and Colori.

Welcome to real world folks, enough of these stayed-at-home people with a perfectly neat and clean house.  It’s time to see how we can manage a full time job and clean house without hiring an housekeeper.

You will find here as time goes by, recipes, organization tips, make over of my own place and so on.  I hope we get to chit chat once in a while over facebook, instagram and other!