Monday, September 29, 2014

32 Filing Cabinet Organization

Although it is basically unavoidable, I love a clutter free workspace.  As someone who is easily distracted, having piles of papers and accessories makes me twitchy.  So yeah, my desk typically looks pretty snazzy.... the secret lies within the nearby drawers!


As in my dirty little secret.  It is like I basically use my arm to swoop my clutter right into the drawers of my filing cabinet tucked below my desk.


See?!


I actually really love the filing cabinet itself... I purchased it last year at CB2.  After bringing home two different Goodwill options to makeover, I wasn't finding that they were offing the types of storage that I was after, and they were not smooth to open and close.  When I was window shopping at CB2, the filing cabinet caught my eye and landed right into the trunk of my car.  It was a winner!

A winner at concealing my clutter in a very unorganized way.  Which was totally my fault.  I just have not taken the time to give this beauty the attention she deserves.  Until today.

A few weeks ago quarterly taxes were due and I searched high and low for those statement stubs.  I looked in binders, planners, and through the catch-all files that lived in this filing cabinet.  After over an hour of searching and having a small meltdown, I found just what I needed.  And moved the filing cabinet clean-out high on my priority list.

Here is what I started out with.


The top drawer held random files and a lot of clutter.  The second drawer did the same.  The third drawer was the start to my file organization from many months ago, however, because nothing ever was truly sorted or labeled, every last paper that I filed landed in a big "to file" file in the back of the drawer.  Nice.

This was NOT a quick process.  I had a lot of papers to go through as well as clutter to sort down and organize.  Thank you Netflix, you saved the day once again.

As always, I emptied out every last drawer to see what I was working with and to just go big or go home.


I started with the fun accessory drawer stuff, I would rather organize items than boring papers any day...  Knowing I had a lot of small items that needed to be corralled within the top two drawers, I hunted down box lids, DIY paper boxes, jewelry boxes, empty note card boxes, etc... anything that could act as a drawer divider.


I purged down items that no longer needed to be in the drawer, put other items back where they truly belonged and the rest ended up nice and neat in the file cabinet drawers.  I think I just might leave this one open all day, every day....


And drawer number two:


Not earth shattering stuff but FAR better nonetheless!

And then it happened.  I sorted and sorted and sorted papers some more.  Blah.  Why can't bank statements be printed on pretty pink paper and why aren't life insurance documents done with rainbow borders of happiness?  Someone make that happen m'kay?


I blurred out the documents, but you can still take a peek at the color coding system I used.  I purchased file folders from The Container Store in three colors, blue, pink and green.  I used pink for my business files {of course}, blue for personal files and green for financial/important files.

I already had hanging folders inside of the cabinet which came with tabbed labels {these from Amazon}.  I prefer labeling the hanging folder over the individual folders because it stands up higher and is easier to read.  The hanging files were Pendaflex brand and a simple Google search brought up a label template for me to download into Microsoft Word to edit.  I printed the labels using matching colors to the file folders.  Pretty neat how that works!


Once cut down to size, they fit perfectly into the plastic label holders.


I use my business files much more frequently than our personal files {many of our personal statements end up in our budget binder}, so I placed them within the filing cabinet accordingly.


Once the hanging files were labeled, I popped all of the individual files inside and filled up the drawer.


I really didn't think it would be possible, but I got a little giddy inside about how the organized files turned out.  Totally worth the time it took to touch every last piece of paper.

The outside of the cabinet received a small splash of color with some more printed labels popped into my favorite adhesive label holders.


And a final celebratory after photo.  Be still my happy heart!


Now that it is done, I have a feeling it will increase the amount of grinning I am doing while working at my desk.  And when I need to find next quarter's tax filing voucher! 

Have you recently tackled something you have been dreading for a long period of time?  Was it as bad as you thought it would  be?

Friday, September 26, 2014

148 Happy IHeart Blogiversary: A Day In Our Life

Happy IHeart Blogiversary Day!  I started up this website of mine 5 years ago today, and I couldn't be happier that I did.  This sweet space of mine has brought inspiration, advice, friendships, discussion, ideas, growth, change, giggles, connections, eye brow raises, milestones, accomplishments, partnerships, opportunities and so much more.  It has been truly life changing and has impacted our life in endless ways. 

And because it is just too cool not to share on this very special day, a perfect example of an opportunity I was given due to my blogging venture.  This gal may have just flown off to New York, attended an inspirational Better Homes & Gardens workshop with a group of incredibly talented bloggers and friends, and chatted it up with the super fabulous Nate Berkus and his husband, Jeremiah.

#omg #amazing #giddyschoolgirl

And he actually remembered me from my little House Proud appearance which ironically also aired on my blogiversary three years ago today...  it's a good day people!


I mean really....  Never in a million years would I have thought that would happen.  Ever.  In fact, a lot of the amazing things I have experienced over the past five years leave me perma-grinning and pinching myself on a daily basis.  And I have this blog and you all to thank for that.  Without you, I wouldn't be coming back to this space to share the happenings and projects taking place within our walls.  So thank you.  From the bottom of my big overflowing heart, I thank you all for being so supportive and good to me.

To celebrate IHeart Organizing turning FIVE today, I am kicking off a small blogging series.  Over the next month, I will be sharing some things I have learned along the way {and admit to what I am still clueless about}, and will be answering many of your frequently asked blogging questions.  Everything from photography tips to lessons learned to sponsorships and monetizing, I am excited to chat about what I am still so very passionate about.

And because it has already been four years since my last "Day in the Life" post {seriously, how does that even happen?}, that is the post topic of the day today.


A disclaimer.  Although I didn't photograph every last bit of singing, dancing, giggles, bickering and temper tantrums that took place throughout the day, I did try to capture as much as possible through my DSLR and iPhone.  Maybe next time I will toss in a video or two, completely slipped my mind this round.  Because you know you want to witness a good childish meltdown.  And see me dance around my living room in my pajamas... Sorry, scratch that last image from your minds.

The day I selected to capture was this week Tuesday.  One of the reasons it has taken me so long to do this type of post again, is because no two days are the same.  It seems like we are always running here or there or working on something new or trying to hit a deadline.... So I picked a day in the middle of the week which seemed the most typical of our day to day lifestyle.  Oh!  And sorry if I get wordy.  It happens.

6:45 a.m. - The alarm starts going off.  My husband is a great morning person and pops right out of bed.  He heads up to wake the boys and start their breakfast.  I am not at all a morning person, therefore, I hit snooze three more times and try to build up enough energy to get out from under the warm covers.  Laaaaame, I know.

7:15 a.m. - I mozy on upstairs and hang out with the boys while they eat their breakfast.  By this time they are already up, dressed and teeth brushed.  I chat with them about the upcoming school day, make sure they have everything they need in their backpacks, and also make sure they know the plan for after school.  If they are eating something good, I join in.  Typically they eat cereal and fruit three days a week and we whip up eggs, french toast or waffles the other two.


I also sync my phone with our bluetooth speaker and listen to iHeartRadio, which is where the early morning dancing comes in.  This is crucial for me in getting myself in a good ready-to-tackle-the-day kind of mood.


7:35 a.m. - Once the kiddos are done eating, they grab their bags and their coats {and hats?!} and leave.  Queue my favorite moment of the day; the double hug {a.k.a. mama sandwich}.


Sorry you had to witness my morning non-showered bed-head.  The internet world will never be the same.

After the boys head out to the bus, I watch them from the window until they are safely on their way to school.  We are fortunate enough to have the bus come right to our home both morning and afternoon.

7:45 a.m.  I keep that music going because one look at our main living areas and I know I have a quick sprucing up to do.  But first, coffee!


This is a crucial moment to the success of my day.  Most days are two cup days...  As I said, not a morning person.


7:50 a.m.  I take ten minutes to clean up the breakfast kitchen mess which consists of loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and wiping up the table, stove and counter.  I then turn my attention to the living room which still has the previous night's reading blankets and toys.


This is something I always tried to do before I left for work when I worked full time in the corporate world, as I never enjoyed coming home to a messy kitchen or living room.  Now, I can't focus or get anything done working from home if these two primary living spaces are messy.  Ten minutes tops is all it takes to take back both rooms and I can move on with my day with a smile.  Total mood changer.


8:00 a.m. I hop in the shower and get myself presentable for the day.  I will spare you the photos.

Somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. I take my second cup of coffee to my studio and get to work.


I typically start the day by approving comments, answering questions and skimming through my emails.  This is a great way for me to start my work day because connecting with you all is what I love most about what I do.  Then, I write my post for the day.  In the past I would stay up late and write my posts to have them ready by early the following day, but that wasn't helping my inability to wake up in the mornings to send my kids off to school.  So now I write them in the morning and try and have them published by the afternoon.  Depending on the post or project, it could take 4-8 hours to write a single post.  Crazy I know, but I timed it the day I cleaned out our junk drawer and made a few drawer dividers out of paper.  From emptying out the junk drawer, photographing the organizing process, photographing the paper folding process, photographing the afters, editing all of the photos, adding the graphics and then actually writing the post, it took about 6 total hours to clean out a single junk drawer and post about it.  I am hoping to learn some tricks to streamline the photo editing process {which seems to take the longest and becomes quite redundant}, but the additional time I take on each post is my way of staying passionate about the details and the day to day blogging process.

My Etsy shop takes a lot of my attention, so although it is hard to show in pictures the amount of time and work it takes and how my time is spread, I am grateful that you talented readers submit your projects for "Reader Space" days and for my wonderful contributing team of writers.  I have a lot of big dreams for growing my shop with new instant downloads, updated designs and formats, a slew of tangible products and a whole new website, so having time to focus my attention there is extremely important.  I also use those days to contribute to external websites, work on bookkeeping, network, catch up on reader questions and emails and focus on additional projects and collaborations.

12:00ish p.m. I feel extremely blessed when lunch time comes around because my husband works about three blocks away and can come home to eat with me.  It is our few minutes of quiet time {or most frequently our finish up a project time}, and we are grateful that we have that time to talk or just watch SportsCenter together.  Something I know we are lucky to have and that I never take for granted.  Some days we also use this time to prep our food for dinner, which we did on this particular day since we had a football game to go to after work.  Taco meat into the crock pot and veggies cut up and put into the fridge and we were set! 


12:30 p.m. After lunch, I either head back to my studio to continue my post writing / email answering / printable designing, or I get my creative juices flowing with another project.  I still find my job is about 80% computer and 20% hands on, and I am trying to find ways to change that a bit to be more projects and crafting and less administrative.  On Tuesday, I knew I had to get my 10 Minute Fall Decorating project finished and photographed because the group planned on having it go live at 5:00 a.m. the following morning.  So, that is what I worked on in the afternoon.


I worked on that up until my boys came home from school.

3:15 p.m.  The boys start rolling through the front door.  I try to have snacks planned the night before to make for easier afternoons.  This is one of the most challenging parts of my day.  Shifting from work mode back into mom mode and knowing to just shut the computer and put down my phone.  Sounds silly, but I really personally struggle with this as I tend to get into a work groove.


And seriously, I can't get over this photo.  I managed to catch them doing the same thing at the same time and I about melted inside when I loaded it onto my computer.  Wish they could stay young forever.

3:30 p.m.  The boys always bring in the mail when they come up the driveway after school, so while they eat their snack, I go through the mail stack. #poetanddidntknowit  I also use this time to go through the boy's backpacks and school papers.  I write down any special dates on our family fridge calendar {which I found at Target about a month ago} and inside of my planner and pop any important documents into our individual mail bins.


3:45 p.m.  The boys and I do a few quick chores.  This includes emptying the dishwasher, sweeping or vacuuming, taking out the garbage and putting away any laundry.


4:00 p.m.  The boys have free time to play inside or out, or they can work on a craft project.  I always let them decide what they want to do to burn off a little after-school energy.


4:30 p.m.  This time of day could go two ways.   If we don't have a sporting event to go to, we start homework at the table and start making dinner.  Tuesday night we had a football game, so we hopped into the car to go watch Preston play.


We traveled a few miles to a neighboring town, so we practiced our spelling words in the car on the way.

5:00 p.m.  We cheered on our boy!


I opted to share a night with sports because those nights tend to outweigh the nights we are home.  Especially during baseball season when all three boys play, and they all play on different nights and in different locations.

7:00 p.m. We are back home and the boys are finishing up homework while Bryan and I pull out everything for dinner.


The younger two boys typically work at the kitchen table while Preston prefers his desk nook in his bedroom.


7:30 p.m. We try really hard to eat together as a family each night.  It isn't always easy and doesn't happen every single night of the week, especially if we have long distances to travel for sports, but meal planning always helps us out tremendously in this area.  Whether we are eating turkey wraps in the car or a quick soup and sandwich at home, we do what we can to make this our one moment of the day that we are all together and sharing.  I grew up eating home cooked meals and have fond memories of that, so this moment of the day is super important to me.


We keep things casual and simple and either play a dinner game or go around the table sharing our highs and lows from the day.


8:00 p.m - 9:00 p.m.  After dinner comes showers, pajamas, teeth and reading.  Nights we don't have sports, the entire family pitches in to help clean the kitchen and then we either take a family walk or play a board game.  Nights we do have sports, Bryan and I own kitchen duty and have the kids get themselves ready for bed.


Our younger two boys share a bedroom, so they go to bed at different times to keep things easier and less chatty.  Our youngest also has a sleeping disorder, so our nighttime routine is basically crucial to bedtime success.  While he reads out loud to me in his room, I am pulling out the boy's clothing for the next morning and Bryan is in the kitchen packing lunches {or still cleaning up our dinner mess}.


While Parker reads and falls asleep in his room, Peyton is showering and brushing his teeth.  By the time Parker is sleeping, I head to the couch to listen to Peyton read a bit.


Once Peyton goes to bed, I spend some time with Preston, typically just chatting about homework, school and life and by 9:30, all kid's lights are out.

9:30 p.m.  I quickly wipe up the bathroom toothpaste mess and then Bryan and I work on a project together.  If we don't have a project to work on, we try and find another way to spend time together, which may be watching our favorite shows on Netflix or playing an intense game of dice.  This week, we spent our "together time" assembling a piece of furniture for Preston's room {which means he was temporarily relocated to the guest room while we worked}.


11:00 p.m.  I check back in on everything and try to squeeze in at least another hour of work.  Sometimes I end up losing track of time and it turns into multiple hours.


As I mentioned, this is a fairly typical daily routine for us, but if I am under deadline, everything looks different and my kids may fall asleep in my studio while I work.... {here is a sneak peek at all of the daily planner proofs that never made the cut}


I could definitely find things to do to work 24 hours per day, but I have gotten better about asking for help and knowing when to shut things down and put my family first.  The schedule I shared today is my current way of balancing working from home, working on our home and enjoying our home. 

I know this just scratches the surface in regards to how much time is put into running a shop and a blog so I will plan on diving in a bit deeper in some of the upcoming blogging series posts.

Have a happy weekend everyone and thank you again for being such a special part of my days!
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