Archive for Organizing

I am the Family CFO.

1-2013-02-06 19.15.29It’s the beginning of a New Year, and it’s a good time to get the paperwork in order around here.  New Year, clean file cabinets, that’s my motto right now.  One of my main job titles here at home is Family CFO.  I take care of all of the family finances.  There is no way I would want my Travel Guy to have this task on his shoulders.  He has enough to worry about going from city to city, and staying on task with his job.

Here’s what I have been working on since the New Year started.  I have a fairly decent filing system for all of the paperwork.  Designated by income info,  banking info, auto info, mortgage and house info, utility info, and medical info.  These are my major filing groups.  I still have a fair amount of papers to file every month, but more and more have gone paperless over the last two years.   Since January, I have been going through my files and archiving any papers over a year old.  I like to keep the last year’s paperwork in my current files just in case I have to refer back to any numbers.  This is especially the case with any medical bills.

All of my bills are paid online through my bank’s bill pay feature.  Most of the bills are scheduled to be paid automatically, so they are just set on auto-pilot. I do make a point to go in and review the payments at the beginning of the month, just to be sure everything is in order.  This is a handy way to pay the bills, and allows me to have the bills and the receipts for the payments right at my fingertips on the banking bill pay site.

One other tool that I like to use for organizing the paperwork is Microsoft One Note.  You can print any bills or receipts that you want to organize directly to One Note.  In One Note you are able to create notebooks, and then organize the “paperwork” in each of the notebooks for any future reference.  For example, you can have a notebook for medical receipts, major purchases, paid receipts for any bills that you want to get your hands on quickly.  It’s a great tool, and similar to Evernote.

One last item that takes time in the finance part of my world is keeping Travel Man all put together with his expenses.  Once a month or more, depending on the current travel frequency, I go through and audit his expense reports against our credit card statement.  Some months when the trips are back to back it becomes important to be sure we are getting reimbursed for all the travel expenses owed back from the company.  This is a quick task for me to take care of to be sure there is nothing missed.  Of course coming from a bookkeeping background does help a little in this department too.

Oh, and I do have to mention that Travel Man and I do discuss our finances on a regular basis.   The finance meetings happen most often via email or a Skype call.  But we stay on track together, and try not to have any big hiccups.  Like I have said before, it’s a bit of a crazy existence, but right now it’s what works for us.

How do you like to organize your bills and such?  Paper or paperless?

How do you Charge your Electronics?

What’s the best way to take control of all of the electronics being charged in your house?

I’m a fairly organized person.  I prefer to have things in order, and put away as much as possible.  But here is my current dilemma, there are chargers everywhere in our house.  I have tried and tried to corral the cords, but they always end up back in their own little corners.  Near a chair here, or a table there.  For our house, The Party House that is, we have a never-ending stream of cords, especially in the living room.

Chargers for phones, chargers for netbooks, chargers for headphones (this a travel man thing), chargers for kindles, chargers for camera batteries.  Yes,  we do have a lot of electronic devices.  Remember,  I live with Travel Man, and he’s a “road warrior”, so he has a lot of gadgets.  I had been asking him what we can do to get the cords under control.  So our first solution has been to try  this:

A big charging station in my office, which is closest to the living room by the way.  This has definitely helped the situation.  But, when Travel Man comes home from a trip the chargers and cords multiply by leaps and bounds!  We have quite a few phones in the family that all use a similar charger.  I thought with my charging station some of the straggling chargers in the house would disappear and everyone could just use my office charging station.  The chargers around the house have diminished slightly, but not as much as I had hoped.

Oh,  and how many of you use your cell phone for an alarm clock too?  So that means you have to be able to charge your phone next to your bed.  Another cord!  See what I mean.  It’s getting almost to the level of the Tupperware dilemma.  You know how you have that one piece of Tupperware that you can’t find the lid for, or you have a lot of lids and no bowl.  It’s like they duplicate themselves when you are not looking!

If you have any suggestions for taking control of the “charging” dilemma please leave me a comment and let me know how you’re handling this situation.  Maybe it’s not a dilemma for you, I’d love to hear from you.

 

The Game Room’s Been Quiet

It’s a quiet Saturday here at The Party House.  Quiet meaning the twenty-somethings are all out at their various activities.  Travel Man is “on the road”.  It’s fine though I have the stereo blaring with some good tunes, and I’m writing this post.  Earlier today I was in our Game Room (this is where the twenty-somethings normally hang out with their friends) doing some cleaning.  I realized, this room’s been quiet for a few weeks.  It funny since the college kids have finished classes, and are into their summer jobs we haven’t had as much activity in the evenings here as we normally do. 

And then I realized, as I was cleaning, that the Game Room is becoming a dumping ground for “stuff”.  The available floor space in the room seemed to be shrinking at an alarming rate.   You know the kinds of things I’m talking about.  It’s those things that maybe belong in the garage or out in your garden shed.  The things that make an interim stop on some “flat surface” (that one’s for you Hilary), and dont’ quite make it to their destination.  I am the first to admit I’m guilty of parking some things in this room too.  Camp Grandma supplies that did not get put away.  Pool supplies that haven’t made it outside yet. And a Rock Band set that is collecting dust on the ottoman that needs to be put away.  Anyone, anyone?

You know,  if you have a big family and everyone leaves just one thing lying around it can add up to a mess quick style.  We have tall sons with big feet.  So just two pairs of shoes not put away can almost create a traffic jam.  And then there’s our (mine and daughter Hilary’s) running joke with Travel Man about the flat surfaces.  If there’s a flat surface in the house with empty space it gets filled quickly.  And not to pick on Travel Man, because we are all guilty of leaving “stuff” on the flat surfaces in the house. 

After working my Domestic Goddess magic, the Game Room is back in order and ready to go.  Everything is parked back in its’ respective place.  And the “flat surfaces” are cleared and ready for the next round of “stuff”.

Is the “stuff” in your house driving you nuts?

 

My Domestic Goddess Status – Just an Update

It is almost the end of April, and it has been just about a year since I quit my job in the Corporate arena!  My how time flies!!  I was crowned by my beloved Travel Man as the Domestic Goddess of our household shortly after I decided to stay at home for a while.  Little did I know how much I would love this title.  If you follow my stories you know I left my job a year ago to pursue other interests.  Here’s a link to my post from last April about my life change-Our Girls Vision Luncheon.

In the past year I have had the opportunity to spend time with my grandson, do lots and lots of baking, do a little bit of sewing ( I want to get more of this done soon!), start and finish some little home improvement projects,  take a few trips with Travel Man, try some new recipes, add to our list of family favorite recipes, read more books, and generally have the luxury to just come and go as I please.  This has all been so personally rewarding for me.  Getting to discover what I love to do again, and who knew that I had a passion for writing.  I always felt that I had some stories to tell that people would relate to, but I did not realize how much I would enjoy sharing them.

My Domestic Goddess title was given to me by my loving husband.  It is because of his encouragement and support that I am able to do what I want to do.  Thanks Travel Man for all that you do.

One of my biggest perils in my new-found title is getting side tracked when I am working on things around the house.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I have had a few discussions with my sister, who works from home, about this, and she tells me the same thing I am already feeling.  If you don’t stay focused on the task at hand you get sidetracked to some other task, and then you have to re-focus to get back to the task at hand.  Was that statement too confusing, it made my head spin just typing it.  That’s why I am really focusing on my lists everyday.  To stay away from the “side tracks”.

Also, I have had the good fortune to just pack my bags and take a few short trips with Travel Man.  We went to Reno to visit my parents, and last year I was able to take a long road trip with him from Franklin, Kentucky to home.  Lots and lots of fun being on the road with someone who travels for a living.

For awhile Travel Man’s days off were falling during the week, so our “weekends” would be happening on a Tuesday/Wednesday timeframe. No worries for us, we are just able to do what we want to when he is home. Sometimes at Disneyland, maybe out to dinner, a visit to the parentals, some time with the grandson, and hopefully a dinner together with the twenty-somethings.

This has been a great year of re-discovery for me.  A big hug and thank you to all of my family for your loving support and guidance.  I’m looking forward to more and more new discoveries in this next year, and hope to share the stories with each and every one of you.

I think I’m a List-a-holic!!

How do you keep track of your to-do’s?  Are you using Outlook, Evernote, an old-fashioned tablet and a pen?  I have what I will loosely call a passion for making lists.  Sitting down with a cup o’ coffee in the morning and putting together my list for the day or the week, just gets my day and week going on the right foot.

I like to keep myself fairly organized, and feel like I am accomplishing things each and every day.  I have lists for groceries, sewing projects, household projects, gifts ideas, recipe ideas, etc, etc.

I am always trying new and improved ways to organize my lists, with the hopes that the things on the lists will get done just that much sooner.  Ha!  As we all know the only thing that helps move  your lists along, or get things checked off of your list is just by digging in and “doing”.

My lists were bugging me recently, because a few assorted tasks were sitting on the list idly and not getting done.   So,  I decided to keep track of my time for a few days to see where I was wasting time, or not making an efficient use of my time.  This is kind of like writing down what you eat every day to keep track of your calories.  As soon as I started keeping track, in writing, each day of what I was doing I started getting more things done.  More productive time spent on things I wanted to accomplish each day.  My to do lists started getting the items on them checked off in a more timely manner than normal.  Boom!  This principle also applies to stalking your calories each day.  When you write down what you are eating, Boom!  You stop snacking so much because you don’t want to write it down on the list and add it to your calories!

My favorite list / project tool right now is using Evernote.  Evernote can be used for project list or shopping lists and if you have a smart phone you can sync your lists with your smart phone to your pc.  In Evernote you create a notebook for your “project”, and then within each notebook you can create a list of to-do’s, and the notebooks can be shared.  I find this to be a great way to keep track of ongoing projects, that are longer term items.

For my daily lists,  I am finding that the old-fashioned paper and pen method is working   best for the moment.  Just taking a few minutes in the morning to write down what I want to accomplish each day helps me to get on track first thing in the morning.   There is some kind of sense of accomplishment for me to check things off the list!  Oh and I use a red pen for this part!  A good way to feel good about getting things done.

How do you keep yourself organized?  What’s your favorite way to make a list for the day?  Do you work a list each day or week?  Do lists make you cringe?

I’d love to hear from you about how you keep track of your to-do’s.  Leave me a comment!  Happy listing everyone.

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