How to Organize Papers

Climbing a Pile of Files

Organizing papers is probably one of the worst jobs there is in the home. It’s boring, tedious, time consuming and mildly unrewarding because you don’t see the results too much. BUT is is oh so necessary for mental health and peace of mind and ease of organizing in the future. It is one of those tasks that hangs like a heavy burden on any home-keeper. Let’s get rid of it! Continue reading

Simplifying Gift Wrapping

I have two drawers and a rubbermaid full of gift wrap stuff; bags, ribbons, boxes, tissue, stuffing, tinsel, toppers etc. Since we have been cleaning out our house in order to down size i was trying to think of a simpler more organized way to store and use my gift giving stock. I don’t like to be wasteful so I’m also trying to think of things that are at least slightly reusable as well. What about cultivating a trademark gift giving style that fits you? I think everyone should have one, it would make the mess of gift giving supplies more minimal and it would eliminate the stress of figuring how to wrap or package things every time you gave a gift. I need to figure mine our but here are some ideas I had.

Ideas for styles:

  • Buy a big roll of brown craft paper and embellish as needed – string, yarn, paint etc. The paper could be used over again or used for drawing paper for kids.
  • Bags all the way. Or how about buying plain white or brown bags and fancy them up with some pom poms or tasells. Bags can be reused for quite a while.
  • If you sew well maybe reusable fabric bags with draw string that you make and then add a cool tag.
  • Or the japanese art of fabric gift wrap, as seen in the video. Super reusable. Fabric could be from thrifted scarves, clearanced fabric pieces, old clothes cut up and hemmed, tablecloths and so on.

I hope you are inspired to find your perfect gift wrap style!

A craving for simplicity

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I don’t know where this image is from. I stumbled across it while cleaning up my desk top.

The room in the photo is clean, minimal, simple, all the things that have been major themes in my head lately. I have come across so many amazing articles about getting rid of whatever it is that ties us down, ties us up and burns us out. My husband and I have come to be so drained keeping up with the material world we live in. Not that material things are bad it is just that at a certain point all we do is work to pay for the things we have, than we have to work more to maintain the things we have and we have no time left to enjoy things beyond those things we have. Other things like spending time with friends or family, traveling, enjoying hobbies etc.
For us this will be a year of simplifying.
Our diet –  http://zenhabits.net/recipes/
Our stuff –http://zenhabits.net/ebay-guide/
Our minds- http://zenhabits.net/savor/

Yes all the links are to zen habits, what can I say, I have loved everything I have read on that site.

Simplifying our Budget

Here we are looking at 2010 as a new fresh blank year. Will 2010 be the year to expand our family, go back to school, move away, switch careers, change jobs, rent out some rooms, abolish some gloomy clouds of debt? We shall see. It is always exciting to think what could happen. What are your hopes for 2010?

One of our biggest complaints has always been our little annoying debts and not enough savings, so that was our first thing to tackle in our goals for 2010. We set up a budget plan that is very simple and we will review it in a few months. Our paychecks go into the bank, that money then goes towards bills, savings, or $500 which is taken out in cash. That $500 becomes $300 for groceries and $100 each discretionary spending cash ( for things we want like coffee, eating out, new shoes, etc.). Anything else we may truly, truly, truly need (like new brakes on the car) would come out of savings.
We are at week two into the budget and here are some of my thoughts:
-I need to be more careful with my $100 allowance because I only have $24 left
-We are eating really healthy and have plenty of food yet.
-I love the freedom of having cash in hand because when it’s gone it’s gone and you can’t impulse buy!
-I like the creativity that I am forced to come up with for repurposing things instead of running out and buying more.
-I am paying more attention to unplugging and turning things off etc.
Using cash is awesome, awesome, awesome. It is so much easier to really know how much you are spending and what your limits are. Try it for a month. I promise you that you will save money.

Simplifying while decorating for christmas

We got our christmas decorations out over the past weekend and bought our tree. This is our fourth Christmas together and we finally have just what we need in the way of decor.
Too many people have way more than they need and so it makes decorating more of a chore than it is fun. Here are some pointers for mainstreaming your Christmas storage decorations so Christmas is more MERRY!
I try to limit myself to a few boxes based on the decorating I do in my house, your list might need to be different based on your needs.
Box 1: stuff to decorate tree ( ornaments, garland, star, ribbon, flowers, etc.) One box is MORE than enough for a seven foot tree.
Box 2: greenery and lights (I put greenery over my mantle and 2 doorways) but if you are short on space maybe buying real stuff is a better idea because then you don’t have to store it (same goes for real vs fake tree)
Box 3: everything else (candles, towels, random decor items)
Box 4: christmas gift wrappings
Box 5: nativity (this could be in box 3, but ours is huge so it needs it’s own box)
If you decorate outside, set up more than one tree, use Christmas dishes, etc…. well you will need more storage space.
The key is to think through what you actually need and what you actually really love putting out/up. Not what you have to use or what you feel obligated to use ( because someone gave it to you/your kids made it/or whatever the reason might be).
This year when you are putting away your decor here is what you do:
– as you take things down seperate what you love/need from what you don’t
– bag or box up all the things you don’t love/need to be donated
– categorize the things you love (like what I listed above)
– if you don’t have boxes get some (I have an unhealthy attachment to rubbermaids- they are sturdy, protect things, and look neater than a bunch of random cardboard and bags)
– clearly label them
– put your things in the boxes and put them in storage
Now when next Christmas rolls around it will be amazingly simple to decorate tear down.
Merry Christmas!