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A Place for Everything

I’m sure you’ve heard “A place for everything, and everything in its place” before – a simple phrase that has always reminded me to put things back where I found them.

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I’m not so great at this sometimes. Do you have a clutter collection spot? Ours is the first little section of the kitchen counter.

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Unopened mail, books, phones, the Kindle, magazines, my glorified to-do list, my sketchbook, materials for a jewelry project, and Baby Girl’s hair bows are a few of the things you see here. When we go through everything on the first floor of our house to straighten up, this is where everything lands. I know we’re not alone in this. It’s super annoying, isn’t it?

But what I’ve realized as I look around our house with a PURPOSEFUL eye is that the problem isn’t just about not putting “everything in its place” (I can do that pretty well), it’s that there isn’t “a place for everything” to start with. Like the library books, there are things that we use in our every day lives that just don’t have a home.

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On some level, I must understand this, because I have heard the Boy, when cleaning up toys three different times this week, say, “Where does this live?” Even Baby Girl knows where her books go. I must be able to teach this concept but not follow through as well.

No more, I say! Starting today, I’m going to be more PURPOSEFUL in how I handle things that come into our home. I’m going to spend some time thinking about where certain things should stay most of the time.

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And I’m going to work really hard to keep my kitchen counter prime real estate looking like this. So much better.

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This post is part of a 31 Day series about improving my days by being more PURPOSEFUL.

You can read more about it here. You can find all the posts in this series here.

31 Days · Good to Know · Organizing · Thrifts

31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 24: Beautiful and Useful

Today’s post will be a quick one. I’m working on a BIG project for Thursday that will take every spare second I’ve got between now and then.

As I was looking through my “to-do” box today, deciding which projects were actually worth doing, I starting hearing the quote above. I first came across it years ago in Country Living. I copied the words into my journal because they resonated with me so much.

My “to-do” box has several great pieces that I’ve kept because I know they will be good projects. But sometimes I keep something just because it was a good deal. Or because it is ALMOST what I’m looking for, so I settle for it, even though it’s not quite right.

But when I think about my good buddy, William Morris, I realize that there are many beautiful and useful things I have, and the things that don’t meet the criteria for me may be perfect for someone else. I’m continuing the cycle, I tell myself. It’s a balance. To appreciate what you have (or what raw materials you have to work with), you often have to let some other things go.

So what’s going today?

  • A turquoise linen skirt I made 8 years ago. I haven’t worn it in at least 5, and I don’t really iron much, so it’s always wrinkled. It’s hard to let go of it since I made it myself, but it’s not useful if I don’t wear it, and I don’t find it beautiful anymore.
  • A green dress that’s too big. It’s going to take more effort than I’m willing to put in to make it work. And it’s not that beautiful.
  • A butter warmer. I thought it was something different. And then I thought I would use it anyway. I don’t.

So my tip for you today is, when you are shopping (thrift store or not), ask yourself if what you’re looking at is really beautiful or really useful, and it’s even better when it’s both.

PS – I’d like to give a shout-out to my friend, Jenn. She’s been following the blog, and when she was deciding what should stay and go in her own closet, she saw this dress and thought of me.

And let me tell you, it is beautiful – unique fabric, lovely beading. I’m so excited to create something with this. Stay tuned!

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  • This post is part of a 31 Day series. Find all the posts in this series here.
  • Want to receive updates by email? Click “Follow” in the lower right corner and keep up with how The Thrift Project is coming along.
Organizing

The Best $12 I’ve Ever Spent (Well,This Week)

Update: I’ve added my “glorified to-do list” as a Word document to the bottom of this post if you’d like to use mine as a template to make your own.

Hi.  I’m Nicole and I’m a procrastinator.  (Hi Nicole!)

I really don’t know why I’m a procrastinator or why I can’t seem to get things done. I did a little googling last night and read that lots of procrastination is actually a side effect of being impulsive. I wouldn’t really consider myself impulsive. Oh wait, I have dishes in the sink to wash. Oh wait, let me go google impulsive behavior, I’ll be right back. Wait, what was I supposed to be doing? Yeah.

So I decided what I needed is a very detailed to-do list that will help me not forget the big things that need to be done (like blogging – no, like fold laundry, prep dinner, exercise). Because, really, at any given moment, I can think of 10 things that I WANT to do and 10 things that I NEED to do. And somehow, every day, the kids’ nap time ends and I think, What have I actually gotten done while I had an hour alone?

The first one of these that I had seen was Tsh’sDaily Docket” at Simple Mom. It’s great, simple and straight-forward. But I wanted something a little bit more tailored to me. And something that will remind me, Hey, dinner’s coming up. What are you doing to make that 5-o’clock-cranky-kids-Husband-home-from-work-we’re-all-hungry time a little easier?

So I created a schedule. It fits my specific schedule right now (when Baby Girl naps twice a day and Big Boy is at preschool part of the week). It’s got a section for important chores for the day, errands/appointments I need to do outside the house, and a To-Do List to accomplish home tasks at each nap time. (When Big Boy is home from preschool during Baby Girl’s morning nap, I keep that list light so we can play/read together and I’m not just running around completing chores.) I included a “Kids Play” area so that I will be intentional to plan one activity for the kids to do each day, and a “Fun” area to try to do something just for me (read a magazine for 30 minutes, watch a show, read blogs – something relaxing). I also included “Exercise” in the evening (don’t laugh, Husband, it will happen some day!) and “Bills” just as a reminder to tackle paperwork after the kids are in bed.

So, yes, a little detailed, but for a procrastinator impulsive-person fun person like me, it needs to be a little more spelled out.

So I printed out a few sheets and put them on a clipboard. And it worked! It’s not perfect. I’ve gotten a little more done, but I’ve also added more to the list than I could possibly get done, so I’m carrying items over to the next day and learning to keep it a little more simple. And I’m also not using it as a big calendar, filling things out in advance. I only look at the next day the night before. I don’t need to overwhelm the calendar – I just want to write down before I go to bed what needs to be done the next day. I still use my calendar on my phone to keep track of most things – this is really just a glorified to-do list.

OK, so what about the $12?  Yes, GENIUS!

So I took a printed out sheet to my local copy shop (my printer is terrible, guzzles expensive ink, so I didn’t want to use that) to make a few more copies to have.  I started with 50, but then I saw that I could get the pages bound. I asked if they did spiral-bound notebooks or just comb-bound (there is a difference, and, yes, I’m a binding snob). Glorious music filled my head when he said they did spiral for about $3. HAPPY DAY! I copied 50 more pages and had them all bound into a spiral-bound notebook. And I know the copy guy thought I was an extremely Type-A stay-at-home-mom. I mean, first of all, who makes a detailed schedule of kids nap times? (Me.) And then, who practically does a dance when she finds out her nerdy schedule can be spiral-bound? (This girl.)

Amazing. For about $12 total, I have a lovely, personalized (SPIRAL BOUND!) to-do list that helps me get the important things done.

(PS – Yes, I realize I could have printed on front and back, but I love to doodle, I am an obsessive note-taker, and I’m constantly trying to figure stuff out on paper, so I need some space. I love it this way. And I only have to look at one day at a time, which is great for my sanity.  Bonus!)

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Download my “glorified to-do list” template here: glorified to-do list

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