UPDATED Essential Monthly Planner

Can you believe it’s been FOUR years since I blogged about my monthly planner and how I keep all my bills and events organized in one place? I noticed recently that it’s getting a lot of hits on Pinterest and I thought I’d post about how I’m keeping my planner now.

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Currently, I’m using highlighters and small post-it notes to keep everything together. I’m not sure where to start, so I guess we’ll go from left to right.

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On the border on the top left I use pink post-its with blog post ideas that I may want to blog about that month.

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Then, once I blog about one of those ideas, I move the post-it to the day that I posted the blog, which isn’t necessary but is helpful in case you want to go back to previous months and look at what you’ve done.

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On the bottom left margin I use these pale yellow (or as I like to call them, smoker’s teeth yellow) post-its with things that I HAVE TO get done during the month. And yes, I moved to PA from NJ back in May and I still have not gone to the DMV to get my license plates transferred. I just REALLY hate the DMV! Anyways, once I get an oil change or get my license plates registered, I’ll move that post-it to the day that I did it.

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In my planner, I write when a bill is due. Since we moved, we’ve got a lot of credit card bills to pay off. So for example, I write down on the 4th that my Home Depot credit card bill is due, then under that I put what the balance is that I still owe. Then under that I write “New Balance” so on the 4th when I pay that bill, I write what the new balance is after making the payment. Then I take that new balance and put it on the next months post-it under “Still Owe”. This makes it easier to know where you’re at with each of your outstanding credit cards without having to look each one up online.

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As for our other bills, like the mortgage, car payments, electric, etc., I just write down on the day that I pay them and then cross them off. I also highlight it in green, or in my case I highlight it in yellow and blue because I don’t have a green highlighter – haha!

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I use these teal colored post-its for any kind of photo sessions I might have. I would just write that appointment in my planner but since moving to Easton, I have not required clients to pay a deposit to hold the appointment, so the appointment days change a lot. With the appointment being on a post-it, I can just move the post-it to any day they may change it to. It keeps my planner pretty so I don’t have to scratch out anything.

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I use the bright pink post-its for fun events like birthday parties, people coming into town, events in the community, etc.

Btw, you can get these convenient post-its on Amazon and they’re super cheap. Pick them up here.

And that’s about it. I feel like my monthly planner has become a lot more efficient in the last four years and I hope it helps make your monthly planner more efficient as well!

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Repurposing Household Items!

Do you know what I hate? When my Bath & Body Works candles are running out of wax. I’ve burned through them and the pretty jar is now basically empty and coming closer and closer to becoming garbage.

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Do you know what I love? The jars that the Bath & Body Works candles come in. I love the symmetry and plainness of the jars. They’re so cute! So, I’ve repurposed the jar from candle to cotton ball holder! This is how:

Boil some water

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Once the water is boiling, pour it directly into the jar. Sometimes people are afraid that this will shatter the jar but from personal experience, I can tell you that this jar is very sturdy and can definitely withstand boiling water. Once you pour in the boiling water you’ll notice that the water and the candle wax begin to separate.

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After about a minute or two take a butter knife and go around the edge of the wax and also around each of the wicks. The wax should be soft enough and this shouldn’t be difficult. If the wax is still tough, give the hot water a few additional minutes to soften the wax.

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Once you’ve traced the outline of the wax inside the jar you should be able to pry the wax from the bottom of the jar. If not in one big piece then in a couple of big pieces.

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Once the majority of the wax is out you can most likely pry the wicks and the wick stands out very easily. Remove them and allow the remaining wax to rise to the top of the jar.

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Once it’s done separating just pour it out. I usually like to let the wax on top harden and throw that away before pouring out the water below it. The sticker on the side of the jar is easy to pull off. As for the sticker on the bottom, it may need a little extra soaking in order to come off. Once all the stickers are off run a soapy sponge over it and let it dry and then it’s ready! You’ve got a really cute jar to do with as you please!

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Love these small projects that increase my bathroom storage, especially since I’ve got very minimal storage in my apartment.

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Not Back-to-School ALREADY!

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Have you noticed that back-to-school sales are slowly but surely making their way into the weekly circulars? Have you also noticed that I’ve totally been slacking on the blog? My bad! But there’s a reason behind it which I’m excited to share with you all.

Anyways, back to the school supplies. I know people REALLY don’t want to hear about school supplies in the middle of July but buying early will really save you some money. I was at Walmart on Sunday and freaked out over $.97 binders! DORK ALERT, I know. I can’t help myself. They also have sales on notebooks and folders and some other awesome stuff that I couldn’t resist. I even got a 6” desktop fan for my desk at work since the AC in our building is, at the very least, inconsistent. If you’re in need of some school supplies for yourself or for the kids Walmart is the place to go this week! I’ve looked at a lot of the store circulars and though Target has some sales they’re not as great as Walmart’s sales. One subject notebooks for $.17. $.15 two pocket folders and Crayola markers and colored pencils for under $1! Not to mention the chocolate pudding snack packs for $1! (YUM!) It doesn’t get much better than that. I also picked up some index cards which I really only use for my grocery lists and a few reminders here and there and they were under a $1 also. I love Walmart! I don’t go very often because 1) Target is a lot closer to me and 2) They’re renovating their store and the parking lot is a mess and the store itself looks like it was hit by a bomb but my most recent trip was definitely a success!

So, the reason I’ve been kinda ignoring the blog lately is because I kinda got a promotion at work! I’ve really been craving a change and more responsibility at work and the opportunity finally came and I was very excited to grab it. I’ve been training for the last week and a half and it’s been exhausting and nerve-wracking. I’ve been training all day and then coming home from work and re-writing my notes. I’ve been a very busy chick but I know it’ll pay off in the long run. The majority of my new position is accounts payable but a lot of it has to do with keeping records and staying organized which I love to do any ways. It’s just so hard to take in all this information in such a short amount of time. I hope I retained all of it but we’ll see. WISH ME LUCK!

And Happy Hump Day! (whoop, whoop!)

Brand new goals!

I love setting goals and creating new projects for myself, if you haven’t noticed. Now that the grad party is over and there’s no more planning involved as far as that goes, I can turn my attention to something else.

Sam and I have been trying not to eat out as much as we do. 1) to save money and 2) to lose weight and get healthy. I’m not the best cook. I’ll be the first to let you know and I’m sure Sam will be the second  – haha!.. I come from a family of really awesome women that can cook their booties off but I guess I never paid attention enough and I definitely regret that now. I really want to get into meal planning and learning new recipes.  And when I say “new recipes” I mean ANY recipes at all. Unless we’re talking about grilled cheese. I can make a mean grilled cheese. Anyways, I purchased a few magnetic notepads on Friday that I think will help me stay organized while I try and figure everything out.

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The plain notepad on the side is for any food items or whatever that I need to pick up from the store and the notepad on the right side is for our meal planning. This way we can plan and decide what we’re having from week-to-week.

I need help, though! Gimme some tips, tell me some tricks, send me some recipes, or whatever you got! Help ya girl out, people!

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a good weekend.

UPDATE: Country Theme Graduation Party Ideas

I’ve been racking my brain to the maximum extreme trying to come up with some more creative ideas for my sister’s country themed graduation party in June. If you missed my first post about it and some of the ideas I had, you can catch up here. I’ve told a lot of my coworkers about the country western themed fiesta to see if maybe they had any good ideas that I can steal use. One of my coworkers mentioned to me that there is a website that has cheap party decorations for pretty much any theme. It’s www.orientaltrading.com. I’ve never heard of this site and I was soooo excited once I checked it out. I have multiple things in my online cart that I’m just waiting to pull the trigger on but before I tell you about those I wanted to let you know that the invites came in the mail and I’m starting to send them out little by little. And what I mean when I say little by little is that I’m waiting for my mom to get me some of the addresses for some of the people that I can’t find on http://www.whitepages.com. Blah! I also got this cute cowboy boot stamp for the back of the invites on clearance at Michaels this week.

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I think it adds the perfect touch considering the invites say absolutely nothing about country themed anything which I kinda regret now.

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I saw these country western photo props. I was thinking about cutting out mustaches and stuff and hot glueing them to a stick so that people can use them in the homemade photobooth that I mentioned in my other post. I was kinda dreading it but now I feel fantastic that I don’t need to do any of that and this comes with more awesome stuff than just mustaches.

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Another item that popped out at me was this luau table skirt that I think would still fit in with a country theme party considering it is basically faux hay. I think it would look nice with a white table clothe with a thick strip of burlap running down the middle. We’ll see.

Getting extremely excited as the days and weeks get closer to the party!

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UPDATE!

To see how the country themed grad party turned out, along with pictures from the photo booth, click here.

Top 5 Organizational Mistakes!

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1. Not finishing what you startSome people think that organizing a certain room is a great idea that they get so excited and think it’ll be so easy that when they finally start they get overwhelmed and quit halfway through. Before you start a new project make a list of all the things that need to get done in that area. This way you’ll be able to see what needs done and be prepared if it takes you longer than you thought. 

2. Buying organizational products before you know what you needI’m guilty of this one! Remember in August when I said that I was going to clean out all of the closets in my apartment? Well, I finally got around to cleaning my bedroom closet last weekend. But before I started I made a trip to Walmart for a few hampers, a basket for my bathroom, hooks for behind the door, and a shoe rack. Luckily, I was able to use everything I purchased. Also, sometimes I’ll buy something just because it seems useful and maybe it’s pretty but then I don’t end up using it or I’ll leave it out and find that it doesn’t serve a purpose.

3. Not throwing away/donating clothes or toys right away I do this all the time! Actually, as I type this I have 1 box and 2 garbage bags full of clothes in my closet that need to be donated and thrown away. When you do this, it never feels like your project is complete, which can lead to a mess much sooner rather than later.  “Oh, I never finished cleaning this closet so it doesn’t matter if I just leave this sweater on the floor for now. I’ll pick it up when I finish.” (Yes, that is the kind of conversation I have with myself)

4. Holding onto something because you think it could be usefulHave you ever not thrown away those ugly tennis shoes from high school because you think they might come back in style? OR “I couldn’t possibly throw away that old spatchula. I may need it if the other 4 spatchulas that I have grow legs and run away.” OR “Can’t throw away that old Mickey Mouse doll. What if someone brings their child over and I don’t have a toy for them to play with?” LOL.. I have no idea but if you haven’t used it for awhile, don’t make an excuse to keep it around. It’s only taking up space! Most of my clutter consists of items I think I MIGHT need at some point or I’m keeping it because I think someone else MIGHT need it. Just throw it away and clear some space!

5. If you have an organizational plan for a room or space in your home, don’t keep it to yourselfYou just finished cleaning off the dining room table. Everything that was on the table was either thrown away or has found a new permanent spot. Then your husband comes home and puts his briefcase and all of today’s mail on the table and then your kids come home and throw their book bags and toys on the table as well. If you’ve got a new found organizational plan for a certain space, make sure you communicate that plan with your family. They won’t know that the new table is no longer for everything and the kitchen sink if you don’t make it known. Just a side note, I’m not sure why I’m cracking up. I just thought of the above situation in my head and thought it was hilarious. I imagined this proud, accomplished mother, all smiles because she’s just finally finished cleaning off her dining room table that was covered in mountains of junk. Then, within a matter of 30 seconds her husband walks through the door, on his cell phone. He drops off everything on the table. His briefcase, the mail, change he may have had in his pocket, a couple receipts from today’s lunch purchase. He’s talking loudly on the phone to someone, I imagine it’s probably a colleague, and he’s on his way to the bedroom to get changed but he takes a quick second to kiss his wife, whose now looking bewildered, on the cheek. The room is silent, but only for a moment and then a stampede of children come in. Actually, maybe just three of them. One of them is around the age of 6. He blows his nose in a tissue and then throws it on the table along with his Batman lunch box and book bag. Behind him is an 11 year old girl, probably named Bridget or something, she’s just coming home from swim team practice and throws her wet towel on the table. Finally, her oldest son, she’s hoping that he’s old enough to realize that his stinky, sweaty hockey equipment doesn’t belong on the dining room table. She’s holding her breath, praying that he’ll take it straight to the garage or at least the mudroom. He walks towards her with a smile. He says, “hey mom! How are you? Have a good day?”  and kisses her on the cheek. He has passed the dining room table without dropping his stinky bag on the table! She smiles slightly, relieved. She always knew how smart he was. Her son goes to the refrigerator, pulls out a bottle of water and starts walking toward the living room…. Not before dropping his big, moldy smelling hockey bag on the dining room table. And the mother’s excitement turns to complete disappointment. HAHAHAHAHA! Really over the top but that’s what I thought of. 

Anyways, I hope this helps! Happy Monday everyone!

Organizing has never been so SAFE!

Happy President’s day everyone! Hope that you all had a great weekend. I know I did! I just got home a little while ago from my weekend at home with the family. I had an awesome time and got to see a lot more of my family than I thought I would have, which is always great.

Anyways, I was checking my e-mail this afternoon and saw the cutest thing from Groupon!

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It’s an organizer in disguise! Groupon calls it the U.S. Patrol Hanging Dress Safe. Although I wouldn’t really call it a “safe” it is a pretty cool idea in hiding some of your valuables. For $12.99 + $2.99 shipping, you get two of these dress organizers. I may have to get it only because my closet is so jam packed with stuff that no one would even imagine that this extremely hideous dress is holding all of my valuables.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these, you can click right here, but hurry up because the deal is only on for the next day or so.

Traveling Stress-free

Traveling can be very stressful. It takes a lot of preparation to take a trip. First you have to book a flight far enough in advance to get a good deal. Then the entire week before you leave you need to make sure you pack all the clothes you’d like to wear during your trip, all your toiletries, all your shoes, your electronic gadgets, any medication, and whatever the heck else you think you may need. No matter what, once you get to the airport or finally get to your seat on the plane you start asking yourself, “Did I pack my glasses?” “Did I forget that dress in the closet?” “Don’t tell me I forgot to pack that gift for so-and-so.” “Did I leave the oven on?” “Does this sweatshirt make me look fat?” HAHA, just kidding. Although this blog post won’t be able to tell you if you left your appliances on at home or if your attire makes you look fat, it can help you with not forgetting the essentials.

About a week before your trip sit down and make two lists. One list for the things that you need to do before you head to the airport/train station/bus station or whatever and one list for things that you need to pack. I’m heading back home to Pittsburgh this Thursday and I thought I’d show you guys how I create my pre-traveling lists. 

 

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Everyone knows I love me some highlighters! As you can see my To-do list is on the top of the page. I used three different highlighters to distinguish between the three days this week that I had available to do anything. On the bottom of the list is what I need to pack and I used the same three highlighters to indicate which bag I want the items to go in. Creating the list this way makes it nearly impossible to forget anything! Get done what you need to get done on the day that you said you would. Pack your items in the bags that you’ve selected and TAAA-DAAAAA! You can travel worry-free. Allay your mind and enjoy your trip, no matter where you’re going.

 

 

 

 

EASY & CHEAP ways to organize sports equipment!

I read somewhere that 25% of Americans with a two car garage can no longer fit their cars in that garage anymore. I unfortunately don’t have a garage but I can only image the reason someone wouldn’t be able to fit their cars into their garage is because it may look a little something like this:

All that junk all over can definitely prevent you from being able to utilize the garage to, I don’t know, maybe park a car in it! Today I’m going to give you a few tips on storing some sporting equipment you may have or that your kids may have. Remember, vertical storage is key!

One inexpensive way is to use a garbage can for all the tall equipment like hockey sticks, baseball bats, ski poles, oars, lacrosse sticks, and whatever else you may be into. Don’t use anything that doubles the size of the garbage can, as it may tip the can over. This is a great way to get everything off the floor of the garage or from leaning up against the walls and into one place.

Keep balls from scattering all over the floor by keeping them all in a mesh bag, tall plastic hamper, or even a big duffel bag. I found a link to some really cheap mesh ball bags here. Also, keep a basketball/soccer ball pump somewhere near the bag of balls so you’re not running around looking for one when you need it. Nothing is worse than flat balls.

-If you or your children play a lot of sports I think it may be a great idea to have a duffel bag for each sport. Pack a duffel bag with your baseball bats, balls, helmet, and cleats. That way when it’s time to go to baseball practice you just grab the bag, throw it in the trunk, and you’re on your way. You can set up a vertical shelving unit to store all of your duffel bags.

-Scooters, skateboards, helmets, and knee pads can all be stored in a box or bin.

-Hang all of the soccer cleats, roller blades, skates, etc on hooks. Tie the pair together by their laces and make sure every pair gets their own hook for easy accessibility.

-OR, if you have a couple hundred or thousand dollars look into specialty racks that will store multiple skis, snowboards, bikes, fishing poles, etc. It may be pricey but it’s a more permanent solution.

I hope some of my tips help you get your garage back!

Happy Labor Day!

Inspiration and Motivation

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve been receiving really great feedback, not only from you, the readers, but also from some of my family members that I shared my blog with over emails and facebook. One of the greatest feelings is knowing that you’ve helped someone make a positive change in order to have a happier, less cluttered life. My mother just recently sent me a picture of a table that’s along the wall in her dinning room. It was cluttered with magazines, mail, reading glasses, iphone accessories, etc. You name it and it could probably be found on this table.

My mom doesn’t ask me for advice often so the fact that she asked me what she should do and the fact that I had so many ideas of ways to clean up the space made my day! I was texting her ideas and links to baskets and boxes on Amazon and just being a super big dork because I was so excited about this. So Sunday she texted me another picture.

What an improvement! It looks so good and I’m so happy that 1) my mom asked for my advice 2) took my advice and 3) was awesome enough to take before and after pictures so I could blog about it! -haha. It’s motivated me to really step up my game around my own house. Some days I feel like I may come off a little “preachy” with some of my tips and solutions when in reality my apartment is no where near perfect! I’ve been sick for the past week and a half so I’ve been slacking a little bit with my Clean Out Your Closet challenge, but now that I’m feeling better there should be nothing stopping me!