Staying on Track – Of life, finances and paperwork

I have serious finishing up issues.  I start a million things at once and can begin a new project in a blink of an eye and then they stagnate.  Some become part of the never going to finish pile, others have little adjustments made here and there.

1. Staying on track of deadlines and life.

AKA send Little Miss A ‘s Pre Prep forms in.

In this technological day and age I can not believe there is not a better system for acquiring people’s details.  Could there not be some giant database password protected where when filling out a form you simply enter your password and it imports all your details? Including Certified copies of Birth Certificates.  Seriously if I have to hunt another JP down to get a certified copy of anything I am going to refuse to fill out the form.  I have had the forms on the desk, filled out, just waiting to get sent.  Something tells me I dont really want to send them as then it is all too real that my last born child is going to school! 

2. Staying on Track of Family Finances.

AKA stop buying stuff from the Reject Shop.

This one is a MUST.  We are falling back into bad habits and MUST curb the trivial spending.  Maybe June could be a Money Challenge Month? Only the essentials? No home decor items, magazines, takeaway coffees, hot chips, scale back on the Foxtel? 

We have some great systems in place, but it’s time to do our finance homework again.

3. Staying on Track with the paper piles.

AKA Finish the Home Office.

Source: jennasuedesign.blogspot.com via Krisdee on Pinterest

Remember when we started cleaning the office and got rid of the filing cabinet.  Well it kind of hasn’t been touched since.  What do I mean kind of.  It is exactly how it was two months ago! I have a pile of empty folders just waiting to be filled.  I have done a good cull, now it is just the monotonous task of sorting through it all and putting it in folders.  Its a movie, and sitting on the lounge room floor, pile making, kind of job.  

 

I WILL NOT START ANY NEW PROJECTS

until at least these ones are done! 

So are you a starter and not a finisher? Any tips for staying on track? 

Organising For Winter


The temperature here has dropped. By dropped, I mean dived head fist into the single digits.  In the space of  one week we have gone from having the fan on to digging out the blankets.  As the seasons change so does our home.  Different spaces need adapting, organising and replenishing.

When Organising for Winter I start with…..

THE BEDROOMS

Target - Dotty Flannelette Sheet Set

Blankety Beds.  I have two sets of bedding for the kids bedrooms.  Winter and Summer.  For Winter I replace their cotton fitted and top sheets with cozy flanellete.  As I went to do this I realised this would be the first Winter Miss A was not in a cot!  So I purchased these great basic flanellete sheet sets for her bed.  For now I am leaving their coverlets on the bed and adding a thicker blanket on top.  By July I know I will have to get out the thicker quilt covers.

Target - 2 Pk of Holeproof Socks.

Building On the Basics.  This is a great time to restock the kids wardrobes with the basics.  It has been a year since we have needed so many singlets and socks and in that time My Pigeon Pair have GROWN! For Master O I stock up on plain white singlets. These are great for under school uniforms. Little Miss A I can get a little fancier and get a range of white, pink, purple.  I also restock their sock collection.  I find multipacks offer the next value for money and I like to buy at least 5 pairs of socks each.  Socks are a one wear item, take longer to dry and get extra filthy, hence needing 5 pairs! This time of year I also buy the kids a pair of new slippers each.  To help extend the wrdrobe budget I also grab a few plain long sleeved shirts for layering.  They can be worn under a summer pinafore dress, with a summer skirt or under a t-shirt, to give the summer wardrobes a little stretch into winter. With all of these new items coming into bedrooms it also important to cull the old!

15 L Storage Container - Target

Storage. Starting with the socks and singlets I sort, cull and store.  Any socks that are too small, I donate.  Any that are small but I think I could pass on to friends later, I store. I try to do this before buying anything new.  It’s amazing to find that you have items that you had bought, not used and forgotten about! Unfortunately having a “pigeon pair” means that there is rarely anything to pass down, within our family! I also use this time to put cull, sort and store the past seasons clothes.  Little Miss A actually had a whole contianer of clothes that I am sure will still fit this next summer!  I simply took them out of her wardrobe and put them into a storage container. I labelled it with it’s sizes and season e.g Summer Size 3-4.  

Vacuum bags are great for long term storage. Like the clothes that are too small to wear but to good to throw.  But for clothes that we may need occasionally during the current season I like to use a plastic storage container. My trick is to buy a storage container smaller than I think I will need!  It forces me to be more brutal with my culling and is easier to fit and lift on top of the wardrobes.  I like the 15L ones from Target as they are sturdy, clear (not smokey) and have great lids.  They are also only $7!!!

The bedrooms are now “Winterfied”with freshly made winter beds, to cosy up into on a cool night.  Now if anyone knows how to keep “My Pigeon Pair” in their own cosy beds and out of mine let me know! 

This is a SPONSORED POST.  I was paid by Target to give my own opinion and advice on Organising for Winter. 

 

The Complete Guide to Meal Planning

I have written a lot about meal planning.  It is the single biggest saver of money, time and sanity in our house.  So as I update our latest Meal Planning template I thought it might be worth establishing a single blog post with all of our Meal Planning templates, ideas and tips!

2 years worth of experience here peeps! 

But let’s start at the very beginning, because it is a very good place to start..

1.Meal Planning 101 WHY YOU SHOULD MENU/MEAL PLAN? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

including a FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATE!

 

I have to say that this template works so well I used it for a whole year before I started changing it.  I have only started working on another one as I now mainly shop at Aldi and needed my list in a different order.  The highlight of creating this template is seeing it in use!  I will never forget a friend opening her pantry and seeing it hanging inside!

 2. Attacking The Grocery Shopping.

 

 

I get stopped in Aldi all the time with people asking me where I got my list and bags from!  Those amazing reusable shopping bags are from Aldi!

3. Creating a Menu Board.

 

 

 

This was a time consuming project to create but once it is up and running it is a great way to ensure you plan balanced meals across a week, fortnight or month!

4. Great Lunchbox Plans.   

5. Lunch Box Planning – FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATE!

 

and here is the update Meal Planning template I am working on!

It’s not as “pretty” as the other one but it has a more comprehensive shopping list and is in the order of the aisles at Aldi at Woolworths.   This is just a sneek peak at it, I will tidy it up a little and get it ready for YOU TO DOWNLOAD! 

I have 4 templates, each with a different Monthly Shopping Category.  

So there you have it

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MEAL PLANNING!

If you have any questions about meal planning or grocery shopping leave me a comment HERE!!!

Tomorrow I will share with you my 5 Favourite Weekly Meal Plans! 

Home Office Organisation Inspiration

The Home Office Makeover is well under way.  This is going to be a long and slow process but hey we have made a start.

This room is a VERY dificult shape to work with.

With its multiple windows, 2 doors and angled wall, it is making positioning furniture VERY difficult.

The entry to the study, is right off the entry of our house AND it has no door on it!  This was part of the original house plan and I now really wish we had of included doors.  It is a 9ft high opening and not a standard door size so doors are not going to happen!  The benefit is though that I have a nice view form the desk to our front entry table!

We have a medium sized Expedit unit to include, to provide storage primarily for folders. 

 

A bit like this.

So with that in mind…..The first question…..

Do I lay the Expedit on its side?

Source: decorpad.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 This creates a second bench, (I already have a long table) and frees up wall space for shelves. However, I wouldn’t like to use the bottom shelves for folders as they would be hard to get at.  The bottom shelves would be better for boxes or baskets. However I really don’t need 4 basket spaces. I feel like this would be a wasted space. So do I stand her up?

 

Source: centsationalgirl.com via Larissa on Pinterest

This would make the best use of all shelves AND could go on either wall. I could still use the bottom two for baskets but would have 6 spaces for folders and magazine holders.  I could also use the side of the unit to hand some clipboards? Laying it down would mean it could only go on the angled wall.

So what say you? Up or down? Vertical or Horizontal? Rearrange the whole room? 

I will post some pics on Instagram today to give you a real view of the MAYHEM! Follow the hashtag #mppoffice on Instagram.

Fishing for Home Office Organisation Ideas

Pencils, Pens, Highlighters, Scissors, Paper Clips the office bibs and bobs list, goes on and on.  I have been searching for a way to organise and store these items so that I can always find what I need! 

We have a great office space but it is in an embarrasing state at the moment.  But we are making a start.  One of the big problems is that even though I have a large desk it has no drawers! 

 I rectified that quick smart with these nifty little drawers from you guessed it The Reject Shop.  They were $30.  Great deal but wait there’s more…..I had specifically gone to the reject store with a purpose.

Remember this project?  

 Well more than 6 months on our “Fishing Tackle Box, Battery Organisation” was still working except for one minor detail.  After constant use over the Christmas period the lid had broken off!  So I bought a new one to replace it.

Once home I assembled our drawers and used the broken Tackle Box to check that it would fit inside one of my new drawers. This would be a great place to store my battery container. You would never believe it.  

Perfect fit!  One Reject Shop Tackle Box, sans lid, fits perfectly inside one Reject Shop drawer.  That is no coincidence my friends, that is called organisational destiny. 

So of course I needed more tackle boxes.  EVERYTHING was going to have a compartment!  I would be able to sleep at night knowing each little item had its very own home! So this happened.

Introducing my new top drawer.

Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful! I used some scrapbooking paper leftovers to line the base just to make her pretty.  These containers are brilliant as the dividers can be moved around to create perfectly sized compartments.

I may have then looked at what else I could organise in the same way. 

I may have collected a hook or two over the past few years!  These were in all little packets scattered over the house.  A quick roll call and they were lined up, sorted and introduced to their new homes.  Now I know exactly what we have and what we need, well when it comes to hooks at least.

The Other Drawers….

I now have more desk space, less clutter all over the office and can find exactly what I need when I need it.  Even better did you notice that the drawers on wheels?  I actually wheeled it out to the dining room the other day to work at the table! Totally handy! Unless of course you need to work in the closest Mc Cafe. Not sure I could go that far.

Yesterday I started work on one other wall in the office.  It is going to be a HUGE job but it has to be done!  I am drowning in Office clutter! 

What is your biggest office organisation problem? 

Do you love a good tackle box as much as me? 

 

Loving The Laundry

Let me start by saying I don’t LOVE doing Laundry.  In fact it is most definitely the one job I procrastinate the most about.    But surely if my Laundry was more organised and a little prettier I would be more inclined to actually go in there?  Just maybe?  

Unfortunatley for most of us, laundries were designed by men who rarely frequent them.  They are generally small, lacking natural light and completely unpractical.  Our house is no exception.  We have one teeny tiny window, no bench, it is a thoroughfare to the only downstairs toilet and smack bang in the middle of the wall is the laundry shoot. 

But if I can’t go back to the drawing board (literally) I am determined to make the most of the space.   We made a start last year.  

 Please do not look at the date of that post!  It’s embarassing to realise how long it has taken me to get around to finishing it!  The finishing was really a 3 part exercise.

1. Sort out the laundry cupboard where the lost and found go to be gathered together.  This seems to be a tourist attraction for every toy part, lightbulb, shoe lace, thingamabob in the house.  It desperatley needed to be sorted and stored in a better way.

I had these containers in my collection from my last trip to Howards Storage World.  I sorted them into some simple categories, grouping like items together.

To help keep them sorted I created some self adhesive labels for the containers.  I just created a label in a “Word” document and printed them out on A4 Self Adhesive Sheets (Officeworks).  Then simply cut them out and attach! 

This is the one and only Laundry Cupboard.  It has a small shelf up high above the “Broom/Ironing Board/Hanging” area.  I used a small shelf (Howards Storage World) so I could place the handled items “on top” of each other but still access them all easily.  I have used this system in my pantry and it works brilliantly! I really want to hang that dustpan on the door!!!!

2. The Baskets on the shelves have been working brilliantly but needed labelling to keep it that way! What I love about this system is the placement of baskets.  The kids are old enough now to feed the cat and get their own togs and towel and having these baskets down low helps them do just that!  I created these labels, again in Microsoft Word, printed them on some card attached them to the baskets with some cute ribbon I have been saving.

The Baskets Are Labelled!

 3. Beautifying!  We had a wall in the laundry that you look startight at as you walk in!  I had bought some wall art off etsy a while ago but still hadn’t gotten around to printing, cutting and framing it!

Now I just need to hang them!

Besides all the reorganising and beautifying you know what else makes working in the laundry a breeze?  Great Laundry products!  

You know how much I love METHOD, well they have just released an amazing arrange of laundry products.  I may have just been inviting all family members to come and smell the washing lately! The Waterlily and Aloe Laundry detergent is not only 8x concentrated but smells divine! Goodbye dryer sheets, I have been using the Dryer Activated Fabric Softener and it is like nothing else I have ever tried.  Not only is everything super soft but it smells incredible!  I can still smell it on our pillowcases when we go to bed! 

Of course I couldn’t rave about this range without you being able to try it for yourself!

So……SIMPLY ENTER OUR METHOD GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter below! 

Tell me what would make doing the laundry easier for you? 

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Terms and Conditions

1. Entry Only Open to Australian Residents

2. Winner will be notified via email and have five days to claim their prize before a redraw takes place.

 

 

 

 

Wishing for an Organised Home Office Space

Last year I was on a mission to turn our house into a home.  We would tackle “One Space At A Time”  transforming it into a purposeful, organised and gorgeous part of our family home.

We made a good start and over the year “made over” many spaces, but now due to some room rearranging, a lack of time and general procrastination we are at a standstill.

But that HAS to change. Every day I sit at my desk, look around and cringe at the dumping ground that is our “Home Office”. This space is where furniture goes to die, a dumping ground for papers, bits and party supplies.  Far from organised or inspiring.  I dream of an organised and inspiring space where I can work without stepping over a m

So how do you create such a space;

1. Create a PURPOSE “Wish List”

  • What do you do in this room?
  • What do you want this room to do for you?
  • What could it be used for? Think outside the box, you may be able to rearrange furniture to create whole new purposes for the space.

2. Create a LOOK “Wish List”

  • How do you want this space to look?
  • Do you have a colour pallette in mind?
  • How do you want the space to make you feel?  What could you incorporate into the styling of this room to achieve this.  

3. Create an ORGANISATIONAL “Wish List”

  • What type of storage does this room require?
  • Does it require large storage systems like shelves, drawers or cube units?
  • Would small storage such as buckets and baskets help?

With all this in  mind I got to work creating my own home office Wish List.

With my list in hand I headed to Target.  Partly becuase I always find what I am looking for there but mostly because they are having a Massive Home Wares Sale!

And here is what I came up with!  

1. These small seagrass baskets are grey for hiding away cords, batteries, labelling machines, printer cartridges whilst also keeping them organised.

2. I love a good candle and this metal lantern is so my style.

3. Some inspirational word wall art in my favourite colours to keep me motivated during thos elong nights.

4.  A stylish clock to keep me on track and on time.

5.  A 9 cube storage unit  for folders, books and baskets.  Everything in it’s place!

6. A RUBBISH BIN!  Somehow I have never gotten aorund to having a bin in this space!

Using these simple steps, a task that was positvely overwhelming,  is now a positive step in creating my dream office space! 

So what would be on your wish list? 

Want to make your own homewards dreams come true?
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This is a sponsored post.  All opinions and product selections are my own. 

 

Organising, Labelling and Finally Finishing.

Life just gets busier and busier. Somewhere along the line of my “Year Off” from work, I took on a new job! It was an opportunity that I could not pass up and I am starting to get into the swing of the new work from home routine. Best of all this job offers me a chance to be creative, inspire teachers and provide resources that enrich childrens learning environments. However my own work environment is anything but inspiring at the moment!

I have begun to feel overwhelmed by the number of unfinished “projects” around the house! I have a habit of starting 5 million projects a week and finishing very few of them in a year! I have been following my good bloggy friend “Cassadiva’s” “Finishing up Friday” series. I need to take a leaf out of her book so this week I am not starting ANY NEW PROJECTS! I have to finish some others first!

So on the list……

1. Finish all assembly of items for our “Command Centre” Area. This includes;

Hanging the IKEA FINTORP Rail system and organising the contents of it.

Putting up the Filing system for all of the homework resources.

Filling the Expedit shelves with new storage buckets

Ordering labels for the buckets

Assembling the music stand

Creating an Emergency container

2. Label the laundry organising containers.
 
 
In fact every room in this house requires some label love but I am taking it week by week and this week it is the laundry! Remember last year I organised the laundryusing these baskets? Well I never got around to labelling the baskets or containers in the laundry cupboard.  This week I couldn’t find the cats collar and realised the contents of the baskets were so disorganised!
 
3. Finish Blogging about Master O’s Birthday Party
 
4. Finish off the Easter Decorating!
 
 
I think that is enough for one week!
 
We have two big organising projects on the horizon that I am itching to get into, but I have other things that need finishing first
THE MASSIVE PROJECT, that is becoming increasingly frustrating is the Home Office.

Source: homeofficereviews.net via Larissa on Pinterest

Take note, my office looks nothing like this and it never will, but a girl can dream!
I now spend a lot of time in our office space and it is driving me crazy.  It is primarily the “little” things that are taking over the space.  We seem to have cords, folders, pens, papers, staplers and envelopes EVERYWHERE.  In fact at last count I had 3 sets of little shelves, a filing cabinet, a small table, a huge desk  and four chairs in there!!!!!  
 
It is a difficult space to work with (it is a strange shape with lots of windows), money is tight, there is so much to do, the excuses are endless.  But I at least need to make a start…..soon…next month or even just this year sometime!
Are you an “unfinisher” a constant “on the goer” that fails to finish the task?
Help me out here!  Tell me I am not alone! 

Creating a Toy Rotation System

Ever feel like your kids have a whole room of toys, but nothing to play with?  It is like the childs equivalent of Mummy’s wardrobe!  Full to the brim of stuff but when it comes time to use anything you feel like you have NOTHING!

We are lucky enough to have a “room” dedicated to toys.  and Yet they seem to either alwasy ply wth the same toys or struggle to play with anything.  So earlier this year we created a plan.  I wanted to try “Toy Rotation” .  This system can be as basic and complex as you like.  This has been a system that has always operated in childcare centres and classrooms as the toys/resources/books change depending on the season, unit being taught/interests of the child. Here is how we did it…….

Firstly I decided that some items needed to be out at all times.  We went with…..

  • Dolls/Prams
  • Play Kitchen
  • Books
  • Basic Lego
  • Toy Cars
  • Play Dough
  • Collage
  • Drawing/Tracing/Colouring

1. Create a Catalogue.  With all the other toys I created a toy catalogue.  I used a table with the following headings and wrote the name of each toy underneath it.  This is time consuming but trust me after you write this list you will be amazed at how many toys your child really has!

  • Construction (Blocks, mobilo, Lego, Duplo, Connect a blocks, Train Set, straws)
  • Imaginary/dramatic (Farm Animals, Dinosaurs, Little People, Hospitals, Schools, Restaurants)
  • Puzzles (Magnetic, Peg, Floor, Latch Board)
  • Games (Board Games, Card Games, Games of Skill, Games of Chance, computers)
  • Fine Motor/Manipulatives (Threading, Lacing, Pegs, Drawing Boards)
  • Learning (Leap Pad, Leap Frog Letters, Magnetic Numbers)
  • Busy Bag (Small indpendent activities)
  • Books 
2. Now you need to make some decisions
  • How often will you rotate the toys?  For me it was weekly in the school holidays and fortnightly during school term.
  • How many of each category will you put out to keep them interested for this length of time?
  • Where will you store a) the items they can play with b) the items for rotating?
3. We are using this old “Collage Trolley” from my classroom.  This trolley has also been used a second change table when the children were babies!  Any old change table, bookcase, set of shelves, basket system will do!!!
From Top to Bottom for this particular week we had
Busy bags – These are independent activities in a small bag.  These are primarily aimed at Little Miss A who is nearly 3.  I will show you whats in them next time!
 
  • Fine Motor – Large buttons and shoe laces for threading
  • Book Basket – Valentine’s Themed books
  • Puzzles – I have a great little stand I got form Big W – On it I have 5 “general” puzzles.  On the top is a magnetic, dress the Ballerina puzzle and next to it is our “latch board”
  • Fine Motor/Constrauction – Peg Board (this one was from Kmart for under $15)
  • Imaginative Play – Schools!!!  I put the leap frog letters in here and they have been playing “schools” with them!
  • Large Construction – Basic wooden blocks with a container of “city” blocks and car track.
These have been out for a week and a half and tmrw I am hoping to change them over in time for the weekend!
We have used 3 different places to store the other toys under the stairs, on the back of the large bookshelf and in our Trofast/Expedit system in the playroom.  I hope to share that with you next week!
So what do you think is Toy Rotation an option for you? 
 
 
 
 

Managing The Family Finances. ~ Part 1 ~ Doing Your Homework

This, for me is the hardest part of managing a home. I am hopeless with money!  Until last year it was my husband who took care of the finances.  But somehow along the tracks, in a moment of absurdity, I said I would try to take the reins.  So this is my story of taking hold of the family budget, and managing the household finances. 

Doing your homework.  Getting your head around the finances. The aim here is to work out

  • How much you spend
  • What you spend it on
  • When you spend it (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly)

STEP 1. Make a list of ALL of the household expenses. At this stage this could just be off the top of the head. Every family has different expenses but some possibilities are;

Mortgage/Rent

Rates

Water

Electricity

Gas

Home Telephone

Mobile phones

Pay Tv

Home Insurance

Car Insurance

Health Insurance

Life Insurance

Car registration

Car Maintenance

Petrol

School/Childcare Fees

School Expenses (uniforms, books, excursions, levies)

Extra Curicular Activities (sporting teams, clubs, hobbies)

Other Loans/Regular Credit Card payments

Groceries

Entertainment/Going Out

Holidays

If possible write them directly into a budget spreadsheet. You can create your own using Excel or Even a table in Word.  Or browse the web their are so many to choose from.

STEP 2. Gather or PRINT OFF YOUR BANK STATEMENTS.  At least 6 Months worth.

STEP 3. HIGHLIGHT – You will need at least 4 different colour highlighters. Use a different colour to highlight each of the expenses on your bank statement accordingly, as per the list below.  

I am going to use colour examples just to help make the example clearer.

  • GREEN – Set Payments Mortage/Rent/Phone/Rates/Insurances/Registration/School Fees – These are the amounts that do not regularly change or if they do it is by a few dollars.  These items are classed as essential and are not negotiable.  When you come accross these items write the AMOUNT and FREQUENCY of the bill onto your template.
  • ORANGE – Regular Payments – Electricity, Gas – These payments are due regularly, are essential. but can fluctuate in their amount. Write these AMOUNTS and FREQUENCY onto your budget template in pencil only as you will have a lot of amounts! 
  • PINK – Unavoidable Expenses – Groceries, Petrol, Gifts – These payments can fluctuate in how often they occur and how much they cost. They are essential but negotiable and open to finding some big savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET.
  • YELLOW Avoidable Expenses – This is the other category – These are one off non essential items – like entertainment (hiring dvd’s,parties, clothes, hair cuts, eating out, holidays, days out, buying coffee etc) This is the category with the most chance of savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET
These 3 easy steps will now have your head around what is being spent!  
For me this was the hardest part of all.  It was hard to be honest about how much we were spending or should I say wasting! You are now off to a great financial start and ready to FINALISE A FAMILY BUDGET! But thats is PART 2!
PART 3 will be creating a FAMILY FINANCE SYSTEM
 

 

 

 

PART 4 is establishing a place for all the paper work a FAMILY FINANCE FOLDER!

PART 5 setting up a CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM.

and to think I could write about Managing the Family Finances in one post!  

If you want to skip ahead check  out the following blog posts on the systems in our house.

 

 

 

 

 

The Family Finance System

The Family Finance Folder

 

 The Cash Envelope System