Posted in 2015, clean, decluttering, neat, organization

How to Stay Organized: De-cluttering

Scenario: It’s midday and you’re hanging out on the couch when a commercial comes on to sponsor gorgeous pairs of heels. You think twice before hopping online to purchase them because you remember buying a pair very similar to them a few months ago. So, you head to your closet and browse around clothes and shoes you haven’t seen or worn in years. By now, you cant seem to figure out where was the last time you even saw those heels. It’s frustrating when you cant find something you’re looking for, especially right away.

The key to staying organizing is to beat procrastination. A lot of times we put things away with the idea that we will go back to it someday, and a lot of times we don’t. You will have to de-clutter your home every few months to get rid of unnecessary items in order to avoid keeping things you never use.

Usually I go through my belongings every season. This is helpful to me because I can take out the shoes I plan to wear that season that I wasn’t able to wear the season before. For example, we are going into winter now, so a couple of weeks ago I went through my room and gathered up all the shoes I can’t wear when it’s snowing (flip flops, flats, thin-fabric shoes). Then I take out my suitcase, which I put all my off-season shoes in, and take out my boots and thick-fabric gym shoes.

This is helpful to do with clothes too, especially since we usually don’t stay the same size year round. I like to go through my drawers and take out tank tops, short sleeves, shorts and leggings that don’t fit or aren’t my still anymore. Most of the clothes I have, have little wear and tear, if any; normally I put all my old clothes in a bag and donate it to the Salvation Army. You can find these in big metal boxes, usually at schools, doctors offices and malls. Once you have some space in your closet and drawers, you can go SHOPPING for new items!

De-cluttering doesn’t have to be a headache. Start with one room and don’t stop until that room is done. Try not to overwhelm yourself by doing more than you can handle. Sometimes I find myself getting carried away and after working on a room for hours, I become exhausted. A good thing to do is step away for a little while – get something to drink, take a shower, make something to eat, etc.

 

Remember, it didn’t take one day to make that mess, so it won’t take one day to clean it all up!

 

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Posted in 2015, bills, neat, organization

Tips and Tricks To Staying Organized: Creating a Budget

Scenario: Your girlfriend calls and says she wants to go on a date; preferably a movie. You don’t enjoy going to the theatre because ticket prices are rocketed through the roof – but you still say yes to the romantic date. During the show you receive a text message from your bank that you have overdrawn in your account by the same amount of dollars it cost to see the movie you are sitting in. Embarrassed, you fake sick to avoid paying for dinner. When you arrive at home, you check your online banking account and realize that you only had enough to cover your phone bill. Then, you remember you set up automatic bill pay so you wouldn’t forget to pay it on time; but you still forgot the day it gets paid.

No one likes to be caught off guard with money. In my previous blog, I taught you how to use a personal calendar. I’m going to dig a bit deeper into that and show you how to create a budget!

So first things first – personal calendar. It’s important to use a calendar, especially if you’re forgetful, like myself. I use a notebook calendar so I can take it with me wherever I go. Seems silly to take it everywhere, but it’s better to have it and be prepared than to promise you will be somewhere when you already have made plans. Generally, I put my works hours on the monthly calendar. I also go the extra step to highlight pay period start-end dates and mark the days I get paid along with how many hours should be on my check. I then list down my bills corresponding to the date they are due. This is helpful because I can roughly calculate how much my check is going to be so I can create a budget and pay my bills on time.

*Note: This is gathered from my Google account, for which I used a blank calendar to demonstrate this example. None of what you are seeing are true numbers/due dates.

So, after you have marked your schedule, your calendar should look something like this:

Sample Calendar
Sample Calendar

As you can see, I listed off my bills and exactly when they are due. Next was my work schedule. I followed that up by marking my pay period start-end dates with a green box; next to that I counted up how many hours I would be working that go into that period (that is what the number “80” stands for in green). Pay day is Friday, so I simply put a green dollar sign on Friday’s date so I can remember when I’m supposed to get paid.

I also make sure to get paper copies of my bill statements so I can put that in my calendar, too. The calendar I have also lists by week/day/time, so I find the corresponding date and staple my bill onto it. This way, if I have any questions or concerns about my bill, I know exactly where to find it. It comes in handy to take a note of when you paid the specific bill (in case you pay it early or late) and the confirmation number to trace the payment.

Stapling bills to corresponding dates on weekly calendar
Stapling bills to corresponding dates on weekly calendar

I retrieved this sample bill from Antares Group Incorporated.

Remember to always record your confirmation number. I know of some phone companies who text message it to you, which is great. It’s always useful to do this for all payments you make, in case there is an error in the system and they shut off your water thinking you didn’t pay it.

Now that should help you get a better idea of how to stay organized. Remember, some of these things are optional. For example, you don’t necessarily have to mark your pay period start-end dates. I like to do this because it’s easy for me to remember what days I am getting paid for on my next check in case I pick up extra shifts, call in sick or request days off. It is also helpful to list them all because it plays a role in my next step, which is Creating a Budget.

So as you can see, we have a few bills due for this month. Let’s act like it’s the first of the month, so we can have a fresh start. Because your bills aren’t all due on the same day, it’s important you refresh your memory by taking a look at them at least once a week. (I usually check it every other day- three days, just to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.)

For easy numbers, let’s pretend there are no government taxes being withheld, no minimum wage and every bill listed is for $50; except for Rent – rent is $350.

So we’re going to start off with seeing how much your check is going to be. The first time you get paid in August is the 7th, which would mean that you would have already paid your rent. Since we are pretending there are no government taxes being withheld and no minimum wage, let’s continue by saying you get paid $8.00/per hour. If you worked 80 hours in your two week pay period, on August 7th, you would get paid $640. ($8.00*80 hours=$640)

Now that you’ve calculated your check, it’s time to see how much you actually get to keep for yourself!

You have four bills due before your next paycheck, so that means you have to calculate that into this paychecks budget. Remember we said every bill was going to be $50? So if the utility bill, phone bill, car insurance and car payment are all $50 each, then that would mean you need to take out $200 from your check to cover the costs. ($50*4 bills=$200)

You want to be sure you don’t spend this money, otherwise you’ll be driving with no insurance until they take your car away – and even in the best case scenario that it doesn’t happen, you still won’t have a phone to call for help in case it does.

Now, you’ve collected $600 from your employer and “spent” $200 to put aside for your bills; that leaves you with $440. Let’s stop here and take a look at what your next check and bills are going to look like so you have more of an idea what you need to save.

Your next paycheck is the day after your utility bill is due, which means you only have to pay rent. Rent is $350 and is due on the first of every month; assuming you don’t plan to take off any days from work or pick up any shifts, your check is supposed to be $640, just like the last check was. Foreshadow that after you pay rent, you should have $290 left over. ($640-$350=$290)

Whether or not you’re okay with both these numbers depends on if you should put some money off to the side for the end of the month. Usually, if I have extra money from my paycheck, I dedicate the rest of it to future bills. I also have a partner, so this is a bit easier to do because I know there is other money coming in. If you’re no okay with having $290 at the end/beginning of the month because that’s usually the time you do grocery shopping and get your cat food, like I do, you should plan ahead and take a few bucks from your first check and put that off to the side in case you need it later.

I know this is probably a lot of information to take in at once, and that’s okay! It doesn’t take one night to become organized. It takes patience, attention to detail, time and effort!

 

 

Posted in 2015, bills, Budgeting, organization, Time management

Tips and Tricks on How to Stay Organized: Using a Personal Calendar

Scenario: It’s the end of the day and you’re beyond ready to go to bed. As you begin to drift into a dream, you suddenly think,  “When is the utility bill due?” In a panic, you stumble out of bed to look at your calendar. Only problem is: it’s not there! You crawl around the house to open unread mail and scramble through unused drawers to find the utility bill. Disappointed and exhausted, you give up and decide to continue the search the next day. When you arrive at work, you finally find the bill… In your purse. Why was it there? And how can you avoid this situation in the future?

Procrastination is a huge factor in being disorganized! You say you’re going to open letters, put things away and file bills, but you never get around to it. The trick is simple: Conquer procrastination! 

The key to being organized is to keep a habitual routine. Every morning when the mailman comes, I collect my mail and open it right away. I shred the mail I will not need and put all bills in one pile. It’s good to know where all your bills are when you need it, so it’s highly beneficial to put them all in the same place.

I personally keep a daily calendar to record things to remember, such as doctor appointments and work schedules. What helps me remember what bills are due and when, is to mark the date on the monthly calendar sheet with a short description (Example: June 15: Rent). Then, on each weekly sheet, I staple the bill due on that week.

Now, you can’t put in all that work to maintain an organized calendar if you don’t ever check it besides when you get bills in the mail! Make it a habit to check your calendar daily. I take mine with me almost everywhere, which may be unnecessary; but if I go to the doctors and they want to schedule a follow-up, it’s helpful to know right off the bat exactly when I’m free.

Using a personal calendar has been a huge help for me to stay organized! I highly suggest getting one if you have trouble remembering when bills need to be paid.

Always remember: It did not take one day to become disorganized. Therefore, it will take determination on a daily basis to get and stay organized.

Posted in 2015, clean, decluttering, neat, organization

Tips and Tricks To Becoming Organized: Daily Routine

get organized

Scenario: You forget to set your alarm, causing you to wake up late for work. You have to take a shower and fix your hair before you leave the house, except, that pretty new blazer you just bought is missing! It should have been in the hallway closet but it’s not. You spend more time than you should have looking for it, and now you have to throw on the first cardigan in reach. You wish you could have fixed your hair, but since you couldn’t find your blazer, all you had time to do was put it in a bun.

You don’t enjoy being in a rush but you don’t know any other way to make life simpler. Here’s the trick: get organized!

First step is to put everything from the same category in the same place. WARNING: This might get messy before you start to see results. Don’t give up! Observe your routine and start with the first on your list. For example, if the first thing you do in the morning is shower, then begin with rearranging your clothes. Make sure all shirts, pants, shorts, leggings, socks, sweaters and undergarments are all in their proper places. For me, this usually means I have to put away a few loads of clean clothes from laundry day.

Once you have all your clothes neatly put away, the next step is to work on hair and makeup accessories. I’m a big fan of using old shoe boxes and storing them underneath my bed. This is where I put my appliances, such as blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron and rollers. Another big fan of mine is baskets; they come in handy for your bathroom or bedroom while taking up minimal space.

The next step to assuring you have everything in place for the next day is putting things in the same spot every single time. Keys are the most commonly misplaced item in many peoples homes. An easy way of remembering where your keys are is to ALWAYS put them in the same place. After a while, this becomes a habit and then you’ll never have a problem with losing your keys!

I personally have an obsession with Chapstick and I used to lose my sticks all the time! One day, I was cleaning and found FOUR sticks of Chapsticks, so I decided to be proactive. First, I put all my sticks in one spot until I was done cleaning and intentionally left out a few of my favorite items. I put a stick in the pocket of my favorite sweater, two purses, and the fourth stick in my car; This way, anytime I leave the house, I have Chapstick with me!

It’s best to work on one task one day at a time. Remember: Things did not become cluttered overnight, therefore they won’t be organized overnight.