Posted in clean, decluttering, neat, organization, Time management

Getting Your Groove Back

Hey everyone! I often find myself flustered trying to squeeze all these tasks and chores into just a couple days, such as the fabulous weekend. Weekends are so precious and fly by faster than we’d like them to, so doesn’t it make sense to leave the mandatory tasks for during the week? It’s always such a bummer when I just want to relax on Saturday or Sunday but I promised myself I would do a 3-5 hour project which is not enjoyable at all; not everyone has a cleaning lady, but if you do, good for you!! Anyways, lately I have been trying to get as much as I can done during the week so the weekend is mine to do as I please.

Simple trick – set aside 30 minutes a day.

gear-clock-antique-gold

Everyday when I get home from work, I think of one or two things I can do around my house that won’t take long such as putting away the laundry, or even putting a load or two in to wash/dry. Tuesdays, for example are the fun days, I feel like: I only have one 1-hour show, so I’ll put in a couple loads, or de-clutter my room a bit, then lie down with a candle burning and read a Harry Potter book on my Kindle. I basically get off on having a clean house, especially my room. I don’t spend a lot of time in my room, so I feel like that’s the place that gets easily forgotten.

This is why the 30 minute challenge works well for me because I can de-clutter enough to get my rocks off (not literally, but I sure am an organization freak). Nothing makes me happier than being able to walk through my room without tripping over cords or bumping into stuff. Try it, and thank me later! Remember, even if your house looks like it belongs on Hoarders, pushing yourself to get everything clean in one day is unrealistic! It didn’t take a day to make the mess, so it’s going to take some time to organize it. Be patient with yourself and tackle one thing at a time.

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Posted in Auto Pay, bills, credit cards, organization

Avoid Stressing About Your Bills!

Hey everyone! In the past I’ve started my posts with scenarios. Well, the scenario I would have written was going to sound quite similar to one I’ve detailed in the past, so I’m going to get to all the good stuff instead. In today’s day in age, technology has become extremely advanced to the point you can even lock your home doors from a faraway location via cell phone apps. With all these technological conveniences, it’s a wonder why companies still have late fees. The point of this story is: Auto Pay! I have debated on setting my own bills on Auto Pay for quite some time for the simple reason of consequence. For example, what if I don’t have all the money in my bank account by the date this company plans on taking it out? What if I get charged a bank fee and a late fee from this particular company? We’ll those fears are legitimate, as others have shared the same. Here are some ways to make this as fool proof as possible:

bills_worried.jpg

 

1. Carefully read the Terms and Conditions before setting an account on Auto Pay.

 

Most people generally scroll to the bottom and simply click “agree” instead of reading through it all. Then, at a later time, find an unknown charge or increased minimum payment on their account that the customer service representative explains was on the agreement. Trust me, it’s better just to read it all and save it after. This contract will detail any scenario that may occur and the action of the 1st and 2nd party (the company and yourself). If this agreement changes at any time, the company you do business with should let you know via letter or e-mail.

*Please note: If your Auto Pay rule is set for the minimum payment due and that minimum is increased for any reason, the company you do business with may require you make a second payment or they will just take it out themselves. Again, this is something you will read in the Terms and Agreement.

2. Browse upcoming months to discover when the best date to set this recurring payment to.

 

While the date may be perfect this month, what happens when the next Auto Pay rule is set before your next pay day? I looked through every month to make sure the date is convenient, not only by pay days, but also by what day of the week it falls on. Say your bill is due on the 9th and you set your Auto Pay rule for the due date; your bill could be late. Some companies give a pass if your account is set an Auto Pay. Some will charge you a late fee. Some companies even take the money out on the Friday prior so you can avoid these fees. I prefer the less risky approach, so I do the research myself and set the Auto Pay rule for a few days in advance.

3. Don’t forget to check your bill!

 

At any time, for any reason, your bill can change. Just because your account is set on Auto Pay doesn’t mean you never have to open your mail (or your e-mail, for you savvy people out there). One time my credit card company removed $80 from my account instead of $35 so while I have been guilty of this, I have been working to break that habit little by little.

 

I hope this post helps you all become less stressed about paying your bills. Also, please remember that not one of us is perfect! Being perfectly organized does not happen overnight! This is a process that takes mistakes and learning from them. Good luck, you all.

Posted in neat, organization

Letting Consistency Be the Key to Your Success

Scenario: You’re waiting in line at the grocery store when you receive a text from your friend asking “Why weren’t you at Zumba class this morning?” You think to yourself, that was today?; What day is it today? It’s easy to get lost in time when life keeps you busy. The key to remembering what is when and when is when is to keep a log and check it often.

Everyone gets overwhelmed once in a while, especially if you have kids and then you have to account time for their activities. Even though I don’t have kids, I am always out and about doing something. So, one of the things I do is use my calendar efficiently. When things come up, I mark it on my calendar and I refer to it often. I tell my husband a couple times a week “Don’t forget we have to do ‘this’ on Thursday.” It’s not only to remind my husband, but also to remind myself. I find that repeating tasks out loud helps me remember when things are to be done.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to stay organized, so I started searching through Microsoft Excel and found a few neat spreadsheets for you all to take into consideration. These are pretty easy to get to: Open Microsoft Excel > File > New > Templates. You will come to a screen that will let you open sample templates of time sheets, lists, planners, receipts, schedules and so much more.

september-calendar-2016

I’m just showing you September from this spreadsheet, but upon opening yours, you’ll find it’s a complete 2016 calendar. I added just a few things that may come up on a large amount of viewers’ weekly tasks. The point of marking the weekly occurrence is to keep consistency. If you can control when you do certain things, such as exercising, it would help to keep it on the same days and times so you can easily remember these things. I often say to myself, “Tomorrow is Thursday, so I’m going to wake up early, exercise and then get ready for work.”

Remember, not everything comes so easily, so if you find yourself struggling to remember when tasks need to be done, refer to your calendar. The most important part is actually utilizing your calendar by marking everything down when it comes up. There are times I do not have my calendar with me when I’m out, so I use a sticky note and I stick it to my phone, so when I get home I have the reminder to put it in my calendar. There are also reminders on your cell phone; just set a detailed reminder to go off around the time you get home and when it goes off put it in your calendar. Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions, comments and suggestions!

Posted in 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!

 

Posted in 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 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.