Evaluating Your To Do List

I love to do lists. I thrive on to do lists. I have the amazing Listo App that I found out about through Thea over at Time With Thea. I had this ‘To Do List’ Post on my to do list. It’s borderline ridiculous. I think lists are a great tool for organizing for a few reasons.

-To get it out of your head!!! I would lay there for hours at night sometimes thinking about things I have to do, afraid that that I would forget them by the morning. So I started keeping a pad of paper in my nightstand drawer so that I can write things down and not worry about whatever task I just thought up.

-When you can cross something off a list, it can give you a sense of accomplishment. I love watching the dwindling number of items on the list.

-It can motivate you to do more so that you can achieve specific goals. By breaking down bigger projects into more achievable list items, you can complete more individual tasks and that often makes you want to keep going.

However, lists are not always the joyous organizational tool I picture them to be. I have had many a melt down when I realized not everything was going to get done. I have panicked as I ran out of room on the paper because I keep adding things. I have also had too many lists going at once and I get overwhelmed. I could literally make a list of the lists that I have. Here is a general breakdown of my relationship with lists:

to do list

So I decided to re-evaluate how I make my list of tasks. Yesterday I sat down and wrote down everything I wanted to do that day. Then I gave each task a letter based on a great method from the GLORIOUS time management book called ‘Eat That Frog’. I could write a book on this book! It is short, easy to understand, and full of great tips. I will definitely be doing a post on it at some time. Basically, you prioritize your tasks and work on the most important ones first.

Now here’s the new step I added. I estimated how much time each task would take and then added the times up. The total? 12 Hours!!!! Let’s not forget that things like, well, eating were not on my to do list. Neither was taking care of my kids, or driving my 4 year old to and from school, or getting through the constant flow of emails and phone calls I deal with during my day job, or washing the dishes, doing laundry, or a little down time for Pete’s Sake! So I had 12 hours of tasks plus probably 10 hours of daily life. That’s 22 hours of ‘To Do’s with only about 12 hours to do it. That’s the definition of crazy right there. I decided I was no longer allowed to beat myself up for not getting everything done. After all, it was physically impossible to get it all done. And that’s ok! I’m going to use this little trick with my lists from now on. It helped me prioritize, it helped me focus and it helped me realize that I am only human, not a robot.

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Ironically, this is a long and rambling post on time management. I have learned a valuable lesson though. I simply CANNOT cram 22 hours worth of tasks into a 12 hour day. So I’m putting the list down for the night and I’m going to have a glass of wine!

Check back in a couple days for the start of the Self Care for September Series!!!! I’m so excited about this month long challenge to create a better self! Make sure you sign up for the newsletter on the Self Care page so you’re sure to get all of the updates and challenges. Please join us!

~Erin

Self Care for September: Introducing the Monthly Challenge

When I write about organizing, there is a lot of focus on where to put things and how to make them functional and pretty. However, the real drive behind my organizational focus is not the actual stuff in my house. I organize because I want to clear my mind. I want to create spaces that are meaningful and easy to live in. I want to make time for more important things, like my family and friends. So the mental benefits of organization are the true inspiration for everything I write about.

This month, I have teamed up with Kristi from Life Sprinkles for a monthly challenge called Self Care For September. Self Care Logo 2

For all of September, we will be exploring ways, big and small, that you can care for yourself. Creating a better you is the first step in creating everything else you want from life.

Here is how you can participate:

-Sign up for the Self Care For September Newsletter. You will receive the weekly newsletter that will include the daily ‘mini challenges’ and also the ‘weekly challenge’. The daily challenges are small and can usually be completed in 15 minutes or less. The weekly challenge is a little bigger and just might include a shopping trip or another little extravagance you’ve been putting off.

-If you are a blogger, you can grab one of the buttons from the sidebar and write your own post on self care during the month. We would love to see how other people are putting our Self Care Plan into action.

-Feel free to make up your own daily and weekly challenges too. We would love to hear the way you’re working your way to a better you. Share in our comments, facebook pages (NeatenYourNest or LifeSprinkles) , or twitter (@klifesprinkles and @neatenyournest)! Check us out on Instagram too (@klifesprinkles and @erinsnyder123)!

-We will also be posting our own progress throughout the month in our posts.

We will be having several random giveaways as well. Use the hashtag #selfcareseptember when you check in with us to be eligible!

Please join us in our Self Care for September Challenge!

~Erin

Spices – not just for the pantry anymore

I recently posted on how I Organized My Spices. I absolutely love how I finally have them organized, but in my exhaustive search for a spice storage solution, I came across endless great storage ideas. One trend I noticed is that people seem to be pulling the spices out of the pantry or spice cabinet and making them more of a feature in their kitchens. Here are a few of my favorites:

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I love how the spice shelves are combined with the apron hooks. So cute and handy!

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There are so many magnetic spice jars out there now, from simple baby food jars with glued on magnets to high end containers with fancy magnetic boards. Whichever way you choose to magnetize, it is sure to keep the spices handy and create and interesting look for the kitchen. I love how the photo above shows how you can really fit the spices into your decor and make them look more like art.

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How convenient is this drawer set up as a spice rack? The small angled shelves make it easy to see all of the spices and get them out easily.

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And this is my absolute favorite spice rack that I found….it is a vintage coke bottle crate hung on the wall. I love a little vintage! And it’s creative, interesting and functional at the same time.

For more ideas on how to ‘spice’ things up in your kitchen, check out my Pinterest Board on Kitchen and Pantry Organizing!

~Erin

 

Kitchen Organizing – Time to Spice it Up

Pantry - Spice Banner

I have been trying to organize my pantry for over a year. It’s not done yet. I’m not sure it will ever be done. Probably at least once a day I give it a once over glance and think “why doesn’t it look the way I want it to?” But it’s functional and it’s about a million times better than it was a year ago, so what are ya gonna do?

One part I’m absolutely smitten with is the spices. Here is the before of the spice shelf:

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I didn’t like all of the different size containers and they were hard to organize. I spent hours and hours on Pinterest and other blogs looking for great spice organizing ideas. I found some great ones. Chalk labels, magnetic lids, turnstyle holders….but none of them were perfect for my needs. My next post will have some of the other great ideas I found just so I can share how many creative ways there are to store spices.  I finally found simple, plain spice jars at Bed Bath & Beyond. These were exactly what I was looking for and I knew I could just use my label maker to add the names of the spices.

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I’m not going to lie here people, these weren’t the cheapest things on the market. They were 2 bucks a pop and I needed about 28. So, I got a few for my birthday last year. And a few for Christmas. And a few more for Mother’s Day. I just couldn’t pull the trigger on a $56 charge for spice jars at one time. In my head, spreading out the spending makes it feel like less. (Note: That is not necessarily a good financial tactic, but I did make sure it was something I really wanted and I planned for it accordingly) So I FINALLY have my spices beautifully organized in these jars.

I LOVE them! Let me tell you a few of my ridiculously over-analyzed well thought-out criteria for spice jars.

-They had to stand so that I could see all of the jars at the same time. There were some cute options with pull out drawers, but you couldn’t just open the pantry and see them all at once.

-They needed to have a shaker side for sprinkling spices and also an open side for measuring out into measuring spoons.

-They needed to be tall and thin instead of short and squatty (that’s a technical term).

-I wanted clear jars so I could see the spices.

-I had to be able to put the labels near the top so that I could actually see the labels when the spices were lined up on my stepped storage shelf.

I’m thrilled!

Pantry - Spice (1) Pantry - Spice (3) Pantry - Spice (6)

I love the bright colors of the spices and how all of the jars are uniform.

I hope to share more of my pantry success stories shortly. Right now, they are few and far between so let’s all keep our fingers crossed for some progress!

~Erin

 

The Mindful Nest – Family

When it comes to managing all there is to handle in a busy life, we can often forget the most important things of all. I saw this quote on Just a Girl and Her Blog about raising children and I think it will change my life:

“Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; you are raising a human being.”

-Kittie Franz

I have such a huge responsibility to these two wonderful little people I helped bring into the world. And when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter if their closets are organized or if their shirts are perfectly clean. What matters is that I help to raise them with love, respect, manners and laughter.

Quote - Kids

 

~Erin

Project Organizing for scrapbooking, papers and crafts

I am eternally behind on my scrapbooking projects. I think it’s because, as much as I WANT to love scrapbooking, I don’t. But I’ve obtained all of these glorious scrapbooking items…paper flowers, trim ribbon, metal name tags…seriously the most adorable stuff. I’ve been using things for various other projects but I still want to at least get my photos and memories in an organized book for each year. Up until now, I have separated each year into its own reusable grocery bag and hung them in my closet. Aren’t they pretty?

bags

Um, no, they are not pretty. They look cluttered and bulky and every once in a while, the weight of one year of wonderful memories gets to be too much for a hanger and it will slowly unbend until it comes crashing down in a frantic memorabilia mess on the floor. Soooo, I needed another storage option for these. Enter the Project Box!

I was so excited to find these for $5 a piece at Walmart and to start getting a better system for my projects.

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So I’ve started a box for each year I’m behind on. The inside of the boxes still look a little cluttered but at least everything is contained and stackable!

And the best part is that I can think of so many other ways to use them after I’ve caught up on my scrapbooking (which might never, ever happen). They would be great for party planning. You wouldn’t believe how many printables and cutouts I had laying around while planning my son’s Dr. Seuss Birthday Party.  They would be great storage for thank you notes, stationary and extra greeting cards. Kid’s craft supplies? Smaller seasonal clothing items like scarves and mittens? An emergency kit for the car with batteries, snacks, first aid kit and other supplies?

I’m excited about my find and to finally have that extra space in my closet back.

~Erin