Archive of ‘organization’ category

Tips for The Procrastinator

Tips for the Procrastinator

Are you still going strong on your New Year’s resolutions or are you already slipping back into your old habits? They say it takes 21 days to change a habit or get into a new routine and 90 days to change a lifestyle. I never really do resolutions. I like to set obtainable goals for my professional and personal life. That way I have ways to evaluate those goals for success or to reassess if need be. Procrastination is a huge obstacle that throws a wrench in even the best intentions. When I was in college and had a big test to study for I would do everything else I could think of before I would focus and study. I would clean every inch of my apartment, I would go to the gym and workout, and I would put in a couple extra hours at my campus job. Finally, after everything was done then I would study. I put it off until I couldn’t think of anything else to do. It would always get done, but why wouldn’t I just focus and buckle down from the beginning and just study?

We tend to procrastinate on things that we fear or are not good at.  This makes perfect sense to me. Who wants to do something that you’re dreading?  I have found the best way to tackle my week is to make lists.  I am definitely a list kind of girl. Then I prioritize my list into tasks that need to be done in order of importance.  Seeing everything visually allows me to check what items I can finish myself and what tasks I can delegate to other people in my house.

Sticking to a routine helps me stay on task.  My kids leave for school at the same time everyday and as soon as they leave I’m dressed and ready to work.  Setting a timer also helps.  Giving yourself a certain amount of time to check emails and social media really saves you from going over board and wasting a lot of time.

Try to limit distractions especially if you work from home.  There are so many things that can distract you.  I work from home and there are tons of things that can get me off task. The best thing I did was to create my own work space.  I have my own office where I can shut the door and be creative in a beautiful space. I try to get all my work done before my kids come home so I can give them my full attention when they get home.

The key to being productive is just starting.  You wouldn’t believe how much you can get done if you just start.  This will put you in such a positive place that I bet you will want to keep going and stay motivated to complete whatever project you’re currently working to finish. You can do all the research in the world for your business, but if you don’t take action nothing will ever get done.

Quotes

I found these quotes pertaining to procrastination on Pinterest.  Some didn’t have the sources  but they are included where it applies.

PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF DREAMS. (CREE INDIAN SAYING)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU WANT TO BE IS WHAT YOU DO.

IF IT TAKES LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES TO DO, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. YOUR LIFE WILL INSTANTLY BECOME MUCH MORE ORGANIZED AND PRODUCTIVE.

CLUTTER IS THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF UNMADE DECISIONS FUELED BY PROCRASTINATION. (CHRISTINA SCALISE)

 I would love for you to check out what I’m doing on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

8 Tips to Make Your December More Enjoyable

Christmas is just around the corner.  As the song goes it is my favorite time of the year. There is so much to get excited about, but with that can also come a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed.  There is a lot of pressure associated with pulling off a spectacular holiday for your family.  Busy moms deserve to have an amazing stress free December with their family.  The key to making things go smoother for me is to have a plan of action and be organized several days or weeks before the event actually occurs.  I am not good at waiting until the last minute to throw something together.  Here are some tips that I have found helpful to make my December more enjoyable.

Tips for a stress free December. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips to An Organized December

  1.  Decide what Charities and groups you will help early on.  There are lots of opportunities to help others around the holidays.  Our family is very involved with a group called PIN (People In Need).  It helps the homeless community get back on their feet.  My husband has been a huge part of this charity for quite some time.  Although we help them year round, we have also made it our family Christmas project. We save toiletries all year and then make care packages to hand out at Christmas to the homeless shelter.  If you don’t know of someone personally in need or don’t have a charity you can always give to Toys for Tots or the Angel Tree.
  2. Make your lists and shop early–  I try to make my master shopping list in late October and get a jump on my shopping in early November.  I like to have the majority of it done by early December so I can actually enjoy December.  I love for family members to give me a list of items they would like to receive. This makes my job a lot easier and my family gets what they want. I even keep my kid’s lists each year and we have fun looking back at the letters they wrote. It’s fun to see what they wrote to Santa when they were younger and what kinds of things they asked for each year.  If you can shop early, I would say that is the one thing that could save you from being overwhelmed in late December.
  3. You can’t do EVERYTHING in December if you want to stay sane-  You have to learn to say No.  There are certain events that you just are not going to be able to attend if you want to do what’s best for your family.  This one took me a while to get a grip on. There are so many extra events and parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas that you just want to cram everything in.  Well that’s when the bad moods and meltdowns are going to occur.  Stick to your family traditions that you enjoy and are a “must do” and a couple of other events.  Say NO to the rest.  Then you will have time to get your list done.
  4. Get your family traditions scheduled on the calendar ASAP-  There are things my family does each year that we want to continue doing.  Some things need reservations and if I’m not on the ball prior to the Thanksgiving break then we are out of luck.  One year, I was too late on setting up the brunch reservation at the place we eat each year.  We get dressed up and go to the hotel and look at all the holiday decor around the property. It was completely booked on every Sunday in December by the time I remembered to call.  You would have thought I had boycotted Christmas the way my kids acted.  But you can guarantee I will never forget to book that brunch because my family loves it so much. It is just part of what we do in December that makes it Christmas to us.
  5. Wrap your gifts as you buy them-  Wrapping your gifts as you purchase them can really keep you organized. Sometimes I actually forget what I have already purchased or lose small things like gift cards or jewelry.  Keeping the gifts wrapped as I go gets them out of my closet and under the tree.  I also use different paper for each child so it’s easier to pass out gifts on Christmas morning. Plus they like choosing their paper each year.
  6. Finish your Christmas Cards Early–  This is a hard task for me each year.  I don’t want to leave it until the middle of December. I really have to start thinking of this in October or my photographer will be booked.  I try to have him take the pictures and do a custom card for us.  It is just easier for me and I always love what he does. However, Minted offers such great cards and prices that you can create something amazing to show off your family to your friends. I like to start addressing them by Thanksgiving break and send them in early December.
  7. Make all special gifts for teachers, neighbors, and party hosts early- Get your ideas and supplies together for gifts you need to make for the special people in your life.  When my kids were younger we used to make DIY gifts for their teachers, bus drivers, and our wonderful neighbors.  It was fun to get them involved in the process.  We would throw some Christmas music on and get in the crafting zone. They took pride that the gift came from them and the teachers always loved something personal.  Of course it always came with a gift card.  Come on…. I’m a former teacher so I know what teachers like… There are only so many coffee mugs full of candy you can get in a season. But it’s the thought that counts. 
  8. Try to Shop during the week or online if you can- Shopping online saves so much time and you don’t have to go out and be bothered by the crowds.  Most sites are offering free shipping now so look for those deals.  Also try to search for coupons prior to your shopping. Most sites will actually have coupon codes that you can print out to take to the stores.  It’s worth a couple minutes to do a quick search.   

Do you have any tips that could help us save time and money this holiday?  Leave a comment below. I am always interested in learning something new.  Christmas is my favorite time of year and I would love to get through it with the least amount of stress as possible.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Journal for your kids

Have you ever thought about making a journal to each one of your kids and your husband?  In 2006, I started a journal for each person in my family. So I have had these journals now for ten years.  My kids are 16 and 14 now. They know about them, but they don’t know what I write in them. My intention was to write special memories, things I wanted them to know when they’re all grown up, and little life lessons that might slip through the cracks.  At the time I started the journals, I was having some trouble with my thyroid. I just started thinking what an amazing thing it would be to have a record for each family member if something ever happened to me unexpectedly.  Then it became a thing I just kept up with.

Have you ever journaled for your family?

Obviously, I don’t write in them every day or even every week.  Sometimes I’m really bad with it and then sometimes I will keep at it for a while. You will notice that some of the time the journals are all taken out and written in on the same day.  Whatever works for you and gets it done.  I keep them by my bedside table so when I think of something I want to write then they’re accessible.

My son’s journal started to come unraveled and I wanted to transfer his to a new journal before the whole thing fell apart.  When I started rewriting his into the new journal I reread some of the memories.  Like how my father in law taught him to ride a bike, that he could swim at 3, and make a ten foot basket at four.  Some really cool things that were really neat to read back and remember.  I think I will give my daughter hers on her wedding day and my son when he graduates from college.  If you haven’t done something like this yet you might want to think about doing this or whatever works for your family.  It literally takes 2-3 minutes to jot down a couple sentences in a journal.  You would be amazed at how little a time commitment it takes and how amazing the outcome will be.

My daughter has had a lot going on in her junior year so lots of things have been in her journal lately.  I expect to be writing a lot in her journal senior year as well. I can’t believe she will be a senior in 17 days.  I will have all high school aged children next year.  Where has the time gone? I hope some of you reading this will think about this idea and you will start your own journals for your kids soon.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

What Do you Do With All Your Phone Pictures?

Do you have a ton of pictures on your phone like I do? Does it ever get to the point where you are deleting things you really want to save because you don’t have anymore storage left?  What do you do with all those pictures?  How can we make it easier to make sure we always get the shot and don’t miss the important moments?

My son made his middle school basketball team for the second year.  My husband and I attend all the games.  I usually use my Canon to take most of the photos.  However, I like to have my phone to video him being announced in the starting line up and little things like that.  The very first city tournament of the season they won. We beat one of our top rivals. Obviously that was a big moment I wanted to capture. I took my camera out to video the award ceremony.  I videoed the second place award and I went to tape us getting the first place trophy and my phone says, “there is no more storage.”  That is so frustrating.  Has this ever happened to you?  This was the most important moment of the game and I was missing it.  There was no way I was going to get that memory back. I really wanted to record that so my son would be able to see it later.  This is not the only time this has happened to me.  It has happened at a Taylor Swift concert, at my daughter’s cheer competitions and the list goes on.  How can you make sure you have enough memory to capture these important memories when the time comes? I am not very tech savvy, but here are a couple ideas on ways to store some of your photos.

What do you do with all your stored pictures? www. yourstrulyjenn.com

ICLOUD PHOTOS- If you are an apple user, iCloud photo Library allows you to sync all your devices so your photos are automatically uploaded to your iPad and MacBook.  Just remember when you delete something from one place you are deleting it from everywhere.  Your recently deleted folder holds pictures and videos for 30 days.  So if you delete something by accident check there.

There are great photo printers you use for phone photos like this one from Sharper Image.  It is called the Smart Phone Photo Cube Printer.  It prints 4×6 pictures without having to be hooked up to your computer.  It is compatible with iPhones, iPads, galaxy, and other android devices.  This is a wonderful choice for all those pictures that have accumulated on your phone and you are looking for a way to print and display them.

The digital photo frames are also an option.  You can download your pictures onto these frames and they make wonderful lasting memories that you can look at and change frequently.  I think these make wonderful gifts for grandparents.

I use dropbox to store a lot of my photos on my computer.  My photographer uses this to send me my photos once they have been processed as well.  It is a great way for me to see my photos quickly and then store them on my computer.

Hopefully you have already figured out a solution for your photo storage needs and have not run into many issues like I have in the past. Do you have any other ideas you could share with me about photo storage?  I would love to hear your comments.  I am getting better about storing my photos, but it has taken me several stubborn mishaps before I got the hang of it.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Properly Organizing Your Christmas Decor

If you’re like me, it takes several weeks to get your home looking the way you want it to for Christmas.  When it’s over, I get a little sad.  I know I will have to put all those beautiful decorations away for another year.  My family loves the lights and decor as much as I do. The house just seems bare when you take down the lights and extra decor.  However, all good things must come to an end and things need to get back to “normal.” There are several things I like to do to make sure my Christmas items are properly organized and put back safely in the attic for next year.

Organizing Your Christmas Decorations

How to Properly Store Christmas Items

  1.  The first thing I like to do is assess what decorations I currently have.  There are several reasons you need to do this.  Some items may not be working anymore or have broken in the process of decorating.   After Christmas is a great time to do any shopping for clearance and sale items.
  2. Use any new inspiration you may have seen throughout the season to come up with new decor ideas for next year.  You may see items that would work with your new theme and you can purchase them for great prices now.
  3. Organize all wrapping materials so you know what you need for next year.  I wrap my kid’s gifts in the paper of their choosing so they are easy to find under the tree.  However, I wrap other packages in paper to match the color palette of my theme.  Knowing this information helps me purchase wrapping paper, ribbon, and gift embellishments year round.
  4. Untangle all lights, garland, and ribbon so items do not become a jumbled up mess in storage.  Use plastic bags or tissue paper to keep items separated.  Label these items and place with the correct storage bin.  I like to hang my wreaths on nails in my attic.  They stay fluffed and the bows stay beautiful all year round.
hang wreath on nails.

Hang wreaths on nails in your attic or storage space.

           5.  Wrapping glass items in bubble wrap or tissue paper is very important. Decorations are very expensive and you don’t want to lose any to improper packaging. Be careful with decor with odd shapes such as reindeer antlers as they tend to be very fragile and hard to store.

        6.   Buy bins for safe and easy storage.  The plastic ones make things easy to see inside.  However, the green and red ones make it visually appealing if you have lots of boxes and bins in your attic.  They easily stand out and you know they are your Christmas items.  Getting the same size bins make it easy for stacking.

             7.   Label boxes with clear packaging tape so you know what contents are in each bin.  You can also move this tape around as your items change or you move the item to another bin.

            8.    Package like items together.  You can group items by theme, color, or specific area such as banister decor etc… It is also a great idea to label what room the bin should go in once out of storage.  That way if someone is helping you bring your boxes down they can easily read where to take the items.

        9.  This is a great time to check your addresses as you receive cards from friends.  Match them with your contacts and change any that you had wrong.  Also purchase cards after Christmas to get a great price on after season items.  Once purchased, you can store with your Thanksgiving items so you can start addressing your envelopes around that time.  It’s never too early to start getting organized.

          10.  Lastly, as you’re taking Christmas items down, deep clean before putting your winter items back on the shelves.  This is a great time to have your home in pristine condition.  I don’t like to put items back unless the house is clean.

I hope these tips helped you get organized and will save you time and hassle when you pull out your items next year.  If you put things back nicely you will be rewarded when you take things out and everything is nicely wrapped, organized, and in great condition.  I hope you all had an amazing holiday and happy New Year to you and your Family.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Freshmen Must Have College Packing List

This is the weekend you’ve been waiting for all summer.  The time has finally come to gain some independence and step out on your own.  However, you will be much better off if you start this adventure with a dorm room that is well organized with the essentials. Below is a must have college checklist that will be helpful when shopping and packing.

Bedding

  • comforter
  • twin sheets
  • mattress pad
  • pillows
  • area rug
  • alarm clock

Toiletries

  • towels
  • washclothes
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • shower shoes
  • razors
  • other make up products
  • shower caddy
  • plastic organizer for the bathroom
  • laundry basket
  • detergent
  • coins for laundry
  • toilet bowl cleaner
  • bathroom cleaner
  • trashcan
  • Shower Curtain

School Supplies

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • TV/Cable Cord/Power Strip
  • Desk Lamp
  • Notebooks and school supplies
  • stamps/envelopes
  • batteries
  • flash drive
  • docking station/chargers

Miscellaneous

  • band aids
  • thermometer
  • tylenol
  • vitamins
  • mirror
  • camera
  • bike
  • food
  • clothes
  • broom/dustpan
  • dustbuster
  • fridge
  • microwave

Going to college is a huge responsibility, but it is also a lot of fun.  For some of you this is your first test of freedom and a chance to show your parents how well you can do on your own.  The best piece of advice I could give you is to take what your parents have taught you and be the person you’ve always wanted to be.  There are no preconceived stereotypes because no one knows you. So take the confidence you may have lacked in high school and go out there and make friends, study hard and make great grades and make this the best experience of your life.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Having Your Own Work Space

What Works Best For You?

Blogging is a very different job.  Unless you are very involved with collaborations and have a great sense of community out there in the blogging world, blogging is a very isolating job.  Also people don’t really get what you do and don’t tend to understand what you’re going through. You work alone and a lot of times you are questioning yourself and the validity of what you’re doing.

One thing that can help make you feel validated and have a purpose is to have your own workspace.  It is hard to work from your master bedroom in your pajamas and feel like you are creating masterpieces day after day.  Your environment is a big part of how you feel each day and affects the creativity you put out.

I always feel a lot more motivated when I’m dressed to the nines and I’m sitting in my office creating posts that are worthy of being published.  My files are all there and if I get stuck I have tons of resources to search through to get me going again. My office is not completely the way I want it, but it’s mine and I love having a place I can call my own.  How do you feel about your workspace?  What special things make it YOUR space?

A Space to Call Yours

Sometimes you don’t have a room you can use just for yourself.  I took a guest room and shared it to make my office.  Also you can put a small desk in a closet and make an office space.  Just something you can call your own.  Some people do well getting dressed and going to a cafe or the library.  whatever works for you will make your work more efficient and in turn more productive. Don’t use what may work for your friend.  Really take a look at what you think would work for you and go for it.

office desk

Have an area to call your own. Even if it’s just a desk.

Distractions Can Kill Your Productivity

Taking away distractions is also a key component to productivity.  If you work at home with kids, you need to pick the best times that work for you.  Can you work while they nap?  How about while they’re at school?  Would early in the morning before everyone gets up work?  You are the only one who knows what works best for you. I have insomnia so I do my best work in the middle of the night. This schedule wouldn’t work for most people.

Also get rid of things that might take you away from getting your work done efficiently.  You may spend too much time on social media or checking your email.  Although these things are important for bloggers, they can get you off track if done in excessive amounts.  Set a certain amount of time to get this done ahead of time and then move on.  Some people like to have noise on in the background, but if you are one that could easily get distracted by tv then leave it off.

Scheduling is a Must

Often times working moms feel a since of guilt juggling work and being a wife and mother.  We wear so many different hats it’s hard to stay in one particular zone.  Setting a permanent schedule is a big deal to keeping you on track.  Your family needs to know when you’re working you are not available to them.  Setting these boundaries in the beginning is very important.  I like to be the best mom and wife I can be, but blogging is also important to me.  In order to do this, I have to balance my time properly. When I’m blogging I focus my time on doing that well.  When I’m at home, I need to stay off social media and give my family my full attention.  Then I feel I’ve given it my best shot and most days are successes.  The key is to have a good balance between your home life and your work.  Zig Ziglar said, “I believe that successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life.”

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

My Library Makeover- Before and After

One of my guilty pleasures is reading.  I love buying BOOKS!!!  I love fiction, non fiction, self help, inspirational, religious, magazines etc…  My husband doesn’t understand  how I can be reading several books at a time.  I’m usually reading a non fiction book because I really enjoy learning and keeping my mind sharp.  However, fiction books are just pure fun and always easy reads. I always have one of those on my night stand.  Since I buy books even though I haven’t finished the ones I currently own (I have a serious book problem) my bookshelves in my library are in need of a little (ok a LOT) TLC.  I love styling bookshelves and these really need to be shaped up.

I would like to take these bookshelves, in my library, and give them a little makeover.  I’m not currently teaching and my kids are both teenagers, so I can really knock down the amount of children’s books I have on my shelves.  I would like to have a shelf down low for my nieces and nephew for when they visit.  Weeding out the huge amount of my guided reading and teaching books will really make room for other things I would like to display on the shelves.

Here is a before picture of the library with all the books that are currently being

stored on the shelves.

BEFORE

My library

The before picture of my library. What a hot mess!!!!

Here is the after picture of the library after I packed away the books I wasn’t using anymore.  This gave me plenty of room to actually style the books that were left and plenty of space left for decorating as well.

Library

It took me 6 hours to box up all these books.

Here is a picture of the library after the bookshelves have been styled.

AFTER

library finished.

The finished product.

This project was a huge undertaking, but I really wanted to be able to find my books quickly.  I decided to organize the books by color and then use some of my decorations to fill in the empty spaces.  I am so pleased with the way it turned out. I can even get to my wedding album and all my scrapbooks.  Let me know if you’ve taken on a project recently and how it turned out.  I would love to hear from you.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

 

 

Decluttering for the Holidays

As the holidays are quickly approaching you may start to feel a little overwhelmed with your long to do list.  I’m sure the last thing you want to do is add something painful like decluttering your home. But when I’m feeling stressed it is usually because the walls feel like they are closing in on me. One of the best feelings is to accomplish something that has been hanging over your head.  You can also help someone else by donating your gently used items.

We are doing some remodeling in our home and this really forced me to purge my closets and most of the rooms in the house.  Here are a few tips I learned along the way.  I am in no way an expert, but I’m trying to minimize the “stuff” in our home that we just don’t need. I hope these tips are helpful.

DECLUTTERING For The Holidays

  1. Even if you paid a lot of money for an item (or have only worn it once), if you’re not getting use out of it….. DONATE!  This tends to be the toughest rule for me.  I have a hard time getting rid of something expensive or something I wasted my money on. It’s just collecting dust in your closet, but someone else could really use it.
  2. In your closet, face all the hangers one way.  However, as you wear the clothing hang them back facing the opposite way.  In 6 months, all the clothes that you haven’t worn will still be facing the original way.  These are the clothes that you can give away. (Except maybe for seasonal pieces)
  3. Get your kids and spouse on board.  This doesn’t have to be just your job.  Kids tend to know what they play with and what they don’t use anymore.  It is great for them to get a feel for helping others from a young age.
  4. Invest in some sturdy storage boxes.  I cleaned out our built in desk and storage cabinet in the kitchen.  A lot of it was trash that needed to be thrown away or shredded, but some of it needed to be kept.  However, I didn’t need a bunch of warranties and phone case boxes in the desk area.  So I bought a couple storage boxes and organized the stuff and stored them in the attic.  This way I can get to them easily, but they’re not junking up my kitchen anymore.
  5. Don’t forget to go through things that could be expired like medicines, food from the pantry etc…. Throwing these items away could give you the room you’ve been looking for in that bathroom closet.

I hope you can use some of these tips to make your home a little less cluttered.  I know they helped me, but I’m still a work in progress.

Your truly,

Jenn