We use it almost everyday.  We know where to find it.  We love how it keeps us organized.  What am I talking about?!  Our Household Binder of course 🙂

 

 

It’s became a valuable resource that we depend on.  Like anything in life, it changes and grows with our family needs.  What’s in our binder now wasn’t in there six years ago when we didn’t have any kids yet.

 

While everyone has different needs and desires depending on what stage of life they are in, I’d thought I’d share where we are at with our Household Binder right now.  Here are the categories we have in there now and why:

 

Goals

We keep our family goals in the front so we can see them often and review them throughout the year.  I’m not sure about you but for us not seeing or reviewing the goals easily falls on the back burner.  It’s great to write them down but it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t frequently look at them or review them.

 

Account Information

Our login information and passwords sit here.  We reference this page more than I’d like to, I always thought I’d remember the password but my age is catching up with me or it’s the mom brain.  I’m going to with with the mom brain 😉  I’m not a fan of doing the password reset, I will try a password three times before I’ll finally decide to get the binder to see what the password really is.  Anyone else agree that the password reset is kinda of nuisance? The printable we use hasn’t changed it’s layout for years.  I don’t even have that style saved anymore but it works for us and I’m a huge believer that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

 

Mailing Labels

We keep a printed page of return labels here.  We keep them in our household binder because it’s a full page (8.5 x 11).  We also keep extra blank pages here so when we need to print more, they are handy and ready to go.  We used to keep them in another binder with other labels but when we needed more it was tough to figure out which ones we’d been using.  We have a lot of different labels and if you’ve gotten the Avery branded labels, you know there’s quite a few different types.  It’s much easier to grab the blank page now that’s it’s in the binder.  Then all we have to do is pull up the saved document, put the page in the printer and print!

 

Preschool Information

Our oldest started preschool this year and this is where we keep all the information information.  We have the tuition schedule and school calendar here. We also have the Preschool Handbook in there.

 

Daycare Information

Our youngest is in daycare.  We keep all the invoices that we receive here.  It’s easier for us to keep them all here and then at the end of the year we put them in the tax folder.  We used to file them in the tax folder right away but for whatever reason some got lost in the shuffle.  We also keep the Daycare Policy Handbook in there.

 

Pets

This is where we keep all of our pet information.  We do have a printable to keep track of all the vet visits but honestly we haven’t been updating it lately because there haven’t been too many vet visits.  We typically keep the last visit of paperwork in there and reference it to see when the last visit was.  We also keep all of the vaccination information in this file folder.

 

Misc.

This folder is full of random stuff.  For example, we have a local ranch by us and we keep their pamphelt in there because it has information about visiting the ranch, their website doesn’t have as much information, which is why we’ve kept theirs.  Also in there is information on the GoPouch, I received this as a Christmas gift and it’s the use and care guide on how to wash it.

 

All of our categories have labels on the folder tabs to easily identify them.  We also use pocket folders because it’s easier to put the pages in there quickly.  We used to use tab dividers and three hole punch everything but it became more work.  We’ve been able to save time because we just grab the binder, select the desired tab, and put in the document where it needs to go.  It’s also been faster to access the information because we can take out what we need quickly rather than actually opening up the binder claps to take out what we need.

 

One category that used to be in there that is very common is Finances.  We used to keep our monthly budget and bills in there but changed it out because we started using an app for our Monthly Budget (Every Dollar, it’s free!)  We also moved our bills to a pocket folder on the inside kitchen cabinet so they were easy to access.  This way we didn’t have to take out the binder every time we needed to pay a bill.

 

Using this Household Binder has kept us very organized.  Like I said before it changes and grows as we do.

 

Do you have a Household Binder?  What categories do you use and why?

 

 

Meet the Guest Author

Marie Jackson | Organized Marie | Household Binder

Marie Jackson a Believer, Wife, and Working Mom. She blogs about home organization at www.organizedmarie.com.

 

15 Ways to Declutter Your Brain

 

“I just want to run away! There’s so much to do and remember… and I’m already so exhausted!”

 

That’s the cry for help I hear almost daily in my women’s-only therapy practice.

 

Prior to opening my therapy office and expanding to offer online counseling services, I would have guessed that most women felt pretty “together” in life… after all, they always post the most glamorous photos on Instagram, right?

 

However, a decade in the emotional wellness field has taught me that it’s just not true! As a whole, we are a bundle of nerves, going about our days with a seemingly endless to-do list in our minds or on our iPhones.

 

While there are slews of great tips all over the web for conquering physical clutter, I focus as a therapist and coach on helping my clients clear their mental or emotional clutter. Thinking with clarity leads to organized physical surroundings, which then leads back again to mental clarity… it’s a circle that I know you’ll want to dive right into!

 

Today I’ve created for you a list of 15 ways to limit mental and emotional clutter:

 

One. Eliminate toxic relationships. There are days as a therapist that I spend embroiled in someone else’s deeply painful crisis. It’s a workplace hazard, and I accept it as an occasional part of my job. Even though my work requires very little physical exertion, a few times a year I collapse in a heap at the end of the evening feeling as if I’d spent the day busting up concrete blocks. Toxic people in our lives give us that same kind of beaten-down feeling: they are needy, or condescending, or entirely negative. We spend all of our emotional resource trying to placate them, but their thirst for our time and energy is insatiable. In these cases, you must set clear boundaries or you risk your own sanity. If it’s not possible to end these relationships entirely, consider ways that you can at least limit your exposure to these people. I interviewed NJ Rongner about practical ways to do this over at the How To Be A Grownup podcast.

 

How to reduce emotional and mental clutter.Two. Try knolling. Last year I listened to a woodworking podcast episode about the concept of knolling, which means essentially taking a moment to align all of the objects in your workspace for maximum efficiency before ever starting a task. For a woodworker, this might mean setting up the appropriate hammer, nails, and saw blades in order of their use. For you, this might mean clearing your desk of extraneous papers, stacking all of your pens into a cup, or even moving to a workspace where you face a blank wall. Mental distraction from cluttered tools is inevitable.

 

Three. Unlock the power of a brain dump. You’ve heard about fight or flight, right? When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find that my first instinct is to fight: I dig my heels in on whatever project is within arm’s reach. However, this doesn’t help with that nagging scattered feeling. Instead, I find much more clarity from pulling out a clean sheet of paper and spending 10 minutes free-writing all the things bouncing around in my head. Simply having these concerns on paper will eliminate the mental energy your brain must expend to hold onto an idea… and it frees valuable brain space up for thinking (rather than ruminating on worries).

 

Four. Spend time purposefully daydreaming. Ever wonder why all of your great ideas come to you in the shower? It’s likely because you’re in one place, still and relaxed, allowing your mind to wander while you complete a task that requires no brain power. Imagine what great ideas might come up if you purposefully spent 15 minutes per day only on daydreaming! Plus, this white space in the mind is very peaceful and allows the feeling of margin in your day.

 

Five. Limit your entertainment. I recently heard an episode on The Minimalist Podcast suggesting that commercials, advertisements and magazines clutter our mind. These powerful marketing tools are meant to compel us to take a certain action – to buy something, go somewhere, or search online for something. Imagine how freeing it would be to eliminate even half of the estimated 5,000 advertisements Americans see in a day.

 

Six. Declutter your Facebook account. I realize that we all feel obligated to accept friend requests from networking contacts, distant cousins, and moms of kids in our child’s karate class. However, these are folks we normally wouldn’t interact with on a daily basis. It’s completely overwhelming to not only see the opinions and activities from such a wide net of people on a daily basis, but often times we hear from our Facebook friends several times per hour! My rule of thumb is this: if you wouldn’t invite this person to your home for dinner, then they don’t belong in your news feed. Use Facebook settings to turn off notifications from the newsfeed of everyone except your closest friends. They’ll never know that you’ve stopped following their endless stream of political memes.

 

Seven. Minimize decision fatigue. Even though most people would say that their mornings are incredibly stressful, I can say honestly that mornings are the easiest time of my day. I attribute this to eliminating extraneous decisions from my pre-work rush. Thought it may sound boring, I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, perform the exact same grooming routine in the same order, and I even plan out my wardrobe sometimes for a month in advance so that I’m not standing in my closet deciding at 7am. I recently explained the whole system over at Two Little Rippers in an article called End Morning Madness.

 

Eight. Grab some quiet time. While I’ve already mentioned the benefits of daydreaming, there are also innumerable health and wellness benefits to meditation. If the idea sounds a little too “woo woo” for you, check out the free Headspace app. The host, Andy, talks you through slow breathing exercises for relaxation that will ultimately leave you with incredible focus and mental clarity. I haven’t met one person yet who was turned off by this no-nonsense, non-jargony approach to meditation.

 

Nine. Commute in silence. Speaking of headspace, let’s talk about giving yourself some quiet time between work and home. In the last few years I became virtually addicted to podcasts, listening to 4 or more hours of business podcasts each week. While this exposed me to tons of valuable information, it also left me overwhelmed and anxious about implementing all of the ideas I heard. Once I began commuting mostly in silence, I noticed a huge jump in my productivity.

 

Ten. Understand the full mental weight of your possessions. My precious friend, Jason, fantasizes romantically about the idea of spending weekends with his young family out on the local rivers. However, ownership of a boat requires a great deal of mental energy. There’s the securing of insurance, plus paying the bill every few months… the need for a boat storage facility and its associated costs, as well as buying and maintaining extra equipment like life jackets. Consider which possessions are sapping your mental resources and decide if there is a way to rent or borrow these items instead of owning them.

 

Eleven. Batch your mail. Second to mornings, my clients report that arriving home after work is the most stressful time of the day. There are backpacks to unload, meals to prep, dogs to feed, and more. I find that mail can be a source of mental angst in the midst of this afternoon rush. Opening, sorting, shredding, recycling, and responding to mail on a daily basis takes up valuable brain space. Instead, collect all of your mail into a box and attack it only once each week. Not only will you feel less emotionally frazzled upon arriving home, but you’ll also find that the entire process speeds up quite a bit when conquered all in one sitting.

 

Twelve. Keep a journal beside you bed. Hoards of friends tell me they have trouble falling asleep because of an inability to turn off their minds. I label that as mental clutter! If you seem to be unable to fall asleep or if you wake up in the night with worries, a journal and pen beside your bed can be a lifesaver. This allows you to put all of your concerns down on paper (see #3) and then have more restful sleep.

 

Thirteen. Implement a Worry Time. This is a therapeutic technique that seems counterintuitive but works marvelously! If your mind is pulled away throughout the day on distracting worries – health issues, childcare woes, school projects, politics – then a Worry Time could prove very beneficial. Start by setting up a 30-minute daily appointment with yourself with the specific intent of worrying. Yes, you read that right! Once your designated Worry Time is on the calendar for a specific 30-minute window, begin carrying a journal with you everywhere (or use your Notes app). Every time your mind wanders to a worrisome situation or idea, pull out your notebook and jot a couple of words describing the worry. Then say to yourself, “I don’t have to worry about that now, because I’m going to worry about it at 7pm tonight.” This allows your mind to feel more relaxed in the moment because there is a set time to attend to the distressing problem later. You may find that by the time Worry Time rolls around you can actually mark off some items without devoting any attention at all to them.

 

Fourteen. Start your day from quiet. Vast research shows that the most successful people on our planet actually take some time to sit quietly and contemplate their day prior to diving in. The best advice I ever heard comes from Peter Voogd, who says that every 6 months he writes out a plan of his 5 top goals, his 5 most compelling reasons for pursuing them, and the key habits he would need to implement in order to achieve these goals. Peter laminates the page and spends a few moments quietly reading it before each day begins. Imagine the momentum you could gain from clearly reviewing your mission every day!

 

Fifteen. Consider expert help. What many people simply describe as mental clutter, feeling frazzled, or overthinking are actually legitimate symptoms of anxiety. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, symptoms of clinical anxiety can include: difficulty controlling worries about a variety of issues (big or small), muscle tension (sometimes manifested as tight shoulders, jaw pain or headaches), trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, stomach distress (like difficulty eating, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea or vomiting), or even irritability. If you have two or more of these symptoms, consider contacting a professional counselor in your area to talk about these issues. PsychologyToday.com hosts a list of provider profiles that you can peruse to find a good fit for your particular situation, and insurance often covers these services. The right therapist can help you learn relaxation training skills and new ways of thinking that can greatly reduce negative symptoms.

 

There you have it! My list of 15 Ways to Reduce Mental Clutter, all based on a decade-long career in the mental health field. Be sure to check out our free courses for anxiety and stress relief or follow us on social media at facebook.com/ThoughtfulJourneyCounseling.

 

 

About the Guest Writer

Celeste Coffman is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified School Counselor who is passionate about teaching clients research-proven strategies for managing anxiety and stress. With over a decade of experience in the field, Celeste prides herself on bringing wit, enthusiasm, and encouragement to the counseling room. You can find her online at www.CelesteCoffman.com.

 

 

21 Brilliant Tips for an Organized Kitchen

Whether you want to organize your entire kitchen from top to bottom, or you just need a few hacks to solve some particularly difficult storage problems, you'll find help in these 21 tips for organizing your kitchen. A well-organized kitchen isn't just pretty: it's also much easier to keep tidy.

Want to share? Pin this image!

Keep reading do discover how to make your kitchen more functional and attractive than ever before.

Boxes and Wraps

Kitchen storage magazine rack - SORTED Book Blog

You probably have several boxes of cling wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper, etc. in your kitchen. They’ll fit perfectly in a magazine rack! Just attach the rack to the inside of a cupboard door for easy access.

Source: www.everydaydishes.com


Fruit Racks

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Fruit and root vegetables stay fresh the longest when they have room to breath. Magazine racks can give them that necessary aeration, make them easy to access, and give your kitchen a cute style as well.

Lazy Suzan

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

If you have cupboards with awkward, deep corners, add a lazy suzan to keep things more organized and give you easier access to small items. I love using a lazy suzan for my spices, because they actually STAY organized, and are very easy to find.

Dealing with Deep Cupboards

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

We all have some cupboards in our kitchen that seem to go on forever. If you want to store big things in them, it’s great! But if you only need to store little things, then you might be frustrated by how your items are getting lost in the dark recesses.


An inexpensive solution to this problem is to put clear plastic bins in your deep cupboards! This allows you to keep your kitchen tools and small appliances contained and makes them easy to pull out and access.

Source: http://www.listotic.com/


Curtain Rods Doing Double Duty

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Cutting boards and cookie sheets are much easier to keep organized if they are stored vertically. How to keep them upright? Use curtain tension rods! This is a great hack for your taller cupboards.Source: http://www.listotic.com/


Under the Kitchen Sink

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Here’s another creative use for curtain tension rods! Use them to organize your cleaning products. Your spray bottles will be easier to access, and you’ll have more space underneath them to store smallers cleaning items as well.

Source: http://www.jenthousandwords.com


Expand Your Pantry

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Make full use of your pantry by utilizing the wall space! Attach letter racks, file organizers, or sink caddies to the wall, and fill them with small items that would otherwise create a mess on a shelf.

Source: http://www.listotic.com/


Vertical Cupboards

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Stacking shelves allow you to make better use of your too tall kitchen cupboards.

Source: http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com


Hanging Shelf Organizers

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Another great way to make use of wasted vertical space in your kitchen is with hanging shelf organizers. These gadgets can expand your kitchen storage in a whole ‘nother dimension! They’re great for light items such as small places, tupperware, or lids.

Source: http://www.thehyperhouse.com


Label!

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Print label stickers from your computer, or use a label maker if you have one. You’ll be able to find and organize your food more easily, and when a container becomes empty, you’ll know exactly what to restock it with.


Cupcakes and Muffins

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Have one of these older style magazine racks stored away somewhere? If not, you can probably find one at a thrift shop. A little paint to make it match your kitchen decor, and you’ve got yourself a classy way to store your larger pans and bulky muffin tins.


Utilize Wasted Space

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

If you have a small kitchen, it’s important to make use of every bit of space you can find: such as the backs of doors. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to fit everything, you should try this out! Use a shoe rack to store small kitchen tools, snacks, or cleaning products.

All Those Little Packets

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

If you have packets of tea, drink mixes, seasonings, or anything else, organize them with individual drawer organizers, which come in a variety of sizes.

Source: http://www.handymancraftywoman.com


Give Easy Access to Frequently Used Dishes

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

All your plates don’t have to be stored on the same shelf! Keep your everyday dishes down low for easy access, and put the ones you use less frequently higher up.


Use a Crock

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Rather than letting all your kitchen tools swim around in a drawer, store them vertically! They’ll stay tidier and be easier to access. You can use a crock specifically designed for this purpose, or a pitcher, chunky vase, or large mason jar.


Easy Art

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Purchase kitchenware in the accent color of your kitchen and eliminate the need for pointless art. Why have a picture hanging on the wall, when you could have a beautiful, useful pan?


Well-Organized Food

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Give your cupboards an improved appearance and make it easier to find what you need by organizing your food by category.


Keep Food Visible

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Whether you choose clear plastic storage containers, or these spiffy wire ones, use containers that keep your food visible. What you can see you’ll remember to actually use!


Clear the Counters

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

Give yourself more working space by keeping your kitchen counters clear of papers. Create a space on your wall for notes, mail, calendars, and anything else that you need easy access to.

Add Drawers

fruit rack - SORTED Book Blog

For big, open cupboards, give more structure with some added drawer units.

Source: www.timewiththea.com

What was your favorite kitchen tip?

Which of these tips will be the most useful in YOUR kitchen? What are your biggest kitchen organization struggles? Let's talk about it in the comments below!

SORTED Book

The simple money system you need to reach your goals in 2017

 

It’s New Year’s resolution season and changing money habits is at the top of the list of sooooo many people.

 

Spend less, save more, pay off debt. We all want to make solid financial improvements from year to year. But so often the good intentioned goals set in January fizzle out by March.

 

Most goals don’t stick because you’re missing the financial foundation you need to help you achieve your goals.

 

You can’t effectively pay off your debt, if you have no idea what you’re spending. You can’t hit your long term goals as a family if you aren’t checking in on your progress regularly.

 

To reach the big, shiny goal you have to do the consistent, gritty work.

 

But it doesn’t have to be hard or overly complicated!

 

Here are my top tasks to do each week, month and year to reach your financial goals in 2017.

Weekly

Gather and check receipts: I’m all for automated tracking apps or software programs, but it’s still important to save and check receipts for certain purchases. For example, during a trip to Target you might have gotten groceries, clothes for the kids, and toilet paper. These types of shopping trips should be split into separate tracking categories so you have an accurate idea of what you are spending in each area.

 

Check accounts: Even if you have a really good tracking system in place that tells you how much money you have in your accounts you still need to log into your checking and credit card accounts regularly to do a balance check and monitor for any irregularities.

 

Monthly

 

Have a “Money date”: With most couples I work with, the daily management of the money falls to one person. That’s ok. We all have to divide and conquer. But it’s vital that you have a sit down check in once a month. Review progress towards goals, discuss larger purchases and upcoming spending. Be respectful with each other, set a time limit for the conversation and have an open mind about your partner’s concerns.

 

Review spending: This might be a part of your money date, but you should also be thoroughly reviewing your household spending on a monthly basis. Look for patterns from month to month, or where spending is creeping up. This isn’t just about spending less, it’s also about noticing what purchases you HAVEN’T made. For example, I often get to my monthly review and realize I didn’t get my monthly brow wax or have a date night with my husband. Oops! Time to get that scheduled.

 

Yearly

 

Check your credit report: It’s important to monitor your credit score, but I’m even MORE concerned about making sure there is no fraud on your accounts. www.CreditKharma.com is a great place to check and monitor your credit.

 

Set financial goals: It is important to be working towards something. The New Year is a great time to set financial goals for the year. If you follow this simple system to monitor your finances, you will be amazed at what you can achieve in a year!

 

By committing to these tasks you will be building the solid financial foundation your family needs to hit your bigger debt and savings goals.

 

Don’t let your New Year’s resolutions fizzle by March. Let this year be different. It’s important to monitor your progress and celebrate the wins along the way to keep you motivated to keep pushing forward. If you can be consistent in the tasks that build your financial foundation, you can achieve any goal you set out to.

 


About the Guest Author

Nicole Cooley is a corporate drop out and momprenuer currently obsessed with sleep schedules, produce delivery and binge watching The Good Wife. Her company Money With Moxie teaches women to be powerful with money and use it as a tool to design their ideal life. She does this by exploring limiting beliefs and value alignment, while building tangible debt and savings plans.

Click here to learn get her free guide Start Saving Today or connect with Nicole online Facebook and Instagram

 

As an obsessive professional planner, I love working up a new schedule for myself every month or so. I have a busy life that is constantly in a state of flux, so every several weeks it’s necessary to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, so that I can create new routines that serve me as best possible.

 

(And of course, it doesn’t hurt that planning is one of my very most favorite activities EVER. So any chance to draft up a new schedule is good by me!)

 

Today is January 3rd, 2017. We just started not only a new month but also a new year. The perfect time for a shiny, brand new schedule.

 

Plus, my baby just turned 4 months old. We finally moved him out of our room and into the nursery with his brother. The nighttime feedings are becoming less frequent, and I’m beginning to feel as though, once again, I’m regaining control over my own schedule.

 

We’ve been night owls these past few months. A rather drastic change for us! For years we’ve been waking up at 5am to get an early start on our work. But ever since this new baby came that just hasn’t quite been comfortable. We needed some extra sleep after the interrupted nights, and my body needed to recover from the pregnancy.

 

So we’d flipped our schedule on its head and found a new normal. We decided to wake at 8am (or maybe even a tiny bit later some mornings!), enjoy lazy mornings, and hustle during nap time. We’d get the kids to bed early, then settle down to work from 8pm – midnight.

 

Yes, this was functional. The extra sleep was good for my body, I was able to really focus on my family during the day, and also fit in about six hours of work.

 

No, it was not terribly comfortable. As a type A personality, sleeping in is more detrimental to my morale than it’s worth (at least in the long-run). And after a full day of “momming” I frequently didn’t have enough energy to tackle my work with the enthusiasm required for me to enjoy it.

 

All that to say: I’m excited for this new schedule!

 

I’m excited to be done “just getting by” and return to a place where I feel vibrant, alive, and growing! A routine that allows me to start each day intentionally and with focus.

 

But enough of the rambling, let’s get to it. Here’s my new daily routine, followed by a few notes.

 

4:00 a.m. Rise

 

4:15 a.m. S.A.V.E.R.S.

 

4:50 a.m. Coffee

 

5:00 a.m. Work

 

8:30 a.m. Children Wake

 

9:00 a.m. Breakfast

 

10:00 a.m. Daily Chore

 

11:00 a.m. “Preschool”

 

11:30 a.m. Nap Time + Work Session

 

1:30 p.m. Lunch

 

2:15 p.m. Errands (or Shower)

 

4:15 p.m. Tidy

 

4:45 p.m. Relax

 

5:30 p.m. Dinner

 

6:45 p.m. Wash Dishes

 

7:00 p.m. Bookkeeping & Family Bible Reading

 

7:30 p.m. Children’s Bedtime Routine

 

8:00 p.m.  Bedtime Routine

 

8:30 p.m. Lights Out

A few notes:

Rising: At which time I brush my teeth and drink a glass of water.

 

S.A.V.E.R.S. is the morning routine I practice (learned from Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning”). It includes Silence (prayer), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading (I read a chapter of the Bible), and Scribing (journaling).

 

Work: I write and design custom websites. I keep working until the children wake up, which is any time between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

 

Daily Chore: Each day of the week I do a different chore. Click here to read about my weekly chore routine.

 

Preschool: My toddler just turned 3 years old. He’s learning letters, numbers, colors, etc.

 

Nap Time & Work: The baby naps, the toddler plays or occasionally watches an educational show. I work, focusing on answering emails, networking, and promoting the content & services of each of my businesses.

 

Lunch: is late, but breakfast was as well.

 

Errands/Shower: When it’s a shower I then spend the 2nd hour reading or playing with the kids.

 

Tidy: 5 minutes per room is all it takes to get the house back in order after a busy day.

 

Relax: I read, play with the children, watch Netflix, or go for a walk.

 

Bookkeeping & Bible: I spend 5 – 10 minutes checking my bank accounts (business and personal) and recording an expenditures. We then read a chapter of the Bible aloud.

 

Children’s Bedtime Routine: The toddler cleans up his toys, potties and brushes his teeth. Then I read him a story while I nurse the baby.

 

Bedtime Routine: I brush my teeth, wash my face, and then read until my husband comes to bed.

A Flexible Structure

While I gave specific times for each element of the routine, this was mostly just for reference. We do these things each day, in this order, at roughly these times, BUT we are not sitting around watching the clock. Alarms don’t go off, compelling us towards our next activity.

 

We keep our schedule flexible and fluid. It’s a guide that serves to provide a rhythm to our days and simplify our life. It serves us, not the other way around.

 

How about you? What do your days look like lately? Do you enjoy having a routine that’s consistent one day to the next? Or do you thrive on variety?

How to do Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning with Kids

I was introduced to the Miracle Morning in 2014 when I heard Hal Elrod speak at the 1 Life Fully Lived conference. At the time, I had already been practicing meditation, journaling and exercising, but I was not consistent.

After hearing Hal, I fully committed to waking up earlier to fit in the full Life SAVERS- silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing.

Up to this point I was using my children’s unpredictable wake times as an excuse not to start my day on my terms. As Hal says, “The moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.”

I was finally ready to take responsibility and change how I started my day.

I started waking up at 6:30 AM, which would give me 30-60 minutes before my kids got up. However, as I started getting up earlier, so did my kids! After some trial and error, I discovered that my kids wanted their own Miracle Morning, so I started teaching them how to do the pieces of the SAVERS.

About a month or so into our family Miracle Morning, my seven year old turned to me and said, “Mommy, I don’t get it. Why do I need to save my life?”

He was having trouble connecting with the acronym, so we decided to change it. We started playing with the words. Since my kids were young (7 and 3), scribing was not easy for them, so we changed that to creativity. We decided to add eating a healthy breakfast to their Miracle Morning so instead of just exercise we called it health. Affirmations we kept the same as well as reading.

My son was just starting to read, so many days I would read aloud to them. We combined silence and visualization into a category called meditation.

One thing I really wanted to instill in my kids is compassion, so we added service to create the acronym, CHARMS- creativity, health, affirmations, reading, meditation and service.

Now the kids and the grown-ups had a framework to start our days, we just had to follow it. Once the kids got over the excitement of starting something new, they went back to their more typical (although still unpredictable) wake time. I continued to get up around 6:30-6:45, which gave me enough time to get my silence and visualization in and start on the other SAVERS before my kids were up.

Once they wake, they start on a creative project. In our kitchen, we have an art table set up equipped with makers, crayons, colored pencils, painting supplies, coloring books and paper. This way the kids are free to create on their own. They also have access to additional supplies in my office. We have a rule that if you make a mess you clean it up, so the kids are free to get messy as long as they are willing to clean up after themselves (usually later in the day).

When I finish with my reading and journaling, we turn on some music and have a dance party in the kitchen while I make the kids breakfast (or supervise them making their own) and pack their lunches. Sometimes we will do more formal exercises during our dancing sessions- jumping jacks, push-ups, planks, squats, lunges or any other body weight exercise. We typically say our affirmations as we are exercising too.

The kids both have homemade affirmation books that follow the alphabet that they recite. Our son has his memorized, but our daughter still needs help, so I will say them and she repeats.While they are eating breakfast, I will read to them or we will listen to an audiobook.

After breakfast is typically when they help with service. Often this is a small task like feeding the dogs, picking up after someone else, or separating laundry. We don’t like to call these chores, but family contributions. They are acts of kindness that will help the family as a whole.

Since we started practicing the Miracle Morning as a family, my kids will actively seek out opportunities to serve each other to fulfill their service for the day. My oldest will sometimes help his sister get her shoes on, read to her, or make her breakfast as his service.

Our youngest feels valuable and important when I ask her to help with simple tasks that she can do and is always eager to contribute.In total their Miracle Morning takes about 30 minutes. Some mornings run more smoothly than others and we are not perfect.

To me the Miracle Morning is about creating good habits and a healthy mindset for myself, and my kids, than it is about waking up early or being perfect. When things do not go as planned we also do a lot on the ride to school. The kids can meditate, listen to an audiobook and say their affirmations all in the car. We’ve also created new car games as our creativity some mornings and had breakfast on the go.

I want them to be mindful of how they start their day and not beat themselves up if they don’t get it all in before they walk out the door. I also want them to understand that their parents value personal development and see us practicing what we’re telling them to do. Our kids learn so much just by watching us!I’d love to hear about your morning routine and how you’ve adapted to make it work for your family. You can reach me through my blog www.gratefulparent.com.

In Gratitude,

Lindsay McCarthy

Lindsay is the co-author of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. She is a blogger and the creator of GratefulParent.com. She is a homeschool mom of two amazing young people and living wife of 10 years to her husband Mike. Lindsay has a love of field hockey, travel, and family.

The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families http://amzn.to/2ijDkfo
SORTED: Freedom through Structure; learn how to organize your life and create routines to keep it that way!
best home organizing blogs

​Top Home Organizing Blogs of the Web

My fellow bloggers on the web are constantly inspiring me to make my home an even more beautiful environment. They’re always teaching me so many great new tips on how to make everything a bit more functional and a whole lot more organized.


So today, I’m sharing some love to eight of the top home organization blogs that I turn to each week. These ladies continually impress me with their innovative organizing ideas and beautiful housekeeping.


A Bowl Full of Lemons

There’s a good reason that this is one of the most popular homekeeping sites on the web! On her beautifully designed blog, author Toni Hammersley gives detailed insight into her personal strategies for all aspects of keeping one’s house running smoothly: organizing, cleaning, and budgeting!


With an easy writing style and a color scheme that fits with the theme of my life, this is easily one of my favorite organization blogs to turn to on a regular basis. My favorite article lately was: “My Summer Office”


Becoming Minimalist

Minimalism can be defined in many different ways, and while I’m certainly not a minimalist myself, at least not in the strictest sense of the word, I really appreciate learning from those who are. The basic idea of “own only what is actually necessary and actually ads value to your life” is perfectly in line with the vision of SORTED, where we strive to free ourselves from clutter so that we can focus on what truly matters in life.


The Becoming Minimalist blog is a great resource for learning more about the art of minimalism and how it can be applied to your life in many practical ways. Check out their “Most Popular Posts” page for an overview of what the site has to offer.


A Slob Comes Clean

“Reality-based cleaning and organizing” pretty much sums up this enjoyable, often humorous blog by author Dana White. Dana connects with those of us who WANT to be clean, but don’t necessarily find that it comes naturally. She writes:

“At A Slob Comes Clean, I share reality-based cleaning and organizing tips, based on my reality! As I get my home under control through my own de-slobification process, I tell the truth about which methods work in real life for real people who don’t necessarily love cleaning and organizing.”—Dana White, A Slob Comes Clean


Clean Mama

Describing this blog in one word, I’d say: “Fresh.” Which is exactly what you might hope, for a cleaning blog! Author Becky Rapinchuk does a beautiful job of teaching her readers how to simplify their homes to make things stay cleaner and run more smoothly. I love her emphasis on routines!

The Clean Mama blog has a peaceful, clean feeling that makes it a pleasure to read. As an added bonus, Becky is wonderful at coming up with helpful printable charts, lists, and guides to assist you in creating a more organized home.


Unclutterer

This interesting blog teaches so much more than just home organization! Each article explains a hack to help you simplify your life and have less STUFF. Recent articles have included, “Organize Digital Lists with Google Keep,” “What You Might Want to Store in Your Car’s Glove Compartment,” and “Avoiding Uncluttering Regrets.”


If you’re interested in owning less, and you need more PRACTICAL tips of how to do so (rather than just minimalist mindset work), the Unclutterer blog is a great place to turn.


Penelope Loves Lists

As a lover of lists myself, I’d have to say that my favorite thing about this blog is probably the title --- except, I can’t say that, because the content is so good too!


In the most fun, stylish way possible, Penelope writes about how to create a more organized and *beautiful* home. She speaks profusely of her love for “pretty office supplies” and how she is “unapologetically organized.” More than anyone else, Penelope makes me feel like organizing my home (and life) is really a special way to treat myself. I love that!


I Heart Organizing

While Jen’s blog looks extremely simple, her posts are anything but! Some of the highest quality work I’ve seen from any blogger, Jen writes very detailed, well thought out posts that walk you step-by-step through each process. She explains very practical, actionable ideas for how to organize specific areas of your home to make them more functional.


The I Heart Organizing blog is organized based on project, rather than category. So, rather than having all “kitchen organization” articles lumped together, she has a file of “kitchen organization projects,” all of which are clearly labeled. If you want to “fix” something specific in your home, there’s probably a post for that!


Clean & Scentsible

What I love most about this blog is the feelings it gives me: first, the author, Jenn, just seems like such a real-life, down to earth kind of gal. Her blog makes everything feel so possible! Second, I love how EASY she makes everything look. “Clean and Scentsible” makes me feel like “I can do that!”


Jenn loves for things to smell pretty (thus the title of her blog), but at the same time, she’s committed to keeping things natural and green. What a relief! Aside from her great organizing tips, she shares lots of healthy recipes both for tasty treats, and for great smelling DIY home cleaning products. In her recent posts, she’s given recipes for “Coconut Fruit Dip,” “DIY Laundry Scent Boosters,” and “Lavender Rosemary Wax Melts.”



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Self care is the ultimate life investment. Learn how to make your own custom self-care routine with this post from the SORTED blog.

Self-care. You may have heard that term so many times that it makes you cringe, but do you actually know what it means?

 

Everyone has their own definition and philosophy about what self-care means to them, however, in a general sense it refers to the way in which one looks after him or herself. This can be done in a variety of ways and is truly dependent on each individual’s preferences on what makes them feel taken care of and rejuvenated.

 

Nonetheless, there is a common misconception that a self-care routine has to be this long drawn out daily process and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The amount of time you spend on caring for yourself each day doesn’t matter because even a minute goes a long way towards investing in your own well-being. After all, we are our biggest assets aren’t we?

 

While there aren’t many actual studies or statistics that prove the importance of self-care it’s almost a given at this point in society with all of the demands that stress our minds and bodies each day. Between work, kids, tending to the family and home there are several things happening at any one time. This is why it is crucial to carve out time to care for yourself.

 

Luckily, as mentioned before, self-care does not have to be a huge time commitment that takes away from your daily tasks. Here are some tips on how to create your own customized self-care routine:

 

  1. Figure Out What Makes YOU Feel Good

When creating your customized self-care routine it is important to keep in mind the types of things that make you feel recharged and refreshed. Maybe that’s exercise, or giving yourself a manicure. Perhaps it includes some quiet time with a book. Make a list of all these things and prioritize which activities are your favorite. It honestly does not matter how you spend your time as long as you’re doing things you enjoy.

 

  1.       Pick 1-3 Daily Non-Negotiables

Once you have a list compiled it’s time to consider which 3 activities you would like to do on a daily basis with no room for excuses. Some quick and easy things I have committed to doing each day, even with an 8-month old, are taking a shower and putting makeup on, napping when my son naps and getting a Starbucks coffee.

 

These are 3 things that make me feel ready to take on whatever life throws at me! What self-care activities can do that for you?

 

  1. Commit to Your Daily Non-Negotiables Everyday For One Month

Creating new habits takes consistent daily action and self-care is nothing more than a combination of different habits meshed into one everyday routine. Sometimes when introducing new activities into our life it can feel overwhelming. That’s why I suggest starting with 1 non-negotiable activity and sticking to that everyday for one month. Then, continue the next month by adding the 2nd activity and doing those for one month, and so on. Changing your habits slowly is a sure-fire way to stay committed.

 

Feel like you can’t quite find the time? Get creative! Use your child’s naptime or bedtime to fit in some self-care. Take your lunch break at work for some much needed R&R. Wake up a few minutes earlier to get in some meditation or journaling. Do whatever you have to do to make this work for you.

 

If you find that after some time you are still struggling to take care of yourself then it’s time for reevaluation. It is crucial to pick activities that you enjoy and to not base them off what you SHOULD be doing.

 

No matter what, it’s important to view self-care as a serious pledge to yourself because it can allow you to show up fully present in all of your other activities. Self-care is not selfish! And, no matter what you have going on it’s totally possible to implement a simple routine into your day-to-day.

 

Before you know it you will have a solid self-care routine and you will gain a confidence that nothing else other than caring for yourself can provide!

 

 

 

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Gabrielle is a mompreneur, blogger and routine queen. She believes that every mom can be the person they’ve always dreamed of being even with a new baby. With the implementation of customized routines, structures and self-determination, she helps new moms carve out pockets of time that allow them to develop habits to support their dream life. To learn more about her and her mission please visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gabriellejbogan

 

 

SORTED: Freedom through Structure; learn how to organize your life and create routines to keep it that way!

(So YOU can be more productive)

A guest post by SORTED reader Susie Parker

 

When your kids don't sleep well, neither do you. It can be a real cut into your productivity and enjoyment of life! Here are five tips from a certified children's sleep specialist to help you learn how to get your kids to sleep better so you can get your life back!

If you are like me and creating your business while raising preschooler or toddler aged kids, you may be feeling the struggle to actually find the time to work on your business (I know I do!).  Our days are busier and busier and our time is limited (cue a tantrum at the exact same time when you were hoping to get 20 minutes to send out an email).  They key is to get the time at night when your children are snuggled up in bed to be productive.

 

With these tips, you’ll be able to have your nights free in no time.

 

1. More Attention During the Day Yield Better Nights

Your kids are craving your attention…. so be mindful to fill up their attention tanks during the day so they aren’t only looking for that attention at night.  I get it, you want to spend time during the day to get your work done too, so sometimes putting on Daniel Tiger seems like the best option.  But, if you spend pockets of your day really connecting with your child you will find that cooperation to get your toddler to sleep at night will become easier.  

 

Quick Tip:  Take 10 minutes each day and have “special time”.  This is a time that your child can pick what they want to do and you will focus without interruption to really connect (hint, hint, put your phone away – your clients can wait).  Keep this dedicated time as a simple play time together.  Build a tower together, color together or play hide and seek (really, anything goes).

 

2. Focus on Keeping Your Child Well Rested

Sometimes keeping your child up too late can be a disaster.  You know that second-wind of hyper chaos that your child gets when you’re trying to help them wind-down?  Well that’s because your child is over-tired and they get a spike of cortisol (the stress hormone) that actually prevents them from falling asleep.  The key is to put your child down before they get into the hyper-zone.  Focus on having your child asleep (yes actually off into dreamland)  10-12 hours before their natural morning wakeup time.  

 

Quick Tip:  If your child isn’t napping and in the 3-5 range, they probably still need about 11-12 hours of total seep… so move your bedtime earlier to get the sleep they need.  So give yourself plenty of time to factor into the sleep time and bedtime routine.

 

3. Clear and Consistent Routine

Your bedtime routine should be seen not as a chore to get things done, but as a specially opportunity at night to really connect with your child.  The faster you try and get through the routine to get on with your night, the more your child will resist (trust me, I’ve tried!).  So just embrace the time by making the routine consistent and quite special for the both of you.

 

Your Routine should include the things you have to get done “teeth brushing, pajamas, potty and water”.  But you should also include components that are not only enjoyable but relaxing. For example, you can read 2 stories, but also talk about your day, give cuddles and hugs and kisses.  The key is to be consistent and don’t just let your child call the shots since they may want 10 more books…and that’s when the routine gets out of hand.  

 

Quick Tip:  Always end on a special night with a ritual.  My daughter and I do “ugga muggas” (our version of eskimo kisses) but you could throw a kiss across the room and have your child catch it.  Anything goes, just make it your own.

 

4. Set Yourself up for Good Habits to come

Always think of the end game when helping your child get to sleep.  Sometimes it’s easier just to sit with our child to fall asleep but trying to end sleep battles and middle of the night wakings, once you realize you have a problem, isn’t always so easy.  Same goes with allowing your child to come into your bed at night.  I live by the mentality that only you decide what works for you and when it works for you, great.  But, when you have a limited time to work on your business at night, think of the path of least resistance.  In my opinion, it would be way easier to set your child up for strong independent skills than have to fix them down the road.

 

Quick Tip:  If you already have some habits that you’re ready to break (bedtime battles, multiple night wakings or early morning wakeups), be prepared that there is a lot of conflicting advice out there…Don’t’ think you have to go it alone.  Preschooler Sleep Made Easy is the proven system that I used not only for my daughter but my clients too.  It really works!

 

Once your child is sleeping, you can get back to working on your business.  And that my friends, is a beautiful thing.  

 

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About the Author

Susie Parker is a certified Sleep Consultant and founder of Sleep Baby Love, Child Sleep Consulting. She is a “been there done that” mom of two beautiful girls who have had her deal with many sleep challenges head on. Click here to download your Free Preschooler Sleep Made Easy Checklist for future great sleep.

 

 

 

SORTED: Freedom through Structure; learn how to organize your life and create routines to keep it that way!


Organize Your Kitchen In 3 Easy Steps

Most of us spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen, and if you have a family to cook for, you probably spend even more! A well-organized kitchen can make a huge difference in your home, and save you lots of time when preparing meals.

 

These three simple steps can be used to organize even the messiest of kitchens. Discover more joy in cooking, and help your whole life flow a little bit easier!

 

3 Steps to an Organized Kitchen

Step 1: Take Everything Out of the Cupboards

This is pretty straight forward! You need to take everything out of the cupboards and drawers so you can really see what you are working with.

 

To maintain your sanity, I’d recommend that you organize your kitchen in four phases: first, organize all the food in your cupboards, second, organize your refrigerator, third, organize all the kitchen tools, and finally, organize your dishes.

 

So, the very first thing you’ll do is to take all of the food out of the cupboards. Unless you have a really large kitchen table (or not very much food), you’ll probably need to spread it out over your floor.

 

Step 2: Order Like Items into Groups

Once you have everything out, it’s time to start organizing! Sort the food (or whichever category you’re working on) into separate categories. For example, you might put all the canned fruit in one pile, all of the dry goods (such as flour, rolled oats, dried beans) in another, and spices in one more. Because you’ll only be working with one main category of things at a time (dishes, or chilled food, etc), you’ll be able to organize the items into really specific categories.

 

Step 3: Organize Your Kitchen

Once everything is sorted into specific categories, it’s time to start putting it all away. Keep each category together so that you’ll be able to find your things easily.

 

When you’re deciding where to store a category, think about how much space it needs, where it will be the most convenient to find, and what other categories it makes sense to store it near. You’ll want to put each category of kitchen items into the smallest space that is available and makes sense: that way there’s not a whole lot of room for the things to move around and get messy, and you leave the bigger spaces for bigger categories of things.

 

Bonus: My #1 Tip for a Neat, Tidy Kitchen

 

My #1 tip for simplifying your kitchen and making it feel more organized is to transfer everything into clear, matching, labeled containers. This isn’t just for your flour and sugar — you can store everything from nuts to granola bars to breakfast cereal like this.

 

Clear plastic containers are great for several reasons:

  • You can see exactly what’s in them, so it’s fast and easy to find what you need.
  • They are uniform shapes that fit together well and save space.
  • They all look the same, so everything is much more visually attractive.
  • They help you remember what you have so things don’t go to waste.

 

For a whole bunch of great kitchen organization tips, check out this article from The Kitchn: 18 Ingenious Kitchen Organization Tips from Our Readers

 

What are your greatest kitchen struggles? Do you have too much food, or too many gadgets? Are your kitchen cabinets disorganized? Is your fridge a mess?

 

Or, on the flip side, if you have a really well organized kitchen — how do you do it? What are your best strategies for KEEPING your kitchen tidy?

 


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