After my confession about the depths of my laziness, I decided to actually do something useful. Did I do the dishes or laundry, or any of those menial tasks that will just need to be done again tomorrow? Nope. I reorganized our files for the new year. Exciting? Not in the slightest. Useful? Definitely.
I had a stack of papers about four or five inches high that I had been ignoring. I wanted to go through that stack and get rid of what I could and then file the rest. Our files are set up divided by the year, so now that it’s technically 2012 (my brain still thinks it’s 2010), I needed to move the 2011 files out, and create new folders for the 2012 stuff. I even created a few new categories which should help to keep us more organized.
For any filing system, you need to create files that make sense to you. If you want one called “Electronics” for info on your computer, cell phone, toaster, etc, or an individual one for each of those items, it’s up to you. Organize these things so that you can find them again easily. If you are using someone else’s filing system, you’ll never know where things need to go or can be found. Think to yourself “Where would I logically look for this if I needed it?”, then put it there. If you want to keep all the info on your kitchen appliances in the kitchen, do so, then you’ll always know where it is if you need it.
I keep all of our paper junk in a small filing cabinet in one drawer. I have a file for paid bills, pets, me medical, Hubby medical, pay stubs, and so on. For items that I probably won’t need to look at again, like the bills that have been paid, I just stuff them all in one folder. For things I may need to reference, like the maintenance records for each of our cars, I keep them separate so I can get to the correct info quickly.
In general, you should keep financial information for 7 years: that is how far back the IRS can ask you for records. You should keep health info forever, and I plan on keeping the information for big purchases, like our new stove, as long as we have the item. Do you actually need access to most of this? Probably not. I keep the current year’s info easily available, then store the rest (clearly labeled, of course) under a bunch of crap in a closet. It’s heavy, and I doubt I’ll need it, but you never know. Before I store everything, I try to minimize what is being stored.
As I pulled out each 2011 file, I sorted through it to see if there were things that could be shredded. I eventually recycled about 5 inches of paper, with just a tiny bit of stuff that needs to be shredded. The file folders for 2011 were blue, and the 2012 ones are orange (that seems to be my color this year). I pull and store the entire file, rather than letting everything mix together.
To originally get everything as organized as it is took probably 2-3 hours last year. This year? Maybe 30 minutes at the most, plus another 10 to deal with the stack of crap I’d been ignoring. One piece of advice I have is to make an “Info” or “Other” file. Everyone has little bits of things, like a list of the AFI top 100 movies, that they want to keep, but don’t really fit into another category. At the end of the year decide if you still want this stuff. I removed more than half the stuff in mine, but kept the important things, like the chinese food menu. Having a place for all those random bits of paper keeps them from stacking up around the house.
I also set up a 3 tiered in-box for myself. The sections are “New Mail” (anything I haven’t looked at yet), “Bills to Pay”, and “To Do”. This is right next to the file drawer, so when I sort through the new mail I can file directly anything that needs to be put away. I’m hoping to minimize our incoming paper this year, but that’s not really up to me that much. Now, on my wave of self-congratulations, I’m going to have a snack and maybe play a video game.
I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that lately I’ve been slacking off. This is not exclusive to the blog, either. I’ve been successfully ignoring chores, work, maintenance, and pretty much anything that requires more than two brain cells. Whether this is due to the cold, lack of sleep, or a bunch of hilday video game releases we may never know. Basically, I’m being lazy and I don’t care.
Part of my laziness had led me to browsing through DIY ideas on pinterest waaay too much. I found a few ideas that I decided to try.
First up, hold your chargers in place with these binder clips. That seems like a great idea. I put this one in place on the book shelf I use as a bedside table. Unfortunately, my phone charger is pretty thin, and slips out of the clip a lot.
It also has to be on the front of the shelf, but would be more convenient in the back. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this arrangement in place. I might instead run the wire though the black part of a smaller binder clip, and then tack it to the wall. Or I might take a nap. Who can tell?
If you have a larger chord, like for an iPhone, this is how you would set this up. Clip the binder clip in place, then squeeze the base of the wire part like so:
It will pop out so you can thread the wire through, and the end of the chord should keep it in place.
Since mine is so small, I added this tiny binder clip to keep it from falling back though. Again, I’m not sure how great this is.
There is one other semi-clever thing I’ve been able to manage in my hibernating-brain state. We were at Home Depot and I wanted a coil cleaner for my fridge. As you know, we have a tiny herd of animals in my house constantly parading around and dropping hair everywhere. The fridge, Horatio, sucks all this crap up underneath himself where it’s impossible to clean. Well Home Depot didn’t have a coil cleaner, but they had this:
It’s a lint trap cleaner! At one point I have attempted to clean my lint trap out with chopsticks (and I did a fairly good job), but I was disproportionately excited to know this thing exists. It was about $5. This is what happened when I cleaned out the lint trap:
I won’t even show you what I pulled out from under the fridge. I don’t want to leave you burdened with the image of my dryer lint, so here’s something both adorable, and descriptive of my mental faculties (and also from pinterest. They should really be paying me for all this).
I am a huge fan of Netflix. I know they’ve had issues recently with changing the name, price hikes, etc, but so far I still love them. There are a ridiculous amount of movies I want to watch that they have, and it makes checking the mail fun again. Unfortunately, those red envelopes are always getting buried under junk mail on the coffee table, so I wanted them to have their own special place where they won’t get lost.
The materials I used are a light bulb box, because it was made of really sturdy cardboard, left over paint, and a post card. I found the original idea that inspired this on pinterest using a cereal box.
First, trim the top of your box to look like this:
I used a nail to punch two holes at the top to hang it from.
I painted it blue, and let it dry overnight. I wanted to use this postcard to decorate the box, but I don’t necessarily want it on there permanently. I have these tiny plastic picture mounters that I used.
You can barely see it, but they are little plastic triangles that fit over the corner of your photo or postcard, and are sticky on the back. I put one each on the upper right and lower left corners, lined up the post card, and stuck it to the box. I then added the mounters to the other two corners.
I tacked it to the wall near the TV so my movies are always visible, and conveniently located for enjoyment.
My new Netflix box is hanging next to this set of framed movie monster postcards, and they look great together.
This is a continuation of what I was calling Deep Clean Week, but has turned into Deep Clean Eternity. Our bathroom has been shamefully disorganized since the day we moved in. We just gradually tossed things into the cabinets as we unpacked them. The other day I got thoroughly sick of it, and pulled everything out of the cabinets. Here’s a before picture:
This is a picture, without the flash, to show how dark the cabinets are on the inside. This drives me nuts, and makes it much harder to find things. I had some extra Killz paint laying around, so I decided to paint the inside of the cabinets white. I took everything out of all the cabinets, wiped them down with a dry cloth, then with a damp cloth. Once the surfaces were dry, I coated everything with white.
Here’s the after for this cabinet. It makes quite a difference light-wise, and looks so much cleaner.
So pretty! (If you ignore the dirty carpet. I vacuumed immediately after this).
The cabinets weren’t really the only issue. Of course, once I pulled everything out of the cabinets there was clutter everywhere, but the counter was already pretty cluttered:
It’s frightening, I know. I even opened all the drawers, emptied them, and vacuumed them out. There was unidentifiable dirt from the previous home owners in there I had to get rid of. It’s bad enough they chose to carpet the bathroom, I don’t need their spilled baby powder and what-not getting my stuff dirty.
Once everything was organized and put away, I cleaned the mirror and counter, and even the toilet! I won’t show you a picture of that, even though it was pretty spectacular.
I took everything that was in our bathroom and sorted it into groups: dental, lotions, bath stuff (like body wash and bath crystals), medical (everything from first aid to cold medicine), sun (sun screen and aloe gel), hair care, face stuff (scrubs and peels and other girlie things), make up, eye stuff (contacts and glasses), vitamins, and travel stuff (travel size things).
I decided what went in each cabinet by deciding who would need it more; hair spray goes on my side, hair clippers go on Hubby’s. For things like lotion and bath salts, where there were multiples, I put the one with the least in it in front so I can use it up first. And just so everyone knows, I have plenty of lotion, body wash, and bath crystals, for probably the next 6 years. Please don’t buy me any more. Just give me cash.
Here’s the final result! I got a couple cute pink bins at Goodwill for a buck each. If I need something I can just pull the whole bin out instead of having to dig around in the cabinet and knock things over. I’m glad I finally tackled this project. I’ve already finished off one of the containers of bath salts! But still, do not buy any for me.
In spite of the fact that I have not posted anything even remotely “Deep Clean” related in awhile, I have actually continued to clean things. Yes, really. I mean, a little. So the other day, when I couldn’t jam anything else into the linen closet, I broke down and reorganized it. Here is a once-in-a-lifetime: a before picture of my mess. I know! This never happens!! Behold! THE CLOSET OF HORRORS!!
Tinkerbell decided to “help”.
I basically took everything out, folded it all properly, and separated everything into categories. It’s amazing how well stuff fits once it’s folded. I also put things we don’t need often, like beach towels, in the hard to reach places out of the way.
I did all this while rewatching old Friends episodes. Not too shabby!