Mama Says … What are you going to do with all of those photographs?

Standard

skyscraper1

I have a few things to blog about today; from photographs to donations to gratitude to freebies. Follow along with me, if you would please.

I came across a great way to tame the photograph monster that lurks in cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. I have always kept up with my photos putting them into photo albums or scrapbooks until the last 3 or 4 years. I am not sure what happened to my organization in this department, but I will say that the photograph monster has taken up 3 shelves in my hall cupboard. They are haphazardly placed. I hope they aren’t getting bent. And believe it or not disorganization and clutter drive me nuts.

     I confess there are dust bunnies lurking around my home and the bookshelves need polishing. Oh, by the way, the kitchen could stand a good mopping, too. But as far as my careful belief that every item has its place does not seem to extend to the pictures; until now. When I look at the mess, it seems so overwhelming. Where do I have unlimited time to go through envelopes and packets of photographs? Organizing the family photos has been a goal I have had for some time. But where to start?

     Thanks to my Organized Homemaker, Deniece Schofield, there is now a plan that sounds very manageable and simple. You are going to be amazed. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will all of the photos be organized all at once. The idea is to start and that is where this simple sorting plan comes in to play. Enough jibber jabber, here’s how.

     The Organized Homemaker says that sorting the photos is the key and she makes it a relative breeze. First collect all the loose photos you can find, wherever they may be stashed; hall closet, sock drawer, under the bed, etc. Once you have all the photographs in one place you are ready to start sorting.

     Figure out how you want the photos organized. Do you intend to give some of the pictures to specific people? Are you going to keep them all and put them in chronological order? What-ever categories you decide on get several file folders and label them accordingly. I have already started scrapbooks for my grandchildren. Daphne has done her own as have I. I need to make one for my son since he’s a manly man and not into girly stuff like scrapbooking. Something that might help is to use a dishpan and put the labeled file folders in the dishpan standing them up. I’ll keep mine sideways.

     Now go through your photos one packet/bunch at a time. By doing this you can decide how much time you have available and when you are available. It shouldn’t take too much time to go through one envelope of photos. You can work at this for 15 minutes or 2 hours. It is up to you. And because it is portable you can sort photos while watching TV, waiting for the baked potatoes to be done, waiting for the laundry timer, etc. When you need to quit just put your dishpan of photos away in a safe place. It’ll be ready for you the next time you have a few minutes.

     As an aside, think how fun it would be to sort photos with your family. You can share stories and reminisce together while deciding what goes where. Granted, it will take more time this way, but won’t it be time well spent? There doesn’t seem to be enough family together time, at least not for me. Wouldn’t the time be well spent bonding with your loved ones and strengthening the circle of love that binds you?

      Once the pictures are sorted by category you may wish to sort each folder by chronological order. But by the time you get to this step, it will be quick. Then you can either make scrapbooks to put them in or if not the crafty kind or don’t have the time, mount them in photo albums. A word of caution: use acid free paper, photo albums, ink, mounting supplies. Acid will eat up your treasured photos. Acid free items are available everywhere. They aren’t just for archivists any more.

     Ready, set, go… and have fun!

                                                            ****

Since we are in the de-clutter mode how about an idea that helps you clear out “stuff” and help another at the same time? There is no expense involved. Go through your closet and shoes assortment. Is there anything in there that you hope to fit someday but someday was 2 years ago? How about that jacket you bought on sale because it was so cute, on sale, and you just had to have it? Now when you see it in your closet you realize you have nothing to go with and it isn’t as cute as it looked on the store dummy? Have you just gotten the latest Air Nikes, but your old shoes are still in pretty good shape? Here’s a suggestion. Find a battered women’s shelter and donate your clothes to them. Sometimes they flee in the middle of the night in just their robes and nightgowns. Do you have a county hospital nearby that treats indigent patients? The staff would love to have clothes and shoes to put on their patients. I work for our country psych hospital and I can tell you we see a lot of homeless people and people of lower income. They come in with one set of clothes or in torn items that wouldn’t even make a good cleaning cloth. We have a closet for men’s and women’s clothes that is there because of generous donations. Think about it, will you? You be rid of excess “stuff” and you’ll feel good helping someone else. Sounds like a win-win to me.

                                                                ******

You know, it has been a long time since I have shared with you all some of the things I am grateful for. I think about my blessings every day, but I haven’t put them down in words of late.

3 things I am grateful for today: 1) The gift of hope. Even when things seem to be topsy-turvy, I believe hope helps us handle whatever we are called on to do or endure; 2) I am grateful that I will be switching to day shift in a couple of weeks from night shift. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the night shift and I think the folks I work with are good people, but this past year finding enough sleep to function has been really hard. I find myself planning when I next get to crawl into bed as I am getting out of bed for work; 3) The invention of the knitting loom which allows me to make beanies for people. I can even do it while watching the little TV that I do watch. I don’t feel so guilty sitting in front of the boob tube when I am doing something creative and constructive with my hands. (Daphne, it is your fault you got me invested in Ravenswood! Bad daughter, bad. 🙂 And of course since I like the show it gets canceled. Who’s bad idea was that? Bad network, bad. 🙂 )

     By the way, we still have a couple of hardcover journals available for jotting down what you are grateful for, as well as whatever crosses your mind. Please let us know if you would be interested in obtaining one. It’s free and we’ll pay the postage. We just want to spread some joy around.
Blog you later!

Mama Says … It’s time to declutter your life!

Standard

stacking-boxes

Here is that de-cluttering system I was touting as the next best thing to sliced bread. (Speaking of bread, do you have your bread in a breadbox or in bags all over the counter?)

According to Mrs. Deniece Schofield, the organized homemaker, there are 6 basic rules of organization that apply in many circumstances (and some of these are great rules to abide by in human relationships), and not just when you are trying to tame the lion of messiness. These four are: 1) Think before you act; 2) Discard and sort; 3) Group; 4) Be motion minded; 5) Practice preventive maintenance; and 6) Use your accrued benefits (more on this one at another time).

Industrial and motion experts have estimated that workers are only 50 to 70% as efficient as they could be. Why, you wonder? Simply because they act before they think. Some people think that the time they spend planning could have already been used to get the thing they are trying to do done. If you are like this, can you think of a time(s) when you just went off and did something only to find yourself redoing it because what you did didn’t work out? I know I have. To me it is worth my time to think about what I am going to do and how to best do it. This has saved me a number of times from going back to the store for something I missed to tearing apart what was done and doing it the smart way. A person definitely does not save time (nor energy nor frustration) going about something without planning. (I can’t say I have become perfect at it, but I’ve gotten a lot better since taking the organization class and reading the Organized Homemaker’s wonderful book.)

Now here is the simple but effective way to clear up/out clutter. Determine what function each specific area of your house is going to serve. Do you really want electric saws and fishing gear decorating your bedroom? Ouch! Then work in 1 area at a time. Keep 3 boxes or dishpans in the area along with one large trash can. Our expert calls this the “four container method.”

I don’t like things being out of place once they are done being used. So as I go about straightening the house when I find something in the wrong room I immediately pick it up and return it to where it belongs. I usually try to return 2-3 items a time. Seriously, a waste of time on my part running back and forth. Well, hello Box #1! This box is meant to hold everything that belongs in another room. Sure saves time with the running back and forth. You can just take a friendly stroll replacing things directly from the basket to the area where they belong, and voila! you are done with that little chore.

Box number two is for those items that you want to give away or sell. Just be sure you get those donated items to the right destination in a minimum of time. If you have determined to sell the items, not a bad idea for a little extra cash, get to the swap meet or have that yard sale soon. What’s the point of de-cluttering if you are only going to have those items sitting around ad infinitum?

Box number three is for those things you aren’t sure what you are going to do with them. Should it stay or should it go now? Just make sure that you’re unsure box isn’t overflowing and you are keeping more things than you have gotten rid of.

Trash can – obvious. Perfect receptacle for the broken comb, last night’s candy bar wrapper, pantyhose with giant runs, etc. You get the idea.

The goal is not to just move things from one pile to another, but actually do something with the piles. And don’t forget the “year rule.” If you haven’t used it in a year or in two years maximum you most likely aren’t going to use it. Get rid of it. My instructor, Senor Acosta, was adamant about the year rule. I’ll be generous and give you a bit longer time.

I know that sentimentality makes things hard to give away. I am not saying part w/ everything. For example, several years ago a coworker who knows I am a chocoholic gave me the cutest little fondue set with a tea light to melt the chocolate, 4 dessert plates, and little tongs for Christmas. I had meant to use that a million and one times, but never did. So I donated it to our church thrift store. I haven’t seen that coworker in just about as many years so there was no point in me holding on to it. It can be done.

Trust me. You will feel so much better when you get rid of some of the excess. Your home will be neater and more comfortable to be in. You won’t be afraid to have visitors over. You will possibly make yourself some extra cash or at least bring a little joy into your life by giving your goods to someone in need. The added boon is you won’t have to polish it, clean it, dust it, etc. With all the pros involved what are you waiting for?

****

My partner in crime and administrator of our blog and I have come up with a tiny little column that offers quick and simple tips and advice. We decided to call it “Sugar and Spice Advice” after the name of our really fledgling handmade business. Please feel free to give us your tips as well. We do love to hear from our readers. We’d also appreciate it if you would share our blog with your friends and family. Muchisimas gracias!
BLOG  YOU LATER!

Mama Says … Let’s Talk About Time Management!

Standard

sleep-important

That class I took entitled “Get Organized and Have More Time for Yourself” offered some great ideas, but somehow I haven’t found more time for myself. I hope Senor Acosta, the instructor, doesn’t find out that I have failed the time management portion of his class. You won’t tell will you?

In the class we were taught that we need to carve out an hour a day for “me time”, or even more. An hour?  Sounds good, doesn’t it? On a rare day I manage it. Most days “me time” is a pipe dream. Why do you think it has taken me so long to write this blog article? It has been on my mind every day, but getting it from my mind to the keyboard has been a different subject. I love blogging and hearing from you all. So how come what I want to do is often pushed to the side in favor of the dishes, the laundry, taking the dog to the vet, and more? I am sure your lives are just as busy. It seems we are in high gear from the time our toes put the slippers on in the morning to the time we take those slippers off at night, crawl into bed, and die!

Why is that? Why can’t we find that precious time for “me?” It truly is as important to recharge our batteries and do what we want to for a bit as it is to make sure the batteries in our flash lights are working. We need to take care of ourselves and renew our spirits in order to take care of everyone who needs us. It’s that old thing with the oxygen masks on an airplane. In order to help your child you have to put on your oxygen mask first.

I am thinking that maybe I just need to start small with a half hour of “me time.” Surely, I can find that. I know I spend a bit of “me time” when I read my inspirational books and study my scriptures. That is very refreshing, I can honestly say. But what about time to read other books? What about time to blog?

I would be happy to hear how you find time for yourself. Share, please!

    I know that getting organized saves time in the long run. I am not a sloppy person. Everything has its place. However, I have learned how to save even more time in small ways. I got some of these ideas from Senor Acosta and some from a book I happened to espy while, guess what, working at the library bookstore? 

Senor Acosta said that we have too much stuff sitting around taking space and that clutter can drag us down. I think more people than him have said that. I sure know that clutter makes me crazy (crazier than I already am, right?). Are you keeping things you consider to be heirlooms or treasures that you intend to pass on to someone in the future when you are too frail to enjoy them? His suggestion – why not give them to that person now so they can enjoy it? Do you have things lying around the house that you haven’t used in a year (this is not referring to Christmas or Halloween decorations)? Are you thinking that maybe in the future you might need them? If it has been over a year, the likelihood you will eventually use “it” are mighty slim. Sell it, give it away to someone who will use it, or donate it to the Amvets, Deseret Industries, or Salvation Army Thrift stores. (I vehemently objected when he told to get rid of my book collection. Arrrgh! He didn’t believe that I will re-read the books. Ha! I have my favorites and as I read new books I pass them on if they don’t set me on fire. I am doing what I can, Senor Acosta.)

He really harped on developing a personal filing system that works for you. Are your warranties for appliances scattered around the house? Have you got your insurance papers in one place and your utility bills in another? Do you remember what is where? It may take some time in the beginning to get organized, but how awesome will it be to go to one place and find what you are looking for in a snap? Saves more time than scratching your head and rummaging through who knows how many piles.

When you are fixing dinner and you are looking for the lid that properly fits your bialetti pan do you have search a couple spots only to find it is shoved in the back of that endless cupboard? I have had that problem. What a waste of time not to mention wear and tear on the arthritic knees when you have to get down and your hands and knees and reach for that lid. Well, thanks to the writing by the Organized Homemaker there is a simple solution. Buy a dishpan or other container that allows you to store all your lids in one place. I did that and have my lids arranged from smallest to biggest. When I want a lid I just slide the container out a ways and voila! I can easily grab the one I want.
When putting the silverware in the dishwasher put the spoons together, the forks together, the knives, etc.  Sounds obsessive compulsive? Nope. You need a spoon for your cereal grab it right off from the dishwasher. Emptying the dish rack? It really does save time when you can put the silverware away in the right slots without having to sort them. Little time savers can add up to a little (more) “me time.”

The Organized Homemaker and my favorite house management lady, The Fly Lady, have an awesome way of de-cluttering and cleaning up. Will share that in the near future.

Honestly speaking, I know that working night shift is not conducive to “me time.” Sleep is broken up and not enough sleep time either, in my opinion. Sleep can be hampered by the usual noises made in the day, the sunlight, whatever. I know I am often very tired. So I may have a little “me time” but I want to spend it napping. I am optimistic that I’ll have more energy and more “me time” when I switch to the day shift. There will be a lot of adjusting, as well, but I’ll be sleeping at night. Hopefully, by sleeping better on a routine I will find more energy and I will find “me time” amongst the daylight hours. Wish me luck!

Blog You Later! Keep in Touch. We love hearing from you.
          (And I promise that I won’t let so much time go by before I blog again.)