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I {Heart} Target + Hobby Lobby

2 Aug

Two of my absolute favorite stores are Target and Hobby Lobby.  This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to visit both.  I did a little shopping and thought I’d share my finds with you.

I went to Target first and picked up…

This is a weekly planner that had me at “better organizing”.  I have been looking for a family calendar for a while now, but I knew we needed more than just a monthly calendar on the wall.  Been there.  Done that.  Didn’t work.  So, when I saw this beauty, which would allow me to color-code {swoon}, I immediately placed it in my cart.

This is where I put it.  This is our family’s “launch pad” of sorts.  That bottom basket holds Little Man’s shoes.  The next shelf up, with the pink box, holds our files.  The next shelf holds two expandable filing folders; one of which holds medical-related paperwork and the other holds receipts {not my ideal system… will probably change it up soon}.  The top shelf holds my most referenced books, our “mobile command center“, and my umbrella.

Here’s a closer look at the very top.  I have an Eiffel Tower that I bought at Target a long time ago, an IKEA vase full of ultra-thin sharpies that I use as pens for color-coding inside my planner {OCD, much?}, and the little wooden tray holds this:

The notepads are for the weekly planner and I figured this was a good place for all of our stray “regular” pens.  In the photo above, the wooden tray has a photo of my sister and her husband poking out of it {in case you were wondering}.

This is another one of my Target purchases this weekend.  It’s just your run-of-the-mill, plain-jane, $9.99 monthly and weekly planner.  Here’s a peek at the inside pages:

The inside has a little bit of personality, but the front cover needed help.  So, I bought some of these at Hobby Lobby:

Got any idea what these are?

I kind of forgot to take a picture of the package before I ripped it open.  {What can I say?  I was too excited…}

But here’s what they are:

They are, as I’ve affectionately named them, “pink crystal swirly things”.  {Obviously NOT the technical term.}  This photo shows that I was able to “test out” how things looked before I permanently attached them.  Since I liked how things looked, I peeled them off the clear backing and pressed down.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Sorry for the poor photo {all of them aren’t that great because I used my phone}.  But you get the idea of how they look.

Ground-breaking?  No.  An improvement?  Yes.

Will these be what I keep on the planner?  Maybe.  At least, for now they are.

Other Hobby Lobby purchases include:

This is Zebra print scrapbook that I’m going to use it to create a “Dreams Book”.  I know it may sound a bit middle-school-ish of me, but I figure it can be something I look through when my road to business-ownership get a bit bumpy and tiresome.  I plan to include inspirational photos for things like: my future office, logo/branding, working wardrobe, and other business ideas.  I may share a few pages with you once I complete them {if you promise not to laugh at my scrap booking skills.}

Other Target purchases included a spiral notebook and a “Finn McMissile” car {from Cars 2}.  A certain little boy is in love with the Cars movies and I bought it because he was being such a good shopping companion.  {I had him for 4 hours, by myself, in and out of the rain – and was able to get in a grocery run!  That may not be impressive to some, but at the end of the day I felt like I had accomplished something!}

Other Hobby Lobby purchases included: those ultra-thin sharpie pens I mentioned earlier as well as some scrapbook paper for my “Dreams Book”.  I also bought two “refill packs” for the scrapbook because I knew I’d need more pages than what what provided.




Do This Tonight!

24 May

Yesterday I shared some ways you can lead a “lazier” lifestyle.  One of those ways included doing a little work NOW in order to avoid MORE work later.  An example I used was to create an evening routine that prepared you for a stress-free morning. 

But what should you include in your evening routine?  I’ve created a list of things that anyone can do at night to prepare for the next day:

Pack Those Lunches

After dinner has been eaten and the table has been cleared, go ahead and pack everyone’s lunches while you are still in the kitchen.  (You could even do this WHILE you’re making dinner if you wanted to.)  I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before but I am going to say it again: a packed lunch is healthier than anything from a school cafeteria, breakroom vending machine, or fast food drive thru.  Plus, like most organizing tips, putting this one into practice has numerous benefits. 

I’ve already mentioned the health benefits but there are also benefits to your budget, as a “bagged lunch” is often cheaper than anything else you can buy premade.  The reason this tip will streamline your morning routine is that you will not be scrambling to figure out what to put in your children’s lunches.  You need only remember to grab the lunch boxes/bags out of the refrigerator.

Clean the Kitchen

When you first step into your kitchen in the morning, does it look like the one in the picture above?  If so, don’t worry, I’m not here to judge you.  In fact, I’ve been there.  It was only about a month or so ago that I had to constantly rearrange the dirty dishes in order to get to the water faucet.  Then a dear friend of mine gave me a tip that is so simple yet it has completely changed my life:

Make it a habit to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher rather than stack them in the sink.  When the dishwasher is full, run it.  If, at the end of the day, your sink has accumlated dirty dishes due to a large home-cooked meal or after entertaining family and friends, take a few minutes and hand wash them.  It’s usually the pots or pans (bigger items that can’t fit in the dishwasher) that are left and they are generally easier to clean than cups that you have to squeeze your hands into.

Simple, right?  The overall point is that you make sure the kitchen is clean before you go to bed so that you won’t wake up to chaos on your countertops.  Once you clear the dinner table and pack those lunches make sure there are no dirty dishes left in the sink or clutter on your countertops.  After everything looks tidy, wipe down the countertops real quick and call it a day.

Whole House Pick Up
Just like making sure your kitchen is clean and your sink is clear, picking up the daily clutter from each room in your house before bedtime will add to the peaceful morning that you desire.  How?  Stepping on a lego hurts.  BAD.  Especially when you’re half asleep.  Talk about a bad start to your day!
For this step, you’ll need a basket and about 10-15 minutes of your time.  Take that basket and work your way through your home, collecting items that don’t belong.  Toys covering the living room floor when they belong in your daughter’s room?  Put them in the basket.  Mail sitting on the dining room table when it belongs in the office?  Put it in the basket.  Only put things in the basket.  Don’t take anything out yet.
Once you’ve visited every room and collected everything that isn’t in its assigned home, go back to the first room and make the rounds again.  This time your focus is putting things back where they go.  Now that you’ve removed those toys from the living room, put the DVDs that found their way into the kitchen (somehow?) back in the media cabinet.  After you collected the mail and put it back in the office, you can now place your centerpiece back on the dining room table.
This one tip will not only make your mornings more peaceful, but it will also keep your home in a more company ready state.  Adding a “whole house pick up” to your evening routine will prevent your daily clutter from piling up and becoming an overwhelming mess.  When clutter doesn’t accumulate, you can be company ready in a matter of minutes by going through your house to remove the clutter from each room and then placing the basket in a hidden location until you can make a put-it-all-away round after your guests leave.
Pick Out Everyone’s Clothes
I’m sure you have heard this one before but it definitely is one of the best ways to cut down on morning chaos.  How many times have you tried on five outfits only to choose one and then realize once you arrive at work (or church or wherever you were headed) that it has a stain or rip?  By picking out your entire outfit (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) you can inspect it ahead of time, try it on to make sure it still fits, and iron anything that has wrinkles.
Don’t stop at your outfit though.  Go ahead and have your chidren lay out their entire outfit.  Not only will you be preparing everyone for the next day, you will also be teaching them a valuable tool that they can carry into adulthood.  While your at it, be a dear and lay out clothes for your wonderful hubby as well (if he’ll let you).  If he’d rather do it himself, you can always give a friendly reminder once in a while (being careful not to nag.  They hate that).  😉 

Check Your Calendar
Once you’ve completed the other steps, take a few minutes to review your schedule and to-do list for tomorrow.  If you don’t already have a to-do list for the next day, this is the time to make one.  Think about what chores and errands need to be done and write it down.  Got a lunch date or play date tomorrow and want to confirm with the other person?  Add “Call Suzy to Cofirm Lunch Date” to your to-do list.  Just realized your nephew’s birthday is next week?  Write “Pick up a card for Johnny’s Birthday” on your to-do list.
If you want to take a few extra minutes to review the next 7 days or so then, by all means, do so.  It will only make you that much more prepared.  You’ll get an idea of what absolutely needs to be done tomorrow and what can wait for another day.
I hope these tips help you have a hectic-free morning.  When the start of your day is stress-free then it has a positive impact on the rest of your day.  You’ll be on time for work and have a better attitude with your co-workers.  If you are a SAHM, you will be ready to tackle a new day and your kids will be able to relax as well.  Everyone wins!
What’s your favorite way to prepare for the next day?


Organized People are Lazy

23 May
Lazy Shirt
It’s true.  Before I offend anyone, let me explain.  First of all, I don’t like to waste time and energy.  I don’t like to repeat tasks unnecessarily.  And I like to make each task as easy as possible.  Basically, I’m not going to exert any more effort than truly necessary to complete any one task.  Lazy, huh?
Feel the same?
Congratulations!  You’re lazy too!  🙂
If you find that you tend to be a little more disorganized than you’d like, you can ask yourself these questions to help you put your ducks in a row and lead a more “lazy” life:
Is there anything I can do now to prevent more work later? 
If procrastination were a sport, would you be MVP?  If so, chances are you are spending more time and exerting more energy than you need to.  What do I mean?  Think about those mornings you spend looking for keys that have “sprouted legs and walked away”.  You used up at least 15 minutes on your search when that time could have been better used on something else.  Plus, it probably created or added to the stress you were already experiencing, thus raising your blood pressure and impacting your mood (potentially for the rest of the day).  All because you don’t have a designated “home” for your keys, such as a bowl or hook.
Think about some other situations in which acting on a task now can decrease your work load later:

  • When your evening routine includes laying clothes out, preparing lunches, and setting the table for breakfast, you are doing your part to make sure your morning runs smoothly. 
  • When you create a menu plan, clip coupons, and write out a grocery list, you are ensuring a pleasant trip to the store with as little impact on your wallet as possible. 
  • When you designate a well lit place in your home for your kids to study and you also provide them with a “Homework Kit” filled with paper, pencils, markers, scissors, and anything else they need to get the job done, you are decreasing the chance of an I-don’t-wanna-do-my-homework meltdown later on (see THIS POST for more ideas for organizing with kits). 
Just think about it this way: “If I go ahead and do something now, then I’ll get to be a little more ‘lazy’ later on.”
Also ask yourself:
How can I be more productive with my time?

At the beginning of this post I told you all that I don’t like to waste time.  I imagine you don’t either.  I mean, who really LOVES to waste time, right?  But we do it ALL the time; sometimes without even realizing it.
Lets say you are in the market for a new television.  Which course of action more closely resembles the one you’d take?
  • Option #1 – Load up the hubby and kids.  Drive around to 5 different stores, looking for the best deal.  Realize the best choice was at store #1. Drive back.  All the while enduring the I’m-tired-can-we-go-now whines and the I’m-hungry-when’s-dinner cries (and sometimes joining in because, face it, you’re tired and hungry too).
  • Option #2 – While the kids are napping, you log on to your trusty computer and search for the best deals.  You may even make a few phone calls to have some questions answered, all while hanging out in the comfort of your own home (maybe even in your pjs).  Once you decide on the best choice for your family and your wallet, you load up the kids, drive to the store, and make your purchase.  Then you drive home in plenty of time to whip up a homemade pizza and enjoy your favorite show or movie.
Maybe your shopping adventures already resemble the second one.  Heck, maybe you go one step further and just have the purchase delivered to your front door so that you never have to leave at all!  But is there another area of your life where your time could be managed just as effectively as it was in Option #2?

What about this?: Do you ever get distracted while cleaning your house?  Me too.  I’ll start wiping down our coffee table only to realize our end tables are cluttered.  So, I set down my cloth and cleaner so that I can return items to their proper home.  While returning items to my bedroom, I notice that I forgot to make the bed.  As I begin to make the bed, I see a pile of my hubby’s clothes on the bathroom floor.

The problem with the above situation is that I never finished wiping down the coffee table, putting items in their proper place, or making our bed.  All tasks remain unfinished even though I was running around the house like a mad woman in an attempt to clean.  This isn’t good use of my time.  Instead, I could place sticky notes on items that need my attention. (Forgot where I read this idea. Sorry.)  If I had done so, here’s how the above story would have changed:

I start wiping down our coffee table only to realize our end tables are cluttered.  I put a sticky note on the end table that reads “Declutter” and continue wiping down the coffee table.  When I finish wiping it down, I remove the sticky note from the end table and take things back to their proper homes.  While returning items to my bedroom I notice that I forgot to make the bed.  I place a sticky note on top of the bed that says “Make” and continue putting things away.  Once all things are returned, I go back to my bedroom, remove the sticky note, and begin to make the bed.  I then see a pile of my hubby’s clothes on the bathroom floor.  I place a sticky note on top of the pile that says “Pick Up” and go back to making the bed.

In this case, the coffee table was wiped down, the end table was decluttered, items were returned to their proper homes, the bed got made… things were accomplished!  It may sound silly to keep a stash of sticky notes in your cleaning caddy but it may be just what you need to keep from getting distracted while cleaning, thus making the most of your time!

Another Tip: Use the computer to pay bills, schedule a post office pick up, and shop for gifts.  Not only does it make the best use of your time, it also saves money because you’re not using up gas by driving around to take care of these errands.

So, when you think of getting more organized, think about ways to become “lazier”.  Ask yourself if there is anyting you can do now to keep you from working harder later and how you can be more productive with your time.

What’s your favorite productive and time saving tip?