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Room Organization Planner & Printable

"All great changes are preceded by chaos" 
~ Deepak Chopra

When it comes to tackling a home organization project, it can be overwhelming.  It can be especially overwhelming if you are a new mom just trying to survive the next few hours before nap time, and can't even bring yourself to pick up the dirty socks and toss them in the hamper!  I was precisely in that predicament not too long ago.  If it wasn't for deciding to start this blog, I might still be in that rut.  Frustrated by the mess of my home and the growing needs of my son, something in me clicked and it got to the point where changed needed to happen.   The quote above was so fitting to my situation and maybe yours too.  Organization is my gift and passion and getting things in order energizes me in a special way, so deciding to make great changes came easy to me and fueled me in a way that only your passion can.  I'm here to tell you that if organization is not your gift, I am here to support you to make great changes in your home by serving you with my gifts!
In addition to organizing, I adore technology and what it has done to ease so many aspects of my life.  From socializing, to organizing inspiration for new projects, technology has allowed me to take organization to a new level.  When I dreamed of creating a Room Organization Planner, building the templates were right up my alley.  The main inspiration for the process of organizing came from a book I read years ago entitled Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morganstern.  I finished that book in no time flat, and she articulated what I already knew to be true in my organization struggles in such a simple way.  It is still useful to me years after reading and I have referred back to it often.  Fully inspired, I began the creation of the planner.

The planner needed to be simply laid out, easy to use and versatile.  I also wanted it to include aspects that I rarely see in other planners, such as budget tracking, reflection and follow up.  Planning needs to encompass all aspects from start to finish, so I have included four pages; analyze, strategize, budgetize and finalize.  As I walk you through each page, plans to work on our garage will be revealed, so stay tuned to see the planner at work!  If your family is like mine, the garage needs work.  It often is the dumping ground for randomness and things that could probably to go a better home.  For that and so many other reasons, I decided to use my garage plans as an example to fill out the planner.  Without further ado, allow me to walk you through my Room Organization Planner {with the template greyed so you can see how I filled it out}.

Having a project name for the room to be worked on is a given, but I felt that having a due date was important so that the project could be given a priority to be weaved in to our other many obligations.  Analyzing the space is the first step to changing it.  Thinking about what works, what doesn't, and what needs to be are crucial to the success of great changes.  I also included a space to diagram the space so you can draw out the bewildering before, but as you can see, it doesn't have to be an artist rendition.  I simply listed out how items were currently laid out.  Another option would be to paste a photo in that space.

Much of the strategizing was inspired by my reading.  Greatly organized spaces have zones.  Keeping like or related items together makes for easy searching and logical clean up.  The next piece of the planner is a plan of attack.  Make your plan of attack realistic to your schedule.  If you think you'll be able to complete a garage project from start to finish in one day {with kids}, you're bound for disappointment and discouragement.  It just doesn't happen like that, and if it does, the systems are often not entirely successful because they haven't been thoroughly thought through.  That's what this planner does; it helps you think through your true needs, beyond tossing items in a container, for long term true success in organizing.  Last on this page is another space to diagram the vision.  This works well if you have lots of furniture to arrange, but in the case of the garbage garage, listing it out was much easier and more organized for my thinking.  Visualizing the organized dream is another key step in the process that will give you drive to complete the project.

I realize that "budgetize" is probably not a real word, but for the sake of ending each page with the suffix -ize, I took the risk {smile}.  If you can get past the poor grammar, this page is the bread and butter of the planner.  It works as a wish list, doubles as a shopping list, and functions as a register for all purchases.  It even includes a measurements box because the last thing you need is to lug home a huge piece that is entirely the wrong size.  After planning out what you want {in the wish list}, itemizing it on your register {to see what you can actually afford}, and including measurements of the room and other existing furniture, this page can sit with you at your thinking station, travel with you to the store and back to calculate how well you stayed on budget.

You're almost there!  I included a few finishing touches to remind you that just because your space is organized, doesn't mean you can't make it pleasing to the eye with color, pattern and accessories.  Once you've done the work, sit back and enjoy.  After about 2 weeks {or a few go rounds using the system}, answer the reflection questions and see how you did.  If something doesn't work quite the way you thought, it will be much easier to tweak it in a system that works well overall because you took the time to plan ahead.  Good for you!

This has hopefully given you some fuel to hit the ground running.  If you were overwhelmed with a room or a space within a room because you didn't know where to begin, start here and let me walk you through your great change.  With this planner, you don't have to be overwhelmed by an organization project anymore.  I've done all the worrying for you.  Gift!  Now go and make great changes that will serve you and your family well.

Click here to download your gift!
Having trouble with the image links?  Click here to download your gift!

Techy Tuesday: Pinterest

These days, much of my internet activity is spent ooh-ing and aah-ing at pins on Pinterest.  If you have access to the internet, you more than likely know or have heard about Pinterest. If you are a blogger, Pinterest is probably your new best friend {it definitely is mine!}.  I will be the first to admit that I am Pinsessed!  I love all the inspiration that I can find on Pinterest!  From, how to make dinner to how to build furniture, and from creative kids activities to new workout routines, Pinterest has all the inspiration you will ever need!  Today's Techy Tuesday post is dedicated to all things Pinterest!

Aside from being the latest social networking craze, Pinterest prides itself as being "a virtual pinboard".  Imagine looking for inspiration to redecorate your guest room, and imagine all the clippings you might cut out of magazines and catalogues to pin to a pinboard; now, remove all the paper and replace it with digital photos that you find on websites and put them together in your own virtual pinboard, and that is Pinterest in a nutshell.  A great new way to surf the internet and collect inspiration for your next project, whatever that may be!  

Bloggers have certainly made their mark on the Pinterest scene.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered so many new blogs and I am amazed every time by the talent and creativity of all you great bloggers in blogosphere!  With all that Pinterest does to inspire me, it is coming awfully close to becoming my go to search engine.  

To inspire me, of course!  Take a look at someone's latest craft, or a well organized garage.  If I'm about to work on it in my home, you can be sure I've got a pinboard to help get my creative juices flowing.  One of my favorite things to pin are some of the brilliant ways people use or do just about anything!  Take my Brilliant Uses board for instance, it's got things from turning your old sweater into a mug cozy to a tutorial of how to fold a fitted sheet.  That's just two pins from the 63 pins on this board that is one of 29 other boards chalk full of brilliance!

It goes without saying {but will be said anyway}, that intellectual property is of the utmost importance and proper pinner is a must!  Pin wisely and from original sources and credit those who have inspired you!

So, what if you've been on Pinterest long enough now to know that you want more than just to pin and to repin?  Well I wondered the same thing and am here to tell you that there are ways to take your pinning up a notch!

If you're like me, you see a great pin for someone else and maybe not for yourself.  It happens to me all the time when I see cute little girl clothes, which does this mom of a toddler boy no good at all.  There are several ways you can let them know about this awesome find, and below are some goodies that Pinterest has provided to up the pinning ante.
  1. Pin bookmarlet - this is my favorite tool when blog browsing or internet surfing!  This tool adds a bookmark to your toolbar allowing you to pin from any website that allows pinning!  If I see something that inspires me, I can just click my "Pin it" bookmark, and it opens up my Pinterest pin form, so I can pin it and keep right on going along my merry way.  Genius!
  2. Email the pin - which I've done often and also sent to those who haven't taken the Pinterest plunge yet.
  3. Mention your friend in a pin - when commenting or repinning, just include the @ + friend's name {i.e. @Ferly} and Pinterest will find matches to your mention and just click on the intended friend.  Your friend will get a notification that they were mentioned in a pin.
  4. Create a group board {aka adding contributors to your board} - this is the feature I'm most excited to take my pinning to the next level.  Did you know that you can add contributors to your pinboards!?!  I know!  I had glanced at it previously, but never had a need {or desire} to share my pins.  Now that many of my friends are on Pinterest and are Pinsessed just like me, this makes for wildly fun group pinning and deepening my love for Pinterest!  
    • A few easy steps to get on board:
      • Create a new board or edit an existing board
      • Fill out form with pertinent information
      • Select "Me + Contributors" to those who can pin to your board
      • Type names of desired contributors
      • Click add after finding each person
      • Create board or save settings
    • Once the board has been created {or edited}, each person you have added as a contributor will be notified via email and can view the new group board in their own profile and when it comes time to pin, the group board will be in their list of existing boards!  Brilliant!
    • Group board inspiration - while testing the contributor feature with a friend, she mentioned that one group board she had heard of was called "I Tried This" and contributors would pin anything that they had tried onto the board and I would imagine had a commenting fun fest!  Now that's upping the ante for sure!
Being somewhat of a newbie to the wide world of blogging, Pinterest has given me a whole new world to explore and a deeper appreciation for bloggers of all kinds!  Thanks to them {and their pins}, I now look first to DIY rather than go on a shopping search.  What a great gift to give someone {confidence and tutorials to create things for themselves}.  If it weren't for bloggers and the many photographers who allow their photos to be pinned, many people would continue on less inspired.  If you were on the fence about trying out Pinterest, I hope this post has given you some fuel to go head first into this great tool.  If you're a veteran pinner, I hope you learned something new to add to your Pinsession!  By the way, did you bloggers out there notice that I have my latest pins on my sidebar!?!  I know!!!  It's Pintastic!

Now it's your turn!  Tell me what you love about Pinterest!  If you're not on Pinterest, are you ready to try it?  Would you Pinning Pros try a group board?  Do tell!

Operation Clean House: Action Center & Drop Zone Revamp

A clean home can only remain clean if nothing else comes in or out; unfortunately, that is never the case.  Endless items are transported in and out of the house all the time.  Groceries in, trash out, toys in, donations out, and on and on it goes.  How do the houses in magazines do it?  The most well kept homes all have one thing in common, successful systems.  In order to keep a newly organized space, well, organized, systems need to be in place.  There should be a home for all things coming in and going out.  That is how clutter is kept at bay.  Until recently, our systems weren't very well defined and certainly not consistently followed.  I feel mostly to blame for that as I believe it's my job {and my gift} to create those systems in our home.  But enough with the blame game, it's time to clean house!

Like most husbands, my hubby works for a living.  That means that he brings the most "stuff" into the house.  Often times, that also means that he regurgitates everything on his person onto the kitchen counter.  He empties his pockets, takes off his watch, charges his work phone, basically, lays his work down so he can be home with us.  Much to my dismay, it would leave a messy counter, and it has taken me this long to finally get some control of the space while still making it his drop zone.

Regardless of the size of your abode, there needs to be a home for the things we bring in and a command center from which all other homey tasks can flow from.  In our abode, those two crucial areas live side by side in a cozy little corner that functions as an extension of the entryway and transitions into the kitchen space.  Let's take a look and the pitiful before.

I had the right idea by utilizing wall space in tiny living quarters, but the clearance priced wall file that I thought would work, only ended up being a catch all for other things.  It didn't fit file folders and somehow, that tiny wall file managed to make that small wall look huge!  The fun preschool calendar on the adjacent wall doesn't do much for the eye either.

Dump is such a fitting word for this space...receipts, keys, chargers galore and an unused phone case and digital photo frame.  This space needed help, badly.

Talk about dumping, well dump no more!  Take a look at what some purging, re-assigning, and planning can do.

I quickly replaced my misguided wall file purchase with a beautiful full sized wall file {and got it on sale!}.  The floral accordion file is our reference file which holds our community's calendar of events, and other reference type papers that flow in and out of the house on a monthly or quarterly basis.  The fabulous Martha Stewart file folders contain all other incoming paper.  When mail or other paper comes in, it goes in one of these three folders {act, file or pay} to be dealt with at the appropriate time.  The key box that was previously empty and imprisoned in the crowded coat closet, has been set free and is finally serving its intended purpose.

Here's a closer look at the fabulous file folders.

Why I waited so long to purge this space, I'll never know because I just love how a space looks after a good purge!  Junk out and essentials in.  Now my hubby can finally fit all his drop zone duds in this lovely space and I even managed to hide those hideous charger plugs and put away the non-functioning digital photo frame.  I would much rather look at a beautiful landscape on the wall than harsh, ugly, black rectangles.

Better use of wall space for action center

Uncluttered drop zone

Action center and drop zone together

Ah, another sigh of relief, and another space clean.  I can't seem to get enough of that tiny little space.  There wasn't much to it, but the gift of re-thinking the space did wonders in the end.  Moving the paper towel holder to the other side of the sink was a no brainer; relieving the coin bank of its closet shelf duty, now keeps stray coins corralled when exiting the pants pockets; covering the outlet with a calendar is probably the best stroke of genius I had when updating the space.  So often it's the little changes that make the biggest difference.  Now that our things have a better home, systems can now keep our home working great.  Paper can flow through the house in a much more organized fashion and the hubs can come home and unload his workday onto an uncluttered space.

Do you have an action center and drop zone that are working well for you?  Maybe your home is crying out for one or both!  I'd love to hear about it.

Techy Tuesday: Getting To Dos Together

There are oh so many lists for the many things that need to be taken care of.  And for the many hats we wear in our lives, how can we get them all together and organized?  As for me, I use apps; and because I'm a bit particular, I have tried several different apps to meet my specific needs.  One boring day {years ago}, I probably spent a couple of hours just researching, shopping and trying out to do apps alone!  I'm that crazy.  Well today, I hope to save you some time and effort by gifting forward by search for you and letting you in on my findings.

There are certain criteria I have for apps I use to tackle my to dos.  Let's check them out now.
  • Customization - I need to be able to look at the tasks at hand in the way I want to see them.  Prioritization, multiple lists, and sorting capabilities {alphabetically or by date} are a must for this lady.
  • Simplicity - I don't want to have to spend too much time learning how to get to my tasks.  It should be fairly straightforward.
  • iCloud ready - Do you recall my grocery day episode?  Without the use of iCloud, my grocery day would have just been gross.  I want to be able to start my to dos on one device and finish them on another.  That's supposed to be the beauty of technology, right?  Convenience and ingenuity.
  • Pretty is a bonus - I'm still a girl after all, and the prettier the app, the happier I will be while checking off my list!
Now that you know what I look for, allow me to walk you through my trial and error period and follow up with some apps I may be tempted to try in the future.  The best part about these apps is that they are all free!

Likes:  This app is super simple to use and has all the customization that I desire!

Dislikes:  Although I can have as many lists as I want, I cannot arrange them the way I want after they have been created.  So you may need to do some preplanning in this area and create your lists in the order you want them to appear.

Likes:  Looks pretty and has most of the customization that I am looking for with arranging multiple lists, prioritization and more.

Dislikes:  It didn't always function properly.  I spent many grocery trips frustrated at the way it would continually crash.

Likes:  Great all around app for moms on the go with calendar, to do list, color coding and more.

Dislikes:  For me it was more of the same capabilities that were already on my device.  When memory storage is at a premium, I need to be smart with my downloads.

Likes:  It's already installed on my device and does all that I need it to do.  It's iCloud ready, simple, clean looking and can give me time or location based alerts.

Dislikes:  I am not able to alphabetize my list, which seems to be important to me.  Seeing my list alphabetically just helps me to order my thoughts.  I can rearrange the list to make it alphabetical, but that's just tedious and a waste of time.

Makes me curious:  Socialization meets task completion.  Assign tasks to one person and see when it has been completed.  Great for families with teenagers.

Makes me concerned:  Not sure if I can customize my lists and tasks to my liking.  Can you sense a theme happening here?  Customization is a must!

Makes me curious:  Nice layout of multiple lists and ability to see upcoming tasks together.  Also has some nice icons to identify certain tasks that have alerts by date or location.

Makes me concerned:  This is a lite version of the app, which means that in order to use it to its fullest, you need to buy it.  Great way to test it out if you're going to drop some dough and buy anyway.

With the loads of things to check off our lists, we need a way to organize and tame the madness.  Whether you are a post-it-task-organizer, a write-it-down-in-your-notebook-person, or a techy-to-do-app-get-it-done-gal, taming the task is a high priority for most of us.  When shopping for your perfect app, the best advice I can impart to you is to know how you work and what will work best for you when trying to complete your to do list.  Understanding yourself and your work habits will save much time, heartache and precious memory on your device, and will help you filter out apps with features you don't need.

Do you have a to do app that you are in love with?  Maybe you are curious about an app like me?  Tell me about it!

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