#write31days – Organize the Office

Today I’m supposed to be an organizing my office.  I don’t have an office!  Ha!  If I did have one, I would want it to look like this:

Fall Home Tour!


Or this:

lights over the workspace


Or this:

Kendra Scott's Austin SOCO Office #KendraScott


three offices that make me want to work

#write31days – Organize Your Budget

The goal today was to organize the car, but, here in the Northeast, the weather has been nasty.  Which means, I’m taking today as one of the off days in the Organized Home in 30 Days Challenge.

Instead, I’m going to talk about how our family (tries to) organize our finances.  We have a very simple and customizable budget in an spreadsheet.

A Simple Budget



Monthly Weekly
Net Pay 1 $4,000.00 $923.08
Net Pay 2 $3,000.00 $692.31
Total $7,555.00 $1,743.46
Monthly Weekly
Mortgage 2,500.00 576.92
Auto Insurance 120.00 27.69
Auto Loan 415.00 95.77
Cell Phone 135.00 31.15
Cable 200.00 46.15
Electric 150.00 34.62
Water & Sewer 50.00 11.54
Gas for Cars 125.00 28.85
OIl 450.00 103.85
Groceries/Household Consumer 800.00 184.62
Spending 1,261.00 291.00
Credit Cards 600.00 138.46
Gym 49.00 11.31
Kids Stuff 700.00 161.54
Total 7,555.00 1,743.46

I created my budget in a Google drive spreadsheet and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to properly share that at the moment.  It looks much prettier in Google drive.  But, you get the gist.  Everything coming in and everything is going is accounted for.  And, by the way, in case your curious, I completed fabricated the numbers above.

Having a budget and knowing where your money *should* be going is awesome.  At least in theory. I created that document and thought, $291 a week in spending money (hypothetically), I’m rich!  But somehow every month we were dipping a little into our savings.  But, I have a budget.  How could this be happening.  There’s no way we were spending more than $291 a week in incidental stuff, right?  RIGHT??

Wrong.  I soon realized their is another important step in budgeting and that is accountability.

Budget Accountability

After several months of raiding our savings, I did a deep dive on our checking account.  I went through every penny we spent in a month and figured out why we weren’t sticking to the budget.  After I painstakingly went through every expenditure for a month, I realized that our online banking has a handy export tool that will send all of your data to a handy dandy spreadsheet that can be sorted very easily.  If your on-line banking doesn’t have this, consider seriously changing banks.  It’s an amazing tool.  I’m now able to see every penny we are spending and what we’re spending it on, sorted, totaled and even in a pie chart if I want.  I started to realize that we were spending (hold on to your hat) $400 a month on lunches. Just the adults!  The kids buy their lunches at school and that is another chunk of money that we weren’t accounting for.  This is the Accountability step.  Create your budget and then figure out why you’re not sticking to it so you can fix it for next month.

I’ve officially missed a day of writing for #write31days by 25 minutes.  Actually, I started writing well before midnight, so I suppose that still counts, right?

This is a post I’m going to hit publish on, but it still needs work.  If you happen to be reading this, check back for updates during the weekend!





#write31days – Organize Your Keepsakes

This one is tough for me.  I’m not really a keepsake person.  I guess I’m not very sentimental.  But, I get it.  Mementos of moments in time that are important.  I’ve kept some of my kids baby clothes.  I still have my high school gymnastics team leotard tucked in a drawer.  I have a shirt that is in tatters that I bought when I lived in Salamanca, Spain for 6 weeks.  I kept a scrap of a towel that my husband cut up for me years and years ago when I wasn’t feeling well.  He cut the towel up and wet a piece of it and microwaved it.  I can’t find it now, but I kept it for a LONG time.

There are many things in the house that remind me of people and places.  But, mostly, I find myself thinking about how to make the present moment memorable.  I don’t live too far in the future and I definitely don’t live in the past.  I just do my best to make a happy life for my family.  I don’t always succeed; I don’t even always do my best, but my my intentions are always good.

#write31days – Organize Home Decor

I was going to skip today’s task in the Organized Home in 30 Days challenge.  The task was to organize your extra home decor and organizing stuff.  I don’t really have a lot of decor stuff that I’m not actually using, so I thought it would be a bore.  I told myself to do it for 15 minutes and see where I ended up.  Here’s where I ended up after 15 minutes of digging up decor stuff that was stashed randomly through out the house:

Home Decor Surplus

I didn’t even make it through the whole house and I found all of that.  There is some really awesome stuff in there!

Candle Holders

I love these colorful tea light holders.  I bought those literally more than a dozen years ago when we bought our first house. I think a couple of them have passed on to the great mosaic of smashed glass in the sky, sadly.  The crystal (ish?) ones are cool, too, but I have no idea where those came from.


Uh, hello, 7 vases?  Stashed away?  Bring me some cut flowers, stat!

Glass Bowl


This is a stunner.  This is my mom’s.  She gave it to me.  I hope she doesn’t read this and ask for it back.  Also, the fabric underneath it is half of a pair of curtains that I forgot I had.  I don’t really have a spot for the curtains, but I think for photos like this one it will be a great back drop.  If I iron it.


This is two of about 47 frames that I found.  I think I put a bunch of frames away at Christmas time and then never took them back out.  What?  Who does that?

Fabric 2Fabric 1


I love these two fabrics.  The bottom one is another thing that has been with me since my first home. I see pillows in the future.



Remember this wood from my 70’s inspired art work?  I still have a ton of it.


This clock is getting hung pronto.  I’ve had this forever.  I love it.  It’s very me.

So, the only part of the actual organization I’ve done is the gathering of like things and a tiny bit of purging.  But basically I have a huge pile of stuff that needs a home now.  Woof.

#write31days – Organize Your Books

Today’s task in the Organize Your Home in 31 Days challenge was to organize your books.  So I did:


There.  Three books organized.  I don’t have many actual books anymore; I absolutely adore reading electronically.  That was a quick post, right?
Oh, what’s that?  You’re curious about that  Map Accent Wall?  Why, I’d love to tell you all about it!  It has a great story and it cost $6!

This past summer, during our trip to Lake Winnepesaukee, we went to a yard sale at a Jewish Community Center because my son is obsessed with going shopping for second hand video games and movies.  I found this while we were there:$3 Yard Sale Tapestry

That has nothing to do with the map wall, but I still love it and my husband still hates it so it has been banished to the craft area.  I also bought this at the same yard sale:



Atlas of the World

My first reaction, obviously WALLPAPER!

Yard Sale Score Map Accent Wall $6

I went through the book and picked out pages that either meant something to us (our heritages, English, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese and Italian are all represented) or are places we’ve been to (Spain, Bermuda) or that were just pretty or interesting.  I love the page of Antarctica and the one in the middleish of North America is so cool.  I love the view from that perspective with Russia sort of above North America (yes that’s Russia in white above North America.  No, I didn’t believe it either.  Unless the map is wrong and maybe that is why it was at the yard sale after all). Once I had picked out all of the pages I wanted, I started sticking them on the wall with push pins (which were $5 of the $6 budget).  I completely just eyeballed it, no levels or planning ahead.  I just stuck one up, stepped back and looked at the wall and decided what went where next.  Actually, I think that is my super power.  Being able to eyeball for level.

When I thought I was done, I sat back and realized there was one spot (far left near the light switch) that was bugging me.  I didn’t want to put a whole page there because I felt it would throw off the balance, but it was a little empty.  I went back to the Atlas and tried to find another page to put up.  And then, I found this:

Map Wall Close Left

And that just grabbed my little heart strings and tugged right on them.  I HAD to include that in the wall.  I wondered where Michael was and if he had traveled the world.  And I thought of how neat Grandma Jan’s handwriting was.  Then I thought, why did Michael dump this at the yard sale to be sold for $1 to a DIYer who would then rip it apart and blog about it?  What an ungrateful little you-know-what!  Grandma Jan and Grandpa Bob, I hope you know that your gift found a good home and I hope you don’t mind that I have plastered the Atlas all over my walls and am now sharing it with the world via the world wide web.

#write31days – Organize Craft Stuff

Welcome to my Craft Pile of Terror.

Crafte Pile of Terror

Today’s task in the Organized Home in 30 Days challenge was to organize your craft goods.  Well.  I guess the picture speaks for itself.  There’s also this one:

Craft Pile of Terror 2

I won’t speak of how these piles have haunted me and the shame they bring upon my house.  I’m just going to move forward with the afters.

Basically, there is not trick to organizing a disaster like this.  It’s getting rid of a LOT of junk and then making sure you have enough room to put the rest away.  Here’s what I got rid of:

The PUrge

Actually, I found another bag that I forgot to add to the picture, so imagine another one in there.

Now, I’m nowhere near done, but, here’s how far I’ve gotten:

Drawers AFter

Table AfterA clear surface!  Hurrah!

#write31days – Organize the Kid’s Toys

Today’s task in the Organized Home in 30 Days challenge is to organize your kids toys.

toys in drawersToys iN Drawers2

I put toys in drawers.  #sickoforganizing #stillcounts


#write31days – Cord Organization

Today’s task in the Organized Home in 30 Days challenge is to organize your cords.  While I fully understand and appreciate that this is a great task to tackle, I really had a hard a time figuring out how to make it into an interesting blog post.  Then I went to Pinterest and found out that there are some totally genius cord organization ideas. My favorite organizing ideas are ones that are simple and inexpensive.  These six check both of those boxes.

With so many new gadgets these days, wires can make your home office desk look cluttered. To keep them at bay, attach binder clips to the edge of your desk, and place the cords through the clips. This will also make it easy to plug in your electronics.

Toilet paper roll cord organizers! #organization #toilet paper


Those are toilet paper rolls!!

Use a spring from an old pen to keep charger from bending and breaking. life hacks

10 Ways to Control Cord Clutter - lego people hands fit perfectly around charging cords


clothesline and curtain hooks to keep your extension cord out of the way for your power tools!


Use a basket with handles to hide cord + components - via Clean Mama

Poison Ivy

I have to veer off of my organizing challenge tonight because I finally broke down and went to the doctor’s after work for the poison ivy that has been bugging me for two weeks.  In addition to the fact that I simply didn’t have time to do any organizing, I learned some interesting things about poison ivy that I thought I would share.

Poison Ivy Circle

1.  The rash you get from poison ivy is not contagious.  The only way you can get poison ivy is from the oil of the plant itself.  No one will probably want to touch your rash because it is hideous and nasty looking, but if they did, they would not get a poison ivy rash from touching your poison ivy rash.  I was worried about the rash spreading to the kids, but according to the doctor,  that won’t happen!

2.  My doctor called the rash a “delayed allergic reaction”.  I came in contact with the plant on a Saturday and the rash didn’t begin until the following Saturday.  I had been doing yard work and I was pretty sure that I had come in contact with the plant, so when the rash showed up a week later, I wasn’t surprised.  She also said the oil adheres (yes, adheres) to your skin within ten minutes of exposure!

3.  You cannot spread the rash to other parts of your body.  You might find that the rash starts in one area, like your wrist and then a few days later shows up on your elbow, or your knee or ankle.  You have not spread the rash by scratching or using lotion.  It’s just that good old “delayed allergic reaction”.

4.  You can definitely cause an infection by scratching.   Do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT scratch your poison ivy.  I can’t tell you how many people told me that great tip and how many times I warned myself not to do it.  But guess what, I would wake up in the middle of the night to find myself scratching IN MY SLEEP!  So, guess who ended up with infected ivy rash?  This girl.

5. Don’t wait for your rash to look like this before seeing your doctor:

Poison Ivy


Sorry!  That’s so gross!  I’m such an idiot for not going days ago.  When I called the doctor’s office they asked how big the rash was and I said about 6″.   And the nurse said, “Oh, that’s pretty big”.  In my mind, that wasn’t that big.  I was thinking like if it covered more than 25% of my body it would be considered big.  Not this patch on my ankle.  They also asked if I had a fever (I didn’t), so know that info before you call, but just because you don’t have a fever doesn’t mean it’s not infected.  I also thought the area would be swollen or painful if it were infected.  Not the case.  If it looks super nasty, it’s probably a problem.

6.  If you think you have poison ivy on your face or your, ahem, private areas, get thee to the doctor right away!  Don’t wait to see if it goes away and if you have some left over steroid medication hanging around, don’t use it on these areas.

So I ended up with an hour at the doctor’s office and a tube of steroid ointment.  Woo hoo.   I can’t wait for the roid rage jokes at work tomorrow.

PS.  Is it wrong if I tell my husband I’m not allowed to do yard work ever again until the poison ivy has been obliterated from the yard?  Discuss.

#write31days – Organize theBedside Table

Stick with me through these less than inspiring of my bedside table.  There’s something cute at the end.

Today’s task for the Organized Home in 30 Days was to organize my bedside table.  Here’s the before:

Bedside Table

It’s you know, not bad.  Not super cluttered or anything, except the hydrocortisone and Caladryl for the poison ivy on my ankle that is very possibly going to drive me completely insane.  Now, here’s the before of the inside:

Inside Bedside Table Before

Oh, yuck.  Lots of dust, wires for stuff and random things that don’t belong.  So, I cleaned it out sorted and found some gems in the process:

Living Organized

“Living Organized” is a FANTASTIC book on organizing if you are not a person for whom organizing comes naturally.  I know someone who has that problem.  It’s me.  I’m that person.


My glasses!  Which I sort of forgot about for months.  Which makes me think that the eye doctor might be running a scam.

And, I found two adorable Mother’s Day cards from my kids.  This one is from my daughter:

Mother's Day Card - Daughter

She’s so sweet!  And smart.  And perceptive.  How did she manage to look at EVERYTHING and know that I was the most beautiful?

And then there’s this one from my darling son, which was made with his Kindergarten class:

Mother's Day Card - Son

Don’t worry you won’t recognize me on the street based on that picture.  My eyes are blue, not green.  For this precious project the teacher thought it would be a great idea for the kids to come up with one sentence about how their mother’s love them.  Here’s a few of the comments:

Close up mothers day card

“Some mothers love to watch movies with our Dads…especially Liar Liar!”.  Hm.  Such an interesting quote to use to describe how your mother loves you.  I might have suggested, maybe, the Sunday afternoon mommy/son date at Newbury Comics, or, perhaps, reading to you at night.  But watching movies with Dad is a good one, too.  Although, I’m not sure I’ve ever watched Liar Liar since my son was born, with my husband or anyone else for that matter.  But it’s the thought that counts, right?  It doesn’t matter that every kid in his class took home their own laminated copy of this and their parents also now know that I LOVE to watch Liar Liar with my husband, right?

And I now have 8 minutes to hit publish before I miss the deadline for today in the #write31days challenge, so here are the afters:

Bedside Table After

Inside Bedside Table After