Monthly Archives: May 2014

Organizing a Purse

“The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” ~ Proverbs 13:19

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My Story
I have always loved purses for one simple reason—they look good whether you are a two or a twenty-two. It doesn’t matter your size, race, or class, a nice purse can make you feel like a diva walking the runway. Especially if it matches your outfit or adds a pop of complimenting color to your ensemble.

The problem for me though was that my purse never matched my outfit. I probably owned a purse that did match but my current purse was always such a mess that I didn’t want to switch it. A second problem was that I always felt as if I was digging in a big, black hole, searching for something I could not find. Most times I would give up before I even found the item. 

Then I changed the way I looked at my purse. Instead of being all about the fashion statement, I began to think of my purse as a life line away from home. It needed to house everything I was going to need while I was out in a way that helped me find things. I evaluated my needs, planned solutions to meet those needs, and then implemented the changes I had planned.

Surprisingly, the more organized my purse became, the smaller the purse I could get away with carrying. Right now, my purse is cute and fashionable. In fact, my twenty-year-old niece jealously eyes it every time we are together. But more importantly, I have everything I could possibly need and can find it as soon as I need it.

What is my secret? Baggies and pockets! When I choose a purse, I look for one with a variety of interior and exterior pockets. I use make up bags to compartmentalize like items together.  Then I use the pockets of my purse to organize miscellaneous leftover items.
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Your Challenge
Do you know those women who carry 40 pound purses yet can’t find what they need? What about the ladies with the 5 pound purses who have everything? It just doesn’t seem fair! Now think for a moment, which are you? Do you have a tidy purse containing everything you need? Or are you always digging through the “big, black hole” and never locating what you searched for? Today, I want to encourage you to stop with the hole and reach for organization.

To accomplish organization, I usually one of two processes. The first is geared towards cleaning an area out so I call it the Cleaning Strategy and the second is geared towards setting up storage so I call it the Organization Strategy. Today is the rare occasion that you will use both strategies. First, we will clean out your current purse and then we will set up a new system of purse storage (putting everything back in a way to optimize daily use).

 

Cleaning Strategy
For the cleaning strategy, you will need a small trash bag and 2 boxes/bins/or baskets. The bins are 1) for donations and 2) for items that don’t belong in your purse.

Step One: Collect & Sort
Start by dumping out your purse. Then sort everything into piles of like items. For me, that means a pile involving money (checkbook, change purse, wallet), primping (makeup, hair products, nail products, etc.), lip care (lipstick and Chap Stick), everything oral (dental floss, mints, Tylenol, etc.), special needs (deodorant, eye glass wipes and cleaner), and finally everything else.

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Step Two: Trash
Go through and toss out anything that is no longer usable—old lipsticks, stained receipts, candy wrappers, etc.

Step Three: Give Away
Next think about what you don’t use anymore. Maybe you have two pairs of tweezers or three nail files. Quickly move anything you don’t use, love or need into the giveaway box.

Step Four: Put Away Somewhere Else
Take the 2nd box  filled with the items that didn’t belong in your purse and return them to their proper homes throughout the rest of the house.

Step Five: Put Back
Now all that should be left in your space are the items you want to keep in your purse. Before we put them back, we will use the second strategy, the organization strategy.

 

Organization Strategy


Step One: Evaluate needs
Look through your items and make sure you have everything you need. Have you always wanted to carry Tylenol, a measuring tape, some other item in your purse? If so, retrieve those items now. For me, I retrieved hand sanitizer and lotion.

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Step Two: Plan solutions
Decide how many make up bags and pockets you will need to store your items. This should be fairly easy since you sorted everything into piles of like items in Step 1 of the Cleaning Strategy.

Step Three: Implement change
Grab baggies from your stash of purses. If you don’t have any extra makeup bags, think creatively (one of my bags is a travel jewelry bag that came with a necklace my husband bought me). Once you have your baggies, fill them.

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After you fill your make up bags, place your extra items in your purse’s pockets.
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Once the pockets are packed, it is easier to load whatever else you have in the main body of the purse. I place my wallet in last so that it is the easiest item to retrieve from my purse.

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Voila. You should have a perfectly packed purse full of the items you need when you are away from home. I hope this little challenge has taught you the value of Proverbs 13:9 which states, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” I know I always feel so much better knowing my purse is organized and that I’ll have everything I need at my fingertips!

What tricks do you have for purse organization? What are  your must have items that get packed in your purse?

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Planning Home Maintenance

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Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Fail to Plan: Plan to Fail
Do you plan time for daily home maintenance? If not, then you are planning to live a life of domestic failure. Believe me, I know all about domestic failure.

For the first few years of my marriage, I seemed to have everything together. At family functions, I brought delicious home cooked dishes. In my job, I received a promotion apx every 10 months. Predecessors to my job had been given 106 hours a week (3 staff members) to get done what I was doing in about 50 hours a week by myself. I kept detailed to do lists, color coded calendar plans and excelled in time management. But I was hiding a dirty little secret.

At home dirty clothes littered the floor. Clean clothes sat stacked in baskets. Dishes had to be washed most nights before I could even reach the stove and sink to start cooking dinner. Dusting happened about once every six or seven months and our floors were swept probably once a year. Truthfully, it took almost 5 years to unpack my dining room and set it up to actually be a dining room.

I may have been the picture of success to the world but my husband knew differently. I was a complete failure. I didn’t know where to start or even how to start. I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. I knew that women were to be care takers and home makers, and since our home was beyond messy, I felt like a complete failure. I avoided being home and volunteered for extra work at the office. When I did go home, I parked several blocks away and walked home so that if anyone drove by the house, they would think I wasn’t home and would drive on by.

Thank God, those days are behind us and my home is not the complete disarray it used to be! One of the most significant changes that I made in bringing about this transformation was in learning to apply the successful things I did at work to my home. I learned about planning, to do lists, home calendars.

Plan to Succeed: Succeed as Planned
If you don’t already do this, I urge you today to start planning regular time for home maintenance. Don’t get caught up in elaborate plans and schedules yet, but start out simple. 1) Evaluate Needs 2) Plan solutions 3) Implement Change

Allow me to share how this process worked for me.

1) Evaluate needs: I made a list of what chores needed to be done on a weekly basis.

2) Plan solutions: I assigned those chores to a day of the week based on my schedule of work and church responsibilities (meaning some days have fewer chores because they are busier days for me).

3) Implement change: I typed up the list of days with assigned chores and then posted it in a visible location. For me, the list looks something like this.

Monday (after all the weekend running)

  • straighten six downstairs rooms
  • hand mop downstairs floors

Tuesday (trash night for us)

  • run errands
  • empty cat litter
  • empty/carry out trash
  • sweep carpets
  • balance checkbook/pay bills

Wednesday (done with work around 2)

  • change/wash sheets
  • straighten bedrooms
  • clean bathroom
  • church work

Thursday (work an extra 2 hours)

  • dust downstairs rooms
  • balance checkbook/pay bills

Friday

  • meal plan/grocery list
  • Swiffer hard wood floors
  • 15 min bathroom speed clean
  • carry out trash to cans outside by garage

Saturday

  • church bulletins
  • grocery shop
  • wipe out refrigerator
  • make cleaners
  • make fast food meats

Sunday

  • rest

Some weeks the schedule gets away from me. When this happens, I don’t panic. I don’t play catch up. I simply let it go and give myself grace. For example, if on Thursday, I don’t get the dusting done, I don’t try to do dusting, sweeping, and everything else on the list for Friday. I just skip dusting for the week. Since this is a weekly plan, I know I dusted last week and will get to it again next week. What’s the worst that can happen from one skipped week? The dust gets thicker. It does not take any longer to do next week, so truly it is not the end of the world!

When I first started this new system of scheduled home maintenance, I had to evaluate it every few weeks to tweak/change things. Now, I only evaluate it once a year and it’s been working like clockwork. I’ve added sections for everyday chores, meals and even a section for additional needs that might come up—such as doctor appointments, vet appointments, post office pickups, etc. I’m attaching my printable for you here DailyPlan, and hope that it works for you. If it doesn’t, use it as a spring board to come up with a schedule that does work for you.

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Creative Pet Storage

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. ~ Genesis 1:26

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My Creator God created me in His image, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that in my everyday homemaking.  Living in a house with very limited closet space forces me to get creative, like Him. I often have to look around, evaluate my space and come up with a “unique” way for storing items. I often find that instead of complaining about the lack of closets, I simply need to find an untapped source of storage.

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One such example of this came in the form of pet accessories. We have two cats (Daisy and Lily) and one Chihuahua (Duke). In dealing with their accumulating stuff, I was given a perfect opportunity to exercise creativity. When planning storage, I always use the same process.

1) Evaluate Needs: I needed to store Duke’s leashes/harnesses, Duke’s clothes (he’s always cold and wears shirts most days—even in the summer), and all the animal’s heart worm/flea medications.

2) Plan solutions: Looking around I found an unutilized space in the kitchen. On top of the fridge, I have an assortment of baskets. Beautiful? Yes. Utilized? No. Using the three in front, I found a space for all three of our needs (walking accessories, clothing, and pills).

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3) Implement Change: I quickly filled the baskets.

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As I do not particularly like my handwriting, I usually try to label our storage areas with my electronic label maker. All of the storage in our home is uniform. I use the same font and one of two methods for applying the label. Sometimes, the label can be affixed directly to a drawer or bottle. For everything else, I use metal key rings that cost apx. 10 cents. I take off the ring and thread ribbon through the hole.

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This was a great solution for us. the baskets are high enough that you can’t see what is in them but low enough that I can conveniently reach without a step stool.

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What potential storage space are you forgetting? What have you creatively stored in a space that is all too often forgotten?

 

 

Simply Start!

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” ~ 2 Timothy 4:7

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Feelings of Failure
Women are notorious guilt huggers. All too often, we listen to Satan’s lies. We hear him tell us we are worthless, that we are not good at anything, that no one loves us, that we should just give in and then we hold his lies close to our hearts. We believe them, we repeat them and we cling to the hopelessness in them as if our very lives depended on it.

For me, all too often the lies and hopelessness have been tied to my home. I felt that I was an inept wife, a failing homemaker, a pathetic excuse for a woman. All because cleaning, organizing, and homemaking didn’t come naturally to me. I wasn’t taught how to do these things, and I blamed myself for that. I let failure rule my emotions, and it is not surprising that I became severely depressed.

Truth & Encouragement
Dear sisters, if you are like me, let me share with you a thing or two that our GRACIOUS Heavenly Father taught me. Being naturally untidy does not mean that you are an inferior woman. Struggling to maintain your family, career, and home does not make you a failure. Not knowing the same tricks that other women seem to know and do effortlessly does not mean you are a failure. You are not in a hopeless situation. You can learn these skills, and God can help you change.

Today is a new day. A day that is squeaky clean and unmarred by this very imperfect woman. I use the term imperfect lightly. I should say this oftentimes messy, angry, cranky, stubborn and overwhelmed woman. But praise God, I am redeemed! This blog is a testament of His amazing grace. It is for all the girls out there just like me. We want to live joyfully, we want to be in the moment, we want to seize the day, and we want God to control our every move. Yet our very selves get in the way. But not this time and not today!

Today, we stand firm and live for our Creator. We’re taking charge of the mess of our lives. This means we’re getting our homes in order, restoring our families to harmony, and learning contentment in all things. We are taking back our joy one task at a time to create happy homes, happy marriages, happy families, and happy hearts. We will live the life we were created to live.

Challenge:
Today, I issue you a challenge. I want 30 minutes of your day. At the end of our 30 minutes, I hope you will feel inspired, excited and a little more free.

1) Start by praying and asking God to help you with your feelings of inadequacy. Recognize that He paid a great price to redeem you, and then ask that He help you reach that freedom.

2) Now I want you to turn on some great praise music (it’ll be Toby Mac for me), grab your kitchen timer, set it for 20 minutes and tackle the area that is bothering you the most. It might be around your door where every time you walk through it, you see a mess and feel discouragement. It might be your nightstand where the last thing you see at night are the piles that seem endless. It might be the kitchen where you really can’t foresee having space enough to cook your family a wholesome meal in the near future. Whatever is torturing YOU the most, start there and set yourself free.

For this task, take with you the usual trash bag and 2 boxes: 1) for giveaway 2) for put away somewhere else. Don’t over think or over plan. Simply start!

3) End your task the same way we began—with prayer. Thank God for the fresh feelings of hope. Thank Him for the strength to keep going. Pour your heart out to Him and allow Him a chance to talk back to you. Meditate on Christ’s sacrifice for you, and allow yourself the freedom to bask in the worth you have to Him and in Him.

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