Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Creating a Master List for Your Home

So a few weeks ago I told you how I'm trying to purge and organize our entire room - for the sake my happiness and the sanity of my neat-n-tidy sweetheart, and to keep us from packing a lot of junk and taking it all the way to our {hopefully} new home in Iowa.  I've been very inspired by Tsh's book Organized Simplicity - the book really gave me a vision for a clutter-free, simple life, but there's no two ways about it - purging and organizing still can be an overwhelming process.

Today I want to share the method I'm using to break this huge task down.  It's an idea my good professional organizer friend, Gail Newton, came up with {the same one who also told me God gave me all the time I need to do everything He wants me to do - she's awful smart}.  
Her idea is to Create a Master List for your home.  The basic idea is to break each room down into specific tasks.

FIRST: Take a notepad and go to each room in your house.  Sit look around and make a list of every task that needs to be done - every space that needs to be purged, cleaned, fixed, organized, etc.  You can see how I did this for my entryway in the picture below {yes, my front closet is already ready for some maintenance, but this time I'm being ruthless - nothing stays unless I truly use it or think it's very beautiful!}

Next you will put all of this data into a handy dandy spreadsheet - such as in Excel.  You'll have a column for the 1. Space  2. Rank  3. Job  4. Time  5. Needed and 6. Outside Help.

1. Space Column:  In this column you name each general space (Entry Way, Kitchen, Office Desk)
2. Rank column: Here you'll rank which job is the most important in each space with "1" being most important.  If I felt like more than one task was a very important "1", I made it a "1" as well.
3. Job Column: In this column you name each specific job - try to break down tasks into smaller tasks as much as you can.  I put an abbreviation for each space {ie. EW for Entry Way} in front of each Job so that it will be easy to identify when we sort according to Time later.
4. Time Column: Now you estimate how much time it will take you to complete that task {now is a good time to overestimate!}
5. Needed Column: This column will show what supplies you might need to buy to do the project{storage bins, closet hooks, etc}.   

6. Outside Help:  Here, you'll put the name of anyone who will be enlist to help you with that task...such as "Sweetheart" ; )

In the picture below, you'll see that I've sorted all the Job's according to priority within each Space.  This is easy to do with Excel, using the sort/filter button.  So below, we have "EW" -  abbreviation for the Entry Way- and show the 1st, 2nd and 3rd task I have to do.

So now you have your Master List!  But you're not quite done.  Using Excel, sort your list by "Time" - so that the job taking the shortest about of time comes up at the top.   You can do this my selecting the entire Time column and using the sort/filter button again.

 I have this list along with the the original Master List on my refrigerator.   This second list is the one I actually refer to most, because I can use it to pick a job to do depending on how much time I have.  For example, the kiddos are drawing with markers =  about 10 minutes of time to do a project, so I pick a ten minute project from my list and go for it.  Later during nap time I might have time for a 30 minute or hour-long project.

This method really has been helpful to me so far.  I love how it helped me break down everything that needs to be done into small, defined tasks.  It also gave me a idea of how much time total this Simplify Project is actually going to take, so I can be more intentional about getting a certain amount of work done each day {at least two hours if I'm going to get done by our goal date}.  Definitely feeling motivated with an actual house on the horizon!

I don't know how well I explained this - please feel free to comment if you have questions or need clarification!  Even if you're not moving it's a great tool to keep you plugging away on your home as you find time.

If you leave your email address {or email me at everydaylovelyblog@gmail.com} I'll send you a copy of my own Excel worksheet you can use it as an example and to fill in your own list - prepare to be shocked, it is LONG. : )

p.s. thank you for your kind congratulations for the Dr. and happy encouragement about the potential house...we heard back from the owners and they sound quite positive...at this point we just need to get a contract signed....and sell our house!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Life that Is Waiting

Last week my sweetheart and I took a road trip to Iowa.  First objective was to go to Iowa City, where he defended his dissertation.  He is now officially, "Dr. Sweetheart".  So very proud.

Second objective was to travel through a blizzard to our soon-to-be new hometown in northwestern Iowa...and look for a new home.

photo from my iphone

And we think we may have found one...I'm dying to show you all the pictures I took, but as it's for sale by owner and I didn't ask the owners if I could publish their private home on the interweb, I'll content myself with simply the picture of the outside.

Yes, I'm pretty swoony about it.   We actually put an offer on it on Saturday, though it did hit me the next morning that I entirely neglected to even notice if the house had a dishwasher.  I'm afraid that this, my friends, is a severe case of blind love - I only had eyes for the beautiful oak trim, the insufferable charm everywhere inside...and that porch swing.  The walls and floors haven't been touched since 1984, but oh, the potential.


Yet, there's still a home here to sell - the home just two houses away from Sister and my dear little nieces and nephews.   The reality of moving away is certainly starting to hit.  I don't like it, but I admit these words rather strike a cord at the moment.  I am wondering.


So, trying to take hold of these hopeful words:

And that truly whatever is waiting for our family, it will still be good.

  via pinterest Life Made Lovely

Finally, very inspirited by Proverbs 31:25,

This woman of grace, she "smiles at the future"  (NASB)

So happy Monday, friends.  Happy Smiling.

love, cailan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Window Shopping: Wisteria

Just been doing a little window shopping.  I've never purchased anything from Wisteria, but they managed to get their catalog in my mailbox, so I had a little looksie and thought I'd share what I discovered with you.

This Wooden Wall Clock  I really love, and the price seems pretty reasonable at $59.

Like this whole work area setup.

 The metal basket shelf is especially nifty.

 And I felt quite sure that this light fixture and I had a future together...
but they seem to be sold out.


 I'm not sure I'm a garden bird kind-of gal, but these are quite charming.

 These linen lined wire baskets would make such pretty storage.

Like how they're used for storage in the kitchen here and isn't that iron shelf and those boxes so fun? And that chair?  And I'm thinking every kitchen needs some Perrier mineral water out on display - it's just so pretty.

This French Lantern is unique.  I think it would be fun thrown into a mix of styles for an eclectic look.

 Like how it looks here with the simple neutrals, and modern appliances.  And how great is that shelf on wheels in the background?

And finally, while I probably could not be trusted to keep this iron collapsible organizer uncluttered,  this is about my favorite out of the catalog - it strikes me as quirky, industrial, fun.  Surely, I would be motivated to keep it looking lovely.

So that's the lovely I found.  It's always kind-of fun to discover somewhere new to look about.
Thanks for browsing with me. : )  What's your favorite place to window shop?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Happy Birthday Day

Yesterday was sweet.  I documented it in Instagram, because I'm trying to get better at it and it is so handy to carry around my phone instead of big camera for the day.  But these are rather bad pictures.  I will keep at it, but I'll probably stick to my Nikon for blog posts. :)

In the morning, my sweetheart surprised me
with this beautiful orchid.  

But the real treat was that he made me this breakfast and brought it to me in bed. 
It was so delicious. Eggs with mushrooms, orange pepper, spinach, onion, and bacon. 
This was first for our marriage, and I loved it.

 Then opened up a few sweet cards sent from faithful friends and family.
There's just something so special about getting a birthday note in the mail. I forget to send them myself 8 times out of 10.  Funny how when my birthday comes around each year I am reinvigorated to be a dedicated birthday card sender - I'm always reminded how much it means.

In the afternoon, my heroic brother-in-law watched all seven of our children combined while Sister and I went out for lunch with our mum.  It was lovely, of course.

This dessert does not look very appetizing in the picture, so you'll have to use your imagination.

In the evening, this nice guy took me out for cozy, delicious dinner.

And more dessert....naturally. 

Still have the family birthday to celebrate, and then Sister and mum and I hope to getaway for a sleepover and shopping.  Yes, we know how to spread out the fun. : )

So thankful for a lovely day.
Lovely people.  And a new year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Pigtail Experiment

I don't think there's any denying it - pigtails are just happy.  I used to wear pigtails pretty faithfully when I was sixteen -  pigtails with a beloved red hat from Abercrombie.

About a month ago I got half a foot chopped of my hair.
I've worn it long for about the last ten years, so this was Substantial Change. 
Within I couple days it hit me that my hair was now pretty good......pigtail length.  Hadn't tried them since sixteen, so I decided to do a Pigtail Experiment:

{note that the Pigtail Experiment coincidentally coincided with the Learn How to Use Your iphone Experiment}

I wore pigtails for about two weeks straight
{and tried to take a few goofy iphone pictures}

I loved how easy it was to do my hair everyday - no time, no fuss - 
just neat, happy-fun hair that is out of my face.  

Five weeks later, pigtails are my go-to hair-do.

{And just now - yes, just this moment - I managed set up my email on the phone and take an Instagram pic.  Big Day.}

The data was most conclusive -
pigtails make me just as happy as they did at sixteen.

....and yes, I find they do grant one just that touch of youthful fun
that is rather bolstering as one turns 30.

So here's to embracing some happy fun at any age. ; )
{and making a concerted effort to figure out my phone}

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sugar Cookie Recipe

It may seem late for a Valentine's sugar cookie recipe.  But I'm guessing if you made them this weekend for post-Valentines, nobody would complain. ; )

This recipe has been in our family's favorite since I was little.   The cookie recipe calls for sour cream, and the frosting is flavored with almond extract, making for quite the perfect sugar cookie. We used it for Christmas cookies every year growing up and often broke it out for Valentine hearts and St. Patty's shamrocks.  It makes a big batch to you could easily use half for hearts and then freeze the rest for shamrocks in March.

Our little family didn't ever manage Christmas cookies this year, so was determined to make these with my kiddos for Valentine's. 

I managed to snap just a few pictures of the process.  Someday I'll look back and only remember the sweetness...but right now I admit my main memory was the stress.

The pictures look pleasant, but in truth this was a pretty emotionally charged cookie-cutting session.  

 I suppose, in the end, love prevailed.

Here's the recipe. Consider yourselves family. : )

Our Favorite Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 well beaten eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
5 cups flour
 3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda

1. Mix all together
2. Chill thoroughly
3. Roll out about 1/8 inch thick (you'll need quite a bit of extra flour for rolling)
4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 pound powdered sugar
2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
a little milk or 1/2 and 1/2 until smooth enough to spread

I'm sorry for my absence this week so far.  It wasn't planned, just happened.  I didn't see it coming, but somehow it seems every sort of event, work and trouble got dumped into this week.  The events are not all sad or unpleasant, but they compress the time and make the work and trouble feel more worrisome.   Suddenly there seems to be so much to sort out and not much time to do it in.  

So, trying to remember that God knows all about it all. 

He gives me sufficient grace for every trouble

And enough time to do everything I truly need to do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hearts About the House

There's nothing very amazing about these pictures I'm sharing today...it's all just book pages, glitter and hearts.  I had so much fun with decorating for Valentine's day in simple little ways this year.

{these chocolates are already - ahem - long gone :}

Made these cardboard glitter hearts last year.  You can see they're a little worse for wear, but still happy.

A favorite hymn.


Favorite people.

I adore these little mailboxes from Target's dollar section, but even more I love how my sister is using them "mail" little love notes to her kiddos everyday this month.  You can read about her wonderful lovely idea {HERE}.   I'm looking forward to writing my kiddos notes for the next week.

It's such a sweet holiday!  I love having all the hearts about our home.  They really are lovely, little reminders to just love one another.  

Definitely contemplating keeping them up year round...at least a couple hearts. :)