Subscribe by email
Category Archives: organization
This time of year, a lot of us talk about and contemplate a list of all the things we’re going to do in the new year. We often freely toss in tons of things onto our list, unrealistically thinking we can accomplish them all, and we declare new year’s resolutions that often end up being empty promises to ourselves, which we don’t follow through on and later make us feel like failures.
An article by Martha Beck* and a video by Marie Forleo, recently left me inspired about how to write a better list of goals. How to (1) clear out the things from our lists that waste our time and drain our energy, (2) add in the things that nourish us and make us feel fulfilled and content, and (3) make our goals happen. Below is a summary of tips I learned from them.
Edit down your list by scratching these things off :
- Things that aren’t spiritually profitable – things that won’t feed your soul
- Things that, for the most part, are just to feed your ego
- Things that revolve around toxic relationships
- If it’s a business goal, projects that don’t make sense financially
Filter Questions to Edit Your List:
Does this goal make me feel joy and excitement?
Do I want to experience the activities involved in this goal, whether or not I achieve the milestones associated with it?
Do I want to do this to feel superiority toward people who haven’t done this thing?
Do I want to have this experience even if no one else would ever know I had?
Would I be thrilled to do this even if everyone thought it was weird or stupid?
Does this goal involve trying to change something that can’t be changed?
Am I leaving out certain things from my list because they aren’t socially considered as “important things”? What things am I leaving out because I feel guilty, like I’m not allowed to have/experience/achieve them?
What little things could add more joy to my everyday?
What things can I do to be more appreciative, present and purposeful?
What business projects will be both spiritually and financially profitable?
Making it happen
Schedule it! Things will just be empty promises if you don’t take action towards them. Make a plan by listing the actionable steps of each goal and scheduling the first steps. This will create momentum.
What do you think? Do you find these tips helpful?
Image above: home of Anna Liesemeyer, photograph by Chelsey Heidorn
*Article referenced is: “To-Do List, or Not-to-Do List” as seen on page 45 of the November 2013 issue of Oprah Magazine
Do you use a paper planner? While I use an electronic organizer to manage my daily to-do’s (more on that later!), I like to use a paper planner to jot down workroom weekly notes for my biz, and another one as a health and wellness diary. If you haven’t gotten your 2014 planner yet, check out my round-up below of the most stylish ones out there:
1- Black Stripe Day Designer, 2- White Gold Metallic Leather Desk Diary, 3- Parisian Chic Weekly Planner, 4- Luggage Robinson Agenda, 5- Classic Kraft Planner, 6- Leopard Desktop momAgenda, 7- Blush Buffalo Diary, 8- Pink Postman’s Lock Pocket Book, 9- Black Perfect Bound Planning Calendar, 10- Gold Mini Three-Ring Binder for use with -> 11- Weekly Planner Sheets, 12- Dove Grey 2014 Fashion Diary, 13- Peach Leather Diary, 14- Red 12M Planner Daily, 15- Silver Gunmetal Tab Jacket for use with -> 2014 Planning Diary
Absolutely loving this beautifully organized dressing room from the home of Rita Hazan:
Shoes are neatly arranged on white open shelves (from Ikea!) and beauty essentials are on a glamorous mirrored vanity
A stylish modern black platter helps keep things organized.
Such much goodness here – the big window with floor to ceiling drapes, the tufted daybead, the unique gold wall studs, the brass glass pendant…
A patterned tray corrals jewelry and pretty objects.
See more of Rita’s home here.
photography by Brittany Ambridge and design by Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent
Both great ways to keep clutches beautifully organized!
I previously wrote a post on how I plan dinners for the week. Since writing that post, I’ve added an extra element to my little system, that has made dinner planning even easier. I was finding that on busy weeks when my husband and I had limited time to actually sit down to think through what we wanted to eat that week, browse through cookbooks, online recipes, etc., we would end up just rushing to come up with ideas last minute on Monday mornings right before heading off to the grocery store. This would often result in us just deciding on the same few go-to meals over and over since those were what we could think of off the top of our heads.
To add variety and help make things as stress free and easy as possible, I decided to take the time one day to list out as many dinners as I could think of that we know how to make and love, as well as a few new ones we’ve been wanting to try out. I then typed them all into a business card template (one dinner per box) and printed them on business card paper (I used this because it had a nice decorative border). Once I had everything printed out, I grouped the dinner cards by category (photo above left) and used little post-it tabs to create category dividers. I put all the cards in a business card holder (photo above middle), which I adhered strong magnets to the back of (photo above right), so I could stick it up on our fridge – a convenient accessible spot that’s right next to the pantry where we keep our dinner planner sheets.
So now, when it comes to deciding what we want to make for dinner on any given week, we can grab the cards, quickly look through them and choose one (or two) card(s) for each day. Once we’ve picked our cards, I fill in a dinner planner sheet with all the ingredients I need to shop for, and then stick up the cards up on our magnetic weekly board. If we change our minds in regards to which dinner we’ll make on what day (which often happens), we can easily move the cards around without having to erase and re-write things on the board like we used to.
There are several things I like about this routine. It makes deciding what to make quick and easy so it doesn’t feel like a chore. It eliminates the dreaded “what should we do for dinner?” question. It helps us eat more healthfully since when we have our dinners planned out and all the ingredients on hand, we’re less likely to order take out. It prevents multiple last minute trips to the market, so it saves us time. It helps us avoid getting into a dinner rut by putting into rotation all the dinners we know how to make and love – not just the ones that seem to come to mind most easily.
It does take some effort to set things up, but once you have a system in place, and you use it a couple of times, it’ll become habit and you’ll find that it makes life a bit easier. For anyone thinking of setting up something similar, here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Magnetic board with the days of the week – the one I have in my home is this one by Three By Three Seattle
- Several copies of the Dinner Planner (free printable!)
- Something to hold and store the planning sheets in a convenient spot – I have a transparent pocket adhered to the inside of my pantry door.
- Business card paper to make the dinner cards – index cards folded and cut in half would also work well
- Filing tabs to label and separate your categories
- A business card holder to hold your dinner cards – if you’ll be adding magnets to it like I did to stick it up on the fridge, be sure to get one that has a flat (non-slanted) back
- For recipes you don’t know off the top of your head how to make, include a note of where you found the recipe on the card (for example, the name of the cookbook and the page). That way, you can easily find it the day-of. You can also write on the back of the card the key ingredients for that recipe that you don’t usually keep on hand so that you can easily and quickly fill in your dinner planner/shopping list.
- Keep a few blank cards on hand for adding new recipes
- If you usually go to more than one grocery store each week like I do, when writing out your shopping list, use different colored pens for each store. In the dinner planner shown in the photo above for example, I used an orange pen to write ingredients I wanted to get at Trader Joes and a purple pen to write the ingredients I wanted to get at Ralphs. So when I was at Trader Joes, I just had to focus on the items in orange, and when I was at Ralphs, I just had to focus on the items in purple. I was able to go in and out of each store quickly.
- Choose a convenient day of the week that you can integrate dinner planning into your routine. For me it’s Sunday so I have my list ready for when I go grocery shopping Monday morning.
1. Browse through your dinner cards and pick out a card (or two) for each day of the week that you plan to cook at home
2. Fill in the dinner planner sheet. Dinners go in the furthest left hand column then ingredients you need to shop for go in the appropriate columns to the right (Produce, Dairy & Refrigerated, etc).
3. Stick your dinner cards for the week up on your magnetic board. Assign a card to each day keeping in mind you can always easily move them around later if you want.
4. Grab your dinner planner sheet and go shopping. Note that the columns on the sheet correspond to the aisles of most grocery stores, making it easy to shop down each column.
5. Feel good knowing you’re prepared for the week!
Let me know if you give this a try. Hopefully I explained things well enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
This post was brought to you by Office Depot. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting Arianna Belle sponsors!
I recently gave one of my drawers a little makeover with a clear organizer and a roll of duct tape. I used the organizer, which I picked up from Ikea, to separate all my items. It has lots of little compartments that make it easy to designate a spot for each thing. When everything is in it’s place, I can quickly find what I need.
As for the duct tape, I used it to create a stylish drawer liner. 3M has a great snake print tape from their new Expressions line that can be used in a lot of creative ways. Kelly of Fabulous K recently used it to cover a photo frame and Megan of Honey We’re Home used it to cover a mousepad and a tray. To make my drawer liner, I simply measured the bottom of my drawer, cut a piece of poster board to size, covered it with strips of the duct tape and then fit it inside the drawer. Super easy. Looks great and as a bonus, it helps protect my drawer. If anything spills, I can easily wipe it off. This is what I see when I open my drawer now:
What do you think? Not too shabby huh?
If you’re thinking of using snake print tape for a little project of your own, use this coupon for $1 off.
This post was brought to you by Office Depot. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting Arianna Belle sponsors!
Even though there’s undoubtedly an abundance of inspiration and information available via digital magazines, blogs, and Pinterest, which I all love, I still very much enjoy receiving printed magazines in the mail that I can physically flip through and rip pages out of, while settled in a comfy seat with a big cup of coffee in hand. It’s a relaxing treat at the end of the day.
As much as I love printed magazines though, I don’t like the physical clutter they can create. If you’re like me and have several subscriptions, you know how easily and quickly magazine piles can grow and get out of hand if you don’t periodically toss them or do something to tame and organize them.
Today I thought I’d share with you my system for keeping my magazine collection in check. While I do keep some magazines in their entirety and treat them as books because they’re filled with a lot of visually rich and inspiring content all throughout, what I try to do with most magazines is selectively rip out the pages I want to keep, and organize those pages into binders.
A few of my magazine clippings binders made pretty with simple matching covers
As I’m reading through a new issue, as soon as I identify content I’d like to save, I rip out the page. It may be an article that I found informational and want to reference in the future, or a city guide for a place that I’d like to visit, or an image with a beautiful color story that I find inspiring. I set aside the pages I’ve ripped out and (temporarily) put them in what I’ve designated as a magazine clippings box, because lets be honest, most of the time after reading a magazine, I’m in relax mode, not in organizing mode.
When I’m in the mood, usually on a different day, maybe while watching TV or something, I’ll take my magazine clippings and separate them out into the following categories:
Action – things to buy, recipes to try this week, sites to bookmark, etc.
Business – advice, resources and inspiration for my biz
Cleaning & Home Improvement – how to’s, tips, guides, reviews for appliances and other home products I don’t need or can’t afford right now but possibly will later, etc.
Decor – inspiration, products, guides
Dream Home Inspiration – home ideas that I absolutely positively love and dream of incorporating into my future home
Entertaining – tablescapes, ideas for the holidays, etc.
Fashion – outfit ideas, guides
Food – recipes, cooking tips
Hair & Beauty – ideas and guides
Health & Fitness – informational articles, guides, how to’s
Organization – inspiration, ideas, products
Travel – interesting places I’d like to check out, city guides, travel tips
Someday Maybe – projects I might want to try sometime, book lists, movies I’d like to watch, etc.
Wisdom – articles regarding balance, happiness, spirituality, perspective etc. (helpful for getting out of a funk or getting through a depressing time)
With the exception of the Action category, which I have a tray for near my desk (more on my office trays later), I created a binder for all my categories. Each binder is filled with clear sheet protectors and tabbed dividers (for sub-categorizing). To organize the magazine clippings, I simply put each into a sheet protector in the appropriate binder and under the corresponding sub-category.
My Travel binder with clear tab dividers labeled with sub-categories: Local, Weekend Getaways, National, International, Travel Tips
Here are my tips for anyone who may be interested in doing something similar:
-Go through one or two issues of each magazine you subscribe to, and take a look at the pages you’ve torn out to help you come up with your binder categories
-Assess your needs before going out to buy supplies. I personally go through a lot of magazines and tend to tear out a fair amount of pages, so I determined that I needed a separate binder for each category to neatly fit everything in and leave space to add more. If you’re someone who doesn’t subscribe to a lot of magazines and/or doesn’t tend to tear out that many pages, you may decide you can organize everything into one large binder or maybe combine two or three categories into each binder. If you need to, you can always expand later.
-Make sure you use either extra-wide dividers, or dividers that are specially made for use with sheet protectors (like these). If you get regular dividers, since sheet protectors are wider than regular letter sized paper, you won’t be able to see the tabs.
-Label the divider tabs with a label maker for a neater look (if you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend getting one, it’s so handy!)
-If you want to downsize and organize a collection of back issues you’ve accumulated over time, do it in batches. Trying to organize them all at once can be overwhelming. Plus the process is more fun if you let yourself do it as a leisurely project
*This post was brought to you by the folks at Office Depot. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting Arianna Belle sponsors!
I’ve been reading the book Getting Things Done by David Allen and have enjoyed learning about his approach to productivity. One of the things from the book that I have started putting into practice and have found useful is to ask myself, ”what’s the next action?” when adding things to my to-do list. Here’s a look at what a few items on my to-do list would have typically looked like prior to me considering the next action question:
- replace broken steamer piece
- recover sofa chair
- buy file boxes
- get boots fixed
At first glance the to-do’s seem fairly straightforward but, when I would look at items like this on my list, for some reason I would find myself resisting them. They’d often get pushed back and continue to remain incomplete. Why? Mr. Allen explains that most actionable items require some quick thought and planning steps before we can precisely define what has to happen to complete them. Do you need to research something? Gather certain information? Contact someone? He says that the thinking exercise for each item is something that has to happen at some point or another and it’s better to complete it early on because “if you haven’t identified the next physical action required to kick-start [an item], there will be a psychological gap every time you think about it even vaguely.” (pg. 130)
Here’s the same list re-written after taking the time to think about the next physical action required for each of my items:
- get model number of steamer for replacement piece
- research fabric options for sofa chair
- measure optimal size for file boxes to go in closet
- research shoe repair places on yelp
In order to replace the broken steamer piece, I have to first get the model number so that I can contact customer service with that information. Before I can recover my sofa chair, I first have to find the right fabric. Before I actually go out and buy the file boxes, I need to first measure the space I’m putting them in so I know they’ll fit and I’ll know what to look for when I’m at the store. To get my boots fixed, I need to first find a repair place to take them to. The idea is to have all my thinking completed about the steps of an actionable item so that when I have a window of time to get something done, I can use the tools I have (computer, phone, etc.) and the location I’m in (at office, at home, out running errands, etc.) to cross more things off my list, having already defined what exactly there is to do.
To be honest, I don’t always write my to-do’s this way. It’s a habit I’m trying to develop. Sometimes I’m in a rush and write down something non-specific because I just need to quickly dump things out of my head. If this happens, I try to look back over my list when I’m not so rushed, and re-write the vague things on my list to make them specific next-action items.
Have any of you read Getting Things Done? I’m working on putting other recommendations from the book into practice and will report back here letting you all know how it goes.
photograph above by Yvonne Bauer of the blog Fraeulein Klein
Sugar Paper is a high quality paper goods company started by Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker 10 years ago. Late last year they outgrew their original small space and moved their studio to a large warehouse in West LA. These photos give us a peek inside:
Gorgeous right? As a young entrepreneur I find this so inspring. Perhaps one day I’ll get to move my company into a similarly large and beautiful studio Gotta dream big right??
Photos via 100 Layer Cakelet and Sugar Paper’s Instagram Feed
–Another inspiring workspace here.
In our future “forever home” would love to have glass front storage cabinetry in the bathroom, whether as built-ins or a freestanding piece, where we could house and display neatly folded stacks of towels, glass jars filled with bath salts, beautiful soaps, and other bath essentials. Something kinda like this: