Friday, 12 December 2014

Organising Your Paperwork

The benefits of organising your household paperwork is obvious. But easy it is not! It takes a lot of thought and planning and eventually maintenance. So why do it? Mounds of paperwork, trying to find your passport, last credit card bill, receipt for an item you want to return. That’s why? When everything is orderly and organised you can find what you want in an instance and the pleasing aesthetics of a clear countertop can work wonders on your countenance! So here are five steps to clear the clutter and get on top of your documents.

Central Hub

Grab all your paperwork from all over the house. Bring them to one central spot. Mine is my Office area located in the dining room. From here I can do everything. I can organise my documents online, check my bank records online, sort and organise my mail and file away documents.

Keep It Simple!

You need a system that isn’t going to overcomplicate things, remember you are trying to make it easy to find the paperwork you want when you need it. So here is how I do it:

Navigating Mail

First I have three folders that I store in a magazine box on my desk. I’ve labelled them ‘to-do’, ‘to-read’ and ‘to-file’. Everyday when I sort the post, I put them into one of these piles or put junk mail straight into the bin. While I am sorting, any bills that are not automatically paid by direct debit, I make a note of the date I want to pay them in my diary and then file them in the ‘to-do’ folder.

Get Rid of Receipts

Once a week, usually on a Sunday, I go through all the receipts in my purse and either put them in the ‘to-file’ section of the desk folders (see above) or purge them. I have  an automatic ‘toss list’ in my head of receipts I know I don’t have to hold on to, like grocery receipts, restaurant receipts and clothing receipts (once I’ve tried them on and taken the labels off).

Monthly Sort Out

Once a month, I sit down with a strong mug of coffee and get to work sorting each document into more permanent storage or when possible throwing it out. Again I have three separate storage types for this. My first is a file box, where I keep the ‘forever’ documents (birth certificates, passports, mortgage agreements, etc.). My second is a concertina folder split into 12 month dividers. Here I keep yearly documents like bank statements, vehicle maintenance, bills and the like. Lastly I have a small concertina folder divided monthly to hold receipts and cheque stubs for that year.

It may sound like a lot to do, but once you have gone through your initial pile up, it gets easier each month. And when you are able to find information you need at the drop of a hat, your face will just light up.

How do you organise your paperwork? Let me know of any success stories below.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December Monthly Cleaning Schedule - 2014

Here we are again! Another month has passed by and another cleaning schedule is up and ready to print. If you are new here, then check out this post, which explains everything a little clearer. Otherwise, here is your December Cleaning Schedule.

Few tips: Don't get bogged down in it all, just do what you can. If you are just beginning, then just stick to the five daily tasks (check floors, house pick up, wipe counters, bathroom swipe and laundry) and add in the rest when you feel comfortable to do so.

Follow along all month for motivational posts on cleaning and organising topics and feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how you are getting on.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Meal Planning

What's for dinner? Do you find yourself running into that question everyday? Wondering what you can come up with on the spot or quickly going to the supermarket at 5pm? Believe me, I've been there. Not only that, but I have tried many menu planning techniques over the years. But I've finally found a routine that works for our family. But first it's important to realise why we would go to the effort of sitting and planning our meals.

Why Plan Your Menu?

Saves Money
When you go to your favourite supermarket with a list already planned out, it kerbs expensive spontaneous buys.

Saves Time
Instead of visiting the store many times a week, you go only once or twice during the week. Just think of all that time that you would save and could spend doing something much more enjoyable.

Because you will have already taken into account your plans for the week, you will minimise the amount of leftovers you will have.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I have finally come to a method that works well for our family.

So What's The Process?

1. Check Current Food Stock

Before you go ahead and plan the meals you are going to have for the week, stop and check your fridge and cupboards for food that you could incorporate. This is especially true of fresh food or things coming to the end of it's expiry date. 

Tip: If you run out of time, take a photo of what's in your fridge and nosy at it while your shopping.

2. Collect Recipes

I have a list of the meals printed out that our family enjoy the most and select most meals from there. 

Then on the days I have more time, I take a look in my favourite cookbooks, my current favourite being the Family Kitchen Cookbook because the recipes are simple and the food to die for. I also have a list of websites that I look to for more inspiration including Good Housekeeping and BBC Goodfood. If your the technical sort I love the Allrecipes and LoveFoodHateWaste apps which are available both on iPhones and Android phones. You can search for recipes based on the food leftover in your house. Great for preventing waste!

3. Plan

I use an hour on a Sunday to plan the meals for the week. Grab your schedule for the week and plan based on what is happening each evening. If we know we have a busy night, we generally choose pasta based meals that are quick and easy. But if we are having a night in, I might plan a casserole or cook a new recipe. Just make sure that your meal plan fits in with your lifestyle and plans for the week.

Tip: Only plan 5 meals I have not yet cooked seven full meals in a week.  Use one night of the week as 'freezer night' - use up any meals that you may have frozen or perhaps double up the ingredients of one the weeks recipes and have a night free from cooking. Who can ask for more!

4. Make a Shopping List

There are so many apps out there for creating menus and shopping lists. But I have to say, I am most definitely more a pen and paper girl. So here is the meal planning tool that I use.
So there it is, the Humphreys family meal planning process. What works for you? Do you have any tips for improving the process? 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Begin Here

Welcome to Organising Home’s Cleaning section! I’m so happy that you have come and are ready to start a new cleaning routine using simple and effective methods. Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Join our monthly email subscription - Each month, I will email and post a printable cleaning calendar that you can print off and put up as a reminder of your projects for the month. Click here for this months schedule. Don’t worry if you are starting half way through the month, just jump right in and start your new routine today.

Step 2: Learn the Basics – Start with the basic daily cleaning. These are 5 tasks I do daily to keep my home visitor friendly.  Even if I forget everything else, if I do these 5 tasks daily (check floors, house pick up, wipe counters, wipe bathroom, laundry), I feel in control of my home. Click here for the tasks in detail.

Step 3: Add in the weekly cleaning – Each week I complete 5 cleaning tasks that keep my home clean and hygienic. Spend no more than 15 minutes on each task - set a timer and see how much you can achieve. The more you do this on a weekly basis, the faster you will go and the easier it will be. See my weekly cleaning process here.

Step 4: Monthly Cleaning – Each month I set myself 8 tasks to complete within the month. I spread these out completing about two each week. The best thing about this step is that you can fit these tasks into your schedule as it suits you. You will find detailed explanations of these posts as they come up each week in the blog section. If you find this a bit too much at the moment, then just keep up with the daily and weekly cleaning until you feel like you can throw in a monthly cleaning task every now and then.

Step 5: Weekly Focus Areas – Each week I will post information on how to improve an area of your home. These may be cleaning tasks or organisational tasks. For example, how to clean your oven, how to meal plan, how to organise kids toy storage etc. Have fun and join in these creative tasks as and when they suit your home. 

After you have completed each step, add your comment below and tell me how it feels to be in control of your home again!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Weekly Cleaning

Welcome to step three in Organising Home's cleaning schedule. Every week, I complete the following 5 tasks. It's difficult to find time to do the whole house in one day, so it is spilt up into a task a day and repeated weekly. Here are the details:

Planning Day * Sunday

I use a Sunday to plan for the rest of the week. I check my calendar, plan my meals and write my shopping list.

Bathroom * Monday

As I jump out of the shower on a Monday morning, I get stuck right in and clean my bathroom. I make sure that I have all my cleaning gear with me before I get in the shower and then give it a clean while I'm still in there. Tip - no need to clean the floor as this will get done on Thursdays (great time saver). 

Dust House * Tuesday 

Set your timer for 15 minutes and see how much dusting you can get done. I use a feather duster and wrap a slightly damp micro fibre cloth (I love the cloths from 
Paragon Microfibres) around the handle so that I can alternate as I am going around each room depending on whether it needs to be wiped or swiped! Make dusting easier for yourself by only leaving out what needs to be left out. The least clutter the better (and quicker!). 

Vacuum * Wednesday

Grab the hoover and whizz around the house to make sure the floor is clean. You will notice that I do not wash the floors at the same time. This gets done the day after on a Thursday as I don't have time to do both on the one day. 

We have two hoovers - our regular heavy duty vacuum and also a light weight vacuum cleaner (if my one year old is having a clingy day, this vacuum is so light that I can carry my little one on my hip as we vacuum).

Wash Floors * Thursday

The floors should still be pretty clean from the day before (vacuum day), so I check the floors (as you'll notice on the daily cleaning list) and then use a slightly dampened micro fibre mop (again from Paragon) to clean the floors.

Sheets / Towels Day * Friday

Ooh how I love Friday's. Weekends are very special to me, as this is the time when I get to spend lots of time with my family. And to start the weekend well, there is nothing like fresh sheets and towels. Load the laundry in the morning, and throw on the new bed sheets. Load the towels in the evening and put fresh towels out ready for Saturday morning.

Well, that's it for step three. Remember, we're not aiming for perfection here, but if we do a little everyday, we will succeed. Little changes make the biggest difference.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Daily Cleaning

Okay, so here goes. Step two is to fit in these five tasks each day. Don't pressure yourself to be perfect, just do what you can in 15 minutes and you'll be surprised how much of a difference it will make to your home.

Check Floors - Every morning I have a quick scout around the house to check for any fluff on the carpets or bits on the floor. Generally, I do a quick brush of the kitchen floor (we're obviously very messy cooks!) and grab the dust pan and brush for bits around the rest of the 'non-carpeted' floor and lastly pick up any fluff on the carpets.

House Pick Up - This is my quick tidy up of the house, putting things where they belong. This part of my daily routine is the one I value most. It prevents piles of paper, clothes and toys building up around the house and makes it so much easier to clean it.

Wipe Counters - A quick tidy up of the kitchen and a wipe clean of the countertops. I love how a clean and sparkly worktop can bring a huge smile to my face.

Bathroom - I keep a stash of micro fibre cloths underneath my bathroom sink and each morning I grab one while I'm in there getting ready for the day and wipe down the bathroom countertops, sink and lastly the top of the toilet cistern and seat lid. This keeps my bathroom visitor ready.

Laundry - We like to do one load of laundry a day to keep on top of things. I'm quite fortunate that my husband does this most days. We spilt them into colours, whites and lights. The key to mastering this process is to complete it. We tend to put a load in to wash at tea time, put it in the dryer before bed and then fold it in the morning during or after breakfast.

That's it for my daily routine. It may sound like a lot, but it honestly takes me 15 minutes. I keep it quick and leave the big jobs for the weekly clean.

Let me know how you get on and any tips you may have to improve the routine.