Paper De-clutter Project

My plan for my Easter Holidays was take on one of Krystal’s De-cluttering Challenges and use her expertise to “get a handle” on my paper clutter!

My paper piles have been haunting me for over a year! Something had to be done. It’s tax time again and every time I tried to get to my sewing machine, I would trip over the stacks of paper.
I planned for this project to take several days. It was that bad.
Here is the before picture:

I set up a “system” following Krystal’s advice. One of the most important things she said: Setup everything you need to organize the stuff within easy reach. I then tackled part of a pile at a time. I didn’t drag ALL of it out!

The “Setup” pictures:
I setup around the big comfy couch. I was going to put a movie on and watch movies while I tackled the piles.
The big bins are for the kids’ memory boxes. I just used the black dividers that I had for separating the kids’ stuff by age/grade. I labelled for all years from 0 to Grade 12 so that I just have to keep adding to the boxes as they bring “keeper” stuff home. I’m keeping things like report cards, birthday cards, special pictures and stories that they’ve made that I want to keep. Their pictures are in there as well.
Krystal’s filing system involves setting up a file for each month to contain bills, receipts, pay stubs etc; the regular stuff that comes every month. I pre-labelled everything for the year. There are also files for important things to keep. For example, two files per member of the family. One file for important papers: birth certificate, Social Insurance number etc. The second for certificates and things that I keep having to pull out, such as swimming lessons. There are also files for important papers like investments, warranties, etc that need to be kept separate from the monthly stuff.
I had a master sheet with a list of all the file folders as I was creating them so that I wouldn’t create duplicates. I used a filing rack to keep the special folders easily accessible. The monthly folders were just laid out on the table.
I got garbage bags and the shredder ready and within easy reach so that I could shred as I went so that I wouldn’t have yet another pile of shredding to do at the end.
The first day, it only took me 7 hours to process those piles! It wasn’t as bad as I thought! Then, the next day, it took me about 3 hours to go through the stuff in the drawers, get rid of a drawer’s worth and then put the new files into the ONE drawer!!! I thought this job would take me a week, but with the system, I was able to do it in about 10 hours total.

The Kids’ special stuff was organized into their boxes and all of that paper work was narrowed down to just one drawer!

What’s the best part? This system will be so easy to keep up with! As the bills are paid, I just put them in the 1 folder for that month. As the kids bring home “keeper” stuff, I simply put it in the corresponding year of school in that kid’s bin. Easy! As other important folders need to be created or added to, they are all right there in that one drawer! I have scheduled one hour a week to do that week’s paperwork. It is in my calendar. I know I can handle that!
Contact for an interview. She can help you get control of the clutter too!
For more information about Simple Life Celebrations, check out our website:

Swish & Swipe

OK, well yesterday, my Happiness Project plan for starting on keeping a better house…well….didn’t happen. Well, I actually got groceries for the family, but I didn’t have a plan when I went there (not the best idea, and I was hungry), and I did dishes. That’s about it!

So…started over today! Try again, every day, right!?

My FlyLady list for the morning:

  1. Make Bed
  2. Swish & Swipe
  3. What’s for Dinner
  4. Morning Hot Spot
  5. Reboot Laundry

This went relatively well.

1. I usually do make my bed now – it became a habit when I started following the FlyLady about 1 1/2 years ago. It’s just nicer to climb into a made bed and my REALLY messy room doesn’t look AS MESSY? At least I’ll keep telling myself that!

2. Swish & Swipe – basically, FlyLady advises to give the bathroom a quick clean every day. Well, I don’t do it every day, but at least 2 to 3 days of the week. This is actually a really good idea. Quickly swishing the toilet bowl and swiping the seat keeps it from getting really disgusting (I have boys, so my poor daughter appreciates this!) And the quick swipe of the bathroom counter & taps (NO! Not in that ORDER!!!) keeps the toothpaste “spray” to a minimum! (I swear, that child deliberately sees how much area he can cover!)

3. What’s for Dinner – I have been REALLY bad at this one until today. I was OK for awhile, and it was so convenient! I absolutely HATE figuring out what to eat, because my kids whine for whatever I make unless it’s Kraft dinner and hotdogs! Sheesh! Seriously, they have no taste at all! Anyway, what I need to do is plan the week’s meals, then this is really easy (and ignore the whiner babies!) Today, I pulled out one of my freezer meals (that they will HATE, but I really don’t care!) so it will be a quick time getting that ready when I get home. More on Freezer meals on our web site: Simple Life Celebrations (it’s not there yet, but it will be!)

4. Morning Hot Spot – this idea is to tidy up that “hot spot” that always seems to be a mess. For me, in the morning, it’s the kitchen counter after everyone’s eaten and the latte’s have been made (my ONE vice! OK, maybe ONE of SEVERAL! ssshhhh!) I spent a few minutes (maybe like 15) putting dishes in the dishwasher and washing, drying and putting away others. This is very cool, because then I won’t have that $#%* mess to deal with while I’m trying to make supper. Very handy!

5. Reboot Laundry – I actually did this first, got the last load dried, folded and put away – YAY! More dirty clothes today, but that’s another story for later!

So, how did I accomplish all this before I went to work? I got up at 5:30!!!! Not cool, in my book! AAAAAHHHH! I am soooooo not a morning person!

However, saying that, I don’t really need to get up at that time. It just means that I need to get this stuff done first before I go on the computer to check my email and tweets! That is the real issue. PLUS, something else I’m going to work on this month – do more the NIGHT BEFORE so that I don’t have a million other things to do in the morning besides these 5!

And so begins the March Happiness Project theme – keeping a better house – does it make me happier?? We will see!

10 Things I Love About…ME!

Sounds extremely selfish and boastful, doesn’t it? It’s a pretty hard thing to do. I can do this with ease for those I care about, but, for ME??? Kinda weird.

I just read a post on Uplift Antidote about this idea.

My Happiness Project focus for January has been Fitness.

My focus for February? LOVE! All kinds of love. Husband, Kids, Family, Friends, and…weird as it is, ME.

This is a good idea for a post to end January and start February. Fitness is about focusing on me and my health (and, to my GREAT happiness…all of you that are following along and doing this too! I am so excited!) So, why don’t I start the love focus on loving myself?

This is something that the FlyLady talks about ALL the time. The word “FLY” for her actually stands for Finally Loving Yourself. And she is right. She talks often about how we beat ourselves up and listen to those inner voices that says “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve peace or happiness”. We are so mean to ourselves!

I have done this SOOOO much. I still catch myself looking in the mirror and frowning at that wrinkle or that not so flat belly. I still hear myself say, “I am so boring” or “Who would ever love a person like me?”

So many of us do this. We need to love ourselves.

So, I’m going to start with trying to come up with this “strange-feeling” list of 10 things I love about me. Bear with me, here goes:

  1. I love helping people, often it is the only thing that gets me through the day
  2. I love with all my heart. This has led to a broken heart a time or two, but if I love someone, I hold on very tightly with all my heart
  3. I have beautiful deep brown eyes
  4. I am a fun mom, weird sometimes, but fun!
  5. I am creative
  6. I know all the words to a million songs 😉
  7. I am really great at learning new things
  8. I am dependable. Scattered and forgetful sometimes, but usually, you can depend on me to get it done eventually!
  9. I am smart with computers (my little guy had to help me with that one. This is REALLY hard!)
  10. I am learning to be a better person. I push closer to this each day

OMG! That was extremely tough! Usually, my fingers can hardly keep up to my thoughts when I’m typing these posts! WOW!

My challenge to you – give this a try. Try to think about what makes you great! There are a lot of us that have a hard time doing this. But, I think it’s worth it to find a way to love Y.O.U.!

Share your list in the comments if you’d like!

Christmas Family Meeting

Well, tomorrow is December 1st and, as usual, I’m a little behind schedule. Not bad though.

I have done some Christmas shopping – I went with my mom and sisters/sister-in-law this past Saturday. That is an awesome idea, by the way. This will become a new tradition, I think. We got to hang out and visit. Compare ideas for each other and the kids, etc. It was totally stress-free! And Yogen Fruz was involved – my favorite!

Anyway, my kids all have their birthdays in November/December, so Christmas likes to sneak up on me.

My husband and I have been talking about a different Christmas this year. This is for a few reasons:

  • watching the budget – it’s very tight this year
  • we have way too much “stuff” in our house – we’ve been purging/de-cluttering over the past year
  • we have been getting too many gifts and so have our kids – it has become an expectation. Personally, I am against that – that is not what Christmas is
  • we have been wanting to spend more quality time with them, with each other, with our families and with our friends
  • our kids are getting older, so the toys are not such a big deal anymore

Our plan for tonight is to have a “Christmas Family Meeting”. And what do we hope to accomplish with this meeting? (All meetings SHOULD have a purpose and an agenda – though I seem to attend many at work with NEITHER of these things but that’s a topic for another day!)

The Purpose:

Decide what is the best way to celebrate Christmas the Cevraini way

The Agenda:

  1. Each family member take a turn telling what parts of the current Cevraini Christmas they like/dislike. No one is allowed to interrupt. Everyone gets heard.
  2. Each family member take a turn talking about what they would like to do this Christmas. Some new traditions, new ideas, etc should come out of this!
  3. Write this down in the FlyLady’s Holiday Control journal. In our house, if it’s written down, it’s accepted as fact! This way, we can go back later and see what we missed, what we changed our minds on, what was great, etc.
  4. Talk about the budget (a little) – this is important, I think, for even the kids. I think that they need to understand that there is not an infinite amount of money to spend. Too often, we make the mistake of not teaching our children about money. My oldest doesn’t have a clue. I plan to make sure that doesn’t happen with the other two. We won’t bore them with details, just understand that we are setting a budget (and what that means) and are going to stick to it.

All in all, I think it will be fun. The kids will all get a chance to contribute and they always feel important when we call “family meetings”. I’m sure it will automatically become less about the presents and more about the time spent together and things we will get to do together.

My kids (all kids, really) just crave the season, not the presents. They like hanging out with their cousins. They like having people over and eating tons of “fun food” instead of having to eat the four food groups everyday! They like staying up late watching Christmas movies. They like going toboganning and maybe skating! They don’t have to go to school! It’s all about family, friends and FUN! That’s what they really want. Isn’t that what we ALL want!??

Let’s all make this the year that Christmas became so much more than the commercials – less toys, but more fun. Less stress, more love. That’s the reason for the season.

My Grown Up Christmas List

Start Over Today

I woke up early today – worried again.

I then lay awake fretting about what I did wrong yesterday and how I was going to “fix it”! I lay there “reading into” things said or not said. How I was going to make my point heard today? How was I going to fix this?

I had been away from the office for two days, so I was WAAAYYY behind an already behind pile of work. I didn’t seem to get much of anything accomplished and was fretting that I should work this weekend. I completely forgot about the two days I’d just spent getting inspired to FIX some things at work. I had been so excited, and then lost that excitement when I got to my desk.

I was also fretting about whether or not someone was mad at me! I’d left a few text messages, a voice mail, and some comments on Facebook. No response. That was the main reason why I woke up. Had I done something else wrong? What was it? I completely “read into” this non-response as “Oh Crap! Now I’m in trouble again!”

I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up. These things were still going through my head. Along with all the things I wanted to do about them. Work extra hours. Write a long letter to apologize and explain how I’ve been feeling. Send an email. Send another text message. Make a phone call. Etc. Etc.

Then I decided, you know what, I always think better and feel better after I read some FlyLady emails. She and her Friends always have great words of wisdom. Maybe that will help.

Well, it only took like 15 minutes (FlyLady’s magic number) to start feeling better and reminding myself how to deal with things.

The emails that I have read so far have the message of stop beating yourself up about the mistakes you’ve made in the past! That is not going to change those mistakes.

And you know what? Everyone makes mistakes! A lot of people! Even people that we perceive as being “perfect”! We are allowed to make mistakes.

Sitting here (or laying there like I was) kicking myself about what I didn’t get done and what I should have said/not said is not going to help anything. In fact, it will likely make things worse – either in my mind or actually worse when I spend more time worrying about it than fixing it!

There was a specific line in an email from Jonathan Roche from No Excuses Workouts  that hit me the hardest:

“Don’t let yesterday’s missteps rob you of today and tomorrow’s victories.  Today is a new and beautiful day so use it as the gift it is…”

The FlyLady’s messages are always about starting over today. Just jump right in and get it done. She talks about how she used to always beat herself up about how she looked, how she cleaned house, how she felt about herself (she thought she was worthless and let people tell her that she was).

Slowly, these messages have been seeping into my mind: I cannot change the past or the mistakes I have made. I am not perfect, and that is a good thing! I am someone special that deserves a great life. I am not worthless.

Slowly, in “baby steps”, or little pieces at a time, I am understanding this. I am getting so much better than I was even only 2 years ago.

Everyday is another chance to try again. To make one more step forward. There may be steps backwards too, but as long as I keep going forward too, the net result will be getting further ahead! Just keep trying!

And that is what I’m going to do today. Start over again!

For more information on FlyLady and Jonathan Roche: