Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Power of a LIST

Hello my long lost friends!
Sorry about the MIA status for a while there.  I have no good excuse. But, I'm back. :)

This post on list-keeping may seem super simple to some of you guys.  It may seem almost so simple that it's not necessary to even discuss.  But I am going to have to disagree.  I have found that once you have the right kind of list that works for you, it will change your life!

A few years back Matthew and I were looking for a cabinet to add space to our small kitchen.  We wanted something that didn't leave a huge foot-print and yet held a lot.  We totally lucked out when we found this fantastic tall cabinet from IKEA (of course!).  When we brought it home and set it up we realized that since the doors are made out of glass it's also the perfect surface for a giant message board.

So along with the occasional love note we leave for one another on it ;) this message board serves for the LIST keeper of any items that we need to share. 

We keep our menu plan for the week on the left hand side.
Our daily "to-do" list is on the right hand side.
And Matthew's work out schedule is on the top so that I know when/where to find him! :)

When we were visiting some friends this weekend we found that they have a very similar system that they share in their kitchen (sorry for the bad quality photos... I snapped them real quick on my phone).

On the coolness scale this chalkboard wall rates so much higher than our glass wipe board.
When they bought their house last year they decided to devote an entire wall in their kitchen to be their chalk board.  They keep two main lists going: One for upcoming projects and the other for their monthly overview.

Ok... now on to my personal favorite and the list keeper that truly changed my life
(and no, unfortunately apple is not paying me to say this!)

In November I got my first iPhone!  There are so many amazing things about it that I love so much!
But honestly I think my very favorite thing is one of the most SIMPLE features. 

Every iPhone comes preloaded with a little yellow app called "Notes"


When you click on it it brings you to a list of any "note" that you have started.
I personally don't use them for anything other than a place to keep all my lists. 

Before my iPhone I had a list on the refrigerator for groceries. 
...and a scrap paper list in my purse for groceries. 
...and a torn off piece of journal list by my bed for groceries.
...and a post-it note list in my work calendar for groceries. 
...and possibly another scrap paper list in my car for groceries. 

Then when I actually went to the store to buy groceries I had no idea what I needed because my lists were scattered everywhere!!!  I would end up buying things I didn't need and then forgetting things I did need. 
I was a hot mess.

Now when I think of something I should add to the grocery list I simply grab my phone.  It's the ONE thing that is ALWAYS with me.  When I'm at home.  In my purse.  When I'm in bed.  At work.  In my car.  It's always right there when I think of something to add to the list.

Some of the other lists that have been really helpful for me to have nearby are shopping lists, my personal wish list (for when someone asks me what I want for a birthday/Christmas and I would normally have no idea), Matt's wish list, upcoming jobs, things to remember to bring home when we travel and items to freecycle.

I'm sure every one's most important lists are different.
And everyone has their own style for what works best for their list-keeping.
But make a plan and start using your lists more efficiently today and it will make your life so much easier.

I also totally recommend this take on list-keeping if you're up for some more reading!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Heart Freecycle

I hate to waste.  It's one of the qualities that I pride myself in but it's also one of my biggest downfalls.  In the spirit of non-wastefulness, I hold onto things thinking that I'll one day be able to make use of it.  I'm sure that most people could relate to this on some level.

If you find yourself in that dilemma where you know you won't use it but it's too wasteful to send to the landfill, I've got your solution.  Enter Freecycle.

www.freestyle.org is a great site to offer things that you don't want anymore to those in your community.  It's also a great way to reach out to your neighbors if you are also in need or something (I wish I had joined before I bought a punch bowl. Honestly! How often can you use a punch bowl??)

Here are some snapshots of stuff that I'm in the process of freecycling...

Someone is picking these 2 items up tomorrow!
Yep...a diaper genie refill for my non-existent diaper genie (I was getting rid of this for a friend... but that was a year ago) and a rice cooker that was abandoned at my house from my sister (over 2 years ago).  Please don't judge me. I swear I don't belong on that show "Hoarders".

Here are some other items that I'm looking for a home for.  Island-themed drinking straws, votive candles, men's cologne (that my husband NEVER uses), and filters for a water pitcher that we don't have anymore.

Here are some things that I already gave away in just less than a week:  an OLD digital camera, carpet cleaner, nail polishes, 5 bottles of baby powder.  The turnaround time has been quite impressive.  Everything went that day or the following day.

It is seriously addicting.  The feeling of euphoria to be freed from the bondage of these items is pretty amazing.  It's a feel-good project.
1. You feel good because you're not wasting but you're getting rid of "junk".
2. You feel good because someone else is going to make good use out of something that would've otherwise rotted in your house
3. You feel good because your bathroom cabinet once filled with junk now looks like this.

Not the prettiest picture but looking at this makes me so happy!
And 4. You kinda feel like a rockstar when all these people start emailing you wanting your stuff.  (I've ebay'ed before.  There's a lot more feelings of rejection in Ebay.  It's not for the weak of heart.)

I encourage everyone to look into freecycling their unused stuff.  It's really quite exhilarating.  I read a quote once that everything in your house should be either beautiful or useful.  Now that's quite a challenge!

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope we can all kick off the year on the right "uncluttered and simplified" foot!