i will BE organized

The Journey to Organization. . the Road to a wannabe Cleanie

Organized Papers – My Brother’s stash January 17, 2012

Filed under: Organize,Paper,Project — mikailani @ 6:28 am

This past weekend, I offered to help out my brother sort thru all his papers dating back from 2004. He’s not married, and young – so he didn’t have as much paper as me and the Hubbs combined. He did have 3 big Sterilite totes of paper to go thru!! I used the same method I used when I sorted our paper system.[ I wish I had before pictures because the after is remarkable!] I didn’t blame my brother being so overwhelmed with the papers. All that was taking up valuable space in his room!

We speed eliminated – tossing things into the recycle or shred bin as we went, and stacked papers into their respective piles. Once everything had it’s category, we started to put everything away in binders. He doesn’t have space for a filing cabinet in his small room, so we tried to condense everything into 4 binders. We also signed him up to go ‘paperless’ and to have a mirror system in his computer to save any PDFs he prints out/saves.

We used binders he already had – and I just jazzed them up by adding a cool Pacman theme spine and white letters. Inside, there are binder pockets for categories that applies to him.

[excuse the picture – my iphone doesn’t take good pictures anymore 😦 ]


To prevent from the paper monster taking over again, I created a quick ‘cheatsheet’ of papers to keep and what to do with them after.




An Organized Pregnancy Challenge – Week 9 – The Paper System!

Filed under: Pregnancy,Project — mikailani @ 6:04 am

Hi Everyone! I’ve been busy working on Week 9 Challenge along with other little projects here and there. Considering I didn’t have a truly functional paper system in place, it really did take me about a week working everyday consistently to finish this project.

Overview : In week 9, my task was to create a Paper System – Banish the paper pile up. It’s very easy to let the paper monster to pile up if you let it! Last year, I created a paper system that worked well. However thru the months, I let it ‘go.’ I had papers stacked up everywhere! Since our home is super tiny, I don’t have the space to keep a filing cabinet close to where I receive the mail. I let the ‘to file’ pile stack up till it got overwhelming. I didn’t know what to keep or what to toss. I had boxes of paper I needed to shred.Β  I’m tired just thinking about it! My goal was for something that worked for me – easy to keep, file & refer to. I also need a system where I can start organizing papers I receive during pregnancy.

Leeds writes

“When your baby arrives, you’ll want every tasks like bill paying and receipt filing to be as easy as they can be. Your time and energy will be needed elsewhere.”

That’s soooo true! Even if I wasn’t expecting, you do need a system that’s works for you. A simple google search leads you to thousands of ways to file and organize paper systems. From filing cabinets, to portable expandable folders, to boxes – the options are endless! I’ve tried a lot of systems, but the key to any organized function, is the ability to keep it up. A good system doesn’t help if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Simplicity is the key. The more difficult and detailed your system is, the harder it is to file and to retrieve.

Currently, I have my long term files set up in a filing cabinet in my daughter’s bedroom. Soon, she’ll be sharing her room with Baby Boy and space would be very limited. As much as I love my filing cabinet, I do find it hard retrieving information. If I need a simple piece of paper, I’d have to go into her room to get it. It’s recommended cleaning out the filing cabinet every year, but I haven’t touched it since. I probably have old insurance policies that I’ll need to shred and other paper alike. For this project, since I already had a filing system going on, I kept it that way. I have a future project in mind that would remove the filing cabinet from the kid’s room and move it somewhere else. I didn’t want to start that project, because I had a lot of commitments this past weekend. I also don’t have much time [or energy] during the weekdays. =p

I’ve got the new filing system scheduled in my calendar for next month! I’ll share my experience then πŸ™‚


I went thru the whole house & car[s] gathering every piece of paper. It didn’t matter if it was old, new or something urgent. I knew that I’ll sort thru everything by the end of day. I stacked them all up in the dining room table.

Before picture:

Then, I speed eliminated! Anything that was expired, events that past, notes that no longer applied to me, receipts I can no longer need or can’t return – all went to the ‘to shred’ pile or the recycle bin.Β  While I was speed eliminating, I stacked them up in piles.

Now that everything was categorized, all I had to do was put them back where they belong. Long term files went back into the filing cabinet. Financial paperwork [bills & statements] went into the big red binder. Anything that needed to be done within the week went into either my planner or my ‘Action File System.’

I didn’t have a working system for incoming paperwork – so I went to target to find something that would work. I found a desktop file that holds hanging folders and a few slots in front that can hold my ledger book ‘we’re old school now!’, checkbooks for bill payment and a few envelopes – along with our envelope budget system. So far, it’s working! I have this located near the kitchen table – so all I have to do is bring it out on Bill Payment day and put it back when I’m done. At the end of the month, all bills get filed away in the big red binder. Important papers that need action go in my planner ready for me to . . . act on. lol.

Here’s the desktop system. We have a files for

  • Unpaid Bills
  • Paid Bills
  • Papers to file away [monthly]
  • Kailani’s Folder – kids bring in a lot of paper! She needs her own file. Cleared out [quarterly after her report card comes in]

Here’s a quick glimpse of our filing cabinet. Hopefully by next month – this will be gone & I’ll be working with a new system. I have binders for warranties and manuals. I removed these from the filing cabinet and stored them in Ikea cardbord boxes and stored them in a closet. We rarely ever refer to them & when I need to file something away, I’ll do it at the end of the month! The filing cabinet’s running out of space!!

And that’s how I handled my paper monster. This week your task is also to create a system to hold all baby related information. I’m having a blast working on this Baby Binder & creating spreadsheets for it already! Just gotta print out a few things, attach labels and take pretty pictures and I’ll be ready to share by end of week!

Thanks for stopping by!


Organized Pregnancy Week 9 update January 8, 2012

Filed under: Organize,Pregnancy,Project — mikailani @ 5:03 am

Hey folks!

Just a quick update:

I’m 90% done with my week 9 Challenge. Just gotta finish up on some last minute tweaks and I’ll be sharing soon!

Had lots of plans this weekend – gotta make time for family gatherings!

So far, I’m not so overwhelmed with the tasks. They’re totally do-able!

…. Now if i can find my SD card reader to upload pictures!! πŸ™‚


Organizing receipts!! December 30, 2011

Filed under: finance,Organize,Project — mikailani @ 5:22 am

With all the past Christmas shopping & returning, unorganized receipts got the best of me. I could have received my money back on some items if I only kept my receipt. Im now stuck with a bunch on store merchandise cards I’ll have to use someday [if I remember I have them]. I also missed out on some really good rebates because I lost my receipt. And in a few cases, I wasted money because I cant return merchandise I didnt want in the first place! Oi!

I’ve tried a lot of methods before. Expanding file, envelopes, shoe boxes, scanning, paper clips– almost everything! I was very tempted to ask for a neat receipt for Christmas, but I could use the $200 in reducing debt instead lol!

With my frustration, I started looking around for the perfect system that works for me. I lurked blogs & boards, asked organized people.. Then took the best of what would work for me.

Before the switch, I used recycled envelopes and grouped them by store. Places like rite-aid & cvs was grouped together. It worked … Okay… Before sorting them like this, I would stash all my receipts in one big envelope and file them monthly. That method was easy, but places that have longer return periods got mixed in with everything else.

What wasn’t working [see bottom left picture]
:: it was ugly! I hated my mismatched envelopes.
:: I can’t see what was inside! I didn’t think I was a visual person – but since the old envelopes
:: I would mis file things because I didn’t look when filing.
:: the envelopes were open wide. Sometimes I’d file them in the back of the stash, sometimes I’d file in front.

I knew what wasn’t working & Just had to find something that would be fun for me.

I considered using a photo album and file them there. It would have worked okay, but it didn’t allow the flexibility I want. I couldn’t add stores easily & wouldnt follow an alphabetized system if I wanted to. It would drive me crazy if I always had to thumb to the middle for target! I always shop at target!

After some digging thru my stash, I found a box of shop tickets. I use shop tickets for cheatsheets at work and thought it would be awesome to make some for me at home! I bought my box on eBay a few months ago for about $13 for a box of 100. They fit the bigger index cards & are super durable, clear, and water resistant!

I took a bunch of those shop cards, put in colorful labeled index cards [store name, return period, notes about the store & some of my notes] and then started stuffing my receipts!

Why I love it..
:: they’re pretty! They’re colorful! I wouldn’t mind leaving them out if I had unexpected company.
:: it’s flexible. Since they’re not binded to a spine, I have the ability to file them anyway I wish.
:: there’s no way I can misfile! I can spot a non-walmart receipt in a jiffy.
:: they flatten receipts. I HATE crumpled receipts. Hubbs always keeps receipts in his pocket & mixes them in with my receipts. Drives me nuts! As soon as they’re filed away – it flattens them! πŸ™‚ joy!
:: easy to retrieve! That’s the real test. You can always put things away, but if you can’t find things when you need them – theres something wrong with the system. I think narrowing down the search to a store & certain month/week, retrieval would be a breeze!
:: easy to sort & store! I can have them while watching TV. All I gotta do is slip them in.
:: easy to archive. I still like archiving monthly. I’ll just need to spend a few minutes going thru these at the end of the month to paperclip and file away.
:: easy to add, remove & replace. Should the shop ticket or index card not suite my liking, I can always make another.

I’m excited! There are a few things I don’t like – but they overpower the positives.
:: they’re a little too tight. I have a feeling after a few months, They’ll be perfect! Just like breaking in new 4 inch stilletos.

I hope this method works. I’ll give it a few rounds and will recap in the future.

Here’s a picture of my current colorful method & my old method @ the bottom left corner. They’re not my prettiest pictures [iPhone pictures… My DSLR’s with my brother] but this works for now πŸ™‚


Hello! [Again] :)

Filed under: Project,Randomness — mikailani @ 5:03 am

After a year and 3 months, I think I’m gonna bring this baby back to life!! It’s amazing how much I was organized and motivated in 2010.. I could have used the extra kick in 2011! I lost my way [sorta] and I feel like my home is in chaos again! I know by blogging, documenting and telling my stories, I can always look back at what I’ve learned along the way πŸ™‚

2011 is coming to an end – and boy was this year a rollercoaster!

We started off this year with a huge mess.. Finance wise. [darn sneaky mortgage adjustable interest rate!] It took a lot of time away from my joy of blogging – dealing with mortgage companies is no joke! Now that everything’s settled & back on track, I can devote my time here again.
I’ve read and re-read Dave Ramsey’s books and I know things are gonna be on cruise control now I have a plan.

As far as everything else, we had plenty of family parties, a wedding, a tragic & sudden loss in our family, and were finally blessed with a baby!

With all these changes, I’m feeling the pinch of being a disorganized rut & need to get back in old habits. An organized me is what I need. So here’s to 2012!!!

I haven’t made a goal list yet, but here a few ideas floating in my mind.

:: share a great book about being organized during pregnancy.
:: find the almost perfect financial organizing system
:: continue with my goal of minimalism
:: create a weekly routine for home
:: reorganize our home & decorate!
:: stick to a calendar & ONE notebook!


The 28 Day Challenge : Plan & Before Pictures : Detailed February 4, 2010

Filed under: Organize,Plan,Project — mikailani @ 7:22 am

I’m hyped! Granted, I already lost about 4 days in Feb just getting too excited about this project, but I’m gonna make it happen BABY!

I’ve read plenty of organizing books & blogs and they all have different but similar ways to attack projects. Since I haven’t given OrgJunkie’s steps a detailed go, I think it’s best to start now. Her post today explained the PROCESS

I’d like to start off with the self assessment. I already chose my room.

1. What do I want the purpose of my room or area to be?

I want this spare room turn into a glamour room & my husband’s music production mini studio. I have a HUGE collection of cosmetics (No silly, I don’t use them all at the same time) and I need a place that inspires me to look good everyday. It would go to such a waste if it’s just piled in a trash room. I also want to set up this room as a mini studio, so the Hubbs can stay @ home to work on his music. No need to drive 30 minutes just to get some work in. This small space would also double as our office, we only have 1 CPU @ home, so it would also need to be hooked up to the printer.

Plus with a studio @ home, that would mean we’d be having friends/artist over frequently : and that’s motivation, coz I want them to be welcomed to a clean home!

2. What do I need in or near the room to serve that purpose?

For the makeup room, I would need my vanity, a well lit wall, hang up that mirror that I bought last year, and a nice comfy seat. Oh yeah, my makeup. =)

For the studio, all the equipment would need to be here (Computer, Keyboard, Speakers, Music Sheets, Micrphone) and a few chairs/stools to accomodate guests.

For the office part, I would need the printer, a few good paper storage boxes and a great archiving system.

3. What can I remove from the room?

There’s alot that can be taken away from the room. The coffee table we haven’t used in a year is a really good example. I also need to get rid of lamps, garbage, laundry, shoes – CLEAR IT ALL OUT!

4. What problems do I see with the room?

Right now, it’s such a waste of space. Originally, it was going to be the room we would set up our nursery, but we’re still not ready for another child. For the meantime, we’re gonna use it up to it’s potential. This is the most lonely room, it needs love.

5. What organizational tools might solve those problems?

We’re going to need a desk/shelf system that can hold up all the equipment we need for the studio. I’ve got containers for everything else. A good notebook & blog updates would help too (yes those are my organizational tools) πŸ˜‰

6. What habits need to change to solve the organizational problems?

This room’s been the home of the homeless. Anything that doesn’t have a home ends up here. We need to cut the habit of dumping things in this room. Making it serve a purpose would really make a difference!

7. What kind of a budget do I have to create the organized room of my dreams?

I know it’s encouraged not to spend so much on this 28 day challenge, but we really need a desk for the studio. We need something sturdy & flexible, in case we decide to add more or less to the unit. I found really good shelving systems @ the container store. If I act fast enough, we’d be able to take advantage of the 30% elfa sale. For this room, I plan on sticking to a budget of $350.00

8. What kind of a timeline is necessary to organize the room?

28 days!! That’s the challenge! 28 days to clear, clean, organize, decorate & blog during the process.

9. What is my plan of action?

First, Clear out everything in the room. Anything that doesn’t belong there has to go STAT. I plan on selling the coffee table & the old computer desk on craigslist for the rest, they either have to go back to their homes, or they’re gonna get kicked out. Then, I need to relocate my current vanity – it has to move to the other side of the room. We would then need to install the shelves & assemble the dresser that would go there too. Soon after everything’s installed, I’ll start organizing & cleaning 15-60mins at a time.

10. Who can I ask to help me with this?

It would be mainly me & the Hubbs. Mainly me. Hubbs is gonna help me put up the shelving & move furniture. He’ll be hooking up all the equipment. I hope he helps me sort thru 3 boxes of old paperwork he’s yet to toss!

Before pictures – A tour of the mess.

Here’s what you see when you open the door. A nice bright costco bag!!! Argh. I dont even know what’s in there. That bag would have been REALLY useful on my last trip to costco. See all that mess? I’m already starting to hyperventilate.

Take a few more steps in, you’re greeted w/ a printer we bought right after christmas. I got excited to see how it looked but we never got around putting it in. The computer is downstairs right now, and we don’t have room for a big printer like this in our living room. So… it stayed there. For just about 2 months. Then there are 2 little boxes of things I need to bring to the 2nd hand store to sell. Some laundry, a computer desk that’s not being used, and a whole lot of JUNK.

Here’s my vanity & more junk. A couple of frames I haven’t put up yet because I never got to printing pictures. You can also find a pillow &Β  a few blankets on the floor.

P.S. More Junk. and more Laundry.

AHHH!! there’s the ironing board!!! I’ve been looking for that! Amazing how much you can see when you take pictures. hahah what a shame. SHAME SHAME SHAME!

There you have it folks! A PLAN and a TOUR of the mess. I sure hope I can do this!!! Thank GOD February has a 3 day weekend πŸ˜‰


The 28 Day Challenge

Filed under: Organize,Plan,Project — mikailani @ 6:38 am

28 day Challenge

The 28 Day Challenge!!

I really can’t wait to finally hop on one of OrgJunkie’s famous blog parties. This is a perfect time for us since we have to work on our extra bedroom/office

I’m gonna make this post a “Hub” to all the links of the posts about this process.

I think the challenge isn’t just to get a project done in 28 days, but it’s the challenge to crunch the whole shabang intoΒ my jampacked schedule – while trying to keep my SANITY.



  1. PLAN. You can read my whole plan here, but in a nutshell : I want to create this extra bedroom/office into half glamour room, half music production studio. Can I do it??
  2. REMOVE. You can read the removing process here =)

As I post more blogs, I’ll be updating my links on this sticky for easier navigation. Stay tuned!! This sure is a challenge!!!