i will BE organized

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

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! 🙂 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 🙂


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 🙂

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!


MPM [08.23.10] August 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikailani @ 1:47 am

Hello Lovelies!!

ITS HOT. I know that folks around the Country have been feeling the hot weather, but today’s unusually hot. 100degrees for the Bay Area?!? I miss the fog already!!!

While I wait for our AC to kick up to speed – I’m gonna write a quick Menu Plan for the week. Last week’s menu plan didn’t come out as expected. We had a few last minute friend-catered parties (don’t you love them?) My friends have come to accept that our house will not always be clean. Sad, but they know what my schedule looks like – and they’ve accepted that my house is messy. As MUCH as I heart them – I feel embarrassed. I know I could be so much better. At least clean the sink the night of so when they come again 2 days later, the pots and pans they used are ready for another showdown. Anywhooz >>> here’s what I got planned for the week.

Monday – LeftOvers. We still got Rice Sheets I can wrap into yummy Asian Wraps  – Kinda like tortilla wraps, except we use rice paper. Since the little one’s not too fond of our new creation – she’s got raviollis I can whip up in a minute (more like 10)

Tuesday – Shimp & Grits compliments of “Cook yourself Thin” Cookbook. I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while now, but everytime I get to it – We’ve run out of milk! We’ve got a gallon last night, so I’m ready to make this tomorrow. Since Shrimp thaws out pretty easy, No need for think ahead planning.

(to/do Tuesday Night) Defrost Pork

Wednesday – Simple Baked Lean Pork Chops (a deal from Winco) with Polenta from Costco. I tried a sample of this and I was in love. It’s like mashed potato and corn combined! I’m asian – so mashed potato and corn aren’t staples in my pantry. If Polenta becomes a hit in the family, I’d try to make it again.

Thursday – More left overs. One thing I can’t shake : Cooking for 2.5. I grew up in a family that cooks for 12 at a time (plus leftovers to BAON -bring to work – the next day) No big pots in my home. . but I still make wayyy to much food that gets wasted. Thursday is the night to eat everything up. If it doesn’t get finished – then It’s going to the trash. It’s garbage night, so anything that can possibly STINK will be gone.

Friday – Night out. If I feel too lazy to get glammed up, then I have lean cuisines to fall back on. Lean Cuisines and some Quality Time with True Blood. Oi. . I’m getting old.

Saturday – We’ll be at the EAT REAL FESTIVAL in Oakland all day supporting our friends Phat Matt’s BBQ. We’ll be there ALL DAY and I doubt cooking would be the last thing I’d like to do.

Sunday – Dinner with the inlaws. It’s been a while.

That’s all! I’m gonna post some recipes up this week that I tried in the past & are worth re-making. I’ll try to take pictures of this week’s menu and post again.


Paper Chasin August 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikailani @ 3:42 am

I’d like to believe “Don’t Chase the paper. . the paper will chase us” NOT.THE.CASE.

One thing about being disorganized, all our finances are out of whack. I’m young and dumb. I’d rather spend my time doing something fun (trying on makeup) than sitting here balancing checks, transferring funds and paying bills. I HATE IT. I’ve tried so many budgets, but they just don’t stick. It’s not that budgetting doesn’t work. . it’s just not fun.

I’d like to try the envelope system : where you’d put money into an envelope and only spend what you have – but I’m addicted to plastic. ARGH!

We’re slowly on our way to financial freedom. We’re barely meeting baby step #1 : Save $1000 in baby emergency funds. But in order to do that – we have to pay everything that’s past due and start fresh. That’s HARD. We have a few past due amounts and with all this paper chasing I don’t think I’m gonna come out alive! We really need to tighten our belts : no frivolous spending. No more traveling. If we live like noone else, I believe that we can be like no one else.

For starters, I need to create a plan.

1) Create a budget and stick to it. Cash out the misc expenses and spend wisely. Keep all receipts and log DAILY. I know daily may seem pretty intense (It is) but if I won’t do this daily, I’d shop my heart out. I also need to prioritize expenses & think about the things I buy. I’m lucky that hubbs and I are more likely to be on the same page : We just need to find time to sit down and talk about our finances. He works 2 fulltime jobs (graveyard&day) and I have a long commute : so it’s hard for us to find time for each other . . . harder to even talk about finances.

2) Keep up with current bills. I had a habit to sit down and do expenses every Wednesday (enough time for me to preview my pay check & pend payments online) I need to do this again. I don’t like auto-drafting payments, since I can’t keep track. Using this method makes me log it into my paper ledger and makes me aware of the working balance.

3) Pay past due accounts ASAP. Just like the debt snowball : start smallest to largest. If the creditors would allow us to pay partial payments : so be it.  It’s embarassing, but I figured if I tell the world about how stupid this is, I’m hoping I’d have the guts to clear this out of our to do list. I have a bonus & and extra paycheck in October, but I’m hoping that wouldn’t be that long. Yes – our credit is SHOT. . but we’re not planning to use any more credit cards within the next 3 years while we clear our debt.

My projects to report for next time :

  • Create a Financial Procedure : step by step. Easy enough for hubby to follow when I don’t feel like doing anything =)
  • Create an active ledger to update daily.
  • Create an Accounting sheet for each payable account – this would help me eventually track our debt snowball.
  • Create an envelope system – I’m really praying that this would work. I would make it a routine to go to the drivethru BofA ATM on Fridays to refill on Enveloped Budgets : Gas, Food, Home, Fun & entertainment (we need some fun) Refills would typically happen every other week on paydays AFTER paying the necessities & after budget is balanced. Left Over Envelope Money would go into a bucket and deposited at the end of the month to slowly rebuild Baby Emergency Fund.
  • Create a bill Calendar : Something I’ve always failed to do. One of the fears of paying bills is I don’t ever know when they’re due or when they would draft! As soon as I have a master bill plan & calendar – payments, timing and budgeting would be easier.

I have a headache and I’m stressed. But I’m too blessed and I can do this!!


I heart my iphone4!! August 10, 2010

Filed under: IPhone — mikailani @ 3:56 am

I recently upgraded to the new iphone4 from my old iphone3g. I’m in love!!! It’s fast and can multitask like me!! Hubbs surprised me with my new toy on our trip to Kauai. I didn’t think I’d get one since I planned our budget well, but what can i say.. My hubbs can pull strings!

I’d like to share some really cool apps that I use to organize my life. I’ve already shared zenbe – the ultimate checklist maker. Good for times when you just need a checklist on the go. I also have apps for shopping, wishlist making etc. Those will be featured soon.

Today, I’d like to meet my new BFF. Routine. The name says it all. It’s a routine app. A checklist which you can reset at the end of the day/week/year.

It did take some time to load my am/pm routines.. But once it’s set you’re done!

I’ve included a screenshot at the end of this post. I’m still working on my routine, but once that’s set I’ll be one happy camper.

Since I upgraded, I gave my old iPhone 3G to my 6 year old daughter who’s really tech savvy and can use an iPhone/itouch of her own (she can stop killing my battery) I know that 6 years old may be way too soon for a phone, but it’s just an itouch she uses when She’s hear at home using wifi. I’ve loaded Routine to her iPhone so she can follow her morning checklist in place of the clipboard she carries around.


iPhone and organizing addict


MPM : 8.9.10

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikailani @ 2:32 am

My pharmacist @ work pointed out that today is 08.09.10 – how cool is that? Way better than pie day 03.14 lol.

Moving on to the menu : I haven’t really planned a menu for a long time and it’s been KILLING me. I never have the answer to “what’s for dinner” I got sick of it, so now, I’ll try to keep it even more simpler. I’ll have 3-5 recipes per week and I’ll go from there. =) Let’s see how this week goes.

Shrimp & Grits – from Cook Yourself Thin Faster – here’s a *link* to a downloadble PDF page

Asian Chicken Salad – from Costco – Easy yummy & healthy! If you haven’t tried this, you MUST.

MobuTofu – one of my go-to meals topped over brown rice or egg noodles. Simple! Buy mobutofu from the asian market. Saute Garlic & Onions, Brown a lb of ground beef/turkey, Add the mobutofu sauce and Add the cut up extra firm tofu. DONE! Dinner in less than 15 minutes.

Poor Mans Spaghetti – We’ve had WAY too many parties at home and I have a big bottle of ketchup I’d like to use. I have a good receipe for Poor Man’s Spaghetti / Recession-Depression Spaghetti I think frugalous mama’s would love

For breakfast & snacks : Cut up celery, Baby Carrots & Baby Tomatoes – with PEANUT BUTTER =D I bought a bag of english muffins from costco which go great with Nutella OR the jams I bought from Kauai (how I miss you dear island)

That’s all for now. Since I cook mobutofu in big batches, I refrigerate / freeze it and use as left overs. This would be more than enough food for my family of 2 adults &  1 child for the week. I hate seeing uneaten food at the end of the week!

Thanks for reading!


Simple Recipe : Teriyaki Chicken July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikailani @ 5:07 am

I love chicken. So simple to prepare & usually forgiving.

I haven’t planned a menu plan for the week in a while… so I just go by what I have in the refrigerator. Not usually the best route. . but it works. It’s what we had for dinner.

Today, I’d like to share my fall back recipe. Teriyaki Chicken.


Chicken – any kind. I usually make it with chicken thighs (bought in bulk @ costco then debonned by my brother)

Teriyaki Sauce – a must have in my pantry. I get mine from the Korean Store near my work (Kukje) I usually look for bottles that are either on sale or they only have a few left on the shelf ( a tip that it’s better than the rest) Use the teriyaki sauce that YOU trust. Buy the kinds that’s a little thicker – not the liquidy kind you find @ smart and final.

Diced Onions – I’m so bad @ chopping onions, so I buy bagged frozen onions from safeway (I Cheat) Or I have my brother do a big batch of onions then put them in ziplocks)

Directions :

Drench your chicken in teriyaki sauce and add about a cup of chopped onion. Let this sit in the refrigerator to marinade (no more than 2 days) Place on a baking dish, or baking rack & cook @ 350-375 for about 30 minutes, until the juices run clear and it looks done.  Serve with rice or hawaiian bread.

That’s all! Fast, simple & no more than 3 ingredients!