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Scattered Squirrel

Scattered Squirrel: March 2012

March 29, 2012

And so it Begins!

Sort. Toss. Pack. Clean. Repeat!  This is going to be my new routine for the next, however long it takes to sell the house and move!  I have to be honest, packing is not my favorite part of the moving process, and it always feels like there is so much left to pack at the last minute, no matter how far ahead I start.  So, I'm jumping in early, and getting as much done NOW as possible.  I'm sure the kids and I can manage with just the minimum for a while, and I'm sure with careful planning, I can make the last minute packing so much easier.

To help the process along, I've assembled a packing kit!  This way I have only to grab it, bring it to wherever I'm working, and get to work!  Ok, ok, it's easier said than done, but I'm hoping if I keep tell myself it's easy, then eventually I'll believe it. 

Packing Kit

So, let's see what I've got here:
  • Clipboard:  for holding labels once they're made, and the packing list
  • Packing List:  because, this time, I'm determined to have a good idea of where everything is
  • Pen: 
  • Permanent Markers:  for the labels and/or writing on the box
  • Packing Tape:
  • News Paper:  for padding
  • Plastic Bags:  I use them to cover dishes and breakables before wrapping in newspaper.  Makes it soooo much nice when unpacking!
And they all tuck into the bag, ready and waiting for me to tackle the packing.

Just Grab and Go!  
It's not a job I'm looking forward too, but at least I'm not fully prepared to tackle it.   Having the packing list might be adding a little more to the job, but when it comes time to unpack, I know I'm going to be glad I have it.  It's something I mean to do every time we move, and never get around too.  Then we get moved-in and start unpacking, and no matter how carefully the boxes are labeled, we always end up having to open two or three to find one item!  This way, I can just check the list and find the box!  Here's what I did:

free printable inventory home management binder move
Packing List

And of course, I have two copies for you, because it's so much fun to share!  

The packing lists doesn't just have to be used for moving.  You could use it to keep track of seasonal decorations. Or how about hand-me-downs waiting for your little one to grow into them?  If you have items stored in an offsite storage unit, you could keep track of what you have with the list.  Whatever you use it for, I hope you find it useful!

Anyone have any tips for keeping your sanity while packing?  Any tips on balancing the chaos of packing and the need for order for showing the house?  (I could REALLY use some advice on that front)  Leave me a comment, or send me an email (address is on the right hand side of the blog)  I would LOVE to hear from you!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day!  For now, I'm off to get started on packing what I can in the kitchen, oh joy!  ;-)  

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March 28, 2012

We've Got News

Yep, that's right!  We're moving!!!  We found out yesterday that Travis's transfer was approved, and now we're kicking things into overdrive.  To say we are over the moon with delight, is an understatement.  There's a lot to do, and for the most part, I'll be tackling much of it on my own, as Travis will be heading down there ahead of us.  He'll be home for his days off, which is soo nice, but it won't give us much time to work with.  We're both hoping to sell the house quickly, so that the kids and I can head down there too!

I have to admit, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  I know it will pass, but to-do lists keep running through my head, and I'm making myself feel like I'm behind, before I've even started.  My around the house idea, is still going in full force, but it's changed somewhat.  Instead of just organizing our things, I'm going to be packing as well, as getting the house ready for showing.  The sooner I get that done, the sooner we can list and get the show on the road.  

Since I'm still battling this cold, and the kids are now under the weather again, today I've decided to just focus on getting the lists done, and working on the normal, every day house work.  The plan is to walk around the house and make a note of what needs to be done in each room, then I'll probably go over those lists and make a plan of attack.  And I'll probably spend some more time working on the Move Management Binder.  So far I've got my projects lists, the move-in check list, and change of address sheets for services (like hydro, cable etc..)  Wanna see those?  Well, here they are!!!

free printable moving home management binder

Just like with the project planner, I made two files with the intention that they could be printed back to back to one another, and the side margin allows room for three hole punching!  Here they are:

On a side note:  When I checked the links, Google said that they cannot generate a preview, but the files downloaded fine!  

I hope you enjoy!    Are there any other printables you would like?  Leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do!!

Wish you all a very wonderful day!!!

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March 27, 2012

Move-In Checklist Printable

Hi there!  This cold is still making the rounds around our house.  I find myself tiring really easily, but I'm antsy at the same time.  I want to be up doing ... something ... anything... but my body has other ideas lol.  So, I decided to put some of that desire to good use, and whip up another printable.  I can't believe I didn't think of this yesterday, but then what would I have done today?

So, yesterday I shared with you my "Move-In" kit.  Today, I decided to take it one step further and put it all together into a checklist that I can tuck into my MMB, and I'm sharing it with you.

free printable moving home management binder

It's a little more specific than my list yesterday, I added a few more items to the list as I thought of them.  The page is, as always, set up so that it can be three whole punched.  

Is there anything I missed on the list, that you think should be there?  Would anyone like a list done up for a family size greater or less than 4?  Let me know, and I'll see what I can do!  :-)  

I hope you all are have a fantabulous day!!!  

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March 26, 2012

Recovering From the Weekend

Don't you just hate colds?  It seems like our whole house got hit with one this weekend.  Liam handled it in his usual way, ran a fever for around 24 hours, threw up a couple times, and then was pretty much fine.  The rest of us are either battling coughs, sore throats, plugged sinuses, or a combination of them.  It wasn't much of a relaxing weekend.  We did manage to get the birthday and Easter shopping done.  I can't believe, that in less than a week, my little baby is going to be 5.  Where ever does the time go?

So, today I'm playing catch up, and I'm taking full advantage of Spring Break and getting our Teen (who wishes to remain anonymous) to help out.  Both the kids have been great at pitching in.  We're just taking our time, doing a little here, stopping for a bit, doing a little there, and stopping again, lol  During my breaks I'm working on planning for the move.  We still don't know when we're moving, but I'm using this time as best as I can to get prepared.  Today I started putting together my moving kit. 

What's a moving kit you ask?  Well, for me, it's basically the essential things we'll need easy access to once we move.   Maybe Move-In Kit is a better name for it?  This is the stuff that either comes in the car with me, or are the last things loaded into the truck, so we have access to them right away.  Using all I've learned from our other moves, here's what I've put together:

Alli's Move-In Kit

Cleaning Supplies:  
  • All Purpose and Disinfectant Cleaners
  • Dish Soap
  • Rags
  • Mop and Mop Heads
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Vacuum
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Garbage Bags (big black ones and normal kitchen ones)
  • Paper Towels
These are some of the last things to be packed.  I'll put a new garbage bag in our kitchen garbage can, and fill it with all the cleaning supplies that will fit.  That way, when we get to our new place, not only do I have everything handy, we have kitchen garbage all set up and ready to go.  

Meals and Beverages:
  • Paper Plates, Bowls, Cups and Plastic Cutlery
  • Dish Towel or two
  • Dish Cloth or two
  • Easy to grab snacks
  • Juice Boxes
From previous moves, I know I can easily plan on the first three meals being a little chaotic.  You just never know how much cleaning you'll have to do before you can unpack, and having the disposable dishes can really help.  The kitchen is usually the second area I tackle, and this gives me a little breathing room where the dishes, and daily clean up are concerned.  Easy to grab snacks and juice are mainly for the kids.  Usually the food stuff is easy to get to anyway, but better safe than sorry. 

Misc. Household Stuff: 
  • Move Management Binder  
  • Home Management Binder
  • Important Documents (my accordion file)
  • Paper and Pens
You never know when you might need access to certain information.  I think this pretty much covers all the bases.  And having paper and pens handy are great for making out lists and recording any information you want to remember.  Between the MMB and HMB I'll have all the files and info I need to keep the household running.  

Personal Items:                  
  • Toilet Paper
  • First Aid Kit, (compete with Tylenol and cold medicine, just in case)
  • Hand Soap
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash
  • Personal Hygiene Items (tooth brushes, deodorant etc...)
  • 2 changes of clothes per person plus pjs.
  • Hand towel, face cloth and bath towel
  • Bedding
  • Some toys, books, and other entertainment items for the kids
First things that get set up are the beds.  I give the frames a wipe, vacuum the mattresses and then get them made up.  Having somewhere to lay our weary heads at the end of the day is really important.  Most of these items either go in a small bin, or a few suitcases.  Having a couple changes of clothes at the ready gives me an extra day of breathing room before having to unpack the clothes.  

There you have it, my must haves for Move-In day.  I'm really excited about this move. Our last few moves, I've either been pregnant, or had a baby, then toddler to worry about.  lol  And now that our oldest is ... well... older, Travis will have two sets of hands to help!  That's going to be such a nice treat for him!  With both the boys being older this time, they'll each be able to help a little more in their own ways.  Liam is really looking forward to that, and to being able to "organize" his stuff.  :-)  He's a kid after my own heart!

Wow!  I just scrolled up and realized that this is a long post, which means I should probably end it now (and stop putting off the rest of the housework).  I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday!  

Got any tips for being move in ready that you want to share?  Did I forget something important in my list?  Just want to say hi?  Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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March 23, 2012

Craft and Office Organizing

***** Warning:  This post is going to be picture heavy *****

Well, I'm two days into my "Around the House in 40 Days" challenge, and I've got the first project done!  Woo hoo!!!  I decided to start with the office and craft stuff because when those are in order, everything else seems soooo much smoother.  And also, because I have a feeling I'm going to be needing quick access to many of those thing through out the next 40 days.  Because I took so many pictures, I'll keep my commentary to the bare minimum. 

The number one goal with this project was to keep only what I'll use, and only what I have room for.  Keeping in mind that I might have to pack this stuff up, I was able to get it all in order, pared down a little, and most importantly, put away in their new homes.  

I do apologize for the state of the pictures.  As you'll see, these are problem areas, and I'm hoping that with the new order of things will help keep the areas neat and tidy.  


Office/Craft Stuff Stand

Guess I wasn't using that drawer, lol

Bin of Craft Stuff

What was left in the Office Trunk. 

The pictures make me think ... eeeek!  First because of the cluttered areas, and second because of the poor use of space.  To make it easier I cleared out all the areas, made a trip or two around the house to hunt out any other items that would fall into the these two categories, and I sorted as I went.  (I think the in process pictures are worse than the before pics)

Not too bad right?  But if you turn around and look into the living room, this is what you see:

This is ordered chaos!

It may not look like it, but this is sorted and organized.  

Then I started putting everything back.  The items I use most went onto the desk, within easy reach.  The items we don't use often, like our long term files, video camera, owner manuals, extra paper, etc.. went into the trunk, and the stand now hold ALL my craft supplies, the home management library, and some books and magazines.    I'm really quite happy with how it turned out.  Are you ready to see???

The car drawer now hold all the little items we use regularly.

I don't actually use the desk for writing, so lack of surface space isn't an issue.  Now I have the note books I use most often, and my favorite pens in easy to tote containers for when I want to set up shop on the dining room table.

Some reference books, my daily file box (in pink) and the file box with my Grandma's writing in it . the tape dispenser (that I moved up out of the reach of Liam) and my extra markers and storage box for the camera and it's cords and charger.

Awww... neat, tidy, and so easy to get at what I need to get!

Yep, this is the same poor over crowded shelf.  Now all neatened up.  The basket holds my most used craft items like scissors and punches and ribbon, the boxes to its right are for envelopes and greeting cards.  Below is the rest of my craft and sewing stuff and a magazine file containing a few magazines and books that I like to keep on hand for ideas.  And of course, the binders that make up our Home Management Library!  The best part: the top!  It's completely clear!!!

And our trunk!  Magazine files hold spare lined paper and coil notebooks, printer paper and photo paper.  The basket in the middle is the new home to all our owner's manuals, and the accordion file tucked in neatly to the side.  A few odds and ends that we don't use often but still need to keep on hand are tucked in there as well.  And the best part, we use the trunk as a coffee table, so this piece is doing double duty.

And that concludes the first project.  It may not look like much, but boy does it make a BIG difference!!  I'm so happy with it!   What do you think?

I'm not sure what's up next, but I can't wait.  Don't you just love it when everything ends up nice and neat???

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

Organizing Made Fun

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Staying On Top of the Little Things and 2 More Printables

Anyone who knows me well, knows I struggle with maintaining our home.  It's been a long struggle to pull myself out of the chaos and into some semblance of order.  I could probably write a million posts on this topic, and maybe one day, I'll delve a little deeper into this and share it with you all.  For now though, I think it's enough to say, that the difference from 6 years ago to now is almost night and day.  Or, it was.

A year ago, I had maintaining the house down to a science.  It wasn't perfect 100% of the time, but really, who has time for perfect?  I was ok with it the way it was.  Everything on my list got done each week, and seriously, in around an hour a day Monday-Friday, I was able to keep the house clean and tidy.  The only times I slipped were when I was in the middle of an organizing projects, and even those times weren't too bad.  Careful planning and the regular upkeep meant that I didn't have a messy home before I started messing it up.  (Let's face it, when it comes to organizing, things tend to get messier before they find themselves all neatened up and in order)  Now though, it's a different story.  Somewhere along the way I lost track of the routine that was working.  And you know what?  I did it to myself!  Talk about self defeating.  The simple explanation is that I got bored.  The more complex reason is that I either read, heard, or saw something about house cleaning, and decided that I was doing it all wrong, that I needed to change how I did things.  Silly?  Yep!  Stupid?  Quite possibly!

I got it into my head to change things up to do better, get closer to perfect, and the result.... well it didn't work so well for me.  It was taking longer each day to do what I needed to do, and it left me with no desire to tackle organizing projects.   I just didn't want to have anything more to do in a day.  I could kick myself for making that change, because getting back into a routine isn't as easy as it seemed in my head.  Another part of the problem is that for the last 6 years, our home has been my number 3 focus (outside Travis and our boys)  I needed that time to really explore the problem, to wrestle with it, and find my solution.  When I did have my solution, when all was going good, I didn't have anything left to focus on.  That was a big mistake.  I won't make that one again.  You could say that after sharing stuff with family and friends, this blog is part of keeping myself on track.  It's giving me something else to focus on.  

With the possible move, and getting the house ready for sale, it's more important than ever that I get myself back on track.  Once I'm back on track, I can get the kids back on track, and our little home will run and feel so much better.  So how am I going to do that?  Well first, I'm pulling my old clean schedule out of my HMB (Home Management Binder)  and redoing it.  I plan to hang it on the fridge where it will mock remind me all day that there are things to do.  I'm tweaking it a little, but not much.  I figure it worked well for me before, I don't want to mess with it too much.  And the end result is this:

free printable daily weekly monthly home management binder

I broke my daily tasks into morning, afternoon, and evening.  This way, I can stay more on top of things as the days goes on, and avoid adding to the madness of the 4pm - 8pm rush.  Next up, is my weekly tasks.  I have them scheduled by day, because that is what works best for me.  I don't always stick to it, some days I may tackle more so I can free up another day.   Under that is the non-housework stuff that I want to keep better track of.  They're usually weekly tasks, (aside from the budgeting)  but most times I meal plan and grocery shop twice a month.  The monthly section is just stuff that I need to remember to do each month.  Under that is my projects list, which is all about regular decluttering, something I found to be extremely helpful in our little home.  These are not things I need to do each month, but I try to get to two or three each month.  I find the more I stay on top of it, the easier it is to maintain.
Most of you will notice that I don't have any quarterly, seasonal, or yearly tasks on this list.  That's because I have those ones in a separate area.  Right now, I have those jobs scheduled by month, and I'm hoping to put them together into a printable as soon.  The main purpose of the above list is to to keep me focused during the day.  

I realize that my list won't work for everyone, maybe not even anyone, so I also put together a blank one. 

free printable daily weekly monthly home management binder

I hope you enjoy!  Just click the links below the pictures to get your own copy!  Please let me know what you think.  Are there ways you think the form could better?  Other headings that would work better than the ones I've used?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Well, now that I've gotten my new schedule done up, I guess there is no more excuse for not getting things done.  So, I'm going to run.  Not only do I have some house work to catch up on, I've also got a pile of office and craft supplies waiting to be sorted and organized.  Hopefully I'll be able to get that done and pop back on here later and share it with you!  Until then, I wish you a fabulous day!!!!

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March 22, 2012

Around the House in 40 days!

Well, this post is getting put out there a little later than I planned.  We had a busy afternoon, and I think we're getting closer to a decision on this move thing.  More on that when I know it!  Now, for your regularly scheduled post.

It's that time of year when people start talking about Spring Cleaning!  Up here, it's not something I'll start thinking about for another few weeks, as we're still getting snow.  I don't do much in way of Spring Cleaning; wash the curtains, change the furnace filters, clean out the vents, and pack away all the winter gear and clothes. (That's my favorite part!)  But, with thoughts of moving and getting the house ready for sale, I've decided that I might need to take it a little further this year.  I won't be washing walls or anything like that, as they'll need it again before painting, but I am going to go through our home with a fine tooth comb, purge, sort, and organize everything.  And since home improvements and moving can be expensive, I've set myself a challenge:  Can I organize the whole house, make it look nice (aside from paint and what not) with only what I have on hand?  I think I can, which brings me to:

From now until the end of April, I'm on a mission to get our place organized, and I'm not going to spend a dime doing it!  I'll share before and after pictures of each project, and I hope you'll let me know what you think.  I'll also share a little window into my head, and let you see the thought process behind what's going on. (Scary thought lol)  

I'll give you fair warning now, the before pics will be taken as things stand in real life.  I'm not going to clean up the space before taking pictures, and as for the after picture, no staging here.  You'll see it as it really is, at the moment of taking the photo.  I'm eager to get started, so I'm going to leave you for now, and I'll be back, tomorrow, with a project, a little more about this new series, and a free printable!  

I hope you all are having a wonderful night, and I'll talk to you soon!!  

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March 21, 2012

Cause You Know I Can't Resist ...

... A good book, or three!  I love to read!  Books, blogs, magazines.... doesn't matter, I just love to read.  I can't pick a favorite genre, I seem to like them all, or at least I can find books and authors in them all that I like.  lol  So where is this going?  Well, they say to blog about what you love, and so I'd like to welcome you to the first post of my first feature!  I'm thinking this could be a once a month post, about something I've read, or something I want to read, or something else book related.   So, without further ado, welcome to the ...

Have you ever read a book that was so thought provoking, or emotional, or engaging that is stayed with you long after you finished reading it?  I just finished a trilogy that was like that. 

Now, normally, I don't read Young Adult Fiction, however I've been hearing about these books for a while, and was told that they're a good read, despite being for youth.  (Just so you know, I'm not going to spoil any part of the books, no in depth look at plot or characters, so never fear that I'll ruin story for you)  If you haven't yet read them, I strongly recommend them. Suzanne Collins has done a great job writing for a variety of audiences.  You can read the books, (there are three) and take away nothing more than the story she tells.  Or you can look deeper as you read and find a whole of themes, parallels, and food for thought.  Thought provoking is definitely a good way to describe the story she's told.  I can this book finding its way into high school English classes, there is sooooo there for an English teacher to pull out.  I'm sincerely hoping our teen will decide to read them, because I would love to hear his thoughts on them, and what he takes away from the story.  

I could fill pages and pages with my thoughts and ideas on this trilogy, but instead, I'll just say this:  They're an easy read with a lot to ponder, and I strongly recommend them.  And if reading isn't your thing, Friday is the day that "The Hunger Games" hits theaters.  As with any book to movie transformation, I'm sure that much has been left out, or gotten lost in translation.  As I haven't seen the movie, I can't tell you that for sure. I will say that I noticed a couple of deviations from the book in the trailer for the movie, but they were just little things.  

And that, I guess, is all I can really tell you without giving anything away.  Has anyone else read the books yet?  Are you eagerly awaiting the movie?  And how about the book to movie trend that seems to be so popular now, any thoughts on that?  

I wish you all a fabulous day!!!!  

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March 19, 2012

One Down, a Million to Go!

First, I would just like to say I'm sorry I didn't get these posted on Friday.  I got hit with a nasty migraine that afternoon, and got busy with the family during the weekend.  But I did get my first "Operation Move" project finished.  I opted to start with the Paper Crap, lol, and this is what I was starting with.


I removed all the random items, and put them in their proper homes.  Then I sorted through all the papers in the bottom pic, and put them back in their proper homes, since these are ones I use frequently, their homes are usually close at hand.  Next up, I went through all our files, and weeded out anything that wasn't needed. Good bye old outdated bills, if I can find the info online, I don't need to keep it.  Other than current bills in our "Finance" binder, all the other ones are in the shred bag, and non important items are in the recycle pile.  So what did I end up keeping:

6 years worth of tax records, plus this years stuff, marriage and birth certificates, medical records, financial and legal documents, and the home insurance policy.  Basically, the important, keep forever or at least keep for as long as you have _____, stuff.  These are files I don't need access to on a regular basis, but might need access to for one reason or another.  Here is what I was left with:


All our important papers are contained into one accordion folder.  I LOVE that!  I use sticky notes to label the sections, since this is where I'm keeping our tax records, I wanted the labels to be flexible.

Remember my file crate from the before pics?  Here it is!  So much room left.  The stuff on the left side of the crate is stuff my Grandmother wrote.  It's awaiting a document box.  And that mess up front is all of the owners manuals for what we own.  I'm working on an idea or two for dealing with those, but for now, while not pretty, they are contained, and again, in one spot!

And finally, here are the drawers and the basket.  Pretty much empty, except for empty hanging files and some folders.  I was going to toss them out, but we have a teen who is going to be needing to set up his own file system soon, and I have plans for some of the other ones.  We do have a small file cabinet that can store these.  Right now it's not in use, and I'm thinking our teen might light it in his new room when we move.

And that bring us to the end of the files.   Other than these one I have my short term files store in a small file box, but I think that is another post for another day.

I sure hope everyone is doing great!!!  We've reached no conclusion on the job offer yet..... wish us luck on that one.  I have a feeling it's going to be part informed decision part of leap of faith if we take it.  While I'm on that topic, the MMB (Move Management Binder) is slowly coming together.  I'll share some pics later on this week, and if all goes well, another printable too!  :-)  

Have a wonderful week every one!!!!

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March 16, 2012

Fresh Dose of Reality, and a Couple Free Printables

The reality of this move thing, is finally setting in.  No, actually setting in isn't right, it was a swift hit to gut!  You see, we've been looking into this for a while.  Putting out feelers for employment, and researching housing and all that wonderful stuff.  Haven't really gotten much for our efforts, so it's sort of been an exercise in somedays for me.  Someday the effort will pay off; someday I'll have to start packing; someday we'll have to sell the house; some day we'll move, you get the point.  Well, all those somedays and possibilities solidified into a great big "today" for me.  Travis got a job offer, out of the blue ... I wasn't prepared for that.  My brain wasn't prepared for that.  All of a sudden my heart started racing with excitement and stress.  In my head, to do lists were running through so fast I couldn't keep up.  In a matter of moments I had myself convinced that I'm behind (my big fear, as I feel like I'm always behind).  In my head, the house was boxed up and packed, the truck was booked, and ready to be loaded, and all that wonderful stuff.  I was smothering myself in unneeded stress, and all due to an offer.  We hadn't even discussed it further, he called and told me about it, and we agreed to talk about it later on in more detail, hash out the highs and lows and all that wonderful stuff.  So, really, the "someday" hadn't changed at all.  But this did make me realize that someday could quite possibly become "someday really soon"  and I need to be better prepared.

Here enters what I'm going to refer to as my "Move Management Binder".  It's where I'm going to keep a list of all things move related.  

Project List in the MMB

The sections include:

Project List:  This is where I'm going to keep a list of the projects I know need to be done, whether it's for moving, or getting the house ready for sale, this is the spot for it.  

Packing List/Home Inventory:  This time around I want a master list of what is where, so nothing gets misplaced.  At the same time, since I'm boxing everything up as is, I'm making up the home inventory as well. Once the move is completed I will transfer the Inventory in our Home/Family Management Binder. 

Change of Address: Here I'll keep a list of all our billing companies, financial institutions, and other places to call to inform about the move.  This is also where I'll keep track of what we need to have disconnected from this place and transferred to the new one.  

Rentals:  Since we'll most like rent to start with, this is where I'll keep the info on places to check out. 

Moving Expenses:  Here is where I'll keep all our receipts for the move, as well as info on the moving truck and so forth.

Essentials:  This last one is more for my peace of mind than anything else.  It's the list of things we need to have loaded in the car, or loaded last onto the truck.  The stuff we'll need right away.  That was I don't accidentally pack it away.  

And there you have it.  I'm reusing a binder I already had on hand.  It's a zippered one with a couple of pockets for files, a built in calculator, etc... I think it will be perfect for this job.  For right now, I've just started the project section. (as you can see in the above pic) This seemed to be the most important for right now.  I hopped onto the computer and whipped up a sheet I could print off and use to keep track of what needs to be done.  It's pretty basic, a spot to list the project, area, room, or items that need to be worked on, a space for recording my ideas on what needs to be done, and a space for the supplies I will need.  That part is kind of key for me.  When I go to do a project I find I'm able to get through it much more quickly if I have everything I need, and listing that out ahead of time really helps.  I don't have to think too much about it, just jump in and get to work.  Here's what I came up with:

I made two different files.  The only difference is the extra white space on the right or left hand side (depending on the one you choose)  I made two so I could print them double sided (and save on paper crap lol)  hole punch them and tuck them into the binder.  And I thought I would share them with anyone who wanted them.  :-)  I only ask, that you please, only use them for personal use, they're not for resale or anything like that.  That's it!  Here's where you can go get them:

On a side note:  I don't know why, but when I view them in Google docs, the small borders don't show up, but if I click print they do!  I don't know if that will be the same for everyone, but I did want to mention that they don't show up for me, until I click print, they are there though.

Let me know what you think!   

I wish you all a wonderful day!  For now I'm off to finish up that Paper Crap project, and I'll see you later on when I post the after pics!  

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March 15, 2012

If April Showers Bring May Flowers....

... what do March snows bring?   I guess Old Man Winter just wanted to remind us who's boss for the next five days. :-)  This is what I saw when I looked out the window a little while ago.

Thankfully, the snow has already stopped falling ... for now.  The lovely weather people are saying there is more snow in the forecast during the next couple weeks, though temperatures are supposed to start to climb again.  I really can't wait for Spring!

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March 14, 2012

Lessons Learned: We're Moving On!

A little over five years ago, Travis (my amazing husband) and I made the really difficult decision to move away from our family and our friends.  At the time, it was the best choice for us, and our boys.  We've made a few long distance moves since that first one, and when we settled our feet in our current home, I couldn't honestly see ever wanting to leave.  Ha ha ha!!!  Guess what?  Now, there are days when that is all I can think about... all WE can think about.  So enough thinking; time for action!  That is, as most things are, easier said than done, but we're working out the plan; one step at a time.

I will not go so far as to say that I regret moving in the first place, I can't say I truly regret any of the moves we've made since.  I've learned so much about myself along the way.  I found an inner strength I didn't know I had, though it truly helps that I had Travis to lean on.  I learned that I DETEST prairie winters, and SK never felt like home.  We've learned that we can face the good times as well as the bad times together, and come away stronger for it.  But perhaps the most important lesson learned:  None of it is worth a damn, without family to share it with.  And that email, video chats, google + and/or a phone call, can never compare to an actual, honest to goodness, face to face visit.  They can help fill the void, but they can never completely cover it.  I always knew that my family was important to me, moving away helped show me just how MUCH it matters.  Life is way to short to not be able to share it with those closest to you.  Life is so unpredictable that grabbing all those moments when you can is a priceless gift. Being close enough to share the good, the bad, and the beautiful with those we love best, has become our new mission.

To that end, we're working away at nailing down a time line, and figuring out all the details, researching areas we think we might want to live in, inspecting the job markets, housing markets, (both to rent and to buy)  all the little things, as well as the big.  We know we probably won't be "pop over for coffee" close, but we're aiming for "head down for the long weekend" close.  And while we're still looking into all those pesky rather important details, I'm turning my focus onto what I can do to get our house ready for sale, and also ready to be packed up.  I'm putting everything I've learned from each of other moves to good use, and I thought I would share my adventures with this move with all of you.

Since we have no deadline yet, I'm going to take advantage of that and start with areas that I've been meaning to get to, but always put aside for something else.  First up, our document storage and filing system.  It's not as bad as it could be, but I know I can make it better.  Also, I really don't want to drag a bunch of paper crap with us.  We've gone paperless in as many ways as we can, so I think it really is time to have our file box show that.

So, armed info from Mrs. January's post on How Long to Hold on to Financial Recods in Canada, as well as Revenue Canada's Keeping Records area on their website, as well as my own thoughts on this, I'm taking on the mission of getting our Paper Crap in order.

Here's some pics of step one:  Gather up all the paper stuff to be sorted, the items to store them in, and (because I can't resist "shiny" moments) a few odd ball things that in my brain went with the label "Paper Crap"


Current Files, Extra Folders, and Random Items

Often Used Paper Stuff, and, umm ... MORE Random Items.

That's the sum amount of what needs to be sorted!  Crazy huh?  Considering the massive amount of paper type stuff that I used to hold on to, I was pretty surprised when I rounded this up and realized that we had so little.  And, I say rounded up, though truthfully most of what you see is where I found it.  I pulled the file crate, extra folders, and accordion file out of the trunk where we were keeping them, and the items in the drawers were already in them, tucked away out of sight, and I had just been using most of what is in the "Often Used" photo. That makes me totally giddy!  (If you've known me for a while, you'll understand the triumphant giddiness)

On that note, I think I'll end this longer than planned post, and I'll be back either tomorrow or Friday to reveal the after pictures, as well as another little project I've been working on!  See you soon!!!!

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March 9, 2012

Spring is in the Air!!!

Today is one of those days that gives me hope for an early Spring.  Up here in Northern BC, Spring seems to take FOREVER to get here.  After months of freezing cold temps and foot after foot of snow, by the time March rolls around, I'm ready for Spring.  I'm ready to be outside without having to wear ten layers, throw the ball around with the kids, get out their bikes, and let them have some freedom.  Buuuut .... that doesn't usually happen.  See, in order to do that we have to get through the thaw, or as I like to call it, the Mud season.  The ground is usually saturated for weeks, as the mountains of snow slowly melt.  In previous years, I've gotten so desperate to be able to use our yard, sans snow, that I've shoveled it out.  (yeah, a little extreme I know, but seriously, by mid-April I want to see my grass start growing again, not piles of snow and ice all over the place)

This year though, we had a weird winter.  When we went south to spend Christmas with our family, it was colder there than up here.  Usually we have a few feet of snow on the ground by now, and we never really got there this year.  We've had a lot days where the temperatures were like this:

This is what our thermometer reads as of 30 minutes ago.

And today isn't the first day it's gotten up that high.  We've had days like this all winter, where it was warm enough out to open up the windows and allow some fresh air in.  What a treat that was in the middle of winter!  

Today though, there is something in the air, a feeling of awakening and renewal.  I looked outside this morning and just felt like Spring was coming.  Just check out this beautiful. blue, spring sky.  Not the watery blue of winter, but the rich blue that says Spring is almost here.

Blue Sky and Sunshine, who could ask for more?

And to top it all off, the grass is starting show through the snow.  Not just in the super sunny spots, not just in the high spots, but here and there all over our yard.  Of course, that also means the drive and lane are slowly turning to mud, and it means that soon I'll be having to wash Liam's outer wear at the end of each day, and probably mop the mudroom once a day, but .... Spring is definitely in the air up here!!!  And oh, I cannot wait until the thaw and Mud, are done!!!!  

Grass, Trees, and just under the grass you can see the 
river of mush that's already started to form.

Honestly, it's too nice of a day to be inside (aside from the wind).  I think I'll save the housework for another day, or at least until later, and get Liam all geared up and head outside.   

Am I the only one eager for Spring?  Any one have any tips on handling the Mud season?  

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March 8, 2012

Hi There!

Welcome to my new, little corner of Blogland.  I know it's a little bare right now, but I'm sure that as time goes on, I'll fill the emptiness with posts, pictures, and maybe even more.  In case you aren't one of my family or friends, and have found my little blog on the wonderful, world wide web, allow me to introduce myself, I'm Alli; wife to an amazing man, and mom to two incredible boys.  We have a small home (under 1000 sq feet) and I guess you could say it's my never ending mission to organize our little home, and the things we bring into it.

So, why start a blog?  Well, I have a few reasons there.  First up, I enjoy writing, and when I decided to start this little blog, I couldn't understand why I hadn't done this before.  Until I got everything set up, started writing this post, and hit the wall of writer's block.  It's hard to not want to make every sentence perfect; to make every thought crystal clear.  But I'm working on it, and I'm excited to get started.  First posts are always the hardest.  And I'm not entirely sure what I should be saying here.

My other reason for starting this little baby, is because we've got some big changes coming up, and I wanted to be able to share them with our family and friends.  It shames me to admit this, but I am horrible at sending pictures, and regular email updates (Sorry Mom, I know I always say I'll email pictures and never do) so I thought here would be a good place to share the little things, the things I don't always remember to tell everyone about.  With living so far away from our family and friends, this is my way of opening our doors and welcoming unexpected visitors to our home.

Scattered is a really good word to describe me, as anyone who knows me will attest too, however, I am going to try really hard to create and maintain a good rhythm, here on the blog.  At this early point, I don't know how that will manifest, but I do know that I'll be posting about organizing our little home, life in general, and how we're tackling the big changes I mentioned above.  I can also promise that there will be odd ball posts once in a while, that might seem out of sync with the rest.  Knowing myself like I do, I know it's going happen.  I also promise to try to keep those ones to a minimum.

I'm super excited to be starting this blog, and I can't wait to share this adventure we call life with you.  I hope you'll check back every now and then to see how things are coming along!