Monday, 9 November 2015

Organisation Methods, tried and tested. Why they failed for me and what I did about it!

Finding a method that works for me, has taken years!

In the early days of my blogging, I was a fanatic user of the FlyLady method of organisation. I read her book, as well as the "Sidetracked Home Executives" by Pam and Peggy Young. I loved their methodology, that tasks should be scheduled, completed and repeated. I decluttered my home.... twice! We had a huge improvement, but we still ended up with with clutter and mess. I then tried using "The Organised Housewife"and followed her method for a while. But what I found was that I was constantly swamped with emails, advertising and other miscellaneous stuff, that simply filled up my inbox and overwhelmed this Struggling Mum with Aspergers.

I have files and folders full of methods, Card files gathering dust and no desire to reopen any of them.  My desire to be organised and tidy, has sent me on a quest to make life as simple for my overwhelmed brain, as I can. I have to admit, that I have tried zone cleaning apps, timers, post it notes and reminders on my phone. I ended up with everything everywhere.

one of my previous methods

Since starting my Bullet Journal I had an epiphany. I realised that my desire to simplify was in my hands! I took the fly lady method and the zone cleaning app, and turned it into a visual record in my journal. I have made it easy for myself, because I could never remember what tasks, I completed last month. I therefore had windows that haven't been cleaned in 4 years, because I didn't have something visual and easy to read to keep me accountable. NOW I DO!!!

Setting up my zones

recording completed tasks is easy

My simple 2 page spread has all 5 zones, plus a weekend zone for yard work and maintenance. I have drawn it up once. It is now set up for the rest of this year and all of next year. I have also added a notes section, for any details that I need to remember.  The beauty of this method, is there are no adverts, I can quickly see what I need to and it is all kept in one spot. I am also working on creating a daily and weekly home blessings chart in my journal for each month, so that I can see what I need to get done in those areas of household work too.

Because I keep my journal with me at all times, I have easy access to all the information that used to clutter my benches, and email. I can now pick up the one journal and know that everything I need for my day is in easy reach for me. It also makes it easy for my hubby, if he wants to know where he can help out (yes my hubby helps me out with housework and cooking :) ).

I love the zone cleaning method. I really wanted it to work for me. So now, I can make it work, because I have control over it, not it having control over me.

For those of you who are interested, this is how it works:

Each month has 5 zones. From the 1st of the month to the end of the 1st week is zone 1. the next full week is zone 2, then zone 3 and 4 follow respectively. Zone 5 happens in the next week, until the end of the month. It is about doing what you can each month.

The Zones are:
1.   Entry and Hallway/Stairs
2.  Kitchen and Dining Room
3.  Bathroom and Laundry
4.  Main Bedroom and other Bedrooms
5.  Living Room and Home Office.

As FlyLady and the SHE system have already created this method, I give them full credit. I have merely adapted it to suit me. For a more detailed look at this zone method, please check out

Coming up next week...

Daily and Weekly home blessing and how to set it up.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Make a list, Check it twice

2nd instalment on Goals and Plans

I love lists, they make remembering things a lot easier. I like to keep things simple here, so having all my lists in an easy to manage journal has become a real life saver. I have been using a Moleskine Chapter Journal

One of the biggest lists I have is for the renovations we want to achieve in our home. I have made a list for each room/space that requires work. This Chapter in my journal, will help keep us accountable to what it is we want to achieve. Just like having a written budget, written goals allow us to see where we are and where we are going.
Writing up a list like this can seem overwhelming at first, however, once it is written and in the book, I can just refer to it when needed.
use an "X" to mark a job complete
Dot points help keep it simple
Each area has it's own page
You can add to your list easily
Or cross out changed ideas
Now I have a clear view of our goals.

Many areas in our life can be managed this way and quite simply. I have lists like this for a number of projects or ideas we are working on, including my blog ideas.

Next week I am going to look into how we can use a journal to keep on top of the daily tasks that need to be done, but are regularly forgotten.

Until then, how are you simplifying your life?


Monday, 26 October 2015

Digging out of Debt... 4 months on...

It has been 4 months since I opened up about how we are digging ourselves out of debt. As I was reviewing the last few months, I realised a couple of things. I am going to be open and honest about it all, so don't call me crazy ;)

Since June we have reduced our debt by slaying the Consumer loan on my sewing machine. We paid it off in July and it was an amazing feeling, having it gone. I am in fact awaiting an interest rebate from the company, as their system crashed and couldn't tell me how much interest should have been deducted from the payout figure. The other part of our debt, the school fees has been slowly dissolving. I had originally said that we would have most of it paid out by the end of the year, but circumstances have changed and we really need to pay them out before the end of the year, as our kids are moving schools in the new year. This last factor has also had it's own financial complications, but are short term. It just meant that there was less to pay onto the old debt this month.

Out of the $13,499.76 we had to left to pay of our debts, we have officially paid off $10,329.80 since January. This leaves us with $3170 to pay by the middle of December. We are guaranteed to pay off another $1400.00, leaving us with $1770 to find in our budget before the end of the year. This is of course a miracle happens ( and I firmly believe in them!)

We have had a couple of Murphy's drain most of our Emergency fund in the last month as well, so we are looking to build that back up again. I have been very slack with YNAB, and stopped budgeting on paper (or app) due to what a friend of mine called "Debt payoff Burnout". I felt like I hit a wall with the debt payoff. We are so close to paying it out and just want it gone, so that we can start fresh.

I am giving us a break with YNAB, as much as I LOVE it, until we have cleared the last of the debt. I think that we will have a new lease on life and be able to work towards our other goals, once we have no consumer debt to worry about.

Our first goal in 2016 will be to rebuild the emergency fund, followed by creating a one month income buffer. Once both of those are achieved we can start saving for our family holiday and kitchen renovations( I told you I was goal oriented!). All of this will be done whilst building up our budget categories for the big expenses that come up over the course of the year.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

100 goals for 10 years??

I recently found myself so overwhelmed with all the things that I have to do, want to do, as well as my dreams and goals. I had to do lists, recipes and business ideas strewn all over my house. I couldn't put my thoughts together long enough, to form a single blog post, due to the amount o f pressure I had put myself under.

Enter Bullet Journals!

I actually have two, but this one is what I want to show you. I have adapted the Bullet Journal idea for a particular purpose. I am using a Moleskine Chapter Journal, I picked up on clearance at Officeworks for $5. I have decorated it with Stickers from Kikki-K used Post it note Divider Tabs for each chapter.

Here is how it works. In the very back of the journal, there is a Chapter list. This is where I list what each section is about. I am finding this very helpful, as I LOVE lists!!

You can see that my first chapter is 100 goals in 10 years. Am I crazy?? Maybe a little. This one task took me 3 weeks to complete, but my mind is now free of the thinking clutter about these. I have them written down, so that I can refer to them regularly. Having goals written down, has been proven to make achieving them, 80 percent more likely.

I found the idea for the 100 goals in 10 years on Boho Berry's blog. I have adapted it for my needs, and I am really happy with it. So here they are, for the whole work to see.

I have split my goals into 8 areas:

  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Work and Business
  • Travel
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Family
  • Personal
  • Big Bodacious Goals

You might notice that, I have already crossed my first goal off. I finished writing the list! Go Me!!

Each of my other chapters in this  journal comprises of lists for renovations, Quilting, books to read, school holiday ideas and meal planning ideas. I will share these lists with you as I build them up.

How do you keep record of your goals and plans?? Would you use this method?? I would love to hear your feedback.

Keeping it Simple, One Day at a time,

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Getting the most out Mornings in 5 simple steps

image credit to
I get asked often" How do you do it? How do you get so much done?" As a mum of 2 primary school aged kids, who is working, studying, designing, creating quilts and writing a blog, I can attribute my  success to 2 things My faith in Jesus Christ and Good routines.

Because I get asked this question often, I decided to share a little of how I do it.

5 simple routine tasks each day

There are 5 simple things we can each do, to make the day run smoothly and walk out the door with a smile on our faces. Children and adults can do these tasks easily. My daily routine, starts the night before.

  1. Wash the dishes, clean the sink and bench.
  2. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow.
  3. Load the washing machine to start it in the morning.
  4. Make your bed as you get out of it.
  5. spend a few minutes to scan your home and put away stray items.

These 5 simple things create a simple routine that can be built on over time. Each one of these tasks take only a few minutes and together can save you an hours in cleaning, as you have kept up with the basics. I have found that in the weeks I do this, my home, my mind and my energy all feel better. On the weeks that I don't, I find that it takes me 2 to 3 weeks to get back to the place I was, when I was in routine.

We all grow up with routines. Whether it was your school routine or knowing that play school is on at 4pm. as we get older, many of us feel as though we don't have to continue what Mum taught us. I know I did. I hated washing dishes. I would do my best to get out of any "chore" that I could manage to be too busy for.

Now as an adult and a parent, I have learned the importance of routines. Simple things that help to make the days run smoothly. I hope that the lessons I have learned will help you too


Monday, 15 June 2015

Time is precious.....

what are you wasting it on?

I had a really unproductive week, last week. No blog posts, not much housework and I certainly didn't get any of my assignments done. By Saturday, I was feeling tired, worn out and a little down on myself. I know I haven't done much, when hubby scrubbed the kitchen down while I was taking our daughter to art class.

Why am I telling you this? Time is like money, either you use it wisely or you waste it and end up in debt. Time debt is something I have had to deal with a lot over the years, especially in this age of Facebook and other social media. It is so easy to waste a few minutes here and there, 30 minutes on a silly game or get mad at an article that you read on a news site.

Last night, I realised that I have fallen back into that trap again! So with Holy Spirit prompting, I wrote down this list.

Things to avoid vs things I can do


  • FB games
  • Too much time on Google or news sites
  • complaining
  • Facebook - during the day
  • Television
  • procrastinating


  • Read my bible
  • File paperwork
  • Pray
  • Use my timer
  • Write a letter
  • Listen to an Audio book, while I work
  • Use my todo list
  • Make God my priority.

Getting our game face on

I have found time and time again, that success, is merely a written list and a timer away from meeting my goals. A successful day is found where 70% or more of the list is complete. Even for me right now, is part of my planned day.
I have set aside 15 minutes to focus on writing my blog.
I DARE YOU to try  it. 

Just like money, success only comes to those who work at it wisely 

God Bless 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Digging ourselves out of debt, one teaspoonful at a time

Do you have that sinking feeling?

12 months ago, we got hit with an unexpected tax bill, the numbers on the page sent me into a cold sweat! We had made an error on our tax 2 years in a row, resulting in over $4000 of tax debt. We were due an annual bonus from my income stream and had forward planned to pay off the kids school fees for the year, so that we could get ahead. However, this not so little visit from Murphy threw us a major curve ball. We were desperate to get out of debt, so that we could have a buffer and maybe even afford to pay for a holiday or new car. We wanted desperately to buy out of a shared equity mortgage, so that we could build our equity ourselves. But our dreams looked like they were sinking. I felt like we were drowning in debt!

The hardest part of this was admitting that we had a debt problem. We faced up to our mistake and made the best decision. We paid the tax debt first. It had an interest rate that was ridiculous and I knew it was wasted money. So talking with the ATO, we came up with a plan. The tax was paid within the time limits given, but we still had the school fees to pay. 

Honesty is the best policy

When we realised that we were drowning, we faced up to the situation. Writing down everything that we owed and what our income was, was the first step to being honest with ourselves.

The next step was one that I chose to do, so that my hubby didn't have the stress. I arranged a meeting with our school principal, to explain the situation. Being honest with creditors early on, makes for less stress. Once we spoke to the school, the pressure was released. We committed to paying what we could until the end of the year, before starting again this year. By doing this, we were able to bring that debt down to just over $3000 by the end of last year.

Our next item to attack was our personal loan. We knew it was eating at our cash flow, with the high interest. We had already committed to paying more on the loan right from the start, but we wanted it gone! By October, we had a plan. We started using YNAB for our budgeting and learned to give every single dollar a job in November.

Once we started using YNAB, we realised where all our cash was REALLY going. We had just heard from our Real Estate friend, who gave us a valuation on our property. We did some calculations and realised that by rolling the personal loan and buying out our property from the Shared Equity scheme, we could afford a full mortgage and climb out of debt.

Moving forward

On December 22nd our mortgage settled and we had enough money left over for a full 1 month buffer plus a small emergency fund. We had money to get Christmas Presents for our kids and best of all we had gone from $30,000+ in personal consumer debt to about $14,000.00.(including the school fees for 2015, as we would be starting the year, behind) We were paying slightly more, but somehow we were better off than before.

We were able to start 2015 with a clear new goal. To clear out the last of the debt. Yes, Murphy has visited a few times over the first half of this year, but his stay has been fairly short. We have less of a buffer than we did have, but we still have our emergency fund and the buffer builds up each month.  By the end of July that $14000+ debt will be down to about half. One debt will be completely gone and the school fees will be on track for an almost full to full payout by the end of the year. 

I haven't written this to brag about our situation. I have done it to encourage and inform you and others, that it can be done. I am always looking for new ways to save money, but make it fun at the same time. If this has helped you, please feel free to share this post with others. My hope is that together we can all climb out of the debt pit.

It's the little things

Over the last few months I have started journaling. I started out with a Sentence a day journal. What I discovered from such a simple starting point from someone who thought she couldn't journal, is that I had more to say than one sentence! It was the beginning of a new habit in my life. It has helped me to look at life through new eyes and want to explore life a little more deeply.

My next step was to start a gratitude journal. I am now running both journals side by side and loving it. I know that if a couple of my very good friends read this, they will be cheering. They have both advocated journaling as a way to work through my thoughts, emotions and to see my journey unfold. Before starting this little habit, journalling seemed like such a daunting task. I was scared of what I would write and what people would think it they read it. Not any more. Each day I can now file away the thoughts and stressors of the day into the journal. I can be really honest with myself and not worry if certain people read it. If they do, then so be it.

If you like I did, think that writing a journal is for the too hard basket, I challenge you to give it a go. Just write one sentence a day for 30 days. I almost guarantee you will be a lover of journalling in no time.

PS. Thank you to my friend Raelene for always encouraging me in this. I now I am not there yet, but I am on my way xx.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Your day is what you make it

Changing view, changing moods

Yesterday I was feeling a little glum. I have been feeing unwell and my old pal anxiety had decided to set up camp for a week or 2. I knew I needed a change of scene and a little out time from being Mum. This is a regular need for me, as a special needs mum. Some days are great, and others not so. My eldest has been a little more work over the last week, due to change in routines. So my stress levels were up.

I decided I was going to get out of the house and make a trip to Ikea. It is my favourite place to go for organisation ideas. It was a pretty special day though, as the new kitchens were being released. Yes I am an Ikea nerd and proud of it! I didn't want to go on my own, as I was still feeling a little fragile from the week. So it was time to "phone a friend", Facebook style. With a new friend in tow, we ventured out to see the new kitchens in all their magnificent splendour. After pawing all the new cabinets and fabulous drawer combinations we sat down for a cuppa in the cafe.

After completing the outing with a quick sprint around the bottom floor to grab a few things on my list, we headed home. I was dreaming of my new kitchen and what it was going to look like.

Upon returning home, I received a message thanking me for the time out. The lesson for me here is, never under estimate how much a person needs to hear that they are doing ok. Just to be a listening ear and share a cuppa can help to find that light that mysteriously disappeared from the tunnel of life. For me, it has confirmed why I have been called to ministry.

Oops I got the wrong product.... but hey..

So when I was unpacking my beautiful new boxes, I discovered I grabbed the wrong one after I had already opened it. No problem... time to repurpose it :)

So now I have a lovely storage box for my EPP(English Paper Piecing) papers.

Monday, 1 June 2015

June Challenge starts now!

Get Ready for Tax Time

This is the last month of our financial year, here in Australia. So what better time to get ready for tax time. Even better, get ready for the new tax year. 

Here are some great tips on getting organised for tax time.
1. Have an A4 envelope to hold all of your tax info for this financial year and Label it.
2. Have one for next year too.
3. Gather all deductible receipts and accounts together into the envelope for easy access.
4. Prepare for the next financial year, by purchasing your vehicle logs etc in advance. 
5. Designate a container to carry the envelopes for each year, when completed.
6. Destroy any tax documents over 5 years old, as you only need to keep 5 years worth.

I have found that when I have needed these documents for bank loans or other financial commitments, brokers and financial planners are always surprised how organised I am. It gives so much peace of mind, as well as making everyone's job easier at the end of the day.

My extra goals for June. 

After plowing through my paper clutter last month, I was left with a bit of filing to do. I have also got a pile of fabric that requires pressing and sorting.

So this month is a filing month!
1. File the last of the important paperwork
2. Sort press and "file" my fabric into the required baskets for project work.
3. Sort our tax time paperwork. 

As I do our taxes myself, I will be able to grab the needed information easily, when it is all gathered nicely. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Return to Blogging

Lost in Translation

So for the last 17 months I lost my blogging mojo. My health and life were in chaos, not that most people could tell. I have had to make some tough decisions and learn to live with a very changed me. I am not going to go into detail right now about what I have been through, but my focus has shifted slightly.
Decluttering and organisation are still at the heart of what I do, however I have had to simplify our family life for the sake of my health and wellbeing.

Taking control of my life

I now use a handwritten planner rather than relying on technology to tell me what is happening. I started with a large family planner diary, but found it was too overwhelming to carry and use. So I recently splurged and collected a Kikki K planner while it was on sale. I love that I have been able to customise it to suit my life and the way I want to use it. I am not a fanatical planner user, nor am I the fancy shmancey decorate every page kind of gal. I do however love that it look pretty and is functional at the same time.

As a working and studying mum, I need to be organised. I have learned over the first semester of my study, when my most productive time is. So now I use my evenings (when the kids are in bed) to do my study, my pre readings are done while waiting to collect kids from school and all other errands are done during school hours on my days off. 

I now get up 40 minutes earlier than I used to and start my day in prayer and planning my day.

As a family, we got serious about our debt. As of today, we are down to just over $10,000.00 of debt (other than our mortgage). This has shrunk significantly from 12 months ago. This time last year, we had around $30,000.00 in debt.

Where to now?

I have learned over the course of the last couple of years, I NEED focus. So I now set myself a challenge each month. I hope that over the next few months, I can inspire myself and others to focus, simplify and regain control of mental, emotional and spiritual health, as I prepare for a life in Christian Ministry.