Category Archives: Chic from home

My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

Be sure to join my mailing list and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: Fashion vs. Comfort – What to wear to your home office

Fashion versus comfort – What to wear to your home office

Working from home definitely has its advantages, but there are a steady stream of challenges as well. Surprisingly, one issue that crops up time and again is what to wear to your home office!

In general, corporate office attire has become more casual over the decades although some companies still require strict adherence to a formal suit and tie dress code. Casual clothing in the workplace has swung so far away from professional attire that some people opt to up their game in the fashion department because they realize dressing well for work makes them feel better and co-workers give them more respect. Your physical appearance, after all, is the first way people form an opinion of you.

Regardless of how you dressed when you actually left the house for a job, once you work from home you have total control over your wardrobe selections. And, depending on your circumstances, it can vary widely from day to day and may change significantly over time.

I know many people who work from home and their daily fashion habits run the gamut from rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and working in their pajamas to full-on hair, makeup and business casual outfit. The current trend of athleisure wear lies somewhere between pajamas and casual dress, so if you truly get to stay home all day, you can look a bit more together in your hoodie and compression capris. However, at some point you will encounter the outside world. Ask yourself, if you have to open the door for a delivery or run out for coffee, do you want to be known as the lady in the pink pajamas?

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Dress casually. If you have an opportunity to have one or two really casual days of just sitting in your office to work, then enjoy yourself. How casual you go depends on your circumstances. If you live alone, it’s your option. If you’re married or have children, you’ll probably at least need to get dressed lest you encounter negative comments from your spouse or kids.
  2. Dress fashionably. If you are a social media devotee, you’ll probably have to do hair and makeup on a daily basis. If you’re a fashion blogger, I suspect you look forward to it! Also, if you do video webinars or meetings, not only will you need to look good but all the surroundings that appear on screen will need to entice as well.
  3. Dress professionally. If you attend a number of meetings outside of your home, I would suggest dressing professionally unless that’s deemed taboo in your industry. Professional dress shines a positive light on you, and your main purpose for being a business owner is to make money and be successful.
  4. Dress for you. If it makes you feel good to always look your best, it doesn’t matter what others are doing in their home offices, it just matters how you feel.

Your relationship with your personal work environment and wardrobe will likely evolve as you define yourself as a business owner. Whatever makes you feel your good will reflect in your business.

How do you like to dress for your home office?

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home – 3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

No doubt about it, traveling for business it tough! Whenever you can find small items that will make a huge difference in your travel experience, it’s worth it to find the precious space in your luggage to bring them along. Here are three items that will definitely help to ease the travel pain. Links are at the bottom of the post.

  1. Hunter Personal Humidifier. This thing is awesome! The air is always so dry on airplanes and in hotel rooms, this little baby solves that problem. It’s only about four inches high and uses regular tap water in a one liter water bottle. Just flip it upside down and turn it on. It runs quite a few hours on one bottle so you could get a whole night’s sleep before you need to refill. It also works well in an office or dorm room, or even a hospital room. During my mom’s last hospital stay, I put it near her bed and it took all that dry, static air away. I couldn’t believe the difference! This is worth every penny.
  2. Personal air purifier. I’m a big fan of Joy Mangano, so these next two items are from her. This little machine is a workhorse! It not only purifies the room but it also infuses it with one of her Forever Fragrances. Great on the road or at home.
  3. My Little Steamer Go Mini. Joy is the queen of steam! This steamer has great power considering its size. No need to pay the hotel to have your clothing pressed. Just a few minutes with this little machine and you’ll be ready to go. It’s often sold in sets of two, with a larger steamer for home and this one for travel. It takes up about the same amount of space as a hair dryer but can save you a ton of money in pressing charges. As all Joy Mangano products do, it comes in a wide variety of colors.

I purchased all three of these from HSN.com but they are available at a variety of retailers. I’ve included links to Amazon and HSN below for your convenience. Some of these links are affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

What are your favorite travel must-haves? I’ll share more favorites in the future!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Amazon links:
Hunter QLS03-RD Ultrasonic Personal Air Humidifier, Red

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer Go Mini Hand Steamer in White

Joy Mangano Forever Fragrant Odor-Eliminating AirFLO Purifier – Meadow Green by Joy Mangano

HSN Links:
Hunter Personal  Humidifier

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer

Joy Mangano AirFLO Purifier

 

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #11 – Clothing Summary

Magic of Tidying Up

Well, I’ve completed all the categories when it comes to my clothing, so a quick summary of my work is in order. As for the tidying, i still have items in my closet that will be cleaned in future categories, so I haven’t completely tidied it yet. My dresser and nightstand drawers are in much more organized condition and remain that way, but the closet is still a work in progress. We’ll have to wait until i finish the whole house before I can show the difference. However, I wanted to touch on a few points regarding my clothing cleansing process. In case you’re wondering, I’m following the recommended category order detailed in Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

It’s possible there’s a major mind shift that takes place when you actually put all your clothes into one big pile. the overwhelming feeling of how much stuff we have just in clothing! Due to the limited amount of space I have, plus the fact that I take care of my Mom and it’s not possible to have a big mess all day just to satisfy Kondo’s requirements, it wasn’t practical for me to follow the KonMari method to the letter. Still, I was amazed at how much clothing I had in my wardrobe.

I think something else that happens when you put all your clothes into such a big pile is you realize that so much of what you own is not who you are. I didn’t have the big “Ah-hah!” moment because I did my discarding by sub-category, but even though I had already done a good purge about a year ago, looking at all my clothes within a short period, rather than just picking through the racks, showed me that i had several items that were good for me a few years ago but it just wasn’t who I am now.

As I write this, even though I’ve already driven my donations to the Goodwill and set aside a number of items to eBay, i’ve decided to let go of even more. Some items became more apparent once I started to catalog my wardrobe in the Stylebook app. Others came about because they nagged at me as they hung in the closet, or I decided to try on a few things and realized some shoes will always hurt and there’s just no getting over it no matter how much I love them. So, in addition to the tallies presented below, I’d say there will be an additional garbage bag and a number of eBay items to go into the pile. And, it feels good!

Here are the bags of clothing I donated to Goodwill.

I’ve noticed that now that i’ve pared down my wardrobe, I’m more creative in putting outfits together and I’m using items I rarely if ever used because I kept wearing the same things. The very first time I had to make a choice after I cleaned through my closet, I admit, I felt a bit of apprehension; I was definitely a bit anxious. I just took a deep breath and dove right in. It really wasn’t that scary after all. Now I challenge myself to wear different things. I pretty much have no choice. All the old stuff is gone.

One key reason for working through the KonMari method, at least regarding my closet, was that I wanted to make more efficient use of my space. Well, there’s less in it, but I’m not so sure I totally accomplished my goal. However, making my clothes look pretty is definitely an accomplishment! Folding items that need to be folded makes those areas look very organized. I often want to open my drawers to look at how neat everything is.

In my closet, I switched to the Huggable Hangers about two years ago. I couldn’t decide which color to get, so I went with gray. At the time, they didn’t offer a color that I wanted to use. Well…since then they introduced a vibrant violet purple! I was able to get enough hangers for my closet for a screamin’ deal and now my closet really vibrates with great energy.

Kondo mentions in her book that we should cut the tags from our clothes when we bring them home so they can fully feel part of our wardrobe. I hemmed and hawed about that for a while, in the end agreeing with her. As I was going through my hanging things, the tags kept getting tangled up; it was a nightmare. When it came time to fold, the tags would get in the way or snag. So, i dug out the scissors and cut the tags. Now my clothes are happier.

Kondo also suggests organizing your clothes from the heaviest and longest on the left to the shortest and lightest on the right. If I had just a simple closet on one wall, that might work. However, mine is two short walls and I need space on both of them. I always organized my clothes by category, and within each category I organized from light to dark, from short to long within each color. I think for the time being I’m going to continue to do so because I’ve done it that way for a number of years and it more easily fits my space.

These are some of the items I decided to keep.

I do have some evening gowns that I have no idea how to store. I love them and they bring me joy just to touch. However, they are long and bulky and can’t be hung due to their weight. Maybe once I’m done with the whole house I’ll figure it out.

In all, I parted with about 45 percent of my wardrobe. Maybe 50 percent. I’m still tossing. I had no idea I had that much that needed to go. My whole closet feels different when I slide open the door. It’s a really fabulous feeling, and once I get through the rest of the non-clothing that’s in my bedroom (when those categories come up), I just might accomplish my goal after all.

Before we get to books, I’ll still have a couple of posts on my thoughts on clothing per the KonMari method. Join my feed on Bloglovin’ or catch my Instagram posts to keep up to date.

Enjoy!

Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

 

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #10 – Accessories, Special Occasion Clothing and Shoes

Magic of Tidying Up

Yay!!! We’re at the last clothing category and they are three of my favorites. Which means, I’m going to have a hard time parting with anything. This post covers accessories, special occasion clothing and – wait for it – shoes! In case you’re wondering, I’m following the recommended category order detailed in Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Accessories can be overwhelming! After all, it includes everything from jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, pins) to scarves, gloves, hats, and belts. It’s a huge category! I suggest breaking this down into its sub-categories to make it easier to deal with. I kept putting off this part of the cleaning simply because i knew I’d have to look at every single earring i haven’t cleaned out for years! One issue I have is I’ve never found a storage/display solution for my jewelry so i tend to grab the same items over and over, which gets boring considering how many items I have.

Now, I don’t own much quality jewelry. but as i live a relatively casual lifestyle, i don’t need it and i don’t want to have to worry about it. Still, the items i have look fine and work for me. But there are a lot of them! This exercise was good for me to finally clean through and somewhat organize what I have. I only gave away 10-15 percent of my jewelry because I really love what I own. The problem is I can’t find it because I haven’t settled on a way to store it that works for me. Stylebook might help me here but I have so much I can’t imagine how long it would take me to even get them in the app. So, my search continues.

I have few scarves and belts, so I kept everything I own. I don’t wear them very often but they do bring me joy. Many of my scarves were purchased on trips overseas so there are memories that come to light when I wear them.

I was quite surprised to find that I owned 15 hats! I live in a warm climate so I don’t really need a lot of winter hats, and i try to stay out of the sun as much as possible since i have fair skin. I kept four hats and gave the rest away.

Gloves are another item i seldom use in this climate, although it can get chilly in the winter. I only had a few pair to go with my coats, so I kept them

Overall, accessories is the clothing category that took the longest. Sadly, i feel I need to go through my earrings again…

This was a big category – accessories, special occasion clothing and shoes!

Clothing for special occasions. I lead a pretty casual life at this point, mostly writing, blogging and taking care of my Mom, so my social calendar is not as full as it might be. There are invitations I must refuse simply because of my responsibilities. However, that doesn’t stop me from looking for awesome bargains for special occasions. You never know when you’ll need that special dress! Plus, I tend to dress in what I call classic with a twist, so basically timeless designs, worth the investment if I find something I love at a great price. Some people need to wear the latest and the greatest, and while I enjoy doing so, I don’t have to.

I tend to view designer gowns as works of art. I’ve been fascinated with gowns since I was a kid. I used to sketch eveningwear of my own design all the the time. Bling it out and I’m on board! I’m also fascinated by how inexpensive some gowns can be purchased on eBay if you’re willing to wait and search enough. As an example. in the past, I purchased a brand new $3,500 gown for $66. Yep, that’s right, $66! And, it was authentic! I’ve also found some pre-owned dresses for less than $100. Many society ladies buy beautiful designer gowns, wear them just a few hours for an event, then sell them. Buying them at a good price is better than renting! Even if you need to pay for alterations, you’re probably still thousands of dollars ahead for something really exquisite.

I know, I’m supposed to be explaining how I cleaned through my special occasion clothing, but as I looked at the mere 22 pieces I owned, memories of my spectacular deals came to mind. Just touching these works of art brings joy to me. I did sell two gowns that I thought weren’t really my taste even though they were beautiful, but the rest I’m keeping until I either wear them, share them or replace them. The biggest issue here is how to store these beaded numbers which are quite heavy and may need to be stored flat. But, that’s an issue for another day.

Shoes. I suspect most women have a weakness in one of the clothing categories, and it’s generally handbags or shoes. I like to think my handbag collection is small since I’ll use my daily handbag sometimes for years before replacing it (although I do have a number of clutches) whereas shoes are worn every day. So, for me, my weakness is shoes. On occasion, I’ve topped the 250 mark but I’d already downsized to about 88 when I began this cleaning.

I tend to clean  through my shoes regularly, so it surprised me when I found 20 pair to part with. When you have everything in a big pile, certain patterns emerge and those 20 belonged to a part of my past that no longer applied.. I hadn’t worn any of them in quite a long time, so it was easy to let them go. There were a couple pair that were brand new in the box, so those I sold on eBay. Looking through them all at once also made it clear what I was missing. I’ve since added a few new items to the stash, and there are one or two more I could use.

Well, that covers each of the clothing categories in detail. Up next, I’ll do a final analysis on this entire category, then another post on what I’ve learned through this process so far. There’s still a whole house to go! The next category to clean will be books, but I’ll get to that in a few posts. Thanks for joining me on this journey. There’s much more to come.

Enjoy!

Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

 

Planning – 3 Business Rules for 2017 and Beyond

Normally, once Saturday Night Live is over, I’m busy doing something. As a night owl, I’m often off the sofa and into my office to work on my lengthy to-do list. But, a few weeks ago, I was a bit tired and didn’t get up before the next program began. And, I’m very glad!

Immediately following SNL, at least in this market (Las Vegas), is Your Move with Andy Stanley. Now, I’d only seen the program a couple of times, but that night’s talk really hit home, with one slight twist. Stanley was addressing viewers to make changes in their personal lives. However, I had my business hat on that day and before he spoke a word, once I saw the bullet points on the screen, I immediately went into entrepreneur mode.

Stanley wanted you to look deep inside you to make the changes necessary to become the person you’re desiring to sit across the table from you, the perfect mate. If viewed from the other’s perspective with your checklist, do you match up? I’d heard this advice before, but my business brain was running a mile a minute on his bullet points. So let’s take a look.

Here are Andy Stanley’s Three Rules:

  1. Get out of debt
  2. Stay out of bed
  3. Clean out your closet

Now, aside from the first one, you may be wondering how the next two apply to business. Let’s take them one by one.

Get out of debt. Some people advise you to leverage, leverage, leverage. When it comes to debt, I’m advising to be debt-free. The less debt you have, the more control you have over your company. As a solopreneur or small business owner, if you don’t owe anyone money, then you have more money to keep the doors of your business open longer. You’ll make wiser decisions because if you’re spending your money and not someone else’s, you are apt to be very cautious when signing on the dotted line. If you’re debt-free with savings in the bank, you have a more solid foundation on which to grow your business.

If you have a type of business that requires a large capital outlay and it will be a few years to get those loans down to zero, at least pay off your personal debt. Your individual credit score might be required in order to secure financing for your business. And, if you’re looking to woo a potential partner, investor or company to acquire your business, the prettier the balance sheet, the better chance you have of finding that perfect one that checks off all the boxes on your list.

Stay out of bed. Here, Stanley was suggesting you not sleep around, and while that’s good advice for the business environment as well, I immediately thought in different terms. If I were to use this bullet, I would say Get out of bed.

So many people start a business not knowing the immense amount of time and effort required just to get it off the ground, let alone maintain. If you’re lying in bed instead of working on your to-do list and reviewing your goals to see where you can move forward, your business is doomed.

You don’t even have to own a business to make sense of this advice. Taking the time to improve your skills, get a better education, network with people in your desired industry, research requirements for the job you want – they all require that you spend some time in the full upright position.

I’m not advocating you never take time off. On the contrary, rest is essential to having the endurance to be a successful business owner. Lazing around and complaining that nothing ever goes your way will have quite the opposite effect.

Clean out your closet. Dealing with past emotional baggage was the point Stanley was making here, and that’s not bad advice for a business owner. However, I took it literally. Clean out your closet. And your basement. And your garage. And any other place that’s cluttered! Clean!

Why clean? First of all, a clean environment is healthy and conducive to inspiring thought. If you only see clutter around you, your brain has a hard time slogging through the mess before it can focus on creativity. If you’re looking at a clean and organized interior landscape, surrounded by things that make you happy, your starting point for work is significantly better.

Some people say they can’t find the money to start their business. Well, it might be sitting in your garage or the back of your hall closet. Clean out and sell items you’re not using. You might fetch a few thousand, or at least a few hundred, which could be enough to get your website going and business cards designed and printed. Accomplishing a whole house cleanout will also boost your confidence to accomplish those sometimes-scary business tasks. Just don’t waste the money you gain. It can dribble in as things may sell one by one and take a period of time for everything to sell. Set the money aside so you have all the dollars ready to work for your new business.

As you can see, the same words can mean different things to different people, depending on your perspective and state of mind at the time. Andy Stanley was working on your spiritual self while I saw the words from a business perspective. Still, good advice whichever side you’re on!

What are your thoughts? Can you relate to any of these three scenarios? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 5

My 2017 Planner Setup Part 5

In my last three posts, I discussed my main 2017 planner setup in detail. This final post of the group will look at the supporting players. It’s so funny how quickly you can expand your planner system. Just two years ago, I was strictly digital, craving something more visual. Last year I was in one Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP). This year I have six binders. Yikes! Amazingly, I know of people who are using even more than that, for everything from meal planning to devotionals. Just join a Facebook planning group or two and your eyes will be opened onto a whole beautiful universe!

So, let’s look at the last three binders I’ll be using for the year.

    1. The Punctuate Planner from Barnes and Noble. I originally purchased this because I was certain I wanted to use something smaller than my ECLP and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to try out my ideas. This little planner is only about $10, less if you can get it during a sale. If you’ve never used a planner or you want to try something new, it is quite a sweet little planner for the price. It has five dividers, WO2P horizontal format for 18 months, a page of stickers, a back pocket, pen loop plus a clear zippered pocket. Even if you only use it as a template for size and style, it’s well worth the investment. The other thing I like about the planner is that it has the year on the spine so if you’re using a personal Filofax or Louis Vuitton MM, you can store the contents of your planners by the year in about the space of a paperback. As I said, all in all, a pretty useful planner for the price.
          However, once I actually had the planner in hand and started working with it, I realized it was just too small for me to use on a daily basis. If I were to have to take my planner with me and I wanted to have something less cumbersome than an A5, it would be fine. It fits comfortably in my hand but I really needed something bigger. So, it’s now my fitness journal and leftover task list.What do I mean by leftover task list? It’s all those items at the end of the month from my main planner that I didn’t accomplish but still need to be done. If they were a priority, they would have been completed. So, they obviously aren’t super important but I don’t want to have to search through the weeks to find items I missed. When I’ve completed all my tasks for the day, I check them off and I put a star by the date. The items remaining will go into this little planner and I’ll get to them as time allows. Eventually, I may move the list to my main planner but I’m still toying with what else to do with this baby. So, it has its assignment for 2017.  We’ll see how it works.
    1. Personal Filofax original purple patent. I bought this preloved on eBay for a very nice price and it’s in great condition. I found it right about the time I bought the Punctuate and thought I had a one-two punch. I’d do my planning in the Filofax then store the year in the Punctuate. We now know that won’t happen. I have my LV MM monogram for notes and ideas, so I decided to use this planner to expand on one or two specific projects at a time. There are projects that require a lot of notes and activities, so this will work fine for the year. However, I think that as time goes on, aside from my notes agenda, I’ll be using an A5 for everything.
  1. Sticker binder. I can’t believe I’m talking about a sticker binder at my age, but I admit it. I have stickers! Now, I certainly don’t have as many as others I’ve seen. I realize how addictive it can become. I can always think of one I need or one I can’t find on Etsy and need to create. My biggest problem was I had no idea what I already had so I could actually use them. And, when I first began ordering, I was looking at what others were doing until I could find my own style (still searching…).I had the ones I used most in the back pockets of my ECLP, but I had to pull them all out to find the one I wanted to use. Inevitably, I’d realize that there were many that would get hidden. It just didn’t work for me. I decided to order a mini binder, dividers and clear sheet protectors/pockets and finally get everything organized. I love it! I separated it into five sections: home and entertainment; functional; business; health and beauty; and fun and fashion. I also added business card pages so I could keep the cards of my favorite sellers handy. Behind that, I had two 10-page bound sheet protectors that I received from a fellow planner in one of my Facebook groups. In those pages, I keep discount codes from the sellers, as well as all those little freebie stickers that come with your order.Now I can see exactly what I have and I know exactly where to find what I need. I definitely found some level of sticker peace; I’m not sure if I’ve discovered planner peace yet!I’ll leave links to everything I purchased for my sticker binder below. My only complaint is that although the dividers and sheet protectors are both made by Avery, the dividers do not extend out past the sheets. I plan to add a Martha Stewart tab to each so I can more easily find each section.

So, there you have it – my complete 2017 planner setup. I’m sure my system will evolve as time goes on, but for now I think this will work for the year.

What does your planner system look like for 2017?

Enjoy!

Cindi

Filofax 2017 Personal Organizer, Leather, Patent Purple, Paper Size 6.75 x 3.75 inches (C022433-17)

Avery Mini Heavyweight Sheet Protectors, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, Pack of 25 (77004)

Avery Mini Business Card Pages, Clear, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, Pack of 5 (76025)

Avery Mini Plastic Durable Write-On Dividers, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, 5 Tabs, 1 Set (16180)

Wilson Jones Round Ring View Mini Binder, 1 Inch, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 Inch Sheets, Basic, 362 Series, Customizable, White (W362-10W)

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery® Tabs, 2-Inch Solid, Assorted Pastel Colors, 10-Tabs/Color, 3 Colors, 30-Tabs/Pack

Please be advised that some links in this post are affiliate links.

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 4

This is the last of my three main planners I’ll be using for 2017, but I’ll still do one or two more posts on other items that will be part of my system for the year. I’ll touch base mid-year or so to see how all this is going as this is the first year I’m going the binder route. You can read my previous posts to see the setup of my other 2017 planners.

My third planner is my notes binder where I organize all thoughts Cindi. As a writer and entrepreneur, these notes are crucial! I recognized at an early age that when you have an idea, you need to write it down, lest it disappear into the cosmos never to be heard from again. I remember finding thoughts written in orange crayon on blue cardstock as a child, and I’ve kept it up ever since. The writing down part, not the orange crayon.  🙂

Over the years, I’ve used sections of my old Daytimer, legal pads, composition notebooks, notepads and virtually anything I can get my hands on in a hurry, from the back of envelopes to ticket stubs and show programs, to jot things down as they come up. Oftentimes, my brain will just dump idea after idea for several different projects, and they get written down one after the other with no coordinated effort to separate by project. Eventually, I transfer the info to notes files on my computer, but I have to jump from file to file as the notes are all over the place.

Well, hopefully, that has now changed. I decided I wanted to use my LV MM monogram agenda in the special way that it deserves. It will now house my forthcoming ideas, but in a more organized fashion.

I ordered some custom dividers from The Fabulous Planner using images owned by my company. Some are logos, others are designs from that part of my life when I had a bridal gown design business. The designs are mine but I paid someone who is far more skilled than I to make them beautiful. The images were just sitting around and I decided I wanted to be inspired by and enjoy them. So, I incorporated them into the dividers.

Each divider has a specific category of projects, identified both on the divider image and on the tab. I just used a Brother label maker to label the tabs. (Brother P-Touch PT-D210 Label Maker)

I tend to use two and three-letter acronyms a lot when I’m working on projects, so that’s exactly what you see here. Except for Blog. That’s pretty obvious. 🙂

Since I set this up, I’ve been using it daily. I automatically reach for it because I know it’s making my life easier by keeping all my notes organized. I don’t understand why I didn’t think of this before! I’ll still transfer the notes to my computer, but it will take less time because they are already separated by project. This little agenda makes me happy!

I don’t plan to keep anything else in here – no calendars, no clips or dashboards or anything. It will just be for ideas and that’s more than enough.

Enjoy!

Cindi

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Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Once I saw the nude A5 Filofax original patent, I had to have it. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Then I watched an Alexis Giostra (aka Miss Trenchcoat) video on the 43 folder system.

I had no idea what the 43 folder system was until then, but it greatly intrigued me. For many years, I tried different ways of organizing my bills to pay, birthday cards to send, RSVP’s, registrations and so on, yet nothing seemed to work perfectly. Then, once I wrote my book Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents), I added new folders to the system, to address the tasks needed to be done annually, month by month. I was searching for a way to make this all work together. Enter: Alexis.

Now, Alexis didn’t invent the 43 folder system. It’s referenced in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. However, I liked her approach and the size of the A5 planner seemed to be just as much as I needed.

I found this lovely preloved planner on eBay as the foundation for my system. However, as much as I love the 43 folder system concept, I’m not totally convinced it will work for me, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the setup. It consists of 12 folders (one for each month) and 31 dividers or tabs (one for each day of the month). Many people are crafty and create their own using card stock or file folders. I am not crafty. Crafty and Cindi are never used in the same sentence except to describe me as not being crafty.

So, I made my way to Target Dollar Spot (TSD, Bullseye Playground) and found packs of their mini planner pages. One pack included six dividers while the other had four folder/pockets. Of course I needed multiple packs, but at three dollars, each, it was very reasonable. I had a couple of five dollar gift cards I’d earned from previous purchases, so with my five percent off, the investment was pretty minor.

I did have to repunch the holes as you can see in the photo. Most people use washi to make it look pretty. I have only a few roles of washi (I know!) and I love them so much I didn’t want to use them on this. So, I had some old correction tape in my office goodies box and used that. It’s white and not so attractive, but it did the job perfectly and I’ll live with it for now. If I decide I want to upgrade, I can always do the washi thing.

On Instagram, I’ve posted a photo with the back of the dashboard, which is simply the 2017 year at a glance, and the first file folder/pocket. Alexis adds In and Out file pockets, but I don’t feel I need those now. What I did add was a clear envelope for each month to correlate to the tasks in my book, thus creating a 55 folder system. (Tame Those Pesky Details is currently only offered as an ebook but will soon be available in paperback.) I rarely need more than a place to put a business card, a note or a brochure for those tasks, so this works perfectly.

I turned to Jane’s Agenda on Etsy for the monthly tabs. They are awesome! She coats them so they are sturdier than normal, and so easy to use! I asked for a custom color combination and I think the black on ombre gold is just gorgeous! I had no idea this planner would turn out looking so pretty!

The other item I added in the pocket is the Celebrate Everyday calendar from my old Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP). That way, I can check it out on a regular basis, buy birthday and anniversary cards as needed, and stay on track.

I plan to put each item in one week before its due date, so with mailing time (or shopping time), things should arrive as scheduled.

In more detail, here is how this planner is setup:

  1. Dashboard 2017 calendar
  2. January folder (because this is January)
  3. January clear pocket
  4. 31 dividers
  5. February – December folders, each followed by a clear pocket relating to the Tame Those Pesky Details task for that month

In a nutshell, the way this works is to rotate the current month to the front, keeping the daily dividers behind it. This system provides a perpetual way to keep on top of all your important dates!

Alexis does an awesome job of explaining the whole system, so I would refer you to her YouTube videos on the subject. In the meantime, I’m putting mine to work and excited to use it this year.

Have you tried a 43 folder system? What other ways do you handle this sort of deadline paperwork? Let me know!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Additional Links:

Filofax The Original Leather Organizer Agenda Calendar with DiLoro Jot Pad Refills (A5, Patent Nude 2017, 022387)

Avery Mini Heavyweight Sheet Protectors, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, Pack of 25 (77004)

Please be advised that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 2

In my last post, I gave an overview of my planning strategy for 2017. Now, in these next few posts, I’ll break it down into the individual planners and explain why I’m choosing to go this route for the new year. I’ll also do a quick overview of some inserts I created myself in a separate post.

I’m always working on multiple projects, whether I’m writing books, working on websites, developing products, plus taking care of my Mom, so I really need to have everything well controlled. I went the digital route for a long time, but as I discovered the planner community, I went back to my roots and opted to include paper in the plan. It seems to have taken on a life of its own!

My main workhorse planner is this lovely Filofax Original A5 in deep teal. I hesitated to purchase it – even second hand! – because in many photos on different websites, it looked really green and that’s just not my color. However, I must tell you, this deep teal is GORGEOUS!!! And it complements crystal and gold beautifully.

This particular Filofax will include both business and personal calendars. It’s just too hard to maintain separate calendars, as I’m sure most of you are aware. I maintain the same calendar on my smartphone as well.

Here’s the breakdown of this planner:

  1. “Make it Happen” dashboard. Sounded like a great motto for the year! Looks very pretty when you first open the planner. (See photo on Instagram) Good visual reminder.
  2. A Cindi ownership dashboard.
  3. 2017 year at a glance calendar dashboard.
  4. 2017 goals. When I wrote these I had such a clear vision of where I want my business to grow in 2017 that I began accomplishing items on the list immediately! Some items may seem like to-do’s and others I’ve since determined I’m not so excited about, but the list is handy to reach and review on a daily basis.
  5. A lined sheet of note paper to identify 2018 goals. It will be here before we know it!
  6. A Filofax top load envelope/sheet protector. I put this behind my goals because if I find an article, get a business card or have other items that relate to my 2017 goals, I’ll just slip it in where it’s safe and I can find it when I need it. I had items to place as soon as I put it in my planner.
  7. A size cheat sheet. I can never remember what size things need to be, like Facebook covers or Twitter profile photos. So, I jotted down all the ones I use and printed it for my planner.
  8. My two months on a page yearly blog planner. This will be to identify recurring types of blog posts that I’d like to have every year.
  9. Month on two pages calendar. I’ve purchased mini stickers to help me use this as mostly a visual. One thing I dislike about most planners is the calendar overview is right before the month. Then, if I’m trying to find when was the last time something happened, I have to look through half the planner. Here, the whole year is back-to-back. If it’s July and something happened in May, I only have to flip two pages. I’ll identify things like meetings, doctor appointments,  mani-pedi-hair appointments and so on; not all the details or even the time and location, just that it happened. I’ll put the details on the weekly planner pages. I’m going to try this. We’ll see how it works.
  10. Week on two pages – entire year. These are set up to accommodate the Erin Condren vertical format stickers, so if I choose to use them, I can. I’m not much of a sticker gal, but at least the squares are standard size. I use the top square of the day for my to-do list, usually 3-5 items; the middle square for appointments and the bottom square for holidays, family, notes – that square is still flexible. The months are separated by card-stock calendar pages from Target Dollar Spot (Bullseye Playground) that I punched to fit the planner. I could also have used monthly tabs but this is what I’m doing for now. There is plenty of room. Regarding my task list, as I complete each task, I check it off. When I’ve completed the tasks for the day, I put a star above the date. Then, if I look back to find unfinished tasks, I can skip the days with stars.
  11. Financial section. The first part is a month on two pages, back-to-back, where I’ll simply note when I receive a payment and from what source. I want to track to see if there’s a pattern. As my business grows, this may be eliminated. I considered doing it on a month on one page vertical format, but this will bring me more of a visual.
  12. Income goals. I broke down my annual revenue goal by income category so I can track how well I’m doing compared to plan.
  13. Annual Bill Summary. This is an insert I created to track all those unexpected charges throughout the year, plus regular monthly bills. I plan to do a separate post just on this.
  14. Shopping log. This is an easy place to keep track of online orders. I normally just jot them down on paper, but now it will all be logged in one safe place.
  15. Business Expenses. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to include this or not, but I’ll try it for a year. I created my own rather than purchase because for me they were easy to do and I can print additional ones as required. My business is still small enough that logging these expenses rather than just using an app is easy enough.
  16. Wishlist. Some items may be more necessities, but a girl can wish, can’t she?
  17. A few sheets of blank note paper.

Month on two pages and the week on two pages inserts are from Etsy shop owner SewMuchCrafting. Dashboards and bookmarks are from Etsy shop owner TheFabulousPlanner. Stickers come from several Etsy shops but I have to give a shoutout to PaperLovingMommy. I use a variety of stickers from her but my absolute favorite are her annual holiday stickers. She has the most complete set on Etsy. They really make the holidays stand out on the calendar pages, and she includes things like daylight savings time. Sometimes she sells out so they won’t show up in a search. Just check back periodically and you’ll find them!

I do maintain electronic copies on some of these items, like the annual bill summary and, of course, revenues and expenses. I also track website traffic and social media likes/follows in a spreadsheet that is separate from my planner.

That’s it! As I said, I’ll be describing some of these in more detail in a future post. If there’s something you’d like me to describe in more detail, just let me know!

Enjoy!

Cindi