Monday, September 13, 2010

Sometimes this lady feels like a fool

Today I was reading a post over on Freya's blog at Brit Chick Runs laughing at her funny/random searches she found in her stats, and wondering how I could view stats on MY blog. 'bout by clicking on the huge 'Stats' tab, Ms. S!! Oh dear. So now I'm wondering: is this tab new or have I really just always overlooked it? Maybe I'm actually happier not knowing the answer to that question.

Having discovered this new-to-me tab, though, I'm blown away by the page that shows me where my readers are! Ok, first of all - I have readers!!! Who knew?! I was very much under the impression that my friends and a few family members were the only ones who trekked this way. But no. From Canada, to the UK, to Demark, Germany, Austria, Latvia, China, South Korea, and South Africa! Wow!! [Side note: Latvia stands out to me because my brother in-law spent a year there as an exchange student and loved it; and I actually studied in Austria for the month of January my sophomore year in college - gorgeous!] This is one of those times where logically I tell myself that when I post something on the world wide web, it can of course be viewed world wide, but continue to pinch myself nonetheless.

It's probably a good thing I discovered this tab. Knowing there are more readers out there than I thought provides excellent motivation to update more frequently. Though it should be noted: I love comments! It's how I know you come to my space and read the words I write. I'm a friendly person, I promise, and enjoy 'meeting' new people. So don't be shy! Let me know you visited!

In other news, I've decided with this much time on my hands I should learn how to do some basic redesign for the blog. Really, I decided this yesterday and spent hours trying to download GIMP with no success because X11 isn't on our computer. And the installation disc is at home in Iowa. Download it from Apple's website, you say? Oh no! After I'd spent a good number of hours trying to get it to download properly, Husband took a stab at it with no more luck than me. *sigh* I guess I'm just going to have to wait a little bit, but I am very excited to get to work. Mostly, I have plans for the header. Maybe if that's successful I'll venture into other things.

And finally, my project for tonight. Filing. Honestly, it's going to be a tedious task - we have stuff from 2006 all the way up to today that needs a home. I've had this project ready to go since last year a really long time ago, but have put it off because looking at the stack of papers makes me want to fly in the other direction. Of course, that just means the papers keep piling up.

I was inspired yesterday to tackle something bigger today after reading this blog post from Real Simple that seemed to be written just for me. In her post, Erin Doland talks about common excuses used for putting off home organizing and cleaning tasks. I'm guilty of using the first two: I'm messy and I don't have time. But here's the thing. I, Ms. S, am prone to messiness - my family (husband and myself) is not, as Mr. S is quite tidy. And not having time? Yeah, being mostly unemployed I have plenty of time.

This morning I had to go through our files to find some information for a job application. Rather than putting everything back where it has been, I decided to leave it out to put it away properly tonight. What does 'properly' mean in this instance? An excellent question.

My sister in-law provided me with an article last summer about creating an easy home organizing system after she used it and liked it. The article is from the April 2009 Better Homes and Gardens magazine called 'Paper Trail' by Joanna Smith. I tried searching for the article online, but didn't find it. It's a 5 step process, so it's easy to follow. And what I like most is that reader Bobbie Ambuske, who shared this system with BHG, recommends using 12 pocket accordion files for your permanent storage. Here's what I like about this system: it keeps all important items from one year in a single, compact place, and once you enter into your eighth year (it's recommended to keep up to 7 years on file), you can easily reuse the accordion folders - all you have to do is change the year the folder is labeled. So simple! I've filed all of our paper work from 2009 using this method and really love it - I've just been bad about keeping up with 2010 and moving all the paper work prior to 2009.

Here's how I make it work for me. The categories I file are: Income - pay stubs; Investments - 401-K, IRAs; Giving - all charitable giving; Insurance - car, home; Medical - bills & statements; Taxes - once completed; Banking - statements once reconciled (yes, it's a good idea to print them off); Receipts - big items or returns only; Utilties - water, electric, gas; Paid Bills - internet, phone, Netflix, etc; Credit; Loans. You should only use categories that make sense for you. This is the part I'm good at - determining what categories work best for us and then filing appropriately (and shredding whatever is unnecessary to be filed). Additionally, we keep the article at the front of the folder for the current year, just so be sure both Mr. S and I are clear on how it all works. But there is another component to this system that I have yet to implement successfully.

The article recommends having two trays or baskets - one for receipts, the other for bills to pay - and placing them in a spot that's easily accessible and visible. The idea is to "follow the "touch it once" rule for receipts and mail." In other words, upon receiving and opening mail, you place it in its appropriate place: basket, recycling bin, or shredder. Brilliant, right? Following this would lead to a life of significantly less paper clutter. I just haven't hit on the implementation of this system that works well for me, and therefore works well for Husband.

Do you have any suggestions for such a seemingly simple task? Are you good about immediately filing paper work at home, or do you let it pile up? What kind of a system do you use?

~ Ms. S

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ms. S,

    Joanna Smith (now Linberg) from BHG here. I'm SO glad you liked and used that story! I thought it was a genius way to organize papers, too. Good luck with the rest of your clean-up projects and thanks for reading!