At the end of last year, I announced my intention to take part in the 52-Week Organizing Challenge. Today begins week 22. I posted an update on the first eight weeks in February and reported it was going well.
Since then…well, let’s just say it hasn’t been going as well as it was in the beginning when I was all gung-ho about it. There have been a few weeks where I am too busy to even look at the challenge. And as before, some weeks are more helpful than others. I spent part of May getting caught up on some challenges.
While in the beginning, the challenge seemed to be about purging and organizing my kitchen, the next weeks were about the dreaded paper organizing.
Here is an update on weeks 9 through 21. (Sorry it is so long. Perhaps I shouldn’t go 12 weeks between updates.)
Week 9 – Addresses and Contact Info – We have everything in Microsoft Outlook. I took this time to purge old addresses and add in our doctors, pharmacy and a few other contacts that we were missing. Easy-peasy job.
Week 10 – Mail – Another easy week where you were supposed to find a way to handle all the mail that comes in. To help rid some of the piles on my desk, I bought a file organizer (right) and labeled out where documents that come across my desk should go. And I added an inbox to my desk. Now I just have to make sure I actually clean it out.
Week 11 – Paying bills – This was another easy week. I already have a set day to pay bills (Wednesday). And now that I have a Bill to Pay folder (set up from last week), I won’t be losing bills in the piles of paper on my desk. The key is to get into the habit of filing the paid bills afterwards. (Ugh…I hate filing.)
Week 12 – Receipts and Tax Documents – This is one that didn’t seem too important. We hardly ever keep receipts unless it was for a big purchase. And we don’t keep receipts for tax purposes (except with my husband’s business.) I guess we may find out we regret this later, but if we haven’t needed them so far, I don’t see why I should start collecting them now.
Week 13 – Filing System – I did mention I hate filing, right? Well, I do hate it. I have a filing system, but the files are overstuffed as I keep putting things in but not purging them at the end of the year. So this week took quite a bit longer (and I admit, I am not done yet. I keep putting it off.)
Week 14 – Email and Digital information – Boy, do I need this one. I have a habit of keeping a lot of e-mail in my inbox. (You never know when you might need it again, right?) So, I made some folders to control the massive amounts of emails and am working on going through everything. I also made sure our backup for the computer is working properly.
Week 15 – Magazines & Newspapers – This wasn’t a big week for me. We don’t get any magazines. My mom gives me some once in a while, but I usually go through them and then put into the recycling bin. The same thing goes for the newspaper. I read it in the morning, and then it is in the recycling bin. I hardly ever keep an article out of either the magazines or the newspaper.
Week 16 – Passwords & Manuals/warranties – I already had a system for keeping up with passwords. My manuals and warranties were in a file, but it needed to be cleaned out of products we no longer had.
Week 17 – Home Office – Finally, a decluttering mission. And one that I still need to finish. I am so ready for a paper-less society. This week was all about decluttering your desk and organizing the top side of it.
Week 18 – Emergency Preparedness – We didn’t have much done in this area. We use to have a fire extinguisher, but it had since expired. I ordered two more (one for the kitchen and one for our upstairs office). We also ordered a fire escape ladder for Lexie’s room as it is the only one that doesn’t have an easy way out.
Week 19 – Cleaning Schedule – This week was really one of the weeks where I caught up on the challenges that I missed. I set up a basic cleaning schedule when I first had Jase and have stuck to it even 10 years later. (Monday – bathrooms, Tuesday – the kitchen and the kitchen floor, Wednesday is for paying bills and cleaning the living room floor, Thursday is for laundry and vacuuming the upstairs and Friday is for any other cleaning project.)
Week 20 – Bathroom – Declutter and get rid of those half-full bottles that you never use…that was the key this week. We are bad about holding onto things “in case we need them.” So I purged a lot this week and organized all three bathrooms.
Week 21 – Medicine/First Aid Supplies – I am usually pretty good about getting rid of expired medicine so this was an easy week. Both medicine cabinets are cleaned up. And I updated our first-aid kit.
So as you can see, some weeks were better than others. I also have small list of things I still need to finish from some of the past weeks. Here is to keeping at the challenge, so I have a more organized house by the end of the year.