Dec 26, 2018

- Lilies - Roses - Hortensia - Red Currant -


Hi again,

I have to add a couple of pictures of my new BuJo. I got adorable vintage stickers and a new washi tape (the red one on the picture) from a local online shop. I decorated the cover and the title page.

I got 48 of these rectangular flower stickers. I picked the prettiest ones for the cover: white lily, burgundy rose and soft-rose colored hortensia. I wish I had been more careful while cutting the washi tape... But the black spaces in between do not bother me enough to go and fix it. It is good enough.

On the title page I have the red currants, which remind me of my childhood birthday. I was born in August and my birthday cake was always decorated with red currants from my parents' garden.

I just love the outcome! I can't wait for the first of January to get to start using this book!



PS. You might notice that I changed the monthly tag to a more subtle one. It is easy to change as it is washi tape. We'll see if I stick with this one! ;c)




Dec 16, 2018

My bullet journal for 2019

Long time no see,

But here I am now!

My plans for the day changed as my daughter fell ill. Therefore I had time to work on my new bullet journal and now even this blog! I made so nice spreads on my BuJo that I want to share the pictures.

I got my new notebook from Amazon. It was a great deal: two quality notebooks only 15 bucks. The pages are thick, binding is good quality and the cover feels nice and sturdy in my hand. The only down side, due to thicker pages, is that it only has around 60 sheets. But, as Ryder Carroll says, the notebook is just a tool and the pages and notebooks are there to be used, not saved.

Without further ado, here are the pictures.


I decided to separate the general index for monthly, daily and weekly logs, and the index for special collections. I'll see how it works. This way I was able to list many of the collections beforehand, and it won't look as messy as a combined one.


Here you see my future log. I had the calendar separately in my previous one but that didn't have any advantage to it so I decided to go with a combined one again. As you can see, I have the months February to July listed here. That is because I will start this BuJo in the 1st of January and usually my BuJo lasts around a half a year. I anticipate that this time it won't last as long as the notebook has less pages. I also have started to write more extensive daily logs after reading Ryder Carroll's book on bullet journal.


This spread is just for fun! It is nice to read later on what the kids have done or said. I had a spread like this in one of my previous BuJos. I was looking through that BuJo now to prepare for Christmas chores and came across the collections for kids' things. It was very nice to read! Instead of having a separate collection to each of my kids, like I did the last time, I decided to go for only one for all of them.


I'm doing a lot of volunteer work at our church. This spread is for that. I list my to-do's in my different roles in these pages. Other notes concerning the ministries will stay in their dedicated folders. I matched the colors: LWML theme color is gold and my folder for it is white. My BoCE stuff is in turquoise folder. Next page you see the Communications Team collections - those paper documents live in a red folder!


I'm a poor reader at the moment but time to time I get recommendations on books worth reading. Instead of ignoring them because of lack of time, I note them here and hopefully have time to read them in another season of life.


This is also just for fun. I wish I had started this when we arrived to the States! But thanks to BuJo I will be able to complete this list for some time back and have a summary of all the places I have visited. Or maybe I just list the places I visit from now on. This time I just added the places that quickly came into my mind.


On the left hand side I have the school schedules for all of my kids and their schools. On the right hand side are my clothing and shoe sizes. I'm planning to add to this list every time I go shopping and find something that fits me. I'm still struggeling to understand the various US sizes - and I'm not even aware of my European ones because my body changes and I don't do clothes shopping that often.


This spread is about prayer. I'm planning to track the things that I pray about and also note down when my prayer is answered. This will help me to see God's work in my and other people's life and be grateful for His guidance.


In the spring my personal trainer wrote me this workout. I asked her to create such a workout that if I only did that every day for the rest of my life, I would be good. My exercise life has been really poor this fall and I'm planning to brush up. This spread will hold the plans and schedules I make for that.


And finally the first monthly spread. I added the presents there for the memories of the fun holiday season that is just passed.

My style for the bullet journal is very minimalistic and effortless. Kiiltokuvat (These seem to exist only in the Nordic countries! Hence no English name.), stickers and washi tape are my ways to decorate the journal.

I hope you got some inspiration from this. I know I did! Thanks for reading.

May 8, 2018

My personal news on organizing

Hi everyone,

Nothing much has happended KonMari-wise since the last post. And there is a reason for that. The whole idea of starting the KonMari project this spring was to be able to attend the KonMari seminar this fall.

Well, as far as I know, there will be no seminar this fall. This piece of information really took down my inspiration to go through our stuff again. Given that I have already done two rounds and am quite happy with the everyday functionality of our house. What's more, our family has been through so many colds and flus this spring that I haven't had the time and energy for my dear hobbies, like organizing.

This summer I won't be updating the blog very often. I will be busy from mid-June to the beginning of September so it might well be I'm back posting not earlier than in September. Hopefully KonMari will announce the dates and locations of the spring 2019 seminars sometime around there and I can get back to the process with new enthusiasm.

***


Anyways, I have a few organizing projects that I have done in the meanwhile. Last week I sorted out and compiled all of the kids' puzzles. I had them nicely bagged after organizing them in Munich but then some of the kids decided it is great fun to empty out all the bags and make a mess. And so they have been since we still lived in Nokia, Finland. I haven't had the time and energy to look into them and the kids haven't done any puzzles in ages.

Last week I was sick and I didn't have energy to do much of anything but later in the week I managed to sit down on the floor by the puzzle drawer and I organized all of them! At the same time I taught my youngest one how to do puzzles and she got interested in that. Yay! And my oldest one started to compile her own puzzles the very day I got them organized. A total win-win!

A big thing for me was when I finally finished our pantry organization this spring. Here's the blog post on it.

***

In my life a wind of change is blowing. After many years of not having any kind of administrative activities in my life I got invited to run for co-precidency for our church's women's society as well as to join the board of Christian education. I'm very excited!

As a student I used to be the chairperson of our church's student organization as well as of the ticket sales team of a huge youth gospel festival in Turku. After having my first kid I decided not to volunteer in anything unless I'm asked.

That has worked well as I have been able to concentrate on my family and understand my identity as the mother of my children and the wife of my husband, as well as my role in my other relationships. I was in the PTSA of our kindergarten while we lived in Germany but I didn't have time to really dive into it because we moved back to Finland.

However, I have a very strong drive to organize things that I see are not working - in communities or in indivuals' lives. I think that is one of my vocations. I'm really happy to be invited to use my gifts within the church! I see this also as a great opportunity to grow as a human being. I theoretically know that my way is not always the best way and I think I will now have a chance to learn it in practice.

Pantry

I organized my pantry a couple of months ago.

It is amazing! My friend Pauliina inspired me to do that. I saw their pantry when we were visiting them - it is so beautiful and organized I just wanted to look at it in admiration. Pauliina showed me what kind of containers she uses for the pantry. I knew immediately that those containers are just what I have been looking for!

I have been keeping an eye on reasonably prized but quality pantry containers for many years - ever since we lived in Germany. It seems to me that it is really hard to find a brand that would fulfill both of the criteria. Having used our newly organized pantry now for some time, I think I hit the jackpot. The brand is Oxo Pop (This is not a paid add in any way!). I'm well pleased with how the pantry looks like and how easy the containers are to use.

The cost of the whole project was about 300 dollars, maybe less. The most work was to figure out which items need which size of container. Also washing and drying all the containers once they arrived was a lot of work because we don't have a drying cupboard in our house. I could only was a few containers at a time and then let them air dry. I tried wiping them dry and I wasn't pleased because the paper or fabric towel both left visible dust on the containers.

Here are some pictures for you. The first one is what I started with and the second one is the end result.



My categories for organizing these items are from top to bottom, left to right:
  • Baking needs and side dishes that need cooking
  • Baking needs, breakfast and side dishes that need cooking
  • Breakfast and snack items, breakfast and side dishes that need cooking, miscellaneous
  • Canned food, pantry items I'm not going to replace once they are finished
  • Unopened bags of ingredients stored in containers (and chips, because they fit there)
The benefits of an organized pantry are numerous. I don't have to worry about bugs invading my opened bags of ingredients and no items are hidden behind or under another. Not having to deal with opening and closing paper bags and sprinkling flour all over makes baking a breeze. It is also so much easier to notice when I'm running out of something - a quick glance before grocery shopping will do the trick. Last but not least: organized pantry is very pleasing to my eye!

Mar 8, 2018

Papers

Hi again, my dear readers!

I finally got to the papers. Finally! It is not an attracting part of the tidying project. Hard decisions on official looking papers... Marie Kondo recommends discarding all the papers and sorting the ones that you really need to keep into three categories. Those are:
  • Currently in use
  • Needed for a limited period of time
  • Must be kept indefinitely
Our papers have been already simplified in the earlier years because I did the KonMari method at 2015-2016 for the first time, as we lived in Finland. But surprisingly enough, I was still able to discard a huge pile this time.

Some extra challenge to the paper storage brings the fact that we have dealt with taxes in three countries now: Germany, Finland and the States. I know that for tax purposes in Finland one doesn't need to provide any papers normally, unless you want to report extra costs or something. In Germany our tax counselor provided a clear list on the paperwork that we needed to provide.

I don't have much experience on the paperwork needed in the US but I used the experience from the other countries to decide about the local paperwork. My husband is in the process of doing our taxes for last year. I need to discuss with him and make a list of the papers that he has needed or will need for proof for the process.

I'm sorry the next picture is not pretty. I used the files I had from before and was only worried about the organization, not aesthetics of the outcome. The papers are stored in a cupboard in our dining area. There they are easy to access but out of sight. I don't know if that is where they will stay yet, we'll see in the end of my tidying festival!


The uppermost shelf holds our 'Must be kept indefinitely' paperwork. In the lowermost shelf are my husbands report cards from school and references from previous employers, which also fall into this category.

In the middle we have all of our tax papers in one file, categorized by year. I keep everything for seven years and then discard the whole bunch. That would be 'Needed for a limited period of time'. I found that seven years from somewhere as I was investigating the issue previously here and here and here (sorry, all in Finnish...).

We don't have a paper shredder, so underneath that file in the middle shelf we have the papers that need to be destroyed. In addition to the old tax papers that I now removed from the file, it also has some other official papers like contracts that have come and gone. I haven't decided yet how to get rid of them. But I'm going to keep them anyway until our taxes for 2017 are clear so I have time to figure out.

In the lowermost shelf underneath I have two small file of German account statements. I will let go of them along with the tax papers when the seven years have passed. The transparent file on top of that pile is my 'joy file' - papers that I store just for the joy they bring. I will sort them through in the end when I do the sentimental items.

In addition to this I have one more place for papers. That is on our countertop in the kitchen. There I have all the papers that are 'Currently in use' or that I haven't had a chance to have a closer look at.


The goal is to have it empty but I don't think it ever will, in the course of everyday life. I try to address it at least once a week. If I have paperwork to be done that has a schedule, I have a reminder about it in my calendar. I don't like to hang any papers in the fridge door or somewhere to be seen.

In the front of that bag there is a bowl that holds all the little knick-knack that ends on the kitchen counter but doesn't belong there. Once a week I aim to return these to where they belong. This bowl exists so that I don't have to run around the house to return random hair accessories or toy coins to their place when I want to do a quick cleanup on the kitchen counters. Bigger items I usually hand on to the kids to return to their places. Usually this random stuff is there because the kids have brought it there...

Anyways, all of the random papers and 3-dimensional knick knack end up in this one spot in our kitchen from where I try to process it onwards at least once a week.

I discard most of the papers that enter the house on a daily basis. Yesterday's newspaper, kids' accomplished school work that doesn't spark joy to them, advertisements, receits, church bulletins... All this goes to the recycle ASAP its been checked for its information.

This way I feel that I'm on top of our paper flow. I know exactly where to put a random piece of paper that I see floating around. If a piece of paper belongs to some of my family members, I ask them before discarding it. But I have already learned what kind of papers I can discard without asking. Like kids' math papers - they never want to keep them unless it has a nice picture they have colored themselves.

I still have to work on the kids' paperwork. They have their own joyfiles but I have to check if any important papers like school reports have ended up in there by accident. Usually they just store their drawings or tests that have special meaning to them.

***

To finalize, I'd say I have a better idea now about what kind of papers I need to keep and how I store them. I'm sure it could be even more simple but this is as much as I am able to do at this point of my life. The next step now will be finding the proper place for our papers and maybe some joyous files to keep them in. I know I should store them vertical, not horizontal. But as it is in KonMari method - finding places for things happens after discarding all the no-joy items from the house, not after each category during the discarding process.

The next category for me is komono. That is miscellaneous items. Marie Kondo recommends the following order for those items:
  1. CDs, DVDs
  2. Skin care products
  3. Makeup
  4. Accessories
  5. Valuables (passports, credit cards etc.)
  6. Electrical equipment and appliances
  7. Household equipment
  8. Household supplies
  9. Kitchen goods/food supplies
  10. Other
You can add your own subcategories, if you have a lot of the same kind. In my case for example, I will do my knitting and crocheting stuff separately from my sewing things but someone else might have them as a single category for handicrafts.

So, I'll be back for my thoughts and process on CDs and DVDs!

Mar 5, 2018

Recycling books and clothes

Now I have got rid of books and clothes that don't spark joy for me. I donated my stuff to Goodwill and Half Price Books.

Although with Half Price Books I can't really say it was a donation. For the first time ever, I got money for my 'donation'. That was a pleasant surprise! I took a small bag of books to them and got six dollars for it! I know that is not much but it is six dollars more than I would have got by just donating them.

I also learned that they accept books in any language. So far I have managed to get rid of my Finnish books by donating them to someone who understands the language. But I still have a couple of religious books in Finnish for which I haven't found a new home. Maybe I bring them to Half Price Books later when I have sorted through kids' books.

***

I also donated to Goodwill for the first time. We have lived in the States for a little bit more than a year. So far I have brought smaller amounts to random collection boxes or donated items through a Finnish flea market on Facebook. But now I had gathered about eight bags of stuff to be donated and decided to load them to the car and check the local Goodwill for donation process.

It was so much easier than I thought. First I got annoyed because the parking lot was full and cars just seemed to be driving around it with the hope of someone leaving. But then I saw a huge sign in the side of the house saying 'Donations' and I drove there.

A guy came with a cart and helped me unload the trunk. He gave me a blank receipt of my donation. I thought that was kind of weird but it says in the receipt that non-profits are not allowed to estimate the value of donations. So I filled out the receipt at home myself.

The whole process took just a couple of minutes. And it would have been even faster if the guy had had co-workers there. I understood it was exceptional that he had to work alone. There were about two cars to be unloaded before me so that is why it took a bit longer.

***

All in all, it seems that donating household goods is made very easy and convenient in my neighborhood. That will not hold me back from completing my KonMari process.

I have to say I still haven't gone into papers. It is the next one on my list but I have no desire to do it. I know I have to do it nevertheless. Hopefully this week!

In the meantime I have created a work space for myself. I am so delighted that I have my own designated space for all of my projects now! It is downstairs in our huge hobby room. Up till now I wasn't sure how to decorate the room and how to create different areas in it. But when I realized I can have all of my things in one spot (not including the stuff that belongs to bed- or bathroom), it suddenly fell into place. I might write a post of its own when I'm all done with it but here's how it looks like at the moment.



I have also been organizing my pantry. That will get a post of its own as soon as it is fully organized. At the moment I'm still waiting for my containers to arrive.

That is all today. Have a great week, dear readers!

Feb 23, 2018

Books

I went through my books this week. I really tried to listen to my feelings again as I decided whether to keep or discard a book. It was surprising again how clearly the items 'talked' to me!

I started by piling all of my books and magazines on one table. Most of my books were in one bookshelf but some of them were around the house - the devotional books, music books and cook books as well as the some books I am currently reading.

I had some books that have troubled me since I decided to keep them during my first round of KonMari. Whether I held on to them because they are classics and I have got them in a special time in my life or because I enjoyed them a lot at the time I acquired them.

Now I let go most of these books that primarily have other values of importance than joy. Like a couple of books I have got as a gift from dear friends but don't plan on reading anymore. Or my biology book from high school. I liked the biology classes and the book is thick and heavy with great illustrations.

Nevertheless, I still retained some books that don't spark joy but have other value, like my master's thesis. I went through a lot of trouble to complete that and most likely it is the only extensive scientific research I will ever do. I also kept a couple of comic books I have got from my husband in a special occasion.

Furthermore, I decided to keep a book that explains the liturgical structure of divine service - I haven't seen such an explanation anywhere else and it is written by the pastor of my first congregation I attended to. 'Gospel Transformation' is a book that I studied with a women's group while we lived in Munich and it changed my relationship with God's word and Jesus. I'm not likely to read it ever again but I want to keep since I want to remember that time in Munich. Also 'Jalo soturi' is a book about Christian faith and I studied that with a group of ladies in Finland. There are not many such study guides in Finnish and I once knew the person who wrote the book.

I can now also clearly tell which of the books belong to my 'hall of fame' that Marie Kondo discusses in her book. The ones that really make me feel sparks of joy are 'Kodin pehmeät sävyt' (beautiful pictures of beautiful houses), 'Stitch 'n bitch' (combines social interaction with knitting), 'Annan Nuoruusvuodet' (ooh those precious memories from my childhood and such a beautiful piece of writing) and my Bibles.

Marie says I should only keep the hall of fame. But I'm not ready to part with some of the other books that are not so fully sparking joy. I guess I should have some of my books in the 'sentimental' category but I like to keep them with other books.

An interesting detail is that I decided to discard my Finnish book of KonMari and buy the English 'The life-changing magic of tidying up'. I read the book in English in the first place and the Finnish version appears rough and weird to me. I do not enjoy reading it. I decided to order the English version on Amazon and I like it way better. I have to say, one reason is aesthetic: the English version being turquoise and white matches better with my English 'Spark joy' and 'The life-changing manga of tidying up'. The Finnish 'Konmari' is loud pink.

So in the end my selection looks like this:


I still have to look up where to donate some of my Finnish books. The English ones I try to bring to Half priced books. I hope they accept them. I'm not so familiar with the local donation sites yet as I donated most of our unwanted items already in Finland. But if I am to become a Konmari consultant, I should get to know that kind of places around here too.

I now put all of my books in one empty shelf in my wardrobe. I wonder if I really can fit all of my important things in our bedroom closets and drawers!

***

The next category is papers. My, or our, papers are well organized. But I have to admit that since I organized them the last time about one and a half years ago, I haven't looked at them almost at all. So I think the moment has come that I do even more serious discarding. I'll be back next week with a report on that!