Organizing for the Unorganized

OrganizingTheUnorganized

Today I want to talk to you about organizing and I feel like I am qualified to tell you about this because I am not organized. I am a long time member of the procrastination support group and I’m supposed to be president, but the meetings are perpetually postponed. So, this is more about how to organize a disorganized person. If you are type-A personality or OCD you can maybe leave some tips for the rest of us in comments.

My biggest struggle is making myself do the things I despise. Especially when I’m in “one of my moods”. I am getting better at this, but when I’m not in a mood I notice the horrible job I did and I fix it. Which takes longer.

I have an iPhone so I am starting to use Reminders quite a bit. I actually had to put my blood pressure medicine in there or else I forget about it. Not very smart. I also list everything I want to do the night before I’m going to get started. It tends to be shorter if I write up the list when I first get up.

So, I highly recommend an app that allows you to input tasks and has check marks so you can see how much (or little) you have accomplished. I like setting time restraints so that I know how much free time I can enjoy once I’m done. I don’t allow myself breaks before or while I’m cleaning because I will shrug off the rest of my list. It can be done tomorrow. Until you do this perpetually and your house is still a disaster six months later.

What do I list in Reminders?

  • Take medications
  • Eat/Feed kids breakfast (Not that forget, but I like lots of checkmarks)
  • Morning with God – this is not His time slot. I talk and sing to Him while I’m doing my chores. This is when I do my Bible study and devotional time.
  • Help 4 year old clean her room
  • Clean bathroom
  • Remind 12 year old to clean his bedroom and bathroom
  • Eat/feed kids lunch
  • Put away clothes or wash clothes
  • Clean kitchen/dining room
  • Clean living room
  • Work on blog (Monday – Friday)
  • Meal plan (Every Friday)
  • Budget (End of month)
  • Pay bills (First of every month)
  • Free time!

Of course I may have to add or remove things as time goes on. That’s fine as long as it’s not doing the laundry. Right now I have, what I think is, a valid excuse. Two of our dressers are at the former Berry Cottage and I really need them because my kid’s dressers are in disrepair. Well, they could be repaired, but I don’t want to when there are two good ones we can bring home. I also feel like we don’t have a good place to store towels. Our bathrooms have zero storage except under the sinks and I hate storing stuff there in case of a leak. I guess I need to realize that if there is a leak that’s where my towels are going anyway.

I’m going to try my ideas out over the next week and next Friday I will let y’all know how it’s going. If it goes really well I may even share pictures of the inside of my home.

Remodeling on a Budget

RemodelOnABudget

Recently my husband and I were talking about what our trailer needs. It’s twenty years old so the list is pretty expansive (and expensive!). We still have a long time left until it’s paid off (which is a long story), but it’s not worth much. So we agreed that while we want to make it comfortable, we don’t want to invest a fortune.

The above picture is our home a year ago. It hasn’t changed much, but we are hoping to fix that with shutters and some paint. Along with a few other ideas we’re tossing around.

A big thing is the outdated and undersized HVAC system. Add that to the aluminum siding and lack of insulation and you understand why it’s hot inside and our electric bill is high. In case you don’t, I’ll add the missing piece, we live in Alabama.

We could replace the furnace, exterior unit, and the broken ducts for around $5,000. That we don’t have. Instead, we are going to use window units on the back and portable units on the front since they’re not as unsightly. We discussed propane for heat, but our floorplan isn’t set up where it will work well. Basically, our TV and Xbox will melt while our bedrooms and bathrooms freeze. We are looking into infrared heaters and an infrared fireplace for the living room.

fireplace.png

We’re also looking into window awnings and shade cloth until we can put on vinyl siding and a good metal roof. Our current roof requires cool sealing which is what you typically do with an RV. We are hoping to eventually put on a real metal roof.

Another problem is the furring strips on the walls that they do in manufactured homes to save money instead of spackling and putty. We’re going to take them off, spackle, and putty then repaint. It will feel like a house and a home then.

If you live in a manufactured home and you’re in need of inspiration I highly recommend going to Pinterest and putting in your dimensions along with “manufactured home”. In my case I put in, “16×80 manufactured home”. I found a similar floor plan that with minimal effort would give me a full laundry room and a pantry. So we are going to take down one wall and build two plus add two doors to our home. I’m ecstatic! This will give us two things that we have wanted for about $1,000 or less once we’re done. This also makes our space more usable.

What I am looking forward to most is my children’s bedrooms. We decided to put our 12 and two year old boys together in the large 15×9 bedroom and give our daughter the 8×9 bedroom. To maximize her space we’re going to build her a loft bed with a desk and a swing where she can sit and draw or do her school work. She’s four so she pretty much designed it herself and I think it’s going to be an amazing space. Our oldest is getting my 90 year old mahogany bed and the little guy wants a John Deere tractor bed. I’m going to try to build it for him.

I will write posts as we accomplish goals and let you know how things are going and how things are working. I’m hoping to put a lot of pictures on Pinterest, too, in case anyone wants to copy our ideas. We’re hoping to get started soon, but it may be November with everything going on. Which is fine since it gives us time to make sure that we’re doing what God wants and not just what we want.

 

What Makes a House a Home?

HouseOrHome

This is a pretty simple question that could have millions of answers because home can mean something different to each person. It could be something as simple as where your family lives, your address, where your belongings are located, and any combination of these things.

For me, it is where I worship and talk to God the most (I’m only at church four hours a week), where my family lives, and our piece of land. The past few days I have realized that in spite of the problems our current home has, I love it. It may be an old tin can, but it’s where I brought my last baby home, where my kids have pretty much grown up, and where I have grown in Christ the most. To me, that’s worth far more than I’ve paid for the house.

If God chooses to allow us to stay here, I will be grateful for the rest of my life. If He doesn’t, we own the land and we can figure something out. My husband loves alternative, preferably off-grid, housing.

Tent

My point is, home is what you make it. It can be an apartment, an old house, a manufactured home, or even a tent. If you’re glorifying God that’s all that really matters. Yes, your home is a way of glorifying Him because that’s where you spend most of your time with Him. Or it may be your car if you travel a lot.

Of all the things that we as a society take for granted, I think the home is the biggest one. When was the last time you thanked God for the space you live in? Or do you think the size isn’t right, it’s not perfect, or you don’t like your neighbors? I have said those things about almost every place we have lived and we have moved as a result. I can’t remember the last time, before now, that I just thanked God for the blessing that is my home.

As a final note, if your house has problems, you will feel better if you fix them. Organizing does wonders, too. I’m horribly disorganized and our home was a mess! It’s still not perfect, but I love it anyway and I’m fixing it.

How Small is Too Small?

BerryCottage.blog

I talk a lot about the Berry Cottage because it is the namesake of this blog, but if it is no longer an option, then what? Do we continue swimming/drowning in this enormous 1,200 square foot tin can? Or do we still downsize, but in a different way?

My husband and I have discussed this and I realized that I don’t need a set amount of square footage. We have half an acre of land in the middle of nowhere that I would much rather see my children enjoying instead of just sitting indoors all day. My children and I set up the pool today so I probably won’t see my kids indoors until October (we live in the deep south).

This opened up a new conversation. What do I need in a house? Sure, I would love an Italianate or French Country kitchen, but do I need it? No. Do my kids need their own bedrooms? Nope! All I need is a home that is cool in summer and warm in winter, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. A covered outdoor kitchen has always been a dream of mine with a small indoor kitchen for winter. Which lasts about two months in Alabama.

I’m not making any announcements now because we are still giving God the reigns to lead us where He wants us. I know that’s the season we’re in and I’m learning obedience. Slowly and painfully at times.

He may still want us to stay in our tin can, it certainly seems that way since the mortgage company has been super helpful thus far. If He does we will be grateful and work on making it feel like home. If He doesn’t, then we will do what He wants. Even if it may be painful at times. I know He has a better plan for us than we could ever come up with ourselves.