Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.

Oct

10th

organizational tips for home: guest post by brandi

We have another guest post today by another fantastic person on our team! Some of you know that Brandi manages our Customer Service (which is why so many of you know & appreciate her) and she is also my Project Manager, which means she oversees several inboxes, keeps all the submissions organized, and helps with all sorts of miscellaneous projects. We’ve been blessed to have her as part of the Becky Higgins LLC family for almost 2 years now.

One thing I love about Brandi is her no-nonsense way of managing her home and her family. She is efficient with her time, effective with her systems, and organized in the way she goes about everything. More important than all of that, she gives herself to her family as any good wife and mother does – and I appreciate how she inspires me.

Enjoy these tips from Brandi!

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I seem to be a rare breed in stating that I like to clean. It relaxes me. It allows me to be left alone with my thoughts and I love the results of having a clean home. I am passionate about it.

So, in celebration of Project Life’s 4th birthday, I want to share my TOP 4 housekeeping tips. The great thing is that these ideas are perfect for any size family, house & budget.

In the short 11 years I have been married, we have lived in 5 different-sized apartments, townhomes & houses. Although I am a mother to 3 young kids now, I have had these same practices in place from the beginning.

As you read these tips, please keep in mind that I live by two very important rules in any home organization I do:

1 – Everything should have a place. This rule makes clean up a breeze.

2 – Walk your family through ANY plan/organization you have started in your home. This helps to set an expectation of them implementing this change and allows you to hold them to that expectation. They need buy in.

Let’s jump right in!

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{ laundry }

ForBrandi_Laundry

Oh this word can put a damper in many of our days. So, I don’t like to drag it out. I do all of my laundry in one day; otherwise, it would be like dragging out my grocery shopping all week. Here are a few tips to get you started:

* On laundry day, every family member brings down their dirty clothes in the morning.

* Shhhhh don’t tell, but I don’t sort my colors (this is my dirty little secret). I have never had colors bleed together and I personally don’t want to touch everyone’s dirty clothes.

* I fold the clothes as I take them out of the dryer.

* Each family member has his or her own basket I put the folded clothes in.

* After the clothes are put away (either by me or the kids), the baskets stack on top of the dryer.

* We have extra sheets + towels for guests and emergencies, but when doing laundry, I wash bedding and towels, take them out of the dryer & put them right back on the beds/bathroom hooks. (Less folding is a good thing.)

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{ dinner menu }

I have always planned out my family’s dinner for the month. It has helped me with our budgeting + making shopping lists. The problem I would run into was at the end of the month trying to figure out the next month’s meals. I didn’t want to have a meal we just ate one week earlier, etc. I then made a rotating dinner menu using Project Life products and it has been AMAZING! I created this video so I could easily explain how to get yourself started.

note: not covered in the video–I now have my dinner cards in a good order where they just rotate through. So the previous month’s meals go to the back of the pile & I grab the top 30 and slip them in. It’s a total no brainer menu-planning system.

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{ photo organization }

I have always had a love of memory keeping. Before I met Becky & heard of her new company/product, I did traditional scrapbooking. Scrapbooking appealed to me because I could add journaling to tell about my pictures, but sometimes the scrapping part became quite time consuming. Then Becky told me about Project Life and it was truly a lightbulb moment. As a working mom to three young kids and a wife to a busy military husband, this was perfect! I now do my entire year album in one day. Yes, one day. Every December, my husband takes the kids out for the entire day. I slip in my photos, add the journaling & am done in about 6-8 hours. Perfection. The best news is I am 100% caught up with my family + individual children’s albums!

Setting aside a day each year to do this is only half the battle. The bigger part of the battle is being organized with my photos throughout the year. Here is how I do it:

* I upload my photos 1x/month.

* First I create a new folder with the month/year to add my photos to (I have 12 folders at the end of the year).

1

* When I am ready to print for the year, I create a new folder titled “print 2013” or whatever year it is.

2

* Within the “print 2013” folder, I create 12 subfolders, one for each month.

3

* Next, I copy and paste the photos I want to print from each month into these subfolders.

* I print and use my subfolders as a reference for where my photos go into my album.

* As a back up, I burn all my 2013 photos (used & unused) to a disk & slip that in the back of my completed album in one of our 6×6 envelopes.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 12.40.35 PM

* Each year I create one family album (the kids have individual albums they help me with each October & April, but that is for a different time).

I personally have a pretty good memory and do not find it hard to look at a picture and remember the details to journal at the end of the year. If you think this task might be difficult for you, when you upload your photos to your computer, rename the photo with a description of the event.

* Sorry Mac users, I am a PC girl.

…..

{ mail / homework }

ForBrandi_Mail&Homework

For the first six years of my marriage, I was a full-time nanny for various families. One thing that always perplexed me was the amount of random bills, homework, etc. that was on the counter/living room floor/kitchen table/office/kids’ rooms. Anything made of paper seemed to never have “a place.” Our family has a system…

* After school we grab the mail.

* All family members go directly to the kitchen table with their backpacks.

* While the kids get snacks, I start two piles: Keep & Trash.

* I look through all the mail + backpacks and sort accordingly.

* Trash gets recycled immediately.

* Mail I need to keep goes directly to the computer desk (since it is usually bills that need to be paid).

* Homework gets done and goes back into folders. Or if I need to keep it at home, it goes into their homework cubby.

*If it is a paper I want to keep for their albums, I bring it upstairs and add it to my kids’ memorabilia file.

Done. Simple.

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I hope these ideas help get the wheels spinning for you as you make a few changes in your home. I would also LOVE to hear what works for you in the comments below!

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COMMENTS

44 Responses

  1. Debbie says:

    I love this! I have similar habits, and it has made living simple and enjoyable. I have much more free time by being structured with daily tasks. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Carrie says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that does laundry in one day and puts the sheets and towels right back on the beds. All the lists I see to keep things organized show one load a day, and I just can’t see that being a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tracy says:

      I too do all the laundry in one day. And put the sheets back on the bed. I agree that one load a day would make it feel like you were never done or caught up and ALWAYS doing laundry.

    • Karen H says:

      I also do my laundry all on one day. I love washing the sheets and putting them back on the bed as it means I don’t have to try and fold the fitted sheets. The only exception to this is when I switch from summer sheets to winter sheets and vise versa.

  3. Dalon says:

    thanks so much for these great reminders!!!

    your first note about getting family “buy in” is where I need to put some energy … I have two boys that are great helpers when we work together – I need to give them that opportunity ;-)

    I sort my photos the same way you do, except I use numbers for the dates so that the folders are always in the correct order (2013.10 is my October folder … 2013.01 is January) – I save pics to a backup disk after I have saved to an external hard drive that is kept in our safe …

    also, I try to copy pics from my camera to my computer at least weekly – I take too many photos – and I lost a camera earlier this year … I replaced the camera, but wasn’t able to replace the photos :-(

  4. dawn says:

    I loved reading this, great ideas! Happy to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t separate clothes. We don’t have enough clothes/towels though so almost everyday is laundry day. It’s started at 7am and done by 8am so it’s not an issue just part of my morning.
    Would love to hear more about your daily cleaning routine though and if the kids help or have chores? Any tips on their toys or your scrap organization.
    WOW, can’t believe you get one album done in a day, SO AWESOME!! I have done PL since day one and sit down each Sunday to put my page together, love this time for me each week. The way you do it will hopefully get more people on the PL wagon if they knew it could be done in one day.

    Thanks so much for these tips, enjoyed this!

  5. Nicole says:

    Mind-blown. An entire Project Life year album in one day?! Incredible.

    We are a do laundry all in one day kind of household, too. They say it’s more energy efficient since the dryer is already warm from the previous load.

    My arch nemesis is that mail/homework issue. I am still trying to figure that out.

  6. farrah says:

    I’m going to print this out and put it up on my fridge. I am the most unorganized person on this earth. :) Thanks for the tips!

  7. Erin says:

    Thanks for these great tips! My fav laundry trick is to hang washable mesh bags (you can find them at Wal-Mart/Target) on each laundry hamper. My kids put their socks in there. On wash day we zip it up and throw it in the wash. No wayward socks, no major sorting between sizes, etc. We still lose socks every now and again but not as often as we used to!

  8. Love these tips. Especially the laundry basket for each family members! I’m going to check out your meal planning video. Please, please share your kids album organization/ideas in another post!!!

  9. Amy says:

    Great tips!

    I also remove clothes from the dryer and immediately fold/hang.

    School papers that stay home are put in respective childs slot/hanger and every few weeks I purge and file any papers that are keepers.

    amy

  10. Lisa C. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas! The menu planning seems right up my alley. I dread the Sunday shopping list — and never knowing what to make for the week. This looks great!

  11. Dianne says:

    Love these tips! So simple, easy, and DOABLE. Thank you!

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  13. Joni Logan, UT says:

    I totally need a lot of Brandi in my life! thanks for some great ideas!

  14. Denise Hunter says:

    Thanks for the tips! Where do you put all the papers you want to keep for future use. Ex. school schedule, coupons, etc.

    • Brandi says:

      I have a bulletin board and homework bins for my kids. All school papers go there. I don’t grocery coupon, but when I get a coupon for Khols or any other place, I put it in my purse right away.

    • Denise Hunter says:

      Thank you!

  15. You have some great ideas! I love how you handle Project Life and photo sorting. My digital photo organization is somewhat similar (year and then broken down by month and then each date) but I have never gone through at the end of each month and marked what photos I want to include in a scrapbook; that’s brilliant! That will save so much time later.

    And I’ll admit, you *almost* lost me at the beginning of this post when you said you didn’t sort your laundry by color. My OCD went into overdrive! But I continued reading and I’m so glad I did. Thanks for the great tips! (minus the mixing of laundry :wink:)

  16. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for amazingly useful tips. Hope hear and learn more from Brandi.

  17. Stacy says:

    Loved this post!! I am inspired…Perhaps there is still hope for those who are organizationally challenged, like me :) And Project Life in one day? Wow! Maybe I can catch up afterall! Thanks, Brandi

  18. Kristin A. says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips with us! And especially for the encouragement about the paper piles. That is an area where I am currently struggling. I have three little ones, one of whom is always drawing and creating. Her sweet little projects add a lot of life to our kitchen counters.

    I agree with you about sheets and towels. They get washed and put right back on beds and hanging in the bathroom. Great meal planning system! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Nita K. says:

    A fabulously useful post. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Tabetha says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your bits of organization wisdom! Would love to hear more of your ideas in the future! : )

  21. Sue Burr says:

    very inspirational.

  22. Becky says:

    I do many things similar to your system and love how they keep me and my home organized. I do have a question about your doing your albums in a day. How do you plan your layouts and print out your specific sized photos? Do you have a printer at home that allows you to do this? Currently, I am printing out an entire month of pictures at a time and then having to reprint any 3×4 or 4×4 I want to use and am finding that not terribly friendly on my wallet. Do you have any tips for me as to how I can better plan my layouts that will be cheaper and still fast?

    • Brandi says:

      Great question! I use only design A. This way I don’t have to plan anything out. I put all vertical pictures in a horizontal 4×6 template. After printing I can either leave it as a 4×6 or cut it in half and have 2-3×4 pictures to slip in the smaller pockets.

    • Stacy says:

      Brandi, I was hoping you would chime in regarding the printing of your pictures. Where do you print & do you print a year’s worth of pictures at once?

    • brandi@beckyhiggins.com says:

      I print my pictures through persnicketyprints.com. I used to print at Walgreen’s because I could get great deals, but their color quality is off a lot of the times and prints dark. Because I don’t print throughout the year, it is easy for me to justify spending a chunk of change 1 time to print all my pictures.

  23. Mel Carruthers says:

    Thanks for your tips – a lot of these things I do already but it is always so helpful to hear how other people manage their homes to help me revise my systems. A place for everything and everything in its place is a rule I love to live by, but I am continually frustrated by my husband who just puts things on the nearest shelf / surface!

    One other question – I hear a lot about people in the US “folding” but not ironing. You say that you fold your clothes and then everyone puts their folded clothes away. I fold mine into the ironing basket and then everything is ironed before being put away. Am I missing something? Do you guys not iron (or “press”) your clothes, or is something being lost in translation?! I am intrigued!

    • Jolene says:

      I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t iron much. I only iron things that don’t come out of the dryer wrinkle free. When my dryer dings, I do hang up clothes first so they don’t wrinkle. I have a hook in the laundry room to hang what needs to be ironed. I only iron once a week and only what really needs it.

      I have a 3 section laundry hamper in our laundry room and have taught my family to sort their own clothes so I don’t have to! I also fold into baskets for each family member.. They grab their basket, their hanging stuff and put their own clothes away.

    • Brandi says:

      I don’t iron anything……bad I know, but I just don’t do it. I will not buy clothes (no matter how cute) that require me to iron it every time or require me to dry clean it. I am pretty low maintanence when it comes to clothes.

    • Debbie Hansen says:

      Yes! If it needs to be ironed, I don’t buy it! I hang up my blouses when they’re still a little damp from the dryer. The only thing I ever use my iron for is my seasonal tablecloths that I switch out for various holidays. I LOATHE ironing!

    • Mel Carruthers says:

      Thanks for clearing things up for me – I guess I am just an iron-o-holic! And have never found any clothes that look good without ironing. I even iron my tea towels!

  24. Lauren says:

    Brandi!!! I absolutely LOVE ALL of these ideas. I copied and pasted them to print as I need all the help I can get with organization. I’m a wife, a mother of 2 small children, I work, and go to school! Thank you so much for sharing your story and the way that you do things, hopefully I can put these plans into motion and get some order back into my like! =)

  25. Renea says:

    Wow! Wish I had read this 30+ years and 5 kids ago! Awesome! Love all the ideas!

  26. Cindy says:

    Hi Brandi! Love reading about your systems. I’m always refining my systems and it’s always great to hear about other people’s systems. I file my pictures just like you do except I name the month folders 2013-01, 2013-02, etc. so that they appear in order. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Brittany M. says:

    Brandi, you are AMAZING! Totally inspiring, I really gotta try all these tips out. My picture files are a mess and it gives me major anxiety…and lets not talk about laundry or planning dinner menus. Thank you for sharing all your tips!

  28. Beth P says:

    Love this Brandi !! A lightbulb moment for me happened when reading this – so much can be done in a much less time consuming way by some go these ideas !! Thanks for the organizational help here. Definately going to try most of them !!

  29. DAWN BRIMER says:

    Thanks Brandi for all your tips. I would love for you to share how you do your kids albums.

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