What are your bond/ mortgage questions?

I’ve not hidden the fact before that we paid off a number of homes very quickly over the years.

The last one was paid off in 5 years.

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We plan to do the same for this new house too ๐Ÿ™‚

At this point, people ask, how on earth did you do that?

So I outlined a post with all the things I thought I should say.

Before I write it though, I want to hear your questions so I can incorporate them into the post.

Have at it – comment here (anonymously if you’re shy) and write your question. I prefer that to you emailing me because then others can see that a question has been asked.

If I get no questions, I’ll just write the post as I initially intended ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, next week is August so I’ll increasing my blogging again.

Some of you are saying, “I didn’t even notice you hadn’t been blogging that much”. I don’t feel at all offended ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you missed pretty pics and the like, please do check out my Instagram feed at Organising Queen. If you tap the second option under the bio section, you can scroll through and read/ look at all my posts with captions. And if you’re not yet following, do follow. I share my own and sometimes others’ organising/ planning solutions, especially if I spy them in the office.

Enjoy the last few days of July – I’ll be reading up a storm to reach my reading goal!

This moving house business

I’m going to be honest here – for the first 5 days of moving house, I was not okay at all.

I suppose I thought that because I’m organised, things would move along swiftly and in an efficient manner. When they didn’t, it kind of threw me for a loop.

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Let’s go back a little bit to late 2005 when we moved into the previous house…

  • I was much more of a hoarder then
  • The prior house had TONS of storage space
  • and still we moved out and were unpacked in two days

This time I’d Konmari’d, I’m now the Organising Queen (HA!) and 11 days after the move, there are still 6 of D’s boxes unpacked. Granted, the fact that they’re not mine doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

We moved on a Friday.

On Saturday morning I was up at 6 am (unheard of!); on Sunday morning I was up at 3 am. No, I wasn’t keen to get up and started with the day; it was my busy brain thinking of everything I had to do.

After the 3am wake-up, I realised I just have to work like a slave because I’m quite fond of my sleep and can’t afford to have it interrupted on a daily basis. Happy to say I’ve slept well since.

I know there are others reading who are like me – your environment has to be in order for you to be able to breathe….

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So what made me feel better?

  1. Getting the kitchen sorted first because the kids keep asking for food…
  2. Knowing that most of my things were in place – clothes, toiletries, technology (cables, chargers, etc.) – and sadly, once the internet was working on Sunday, I felt connected again and happy!
  3. I went to the hairdresser and chatted to her, and guess what she told me? I’m being too hard on myself. She reminded me that she and two teenage kids moved into a new house last year. It took her a full week to unpack all the boxes, and a month to get everything in place like she wanted. So to expect things to be in order within 5 days was a tad unrealistic.
  4. And then Jess Lively. She did a podcast recently and she said something like this (I may be mis-quoting a bit) – you haven’t lost the ability to create a beautiful home. Wow. Because everything has felt out of place, with photo frames all over, definitely not intentional and deliberate.

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To that last point, everything in our old home had a place and felt right. While things are unpacked, we are not at that place yet. So I needed that reminder that I created a beautiful home once or twice before, and I will do so again… in time.

Who knows why I’m telling you all these things but I feel like someone needed to hear these words tonight.

Stop being so hard on yourself. You haven’t lost the gifts, skills and abilities you had, and you will exercise them again when the time is right.

Tell me your moving house stories. Did you need to read this today? Let me know so I know I’m not talking to the walls ๐Ÿ˜‰

PS all pics of the old house. I have taken a few pics of “select” areas in this new house but they’re still on my camera ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s making me happier? 6

This is a story about a kettle.

Before we moved to our old house nearly 11 years ago, I bought a new kettle thinking surely this one would break soon.

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We’d already had it for about two years then, and this is not an expensive kettle by any means.

Well, we moved in, kept waiting for this kettle to expire and it just never did.

Last year when I Konmari’d the house, I finally donated the other kettle which was still new and in its box! You see, I have a strange attachment to this one now and I’m rather keen to see how long it will last.

It’s about 13 years old, and still going strong!

So here we are, 3 days in the new house, and I’m going to just keep enjoying using it. And when it needs to be replaced, I’ll go out and get a new kettle then.

This week, my 13-year-old kettle is making me very happy!

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What’s making you happier this week?

Seven on the seventh

This is the last Sunday photo of them at aged 6

Happy 7th birthday to my babies!

Today Kendra and Connor turn 7 and yes, they are growing up far too quickly, but it’s also so much fun now. The sleep deprivation is almost (!) just a memory now.

They write me notes and letters, and we have proper, interesting conversations/ negotiations.

They can read, do maths, play soccer, and Connor now runs faster than I can.

If only they listened better, they’d be perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

They’ve had a great year so far settling into Grade 1 and we’re so proud of them.

These photos were taken on Sunday 10 April, week 15 of 52.

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If you’re interested…

Six

Five

Four

Birth

What is your best advice to give us as we parent our newly 7-year-olds?

What’s making me happier this week? 5

Guys, remember how I said before that my bullet journal was too pretty for scribbling?

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It was all about the cute factor!

Well, I’ve got over that mindset challenge and I now scribble, make budgeting notes, highlight, use different colour pens on the same page, etc. I half-fill pages, I cross off things and I actually (gasp!) use my notebook.

And the fact that I have all the information with me in this little bullet journal makes me a lot happier.

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Who else is bullet journalling?

Have you relaxed your standards, or were you realistic about the cute factor from the start? ๐Ÿ˜‰

We’re halfway through the year. Let’s take stock.

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I know, right?

We all can’t believe half the year is done.

So it’s time to take stock.

Doing a review and looking back is something I am not naturally good at. I’m usually all go, go, go, move forward, but I do find that when I make the time to reflect, I appreciate the good things more and the not-so-great things get put into perspective.

Also, I find that the month/ year/ half-year (in this case) has gone better than it feels. Recency makes you remember the very last things that happened and somehow there’s always a bit too much rush to feel like things went well.

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Why don’t you grab a nice mug of tea/ coffee, a notebook and gel pen (!) and join me as we do our half-year review.

  1. On a scale of 1 โ€“ 10, how have the first 6 months of 2016 been? Why did you choose that number?
  2. What is going well in your life? Do you know why?
  3. What could be better? Could you make those changes?
  4. If you chose a word of the year, how are you living out that word? Has it been guiding/ inspiring/ clarifying things for you, or do you maybe need to choose another word? (there’s no rule that says you have to cling to a word that is just not working for you, so if you needed permission to let it go, do so :))
  5. Looking at your goals for the year, are they on track?
  6. Are there any goals you need to let go of? Be kind to yourself and let them go.
  7. Do you know why those goals were no longer motivating you?
  8. Looking forwardโ€ฆ what are the 3 main things you want to focus on for the next 3 – 6 months?
  9. Do you have the support you need? I have the space to take on 3 clients on a short-term basis. Please contact me if you’re interested.

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Are there any goals you need to let go of?

(I let go of a lot of the house things once we bought the new house but I did complete about 20 of the 32 items on my house list during the first quarter of 2016 – I could tell you the exact number but my file is packed :))

Or please share any one of the questions above…

It’s not just about stationery

Some of you who follow the Organising Queen feed will have seen this post on Wednesday…

This is not about a pencil case.

Of course, there is the fact that I have to replace all my stuff but I have the money so that’s not an issue.

What really threw me are three things:

  1. the fact that it has not been found is actually almost impossible so I now think it was stolen, and this brings with it its own set of challenges. Do I work with colleagues who would steal someone’s things? Maybe I’m naive but we’re in financial services… honesty and integrity…..where is that?
  2. then almost no-one even seemed to care about the loss. I get that people don’t have the same attachment to things but when things like this happen to others, I care, and for me to get no care kind-of threw me. I really wasn’t myself for 2 days.
  3. my flash drive was in that pencil case. I’d backed it up thoroughly on 22 Dec, but I did lots of work in January which is all gone (created printables and such), and then lots of new budgets and stuff. I keep thinking of more and more things now missing which is how these things normally go.

Yesterday in church I realised that I need to move on from this. It is not going to matter in a year’s time so best I start taking steps to put it behind me.

I actually made a list in my bullet journal of documents I need to recreate/ update and folders I need to copy from my external hard drive. I felt some relief the minute I looked at that list because I realised it wasn’t that bad. I also prayed that that flash drive malfunctions for the person who has it.

And now the hard work starts. Redoing 3 months of my budget (while buying and selling a house)

Of course, I’m never walking with things in my arms again.

I’m on holiday at the moment and sadly, I will use up a good few hours to work on all these documents.

When did you last have a techno malfunction?

How would you have reacted in this situation?

How I say no without feeling guilty

I’m about 80% done reading a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. If you play around on the internet a lot, you’ll have seen a lot of people talk positively about this book.

I’m glad I’m reading it because it turns out I’ve been an Essentialist all along ๐Ÿ™‚

I say yes to the things that matter, and no to the things that don’t.

I do make mistakes, especially when I’m caught in the moment but I realise I should only be saying yes when I genuinely want to do something (hello – word of the year JOY), I feel excitement at the thought of doing it or it ties in with my life goals or definition of success.

Here are 7 things that help me to say no, mostly without guilt:

Stop

1. I don’t have to have another appointment first in order to say no
If I’ve planned to have an evening in (reading, blogging, whateverโ€ฆ) and I get invited out, this does not automatically mean I have to accept. An appointment with myself is just as important as one with other people.

2. Realise that when I say yes to one thing, I’m always saying no to something else
When I do say yes without thinking, I usually say no to the more important parts of my life – God, family, yourself.

An example is saying yes to everybody at work collecting money for birthdays, leaving presents, etc, and no to your own financial future ๐Ÿ™‚

3. I don’t instinctively say yes. I try to think about it first.
I usually offer to send out an invite so I can check my diary/ bullet journal first before committing to plans.ย  The three-month calendar also helps. A practical suggestion is to take a deep breath first before saying yes or no. Otherwise you end up saying yes to everything and at the end of a hectic period, you’re virtually burnt out.

4. It becomes easier to say yes the more you practise
At first when you have to say no to something or someone, it feels terrible. But it is incredibly empowering when you realise that you made the correct decision in saying no. It is an acquired skill and the more you use your “no” muscle, the stronger it’ll get. I promise.

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5. When I say yes and feel resentment/ frustration/ anger, it usually means I should have said no
Learn to listen to your heart. I’m learning more about this every single day. The Bible says that we mustn’t give grudgingly or under compulsion, and yet, so many of us do. We say yes, and then harbour deep feelings of resentment and bitterness. Nothing good comes from a resentful attitude.

6. I realise that there are many ways to say no
No may be “I can’t help you this time”, “I can only do it next month”, “that’s not my strong suit” or simply “no, thanks”.

No is a complete sentence – Anne Lamott

7. Recognise your personal physical symptoms of an incorrect yes

Over the past year I’ve noticed that when I say yes to too many things that are wrong for me, I get terrible headaches and feel physically ill (nauseated). I’m starting to recognise those things quicker so that I can stop them in their tracks ๐Ÿ™‚

Make a decision for the next month to look over your schedule and see where you’re saying yes to activities or commitments that don’t support your goals. Then, work at saying no to them so you can say yes to more important things.

Do you find it easy to say no?

Why or why not?

Do you know how your tendency ties into it? I think of all the types, Obligers have the hardest time saying no but feel free to correct me.

Whatโ€™s making me happier this week? 4

As you know, I am packing up my house.

When I get back from work, after supper and sorting out the kids, I’m packing. Up to last Thursday I also practised my flamenco in between the packing.

It can get very boring but what’s making me happier this week is listening to podcasts while I pack.

(I have a post on my list of blog to-dos to update you on my current favourite podcasts but for now, I’ll share one I love, love, love.

Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the thing, is fantastic.

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Dion and I were analysing it this morning on the way to work and we decided that aside from his fabulous voice (me!), and his great interviewing skills, he is also an actor and people therefore share more with him.

Anyway, it’s just magic!

I’ve listened to about 6 episodes and I recommend the ones with Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel and Molly Ringwald. Mickey Rourke’s one is also good if you don’t mind the salty language!

What’s making you happier this week?

Do you use a master to-do list? Here’s why I do.

First! I would appreciate your prayers today. I have a Spanish dance exam… and I’m the only one doing my grade, so I’m all alone. Pray for warm muscles (it’s winter!) and clear thinking/ remembering ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

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There is something so powerful about a central place to store all of your ideas, thoughts and to-do items.

You don’t feel distracted and scattered because everything is in one place.

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I make a master to-do list of everything I need AND want to do.

My current list contains emails I have to send, projects I’m working on and documents I need to update, like my travel checklist, some e-books and coaching tools.

So why a master to-do list?

What’s wrong with the back of an envelope and millions of post-it notes?

1. Writing it all down frees up your brain for big picture thinking so you don’t have to concern yourself with remembering details.

2. It eliminates all those bits and pieces of paper, post-it notes, backs of envelopes, etc.

3. There is something about the act of actually putting pen to paper that seals things in your mind. If you’ve ever been on one of my goal-setting workshops, you know exactly what I mean.

4. Once you see it in black and white, you can deal with reality so much better rather than imagining how bad it all is.

5. You can choose the exact number of tasks you want to tackle every day (I don’t recommend more than 6) without feeling overwhelmed. Move these 6 tasks to your daily to-do list.

My challenge to you

* Download my paper-based master to-do list from my website or use Outlook if you like the electronic version. The method doesn’t matter much; what matters is that you have a central place to collect your tasks.
* First brain dump everything – go wild, you can sort it out later.
* Now, make categories and then start attacking that list.

Happy organising!

PS I can’t find where I found the cute one in the pic above. My standard method is to google “free printable to-do list images”, browse through till I find my style (cute but not busy) and then I print a few pages to see if I like it ๐Ÿ™‚

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