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A Simple Reminder

I am not a morning person.

For anyone who knows me at all, this is no surprise. Though my willingness to get our of bed and my general mood upon waking has greatly improved over the years, I still find that I am most productive in the afternoon.

At work, this means it can be easy for me to get wrapped up in an important project at the end of the day. In my work, they’re all important and there is always more to be done. It isn’t the kind of job that you can simply walk away from, knowing everything is neatly wrapped up. And, I like it.

So I got into the habit of just five more minutes, which became just ten more minutes, which become just 15 and so on. It was a bad habit.

Then, one day, I unexpectedly found a way to remind myself to keep the balance.

There is a big ‘ol Target store about three blocks from my office. This is very convenient for quick runs for cat litter before work or to stop by and grab some extra paper towels on the way home.

Who am I kidding, It’s never that simple. Like many others, I find Target to be a mecca of all things good. The colors! The deals! All the things I never knew I needed! I become hypnotized and I can never just stop for one thing. EVER. Under any circumstances.

One day when I knew I need to be especially mindful of the time in order to pick up J. at the train on his way home from work, I set an alarm on my phone. The gentle buzzing in my pocket would remind me to head to register and get on the road within 15 minutes in order to meet him on time.

The next day it buzzed at work, 15 minutes before I usually leave. A nice reminder to wrap things up and leave it there.

It went off again the next day, and I realized I kind of like the reminder. No more glancing at the clock on my computer and realizing I need to leave in two minutes but haven’t organized my desk, wrapped up the project I’m working on or hiked across the building to check out for the day.

Every day at 5:00 pm my phone reminds me of what’s important. If I can wrap things up at work without a rush, I can be more present at home. If I leave on time, I can spend more time with my family. There are always exceptions, of course, but I like the simple reminder. It helps ground me and has helped me make a simple change in my routine, for everyone’s benefit.

Have you found any simple tricks to help you manage it all?

Unplanned project: closet craft organization

Last Tuesday, we got home from a week on the road. With a weeks’ worth of laundry, new toys, spent car activity supplies (more on that coming soon) finally unloaded for good, the house looked like a tornado zone and felt like a mess.

On Wednesday, A. and I ran errands together on our last day off before heading back to daycare and work. On my list for the day: stop at the dollar store to get new bulbs for the front entry light fixture. This should have been simple, but the dollar store tempts me with ideas for crafts, toddler activities and home organization. Given the current state of our house, I was an easy victim.

In addition to picking up a few light bulbs, I grabbed supplies for a quick closet storage makeover project. For just a few dollars, I whipped up a simple, cheap and effective solution for A.’s growing collection of art and craft supplies.finished bins on shelf

We had been storing A.’s art supplies in a big shoe box under the bed. As she’s gotten older and more mobile, this is no longer a safe place for finger paints, markers, glue and other supplies we’d rather she not use unattended. When I saw the cute and colorful handled bins, I knew a grouping of these on A.’s currently empty closet shelf would be perfect for easy adult-only access to supplies while keeping things neat and sorted.

As I wandered the store, I also grabbed a three-pack of Sharpies in coordinating colors, some cotton twine and a pack of index cards to make custom labels for each bin. I had recently pinned a tutorial on DIY striped bakers twine and though this would be a cute and simple way to try it out.

bakers twine

The DIY tags didn’t work out how I had hoped, so I ended up trying something different. I used a bokeh photo of Christmas lights I snapped last week as a background and whipped up matching labels by adding text in Picnik. I used Scotch self-sealing photo laminating sheets to give them a wipable, durable finish.

I love it! A.’s art supplies now look as cool as the things she makes with them, and I am thrilled that she has a neat and organized closet. If only the parts other people could see looked better!

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