Planner Update: April 2017

The term ‘planner peace’ is thrown around a little bit in the planning community, and although it sounds extremely cheesy I now feel like I completely understand what it means. This is because I have found planner peace. It has taken me around 5 planners to work this out, but I am there and I am happy about it. Planner peace for me is in the form of a 12 month Plum Paper planner, with a month-at-a-glance section with a handful of lined note pages behind. I use the month-at-a-glance section of the planner to organise my life and keep track of everything I have going on, and I use the note pages for various to do lists and other brain dumps that I need to get down on paper and out of my mind. I have come to understand that this is all I need to feel properly organised, without spending too much time faffing about in my planner. I’ve done the week-at-a-glance thing, I’ve done the stickers thing, but now I know what I need and what I like and I feel more organised than ever.

Planning A Weekend Away – Checklist

Nothing refreshes the mind like a weekend away, especially one spent out in the middle of nowhere. It’s so much easier for me to relax if I take myself away from all of the things that need doing around the house (15 piles of laundry, anyone?), it’s almost like forced relaxation but I’ll take it in any way I can get it. I thought I’d write a little checklist of the steps I take when planning a weekend away, because nothing takes the stress away from organizing something like a good ol’ checklist.

Start by brainstorming/researching the area you want to visit – I live in Western Australia, and there are a number of country towns that can be explored in our south west region. We tend to stick to the main towns (Dunsborough, Margaret River, etc), but I like to do a bit of research on the area I want to visit to make sure it fits the bill for what I want out of the getaway. If we’re in the mood to do wine tours and eat a whole lot of fancy food, I’ll opt for somewhere like Margaret River. If we want to cut off from civilization and spend time in nature, Pemberton is a great way to go.

Check trip adviser for accommodation suggestions – God bless the internet, because I have no idea what people did to book accommodation before the glory of Trip Adviser. Having said that, be sure to read reviews as well as look at ratings, as ratings can go down if there is too much time between reviews. I try to look out for all of the important things – a comfortable bed, privacy, cleanliness etc.

Write a list of places you want to visit and things you want to see and do – A general internet search of ‘things to do in X’ should give you a general idea of the things there are to do in the town you’re visiting, but there are always some gems tucked away in a more in-depth google search. I don’t like having a set in stone plan of things to do on a trip like this, but having a general idea of what you can do and see around the area you’re staying is always a good idea.

Cover all your bases – You may be staying somewhere with no internet connection or TV satellite, especially if you’ve picked somewhere deep in the country away from the hustle and bustle. I always make sure to pack a deck of cards or board game to make sure we have something to do for entertainment if all else fails.

Plan your meals and write a food shopping list – If you’ve opted for a more relaxing getaway, you may need to think about what you’re going to make for lunches and dinners. As someone who needs to know where her next meal is coming from, I highly recommended thinking about the meals you’ll be having while you’re away, and making sure anything you need to make at your accommodation is covered.

Write a packing list – I will never be someone who can just throw everything into a bag and walk out the door. I will, however, always be the person who has a bandaid/tissue/spare pair of socks if you happen to have forgotten something. I guess that’s a good thing? I like to write out a packing list because it takes the thinking out of packing, and means I can get it done in 10 minutes and I always know I have what I need. Having said that, I like to pack as light as I can.

Confirm your reservation – A simple, but necessary step. You don’t want to drive 5 hours to your accommodation only to discover your booking has been lost in cyberspace. I’ve heard some horror stories like this, so I always double check the day before we leave.

Have I missed a step? Let me know in the comments below!

Meal Planning

Meal planning is an important part of keeping a household running smoothly, and I’ve found a way to streamline the process and make it easier for me each week (oh, by the way, I’ve switched back to weekly meal planning as monthly planning wasn’t working for us for financial reasons). I now go to the grocery store once a week, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to save us a little bit of money each week. I used to struggle with coming up with a variety of meals from week to week, that kept everyone satisfied. I would often ask Sebastian for meal suggestions but he would always draw a blank on what he wanted. With this new method in place, it makes it so much easier for him to have a quick glance at the options and tell me what he wants for the week.

I typed up a list of meals that we frequently eat (if you’re creatures of habit like we are, then this should work well for you too), for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I simply hand Sebastian this list when I need him to give me some suggestions for the week, he writes them down, and I go from there. He’ll often give me red meat suggestions, and I try to work in some chicken and fish options into the week alongside these. I’ll then go ahead and plan our lunches taking into consideration what we’ll have leftover throughout the week. Breakfast is pretty straightforward, but I like to mix it up to keep things interesting. I also make sure to check my day planner to see if we have any events coming up that might tie into meal times. From there, I plan out the week.

I fill out my weekly meal planner (this one is from kikki k, but there are a million free options available online), making sure we have a nice variety of meals throughout the week. Because these are all things I make over and over again, it’s really easy for me to then go through the ‘essentials’ list I typed up to highlight everything we’ll need for the week. I set out the essentials list in order of areas I move through while grocery shopping. That way I don’t look down at the list and see something I should have picked up 3 aisles ago, I can easily move through the store and pick up items as I go. I highlight items in pink that I know we definitely need, green is for the things I need to check the cupboard for before I head to the store. So that’s how I meal plan! The last few times I’ve used this method we’ve saved about $40-$50 in “incidental” purchases as I move through the store. So it’s working well for me, and I hope it works well for you!

House Project List

It’s funny how you can move into a brand new house and still have a million things to do around the place to make it feel complete. It’s been over a year since I moved into my new home, and I’m still chipping away at various projects and discovering new ones along the way. I thought I’d share with you the running list of projects that I’m working on around the house at the moment. I originally wrote this list at the beginning of my last break from work, hoping that I’d get around to finishing them all while I had the time off. Of course I was sick for the majority of my holidays and didn’t manage to accomplish as much as I wanted to, but such is life. Here is the (long) list of things that I’m currently working on around the house –

Walk In Wardrobe: I need to do a bit of an overhaul of this space, it’s way too crowded at the moment. I need to clear off the top shelf and the drawers full of bags, sort out what needs to be kept/thrown out/donated, and somehow make the space work for what is left over. I think a big shoe cull might be in my near future too.

Bathroom Cupboard: This is a pretty simple job, and I’m not sure why I keep putting it off. I need to pull out the drawers, sort out our products, wipe down the shelves, and put everything back where it needs to go. This will probably be the first thing I get around to doing.

Bathroom Floor: If I can give anyone building a house a piece of advice, DO NOT OPT FOR WHITE FLOOR TILES IN THE BATHROOM. Mopping is probably my least favourite household chore (vacuuming is up there, but Sebastian does that for me), and the bathroom floor needs a really good mop. White floor tiles combined with a family of dark haired people (and a lot of dust) does not work well together.

Study Cupboard: The cupboard in the study is an absolute mess at the moment. When Sebastian moved over here, we kind of pushed some boxes into the cupboard to be “dealt with later”, which of course never happened. I’m happy with the top shelf in the cupboard, and the way that’s organised, I just need to do a big clean out of everything at the bottom of the cupboard, and also the clothes that are being stored in there at the moment.

Linen Cupboard: I think this is my most hated area of the house (now that I’ve cleaned out the tupperware cupboard). There is way too much going on in here, and very little organisation to speak of. Unfortunately, I’m still storing a lot of household stuff in this cupboard (tiles/paint etc) because there is nowhere else for me to put them at this stage. Despite this, I need to get some organization happening ASAP.

Hutch #1: This is housing a mish-mash of various things that really should belong somewhere else. I need to clear this out, and start sorting everything into it’s right storage place within the household.

Hutch #2: As above. This is a little bit more organized, but still needs some work.

Kitchen Floor: I essentially need to clean ALL the floors in the house, but the kitchen floor in particular is in need of some work.

Boxes (Mum & Dad’s): I have a lot of stuff that I borrowed from my parents when I first move into this house that I haven’t gotten around to returning to them yet. Along with other things that have accumulated along the way (car battery charger, anyone?). I need to sort through this stuff, and return whatever needs returning as soon as possible.

DVDs: I have a lot of DVDs that I don’t really want anymore, not now that we have a big digital storage system set up. I’m gradually making my way through these DVDs and once I know we have a digital copy of them, I’m giving them away. I still have quite a while to go…

Cable Drawer: I feel like cables are similar to bobby pins, in that they seem to multiply if you leave them alone together. We have a drawer FULL of computer cables (which I guess comes with the territory of living with someone who works in IT), and I am dying to tidy it all up.

And that’s about it! I’m probably going to implement some of these projects into my weekly vlogs, so keep an eye out for that. I’m hoping to get started this weekend some time.

My Day Planner

I just ordered myself a new day planner (I decided to go with another Lilly Pulitzer large agenda – the hard cover was the winning feature), and I thought it might be a good time to do a little post on how I use it. I’ve used a Lilly Pulitzer large agenda for 2 years in a row (so far), and I really like it. I carry it with me every day and the hard cover does a good job at making sure the whole thing doesn’t get totally destroyed. It’s rather chunky, so if you’re looking for something sleek and slimline, this will not be the agenda for you. The calendar runs along the US school year, which means it spans from August through to December of the following year. I don’t mind this, because I often plan things like holidays quite far in advance. Also, I find that around June/July is when I’m feeling refreshed and have more time to focus on working on a new agenda. I order my planners from Glitzy Glam, they’re $28, and shipping to perth costs $25, which is still cheaper than the Erin Condren life planner I was thinking about buying – and that’s before shipping.

The agenda comes in a few different cover designs each year. The one I’ve been using (and pictured above) has crabs and lobsters all over it, which I thought was pretty cute. This year I order the Loopy Lilly design, because I love the navy and pink together. Also, elephants. The agenda comes with two pockets at the front, which I use to story party invitations, bills/recipes that I’ve printed off while I’m at work and have yet to transfer out, my gym schedule, and a whole bunch of stickers. The agenda comes with one sheet of stickers that I use alongside the Martha Stewart home office reusable stickers (mine have more colour options because my Aunt kindly sent them to me from the US), and a variety of star stickers throughout the planner. There are full year calendar pages that I use to track when I’ve booked leave off of work, to ensure that I’m spacing out my time off throughout the year. I tend to use the month-at-a-glance page more than any other section of the planner. I colour code everything, which makes it easy for me to glance at the page and see what my plans are (eg: pink is social events, yellow is work related, blue is for exercise/gym stuff, etc), and I circle off each day as the weeks progress. I use the stars that I mentioned earlier to track my workouts, as part of the ‘gold star challenge’ that I partake in. This is a good way for me to glance at the month as a whole and see how I did, excercise-wise. The reusable Martha Stewart stickers are used to track things that I need to do monthly/once every couple of months. Once I’ve completed whatever the sticker says, I move it to the next month or further along in the year. For example, I try to deep clean the fridge once a month. Once I’ve gotten around to doing it, I’ll move the sticker to the to-do list on July’s month-at-a-glance page. Or, my other half gets paid once a month – so once he’s transferred his contribution to the mortgage/bills/food for the month, I move the ‘rent’ sticker across. This is a great way to keep track of things that otherwise might fall by the wayside. I find it particularly helpful when it comes to things like tracking when the cat needs her de-worming tablet, because this is something that happens every three months and it’s easy to forget. The week-at-a-glance is really just an extra section for me to re-iterate what my plans are and I don’t use it very much.

So that’s my day planner. I’d love to see what you’re using and how you’re using it, so if you follow up with a post like this, please let me know. I also have a whole other method of tracking my to-do list for the week and for life in general, so if you’re interested in seeing a post about that be sure to let me know!