Thursday, July 30, 2015

What You've All Been (Maybe Not) Waiting for, but It's AWESOME, I Promise! A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Home Management Planner!!!

I know that this post has the potential to come off as basically "crazy-town." Like I've gone off the Home Management Deep-End, but let me assure you that one CAN. NEVER . BE. TOO. ORGANIZED. Actually they can be, they can take it to an obsessive extreme, but as long as your organizing includes cute scrapbook paper, stickers and glittery puffy paint, then you're totally OK. 
(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite and most recent creations - a home management binder! I made it myself, it was lots of fun to put together and has been very helpful over the past two months. Best of all, you can make one for yourself too if you'd like. It has helped me plan to my days and has been a wonderful exercise in time and household management.

 I don't run a perfect home by ANY means, (go look at my craft closet)!  It's NOT ABOUT PERFECTION, it's about doing your best and having fun a long the way. That's why I try to find little things like this home management binder to make it a more interesting adventure!

So, if you're anything like me or feeling a bit disorganized and overwhelmed lately, you might want to make a binder of your own.

First though,  a few basic Q and A's that might help.........

(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)

Q.) What exactly is a home management planner, journal, organizer or binder?

A.) It's anything that you want it to be, but basically a home management planner is a book or binder that keeps all of your important dates, lists, plans and documents that have to do with running your home,  in one handy place! This planner helps you to map out your days, weeks and months, so that you can more easily reach your goals and run your home in the best way that you can. They help to organize your time and your tasks, and just help everything run more smoothly!

Q.) What's inside of a home management planner?

A.) Again, really anything that you want to put inside, but generally they include some mix of the following: Monthly calendars, weekly planning spreads, daily plans, meal plans, grocery shopping lists, to do lists, cleaning routines, important phone numbers or information. Budget sheets, personal goal trackers and coupons. 

Q.) How do I get my hands on one for myself!?

A.) Well, what I didn't realize until recently, is that there is a whole planning community out there! It's amazing. There are so many people SUPER into planning on Youtube and Facebook and on Pinterest. They often review different planners. The most popular one these days seems to be the Erin Condren Life Planner. I REALLY wanted to buy one for myself for my birthday, but at $55 plus $20 in accessories, I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a planner. Instead though, I found countless instructions on how to make my own with FREE  and reasonably priced printables. There are also countless stickers  and other fun accessories to customize you plan sold on Etsy and other stores. Have a look at my Home Management board  for more links! 

While I'd love to buy myself an Erin Condren planner or another brand of planner someday, I decided first to try to make my own (sort of) version for a fraction of the price and this is how I did it step by step........

1.)Research and Brainstorm

The first thing that I did was learn a little bit more about all of this "Home Management" and organizing stuff.  By organizing, I don't mean cleaning out your closet, what I mean is more so, organizing your time and your to do list and all of the little components that go into running a home. 

So I poked around online, googling "Home Management" and "Organizing" blogs, and did the same on Youtube. There's really so much information to be found. Then I became more specific and found articles on how other people made their own home binders. Pinterest had great resources for this like   this  pin and this one too!  I also pulled a lot of my inspiration and information from the Flylady's site, but more on that soon.

After reading and understanding the basic idea of a home management binder, I began to compile a list of what I wanted my binder to do for me, what kinds of things I wanted to be included in it. 
This was all the preliminary work.

2.) The Binder!

Now I was ready to get started! Here's what you'll need. This is the fun part. Use your imagination, these are just guidelines. I went to Target and found a White, Up and Up (Target house brand) 3-ring-binder 1.5 " wide, with a clear view pocket on the front for $3.39.   In retrospect, the 1" wide binder for $2.47 would have worked just fine.

Also at Target I found this American Crafts Maggie Holmes Scrapbooking paper pad for $9.99. I still have more than half of the pad left to use on other projects and you can certainly use any paper that you might already have at home. I did as well!

Next I got to work decorating my binder! I printed out a photo of our house for the front and I cut different scrapbooking papers to size and slid them into the front and back clear covers and also along the spine of the binder. See, cute! I would also like to add a family photo on the front, and perhaps a favorite inspirational saying or two on the back.

3.) Collect your insides and supplies!

Next up, I turned my focus to the inside of the binder. While at Target I purchased a little clear pouch to hold my pens, clips, coupons and other supplies. I also bought about twenty clear sheet protectors which were $1.94 for ten. You'll be putting all of your pages into these clear protectors, which both keeps them safe and allows you to write on them with erasable pens. (I'll explain more soon).  Then I needed section dividers,  $1.49 for five.

I popped some lined white paper and a weekly meal planner pad of paper that I already owned into the front pocket. The same with a small To Do notepad and nice, sticky-note weekly planning sheets from Target.

I purchased my Expo Vis-avis Wet-Erase Overhead Transparency Markers from Amazon. I will talk about them more below, but they smudge a whole lot less than regular dry-erase markers when used in your planner. They're the best!

Other extras can be stickers or decorative clips to hold lose lists or notes. You can put post-it notes on the front of your binder to remind you of things or to keep a running errand list.

4.) Make Final Decisions of What Pages You Want Inside. Buy or Make Them!

Ok! This is the really fun part. Now you're ready to get down to work. Decide what kinds of things you would like your binder to organize for you.  Most people start with their monthly, weekly and daily schedules. Other common things include weekly meal plans and shopping lists, to do lists, budgeting sheets, a page to record the dates of family and friend's birthdays, contact lists, cleaning routines and health and exercise goals. Truly though, your binder can organize ANYTHING! You can include a running inventory of your pantry and freezer, sections to track your children's homework and projects, sections to organize yourself during the holidays. Look around online at other people's binders, (see Pinterest) and pick and choose from their ideas.

First let me show you two examples of pages that I made for my "Routines" section. To me it's almost laughable to actually have to write out your own, simple morning and night routines, but really seeing it down on paper helps! Especially during the school year, my routines were down pat. If I wanted to wake up, fit exercise in, help Noah and Jon get out the door and be cleaned up and ready for my day at a reasonable time, a routine was essential to keep me on track.

(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)

I got the idea to list my morning and night routines from the Flylady! I really like her guys. You can read all about her thoughts and information on routines and see some examples as well HERE. Take a look, it's great! Also, she has SO MANY FREE printable downloads to build your own home binder. She calls hers a "Control Journal."  You can find links to all her different kinds of organizing journals like a holiday organizer HERE.

Most importantly though, if you'd like to go the Flylady route of making your own "control journal," you can find her step by step instructions with resources and FREE downloads HERE! Have fun!

I made these two sheets using craft and scrapbook paper, some pinking sheers, markers and a craft punch. It was so much fun! They're just nice reminders of the routines you'd like to stick to. And after a while, it all comes naturally and you're on your way.

Next, let's talk about some of my paid-for sheets that went into my home binder. Don't worry, they're very reasonably priced and there are so many adorable printable to choose from all over the internet. It seems to me that Etsy has the greatest number of stores specializing in pages for planners and other planner accessories like stickers. I found my daily plan sheet download, my weekly plan sheet, my Menu planner and my contacts page from a store called" Scribble Scraps Design" on Etsy! I paid $6.50 for all of these in a weekly planner bundle. Look around Etsy for your own unique style, it's so much fun and there is a ton to choose from. I could look at them all day!

Briefly, coming back to the Expo Vis-a-vis wet erase markers that I mentioned earlier, the reason that you want these is because you are going to write on reusable pages like your daily, weekly and monthly planning forms. Menu planners too. Ideally I'd love to have pages for each day of the year, but that wasn't practical printing-wise and because of cost. The wet erase markers work quite well! They don't smudge as much as traditional dry erase markers. I don't recommend those. I use my wet erase and then simply wipe everything off with a damp paper towel when I'm ready. It's easy!

Here's a weekly menu planning sheet....... 
(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)

And my monthly calendar page, partially filled out for June.

Here is another example of a homemade sheet that was inspired by the Flylady's monthly habits list. Basically you focus on a special habit each month of the year, just to really make it part of your routine. For example, June's habit was great for me because I can never remember to drink enough water. You can learn more about Monthly Habits HERE and search individual months in her search bar. Also, the Flylday podcasts and puts out fun little tips and games for mastering all of these monthly habits free for your listening! Look for the "Flylady and Friends" podcast and the "Flylady Tools" podcast if you would like to hear.

This is my "Weekly Home Blessing" page. At first I was a little wary as to what this was, but then as I read more, I came to understand that simply accomplishing these seven tasks each week, we are essentially "blessing" our home. I think of it as saying: "Thank you House, for being my home!" I don't always get all seven items checked off this list, but I try. Remind yourself that this isn't about perfection, it's just about doing what we can! :)

Speaking of cleaning, this is probably the largest section in my home binder, and I was able to print all of the pages for free! (Well, thanks to my Mom's nice printer. Thanks Mom)! I started with this Clean House download. Next I used it in conjunction with the Flylady's Detailed Cleaning List and Zones.  There is quite a long explanation of each "zone" of your house, when to clean it and what to clean. She kind of gets a routine going for you! Each week brings a new zone. So, in the example below, I was giving extra focus that week on my Entrance, front porch and dining room.
(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)

Here's an example from the first page of the print-outs. 

You really should check out this bundle "Get Organized Free Printables." There's so many to choose from and they're cheerful and bright. I printed three copies of this following blank list page. One of my pages holds a list of home projects to be done and personal, DIY projects. Another blank page I use as my grocery shopping list that I can snap out and take with me and another for my household goods from Target.

Here's the contact list that came in the bundle that I found on Etsy.

So that's how I stay organized! Of course, because I'm organizing obsessed at the moment, I also use this dry erase board from Target in our bedroom to list our schedule and write down any important "to do's." This is the place Jon goes to check out what's going on. I've found it's great to keep us on the same page and he even has me list my "honey-do" list on there for him each week. 

Also, I know this is going to sound extra-crazy, but I'm SOOOOOO excited!!!! I recently pre-ordered the new Susan Branch Desk Blotter Calendar for my desk. Ahhh!!! TOOOO EXCITED!!!!

UPDATE! Since writing this post, my new Susan Branch calendar has arrived and it is sitting in great anticipation on my desk. January 2016 can't get her fast enough! LOL.

A photo posted by Lauren (@howbourgeois) on

And you all know, you all know that I've used the Sandra Boyton Mom's Family Wall Calendar for years and years. I still do! When you have children and they get to be school-age, GET THIS CALENDAR! I hang mine in the kitchen and keep pens in the pocket and always always list dates and events on it and important to do's right away. This calendar has been my family "command center" for many years.

Now that I've shown you "How" I organize, this is "Where" I organize. :)
Do you remember when I did a mini-makeover on our tiny den/office about a year ago? Well, as much as I adore that room, things kind of changed once we got Josie. I've found over time that if I'm upstair in our bedroom, she is happy to lay on the bed and nap or watch out the window while I do laundry or work on the computer. If though, I go downstairs to our den or kitchen table to work, she'll follow me down and then bark at the back door to go outside. If Josie's outside I need to keep one eye and ear on her, making sure she's not getting into too much trouble or barking. She comes in and out a lot so it's just not conducive to working. So, I decided to set up a mini-work station in our bedroom!

This desk is from our old neighbor Ricki. We loved her so much. She passed away about a year and a half ago. :(
Her daughter gave me this small desk, and guess what!? Inside of the desk is a Singer Sewing Machine!!! It's so cool and still works. I have the original 1969 Singer manual and everything. Isn't that great? I can't wait to sew.

I feel like getting Ricki's desk was meant to be, because just the day before I was saying to Jon that I wish I had a little desk in our room to write at. Then low and behold, the very next day, Ricki's daughter took this sewing table out of the house and wrote "to a good home" on a piece of paper. When I asked her daughter if I could please use the desk, she was so happy and said that Ricki would be thrilled to know that I have it. :) Now it makes me smile always and reminds me of her.
This is where I sometimes type and keep a few important papers and other office supplies. It's a nice spot.

Well, until next time, Happy Home Organizing! Or at least Happy getting a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and on the table! !!!!!!!  ;)

(Thank you to the lovely Graphics Fairy!!!)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Housecoats

  1. a woman's long, loose, lightweight robe for informal wear around the house.

I've heard about them, but still, they were a bit of a mystery. A housecoat or a "duster," something that my Grandmother would have worn. What exactly were they for?

I never really knew until I started to obsessively re-watch all of the old Mad Men episodes on Netflix while doing my ironing. And now I get it. Not only that, but I whole-heartedly believe that if there is one thing that SHOULDN'T have been dropped from our collective consciousness over the past decades, it's the housecoat. Surely the housecoat.

See these? These are housecoats. Pretty, presentable, comfortable housecoats. You wear them around your house when you're at home relaxing or cleaning or cooking or whatever it is you do. They're a nicer alternative to pajamas or loungewear. You know, something you can answer the door in with pride. You can wear your housecoat instead of your regular outfits to keep them clean when you work around your home. Or, if you're in a hurry and leaving soon, you can throw a housecoat over your outfit to make sure it stays nice.

What is there not to love about housecoats!? Where did they all go?

Well, I don't know why they lost such popularity, but I do know that a few are still around . You can find some versions at The Vermont Country Store, and eBay has some new and vintage housecoats too. Amazon and Etsy carry some, and so do several catalogue and online clothing brands.

I really wanted one of my own. I wanted one and I knew that I could use one! How many times have I been at home just cleaning or making dinner or spending the day on my computer when the doorbell rang? I don't want to answer that door wearing old yoga pants! I want to answer it looking like a pink meringue dream! 

One day recently we took Josie to be groomed and they asked us to be back in about an hour. It didn't make sense to run home and come back in that time, so instead we decided to take a walk and window shop for a while. One of the stores that we came upon was a favorite of mine from high school - Mother Fletcher's Vintage in Ferndale. It's racks and racks and cases and shelves and trunks of curated vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. I was there, and I was on a housecoat mission.

Almost immediately I spotted an area that resembled a cloud-like swirl of pastels in floaty fabrics. It was the room at the back of the store which housed a large rack of vintage nightgowns and robes. All the pale pinks and peaches and buttery yellows and robin's egg blue a girl could ever wish for. 
I knew that housecoats were not pajamas and that they weren't robes really, but I figured this would be as good an area as any to start searching for one.

It did not take long for the most beautiful, most voluminous, most weightless garment  in the whole room to jump out and catch my eye. It was a robe marked "1940's." Not a bathrobe, but a pretty robe, one that a princess would wear over her pajamas. Two layers of sheer, baby pink fabric, the bottom layer chiffon and the top layer the most gorgeous, real flocked Dotted Swiss. There was a Peter Pan collar and turned up armbands trimmed with white lace, and the perfect satin bow at the neckline. I just HAD to try it on, maybe this was a 1940's version of a housecoat for all I knew. Mad Men starts in 1960, so what do I know about housecoats from the 40's and 50's?

Then I stopped. I saw the price tag. It was $50!!! Far too much for me to spend on a housecoat. I began to carefully put it back. But something came over me and I couldn't bear the thought of leaving without at least trying what it felt like to wear something so pretty. (They really don't make clothes like this these days). So I carefully slid it over one arm, my shoulders and then the next arm. I buttoned the robe up and to my surprise, it fit! Not only that, but it was the perfect length! Not something that happens often when you're five feet tall. 

I did a twirl and all the pink fabric floated out and around me. I felt so happy! "Jon!" I called, just wanting to show him before I put the robe back. He came in and laughed and I went to point out to him the real Dotted Swiss fabric with the velvety flocked dots when my index finger went RIGHT THROUGH THE TOP LAYER OF THE SLEEVE!!!! 

Oh no! I ripped a rather large hole right there in the sleeve. I couldn't believe it. How did that happen!??? 

Now, I could have quietly put it back on the rack and swished out, avoiding the need to buy a $50 robe with a hole in it, but that's not me at all. I can not tell a lie. I have TWO Jiminy Crickets on my shoulders....I always let me conscience be my guide. I had to tell the store clerk what I did and own up and if that meant you break it, you buy it, then so be it I guess....

Patient Jon did a palm plant on his forehead when my finger, so excited to point out Dotted Swiss went right through the Dotted Swiss, and then again when I mumbled that it was $50. He was not exactly amused. We made our way to the register anyway, and thank goodness that the woman working that day was so incredibly nice when I explained to her what had happened. "Oh!" she said.... "Don't worry, it's old fabric, it happens ALL the time. Fabric weakens. Don't worry about it." I apologized profusely and offered to buy the robe. She said I really didn't have to if I didn't want to, but since there was now a big hole in the front of one sleeve, I felt like buying it was the right thing for me to do.

So she very graciously gave it to me half-off, and sent me on my way as the proud owner of my first, most gorgeous, very unflattering, pink poof of a "housecoat!"

And the best part was, that after picking Josie up from the groomers, and pulling up at home, a package lay on our front doorstep.

"Ah!" I yelled. "I just remembered. It's the HOUSECOAT that I ordered on eBay last week!" And that is how I became the VERY proud owner of TWO housecoats in one day.

And how Jon decided to drop me off and keep going.*


*Just kidding. He still loves me.

Until next time, seriously, try out a housecoat!
Lauren :)