Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 41 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 41 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on email and internet passwords, manuals and warranties.

For years I used a different password for every single email address, website and sign-up. And for years I would always have to use the "forgot password" thing-y on Then someone clued my dumbass into a universal password. And it changed my life. I have not used the "forgot password" thing since.

The idea is to use one main password - for example, Pass!w0rd - but then add letters or numbers to it for each website you use. Say you use the online coupon feature for your local Stop and Shop. Your password for that becomes Pass!w0rdSNS. See how easy? I wish someone would have told me sooner about this little trick.

But what do you do if you have a bunch of different passwords already or you get hit by a bus and your significant other needs to log into your online account to pay the gas bill? Well, you use this password tracker, that's what!

Now, what about manuals and warranties? I like to keep my manuals and warranties in my Appliance Binder.

Up next - contact lists and addresses!

You can now get this printable and more in my Etsy Shop! 

The List Pack includes the Website Password Tracker. It is also available in The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 40 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 40 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on filing system.

Now that we have our mail out of the way, our bills paid and the papers we need to keep in order, we need a way to store all this shit.

The obvious answer is a filing cabinet. We currently have one that lives in The Good Son's room until we can move it downstairs. Its ugly and I have plans on making it pretty, but for now, it just holds all our massive paper collection. 

Don't be like me and hoard every piece of paper you get. Instead have categories that are actually useful.

Some typical home file categories to consider making files for include:

~Medical file for each family member (use these logs to help keep track)
~Home maintenance file, with receipts of major expenditures (use this log to help keep track)
~Real estate documents
~Insurance policies (for each one, noting the years it covered)
~Automobile documents (separate file for each car and use this log to help keep track)
~Credit card documents (NOTE: Not the bills. This should contain the agreement, privacy policies, etc, for each card)
~Banking records (one for each account at each bank)
~Loan documents (one for each loan)
~Investment records (one for each investment, 401(k), IRA, etc)
~Vital documents (such as birth and marriage certificates, will, etc)*
~Personal home inventory (see upcoming post)*
~Tax documents
~Warranties and manuals (see how I keep mine)

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 39 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 39 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on receipts/tax documents.

Since I work from home and have hoarder tendencies, I tend to keep a lot of paperwork around. It's not as bad as it used to be but I could stand to let things go. I justify that I need to keep everything b/c I saw Erin Brockovich years ago and we might need something for tax purposes.

But most normal people don't need to keep a ton of paperwork. What do you need to keep or toss or shred? Unless you are keeping things for tax purposes, below is a handy guide.

Toss and/or shred
~Phone bills
~Utility bills
~Credit card statements

As soon as you are finished paying and reconciling, toss or shred. Want to keep track of monthly bills but don't want to end up a paper hoarder like me? Use this bill tracker

Keep for one year
~Bank statements
~Pay stubs
~Medical records unless needed for insurance purposes. And hey! I have a way for you to keep track of this too!

Keep for about six years
~Tax records, including copies of returns and supporting documents
~Documents relating to the purchase or sale of a home, or payment for home improvements

Keep longer/forever
~Insurance records should be kept as long as the policy is in effect, plus five more years
~IRA and retirement contribution documents until you withdraw the money, but shred quarterly statements
~Warranty documents for the length of the warranty
~Birth, marriage, divorce, death certificates, Social Security cards, deeds, wills, car titles for as long as you own the car 

At the end of the month, after all the bills have been paid and I have balanced the accounts, I toss and shred all the paperwork. You can also look for community paper shredding events near you. About 3 times a year, along with glass recycling and household hazardous waste collection, our city has a big event where you can drop off all your paper and they will shred it for you for free.

With this system, you hopefully won't end up dead under a pile of papers, like I might.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 38 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 38 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on bill paying.

There are two main ways to set up bill paying - the old fashioned way with stone tablets paper checks and using the internet that Al Gore invented. There are pros and cons to both.

Pros - faster, usually, since accounts can be credited the same day, especially if using the account website (Capital One, for example) versus your bank's online bill pay option
Cons - for us poors, you might need a day or two to make sure you have enough cash in your account to cover the bills
Pro - some banks, like my awesome one, offer rewards for using the online bill pay
Con - it is easy to forget when a bill is due and/or record the transaction in your register

Paper checks
Pro - a paper trail is created should you ever need to verify a payment or fight an unfair charge
Con - you have to make sure you always have checks on hand and stamps
Pro - some accounts, like medical bills, still usually only accept paper checks
Con - some poor account representative will have to try and decipher your serial killer handwriting

I do about 90% of bill paying online. I have alerts set up on my computer and smartphone to remind me to pay bills on time. I also have my bill checklist to help remember as well as a daily planner. My bank offers a mobile banking app, so I can pay bills anywhere, anytime. And I get those rewards I mentioned above. All and all, it's pretty sweet.

For the other 10% of bills, ones that need actual checks in the mail, I like to sit down once a week, usually on Thursday since that's shitty TV night, and write all the checks and enter the transactions into the register. Then I stamp them bitches and put them in the outgoing mail slot for a trip to the mailbox on Friday morning.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Obligatory Pinterest Post

A crazy thing happened over the weekend. I gained over 1000k followers on Pinterest.

That seems like a lot for this little dog and pony show. I must have an eye for pretty, shiny, things.

So far the top 3 most repinned pins of mine are:

The top three most pinned pins from The Good Wife are:

So to celebrate, I am giving one lucky person any ONE printable in my Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder series. I will even personalize it for you!

Choose from any of the ones found here!

How to score the complete customized Brains of the Operation Binder
Leave me a comment below for each entry to be counted. This is mandatory. Include your email address somewhere in your comment.

Score more entries

~Become a follower of the blog and post telling me

~Subscribe to the blog via email

~Follow me on Pinterest and pin this post.
~Follow me on Twitter and tweet this. Tweet: "Customized Household Binder Printable Giveaway from @thegoodwifeblog" Leave a comment with a link to your status.

~Like me on Facebook, The Good Wife Blog. Leave me a comment telling me you did.

~Post about this giveaway on your blog or elsewhere. Leave a comment with a link.

Good Luck!

The giveaway ends Friday, December 14 at Midnight Central. The winner will be selected using and announced on the blog on Monday, December 17. I will contact the winner via email and they will have 24 hours to respond. If they fail to respond, a new winner will be chosen.

If I do not have an email address for you, you cannot win.

This giveaway is sponsored by The Good Wife.  

Let's pretend this never happened. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 37 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 37 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on mail.

I talked about what we do with our mail when I showed you our Family Mail Station. I got the mail holder at Jeffery Allens a while back. 

I like to have the mail station in the dining room, since it is the first place we come into after coming home and getting the mail. I put incoming mail in the top - bills on the right, statements on the left. I put the outgoing mail, along with some stamps on the bottom.

Having the mail station in a central location allows me to do several things - I can easily sort the mail into bills, statements and junk. Like I said, I put the bills and the statements in the mail station. I recycle the junk in the recycle bin in our pantry. Having our Command Center next to the mail, allows me to add anything to our schedule - like dentist appointments and activities - when I get a notice for it. Having an outgoing mail spot allows for The Good Husband to throw his shit in there and know I will take it to the mailbox when I take The Good Daughter to daycare in the morning.

What do I do with all the bills and the paper work?

Week 38 will cover bill paying with Week 39 covering receipts/tax documents and Week 40 covering my filing system.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Farmer's Market

I love the idea of the Holiday Farmer's Market. You are supposed to go the Saturday before Thanksgiving and get all your shit for Thanksgiving dinner. Except nothing I ever buy makes it that long.

Pictured is the second bunch of carrots I bought, b/c The Good Daughter ate the first bunch in the car on the way home. No way will what I buy make it to Thursday.

But I still love going.

This year I bought carrots, beer, brats, broccoli, beef sticks, soap and cheese.

TGD also made a turkey. We enjoyed apple cider and turnovers while The Good Son slept and TGD colored her paper plate turkey. I got to talk to our CSA farmer's again and scored free samples of beer and cheese. I think both times they gave me extra out of pity for dealing with two, at that point, screaming kids.

The cheese stand was new this year, as was the bread stand where we got our turnovers. The cheese I bought is a Camembert style goat cheese that I ate with a spoon when I got home. I learned they are part of a cheese CSA that also offers bread made by the same baker at the HFM. I am trying to convince The Good Husband it is worth a weekly hour drive to get bread and cheese.

There should be one more farmer's market before the end of the year and I will stock up on the bread and cheese and beer then to carry me through the winter.