Monday, January 1, 2018

A gal with a plan

For as long as I can remember, I have made detailed to-do lists and kept records of my life's activities.  Even as a child, I made schedules for myself to keep me on track of everything that I was doing, whether it be cleaning chores, homework schedules, bank accounts/savings, and even down to what I wore each day to avoid wearing the exact same outfit repeatedly in a month.

In college, I set a rigorous routine of study time.  Every single day was planned out and scheduled for the day of classes then by 15 minutes to an hour increments for studying every subject every evening.  I even went so far as to schedule my break time.  I had a goal and nothing was going to deter me.

I was doing a variation of the envelope system of financial accountability long before it was ever a thing.  Then, when I discovered spreadsheets, my organization happy brain went into overdrive.

It works for me, but is daunting for others.  The whole idea of not having a well run household is poppycock.  There is no reason to not always have a home that is neat, tidy, full of good food and that practically runs itself.  I understand fully that this mindset is not for everyone, so, you do you and I'll do me.  But, let me tell you, don't knock it until you have tried it and you see how everything simply falls into place.  Discipline is required.  A desire/drive for order is paramount.  That is not to say that I am not capable of just "letting things be"...because of this organization, it is so very easy to slack off and not have my whole world come tumbling down in a heap.

If there is a household management plan out there, I've tried it.  Then tweaked it and kept the parts that work for me and abandoned the rest.  Fly Lady, Side-Tracked Home Executive and a few others were instrumental in the early days of my personal home management.  The Penny Pincher's Gazette was also a source of many ideas that have stuck around in my master plan.

This is the time of year that makes my orderly brain ecstatic.  January is the month that all my files get reviewed, outdated information gets purged, and then there's the compilation of all my line item budgets.  At present, there are 27 line items in my household budget.  They range from property taxes all the way down to cat food/expenses.  An ongoing personal mantra has been that the only true way to accumulate wealth is to not waste/overspend.  If you spend it, you have lost it.

Throughout the year, every single expenditure is recorded on the corresponding line item log.  The only exception is purchases made out of weekly "fun money".  It has turned into a game to see how little can be spent for each line item and still maintain the lifestyle to which I am accustomed.  It's not that difficult.  Granted, every year there will be tweaks to the list.  There may be large household purchases that are a one time expense that won't happen again.  But, it is nice to see where everything goes and what can be tweaked to be a more responsible financial steward.

So, here I sit on January 1, happily tallying up line items, updating printed spreadsheets and planning for the year.  This year,  I will be returning to my favorite form of accountability: ONE planner notebook for everything - budget, calendar, to do lists, monthly household inventories, cleaning schedule, and menu plans to name a few, instead of multiple notebooks.


As it occurs to me that there are like-minded individuals out there and those that want to try something different to manage their life, future posts are planned to essentially detail each section of my "brain book".  If this appeals to you, wonderful...maybe some of you will have ideas that will help me as well.  If this doesn't appeal to you, that is fine as well...balance is necessary in life...we can't all be on the same end of the teeter totter.

Happy New Year and happy ORGANIZING!!!

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