Chapter Two: Everygirl’s Office

As I press on in my organizational journey and venture into Chapter 2: The Everygirl Office of Maria’s book (this one in case you just jumped in, also here), I’m already feeling happier and more efficient. About six months after we moved in, I invested in two lined baskets for our mail. One: Inbox. One: File. Read: (1) Pile and (1) Misc Mess.

Since my initial effort proved difficult to maintain, I’ve adapted my version of The Blackbook outlined in Chapter 2.

From left to right: My version of the Blackbook, my planner, and The Everygirl’s Guide to Life

My goal was to create a go-to reference book for those phone numbers, documents, and bills I need to keep in close reach. I outline how I organized my black book below. It’s actually a white book… Should I change the name?!

An excerpt… What should I put in my book?

I left out “passwords” and “social security cards” as these items are either password protected or in a safe deposit box/safe. I made this book useful without making it valuable to a potential intruder.

My “Coupon/Offers” Sleeve..

A handy tip for maintaining my book: No garbage in,… so no garbage out! I sort my mail daily now so it doesn’t pile up and immediately put bills into the “Bills Due” sleeve, while tossing catalogs and junk mail if I don’t think I’ll find time to read them. That way, I can no longer accumulate a “for later” pile.

Greeting cards in the back pocket.

The back pocket of my binder holds black cards I’ve picked up for Weddings and Birthdays. I buy these ahead of time so I’m not rushing when we’re on the way to a wedding. However, it’s easy to misplace them with so much time to spare! Now I will know exactly where they are!

The **empty** mail bins!

Now, what to do with those mail bins? (Liners are in the wash!)

How My Blackbook Works:

  • Front inside pocket: Outbox (signed, sealed, ready to deliver)
  • Sleeve 1: Inbox
  • Sleeve 2: Bills Due
  • Sleeve 3: File (Paystubs, bills paid, Insurance Docs, etc.)
  • Sleeve 4: Pending (For active claims, requiring a phone call, etc.)
  • Sleeve 5: Checks/Stamps/Return Address Labels
  • Sleeve 6: Coupons/Offers (We don’t use them since we can’t see them!)
  • Sleeve 7: Invitations (2 days before every wedding, we’re asking ourselves “What time does it start again?” and begin digging through the dreaded mail bins)
  • Sleeve 8: Important phone numbers & Addresses
  • Sleeve 9: Receipts to file
  • Back inside pocket: Greeting Cards

It sounds like one chunky binder, but it’s pretty skinny and I’d like it to stay that way!


Chapter One: Everygirl Organizes

I wasn’t kidding when I opened this book. From the moment I walked into Barnes and Noble and laid eyes on it, I meant business. I’m not even 3 sentences into this post and already, I have a side note: If you want to jump-start a life change, visit Barnes and Noble. I found about 4 amazing books about being a business owner and aspiring manager/leader but decided to take my eagerness to succeed one step at a time, starting in my home.

Last week, Maria was one of my favorite contestants on Dancing with the Stars and the girl on E News (or Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood…?). This week, she’s one of my closest girlfriends and my imaginary mentor. Judge all you want, but I maintain this is much healthier than talking about Jessica Simpson, Jen Aniston, or Teresa Giudice as thought they were my actual friends.

These are a few of my real girlfriends.. The one on the left is getting marrieeed this weekend!

Chapter One:

(I actually read the Introduction first which I almost NEVER do. But I made a rule that I must read this book in order if I want to get my life in order.)

Organize your home. Here’s the opening blurb:

So far, I’ve become incredibly talented at “putting things away RIGHT AWAY” and successfully tackled the following:

  • My closet –  I now know how many and how few clothes I have. I have a lot of “clothes” but very few “outfits” and even fewer “statement pieces” and still fewer basics. *List Time!*
  • The kitchen drawers – ok, so I cheated a little here because they are normally meticulously organized, but I did have a junk-ish drawer (where we keep our Saran wrap, foil, and baggies) which is now immaculate, functional, stocked, and simplified. Oh yes.
  • The Dining Room console table junk drawer from hell – Now I would consider opening this drawer in front of others to grab a pen.
  • My book shelves in the living room – paired down, refreshed, re-arranged. ZEN.
  • The drawer in our side table in the living room
  • My nightstand drawer
  • The DVD baskets
  • My brand new linen closet!

In progress:

  • Our mail bins and filing
  • Shredder purchase (for papers from before we were married, like .. why? that was so over 3 years ago!)
  • Steamer purchase (for clothing)
  • Finding the perfect shoe rack (Ikea, you failed me on this one!)
  • Finding matching, flocked hangers so my silky, drape-y shirts and dresses don’t slip off (Ikea, once again…thanks for nothing!)

What I still need to work on:

  • Under the bed – This is where we keep collapsible duffel bags, rogue socks, bobby pins, and our family of dust bunnies. I want it to be where we keep nothing at all.
  • My dresser – This is cleaned out monthly and is so orderly it has bins in the drawers, but I’m also focusing on re-stocking it.
  • The kitchen cabinets
  • Our 3rd floor closet – I paired it down last winter, but until I can name 75% of its contents, it’s clutter.
  • My office/studio
  • My sewing supplies/fabric
  • The pile o’ give away stuff by the front door – Scheduled for pick-up October 30th! Yay!
  • The medicine cabinet – this, like the kitchen gets outta hand!
  • The basement <faints>
  • The “attic” <re-faints>

I must say, accomplishing this has been amazing. I feel more energized, motivated, responsive, responsible, aware, and clean. Everything is becoming simplified (not that it was ridiculous). It was both odd and freeing to completely empty my junk drawer last month. I wanted to superglue it shut so I couldn’t stash things, but then I wouldn’t be able to open it and see nothing but air.