Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Put it away.

Being tidy involves putting things away. And I have found that putting things away is actually a two-step process:

Step one: Determine a good place to store your thing.

Step two: Whenever you are done using the thing, put the thing in that place.

Corollary to step one: When you purchase or otherwise obtain a thing, think about where it will be kept before you bring it home.

Corollaries to step two: (1) Inform your family and roommates of where that place is. Otherwise, the people you live with will believe you are just hiding the thing. They will not be pleased. (2) If you find that there's a better place to keep the thing, start keeping it there.*

These are the steps that work for me! Do you have storage strategies that work for you?

* We keep the spare tabletop behind the bedroom door. I know someone else who keeps theirs under the bed. Wherever works, dude. Wherever works.

Monday, March 18, 2013

More on Money

Last month, I blogged about a system for tracking expenses and my friends Sasha and Emily* mentioned some great ideas in the comments. I decided that I would list here some of the shifts I've made to be more mindful of my spending. I am also still really interested in any of your tips and tricks!

Changes in Mindset: 

  • Consider cooking and mending to be hobbies. They are free and rewarding AND save money. 
  • Avoid rushed decisions. "Let me check and get back to you!" is a totally acceptable response when invited to plans that may or may not fit into my budget. 
  • Walking instead of taking the subway is good for my wallet, my health, and my love of the city. 
  • Inviting friends over for an activity instead of meeting to eat a meal in a restaurant is ACTUALLY AWESOME.  For instance, I had my friends Jesse and Sarah over and we MADE CHEESE AND THEN ATE IT. 
Pictures by Sarah Brown who now seems as addicted to this collage -making app as I am. 

Changes in Habit: 
  • When I'm reading online, I leave a tab open to the New York Public Library page and just add things to my holds list as they appeal to me. Novels, comics, movies, music - all available for free. 
  • I still do much of my shopping online, but I am building the habit of checking sites like www.retailmenot.com for online coupons and discount codes before making any purchases. 
  • I am also trying to plan ahead for purchases more successfully. For instance, after this week I'll know what books I will teach in the fall semester. I should order desk copies in April to avoid paying for the books at the last minute because I forget to order desk copies in time.
  • Relatedly, I really need to keep better track of my travel budget at work because once that is exhausted I don't get reimbursed for conference expenses. Perhaps I'll devote a page in my long-term planning notebook to this. 
* You can tell the difference between that Emily and me because that Emily is tall and blonde and has a law degree and has run a 5k. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reading list

Here are a few of the blog posts I've really enjoyed reading recently - and I'm always on the lookout for more reading recommendations, too:

  • Sasha of A Sasha Party wrote a post about a party I threw! If you would like to read a very complimentary account of this one time I had a lot of fun, here is a place where you can do that. 
  • Ali of Tag Sale Style wrote a post about her company's system for early arrivals to sales. It is far from any system I might need in my daily life and therefore fascinating. 
  • Get Rich Slowly has a post about developing criteria for when to spend money on things that are not strictly necessary. I'm not sure I'll use this system, but I find it interesting. 
  • A reader submitted a LOVELY to-do list to UnF*** Your Habitat recently. It's inspirational. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Filing for the classes I teach - Work in progress.

Ladies and gentlemen, the system I am about to discuss is TOTALLY a work in progress. I welcome thoughts and suggestions.

I used to make three files for each class every semester (I'll use 101 as an example) - 101 Spring 2012 extras and originals, 101 Spring 2012 student work and 101 Spring 2012 notes.

This semester I have changed my system. NOW I keep one folder per course that is semester-specific: 101 Spring 2012 student work and extra copies of handouts; and one folder per course that is a perennial: 101- notes, teaching copies and originals of handouts. That way I can store the student work and recycle the extra copies easily at the end of each semester while keeping easy access to the handouts and teaching copies and notes I reuse semester after semester.

BUT IS THIS THE BEST WAY? I welcome your thoughts.