Getting Organized: Owner’s Manuals and Warranty Binder

My last post talked about the homeschooling notebook I created for Sam.

Today’s post will talk about the owner’s manual and warranty binder that I created for all of our expensive purchases. This one is still a work in progress, so there really isn’t much to say about it. But I can say, it has come in quite handy!

Because warranties and owner’s manuals are so bulky, page protectors don’t really work well. Stuff can easily fall out of them, and they’re just a royal pain in the ass.

I found a video on YouTube that explained how to make one of these binders using expanding polypropylene envelopes with a velcro closure. I LOVE them!!

Despite my being on a “pink kick” lately, I actually got these in blue. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, they do go well with the blue binder.

I plan on adding tabs to the envelopes, but until then, I used a sharpie marker to label the outside of the envelopes with the name of the product that corresponds to the owner’s manual and warranty information inside the envelope. The laptop and camera are actually pretty thick, surprisingly.

This actually worked out really well recently. About a week and a half ago, I had to exchange my new Nikon D5100 because for some crazy reason the autofocus lens stopped working. I had started making this binder at the same time I was deciding what to do with the camera. I hadn’t been all that happy with it, the pictures were a bit blurry and of course there was the thing with the autofocus. So I was deciding on whether or not to return the camera and buy the Canon Rebel T3i, or simply exchange the Nikon.

Exchanging the Nikon was an attractive option because Amazon will send out the exchange item right away, and you have 30 days to return the defective one. After laboring over this decision for days (you can ask Janine, she was kind enough to ask her hubs some questions for me about the Canon), I decided to exchange the Nikon.

Much to my surprise, Amazon upgraded my shipping to overnight. Awesomesauce!

I packed up the Nikon and thankfully had put all the pertinent paperwork in the warranty binder so all I had to do was grab everything in the camera envelope and stick it in the box.

I was proud as a peacock, because I knew I had packed everything up.

Until I realized that I forgot to pack one of the eyepieces that attach to the viewfinder. And of course, I realized that AFTER UPS came and picked up the package!


But I didn’t forget any of the paperwork!!!

When I received the new camera, I (of course) went outback and tried it out. To me, the pictures still seemed blurry for a 16 mp camera. But maybe I just had my standards set too high. So I got on the laptop and did some research.

I found sample images for both the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100. The Rebel is an 18 mp camera, so I thought comparing the two was going to be an exercise in futility. However, the images showed that the Nikon took a much clearer image – for me. Let me explain.

I like taking photos of nature, especially close up shots as in macrophotography. This Nikon takes AMAZING macrophotos. Originally, I thought the Nikon took blurry images of landscapes (leaves and trees were especially blurry – or so it seemed). But when I compared the Nikon and Canon sample images that involved trees, the Nikon was by far the clearer camera.

I’m finally at peace with my decision.

After playing with this new Nikon for about a week now, I can saw I’m extremely happy with it. It can actually keep up with me, and the autofocus still works!

Just for shits and giggles, I compared two images of the same tree in my backyard, one from the old Nikon and one from the new one. I found  that the new Nikon images were indeed clearer. So it seems I got a defective camera initially.

I’ll leave you with a few shots from the new Nikon that I’m extremely proud of, but don’t forget that tomorrow, Janine is back with her third installment of the “Life as a WAHM” series!!!

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Getting Organized: Sam’s Homeschooling Binder

Yesterday, we worked on our financial binder.

Today’s post is geared toward the homeschooling mom. I created a homeschooling binder to keep track of all of Sam’s schoolwork so that if the superintendent ever decided she wanted to bang on my door and demand to know what I’m teaching my daughter, I can whip this bad boy out and say “all of this!”

I created a cute title page for the front of the notebook and even made a matching label for the binding. It actually looks pretty cool if I do say so myself.

I used a HUGE binder for her notebook. I’m not sure how big the rings are, but they’re way over three inches (I think).

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Getting Organized: Our Financial Binder

Yesterday, I showed you how to make your own blogging planner.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make a Financial binder to keep all of your bills, bank statements, and taxes organized. I got this idea from a blog post awhile back. I feel bad because I don’t remember who I got the idea from, but I admit the idea was not my own!

I used to have a small finances section in my home management binder, but unfortunately, I never used it. I’m just not a budget person. I know, weird right? As much as I love organization, you’d think I’d keep a meticulous budget. But sadly, no.

What I actually keep is all the billing statements I get and as I pay them, I write down the day, time, amount of payment and how it was paid (including confirmation numbers if there are any) on the statement itself. I used to file all of these statements in my file drawer, but I kinda ran outta room!

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Getting Organized: My Blogging Planner

Since I manage four blogs, organization is essential! I used to have post it notes and paper all over the place for all of my ideas and memos, but keeping track of all of that for each individual blog just wasn’t working. I read a post about a blogging planner via our Bloppy Bloggers group on Facebook and had the proverbial “AH-HA!!” moment.

I’m quite proud of my blogging planner. It took me awhile to find printables that worked for me, but I think I finally have everything I need. I even got a cute pink three-ring binder to keep everything together! It has to be pretty and functional or I won’t use it!!

My blog planner. I had to make the front page of my planner pretty... if it's not aesthetically pleasing, I won't use it!

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Characteristics That Make a Successful WAHM – Multitasking

Let me tell you how much experience I have with multitasking. I’m currently doing the following things all at the same time:

  • Playing with the macro photography settings on my camera
  • Uploading the pictures I just took
  • Editing the awesome macro shot you see below
  • Writing this blog post
  • Reading five different articles
  • Writing a client article
  • Checking stats on HP
  • Writing an HP article
  • Checking email
  • Working on my weekly plan (see awesome macro shot below lol)
  • Playing Words With Friends on my Kindle
  • Ordering cat food on Amazon
  • Planning my weekly goals (I know, it’s already Wednesday)

I’m sure I’m actually doing more than that, but that’s all I can remember at the moment…

My attempt at macro photography with an older digital camera. We’ll be getting a new one with our tax refund… YAY! And yes, I know it’s not exactly macro photography with 7.8 – 23.4mm lens… lol

This is why I bought my current, fungus ridden laptop with my last IRS tax refund. I need a PC that could keep up with me. I have eight browser tabs open (which is actually rare, I usually have over 10), plus two Word documents open, along with my email and Photoscape.

Yup, my laptop gets a workout. This is also why I can’t take it in to get it fixed… I NEED IT!!! Continue reading

Getting Organized for WAHMs Just Getting Started

My blog planner which contains my plans for upcoming posts, my blogging business plan and my weekly task list from my HMN.

One of the downfalls of being a mom is the innate urge to be superwoman. We try to do everything, and unfortunately, we just can’t.

For the work at home mom (WAHM), this need to do everything is even greater. We want to run a business, take care of our families and have a spotless house all at the same time. But usually, one or more of these areas suffers from neglect.

As most of you know, I’m fairly new to the whole WAHM arena. I’ve been doing this for a little over a year, and I’ve only been seriously blogging for about six months. Even so, I’ve learned a great deal about the most efficient ways to run a freelance writing business, clean a home and homeschool a child during those six months. Although, I’m far from an expert.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that it is imperative to stay organized! 

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The Home Management Notebook

My Weekly Planner Page

My favorite weekly planner page in my HMN.

There was such an overwhelming response to my last post on organization, that I thought it only fair to follow it up with a few more tips, and examples on how I organize my stuff. Again, I’m addicted  to organizing.

The Home Management Notebook. For those of you who have no earthly idea what I’m talking about, this is a notebook (usually a three-ring binder) that holds all the information a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) needs to run her household. I’ve tweaked mine a bit to also fit my new freelance writing career, as well as run my home.

Since I do have a hub on the subject, this won’t really be a how-to, but I will share some of my favorite pages, and give you a list of stuff you’ll need (and may want) to create your own HMN.

I have to say a few words about my HMN though. It’s probably the one thing that has really turned around my life as a SAHM. When I first left my career in ophthalmology, I had a hard time acclimating to the change in job responsibilities. I was completely overwhelmed. Then, I read an article about a home management notebook (also called a home management binder), and it instantly appealed to my analytical and routine nature. (Anyone ever notice that the word anal is the first four letters of analytical? But, I digress…)

Anyway, long story short, my HMN grew from a small 1 inch three-ring binder with a few dividers to a 2.5 inch 3 ring binder with see-through, color-coded dividers with pockets, and subdividers and more planning pages than you have ever seen in one book. I use it constantly and it has a spot on my desk right next to my laptop. Continue reading