Springtime in the Miller Household!!
I love Spring… Actually I love any time of the year when long sleeves are not required. Fortunately, I live on the South African Highveld, which means only two months of cold, miserable weather. And whilst Summer always means school holidays and Christmas, and Autumn in Joburg is simply beautiful, Spring would have to be my favourite season of all.
I tend to take the notion of spring cleaning very seriously. Between now and Christmas all sorts of cleaning and organisation tasks will tickle my fancy. A fact which bugs my husband since it means one or other room will have to be re-arranged or redecorated. I am leaning more towards re-arrangement since we are considering moving in the next few months. The thought of putting all my creative energy into a room, just so some stranger can undo it doesn’t seem very appealing.
Also I start thinking how I want things to work next year. Who will handle what in the house, and with Nikita getting bigger, she can handle a little more responsibility. I also try and envision a plan for all the events for next year. And with two weddings, three trips to Cape Town, a 13th, a 60th and an 85th birthday in 2012 this is probably not a bad idea from both a logistic and a financial point of view.
For next year I had decided to use a binder system. I have seen many of these on Pinterest with either ready-to-print or customisable fill sheets. These are all very handy and great for ideas but none of them actually suit me. Or more to the point, bits of all them suited me and my family.
The most important part for me is that it needs to work in conjunction with my laptop. We’ve spent the better part of the last few years trying to get our bills and correspondence electronic and I refuse to print them all out just to put them in a binder. Of course some leading retailers and the City of Joburg have not yet cottoned on to the whole planet-saving schpiel so some of our bills will have to go into the binder. So as opposed to having everything in the binder, I want reference sections for those things either on my laptop or the net.
Which brings me to my next point. The Net!!! I see an interesting recipe, and copy and paste into word. I do this mostly so I don’t need to go hunting on All Recipes for that cheese cake recipe I saw six months ago. The thing is that this takes up space on my HDD. Should anything happen to the HDD then I’m right back to hunting. My solution is anything that can be pinned at Pinterest or noted on Evernote will be moved there. This clears up the HDD for the important stuff like scrap supplies. Oh, yes, and work stuff.
I am not by nature a very organised person and usually work best with To Do lists. In fact when travelling I usually pack in my packing checklist so that I have a list of all the things that need to come home with me. This is a system I’ve been using since going camping as a Girl Guide and seems pretty effective for me. I also like a list of everything I need to do for an event and a list of what everyone else is doing, if I am running the event(bordering on control freak, I know). If I’m running the event, I think I can be a bit of a nightmare without a list. My husband can tell you stories of how many times he’s had to pop out to get serviettes/paper cups/ the birthday cake we forgot to pick up all because I chose to not work from a list. I cannot count the amount of times we’ve had to forgo photo’s because ‘camera’ was not on the list.
To do lists need to be portable and while I can take my binder to the venue of an event and even on holiday, it’s not exactly practical to take with me to go grocery shopping. So this needs to be taken into consideration.
The next thing I need to consider is my personality. If a system is not working for me, I will abandon it and start fresh next month. My husband likes knowing what to expect each week. These two things would need to be taken into consideration. I’m on the Governing Body and volunteer at Nikita’s school so she assumes I know everything and rarely hands me flyers or newsletters. Her afterschool schedule changes from term to term as well so my organising system needs to suit all these things.
Most importantly it needs to be pretty and I want full control of how customisable it will be.
Taking all these into consideration, I turn to my husband who builds systems for a living. I figured he turns paper systems into electronic versions, so how hard can it be to reverse engineer this and create a binder system… he read through all my requirements and this was his solution.
“A smart phone with an app that syncs to outlook & ms skydrive.”
Not exactly the answer I was looking for. However, a lengthy conversation, a few dirty looks and some flow charts later I had to concede that he may be on the right track.
So now, I have a systems engineer building me an electronic Home Management System. It will incorporate calendars, events, lists, finances and best of all these things will all be connected. It will be a windows and Web based so I can access the system while doing groceries. It will import my ingredients for a recipe on to a shopping list.
As for prettiness, he’ll make it so I can change the graphics and icons as I wish. The only concern is that he wants a proper specification and he doesn’t want me to behave like the rest of our customers. That, and apparently I need to get a smart phone.
So, too all my mommy friends, what things would you not leave out of the specification.
PS: Ok, I’ll update the header tonight