25 Apr 2016

My Favorite Apps

My laptop desktop is always clear and uncluttered, usually with an inspirational quote of some sort on it.

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while and today is the day. 
 I thought I'd share with you a couple of apps that I really love. They've really changed the way I work, in good ways and I thought I would share them here so you can maybe benefit from them too. I have no affiliation to any of these sites or apps and am not making any money from recommending them to you. 

Now that's all out of the way, my first favorite app is Feedly.  
Feedly is a marvelous tool for keeping all of your favorite blogs, websites, podcasts, Youtube channels and RSS feeds altogether and it has totally changed the way I work. There are probably other apps out there that do a similar job but this is one I saw mentioned in a favorite blog once a few years ago and after giving it a try I really liked it so have never felt the need to try something else.

This app has allowed me to keep all of my favorite friends blogs, photography, art, tiny house, Buddhist, and minimalism blogs together in one place. Where before I used to have bookmarks all over my Chrome toolbar I now have just one. 

The app allows you to customize the layout, so I have different categories set up on the left hand side with the various blogs listed inside. On the right hand side you can have the view set up as title only, magazine or cards. I like mine set to card view. See above. They show as three cards across each with a picture and a short snippet of the blog post. I find this most helpful when I declutter my feeds. 

Which I'm actually well overdue to do now. 

As with anywhere else clutter can accumulate here if you don't keep an eye on things and with the kids being home for the school holidays I just haven't had an opportunity to do so yet. On top of that I've added 4 new bloggers in the last couple of days that sound interesting but have added a lot of unread older posts to the list most of which I probably won't read. So 900+ posts is way, way, way more than I usually have listed there.

I find that the secret to keeping it all under control and down to a healthy limit is to go through each section monthly/bi-monthly (depending on the need) and check out whose blogs I've stopped reading and then remove them from the list. I haven't done this with the themes/subjects for a few months and I know that I have a lot of photography themes/subjects I'm no longer interested in and as much as I love tiny houses, I only read the posts that catch my eye. So most of those posts will disappear quickly too.

I love that I can read posts from Feedly on my phone when waiting at the doctors and I especially love to curl up with Feedly on my tablet on a cold and rainy day. When I'm really in the mood to read blogs I hate it when I quickly run out of posts to read so I try to keep my limit to no more than 100 unread posts total at any one time. This is spread over all topics and gives me some variety. 

This brings me to my other favorite app, Evernote
I first found Evernote when I was going through the Google Play Store looking for a note taking app. I downloaded a couple that just didn't work for me before I spotted Evernote mentioned in the 'similar apps' section at the bottom of one of the pages. I downloaded it and haven't looked back. 

Evernote is set up as a series of notebooks (see above) where you can keep any webpages, notes, PDF files, copies of bills, photographs etc. You get a 60 mb upload limit each month on the free version which I'm using at the moment. In the near future I'm looking at upgrading to Evernote Plus. It costs $29.99 a year and has a 1 gig upload limit per month.  There is also Evernote Premium which costs $59.99 a year and has a 10 gig monthly upload limit but that is geared more towards business users and not so useful to me at the moment. See the picture below for more details on the differences between the three versions.

 Evernote has also helped to streamline my Chrome toolbar. Now any web pages that I need to refer back to are 'clipped' to Evernote where I can access them easily later from my laptop, tablet or phone.  I can type in my own notes. Make shopping lists. I can save copies of bills to Evernote so I can keep the paper clutter to a minimum. I keep Blog posts from Feedly that really speak to me 'clipped into a notebook in Evernote. The two apps really compliment each other well.

Both of these apps have helped me to cut down on paper clutter and keep my computer desktop clear and my Chrome bookmarks down to a minimal level. My Feedly is usually easily kept under control with a bit of regular editing as I read. You just happened to catch me on a really bad day today ;) 

Anyway, I'm off to edit Feedly now while the kids are still busy.
Have a great week :)

20 Apr 2016

Week 37 of 365 Challenge Toy Vehicle Week

This was an easy week for me as I had plenty of different vehicles to choose from. 
My husband collects Matchbox cars and my daughter has assorted toy vehicles that she plays with. The wooden jeep with Polly Pocket in it was made by my husband. He's makes wooden toys as a hobby.

Next week is carvings week. This one could prove to be a bit more difficult as I'm not sure I know where to find a weeks worth of carvings. Wish me kuck.

Have a great week :)

12 Apr 2016

Week 36 of 365 Challenge Abstract Week

It's been a busy week this week. I've been tidying out the spare room wardrobe which has been used as a dumping ground for the Christmas decorations, kids toys, sleeping bags, blankets, towels and other assorted bits and bobs. A lot of which should be kept in a linen cupboard but this house doesn't have one. 

The plan is to empty it out completely and put shelves in one half for the sheets and towels to live on while still being able to use the other half as a wardrobe for guests if needed. I guess that's the downside to having on-demand gas water heating, there's no hot water tank or the linen cupboard that goes with it. 

Once the shelves are built the plan is to put the sliding wardrobe doors from our wardrobe onto the spare room wardrobe. The original doors there weren't in very good condition. Then we hope to install two front opening doors on our wardrobe after we install the wardrobe organizer. That way we can access the middle shelving on the organizing unit. The existing sliding doors cover the center of the wardrobe so would make the shelves unaccessible from the outside.

Hopefully I'll be able to start painting our bedroom in the next four weeks. The kids are off on holiday for two weeks from next week so I'll have to wait until they go back. Then all of the bedrooms will be finished and that just leaves the lounge, office, and toilet to paint. The kitchen and bathroom will have to wait a lot longer unless we win the lottery. I won't even start with what needs doing there :)

Have a great week :)

6 Apr 2016

Week 35 of 365 Challenge Kitchen Utensil Week

This was a good week in more ways than one. Looking through my kitchen cupboards and drawers for items to photograph helped me to further decide which items didn't get used and so I had a mini declutter at the same time. 

I also finally, got rid of the boxes of things for donation. There were 7 boxes in all and it's amazing how much more space I have now that I'm no longer tripping over them. It's great that I no longer have to keep moving them around because they were in the way all the time. 

In future I won't wait so long before I donate the boxes of things, I'll fill one box and then donate it before starting on another. I'm going to rearrange my office a bit so I can keep the donation box there, near the door to go out. That should solve a lot of the problems storing those 7 boxes caused.

I could have sold it all in a garage sale but really, the time and effort involved in pricing it and setting everything up would have been a real pain. Donating it was very easy. The ladies at our local Hospice shop were lovely too and the Hospice makes some money out of it so it's wins all round.

I've got 3 items in my new collection box already so it's definitely an ongoing process. I still have a large bag of clothing to donate but that's going into one of the clothing collection bins closer to home. The Child Cancer Fund collects good quality used clothing to sell as part of their fundraising.

Well that was my week. Next week's theme is Abstract.

Have a great week :)