One Bite at a Time: Together {Weeks 8-11}

{We are working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time.  Every month I go over the last four projects and share my successes and failures.  Not only for accountability, but also to find myself actually implementing the tasks…rather than simply reading the words on the pages and thinking ‘yeah, that’s a good idea’.  You can jump in any time, $5 will get you the ebook here.}

Week 8: Streamline Your Mail


Mail is the worst.

Actually, mail from friends and Amazon are fabulous, but all the junk flyers I don’t even look at, the bills with envelopes packed with extra pamphlets and credit card checks with “special” APRs…the worst.

I have a small counter off to the side in my kitchen that is constantly overflowing with mail.  I look at it, and then put it on the side counter.  “I’ll deal with it later”.  And I do.  A month later.  When stuff is due.

Over the last few years, I’ve gone paperless with as many bills as possible.  I pay online anyway so there’s really no reason to get it in paper form.

But the junk mail.  Oh the junk mail.

Tsh gave us some links to opt out of junk mail…I was super excited.

Except after about two months, I think it was for opting out of catalogs and stuff (which is good…I read an article somewhere once that said that if you want to feel more content in your life, do not open a single catalog that comes in the mail.  EVER.  Put it straight in the trash.  Don’t even bend that cover back.  You flip through the pretty pages and see all the stuff you want but can’t afford and then when you set it down, you see your reality with dirty socks and a bra that suddenly pinches funny.  PotteryBarn and Victoria’s Secret, much?)

What I’m hoping for next (and want to ask my mailman about): how can I quit getting all the grocery store flyers?  I’ll let you know what he says.

(You couponers will probably lambast me for not shopping sales and menu planning according to grocery store specials, but I’ll just be really honest with you and say “maybe another day.  today is not that day.”)

Week 9: Streamline Your Receipt System

Oh boy.

My purse kinda looks like a bird’s nest of receipts.  They all accumulate there creating  a cozy little bed for my wallet and sunglasses.  And then, after a while, when I’m in line at the drive thru or something (and about to get another receipt!), I’ll clean out my purse.

It’s like a tradition.


This task was kinda blah for me.  I don’t hoard receipts, but I could probably be better about getting rid of them a little more systematically.

Was this a biggie for you?

Week 10: Take an Annual Vacation (or staycation)


This one is a toughie for me.

We do take an annual vacation to the lake…but the truth is, it’s a lot of work.

Granted, I have a TON of help with the kids.  A ton.  So I really shouldn’t complain.

But all the packing and prepping and unpacking and laundry and…

Well, by the end of the one week trip, I feel like it took me three weeks of prep and re-entry.

And so any relaxing I did on said trip seems to unravel pretty quickly.

“Making memories.  Making memories….”  I chant that.  Because I know it’s true.  And I know my kids will remember those trips fondly.  But moms…you know what I’m saying right?

Andy takes the week off between Christmas and New Year’s…but I have a feeling we’ll spend it doing lots of projects around the house…

Ultimately, my goal is to do one week at home…with no projects…no yardwork…no closet organizing…no packing bags…just going to the zoo, the beach, and well…hanging out.  Just the five of us. Our little family.

Maybe in the Spring?  Andy?  Whatcha think?  You game?

Week 11: Clean as You Go

(Because I totally wear leopard print kitten heels and a pearl bracelet around the house.  Source.)

This is one of those things I’m decently good at.

Not perfect, and sometimes I sort of give up completely and then regret it.

Right now though?  Trying to teach my kids this. 

I am working so so so hard on “when you are done playing Legos, put them all away BEFORE you start playing with the micro machines….which you put away BEFORE you start playing with the Hot Wheels.”  (Notice how all of those things have 1 million bitty pieces?  Yeah.)

The crying!  The gasping!  The gnashing of teeth!

“But mommy!  It’s so much to clean!”

Yeah, I know.  That’s why I’m making you do it.

Any tips out there mamas?  Besides the yelling and threatening and pulling out my hair that isn’t working? 

Are you working through Tsh’s ebook with us?  How did you fare on the last four weeks?  Was one especially helpful? 

(It’s not too late to join in!  You can buy One Bite at a Time HERE.  Affiliate links used.  FYI.)




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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.


  1. 1

    We really need a better reciept system. So far my only idea is not to shop. Works alright… but eventually we get hungry and need toilet paper, so I’m forced to shop. ;)

    • 2

      I have a stack of 6×9 envelopes by my front door where i drop off my keys and such. I have to keep receipts for tax records so I put them in proper envelope as soon as i get home. Mine are labeled office supplies, printing, postage etc. You could have one for each store or one for each month if you are only keeping them for exchanges/ returns.

  2. 3

    I’ve been trying to clean as I go (must pick-up some kitten heels to aid me :-) so that Saturday’s aren’t such a nightmare and I’m going the paperless route as much as possible too. We now have a rule that only one person is allowed to get the mail (me) so that bills don’t get hidden. I freaked out the other night when I found a hydro bill on my husband’s desk that should have been paid three days earlier. Obviously we’re still a work in progress.

  3. 4

    I love the idea of not getting the grocery sale flyers. We pretty much do our shopping at Aldi anyways. Plus if I did want to see the flyers most of the stores have them viewable on their websites.

  4. 5

    Oh, I’m very curious to hear what you learn about not getting sales flyers – I’ve tried to do what I can to reduce junk mail but it still seems ridiculous, and the sales flyers are constant!

    Not really looking forward to the Clean As You Go week, because I’ve gotten away from doing that with the playroom, but that’s probably evidence that that’s a week I really need. :)

    I’ve still been posting weekly about my progress (I’m behind you, but chugging along.)

    Week Four
    Week Five
    Week Six
    Week Seven
    Week Eight

  5. 6

    You can stop catalogs by going to catalog choice: I’ve been able to stop tons of catalogs. I keep wanting to start joining you in this endeavor (one bite at a time), but just haven’t been on the computer much. Kind of nice actually, but when I do go on, I stay on too long. My resolution for 2012…be more organized in my computer time.
    Merry Christmas, Jeannett. hugs

  6. 7

    Just found your series through Simple Mom, where I’m a subscriber. Toy cleanup used to be a huge issue for us, too. I’ll share what worked for me, and maybe it will help you. DD and I sat down, and I explained (succinctly, calmly, and kindly) that I need her to clean up her toys regularly for safety and so that I can do things like vacuum. I also explained that, in our home, things belong to the people who take responsibility for them (and its corollary, we take responsibility for our possessions). Finally, I explained that this means that, if I have to clean up her toys, they will belong to me for a few days until I’m ready to give her another chance at proving that she’s willing to be responsible for them. Now, if she resists cleaning up (which she usually doesn’t anymore), I just have to ask, “Would you prefer to clean up your toys or give them to me?” and she gets right to work.
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