Saturday, January 07, 2012

Guest blogger: Diana Layne!


I'm thrilled to welcome my Ruby Sister Diana Layne to the Killer blog today in honor of her debut release, A Pirate's Proposal, a historical romance which will be out on January 18 from the Wild Rose Press, and her mainstream suspense/thriller, The Good Daughter, a mafia tale that is coming soon on Amazon. And since her guest blog is during our Killer contest, any comments left today will be extra entries for the Kindle or Nook grand prize!



So here's Diana!

___________________________

I NEED TO GET ORGANIZED…AGAIN!

Hi, everyone, I’m so happy to be here at Killer Fiction! Since we’re all friends, I have a confession for you: Organization does not come easy to me. I have to work at it and work hard…and if I’m not diligent, I find that once again clutter is controlling my life.

Unfortunately, I came out of a book editing fog right before Christmas and noticed that clutter had once again regained control.

I had just started my baking and hadn’t even begun wrapping. The mess of paper on the floor is what I dug out of the closet. I’m sure I put it up much more neatly last year. Didn’t I?

Now, in my defense, there are anywhere from 7 to 10 people living at my house at any one time. Even though I have six children, four of them are grown, and how so many ended up back home is a puzzle to me. Currently we are at 7 ¾ as my new granddaughter will be born in March.

I homeschool my youngest two (ages 7 and 9), I write, I shop and cook for the bunch. Others have pitched in with the cleaning, and I suspect this is where I’ve lost control. No one knows what current organizing system I’m using…mainly because I don’t know what system I’m using. I think coming up with a system needs to be a family affair now, right? Except they’re all in school and working and having babies…oh, when do we have time to get organized?

Still, if I can dig out some minutes in our day, (FlyLady says organizing can be done in fifteen minutes a day, more on her in a minute),there are tons of resources available. A long time ago I started with Confessions of an Organized Housewife. Yes, we were married to the house back then. At the time I only had three children, all under age five, and I ran three home businesses: housecleaning, daycare and teaching piano, and I also played piano for our church. Writing was only a longed-for, far-off dream to escape the hectic pace of life. With the hours in my day rapidly shrinking, this book was a sanity-saver back then; although, I will admit, it took me a while to get everything she proposed implemented. For example, one of her tips was to label each piece of your puzzles (like puzzle one, label all pieces, A, A, A, puzzle two, B, B, B, etc), then cut out the pictures on the lids and store pieces and picture in a plastic zip lock bag. I believe she then hole-punched the bags and stored them in notebooks. Well, we had a LOT of puzzles (this was before Internet) and I ran out of the alphabet. So then I started on numbers.

I also realized I was a piler not a filer so I tossed them all in a big bucket instead of the notebooks. (Are you a piler or filer? Take the quiz: here.)To this day, 25 years later, I still have those puzzles organized, and we made it through the years only losing a few pieces.

Once I got a system going, my life, and my family’s life, worked much better.
It seems like my organizing only lasts for so long though, and soon, I’m looking for inspiration to do it all again. This might be because at these times I’ve entered a new phase of life and need a new system. (Like homeschooling and writing and juggling a big family.)

If you Google, you’ll find plenty of organizing sites. I love organizing sites; I could read about organizing all day….

But seriously, two I absolutely love are FlyLady and Organized Home.

When I became a Flybaby, I diligently polished my sink every night prompting my husband, at one point, to question just exactly why I was doing that. (I believe his exact words were, “Why the hell do you keep cleaning the sink?”)

“I dunno,” I replied. “FlyLady said I had to.” And the FlyLady’s point is if you wake up to a clean, shiny sink, your day starts off better. The only problem with that is with so many people living here—10 at that time—I always woke up with dirty dishes in the sink. At least at my house, I guess dishes multiply like rabbits. I will admit that discouraged me so I abandoned FlyLady—at least until I get rid of every—oops, I mean until everyone moves.

As for the Organized Home site, lots of good articles and ideas and plenty of templates to print out for your home notebook, which is a notebook to help you keep things organized. I love making these notebooks, and there are templates for every kind of notebook you can imagine. After they’re made though, I tend to stare at them and turn the pages and admire their perfection. Use them though? Nah, not really.
Right now, what works best for me is my little day planner where I scribble everything down, even writing ideas. (This apparently is a piler tendency according to that test.) I decided at this time, I’m just going to try to hang on until the grown kids, spouses, and grandkids move back out, and then I’m renting a dump truck from the city and going through the house room by room and starting over. Just another year… :)

What about you? Do you have any great tips for staying organized?

Diana Layne writes in various genres, from historical romance to mainstream suspense. Her historical romance, Pirate’s Proposal will be released on January 18, 2012 from The Wild Rose Press. And her mainstream suspense, The Good Daughter, will be live on Amazon soon.

Four lucky commenters will receive an IOU for either Pirate’s Proposal or The Good Daughter (winners’ choice). For more info on each book please visit www.dianalayne.com


Pirate's Proposal The Good Daughter

66 comments:

Virginia said...

I love pirate books and haven't read one it a while so I would love this book.

I am not an organized person at all. Years ago I always thought I would be if I didn't have to work and take care of the house and kid. Now the kid is in college, I don't have a job but still take care of the household. Cook, clean, take care of the lawn and everything else that needs doing but I am still not organized. Now I blame it on the house being to small and there is no place to put anything but the truth is I am just not an organized person. I am just so so.

Heather said...

Hi Diana! I am totally a piler because if its out of sight its out of mind and I forget about it (bills, stuff that needs attention). I have heard about flylady will have to check her out. You are a busy lady!

Heather said...

Hi Diana! I am totally a piler because if its out of sight its out of mind and I forget about it (bills, stuff that needs attention). I have heard about flylady will have to check her out. You are a busy lady!

Cheryl said...

Hi Diana. I have to admit I'm a piler as are my two teenagers. Unfortunately, any horizontal space is fair game to pile papers, bills. I have tried to be more organized but every time I try to sort stuff I get sidetracked and start on other tangents. Both of your books sound like something I would like to read.

Michele L. said...

Hi Diana,

I am pretty much organized but I will pile stuff from time to time. So I am a fluctuater! LOL!

Oh cool, pirates! You sure a busy little bee! Sit a spell dear and take a load off.

Callie said...

I'm still laughing at your husband's comment about cleaning the sink. I did the flylady thing for a while when my kids were little, and I got a similar remark from my husband. I'm sure he thought my mind snapped.

My 22 year old just moved back home, thankfully with no spouse or grandbabies, just himself. My 20 year old is only a freshman in college, so she'll be here for a while. Dirty dishes in the sink is my pet peeve, but I must live with it, or the dirty dishes would be piled up in their bedrooms, which makes it difficult to find things to place my dinner on.

Loved Pirate's Proposal, and am anxious for it to come out. Best of luck with it when it does.

Diana Layne said...

ACH, somehow my hyperlinks didn't work! Me and technology, sigh.
Here's the filer or piler quiz link at Better Homes and Garden: http://www.bhg.com/bhg/quiz.jsp?quizId=/templatedata/bhg/quiz/data/fileorpile_10102003.xml

Organized Home: http://organizedhome.com/
and Flylady
http://www.flylady.net/

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Virginia, I loved the pirate romances of old, I hope they're making a comeback. I saw all the Pirate of the Caribbean movies and I was hooked again. It was great fun writing a pirate story with a female pirate captain!

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Heather, for bills I'm still pretty much on top of it. I love those plastic drawers that come in all sizes. For my bills, I have a small set of drawers where I just toss the bills in and then two days a month I pull it out and pay the bills. I also toss the paid bills in a bucket that's in my drawer in my file cabinet instead of attempting to file. I do love flylady but I don't have the energy to tackle her yet, lol.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Cheryl, I know I love to pile stuff, especially books and then the stack gets so tall they topple over! I hope if you get a chance to read one or both of my books that you enjoy them. Thanks!

Diana Layne said...

Oh, Michele, I used to be organized. I envy you! Congratulations!

Erin T said...

I think I am a borderline hoarder, lol. My house is not bad but my basement is an unorganized chaotic mess. That seems to be my catchall spot.

I give you a ton of credit for homeschooling. That is an amazing thing to undertake.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Callie, good luck with the older kids living there (temporarily, I hope). I think it's kinda harder to have older kids back home because I can't ground them if they don't help, lol. Thanks for the kind words on Pirate's Proposal!

Refhater said...

Welcome to FB Diana!

I am a piler with OCD. Lethal combination! And sadly, I see the same tendencies in our 4 and 6 year olds. Thankfully we haven't reached "Horder" status yet... I try to keep organized with tubs, but now have tubs taking over one whole spare room. I'll have to check out those sites you posted for sure.

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Diana! Welcome to KF and thanks for guest blogging. :)

I just bought a Neat Receipts scanner. You feed your receipts/documents into it and it picks up certain info on the doc and files it according to the file structure you've established. I just got it, so I'm using it for 2012. So far, so good. :)

petite said...

What a busy and wonderful life. Your books look intriguing and special. I am a real thrower. Anything not needed I dump.

traveler said...

I am organized and have been that way all my life. I enjoy clearing out as much as possible since it make a clear head. I hate clutter. Your life sounds fulfilling and extremely worthwhile. Pirate books look amazing. Best wishes.

Theresa N. said...

It's all in the filing cabinet and that's all I'm going to say on the subject. :)
Theresa N
weceno(At)yahoo(dot)com

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Erin, my dump-all spaces are the storage building and carport. Although there is room for at least the front half of the van under my carport, lol.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Refhater, it so happens while I was at the grocery yesterday that the January edition of Family Circle magazine jumped onto the conveyor belt on the way to the register. I think because there was an Organize Your Life article in it. The article suggests using baskets and buckets and tubs. It's a good idea, just toss and hide. :)

Diana Layne said...

Jana! Neat receipts! I heard it advertised on the radio, checked it out, coughed at the price and said...maybe later. But it looks like it would be fabulous! Let me know how it works!!

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Petite, I wish I had the ability to toss things out like you! I know if I'd do it right away, it wouldn't pile up, but I always stack it up for...later.

Diana Layne said...

Traveler, organized all your life! I do envy you! I agree, getting rid of the clutter clears your mind. Usually after every book, I take time to shovel the most pressing accumulation so I can think to start the next book, but one day I hope to get the whole house done again...

Diana Layne said...

Theresa, I know just what you mean re: those filing cabinets. :)

Elisa Beatty said...

Congrats on the two books coming out, Ruby Sister! Can't wait to buy them!

I live in a household of stressed-out pilers with barely enough time to cook and do laundry, much less organize. And we're in a tiny house with no basement, no attic, no carport, no room for baskets or tubs.

I've been trying to follow the advice of a terrific book called IT'S ALL TOO MUCH, which basically says you have to pare down your possessions to fit the space you have, or you just plain can't enjoy your home or your life.

We've made some progress, but the TIME it takes to excavate all the piles i hard to find.

Chelle Sandell said...

I'm a piler. LOL. But mainly because we don't have enough room and I really don't know where to put everything. My office is the current catch-all room. We put little man back in school last year and I went back to work full-time...which means I'm struggling with keeping the house clean. I threatened little man's Legos with the vac this morning. ;)

Patricia said...

I'm a piler, but the chaos drives me crazy if it gets too far ahead of me. I'd like to have "a place for everything and everything in its place", but when we downsized, we went a bit too far (which explains the also unorganized storage bin!) Hard to believe I once reorganized and streamlined an entire advertising agency's office system, isn't it? *sigh*

Rebekah E. said...

I am horrible at organizing. Hopefully one day I will get the hang of it. My husband is always on me that I make things hader than it needs to be because I'm so disorganized.

catslady said...

I live in chaos which drives my husband crazy. I know where things are as long as no one else moves anything and you know that always happens but I get blamed. I'm afraid I'm a packrat. I get totally attached to everything. I know I have a problem and every once in a while (like now) I give it a good try but it doesn't take me long to get back to where I was (sigh). So I'm afraid I'm no help to you at all.

Barbara E. said...

I try to be organized with files and things, but I do tend to pile. I usually know pretty much what is in each pile, but things do tend to get forgotten that way. I try not to do that with anything important. If it's important I leave it out so I can't forget it or ignore it, as the case may be. Good luck with your organizing.

Diana Layne said...

Ach, Elisa, I wrote you a response and then managed to lost it, again me and technology, lol. I don't know how you managed to do all you do, Ruby Sis! The book looks like a good start, just don't get overwhelmed and give up. FlyLady says 15 minutes a day. Break your house into tiny zones and work on one at a time.It might take you a year or more, but it will get done. Keeping it done, that's another thing, lol.

Part of my problem is that after my divorce I was homeless for a while. Though it was over 10 years ago, my psyche has not yet recovered and it is very hard for me to let go of "things". I imagine a counselor would have a field day with me, lol. (this is also why I let my older kids move back, know what it's like to go through tough times.)

Diana Layne said...

Chelle, that shop vac works, I tell ya! I know it's tough when you're working full time. The time I was working full time and my kids had to go to school, I found we spent as much time on homework at night as it previously took me to homeschool! Add that to the full time job and writing, and it's tough. Just divide the house into tiny sections like I told Elisa, and attack one at a time. Toss ruthlessly. I try to tell myself that if I accidentally toss something I need, I can always get another. I will do this again, but not until everyone gets through college and moves out again.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Patricia, piling is not necessarily a bad thing if you can come up with a system. That's why I use my day planner to remind me of things to be done when I shove those piles out of sight...if I can remember to use it. Then there are times when I misplace the day planner in one of my piles...argh. :)

Diana Layne said...

Oh, and Patricia, if you've done it once, you can do it again! That's what I keep telling myself!

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Rebekah, yep, not only can being disorganized make things harder, but it can also cost more money if you've lost something you know you have but have to go out and buy another. Just keep trying different systems, or combine a few systems and then you'll come up with something that works for you, I bet!

Diana Layne said...

Catslady, I'm rather at the point where you are about it being hard to let things go (see my comment to Elisa). So I can absolutely empathize. I have read that we can get rid of the things and keep the memory but the way my memory is these days, not so sure that's true...

Diana Layne said...

Barbara, I leave things out, too, so I won't forget. For example, I pay my bills twice a month, but I usually write the check for the house payment and other things a bit early, then I have a place where I leave them and can see them every day so I can remember to mail when the money hits the checking account. Yeah, it adds to the clutter, but it's how I remember. :)

Pamela said...

I'm a one at a timer myself. Instead of tackling the forest, I force myself to focus on adressing each tree one by one until I'm done. Its the only way I have survived, because before i would be curled in fetal position with the thought of tackling all that I need to do.

Cynthia Justlin said...

OMG, I'm a total piler. I have piles everywhere. Little hotspots of piles that somehow seem to crop up no matter how much I vow not to let them. Basically, my organization skills are nil.

I always say I'm going to do Flylady, and I'll try it for a week, and I'll fail miserably and give up. I'm to the point where I'm ready to try again because my house is driving me nuts. LOL.

Diana Layne said...

Pamela, that is the way to do it! I've attempted that, but with so many here, it seems like the area gets unorganized as fast as I organize it.

Diana Layne said...

Cynthia, I'm almost ready to try FlyLady again, too! Not quite. First, I want to get my 1000 word a day goal conquered with the new group I joined and then...life will be good and I can organize. Yeah, right, lol. Really, I'd included pictures of my clutter, but I guess they disappeared like my hyperlinks. You'd see why I lol'd over dreams of getting organized...good luck to you! And embrace the tendency to pile, somehow we can work with it instead of letting it work against us!

Na said...

Happy Saturday, Diana! Congrats on your upcoming releases and those are two genres I enjoy reading. Pirates can make for pretty dashing heroes. When it comes to being organized I love making lists and allocating times to finish them. It's a visual reminder but also soothing to see each item getting checked off. I'll have goals and break them down into objectives -steps. The lists can be as informal as scaps of papers for daily to-dos to more complex such as spreadsheets.

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/FieryNa/status/155751354227359744

cheralyn said...

I'm a piler. I try to organize my mail,bills,books and magazines but sometimes I have an avalanche! Your books sound good, I'm looking forward to reading them!

Brandy said...

I'm an organizer, but my family? Well, they drive me crazy. I even file my receipts according to month (only the important receipts get their own file folder). Bills are kept in a small pile next to me until payday when they're paid and then labeled as such before being filed. Hmm, I have too much paperwork. *g*
I also homeschool my two children and the teenager is a mess when it comes to keeping her things together and my Son isn't far behind her.So I have to go back behind them and try and keep their folders neat.
Twice a year I cull the house of outgrown clothes, toys and books that won't be kept on keeper shelves and donate those items. (Spring and Right before the Holidays.)
Congratulations on your book(s) release(s).
I've never checked out FlyLady or The Organized Home, I'll have to do that.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Na, thanks for tweeting, I just followed you! I like to cross things off my lists too, as long as I don't lose them, lol.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Cheralyn, I'm very familiar with those avalanches! :)

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Brandy, I understand about the kids. I taught my older ones to organize but it seems like when they grew up, it all dropped out of their brains. I can't seem to teach the youngest, they are resistant!

Chrisbails said...

I love pirate stories. You are a new author for me and would love to win and read this book. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. Thanks for the chance to win.
I am so what organized. I do sometime pile stuff. If we are having company I will tend to put stuff out of site and then forget that it is there.
christinebails@yahoo.com

mullymoon said...

I, too am a piler. I am trying really hard to reform. I can't tell you. Howmany times I've sworn I didn't get something ony to find it buried hip deep on my desk. One thing has gotten better. We have a recycling center in town. You can buy a big bin for$5, maybe $10. But you can take it in for $5 and they will shred it right in front of you. It rocks and at least I can take all the things needing to be shredded off my pile! It has def helped!

Sarah S. said...

I always have grand plans on being organized, but if my garage is any indication it never actually works out. Although I know where everything is located. :)

Diana Layne said...

ah, Chrisbails, that's sweet. I know that out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes it's fun to find things I've stuffed away. Sometimes it's not. One time I stuff the frozen broccoli in the cabinet over the stove. I still don't remember doing that, but I must've been in a hurry...only found it days later when I tore the house apart looking for the smell, ha.

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Mullymoon, I would gladly pay $5 to have someone shred my papers, that is a great program!! My shredder and I have been fighting today as I'm trying to shred last years papers and the shredder is acting tired. I could just ditch the shredder altogether with a program like that!

Diana Layne said...

Well, Sarah, if you know where everything is in the garage, you must have some sort of system. So maybe it doesn't look so neat, but being able to find stuff is half the battle, right?

Kristi said...

I'm a piler. I pile books, mail, clothes, etc. It drives my husband crazy because he is so organized. Everything has to be in its place.

At work though, I am totally neat and organized because I can't work in clutter.

krisgils33 said...

I'm pretty organized, so it's one of the easier things for me. :-)

Diana Layne said...

Kristi, I think we should embrace our piling tendencies. It might take a little thought, but I feel like there must be a way to be a piler and keep things neat as well. I hope so, anyway!

Diana Layne said...

krisgils33, another one to envy! Lucky you!

Avery Flynn said...

I have mad love for Post It notes but the best organizational tool I have is the Wunderlist app. It syncs between my laptop, iPhone and iPad so no matter what I'm using I have my to do list. Plus it's free - or at least it was when I downloaded it.

Also, must have been kismet that I stopped by today. Was just explaining National Talk Like a Pirate Day to the kiddies. :)

Brandie said...

You sound a little like myself. I have a home daycare and my own children. I'm constantly trying to organize my home. Thanks for the tips!

StephanieJS said...

My to do list keeps my organized for the most part. I could use some help getting the clutter in my house organized.

Diana Layne said...

Avery, lol, a little early in the year for talk like a pirate day? Bet the kids will have a lot of fun with that! :) Love post it notes, here, too. I don't have a smart phone or iPad, although I do have an iPod I bought used. I don't think I could use it to stay organized though, because I'm always misplacing the thing!

Diana Layne said...

Brandie, I used to run a home daycare! That's when I first got serious about getting an organizing system. (and this was before Internet so that's why I bought Confessions of an Organized Housewife) Now, I'm in a different season of life so I need a new system!

Diana Layne said...

StephanieJS, yes, I make lists in my day planner and if I remember to use it, then I do ok. But yeah, it's the clutter in my life that's got me down right now. I can't seem to carve out the time to get rid of it and get what's left organized, but I'm still working on it! Someone needs to petition to have more than 24 hours in a day, lol!

Calisa Rhose said...

I am a pfiler. I file and then pile. I need help! lol But my hubby is as bad as I am so it drives me crazy when his piles breed with mine. There is no hope for us. I don't try to stop, though I do pare occasionally.

I'm so excited about your book's release day approaching! Yay and I love that pirate story. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to read it before publication. Good luck and may you have many sales!

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Calisa, thanks for stopping by! Had to laugh about the piles breeding, yes, that would be problematic. :)

chey said...

I'm a piler too.