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Getting organized
Hay River stay-at-home mom reducing stress, saving money

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HAY RIVER - After years of trying, a stay-at-home mom in Hay River has finally gotten her life organized.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cynthia Roach of Hay River displays her home management binder, which she uses to organize her life. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

"It's made such a tremendous change in my life," said Cynthia Roach, the mother of a preteen girl and boy. "I was not born organized."

Roach, 37, said things changed last year when she created her own version of a home management binder in which she organizes just about everything.

"Every fall since the kids started school probably, I would create something and it would never stick," she said. "It would never work for me. And for some reason last year in the fall, I started it again. For some reason, it just stuck and I've kept at."

It took her seven or eight years of trying various organizing strategies, such as making lists, to finally get it right. She also looked to a number of Internet websites, home decorating magazines, Home and Garden Television, and the Women's Television Network for inspiration on how to become organized.

Her home management binder contains information, lists, schedules and records on a wide variety of topics daily routines, cleaning, menu planning, fitness and nutrition, finances, guitar chords, goals, Bible studies, prayers, inspiration, and even the beginnings of a book she hopes to write about motherhood.

She personally created all the documents and forms in the binder.

Roach points out two tools that have made "tremendous" changes in her life envelopes and menu-planning forms.

"These two items, which cost pennies, have saved me hundreds of dollars a month," she noted.

The envelopes are used for budgeting, based on the twice-a-month payday of her husband. There are separate envelopes for expenses such food, dining out, entertainment, allowances for her children, vehicle expenses and more.

"I have it all broken down," Roach said. "That's why I have so many."

As for the menu-planning forms, she said they help her plan meals for her family.

"It's been so much less stressful in my life, because I know what I'm going to eat," she said. "I know what I have and, if I don't have it, then I know what I need to go buy."

Roach, who was born in Gameti, said her previous lack of organizing skills was the result of growing up with an extremely organized mother who took care of everything.

"I had a great childhood, but I never really learned any responsibilities, so when I became an adult I really struggled with just basic, day-to-day things like laundry and cooking," she said. "I didn't know how to do any of those things. I had to kind of learn as I went along."

Her goal in becoming organized is to also teach her children.

"It's not about me anymore, it's my children," she said. "I want to teach them how to become responsible, mature adults. I don't want them to struggle like I did."

Her children each have a list of responsibilities taped to a wall things ranging from feeding the cat to completing their homework.

On the afternoon of Feb. 26, Roach will make a presentation at the Hay River public library about how her home management binder has helped her get organized.

She hopes that sharing her experience may help other people change their lives by getting organized.

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