Sunday, February 23, 2014

{organization} answers.

* I adore posts about how you organize things... the lists, the notebooks.... 
* Your organization stuff! =) 
* How do you meal plan? 

Oh, I do love organization. I love to be organized. I love the look of organization. I try really hard... I do. 
I often fail, though and am not nearly as organized as I would like to be. But I do try. 
So here are some of my favorite attempts at organization. =) 

** Family Calendar: 
I have this calendar hanging on my fridge... Amy Knapp's Big Grid Family Organizer. I love it. This is the third or fourth year I've used it and it's my favorite. 

Plenty of room to write... I love the stickers that come with it... a spot for meal planning... extra space at the top or bottom for random notes and reminders. I often order it around October and get the 17 month option so that I don't have to stop planning in December. It's nice to have the pages that go ahead on in to the next year. 

I did realize, though, (after I recommended it to a friend) that it only works for me to hang on our fridge since we have a bottom freezer. If you have a top freezer, it's not near as convenient to write on. So if you have a regular fridge (or a side by side) you would want to make sure you have a big enough wall space to hang it. 

 ** Personal Calendar/Planner: 
I came really close to ordering an Erin Condren planner this year. My mom was going to pay for it and have it be part of my Christmas present. In the end, though, I just couldn't justify spending $50 on a planner. I had grabbed this planner on a whim at Target at the end of 2012. I ended up using it all the time and it was perfect for me.

I couldn't find them at Target this year, but found the 2014 version at It is made by Orange Circle Studios and it looks like they have several options. (There is even a Mom one!) Mine is the Bold Blossoms Do It All Planner. I like the $12 price tag a whole lot better and it's small enough to fit in my purse. I was worried that the EC one would be too big. 
 {and look how happy it is!} 

I like that it has space with the whole month at a glance, but also pages with a weekly layout. I fill in things for the week at the top and then run my To-Do-List for the week all the way across the bottom. I've never been good at designating specific tasks for certain days. When we were building the house, I used the first box (that says This Week) to list all the things house related that needed to be accomplished that week.

It also has lots of fun stickers, but they make me laugh. Look at all those "Hair and Nails" stickers! And I wish I needed all those "Vacation and Business Trip" stickers. =)

This page makes me laugh, too: Weekend Getaway, Party, Movie, Girls Night, Shopping, Date Night, Lunch Date, Coffee Date. Clearly I need to be going on more dates to really use this planner effectively. =)

There are lots of blank pages in the back where I keep running lists of projects and gift ideas for everyone. The same kind of things I kept in my little green notebook, except since this has a calendar included, I carry it with me almost all the time.

More blank pages in the back (these have perforation so you can tear out those 3 little sections individually. These are handy for shopping lists or just things to remember.

** Christmas Planner: 
I made this a few years ago with a friend and love using it every year. I keep track of gift ideas, gifts that have been purchased, Christmas cards, menus, shopping lists, wrapping paper (I don't put names on the kids presents, but they each have a certain wrapping paper.) We got the idea from eighteen25 and you can download everything you need from their blog. I still have enough pages that I could add another tab for this year (maybe even 2 years!) but I may be ready for a new one. We'll see.

** Meal Planner: 
Several years ago, I went through my cookbooks and recipes and made this little binder of all our favorites.

The main dish is listed, along with the ingredients needed. I didn't include amounts on most things, because usually I am familiar enough with the recipe that I know about how much is needed. When I meal plan, I'll sit down with this, flip through it and jot down 9 or 10 meals that sound good for the next two weeks. Then I can check the pantry quickly and see what we have/what we need and make a quick shopping list.

Then this is my meal plan for the next two weeks. I don't assign specific meals for certain days, I just know we have the ingredients for all these meals. Then, depending on how I'm feeling (or how late I'm starting supper!) I pick one. It's a pretty fancy system. =)
{I just noticed that I apparently can't spell Mostaccioli}

** Kitchen Organization: 
No judgment on the contents of my pantry, please. =) Ignore all the packages of ramen noodles and focus on the oatmeal, okay?

We do encourage healthy breakfast options, I promise.

See that little white tray back there? I've saved that thing for 11 years, never having a real good spot for it. (It was part of a baby gift when Sophie was born.) It was just stuck in a closet, usually. So happy to now have a perfect use for it!

This cabinet is deep, so it's hard to reach things clear in the back. All our cake, brownie and muffin mixes fit on here perfectly and if you take out the jar of chocolate chips and the syrup, it is super easy to slide the little tray out and reach everything. Otherwise I would be standing on a stool and emptying this cabinet every time I needed a muffin or brownie mix. (It may get spray painted this summer, though...)

We might have excessive amounts of sprinkles at our house...

I still love this happy little cart I found on Facebook for $5. It makes me smile. Travel coffee mugs are in one of the red boxes and little containers Corey takes with him to work are in the other. Big bags of cereal (we buy the cheap stuff) and chips (mainly for Corey to take for lunch) are in the tubs on the bottom.

Kids chores and responsibilities: 
We're still using our clipboard method, but I've changed it a bit. And I'm horribly inconsistent. We need to work on that. "Saturday jobs" and "Spot in the van clean" are my favorite clothespins. Gretchen has a clipboard now, too. I really need to step it up in this area, though.

And just a quick picture to brag on my hubby a bit. This is his area and all his doing. =)

But just remember... before you start thinking I'm all crazy organized... appearances can be deceiving...

This is more along the lines of how I feel each day... 

Or... you can just tell yourself this and celebrate your "un-laziness..."

Happy organizing! =)


Toni :O) said...

So many great ideas! Thanks Amy!!

Anonymous said...

Stellar post. Loved it!!

Joke said...

I really love this. I'm an organized person myself, but it's just my husband and myself so I realize it's much easier. I used to keep a written calendar, but then 3 years ago my husband (then boyfriend) convinced me to keep a shared Google calendar. I was hesitant at first, but I've never looked back since. We can both check it on our phones and add to it as we go. I love it! I do realize that if we ever have kids who can read we'll need a written out calendar but that's at least 6 - 7 years from now so yeah ... I also meal plan because we both work full time. I type it all out on Friday (check our fridge / cupboards for what we still need) and hang it inside one of our kitchen cabinets so we check it during the week. And even though I still assign meals to certain days I am just like you and just make whatever we feel like the most from the list. I love organizing! :)

Jenny said...

I love so many things about this post!! I mostly like that big calendar! I never have enough room to write everything on it. We have three kids, so if they all have things on one day it gets pretty cramped on those tiny boxes on regular calendars. :0) also I love your meal planner where you have the meal plus the ingredients. Sooo much easier than the way I do it. That is going to save me some time! Thanks! The last thing I'm definitely going to try is the job chart. Hopefully it will make me more accountable for making the kids help out. (Because sometimes, it's just easier to do the chores myself..) ;0)

Ben said...

Great ideas! I love the app called ireward. It's an easy way to keep track of chores and they can cash in their stars for rewards that you have designed (like getting to pick dinner), etc. thanks for sharing so many good ideas.