Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Keeping Organized...

 If you knew me for the first 23 years of my life, you're probably very surprised to see me write a post on organization. I'm ashamed to admit that I used to be, well, pretty messy and unorganized. I knew where and when I needed to be somewhere and I've never been the tardy type, but in high school and college I found myself always in such a rush that clothes piled on the floor, my backpack was a wreck, and I didn't even consider making a to-do list. My, my how times have changed.
Ever since getting married, and especially since having Bear, I've been all about running an efficient household. When things are out of order or we miss an appointment, I feel like a lousy wife and momma. It makes me feel much better to have things running on somewhat of a system. I find it fascinating, for some odd reason, to see how other people stay on task throughout the day/week/month so I thought I'd share with you guys a little of how we keep organized around these parts. These aren't perfect methods, but it works for us!
 Every night before bed, I sit down at the desk in our kitchen and write out a day plan and mini to-do list for the upcoming day. I don't always stick to them verbatim, but it gives me a visual outline of what I'd like to accomplish. It feels good to mark things off the to-do list throughout the day, and the day plan helps me maintain a timely schedule.
Also at the kitchen desk sits a dry erase calendar where I keep only our big events posted, ie doctor's appointments and company visits. (the top right corner serves as a "when to get things out of the oven" spot, too...cookies were done at 6:10 that night :) ). I check this calendar every morning to make sure we don't have any appointments that we're forgetting.
Beside the calendar sits one of the best purchases I've ever made, our card box. I'm big into sending cards, especially to our sweet grandparents, so I like to keep them all organized and handy for those "Nana's birthday is Wednesday and I don't have time to go get a card!" moments.
I wouldn't remember Nana's birthday was Wednesday if it weren't for this trusty planner; she's my best friend. I take her everywhere! Inside is not only calendars and memos, but also a full list of everyone we know's birthday. I seriously write everything in here. It's great for staying organized on the go, as you never know when you'll need to jot something down or check a calendar for dates/plans.
Also inside this planner is where I keep my weekly cleaning schedule. This, my friends, is proving to be the best thing I've ever done for myself and our house. I've divided up cleaning tasks into 6 days, with Saturdays off, so each day I spend about 30 minutes cleaning and the house constantly stays tidy. It's a lifesaver when you have a baby and don't have tons of time to devote to cleaning; I would highly suggest new mommies making a schedule like this one. I feel like I have more time to enjoy our little man while still maintaining a clean house.
Lastly, this is our mail system. Zach and I rarely ever fight, but the majority of our arguments the first 6 months we lived in this house were due to misplaced mail. We always sat new mail by the trash can (dumb!) and it would mysteriously disappear, causing us to question the each other and sometimes even miss out on bill pay. No good! We developed this system for bills:
bottom row- to be paid (none at the moment! yes!)
middle row- to be filed
top row- receipts for flex spending
I pay all bills and Zach files all bills so it's easier to keep things straight. This system has worked great for us; now if we could just figure out a way to elminate bills altogether....

Also, on groceries, we are what you call "bulk buyers". Once every 2-3 months we make a trip to Sam's Club and load up on items such as granola bars, water, paper towels, etc. We keep a notepad on our fridge with a running list of items we're low on or have just run out of. Whoever uses the last egg or drinks the last glass of milk is responsible for jotting it down on the list. I make at least one SuperTarget run a week and grab all the items we've written down. This way, we never go more than a day or two without a full fridge and pantry.

I feel like I could rant about organization all day...sometime I'm hoping to share with y'all how we keep Bear's things in order. It's a job!

What are some of your organization tricks? Are you a list-maker, too? Please share!


  1. I think I learned something new about you in this post! I didn't know you were a list maker or so organized, probably because I haven't been to your house yet! I guess you have to be kind of organized to keep up with all things baby huh? We have a mail thing like that one from Vickie's, we use it for cookbooks. I'm going to have to steal your card organizer!

  2. i love organization and list making! it definitely helps me feel better knowing that i'm not forgetting something! great tips!

  3. You are awesomely organized!! I try to be too and I also feel bad when we run out of something or I forget an appointment. I def need to get that bill organizer for the wall. Mainly just to have some place to put it that won't annoy the heck out of me. Most of our bills are online. I use my i phone calendar to schedule things and I use the notes in my phone to keep all my lists of bills and to do's and things that we ran out of. I go back and forth on the cleaning every day vs a marathon session on one day. For now it's one day. I find it so difficult to do it every day or even on a work day!

  4. OMG! I'm so pregnant and tired and have been a bad bad blog follower/friend that I am just now seeing your revamped blog--aww i love it!

    Okay, now I must catch up on your life and see new adorable pics of Bear. :-)

  5. i loved this post!! so many wonderful tips. i was a total SLOB for until about 25. lol. i somewhat changed my ways around 25. and now that i'm pregnant *and the mad nesting has begun* i am organizing like crazy. it feels SO good. i love that you keep your mail so organized. we have a similar wall hanging, but it is a MESS! i have big plans to start nesting in our downstairs room next week and going through our mail "bin" is one of them. thanks so much for sharing! i hope you're having a wonderful friday, pretty lady! <3<3<3

  6. I could read for days on how people stay organized; it's funny what works for some people and what doesn't. I've been pretty organized (slightly anal even) my whole life, and my Zac is COMPLETELY the opposite. He would forget his head if it was attached to his neck. I am trying to teach him my ways :) We "make a list" for groceries and for household goods and the same rule applies for us: when you take the last one, you put it on the list. As far as bill pay & file, I do it all and would rather it that way (there goes my anal thing again, haha). For cleaning, I pretty much do it all Saturday morning because with work and school during the week, it's impossible. I will say every now and then I walk in the house about 9:30 pm after a long day, and there Zac is, scurbbing toilets. It's a wonderful sight!

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