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    Entries in organizing (2)

    Tuesday
    Jun072011

    A List for All Seasons

    While writing the articles on organization, I knew that I wanted to do a seperate post on list making - and here it is.  From what needs to be accomplished today, to this weekend’s party menu, lists are invaluable.  My list making capabilities were passed down through the family lines, and may even be genetic!  Groceries, daily chores, trip packing items, home repair and remodeling ideas, recipes for upcoming functions (to name a few), all get an ordered list of some kind.  Not to mention to-do lists, honey-do lists, and wish lists.

    Lined, or unlined, paper works equally well.  Fancy notepads, sticky notes, bordered, handmade, recycled - use what works for you and keep it handy.  Spiral notebooks and three-pronged binders can be picked up very cheaply during the back-to-school sales.  They are great for your car or purse, so you are never without something to write down what is cluttering up your mind.  I’ve even been known to use the back of a sack, or a napkin.  Calendars, computers of all varieties, electronic reminder devices, and daily planners are other great list-making tools.  Why try to keep a single item in memory, when you can jot it down and live stress free?  Even if you are a brainiac and can remember the names and birthplaces of the signers of the Declaration of Independence that is no reason to use your valuable gray matter for every day, mundane remembrances.

    I have an old bowl on the counter in the kitchen that holds note paper, pens and pencils (which stand in an antique snuff glass), paper clips, and sticky notes.  I also use spiral notebooks for long term lists.  We keep seperate lists for the health food store, grocery store, and Sam’s Club.  Seasonal around-the-house jobs, long term projects, getting-ready-for-company ideas, and menu planning all get their own paper or page in the notebook.  Many times, my list items are organized further by priority.  Jotting a number by each one, from most important to least, will do the job.  And, I’ve learned to be flexible.  What doesn’t get accomplished one day will another.  No worries.

    There’s not much in our lives that doesn’t get listed.  The planning for every trip, vacation, big event, or dinner party gets written down somewhere:  what to pack, what to buy, what to prepare at home, what to purchase when we get there.  The What to Pack column gets broken down further so I’ll know what items go in which bags (or boxes or baskets):  toiletries, clothing, kitchen items, miscellaneous, books, etc.  There are also Idea Lists - blog articles, curriculum, bible study thoughts, gifts, party games, decorating, paint colors.  I absolutely, unequivocally, do not want to remember every little idea, thought, or question that pops into my head throughout the day.  GB even bought me a small voice recorder that is invaluable.

    During life’s trials, a list can be your best friend.  My mother-in-law and I have been making lists this week…

    • after death formalities
    • thank you notes to write
    • a store list - stamps, trash bags, cleaning supplies, a few groceries
    • doctors’ appointments to cancel or reschedule

    I believe that part of our society’s dysfunction can be related to trying to remember, for ourselves and by ourselves, the minutia of daily living.  Disorganization, being late for appointments, forgetting important events, losing time searching and scrambling for information.  Those kinds of things can make us appear disinterested, lazy, or even selfish.

    Becoming a list maker is not hard at all.  Begin this evening - gather paper and pen, and put it in a special place.  And then make a note for yourself that, tomorrow morning, you will start an accomplishment list for the day.  Place cute little numbers besides each item on the list, placing them in priority order.  What a relief!

    Companion Article:

    Kids and List Making

    Wednesday
    Apr062011

    Out of Sight, Out of Mind

    Before we continue with organizing and sorting, I would like to invite you to preview my newest journal page:  Kids At Home.  My mind is reeling with all the ideas for great times with the kids in your life!  You can get to this post by clicking on the link here, or the Kids At Home title at the top of this page.

     

    One of the hardest parts of reorganization is finding the space for your neatly contained items.  Especially those that are to be stored.  If you decorate your home for the seasons, or the holidays, then you know how taxing it is to decide where to keep the evergreen garlands, American flags, or grapevine wreaths.  Sometimes the Spartan way of life sounds wonderful…nothing but a bed, maybe a chair, and unadorned walls.  Nothing to dust or keep uncluttered.  But, back to reality.  We do have our things, and our things should not take over our lives.  Unless you keep your wicker pumpkins or birds’ nests out all year, they must go somewhere when their display time is over.

    Here is where tubs or other large containers come in handy.  I hesitate to endorse cardboard boxes for long-term storage, as they are insect magnets.  Depending on where you store your goodies, paper and carboard do not do well in damp or even humid conditions.  There is a way to dress them up, though - cover with contact paper, shelf paper, or fabric.  You can even paint or decoupage them.  In this way, even plain brown boxes look great as file drawers, photo organizers, or any number of household receptacles.  Reusing and updating is much cheaper than buying new and you can coordinate with your room decor.

    I do put out seasonal and holiday items; and when it’s time to store them, they each have their own container (sometimes more than one).  Spring/Easter, Summer/Patriotic, Autumn, and Winter/Christmas.  Birthday, and miscellaneous holiday, party, and decorating gadgets go together as well.  Our sons’ keepsakes, our family yearbooks and memory albums, as well as extra family heirlooms (those that are not in use or on display) all have containers; and are stored out of the main living areas.  I watch for sales on plastic tubs and bins, because shelling out big bucks on storage is not how I want to spend our hard-earned money!  Yard and estate sales, thrift shops, and discount stores are all good stops.  Remember that these are storage containers and do not need to be neat, cute, nor clever.  A garage, yard shed, upper cabinet, basement, cellar, closet, etc are great places to stash your occasional use bins.  Oh, don’t forget under the beds.

    The keys are to keep like items together and give them a permanent home (which may change along the way).  If your space is small, there is nothing wrong with stacking your storage.  If they are out in the open, then ‘neat, cute, and clever’ can come into play.  Or, drape a lovely cloth or scarf over them, add a lamp, and you’ve got an extra side table.  Think outside the box and remember that sometimes you must be brutal in the quest for an uncluttered life.