Friday, June 17, 2011

Organize Thyself

Running a household and raising children, especially while saving money, is several full-time jobs, so why haven't I approached it the same way I would my professional career? When I started this "job" no one handed me a job description with a schedule, expectations and goals. Between having no structure, very young children causing chaos on a daily basis and virtually no sleep, I've spent the past three years in damage-control mode. Just stay one step ahead, or in most cases one step behind-cleaning up whatever the current demolition-of-the-moment happened to be. It drove me crazy to be so unorganized, with appointments and important notes written all over the place, and usually lost, plus I needed some direction. Thus, the binder was born.

I have created a binder with ten sections to organize everything from weekly meal plans to our short and long term goals and it's all in one place! It turns out many moms have been using this strategy (who knew?) and have found it very useful for keeping track of tons of information while also keeping your family on track in the big-picture scheme of things.

You may need completely different topics, but to give you an example of my own:

1. Goals (both short term-2011 and long term as well as goals for what I want to teach my kids)

2. Parenting (where I put useful tidbits or notes from parenting books so I'm sure not to lose them)

3. To Do Lists (both small and large projects)

4. Meal Plans (I'm working on creating 6-8 weekly meal plans with ingredient lists and just rotating the weeks, I also include recipes torn out of magazines that I would like to try out in this section)

5. Education (notes and reminders about good books, learning strategies, schools, etc. for my children)

6. Gardening (notes about which plants did well from seeds and which did better started as plants, which foods we liked and which we didn't, and sketches of our garden and which foods were planted in which beds--this section will be a life saver to reference next summer)

7. Calendar

8. Blog (write notes about ideas for this blog when I think of them before I can forget)

9. Contact Info & Resources (everything from doctor's and baby sitter's info to recipes for making natural cleaners at home)

10.  Hubby (notes of good date ideas, vacation plans and gift ideas--I put this section last hoping my husband wouldn't see it and try to find out what he's getting for his next birthday/Christmas!)

Here's a great blog that has a free downloadable template for creating your own binder. I particularly love the inspirational quotes she includes!

Don't forget to take a few minutes to make your binder cute, it's totally worth it!

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