Organizational Review

As I mentioned on Friday night, I am beyond excited for summer vacation to begin.  I am organizing again, which I suppose is a signal that I’m preparing the house and my schedule for the big upcoming change.  I don’t want to spend the first half of the summer cleaning up the mess left behind by this school year, so I’m getting that done now.

I wrote a post over Labor Day weekend last fall about some organizational strategies we were putting into place around here in order to manage the chaos of the school year better.  Memorial Day weekend seems to be a good time to let you know what worked and what fell by the wayside this year.

1. The meal plan. We kept this up for a good 6-8 weeks.  To be fair, we remembered to do it once in a while, here and there, throughout the school year.  Without a doubt, writing down a list of dinners at the beginning of the week makes all the difference in the world for us – we can come home from work and the right ingredients are in the house, defrosted when necessary, and ready to be cajoled into a quick meal.  Unfortunately, we have not made time to do this consistently, but we both agree that it’s worth doing and I’m sure we’ll get back into it at some point.  Probably right around Labor Day, if I have to guess…

2.  Google Calendar.  It is safe to say that this has been the greatest break-through for us in terms of staying on top of things.  I love Google Calendar.  This works a million times better than trying to maintain a central kitchen calendar because, well, neither of us is home much during the week but our laptops and iPhones are never far away.  (Also, I can record an event that is coming up a year from now if I want to, rather than waiting for next year’s calendar to arrive before adding all those little future notes.)  With an online calendar, I can read an email letting me know about a meeting that will require me to work late, something going on over the weekend, or receive an Evite, and just open the Calendar on my desktop and add it immediately.  And with Matt doing the same, we keep things coordinated really well.  We always have 2 months printed out on the fridge for quick reference when we’re home.  This system has worked wonders for us!

3) The Accountant.  I fired that accountant just as soon as it became clear that she was either dumb as a rock or purposely dawdling over my accounts to beef up her paycheck.  I never did figure out which one it was, but it didn’t matter.  Out she went.  However, I did keep up well with the condo treasury using QuickBooks and have gotten my neighbors in the habit of paying their assessment fees on time, so that’s gotten a lot easier.  And I just last week hired a new, very professional accountant who I am thrilled to be working with for my practice.  Hooray!  (I find the fact that I have a lot of financial work as part of my life quite hilarious – and a little bit scary.)

4. The notebook.  I have liked my Circa notebook, for sure.   It was especially useful at the beginning of the academic year when everything was getting ramped up at once and I wanted a way to organize my notes and to do lists.  But I can’t say that I’ve found a sure fire way to deal with my to do list yet.  That worked for a while, then I switched to using Stickies on my MacBook desktop for my most pressing to do lists (one for personal, one for professional), and at times I’ve also toyed with the To Do List feature in the Apple Mail program.  That’s kind of handy, too, since I’m in Mail so often.  I’m not sure if the problem is actually the strategies I’ve tried or simply that I don’t like having to deal with my to do list.  I think I know the answer to that.

5. The Container Store booty.  All of the stuff I linked to last fall was great.  The file folders are so colorful and fun and those file boxes were very helpful in keeping my paperwork for church and the condo association organized.  Very.

6. The gym.  I’m not sure that this belonged in my organizational list last fall, except for the fact that taking care of myself is critical in having the energy to do all of this.  My gym has been great, and although I haven’t gone as often as I’d have liked to, I have been able to go regularly.  Right now I’m into biking over there for my early morning work-outs, which means I’ve enjoyed both a bike ride and a cardio/weights work out when I get home at 6:50 AM.  I know.  Loco.  But good.

Have you tried anything new this year that’s been helpful for you or  your family?  Do tell.

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5 responses to “Organizational Review

  1. Great changes! I live and die by meal planning. I plan out two weeks in advance and do all my shopping at once (except of course certain things that have to be replenished throughout the week).

    The Google calendar thing sounds interesting. I have not found a calendar system that works.

    I’m completely a disaster organization wise otherwise.

  2. I try to stick the meal plan too, and we love Google Calendar. Did you know you can sync your iphone to GC via Spanning Sync? If you find a good way to handle to do’s let me know. I’m at a loss.

  3. Thanks for the review! I remember when you posted these things and talked about your love of office supplies (I am also a fan of all things organizational, too bad I don’t actually use them much!)

    I like the Google calendar. My favorite thing that I did follow through with is two on-the-wall folder bins that hold stuff for each kid. I know just where to go for each kid and they know where to put things. The bins are right under the school calendar and lunch menu.

    I also remember a post you did about making your kids eat cereal instead of the elaborate breakfast they requested. I need to figure out how to make that happen around here. Some mornings I fix up waffles, bagels, fruit and eggs all at once!

  4. Lori, those bins sound great! I should think about whether I have a spot for something like that.

    Ah, yes, the cereal. I’ve lost that battle. Totally. However, I have enlisted their help more in the elaborate breakfasts. Especially Lyle really loves helping at this point, and will do a lot of what’s needed for his complex little morning meal. Sigh.

  5. We are die-hard google calendar users. SO much easier to coordinate everything for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I have a 9 week menu rotation that I keep on the fridge. It has “revolutionized” what we eat, the amount of time cooking and prepping dinner and it has made grocery shopping SO easy. And, we never get bored with eating the same easy things over and over again!

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