I am not by nature a well-organized person. (Everyone who knows me in real life just nodded in agreement.) This has been an issue my entire life. Anne Cobb, my amazing fifth grade teacher, recognized the tiny disaster she had on her hands and taught me some basics which helped me be successful at school.
Her hints, which I still use today, are the kind of thing Maxwell based Apartment Therapy on! Get your stuff together the night before. Write things down. Write things down in one place.
Now I'm a freelancer (which has its own set of organizational issues), dealing with a husband with health issues, two pets, a house full of DIY projects, and a blog. If I don't keep everything organized utter, sheer I-can't-work-like-this chaos results.
Here are the internet and real life organizational tricks I use to stay organized.
- Evernote. I don't even know what I would do without Evernote. At any moment I can be working on five freelance assignments, a month of blog posts, and my own private projects. Evernote lets me clip relevant information as I find it on the internet, and combine like things with like. I have notebooks for upcoming blog posts and each freelance assignment. It makes keeping research together super easy. It also helps nourish ideas because as I come across fragments or have thoughts I can clip or add to each note easily.
- Library Elf. Library Elf hooks into your library account and sends you email or text messages about what materials will be due soon, what's due now, and what's overdue. It also sends you reminders when reserved material is ready for pick-up. We are both heavy library users and this helps us avoid overdue fines.
- E-Statements. I prefer getting bills through e-mail. As they arrive I move them to a certain folder and when payday arrives I simply open the folder and start paying. Bonus points for utilities that let you pay your bill online for free.
- Online Prescription Ordering. Our local pharmacy has a website that lets you order your refills online. This saves me so much time in trying to call in J's refills. It also sends email reminders when you are due for another refill. Some of J's medicines are take as needed, so it doesn't always match up, but it reminds me to check so he doesn't run out of a needed med.
- i-Calendar. Yeah, we all know about it. I use one main calendar to track due dates on assignments, bills, J's doctor appointments, pet information (like flea medicine), other assorted appointments, and DIY projects. It lets me see our month in a glance. And now that J has a smartphone, he can see the calendar even when I'm not with him.
Organization At Home
We have an actual foyer with a coat closet, which makes leaving/coming in a little easier. As soon as I enter the house I can hang up my coat and kick off my shoes. Speaking of coats, J taught me a great trick he learned in the Navy. When I take off my coat and gloves and slip a glove into each pocket. When I put my coat on I can just slip my hands right into the gloves.
As you walk from the foyer into the living room the credenza is immediately on your left. On the credenza is a little milk glass dish. I use this to coral my keys and sunglasses. Every time I come home I drop my keys in the dish. I used to be notorious for losing my keys. No more. The white vase is a change collector.
3. Get Out Of My House!
The small chair by the credenza serves as an outbox spot. Things I need to take with me (reusable grocery bags, library books, things to mail) get placed in this chair.
3. The Returnable Shelf.
Library materials live on this shelf unless they are being actively read/listened to/watched. This way when I'm making a library run I know from Library Elf what's due and I know where everything is.
If you don't blog you can skip this final section! I talked about how Evernote saves my sanity, but here are my other tricks for keeping Middle Class Modern updated and the behind the scenes stuff organized. I made a LOT of mistakes when I started out, which led to me stopping blogging and then blogging off and on.
- Monthly Calendar. At the start of each month I pull up a Word Calendar template. Then I figure out a posting schedule based on the projects going on around here and anything else I know I want to blog about. I also note on each post what special actions I need to take. For example, for this post I noted what pictures I needed to take and then I took them while I documented another project. On other posts I'll note if I need supplies for the project we don't currently have. This is also where I track things like DIY Action Squad projects and upcoming link parties I want to participate in.
- Feed The Hopper. Life gets crazy. Sometimes I get absolutely slammed with freelance work, or J has a health crisis, or I get sick. I don't want to worry about writing a post, but I do want to consistently update my blog. So over Christmas I wrote five back-up posts. These are evergreen, stand-alone posts, not pieces of projects. Right now I have some recipe posts, a blogging post, and a couple of little DIY things. If I don't need them in the next month I'll post them in February and replace them with other evergreen backups.
- Schedule, Schedule, Schedule. After I had to spend pre-dawn hours finishing my first DIY Action Squad post, my beloved informed me of the utter ridiculousness of my actions. He had a point. So I now I work on the actual projects the week before. I write the posts over the weekend. For example, this weekend I worked on the curtains and making the curtain rod. I spent Sunday writing up all the posts for the week. I try to repeat this pattern each week.
So what awesome organizational tips do y'all have?
Linked up At Liz Marie's Organization Party
Linked up At Liz Marie's Organization Party