How to get, and stay, organized

Alternative titles:
Wishful thinking.
How to get, and stay, organized for a week and then fail.
How to complicate life with to-do lists.
How to get organized on the cheap.
How to procrastinate with schedules, calendars, and to-do lists. 

* * *

A couple of days ago I bought two binders. A red one and a blue one. $1.99 each at the local drugstore. (If I had gone to Staples or Walmart, I would have spent $199 on various things on my list so I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t go there.)

I also bought these nifty chalkboard panels that you can stick on a wall, and peel off again, to your heart’s content. Those I got at the local bookstore. Originally I had actually planned on doing something like this, but for that I would need things like time and money, both of which are currently in short supply.

Then, I printed off calendar pages three months at a time and posted them on the front closet door. There are many free templates to choose from. This is where I remind myself to remind everyone else of stuff that’s going on.

Yes, theoretically, I could just buy, or receive as a gift, a nice big calendar, but I like having at least three months present at any given time. The big dry-erase boards I used back in my University days just don’t appeal to me anymore, besides the fact that I would need an empty wall big enough to accommodate it. That’s another thing I have in short supply…wall space.

My real-time to-do list is a widget I downloaded from Yahoo and is never going away. It’s right there on the laptop reminding me incessantly to not forget to schedule the drive-clean, to mail the health card info, to buy hooks and curtains for the kids’ room, and many other mundane task that I keep forgetting to accomplish before I had a widget to remind me.

And speaking of Yahoo, I also use their calendar that comes with the Mail apps. Very important events, like dentist appointments, or kids’ school reminders that require preparation (like costume buying/borrowing for Halloween parties), those get entered in there. I can have it remind me via my email, which I never shut off, days in advance to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

(Note to self: do not let things fall through the cracks. Do not delete the email reminders. Execute the actual activity you have scheduled yourself to do.)

Moving right along…

The red and blue binders are for the kids’ papers that have already trickled in from various schools and daycare. The blue one is for Benjamin who will be starting Junior Kindergarten, and his invitation letter is neatly organized to sit on top of the rejection letter from the French Immersion school I had wanted him to attend. The local school, the one that welcomes him to their Kindergarten, is a lovely, personal letter with oodles of pertinent information in it. The rejection letter is a cold, information-lacking, standard form some secretary printed off at the last moment after ignoring my phone calls and personal visits for a number of months. Their loss that my kid’s not going to grace their stupid hallways.

The chalkboard panels I’m still experimenting with. There are four panels, and three are currently on Ben’s door. One is designated as the “cottage list”. Because we’re going to the cottage one last time prior to school starting. And I need an ongoing list to remind myself of many items that seem, at least to me, important enough to bring along in order to avoid cranky-toddler-behaviour (CTB). Or wet spots on bedsheets. Another panel is a sportscamp list. But he’s done with that now so we can erase the reminders. Perhaps I will relocate them and use one as a grocery list. That’s one list we all manage to keep fairly up to date…

When I read blogs of parents whose kids have already started school I cringe. Summer up here in southern Canada has come very late, but now it’s here with a vengance. Sitting indoors at 2 pm typing about organization is one way of keeping cool (if the toddler would just take her nap then I could call this a blissful state of events, but apparently this is not to be. Again. For the third.flippin.day.in.a.row.)

Next on the agenda: clean up the kitchen.

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