Monday, August 31, 2009

let's get organized.

i should start out by saying that i love organization.
i really do.
it just doesn't easily make it's way into my life.
my life has been beyond crazy lately.
i have been trying really hard to keep things
organized, & in place, & in order.
but, it's hard.

now i am finally making this a priority.
things are winding down for the summer.
i am settling into my new job.
we need a routine.
and i keep envisioning our organized and routine-filled
fall & winter months ahead.
{i. can't. wait.}

and so, i need your help.
first off..

i just bought a copy of Quicken last week
& have been slowly implementing this for our finances.
so far i love it,
but don't know the in's & out's yet.
{getting there...}
any tips & tricks for this?
{i am currently not using the auto-updates which links it to our checking online,
because i thought it was too confusing & not the real balance.
so i'm manually entering everything- basically using it as a checkbook & a bill calendar}
for the physical bills- right now, i have two slots in my organizer on our desk..
1 for the bills that have just come in & i haven't opened yet
and 1 for the bills that i have opened, entered into Quicken & are waiting to be paid.
how do you do this?
how long do you keep hard copies of bills/checks?

.meal planning.
this is something that we desperately need to get better at.
we never know what we are having for dinner until that night at 6 o'clock.
and it's exhausting.
our plan is to start making a set schedule for the week
& hitting up the store every sunday to prepare for the week ahead.
i think this is fairly common?
what is your routine for this like?
i am digging heart of light's meal planner notepads & think they would work for us.
also, what are some of your favorite recipes?
we're in need of some new ones to freshen up our dinners.
& do you tend to make the same things every week?
how often do you switch it up?

yes, this is a weird one.
but something that drives me crazy.
i have a terrible memory and couldn't even tell you what i wore yesterday.
for this very reason,
i need some way of tracking my outfits {mainly just for work everyday}.
this will help me to make sure i am utilizing all available clothing pieces
and not showing up to work in the very outfit i wore two days prior.
hello, embarrasment.
i know this sounds crazy, but it is a serious problem for me.
does anyone have a system for this type of thing that works?
or is no one out there as crazy and memory-stricken as i am?
let's hope not.

.to do lists.
you all know i love a good list.
& i have a constant to-do list going on.
right now i have a little notebook that i carry with me everywhere
to add to and check off as things come about.
the problem with this is that things tend to carry over for weeks sometimes
and i end up flipping between 5 pages just to make sure i have everything done.
not sure that there is a quick fix for this other than to stop procrastinating,
but hey, it was a worth a shot?
how do you keep track of the mumble-jumble of things
that you have to remember to do, buy, call, etc.

this is a biggie for me for obvious reasons.
i have a method that i'm currently using,
but i'm interested to see if there is a better way for me.
both digital & physical photos.
right now i basically store all of my digital photos by date.
this is handy because i can remember when most events were,
but with photo sessions for other people it is getting a bit tricky
and i just don't think it is the most effective.
i'm thinking maybe by year-month-event would be better,
but i also tend to have a huge amount of random photos
& i'm not sure how this will work.
anyway, what do you do?
also, how many of your digital photos do you chose to print physically?
do you have photo albums everywhere?
or just enough to fill frames that you want?
and what about old pre-digital camera photos?
i'm in desperate need of getting those safely tucked away
in a proper order that is easy to find
& easy to grab if our house is burning down!
help. help. help.

do you have a physical address book?
or online? or in your phone?
i have yet to find a method that works good for me in this area.
physical ones are just too much work
& too much to lug around.
my phone doesn't have a good place to store actual addresses
& my aol for sure won't do the trick.
what do you use?
i would love to have something accessible from home & work & on the road?

obviously the most important of all. ;)
my itunes is not very organized right now
{that is on my list}
but how do you keep your physical cds?
do you have physical cds of every song on your itunes?
i don't know about you,
but that's a lot of cds for me!
do you keep them all in your car
or in your house & take as needed to the car?
i'm lacking a system here
because i always have random cds flying everywhere.
which results in cd scratches,
which results in spending way too much money on blank cds.
i have a super extra huge case that would hold a lot,
but i'm not sure i would want that in my car all the time?

whew! that was a lot to get out.
i'm hoping you lovelies out there have some good tips for me!
i'm heading over to real simple in the meantime to see if they have good ideas.

i'm also going to buy this
because i have wanted it forever
& now is the perfect time
to organize my life
& my lists.

so, as you can see, i need help.
lots of it.
any suggestions for my previously mentioned bad areas?
any tips & tricks about any organizing methods?
any amazing organizational pieces i should buy?
i see that etsy has quite the selection of homemade goodies for this.
my husband will thank you dearly!


{etsy goodies found here, here, here & here}.


Kristy said...

So many questions! :)
We are the same way when it comes to our meals... and then if we're feeling really lazy, we tend to eat take out or go to a restaurant. Not good!
As far as my addresses, I do have a physical address book. Its fairly small, and I try to make it a point to update. I also have an excel spreadsheet from my wedding planning days.
I definitely dont have CD's for all of my digital music- I just backed them all up on an external hard drive. I use my iPod (or XM) in the car... we really only use CD's at home. My CD's were stolen about 3 years ago and I haven't bothered to replenish now that mp3s are so easy to get. My husband has 2 CD books full, and I'm pretty sure the jewel cases are somewhere stored in the attic. We really only listen to CD's at home.
I use to organize our finances (its AWESOME), but we have an awful system for bill management... I pay most things online, or stack the bills on the counter until the pile topples over...!
Phew... OK. That's all i can muster right now. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Organization is my favorite topic ever. :)

Finances - I don't use any finance program, I just use Excel. I have a budget on Excel and I enter everything we spend each month so I can keep track of how well we are sticking to the budget. It keeps us accountable. Regarding bills, I open all our mail immediately. I have a magnetic clip that hold the bills that need to be paid hangs on the file cabinet. I sit down to pay bills twice a month (each time we get paid) and just grab that clip and get to work. I pay everything online, and mark on the actual bill the date that I paid. Then I file the bill away. Normally, I hold on to paid bills for a year.

Meal Planning - we do exactly what you suggested - we sit down on Sundays, plan for the week, then go to the grocery store. We have quite a few recipes saved both online and in a notebook, so if we are ever in a rut, we look through those for inspiration. We do remake some things quite often (like burgers in the summer!) but that's because we love them. :)

Clothes - It's easiest for me to track that type of thing digitally. What if you took two quick seconds every morning to snap a pic of yourself in the mirror, then uploaded the pic to a file on your computer?

ToDo list - I have a day planner that I carry with me everywhere. It's both my calendar and my to do list. And if things are carrying over to the next week, I just rewrite them on that week's page so I don't have to flip back and forth.

Photos - ugh, the bane of my existence. I don't have a good system so I don't have good advice. :(

Addresses - Excel sheet on my computer. Makes it easy to keep things in alphabetical order and add/delete people.

Music - I don't have a ton of CD's, but the ones I do have are in CD sleeves in a huge binder in my car in alpha order.


B said...

no tips because I am greatly lacking in this department as well. I am anxious to read what others post and hopefully steal some ideas as well. This post was perfect for kicking my patoot in gear!

Amy said...

I loooove organization. Here is what we do:

Finances: I dont use any programs. I write everything down in my checkbook, and I get an email everyday from my bank so I always know what is in our account. I pay all of our bills online. As I get bills in the mail, I open them immediately (so if there is a problem it can be taken care of before its due), then I file them in order of due date. I have a calendar that is only for bills- I write the due dates and check them off when they are paid. Once they have been paid, I file them alphabetically in our filing cabinet, and I keep them for a year (except for bank statements, which I think you are supposed to keep for 7 years).

Meal planning: I plan for 2 weeks at a time. I have a budget of $150 for every 2 weeks- we spend 100 of it at the regular grocery store, then 50 for the bigger items at sams or costco. I write down what we want for the next 2 weeks, then make my list based on what we are having. I also clip coupons. I actually made a post about this a little while ago-

Clothes: I dont really have a system now, I just have to hope I havent worn an outfit too recently. But, in high school, my friend and I would write down everything in a little notebook to make sure we didnt wear the same outfit too close together.

ToDo List: I also carry around a little notebook in my purse. My lists dont get terribly long. I like to have multiple lists based on category. I have one for house to-do's, birthday gift ideas, etc. If its something that I need to do immediately, I usually just write it on a scrap piece of paper or a sticky note so I see it when I get home.

Photos: I name all my photos by the date taken, ex- 083109. Then I organize them in folders, ex- Us, Pets, New York, misc, etc. We also have an external harddrive that we back everything up on.

Addresses: I have an address book. I really only use it for sending Christmas cards, but it works for me. I just have to remember to update it when I know people moved.

Music: We both have Zunes, so we dont have any cds. We used to have a ton, but we put them all on our computers, now they are in a box up in the attic. As for listening in the car, we can hook up the zune, so there is no need for cds.

Hope that helps! Sorry its so long!