As we prepare to go back to school, I am trying to make sure I’m as organized as possible. There have been cooking days so the freezer will be stocked with healthy meals, there have been closet and dresser cleaning days, and now I’ve purchased a new planner as well. I was enjoying bullet journaling, but it wasn’t the best use of my time.
I looked at pricier planners like those designed by Erin Condren and Emily Ley, and while I liked them, I wasn’t sure I could justify spending $60 on an agenda I’d only use for a year and a half. Enter the Day Designer by Blue Sky.
Cute, lightweight, and only $20. The front pages of the agenda contain spaces for setting goals and creating a plan for accomplishing those goals.
It also features both monthly spreads and weekly spreads. I have started color coding my calendar entries: one color for each family member and a separate color for church activities.
I use it to record activities and appointments for all four of us, plus work and blog stuff for me.
Each calendar has a space for a to do list, setting goals, and reflection.
I use the weekly spread to track habits and set three main goals. There is also space to record things you’re grateful for.
I also track fitnesss plans, blog posts, and plan meals. A weekly to do list is included as well.
There are also blank pages in the back where you can do whatever you like. I use them to make lists, plan blog posts and record important dates:
I like to use sticky note pads for my shopping lists and things that are subject to change, such as Christmas lists and thrift store shopping lists.
Each night before you go to bed, reflect on the day, but take a peek at tomorrow. What do you need to do? Where do you need to be? Looking at your agenda each day ensures that you remember what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be.
Organizing is a huge part of my life (and my income) but it can be expensive. I want to share some cost effective ways to get organized.
1. Shop your home
You’d be surprised what bins and baskets you may have around the house. I have several that I am not currently using, so I always look through those before I buy anything new.
2. Target, HomeGoods, Dollar General, Big Lots
Those are just some of my favorite places to buy bins and baskets without breaking the bank.
Just look at Target’s current offerings:
Hobby Lobby has a nice selection, but they are pricy. They do have frequent sales and coupons, so if you’re a HL fan, you may want to watch for those. HomeGoods and Marshalls have lots of high end choices for a fraction of the price.
I bought these cute metal baskets from Dollar General.
I’d steer clear of Dollar Tree baskets though. They’re not very big and they often don’t hold up well. They do make nice drawer organizers, though.
3. Make Something
I have covered diaper boxes with fabric and also with twine and rope. I have covered shoe boxes with fabric and paper, and then embellished them with book plates. Get creative! You’d be surprised what you can upcycle.
Organization is life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Tips and Tricks Tuesday. Have a great day.
Have you ever paid attention to the bins and baskets aisle at your local Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree? If you haven’t, you definitely should.
For example, these little white baskets are 3 for a dollar. They are in use all over my house and they make excellent drawer organizers. Here they are organizing some hair bows in my oldest daughter’s dresser.
Next up are plastic chests of drawers. We use them in our bathroom vanities to give us a little more storage space inside the cabinets.
We also use the little plastic baskets as drawer organizers here as well.
Fabric drawers have many uses and are a steal at $4. Here we use them to organize our playroom.
Dollar Stores also have some pretty sweet deals on hangers. I bought the velvet coat hangers in this closet from the Dollar Tree and they have held up amazingly well.
Dollar store baking dishes Make awesome storage bins for your fridge. Plus, the glass ones are dishwasher safe. Plastic food storage containers work well for fridge bins, too.
The Dollar General stores have these awesome metal baskets, which I am using to store cleaning supplies.
There are a number of different plastic bins available, which we use all over the house in a variety of ways.
These are just a few of my favorite dollar store organizing tools. Please comment down below to share a few of your favorites.
I used to create and print this eleaborate calendar. It was great, but too big and too bulky, and it wasn’t very durable. It was also time consuming to design and assemble.
Enter this pretty little $14 agenda from Anthropologie.
It has whole month calendar pages
And weekly pages as well.
There are also blank pages in the back, which I’ve used for a number of things. Some of them I have used to paste in my own pages.
And on others, I draw or write in whatever I need it to be.
Now that I’m getting into bullet journaling, I can see how these boring, handwritten lists will be much more eye catching in the future.
I met a girl at a teaching workshop I attended earlier this year who had a gorgeous bullet journal. She graciously allowed me to photograph it.
I am learning to use my agenda to organize the things I am scheduled to do, the things I need to do, and the things I want to do. I am also using it to set some goals and keep track of other things.
Each evening, I look back over my day and I look to tomorrow to get a good idea of what I need to accomplish. I also make sure I’m ready for the next day.
I am encouraging my readers to share their agendas. How do you use your agenda? What does it look like? Do you make your own from scratch or customize a pre-made one like I do? Please comment and show me your agendas.
No one in my house is a morning person. In fact, everyone in my house dislikes waking up early and getting out of bed.
You might say for this reason, our mornings are always rushed. Here are a few tips for getting yourself out the door in a relatively calm fashion, even when mornings aren’t your favorite time of day.
1. Be as organized as possible. Having to look for things not only makes you late, it makes you stressed. If you know where everything is, your day will start much easier.
2. Prep your outfits, right down to undies and accessories, the night before. Then you just get up, get ready and get dressed.
3. Set the timer on your coffee pot and eat a make ahead breakfast. Mufflets, pictured above, can be taken out of the freezer, popped in the microwave, and eaten on the go. Overnight oats is a good option too.
4. Put any bags you’ll need to take either in your vehicle the night before, or by the front door. This helps you to not forget things you need to take.
And lastly, don’t forget to look at your calendar/planner/to do list each night to see what you need to do the following day.
I try to do a post each week on organizing: usually I post about something I’ve organized, or I share some organizational tips I’ve learned along the way.
I am asked the following questions on a regular basis: why is organizing so important to you? AND why should I care about it?
As a teacher of middle school students, I have been able to observe that some people are naturally more organized than others, while others are extremely disorganized by nature. Those who are disorganized can become organized, but they really seem to have to work hard to change their natural tendencies.
Since childhood, I’ve been the happiest and functioned the best in an orderly environment, but some of my most used organizational strategies are things that I have had to teach myself to do.
Being organized has a lot of benefits, and some of them are even beneficial to your health. Surprisingly, organization is something that has been widely researched. Today, I’d like to share some of those things with you.
Being organized creates a calming environment.
Having a place for everything and putting everything away makes for a more tidy, less cluttered environment. According to a study by Personality and Psychology Journal, women who had cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, not having a designated place for everything leads to losing things. Not being able to find something when you want or need it can make you stressed out and frustrated. This leads me to the next point.
2. Being organized saves you time.
I once read that the average person spends four years of their lives looking for things. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that my days run much more smoothly if I don’t have to search for the things I need. I also know from experience when things are not located in a timely manner, it takes time to find them, and then I’m stressed and running late. When you are a working mother, you have to juggle getting yourself and your children ready in the mornings, and you actually have to leave. Time tends to be tight at our home in the mornings, and the less I have to look for, the better. I don’t want to be redundant, but I’ve already mentioned how having to locate something takes time and makes you frustrated. Wouldn’t it be so much better to spend that time doing something you’ll actually enjoy?
3. Being organized increases productivity.
Not only can clutter distract you and stress you out, it can also decrease your productivity.The Journal of Neuroscience said looking at too many things at once can actually overload your visual cortex and interfere with your brain’s ability to process information. Having an organized work space means that you can accomplish more things at a reasonable pace. I know from personal experience that if I leave my desk messy at the end of the day, just the sight of it will stress me out the next morning. This was starting my days off on the wrong foot, so I knew I had to tidy up my desk top at the end of the day.
Making to-do lists of things that need your attention help you remember your tasks, but it also feels really good to check off those completed items.
4. Being organized can save you money.
How many times have we bought something to replace an item we needed but couldn’t find? What about when you buy something you already have a lot of, because you didn’t know how much you already had? This happened with me in our pantry. Before I re-organized it, I got really slack about putting things away in the pantry. Then, I ended up buying several canned foods we didn’t need, because I couldn’t see the cans to see what was already there. We ended up with about 8 cans of corn, when we really only needed 3 or 4.
5. Being organized can help others in your family to become more organized.
Sometimes, modeling good organizational habits CAN help our children to learn the same ones. I say “sometimes” and “can,” because some children still require a lot of effort to become organized adults. I’ve also read studies that suggest being organized improves your relationships with others for many of the same reasons I’ve already listed above.
Because I cannot leave this post without offering some tips, I thought I’d share a few of those as well. To become more organized, start by writing down everything you need to remember or need to do. Checking off completed tasks truly does feel good. Also, when you’re tackling a big job, break it into smaller pieces. This actually helps you to accomplish the task completely, and it makes it far less overwhelming. My last piece of advice is to be flexible. Often, I have unrealistic expectations and I will cram too much into one day. It’s hard, but sometimes I just need to accept that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Rushing through a job just to get it done ultimately helps no one!
Have a wonderful week. I have some great organizational posts to share with you next week.
Every Christmas, I schlep my way to our shed and unpack all my Christmas Décor and get down to business. While my ornaments and Décor are special and important to me, my most valuable Christmas related item is my Holiday Planning Binder.
It’s a nondescript green polka dot binder, but I love it.
It’s not fancy in the least but it helps me so much.
When I find recipes and Décor Ideas in magazines , I rip them out and put them here for future reference. I also made a few printables to help me get started.
For starters, a December calendar.
I use it to keep track of whom I’m sending Christmas cards.
There are checklists for party planning, decorating and traveling.
I use it to plan parties and celebrations.
I have included links to my free printables just for you. Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas. Just right click on the files below and save them to your computer to download. Thanks!