More organizing!

But this time, it’s my brain!

I have this wonderful calendar on our dining room wall. 
Yes, it’s distant and blurry on purpose.  But you get the idea.  And my handwriting is *not* small like my engineer hubby’s, if that tells you how nice and giant this is.
It has the basics – things the kids and hubby need to keep an eye out for.  Lovely, huge, lined squares for the stickers, my not-so-little handwriting, multiple events on single days, etc.  But it’s not for mommy’s daily brain dump of grocery lists and books I need to get from the library and all that.

Then, sometime in the fall, I found this wonderful, lovely organizer/calendar that took the place of my somewhat messy plain notebook (where I couldn’t always find what I wanted, when I wanted it). 

Don’t get too excited there, the lady that invented them is closing down.  So no more brain dump in the orange book for me.  Sigh.   I’d even just got the kids used to “Mom’s orange notebook” and even the 2yo could go and find it for me.  The reason this planner rocked my socks off?

Is what it looks like inside.  One page with a grid layout for the week, other side with space for a weekly to-do list and other scribbles.  So, on the left page of mine you’d see my list of stuff I have high hopes of getting done that week, grocery lists, phone numbers of someone new I met (get your minds out of the gutter, usually a new mommy or something) or an address/directions to somewhere, hours someplace is open until, a friend’s email address that I need to email.  On the right, I have one vertical line for kids (swim lessons, dentist appts, co-op), to-do (for those day-sensitive things), breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But wait, the seasons change and it’s gardening season now!  The current incarnation is kids, to-do, garden, breakfast & lunch, dinner.  I can switch up my categories at any time, which is brilliant!!!

But alas, they will no longer be made.  And I’d had a few small issues (fairly small!) with the orange doodad, so I set out to create my own. 

I needed more room for phone numbers.  Despite being a hermit, I actually do know a nice amount of people nowadays, and it is nice having the numbers (and sometimes addresses!) written down.

I needed space for my weekly recipes.  I go through and plan the week’s meals, then yoink out the recipes I’m going to need and plop them in my planner for easy access during the week.  Bonus is that when I’m planning it out and grab the recipes, I can check and make sure I don’t need anything from the store.  If I do, that gets scribbled on a list.

I needed more than two pockets.  I needed space for a few fliers, the few coupons I do get/have, other little pieces of paper, receipts, whathaveyou.

About a year and a half ago, an online friend told me I could find something I was looking for at Levenger (yes, I’ve been scribbling stuff in there for a year and a half, it’s actually kinda cool).  Upon receiving their catalog, I totally fell in love with their Circa system.  Seriously, it’s totally my kind of thing.  I like changing things up and being able to add/take away things depending on my needs (see above, the changing of categories).  After drooling over the priciness for well over a year, I discovered that Staples came out with their own less-expensive version!!!  Yeehaw!  So I set about pulling things together to make this a reality. 
I’m still going to look longingly at this little blue beauty, but hey, that’s like a monthly power bill over here.

Ta da!
This baby was slowly assembled.  I first started assembly in April, and have been slowly tweaking it to how I need/want it.

I’m sure the cover isn’t as nice as Levenger’s leather cover.  But it was $7 for pretty flowers and not $100 for blue leather.  What can you expect, you know?  I tried the 1.5-inch discs, but they were just too big for the small book, so fluffy with 1-inch discs it is.

I used half-sheet dividers and half-sheet pockets I’d had on hand for either a 3-ring binder or some other thing, and just used the punch on them (one at a time).  So I’m happy to report that Staples’ punch does punch through those plastic layers – yay!  I did them one at a time so as to not overload it though.  I love these particular dividers though because the tabs there? 

You can use pencil (maybe pen).  And when you change your mind?  You can erase it and put a new category on it – I’ve had the same set of these dividers (in different notebooks) for almost 10 years.  Easy peasy.  See my theme of changing it up? 

I sometimes put my pencil/eraser/pen in the coupon envelope, sometimes not.  Still deciding what I prefer.  It’s less huge if I just stick those utensils in a pocket in my purse.

That’s where the spiral bound orange notebook above was okay, but not.  I could shove a pencil or pen in there, but you know how spiral bound stuff gets all smushed and beat up with frequent use.  I would classify this little written down brain of mine in the ‘frequent use’ category.

Go past the coupons, and there’s my business card pages.  Yup, I totally custom-punched holes from standard little business card holders.  Yes, I totally printed wallet photos of me and the kids to use as my own personal business cards – put phone number and kid names on the back.  Especially for neighbors – so they can let me know if the kids were doing something they shouldn’t and I managed to miss it.

More business cards.  These are the multiples of things – so I can give someone a card to the groovy used homeschool book store or my swim lesson gals.  Folks that I’ve been pleased with, and have no qualms about sending more business their way.  I’m all about spreading the love.  If I’m happy with the service I get and don’t feel I need to hoard your attention/product, you betcha I’m going to get more customers your way so you stay in business.  That’s just how I roll.

First divider.  See that cute orange pocket?  Yeah.

And now we have the school section.  Rough co-op activity plans, a more solid schedule (I’m still tweaking that, no photos yet), scribbled down books that I think the kids would be interested in at some point, and so on. 

I haven’t gotten monthly sheets yet because I haven’t found one I like enough yet.  Plus it’s a total pain in the ass to try and print them out half sheet size, back-to-back like a crazy booklet.  Soon.

The weekly magic, which I’m still tweaking.  But this is so, so nice.  I can just flip through and yup, there’s the kids’ dentist appointment in July.  Since I can just go and write things down, it’s less likely I’ll end up with a rogue piece of paper that ends up getting lost in the shuffle.

Here’s a blank week before I’ve really gotten into it.

A completed week.  See all my scribbles?  And post it notes.

Post it notes always come in handy.  This is a messy, completed week.  Last week in fact.  The post-its are strategically placed so I had to edit less out.

This week looks fairly benign so far – I haven’t had to add too many more things yet.  Yet.  Grocery ads don’t come out until tonight.

Oh!  Part of why I love this so much?!?  I can tailor those vertical categories to whatever.  Earlier in the year it was kids/school, my to-do, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Now, it’s kids/school, my to-do, the garden, breakfast/lunch (in the same box) and dinner.  So I have it all in front of me, and oh yeah, I need to thaw some chicken.

The recipe part.  With a few sheets for menu planning and a shopping list, and pockets for the coupons and recipes.  I may have a copy of my Costco price list in here at some point if I can shrink things enough with them still being legible.  That pocket?  For randomness.  Like the Cheesy Burger and Potato Soup recipe a cook at a local place so kindly gave me when hubby and I went out for lunch one day.

Gardening/Canning tab.  May change to something else for a few months during the winter, who knows.
Planting schedule, a list of garden to-dos, sketchy garden layout, and lately I’ve been writing down what I’ve been doing, and when.  And when the strawberries started to bloom this year and when I started harvesting asparagus.

This year’s tentative garden plan.  We’re moving things around, planning for this year and mostly next year (it’s another recovery year, those weeds are vicious!).  Will be nice to get the yard how we want it.

And lastly, notes and receipts.  Blank lined and unlined paper, a folder pocket.  For, whatever.

Address book.  Yeah, this was a pain.  I couldn’t find any freebie address pages that I actually liked.  So I’d found a nice new address book not long ago, worked around the twine binding, and yoinked a page from each alphabet category.  Cut off the rough edges from pulling them out, and stuck in protective sheets/sleeves.  I like writing addresses in pencil because, well, they always change.  Addresses, phone numbers, email, everything changes at some point.  So I like to erase.  Only problem is that with frequent use, pencil can get a little smudgy.  Problem solved, and it looks fairly nice to boot.

The very end.  A pocket sheet folder thingie that holds actual half-sized sheets (so yeah, on the left you’ll see my needs-to-be-updated Costco price list, to the right is how Children’s History of the World and Story of the World and two Usborne books all collide topic wise and the ensuing crazy list – need to tweak into half-sized sheets).


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