I can see it from where I sit in my comfy La-Z-Boy in the living room. My organizer. But this time it is no longer the love/hate thing it used to be in the past. See, I used to be glad to NOT see it. “It” was usually scribbled lists on scratch paper, neatly printed schedules on colorful back grounds, or something written in pencil on my date book. I do love my lists, if I can keep them handy. I often tease that I have a Type A/ADD personality. But the Type A side to me is sometimes hard to see it through the ADD chaos.
My sister-in-law knows this about me. She knows I can be a little Type A and an avid list maker. So for my 40th birthday she gave me the most wonderful gift. On the surface it looked like a collage photo frame with 9 4x6 windows. I was grateful because I do have so many photos that I never put up. But she went on to tell me that wasn’t the intention of the gift. The gift, thanks to a post she’d seen online, was to be a dry erase weekly planner! She said “Just put some pretty scrapbook paper in each frame and hang it up as a planner.” My brain started turning over ideas…
DISCLAIMER: Before reading any further, please understand that this post will make me look more organized than I am in real life. This is for informational purposes only, don't think for a moment that I have it all together!
After circling the scrapbook store 27.5 times, I found the perfect colors of paper. I wanted greens, reds, and yellows. But then a little blue also seemed nice. And maybe some brown? Yes, brown looked right! I rushed home, cut the pages to fit the 4x6 windows and put them in the order I thought looked best. Then I took the frame to my friend’s house and she cut out the days of the week and both my son’s names from white vinyl. It looked great!
I rushed home, found the perfect wall in my kitchen and promptly displayed it. I can see this planner from the kitchen, living room and dining room! I can use a simple dry erase marker on the glass pieces. On Sunday’s square I write a Bible verse that we’ll meditate on all week. Monday through Saturday I write down any events going on. (I used to write down our meal plan, too, but my niece made me a Kitchen Menu board that I write the menu on now.) This, it turns out, has brought much joy to my sons. They LOVE knowing what is happening through the week! Who knew?? But there are nine little windows, not seven. So what to do with the 2 extra spaces? Well, my two sons each have a window with their name where we can write down special “to do’s” for them! This has been another life saver; they love to wipe off things when they are finished. Looks like I may be raising list makers???
But that’s not all! This section of my kitchen has now become my Type A Haven. I have had the boys doing “ChorePacks” for quite some time. I love the concept, but they rarely wore the badges that the packs were stored in, and then they’d forget where they set them, and round and round we go. So, I put the chore cards on a metal ring and got rid of the wearable badges. But I still didn’t have a set place for them to be stored. So now I have a hook below each child’s ‘window’ on the frame, and they hang their pack on that hook. The packs I made looked very … boring. So, I borrowed my dear friend’s idea and we bought big price tags at an office store, sprayed a little brown spray paint to make them look more aged and worn, and my friend gave me vinyl cut outs of the boys’ names to put on the front of each pack. Each tag has a chore written in black sharpie. My youngest son also has a little clip art picture of the chore that I printed those off the computer. I put them on a metal ring, tied some strips of fabric to the ring for decoration, and now they look nice when they are hung up by the weekly planner. The first half of their pack holds their chores for the morning, then I glued a tab to show where afternoon chores start, and a tab to show where night chores start. Simple!
And my chores, you ask? I use the SHE method with index cards and a box. So, my box sits below the weekly planner. You may like to look up Sidetracked Home Executives to read more about this method. This helps me keep track of all my jobs, daily, weekly, monthly, annually… and anywhere in between! I used the remaining notebook paper for two final projects. First, I decorated a skinny binder. Inside the binder I have my datebook, my 28 day menu, and my 3 month food supply list. I grab this binder every 2 weeks to prepare my grocery shopping list. And when it isn’t in use, it looks pretty on the counter. And I no longer wonder where I put my date book on any given day.
And this part of the kitchen? It is the part that just makes me smile. After all, we all need to have things that make us smile in the areas that we spend so much time! But it also is my reminder to balance my priorities. Planners are great, no matter what shape they take. But in the end we all have to ‘weigh’ our priorities and decide what is most important. If this planner gets too full, chances are I’m giving up something important for a ‘to do.’ No matter what you use to help you plan, be sure to plan in some ‘white space’ as author and speaker (and homeschool mom) Heidi St. John recommends. Jot down a date night with your spouse, a board game day with the kiddos, a walk to the park, or just leave it open for whatever strikes your fancy. A schedule is not meant to take away flexibility. Don’t let your list make a slave of you. Your list IS your slave.
Hope you all have a blessed week, whatever you have planned! ~ Christa
PS~ See my 5 part series on organization starting here.