Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organizing: Brain In A Binder


Last fall I went to a Hearts At Home conference.  I did a session with Karen Ehman called "Keeping Your Ducks In A Row".  She gave all types of great tips for organizing.  One that I loved was Brain In A Binder.  It is crazy and yes I am still getting used to.  She keeps hers on the kitchen counter and I keep mine in my organizer in the dining room.  I have pictures below so you can see mine.

The cover is the picture of my family - My Husband Shawn and my two kids, Bryson and Keelin.
The next page is my "mission statement" - the reason I do what I do
I combined my Daily Task and Weekly Task into a spreadsheet form that I hang on my bulletin board by my calendar.  That way I can always see and so can Shawn.  I use this so now I spread out the house cleaning through out the week plus the monthly to do's are on there as well.  I really like it so far!
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

The next several pages are my Yearly items (I am still developing these because I just started)
The next page is my Weekly Menu and Shopping List.  I create several menus and rotate them so I don't have to think of new foods every week. (I am working on this still - we are changing the way we eat so I haven't got into a groove yet.)

The next section is folders - there are 5 folders - Family, Shawn, Salena, Bryson and Keelin
This is where I file all the papers that pertain to whomever.  Invites, calendars, schedules.  My calendar doesn't have enough room to put all the details so I write the basic and then put the details in the appropriate folder and refer to it when needed.

This has been helpful so far and I look forward to using it more as Bryson enters school and has more things to be a part of.

Another thing she does is a Today Clipboard.  You get a clipboard that opens up where you can store stuff.  On the clipboard is a "Todays Sheet".  You write things for that day on it.  The items inside are those that need to be taken care of that night before bed.  Example: A permission slip for school.  When you kid comes home and gives you the permission slip you place it in your clipboard and before you go to bed you fill it out and place it in his bag.
This is great because you can keep the papers all in one place.  I am sure as your kids get older they will know to put important papers in your clipboard.  I can email the sheets too so you can see what I have and start with that.  I am still forming mine but I love it so far!  (

Here's a link to Karen's page too :

Here is a link to the teaching from Hearts At Home that you can purchase (CD or MP3):
Keeping Your Ducks In A Row would be for this concept.

Below are pictures.

Front of the Binder
Mom's Mission Statement
Daily Tasks
Weekly and Monthly Task
Yearly Task (one page)

Shopping List (one page)
One of the folders
Today's Clipboard

Inside Clipboard

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Organize: Organizing Magazine Articles

I LOVE magazines and all the great ideas they provide.  I have a problem with magazines though - how do you keep them all since they all have good stuff?  I found a system that works for me.

I have 5 binders that I use:
1- Decorating - in most magazines - Pottery Barn, Real Simple...I find some great decorating ideas.
2- Recipes - in every magazine I find recipes that I like
3- Children - in my Parents and Family Fun magazines I find tons of things about children - activities, guidance...
4- Tip Talk - in Woman's Day they have a section called Tip Talk that are great little handy tid bits
5- Projects- gift ideas, kids projects

These are the different articles that I like to keep and so I have them organized in one of the binders.  Once I am done reading the magazine completely I rip out the articles I want to keep, put them in sheet protectors and put them into one of my binders.

My Binders for Magazine Articles (Sorry they are backwards for you)

Thanks to my cousin Brooke, she has been sending two magazines to me "HomeLife" and "ParentLife" so I will be adding another binder of spiritual/life direction.  These magazines deal with life, marriage, work and parenting.  I have grown to love these two magazines.

My Decoration Binder - A babies room idea and a bathroom sink idea

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Other Posts I Am Going To Share

Here are some of the ideas I am going to share in the days to come:
  • Brain In A Binder
  • Organizing Magazine Articles
  • Organizing Pictures and creating Photo Books to capture memories
  • Organizing our Children's milestones and memories
  • Organizing Medicine and First Aid Supplies
  • Organizing Movies
  • Organizing Menus
  • Organizing Toys
  • Organizing My Purse
Well see how it goes.  If you have suggestions of what you would like to see, let me know and I can dig into it!!

Daily Walk Bible

I know this may sound crazy but as a mom and wife, life is so busy and one of the things that can so easily slip in life (at least for me) is spending time in God's Word.  A friend of mine, Gina Quinn, gave me this great Bible that has helped me to stay focus on what to read each day.  It is "The Daily Walk Bible - New Living Translation".  The older version is the one I have but the newer version is the same just a different lay out for the reading.  (Links Below to both Bibles).  The older one is out of print so you have to usually buy a used one.

This morning I woke up early and sat out on the porch with my sweatpants and sweatshirt on reading God's word.  I don't like coffee but it would have been the perfect setting for a cup.  Oh it felt so good.  I am still trying to get into the routine I want and when to read but I will get there.  Sometimes mornings are good and sometimes night is good so right now I am just making sure I fit it in.

This is so simple but the Bible is "organized" and that is how my brain works:)

The Daily Walk Bible- Older (I have the soft cover)
The Daily Walk Bible- Newer

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Organize: Organizing Files and Paperwork

My organizing area in the dining room.  Sorter has lots of everyday stuff.  The top is my Brain In a Binder (I will share someday with you all).  The middle is my file box.  The bottom is supplies.  The Calendar is great to keep the basic info.  I put the invites and all details of an event in my Brain In A Binder so I can go there and grab what I need instead of trying to fit it all on the calendar.
About two weeks ago I took a day off a work to relax but also to organize my files and paperwork.  I just kept shoving papers in file folders in the cabinet but I was tired of the craziness going on.  So I decided to CLEAN OUT!!  I took all the paperwork that wasn't necessary and put it in a garbage bag to burn (too much for me to shred).  I kept only the paperwork that was recent.  Lots of bills and paperwork can be found online so this is why I decided to clean out.  It felt so good.  I also needed to add files, change names of files and separate some files.  I got the label maker out and made labels for all the files.  It looks so nice and organized!!!  Watch out because I could easily label everything in the house!

I like to organize my files by the name of the company not by month or date.  In my dining room I have an expandable file box that fits in my organizer that I have on my wall they I immediately put the mail in that needs to be paid or filed.  At the beginning of each month when I do the bills, I clean out the bills to be paid slot and then I do the filing for the month.  I like this system because it is not overwhelming to me because it is once a month.  I will post pictures of my filing cabinet and also my dining room organizer.

In my storage closet, I keep the very important past documents pretty much just taxes:)  This way I go to it once a year and I don't have those items taking up space in my file cabinet that has current information stored.

I have a book called Organizing From The Inside Out and it has some great tips especially depending our your personality and what would work for you.  it also goes through each room, closet in your house and gives you tips on how to clean out, sort and organize.  Great Book!!!

Here is a link to the book on Amazon:
My portable file box that I put things in when the mail comes in and then I file from here once a month.

My labeled filing cabinet.  I was going to line them all up but that will come some day.  Just happy they are all labeled.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Organize: Organizing Kids Clothes

Today I ventured into organizing the kids clothes.  I have a 5 year old boy, Bryson and a 21 month old, Keelin.  With fall coming I am having to take inventory of what they have in their closets and what they are in need of for the next season.  I went through and weeded out the clothes that are going to be too small for them in the next season.  After getting all of the clothes out, I then retrieved my Rubbermaid Totes from the garage and put the same sizes together.  I made a tote for 5T Boy Clothes and a tote for 18-24 month Girl Clothes.  If you could only see my garage and how many totes I have you would know that I am addicted to Rubbermaid Totes.  I love the Purple Rough Tough ones!  They are durable and stackable.

After getting the closets cleaned out, I took inventory of what I needed for both kids for the fall.  I love to keep the clothes choices simple and flexible.  I don't buy specific outfits but outfits that can interchange with each other.  I keep the shoes simple too.  I can't believe how fast the kids grow out of clothes and I don't have a huge budget to buy tons of clothes.  I visited Once Upon A Child today in Ann Arbor and was amazingly shocked at all I found.  I got Bryson 3 pairs of pants, a pair of shoes, 2 shirts, a pair of flannel PJ's and Keelin 2 pants, 3 dresses all for $50.  Most of them were Old Navy brand which if I went to Old Navy I would have spent $50 just on Bryson's pants.  They are all in great condition and now I just need a few more things to complete their fall wardrobe.

Their closets and dressers are cleaned out and organized.  I feel accomplished!!

Why Start A Blog

I was thinking the other day about starting a blog...what do I name it, what would I talk about, who will read it...Not sure on any of those answers but here I am.  I named the organizing parent.  I LOVE to organize!!  I could reorganize over and over again.  I figured I could use this blog to give tips on organizing that are practical and simple that I use.  I also figured as a parent there is so much to learn from being a parent so I will share lessons from my own family.  I also like to share tips on saving money or cool things I come across or even recipes.  I think making life easy is what I am all about.  I believe being organized helps enjoy life and you don't waste time.  So I hope I can do this blog and it will be helpful to whoever reads it.  Enjoy!!!