A little series is being born! We are getting organized here. Reasonably organized (in the same spirit as the Reasonably Clean House — no overwhelmingness!)
The first post: sticky notes to the rescue for those of us who have commitment anxiety when it comes to using a precious notebook for something as irrevocable as taking notes.
Then, making a notebook out of found materials may help, and at least is cute and allows us to handle paper in our dreamy way, if not actually to use it.
I thought I might show you some other ways I use to keep myself from forgetting things… if for no other reason than giving you that great sense that you are doing okay, after all!
I was talking to Rosie and she was mentioning the beautiful Bullet journal of dear Bobbi from Revolution of Love. Go look. Right? How appealing is that? Maybe we can get Rosie to show us her own attempts, inspired by Bobbi’s, because I can assure you that this will never happen for me — there is commitment all over those pages! Pages and pages of beautiful commitment!
My commitment anxiety is why I still have a big, blank wall in my dining room:
Someday to be a photo wall, probably coming together around a major holiday. (This is a reference to me finally hanging some paintings in the living room on Thanksgiving morning, which almost certainly took a few months off Natasha’s life, although I hope not — by now she knows me, right?? And she was so helpful! Without her and the rest of Team Commitment, couldn’t have done it. Pictures to come.)
We are all about doing things the pretty way here at LMLD, which, sadly, the Post-It way of To-Dos is not.
I already admitted that.
And I pledge to you that I will work on upping the aesthetics, probably using the glue stick stuff that was mentioned in the comments, but it will take me a while.
Today let’s talk about all the other ways of getting your life Reasonably Organized. Aristotle (not to pull out any heavy guns or anything) said that we ought to have right order. And we should put in the proper amount of time into achieving right order – the time itself must be ordered. In other words, I at least often fail at my efforts to organize because of two things: 1. I just don’t, or 2. I put an inordinate amount of time and energy into doing something that doesn’t merit it.
Also, know thyself, because if you are the type to go down the rabbit hole of organizing systems, you may never emerge to, you know, get things done.
So what works for me in the different areas of life? There’s no one system. It’s a collection.
Figuring out menus: I have worksheets for you and a really fool-proof method of getting the food organized, shopping for it, and keeping notes about it. You will need a binder, most likely.
Deep thoughts: For those, I use notebooks, journals, and Evernote. The latter is good for those things you are collecting as you are online. Quotes, sites, smart essays that you don’t want to lose. Not everything! Just the good stuff you want to return to — bits of info that, back in the day, you would have clipped and put in a filing cabinet.
So this notebook here on top:
Too good/pretty/formal to actually use as a journal. It holds the names, birthdays, christening days, and other info of my grandchildren. I use my best handwriting in it. I agonized about how many pages to leave in between each child… The map-covered one was some sort of attempt to write about one particular category of ideas. Can’t even remember. The battered one is my actual journal, kept over about 10 years, so, yeah. And under that…
A five-year journal.
Let me explain.
You think you will remember the actual events of your life (as opposed to how you felt about them and your deepest most intimate thoughts about them), but the years will go by and you won’t even remember them at all, much less the year they occurred. Things like the names of the couple who befriended you in Rome, or that you met anyone on that trip, or what your favorite restaurant was, or the sequence of events that time the sale of the house fell through, or what the lawyer’s funny secretary said at the meeting. Ever wonder how, in their memoirs, people remember all those names and events?
Well, they had what amounts to a log. This is that.
This is the best 5-Year Journal I could find. I started it in the middle of last year, and that is why the year above is blank — by July it will be the second entry on each page. Now is a good time to start yours. It could be kept by more than one person in the family. The point is to log what happened — and that is why in historical records you will find “bought six carts of hay” along with “Dad died” which seems heartless but — that’s the kind of record it is. You write in it every day. Just a little.
Finally, I learned that for purposes of writing and giving talks, I need quotes and references on index cards. So now you know how hopelessly old-school I am, despite my best efforts to do things digitally. However, there is no substitute, I have found, for going through those note cards and being able to handle them, put them in the order I want and need, and then file them back away. I am going to need a bigger card file, though…
Yes, there are 3 x 5 cards and 4 x 6 cards. All in there together.
I also learned — too late, alas, but trying to make up for it now — that it’s a good idea to write in your books (one of the many good thoughts in How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler). I used to be super anti marking up a book. But — you don’t want to have to reread all your books (unless you want to!) in order to remember what you thought. You want to have a conversation with your future, possibly busy-because-she’s-preparing-a-talk-or-teaching-a-class-or-simply-making-a-point self.
Underline and make notes in the margin in a way that doesn’t make the text unreadable — but do it.
(This charming page is from The Memoirs of Louis Bouyer, a book with a fantastic beginning and a fantastic ending — and basically a romp through his log book in between — names and dates and places and not too much more!)
Google calendar: You need it to be able to see your recurring and one-time events and those of your spouse. You can have a big white board in the kitchen, but if you are both on the go, online is best. Want to escape from the sense that your husband has no idea when soccer practice is, even though it’s the same blasted days every week? Put it on the sync-able calendar. Ditto pulling all your calendars together. In the olden days, I had yet another binder for all the sports and activities’ calendars, and I’d have to transfer them all onto my big kitchen calendar. Now, that activity better use a google calendar so you can add it to yours. You can color code them, and it’s amazing.
Pinterest: I think that those who find Pinterest useless are using it all wrong. You might want to read this post on how Pinterest can help you train your eye and become a better homemaker (that post has another link in which I talk about it even more).
Homeschooling: I will put all that in another post. It’s too old-fashioned for you anyway!
Those are my ways. They may not be your ways, and that’s fine! Tell us how you do it!
And know that it’s still like this, next to my desk: