Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Organizing Tips From an Unorganized Woman

I confess. I am a rabid list writer, and a rapid list loser. I plan and plan, and scribble lists, notes, reminders, then I usually lose them. This is VERY frustrating for me. My dear mom is quite organized, and for whatever reason, I didn't inherit her abilities with that, or with sewing (rolling eyes and remembering the failed apron attempt in 8th grade Home Ec.). Fortunately I did inherit her goofy sense of humor, cooking skills, and now finally a bit of a green thumb, but that's another post.

When people find out how many kids I have, they usually say, "You must be so organized!" Ha! Not so! I tend to be very easily distracted, and what happens is that instead of doing what should be done, I spend a lot of time thinking about things, jotting them down, and spinning my mental wheels.

This past year I decided to organize my purse. I love big bags and I cannot lie. My biggest shiniest bag is black, with big buckles. While it looks great and I get teased a lot about it, I don't like digging in it for my mints or cell phone or whatever. Diving into the black hole can be frustrating, so I went on eBay and found a marvelous purse organizer. Now everything has its place. I love it. Best of all I can transfer the organizer from bag to bag in seconds.

In my purse organizer I decided to place a cheap-o planner from the Dollar Store, as well as a small notebook, three or four pens, mints, cell phone, wallet, lip gloss, and reading glasses. The idea behind the planner was to use it whenever someone talked to me about upcoming events. It has helped some, and keeping the small notebook in the purse has been great, too. Recently my car broke down along the side of a highway, so while I waited for my beloved to rescue me, I was able to plan out some things for our church's VBS, MOPS group, and other things. Now if I would only remember to check the purse planner and transfer information to the main calendar in the kitchen.

Since I spend a good amount of time on the computer most days, I decided that it would be good for me to have electronic reminders, too. I figured it's impossible for me to lose a desktop computer, so it's feasible that having reminders on said computer may be useful. To that end, allow me to share two of my favorite computer reminder programs.

Letter Me Later is a fantastic free service that allows me to compose email reminders to myself to be sent at later dates. I created a free account, then proceeded to write myself various reminder emails. Today I received one reminding me again of a MOPS playdate tomorrow. I made a few Letter Me Later notes to remind me of library book due dates and things like that. (Let me just say how sobering it is to have a large library fine... grrrr!) I created a free separate gmail account for use with this service, then set the email account to forward all mail to my main account. Voila`! Works like magic.

Hott Notes is another of my favorite applications. This free download runs on my desktop and creates cool little sticky notes. Right now I have a drop-down graduation party to-do list and a shopping list sitting on my desktop. These little notes are movable and collapsible. I can even set notes to ring an alarm.

This past week I spent tons of time planning for our son's graduation party. I had lists of guests, food amounts, soda quantity calculations, chores, and tasks in one large red notebook. Do you think I can find the notebook? Well, actually I did find it with all my other graduation stuff, but not after looking for it in vain for a couple days. What's with that? Never mind.

Regardless of my ineptitude, I hope my tips might actually work for others.


  1. Great ideas! I will definitely be checking out and using a few of those, especially Letter Me Later and Hott Notes! Thanks for the tips!

    You sound very organized to me! Funny, most homeschooling moms of large families I meet (and myself included) usually claim to be not very organized. Those who say they are very organized, tend to have smaller families or don't homeschool, LOL! I wonder if having lots of kids and homeschooling tends to test us to the point where we *realize* that we are not as organized as we may have otherwise thought! I know that my lifestyle has forced me to learn to put in place many solutions that I wouldn't have sought out or given much thought to otherwise.

    What a great God we serve, who provides what we need when we need it, including organizing solutions for busy moms!

  2. Anonymous3:17 AM

    I am also into handbags in a big way and there always seems one more I need to buy =)

    Biggest problem I have is that I seem to carry my whole life inside my bag and it is difficult to find anything when I need it, especially when I am in a hurry or laden down with shopping....

    I recently purchased a very clever purse organizer called PurseNeat from Nice colors, mine is pink. The best thing about Purseneat is it has a removable pocket / extension which can be added or removed according to the size of the handbag. I can use it in my medium or large handbags and everything always stays in the same pocket =D I love, love, love this convenient feature!

    Best of all when I am running late in the mornings, I can simply grab my purseneat and transfer it to a new bag which matches my outfit.

    This handy organizer really helps to keep all of my things organized and within easy reach. It helped me and I hope it will help you too ;-)

  3. People often accuse me of being organized too... HA, if they only knew! I think out of our disorganization comes the need to use gimmicks and gadgets to become organized. I like to call myself a "creative thinker" (that's pc for "very distracted"). My DH bought me a Palm Pilot for Christmas... Wow, that thing is awesome. I have every list I can think of on Splash Shopper, all I have to do is check off what I need and off I go... no more paper lists. There is even a Bible with note taking capabilities so when I am trying to get out the door with my toddler I always remember my Bible. Also I have been embarrassed when I am the only mother on the planet that doesn't have pictures of her kids in her wallet... now I just proudly whip out my Palm. :) By the way, my DH liked mine so much (he actually started using MINE until I growled at him like a mother bear protecting her cubs) now he has his own and we can beam each other our calendars,etc. Yes, we're nerds!

    Anyway, it's nice to know I am not alone. By the way, I never heard of the purse organizer thingy.. I am curious what it looks like, is there a link to a picture of one? One more step to making people *think* we are organized.