Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Resolution Organization

Today, in a bid to both waste time and give myself a break from bill paying and number crunching, I began working on my first resolution project. This idea is courtesy of Sara from 2000 Dollar Wedding.

Introducing. . . The Life Binder!

Don’t get me wrong, the Prince and I have a system of managing the various and sundry bits and pieces of our lives. It looks a little something like this.

Big Box-o-Paper and Stuff.

Classy right? It’s convenient too, especially when the relatives are coming to visit and one needs to clean up in a hurry.

This is especially sad because we actually have two file cabinets. One is full of my art and crafting supplies and the other one is, brace yourselves . . . mostly empty. It is empty because we are both waiting to see who will cave first and FILE THE DAMN PAPERS ALREADY! I won a similar silent battle over the dishes. I’m on a streak and I am reluctant to stop now but something has got to give!

While Sara’s binder is a dream of organization that makes a haphazard poser like me whimper in longing, ours won’t be exactly the same. One, we aren’t that organized. Two, we are, for lack of a better way to put it, us.

For example, Sara includes her vision of the year in her binder--in collage form--which is a whole different level of awesome. The Prince and I created a vision of our life in general in bulletin board/canvas form that hangs on our wall. Similar processes, different applications.
So without further ado, I present to you our Inexplicable Life Binder

Impressive right?

As you will see, I largely owe our organization style to Apple’s iCal. It’s where I keep track of literally everything-my work schedule, when the Little Prince will be spending the weekend with us, when I have to pay bills, when I last badgered representatives of a certain university office, menstrual cycles-yeah overshare, whatever . . . the works. If I did it or was supposed to do it, it’s on my iCal.

“Why not leave it there?” you ask.

Because currently, my laptop setup looks a little like this.

The Good Ole' Franken-Book*

Anyway, my binder is divided into three sections.

Section I is the Life calendar and Weekly Planner. This actually includes two calendars. The main one has color-coordinated life categories. I broke down the things I need to keep track of into six categories.
  • Household, which includes things like menus and meal planning, scheduled cleanings, etc.
  • Appointments, which mostly notes my work schedule as well as any appointments or planned excursions.
  • Family Planning, which is a somewhat unfortunate label for weekends when we have the Little Prince. I could call it Family Weekend but that’s a little too Full House for me.
  • Financial, which includes payment dates for all of my personal bills. The Prince and I have yet to combine finances or decided to what extent, if any, we would combine them so for now I only note my own obligations.
  • Personal Care, which I will use to keep track of certain health related measurements (tactful!) and mostly, because I am kind of vain, grooming schedules. For example, right now my hair and I are in serious boot camp so I need to keep track of protein treatments, deep conditioning, etc.
  • Health and Fitness, which is to keep track of and eventually schedule workouts and also a place to log food diaries.
I use the weekly planner to note daily progress as far as keeping appointments, paying bills, and achieving goals.

The second calendar is a coupon/sale tracker. One of my financial goals is to eliminate debt so I have reigned in personal spending quite a bit. I only note sales and coupons worth the effort. That means dollars off, no exclusions.

Section II is People. I created a form in Word and divided it into three sections: To Call, To Write, and To Email. This is where I will make a note of anyone I need to personally call, send honest-to-God letters, thank you notes or cards, as well as people I need to email.

Section III is Lists. I have been slowly building up a master shopping list of things we somewhat routinely buy. I say somewhat routinely because the Prince is a firm believer in buying in bulk and he is definitely converting me. For instance, we moved to our new place in July and so far we have only purchased toilet paper twice. We do go to the grocery store fairly often though-primarily because I try to limit the amount of processed food that we eat.

There you have it. It looks pretty slim for the moment, but as the months go by it will definitely bulk up. After the holiday season, we will be going at the wedding planning hardcore so that will add a new section. There will also be sections added as we work on things like the family budget and our health and fitness plans.

As far as the aesthetics go, I think I will trim some scrapbook paper to fit the covers and spine to make it a little more purty and a little less blah.

Does anyone else get juiced up about binder organization? It’s a definite favorite of mine. Remind me to show you my sewing pattern storage solution. I happen to think it's awesome.

*Just FYI. Don’t drop a Macbook four feet onto the floor. It still works, but my screen looks like it has been stabbed. The Prince hooked it up to the television for me so I could still have access to my stuff and be able to work because it is going to cost upwards of three hundred dollars to fix-that's like six months of saving on my retail slave pay. So needless to say, I will be Franken-booking it until then.

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