Monday, January 7, 2013

. . . and a Messy New Year!

Hi All!  Happy New Year and all that.

Are you one of those pesky awesome people who make New Years resolutions?  I have tried making resolutions many times, even had a blog called "12 Resolutions" to try to keep myself honest for a whole year.  Want to know how that worked out?  Three words: Lex. I. Pro.  I am way too anxious and distracted to be held accountable to an arbitrary list I made on Dec. 31 when it's the middle of August and I don't give a damn about mending socks or taking Zumba classes.  If you make and keep your resolutions, I bow in your presence.  You are better than me in every way and I'm not worthy of your company.  If you are more like me, welcome to my blog and read on.

Now I'm going to contradict everything I just said in paragraph one.  I didn't exactly make New Years resolutions, but . . .  I have made many to-do lists for the spring.  These are things that have been nagging at me or are just things that I can (and probably should, but I'm not going to go shoulding all over myself) do now that I'm not teaching, the kids are back in school, and the husband is back at work.  In order to NOT LOSE MY MIND looking at lists I've scribbled on envelopes and old homework assignments (which I have done because I just found a pile of them under the printer when I cleaned my desk over the holiday break), I have purchased a few items.  If you are interested in organizing your house, papers, brain, you might find these tools helpful.  You may also think that Mama has gotten sucked in by the vast consumer monster.  Either way, here's what I bought:

A Blank Notebook

This is where I write my daily to-do lists.  Once I cross everything off the list, I tear out the page (but I write on backs because I'm all eco-centric).  If I haven't crossed off everything, the remaining items go on the next list.  I also am using this notebook to gather my writing ideas (I write a column called "Mama Likes" for The Paper.  Check it!) as well as longer-term to-do items, but ultimately, I don't want to jam up the pages because then I will find it overwhelming to look at and won't use it.  Blank notebooks are a cheap fix for the chronically disorganized.  I pay a little extra for pretty notebooks with spiral binding and lined pages because - Cybil Sheppard once said (and I'm dating myself) - I'm freakin' worth it.

Mommy Desk Planner

You can find the awesome at or most any bookstore or calendar kiosk

It's hokey, but it works.  I love me some Sandra Boyton "Mom's Family Desk Planner."  In fact, I've blogged about this love before.  You don't have to buy Boyton's farmyard animal planner, but for me it makes the slog of keeping appointments and getting to lessons on the correct date just a little more festive.  Each week is divided into a Mom column and a Family column, to keep tasks separate and organized.  Plus, the calendar has cutesy (and often funny) illustrations and STICKERS to add to your events.  No, I don't need a sticker of a chicken wearing a birthday party hat to remember my daughter's birthday.  Wait, cancel that.  I actually do.  Look at it!

Don't even try to say that isn't adorable
and last but not least, 

An Organizational Book
I don't think you can actually look inside, but if you go to you can
Okay, I admit it, I lusted after the book Organize Now by Jennifer Ford Berry the moment I picked it up in Jo Ann Fabrics.  That's a lot of confessing in one sentence.  I even pinned it on Pinterest.  (Follow me on Pinterest if you like.  I pin really goofy and lots and lots of orange things.) More confessions.  Maybe it's the spiral binding or the festive bright kelly green cover, but I suspect it's the week-by-week rational approach to organizing your ENTIRE LIFE that suckered me.  I've looked it over and plan to start working through the book today.  I like books like this.  It offers suggestions, bullet points the important directives, and offers workbook space to jot notes.  It also doesn't dictate any one methodology.  The author basically says, hey here's a way to do it, but if you want to start on chapter 5 because you need to seriously organize your personal spaces but your file system can wait, go for it!  I don't feel judged by this book.  Berry also has a website with loads of ideas that I find completely overwhelming.

I also discovered an e-book that might interest you if you're hoping to do some organizing overhauls on your house/schedule/papers/life (also via Pinterest, from whence all good things now come):

Project Organize Your Entire Life

This is the brainchild of the lovelies over at Modern Parents Messy Kids.  I'll be honest, I haven't read the fine print yet, but it looks promising and the e-book is a cheap $6.99, so I plan to investigate.  If you get to it first, please let me know what you think.
Doesn't that sound promising?
Now that I'm not working, per se, I hope to devote much more time to this here blog and my other writing projects.  That's not a resolution, just a public announcement of a goal that I may or may not achieve.  Given that the latter is a mouthful, I may just call this a pseudo-resolution.  I can't continue though if you don't read and respond, so (warning: begging to follow) if you don't already, please follow my blog and leave me a comment so I know you've been here.  I love positive feedback but am tough enough to handle the constructive as well.  I also welcome suggestions.  See, aren't I nice?

I will leave you with what I'm up against
My big girl, Lucy, showing off her muddy paw prints on the newly vacuumed rug