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Friday, January 9, 2009

If You Show Me Your Lists, I'll Show You Mine

I am a lists person. I actually have quite an obsession with them. The lists keep me organized and I find immeasurable joy in the check off. They work for me. They don't work for everyone. I love to hear how other people keep their lists, how they use them, how they organize. I suck every piece of list knowledge out of random strangers. I want to know how you schedule your day, your kids day, how you keep track of homework, chores, groceries, blah, blah, blah.

So, I decided to share how I organize my weekly schedule, meal planning and grocery shopping. I have tried many different book/systems over the years and none of them worked for me, so years ago I made my own.

Having a daily list of to-do's makes me crazy. I work by weeks. I have a notebook that I keep track of EVERYTHING. At the beginning of the year, I sit down with my new notebook and write down week intervals. Each week is titled at the top of the page. Once I have written in the entire year, I go back and write in birthdays. I will also put a reminder on the week before to send a card, etc. If there is something I want to remember to do next Christmas, I write it on the first week of December, etc.

My to-do list functions by what I need to get done/remember for the week. I keep a running list on the left hand side of the page of what I need to accomplish. If it is not done this week, I'll move it to the next. On the right hand side of the page, I keep miscellaneous notes. I'll write down phone #s, messages, information from school, etc. Never, never, never keep random bits of post-its. I write everything here.

On the bottom left of the page I write down the meals I have planned for the week. These are the meals I know I will have groceries for. Each day, deciding on time and schedules, I'll decide which of the meals I want to cook. And of course, I plan out my desserts as well.

On the bottom right of the page I keep a list of anything I need to get at the grocery store. When I run out of honey, butter, eggs, I write it down. My kids and Todd know that if they need to request something from the store, they write it here.

The only other schedule tracker I use is a massive calendar that is the size of Ohio. It's posted in the kitchen.


I went through my 2008 notebook and wrote down every meal, side dish, dessert I made. I then compiled this list that I use as a quick guide to plan my weakly menu:



I also went through and wrote down all of the items that I had made a note to buy at the grocery store. This is a master list of the most common things I buy:



This is how I write my grocery list. This is exactly how my mother always made her list when I was growing up (I know, creepy). It's ingenious. Fold a regular sheet of paper in a fan. Each fan section is used to list an isle/section in the grocery store in the same order that you shop them. I always start in the produce and then work my way down the isles. I just follow my list in order.


If I discover that any of you are going about your daily life just willy-nilly, no lists involved, I'll go bazerk. I'm not kidding. Life can not be lived without a list. If you don't have a list, get one. Now. Otherwise, I'll be forced to make you talk to Addie on the phone. For an hour. I promise, she won't even take a breath. I'd start that list if I were you.....

14 comments :

Bruce said...

WOW!!!

I'm guessing it's a girl thing, or you just have way too much time on your hand! It's ok though...we love ya anyway!

Boog said...

As a former co-worker of T-Bone (aka Todd). Nice organizational skills. Can you say OCD?

Suburban Hippie said...

I am also a crazy list woman; I would never ever be able to keep track of things if I didn't have them written down. I keep all mine scheduled on my email calendar and it emails me reminders... this works well for me since I check my emails so often.

I do hand write my weekly menu plans and grocery list, I used to write it out in order of where things are in the grocery store but I don't usually have time to do that anymore.

So do you hate it when things change last minute?

Rani said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just reading this post makes ME feel more organized. So do you have 'call Rani about VT' on your list for next week? :) I'll put it on my list!

Straight Fancy said...

This is why we are such kindred spirits! i am a list girl too. I like the master list of dinner ideas!

Madison said...

Hey, since I don't have any lists, does it mean I have to talk to Addie? Oh, no. Well, I got to go, I have ALOT of preparing to do...:)

quiet grace said...

WOW...this is brilliant!! I love the fan-folded grocery list. Lists are heavenly...nothing better than crossing something off of it. OCD rocks!!

Ash & Tim said...

This is by far the best list I have seen ever...mine used to be easy with just a calender and a little room to write on the side but the calander is too full. Love this! How how nice of you to inform us all at the beginning of the year so we can try it -I will start this week!!! Thanks!

The Zoo Keeper-ette said...

Awesome ideas!!! Thanks!!! I can't function w/o my list :)

Stacie Cooper said...

wow, all I can say is wow! Some times I make a note here and there but no offical list except for the grocery store. Maybe I'll start doing more though just in case you get my number and decide to let Addie give me a call, I never was much for talking on the phone.

Kerri said...

WOW! I am bowing down at your list making feet!!!! I thought I was organzied but you are the QUEEN!!!

I have an excel spreadsheet grocery list of my common items (with lines for the uncommon items) with check boxes - does that count?? And I make a list every night of things to do the next day.

~shari~ said...

you are an amazing woman Lisa! I'm sorry I never knew you in person, but have been happily getting to know you through your blog! (I'm one of Emily's friends from jr. high/high school)

I try to make lists, but I have not mastered the art of it yet. My grocery list is similar to yours...but I don't use the fan technique...I think I might just have to adopt that one!!! Thanks for sharing!

Tana said...

I used to keep a book in my purse, then I got a palm pilot and I was uber organized and then...my purse was stolen. So now, I try it keep it all in. I can't stand not having complete control so I know I have to remember it myself otherwise I am at the mercy of some stalker that knows exactly the kind of rice and milk that I buy.

Wendy said...

okay...really scary thought. what if the list book 'disappears'...can't imagine what would happen then. (i'm such a paranoid person, ey?) i am overwhelmed by u. i do have special lists for gifts (bdays/xmas), but for every week of the year?!? no way. i am a post-it girl. it's amazing how many post-its i have & some of them are years old. (i even have the little piece of paper suzi gave me when they moved in w/ their names & phone number)..it's in the paper drawer in the kitchen. i did take to writing a weekly list during the holidays, but that is only b/c i felt like was losing my mind. even the grocery list thing...no wonder u could tell me exactly where velveeta was in harmons (the one & only time i ever bought it)! u know me...from hawaii, i only shop sales & hop from grocery store to store depending on who has what on sale. which reminds me...i'm very upset! the albertsons on the corner of state & 114th is closing...i knew when that stoopid WM opened that would happen. now we will have an ugly empty store on the corner...grrrrr!! sorry so long-winded...love & miss y'all so much still!