Home & Garden

My Chaotic Attempts at Organization – with One Year Update

Moms are busy on multiple levels. You are not just in charge of you. You have to know the schedule for the whole household and make sure everyone else knows what’s going on, and then make sure everything is accomplished as scheduled.

Good thing I’m obsessed with getting organized! Day planners, calendars and lists actually make me excited. I love getting new planners and planning what to put in them. It’s like each time I get one, there’s this magical promise that this will be THE ONE that gets my life in order.

I usually start out pretty gung-ho, filling in dates and events. I feel really on top of things. Then slowly I falter, and eventually forget to keep filling things out and once again fall into chaos. I’ve tried many things. Some worked, some didn’t, some I still use and some just ended up being good for scrap paper.

My latest attempts at getting organized:

The Giant Wall Calendar 

I have this big 48″ x 72″ wall calendar by SwiftGlimpse up in my home office and we use it as a family calendar. It’s pretty cool that it can go horizontal or vertical. Everybody’s stuff goes on there so we can look and see what’s going on for the year. It’s working out pretty good! So far my only complaint is that the colored markers fade after a few months (black is fine), but not so much that you can’t see them. Just not as bright as when you enter your info.

Update: A year later and this is rolled up in the corner. It was supposed to make it easy for my husband to add his stuff to the calendar or refer to when wondering what we have planned. I don’t think he ever really paid attention to it and it ended up just being extra work for me. But it may come in handy in the future so I’m saving it!

giant wall calendar

The Dry Erase Magnetic Weekly Planner 

Originally my idea for this magnetic planner by Plan Smart was a meal planner like in their example, but I ended up using it more as a weekly to-do list and used the four columns to divide the days up into general sections. It came with three markers, which is always nice. It was packaged nicely too, so it wasn’t rolled up or bent and easily stuck right on the fridge. This one is a pretty good size at 17″ x 11.5″. It was actually too large to fit on my side-by-side style fridge doors so I put it on the side. One of the rare times I opened a package and it wasn’t smaller than I expected!

Update: I ended up not using this and giving it away. This particular one isn’t currently available, but there are a lot of other styles on Amazon. I do think this one would be useful if you plan out all your meals, but I usually only plan dinner.

The Black Chalk Board Menu

What I did end up using as a meal planner is this decorative chalkboard menu by Rumula & Co. It’s kind of a flimsy piece that comes rolled up and does not look pretty right out of the box. You also need to buy the chalk markers separately.  Unfortunately it will not stick to the wall as advertised. It repeatedly rolled up and fell off. I still liked the look of it, so I stuck it to the wall and then nailed a frame all around it to hold the edges down. It’s not going anywhere now! The “notes” section on the side works great for the grocery list. I just jot down stuff there as I need it and then snap a pic of the list before I go to the grocery store.

Update: Still use this! I updated the link above to a different chalkboard menu because this one is no longer available. Looks like the new one is a better style that even comes with markers.

chalkboard menu

The Little Daily Appointment Book/Planner

I didn’t use this little 5″ x 8″ planner by Mead more than a week and just saved it for scrap paper so it wasn’t a total waste. It was too small, with too many little lines, and the papers were really thin. I had big plans for something small enough to tote around with me, but it just didn’t work out.

Update: I did not even use the whole thing for scrap paper. It was just too small and the paper too thin. I threw it away. I checked Amazon and it isn’t available anymore. Don’t worry, you’re not missing anything!

The Panda Planner

Bullet journaling looks like it would be be fun, like scribbling in notebooks in high school, but I’ve been reluctant to invest because it seems like it would take me forever to just set it up, much less fill it out. I felt like the 8.5″ x 11″ soft cover Panda Planner would be a close second since it gave me the freedom to fill it out as I liked but had some guidance and structure built in. I ended up filling out nothing except for the front calendar pages. Apparently, I am not so good with guidance and structure. My planner is pretty much empty after a few attempts at “reviewing my week” and figuring out what I was grateful for or excited about that week. It all just took too much time! I was just grateful I didn’t have to fill it all out and kept it to use the front calendar pages. Probably could have saved a lot of money and just gotten a good size calendar.

So there you have it. Obviously I haven’t figured out the magic solution and I’m still scribbling little notes and to-do lists everywhere. If you have any favorites to suggest, please comment!

*I have tried a few phone apps with calendars and just didn’t catch on. I’m the kind of person who likes to write it on paper.

Update: I have a new favorite thing that helps me stay organized. I followed my own advice above and got a “good size calendar” – this large desk calendar by Global Printed Products. I’m on my second one!


5 replies »

      • I use a written planner for long range planning. (Blog posts, what I’m working on my novel, dinner, must dos) I also carry around a notebook that I write to dos and ideas in. Calendar on my phone for convenience. I also take 20 minutes at night to review my day and plan the next day, and 15 minutes in the morning to review what needs to get done. I am also really routine. I do laundry on the same days every week for example. And the saving grace is Sunday night. I take about an hour and I roughly plan out week. I confirm everyone’s schedules, plan meals and determine what’s the big tasks for the week.. I’m a little nuts, but it works


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