[Mom Talk Tuesday] Family Organization + How I Use my Erin Condren Planner

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today I'm linking up with Stephanie and sharing how I keep our family organized. Now, I can tell you, I'm definitely no expert in this field, but I do try to keep us somewhat organized on a weekly basis in order to maintain some sort of sanity and structure.

First of all, we always have a weekly meal plan. I usually make it on Sundays before we go grocery shopping. On the rare weekends that we have plans all weekend or are out of town, the week following is seriously disorganized and we're throwing things together willy nilly, so I always try to have a meal plan in place. I'm not going to go into too much detail on our meal plan since 1. I don't know that anyone really cares and 2. there really isn't that much that goes into it, but if anyone has any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I'll get back to you or do a post if enough people are interested :) I will say this though, I always try to use what we have on hand first so I end up buying as little as possible. The items we buy most frequently (weekly) are milk for Mason and fresh fruits and vegetables.

I always post the meal plan on the fridge so everyone (everyone - ha! - aka me and Seth) know exactly what we're having. Seth is the one that does most (all) of the cooking so I always want him to know where to look when determining if he needs to take chicken out of the freezer, etc so dinner can be as easy as possible. I was using the white board (on the left in the picture below) to write our meal plan on but I found that the marker tip was getting dull and it was getting hard to read so I recently bought this "This Week" pad (on the right in the picture below) from Amazon. It has a lot more room, I can use regular pen, and I can jot down exactly what we're having to eat and if there are any events going on that day. The only major downfall is that it doesn't have a magnetic back so I've just ben ripping the page off and magnet-ing it to the fridge. I also use this "All Out Of" pad to check things off as we run out of them during the week or just to check off on Sundays when I go through the list of what we need to buy to complete our meals.





As for my main forms of organization, I have three calendars. Yes, you read that right - three.

First is my Erin Condren planner. I've had one for the past two years and I love it. There's so much room for me to write things down, jot down notes, make note of what's for dinner (if I wanted to write it there too), and so much more. I'm sure I don't even use it to it's full potential.



The first function I use is the weekly calendar portion. When I first get a new planner, I always fill in important dates and things that happen regularly, like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Then I fill in any other dates that I know of for sure - like the fact that Seth has off every other Friday. Then, as the days and weeks go on, I fill in the calendar as things get booked.







The second function of my planner that I recently started using the most and love is the monthly view. As much as I like to see my month laid out for me, there's just not enough room in those little squares for everything. If you see in the above pictures, I used to write down my blog posts on pink post it like washi tape and put it at the top of each day. Now I use the monthly view for this. My planner use has kind of evolved as the year has gone on. Everything use to have a specific color - blog was pink, Mason was green, Seth was blue, I was purple, and family things were yellow. It worked well until I realized I didn't like it that way.









My monthly view used to be blank. I literally did not use it. What a waste! Now it looks like this. FULL and tons of white out. I always fill in the spaces with things I know for sure need to happen on a certain day - like if I co-host a link up or want to do a certain link up that only happens on a certain day. Then I kinda fill in as I want, but more often than not, it ends up getting whited out or moved around. I should know better than to use pen, but they're just so pretty :) As you can tell, I've already started planning some into November (and December and next year - not pictured).

I'll be honest though, some weeks I totally forget to write anything in my planner. Sometimes I write it on our family calendar and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just forget. Or am too lazy to write it down.  #keepingitreal And sometimes I over write things down. Like if you were to see my December calendar page right now, I have about 3 full post it notes with ideas of things I want to do in December/for Christmas. It's a bit nuts.

Speaking of our family calendar, that's the second calendar that I use. I use my Erin Condren planner and write down all the important dates from it on to our family calendar hanging in the kitchen so Seth knows what's going on too. He doesn't like to look through my planner (I think it's too overwhelming for him lol) so I write it on a monthly calendar for us both to see. It seems to work well.



My last and final calendar is my iPhone calendar. I don't have a screen shot of my iPhone calendar but if you were to see it, it's pretty much just all reminders of things to myself. Like if I need to call to make Mason a haircut appointment, I'll set a reminder/alarm for myself for when I get home from work. And then sometimes I'll think of something I want to text a friend... when I wake up at 5:30am and it's obviously not an appropriate time to text someone, so I'll set a reminder to text them at 9am. Sad, but true. If I don't make a note, it will be 10pm before I remember I wanted to text someone. I also set reminders to register for the Lowe's Build and Grows since they fill up so quickly as well as various other things. I'll also put actual events in my phone but it's kind of just a holding place until I can get home to put it on paper because I legitimately witnessed my phone delete a reminder I added the other day. No joke. I'm thinking maybe it just won't let me back date an event because I wanted to remember when Mason's last hair cut was and I input it twice and it deleted it twice. Super annoying, but again, why I like pen and paper.

And last, but not least, I thought this would be a good time to note that I chose the planner that I want for next year! After much debate and after getting some awesome input, I have decided to try out my EC planner again for next year, but this time, getting the horizontal layout instead of the vertical layout. I really do love my current EC planner and I think I will like this layout a lot more. I got a gift card to Erin Condren for my birthday and while I'd LOVE to start my new planner now, when I was at Staples the other week checking out what EC stuff they had, I noticed how much bigger the spiral was and how much heavier the planner was with the extra months, so I decided to just keep the January to December months in my planner instead. Regardless of when it starts though, I'm pretty excited to get shopping and pick out what design I want!

And there you have it! That's how I keep my family organized. How do you keep your family organized?


19 comments:

  1. I have a similar process. There's a whiteboard calendar hung by our kitchen that I write family things on, even though Chris rarely checks it. Then I have a planner and use my iPhone calendar a lot too! I too have to write down reminders for everything! I hate how I always remember things when it's always too early or too late to text someone!

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  2. One calendar - google calendar on my iPad and a separate calendar in my planning book just for school. That's it!

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  3. yay what a fun post! This is as good as DiTL posts. A sneak peak into life. I just started using my EC planner a little differently and I'm liking it much better. I got it last year because the Emily Ley one was sold out but kind of hated it until this month...oops. Money well spent I tell ya. I got the Emily Ley one for next year already so I hope to evolve what I'm doing now to that one. Color coding all the way though. I've always done that, with school and such. I wrote down in my planner that I wanted to text you a happy bday btw because I knew I'd forget haha. So you aren't the only one!

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  4. I'm with you - I've got my iphone (which is synced to my work calendar), a paper calendar at home, and a planner, though I really don't use my planner well at all. I just need to make it part of my daily routine to pull it out of my purse and look at it. I think even that little step will help me better utilize it.

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  5. I love this post! Since I love all things organized, this totally speaks to me! And your colorful washi tape planner.....love!!!! (It helps that you have beautiful hand writing!) I'm with you on the meal planning. I have to plan all of our meals on Sundays and write them all down. Makes me feel put together during the week!

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  6. INCREDIBLY organized!! I use my one planner, but I may just check into that other one because I feel like I can never have too many.

    liz jo @ sundays with sophie

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  7. Love all of your calendars! I need better organization now that school is back in session and Mason has all of these 'things' going on. :)

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  8. I'm search a nerd for organizing & food planning posts! You can never have too many ideas or see too many of these types of posts for sure! I'm a huge fan of office supplies too! ;)
    I use a similar method around here. I have a notebook for all my meal plans/grocery lists. A family calendar on the fridge and a month/week view notebook calendar for blogging (which, apparently I need to be better at planning that because hello! December? really?) and for all of the things that generally take up my time...you know, aside from the kids. ha!

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  9. Good grief, you are so much more organized than me! I also use that monthly view for my blog posts, but I hardly ever use the weekly stuff. And I am jealous of your meal planning skills! I need to get my act together in that area.

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  10. I always love to see people's organization. We use shared Google calendars and a meal calendar on the fridge, though I try to put the meals in my Google calendar too so I can know what's for dinner during the day.

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  11. Girl, this is amazing. You are so on top of it!! I need to get my act together and be more organized! Especially with how much crazier life is sure to get with 2 kids!

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  12. Before Julia I feel I was so much more organized! I meal planned every Sunday - now I typically wing most of our meals just hours before dinner. We do have a white board calendar where both Scott and I write important things down that we can't forget (birthdays, appointments, etc). And again, before Julia was born I used my pen and paper planner a ton. This summer and all of our activities would not have happened if it hadn't been for that planner.
    Like you, my phone is more for reminders. Every day at 11:30 my alarm goes off - it's so I don't forget to pick him up from school. Sounds bad, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in something I'm doing I lose track of time!

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  13. So, I feel like Im meal planning challenged because it doesnt work for me lol. How is that, you ask? I really cant say but I guess it really doesnt matter at the moment since Im home all day thinking about food anyway ;) Multiple calendars for the win! Abd I have to say that is awesome Seth cooks! I got the reverse going on, Brian does most of the grocery shopping but duh, here's literally IN the store 5 out of 7 days lol.

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  14. As you know, if I don't write something in my planner then it gets totally forgotten. It's so important for me to be organized because I have the worst after pregnancy brain. It's actually a bit embarrassing.

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  15. you are one organized little lady. i use my planner. but yours looks WAY cuter all filled up!!

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  16. You seem like quite the expert if you ask me #impressed.

    Have I ever told you how pretty your writing is? I just love it.

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  17. You're on top of it..!! I love making lists, writing out what we have for the week, and keeping track of things I'd like to get done. I'd love to hear more about your meal planning, I've been trying to but feel so uninspired and it quite often it just gets put off..

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  18. You are one organized gal! I love my EC planner too! However Conor insists I also out everything in our shared family iPhone calendar.

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  19. I'm a little late commenting - sorry! but I just started following your blog (and Instagram) and so grateful to read that someone else has three calendars too! I thought I was the only crazy one...

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