Organization Tips

How We Use Our Home Management Binder

We are prone to paper clutter.  Are we alone?  I don’t know what it is, but we have lived for the past three years of our marriage with piles of papers around the house, usually on the dining room table.  We make lists and leave them out so we remember to look at them.  When mail comes in, instead of having a place for all the different types, they would sit in different piles.  I can’t stand it anymore!  So, I decided to become proactive!  I created a home management binder using mostly free printables (for now) until we know for sure it works for us.  I’m tempted to design my own binder pages one day, but for now, it seems to be working for us.  Come along on a tour of our Home Management Binder!


Products/Videos Mentioned:


Printables Used:


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Planning on the Go

I work as a nanny ten hours a day with an additional hour and a half of driving total as my commute. I am also a photographer and wedding season and just busy season in general is upon me, so I am not lying when I say I am away from my home a lot! I use my Filofax religiously to keep track of what I need to do each day while I’m nannying, while the little boy I watch naps (my productive time), and after I get home from work.  In order for me to know what I need to do, I have to bring my Filofax with me, but it’s too big for my purse, so I came up with another solution.


A few months ago, the planning/organizing online community went nuts for the Orla Kiely Weekender makeup bags at Target (link is to the version they currently have in stock that is different than the one I purchased which is discontinued, I believe).  Although, the bag is designed for makeup, it is the perfect size for planners, pens, scissors, and other planning accessories.  I pinned one down and bought it just before they discontinued them.  It fits perfectly in my Thirty-One tote I bought a couple years ago that I bring with me to work every day along with my laptop in the pink sleeve.


I love getting inspiration from others of how they plan on the go, so I thought I would share what I keep in here on a typical day.


My A5 Aqua Malden Filofax fits perfect in the left pocket.  It’s nice and safe in there and is easy to take out.


In the middle organizer, I keep extra pencils, pens, highlighters, scissors, magnetic paper clips, and a dry-erase marker.


It can fit a lot!



On the other side of the middle organizer, there is a zipped pouch where I keep some notepads.  I love me some notepads!


On the right full-size pocket opposite of the one I keep my Filofax in, I keep the following:


My rainbow assortment of Staedtler pens I used for color-coding and doodling.


My journal and two oft-used notepads.


My decorating/renovating and organization project management notebooks.


And a pencil case with some washi tape, extra pencils, lead, and a Bic Wite-Out.


Can’t it fit a lot?  Honestly, I don’t use all of these things on a daily basis, but I have used all of these things at one time or another, so it is convenient for me to have them all with me at home and at work.  The bag has held up very nicely over the past couple of months and has just worked so well for my needs.  I am dying to know how you stay organized on the go!

Living an Organized, Cheap Life

We have been having lots of fun interacting with others with similar interests on Youtube and through our blog. I was super excited when Hilary from My So-Called Home tagged me to do the Organized Cheap Life TAG.  Basically, the tag involves sharing organization products, cheap finds, and thing that have helped improve our life in some way.  I had a lot of fun putting together this video!  I hope you enjoy!

If you have a Youtube channel and do this tag, please leave a link to it in the comments here on the blog or on the video itself.  If you don’t have a channel but want to play along, share your own organizations products, great deals, and things that have improved your life in the comments!

Planning My Way to a Saner Sarah

Have you ever stopped to think about how much your life has changed since you were a child?  Now that I’ve been in the “real world” for a couple of years, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when I compare my life to how it was back in high school or even in college.  I’ve always been motivated to do things and often over-fill my plate, but working fifty hours a week with a business on the side is a lot different than working 25 hours a week and taking a full college course load.  As easy as it is to feel overwhelmed when thinking about how much more I have to do these days, it is also just as easy to feel optimistic when I think of all that I have learned about time management over the years.

A5 Aqua Malden Filofax 2014
I could never have handled the way my life is right now if I went straight from high school to my life right now.  I didn’t know enough about organizing, structuring my time, and keeping track of things to be able to take on the lifestyle I’m currently living.  I am so happy that I have tried a lot of systems and procedures along this journey to adulthood that has allowed me to be very efficient and productive.

One way I have always stayed organized is through the use of a planner.  In high school, my school gave out planners to each student to stay organized.  I diligently wrote down my extracurricular activities, assignments, and social engagements (because I was super fancy and called them ‘engagements’ back then – not) so that I wouldn’t forget.  In college, I scoured stores for the perfect planner that would give me enough space to write everything I needed to do while not being too large to lug around everywhere.  However, as more was piled on to my “to do” list, more time became devoted to finding the perfect planner.

During my final years of college, I transitioned to the Erin Condren Life Planner.  I loved that it was colorful, inspirational, and more structured than a lot of other planners I had used.  But, once I started my business and began teaching full-time (which I am now no longer doing but am nannying full-time), I needed something more.  I wanted a place to do long-term planning, daily planning, keep track of our meal plan, budget for the month, remember important dates in the future, and track progress in my health.  I wanted something that no store had prepackaged and ready to go for me.  I needed something customizable.

Enter the Filofax brand back about a year ago.  I purchased a Dakota personal size Filofax that I used for a few months.  I loved the customization capabilities but ended up hating the size.  As nice as the personal size was for carrying around, it was horrible for me when it came to writing things down because I tend to make very long, detailed (sometimes sloppy) lists that I constantly had to rewrite because the personal size didn’t have enough room for me.

A5 Aqua Malden Filofax 2014
I’ve now been in the A5 Aqua Malden Filofax for about four months and I could not be happier!  I don’t know what I would do with myself without my trusty planner.  Nothing would get done.  I just don’t trust myself with remembering details when I have so many things going on all the time.  I am able to delegate tasks throughout the week so I no longer am carrying around one giant “to do” list in my head, which would cause any person to get stresed out.  By just taking a half hour on Sundays to plan out my week, I can get so much done!

I know not everyone carries a planner, especially in adulthood if you don’t have a job that would require you to keep track of meetings and things like that, but they have been a lifesaver and timesaver for me!  I love to share things with others in the hopes that it can encourage, inspire, and inform them.  I created a video tour of my planner so you can see how I have it set up, what I used, and exactly how I use it.  I hope it helps you in some way!


I would love to know how you keep track of things to do! I’d also love to know of any products that you love for staying organized and accountable! Happy planning!


This post is linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons’ One Project at a Time.

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How I Organize Our Organizing

Okay, that sounds a little obsessive, right?  Well, with a first house, a huge renovation, and my Type A personality, I think it is perfectly sane to organize our organizing!

What exactly do I mean by organizing our organizing?  Well, last week, I wrote about how I use Pinterest to keep track of specific ideas for our home and break it down by each room.  As promised, I’m back today with a video about how we keep track of the projects in a more tangible way by using notebooks.  Watch the video to learn more and then scroll down for links to things I mentioned in the video.

Links to things mentioned in the video:

How We Make Pinterest Work For Us

Two years after I first joined Pinterest, I am surprised by how much I still use it.  However, the way I use it today is much different the way I use today.  I’m just a tad bit obsessed with organization, which is hard to tell by our house which is currently mid-renovation, so I’ve been searching for other ways to organize my life before I am able to organize our house.  I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming, but practically the day we moved into our house, I started looking around and realized that there is a tremendously long list of things we want to do to our house.

I’m the kind of person who feels completely overwhelmed to the point of not being to do anything when I have a list of things in my head that I need to do.  Even if that list covers things that I need to do in the next decade, if it’s only in my head, I feel like I’m about to explode.  I’ve learned that getting those lists on to paper or some other form of getting them out of my head but somewhere where I can reference them easily calms me and eliminates the overwhelming feelings.

Now that we are getting closer to finishing the renovation (we will update you with pictures and descriptions soon – it’s a little chaotic around here right now), I’ve been seriously thinking about decorating, furniture-buying, and organizing.  Thinking about all the rooms to decorate, although it is fun for me to do, had me feeling overwhelmed.  So, I came up with a couple methods for organizing all of our ideas.  Next week, I will be posting a video of our tangible way of tracking projects and ideas.  Today, I’ll be sharing how I use Pinterest for this purpose.

The method we use that I will be showing you next week is more specific and detailed, which makes it useful in a different way than what I use Pinterest for.  I use Pinterest to house our ideas that I need help visualizing, to keep links to certain products we want to buy or websites that will help us with our projects, or for inspiration purposes.

For the past two years, I have kept my home-related Pinterest categories separated by room.  Anything related to bedrooms, I would oddly enough put in the “Bedroom” category.  Makes sense, right?  I thought so, too, until we had rooms in our own house that I had specific ideas for.  For example, in my “Bedroom” category, I would have all kinds of photos of different rooms with different color schemes, and ideas that if all put into one room would look ridiculous.  That folder just housed all of the things I liked, but not necessarily ideas I would want combined into one room.

Pinterest Organization

So, what I have done is added separate boards for each room or area of our house (even the future rooms like the basement family room, basement bedroom, and basement bathroom that aren’t existing yet).  I named these boards “Our Home’s _________” (with the __________ indicating whichever room in our house that board is associated with).  I renamed the old categories things like “Bathroom Inspiration,” “Bedroom Inspiration,” and so on.

Now, when I’m browsing Pinterest or looking at a store’s website and I see, say, an awesome board and batten tutorial, I can yell, “HUZZAH!  I’ll add it to my ‘Our Home’s Dining Room’ Pinterest board!” And, off I will go.  If I see a dining room that is awesome, but doesn’t really fit what I want in our current dining room, I will yell, “That’s amazing!  I’ll add it to my ‘Dining Room Inspiration’ Pinterest board!” And, a happy camper I will be.  I just love the structure this gives me to let my thoughts wander, but to leave a spot for me to always come back to when I am ready to work on a certain room.

Such a little thing makes a huge impact on my stress level and my creativity. I am so excited to watch these boards grow and eventually morph into actual projects we will take on.  If you are interested in seeing all of my Pinterest boards, you can check them out here.

Stop back next week for a detailed look into our detailed decorating, renovating, and organization project management.  It may involve a video!

Now, I’m dying to know if there are any awesome ways you make Pinterest work for you.