Monday, October 12, 2015

My Four Lists

There are so many details to keep track of in our modern lives, especially for the person who is running a household.  Add multiple people in the household and the details increase exponentially.   I am helped by writing lists (my mother jokes that her mind is written down on post-it notes around the house).  Currently, my system has evolved into four lists on the side of my fridge (made on quarter-sheets of scrap paper).

Top left:  grocery list. (verbatim from the list: soy sauce, wax paper, red lentils. . . )  There's a general list of items that I could get at any grocery store; I shop at any local store that fits in with another errand.  On the side, I write items with their specific store, if there's a sale or something (for example, I buy my laundry detergent by refilling containers at a specific store). If there are coupons that go with any item, I clip those to this list.  My market list is a separate sheet of paper because I write a new one before each market trip and carry it with me (and sometimes lose it).  

Top right: this is my running list of non-grocery things that I'm keeping an eye out for, whether online or in physical stores. (verbatim from the list: blinds for green bedroom, black trash bags, construction paper. . . )  So, if my husband is running to the hardware store, I glance at that list to see if there's something he can pick up for me; or if I need to hit a minimum at a website to get free shipping, I try to combine purchases. This list is useful for me to decide if I really need something because it slows down my decision-making process and helps me decide how committed I am to that thing:  shopping for it, dragging it home, storing it, cleaning it, maintaining it. . . all that mental weight that I want to remember before I buy something. 

Bottom right: this is my very sketchy menu plan for the week. (verbatim from the list: honey mustard chicken, brown rice, kale)  See this post for lots and lots of detail about how I plan menus.  
And the final list, on the bottom left, if my to-do list for the week. (verbatim from the list: make samosas, start piano lessons, plan washing windows, schedule H&H)  It only includes the extra jobs that I am trying to accomplish in addition to the dailies. These could be cleaning tasks, social obligations, financial tasks, kid reminders, etc.  Sometimes a job reappears on the list for several weeks before I give up and drop it, or just make the time to do it. I am highly motivated to do my jobs because I get to put a checkmark next to an item if I worked on it and I get to cross it out if I completed it.  Seems silly, but that's motivating for me!

I'd love to hear what lists you keep to maintain your house and life, or maybe a different way that you run things.


Becky said...

Grocery lists get written on the chalkboard in the kitchen - that way everyone can write down what they need me to pick up for them. Meal plans and do list lists get scribbled down jumbled together on scraps of paper, frequently post-its. I'm not necessarily a list person, but as I get older, I'm finding them slightly helpful. At the office though, I keep a notepad with a running list because I will sometimes be handed multiple tasks at a time. Writing them down helps them not fall through the cracks.

Lana said...

Grocery lists are on post its on the cabinet. Menus go on a wall calendar and any meal that I do not cook gets circled and moved to the new plans when I do them.

There is a master list of major chores to be done and now that our children are grown and we still live in this too big house with too much land we have started hiring help for some jobs. I am stoked that we found a company to clean the outsides of our windows for $8 each! Each one has 15 panes of glass and it means many trips up and down the ladder and moving the 24 foot ladder many times for my husband to do them.

On Sunday I write out my list for the week. I list each day and the chores and errands for the day along with exercise and I list playing the piano which I try to get to a few times a week. I also note things like our daughter and her kids coming over for the day so that I remember.

Life would be chaos without the lists here!

BLD in MT said...

I made samosas last night. The garden produce must be use--and frozen for easy meals later.

I quite enjoy seeing how different people run their homes/lives. I am totally a list person. Its always similar and different. Always interesting. For us we have (loose) menu plan on the fridge, to do in the diary, grocery list by the door. Now that I spell that out maybe they should all be brought together in one place. Or not. The system seems to work since its just Matt and me. Maybe I shouldn't fiddle with it.... ;)

Sara McD said...

I'm a list lover too! I'm currently experimenting with a bullet journal. ( I think) It's only been a few days, but I like being able to keep all my lists in one place.

Unknown said...

I've always kept a running grocery/odd items list too. I also kept a rotating chores list for my 3 girls. It would rotate weekly and worked great!

Polly said...

I am a list devotee as well. I love this post! And I haven't even had the time yet to talk about the cleaning post....oh, I'm getting a backlog!

I keep a grocery list on the side of the fridge as well.

Otherwise, everything goes in my spiral notebook. I use a page a day (so much paper! but, I require this mentally). That's where I write the day's menu, cleaning tasks, to-do items, sewing or making ideas, errands, school-related stuff, reminders, etc. I just work my way through it each day. If something doesn't get done, I ditch it or move it to the next day. I also keep a page in the notebook for things I need to buy/look for, but I REALLY like your idea of having it visible on the fridge and being able to refer to it when running other errands....I so often just forget to look at mine!! I keep an online list of Christmas gift ideas (so that no one will stumble upon it).

I adore my lists. Don't know what I'd do without them.

Zoë said...

Attaching the coupons to the list. Oh my. How could that not have occurred to me? I am forever forgetting the coupons!

I'm a lister too. Brad makes fun of me because there are little papers everywhere. I would put them on the fridge but that's where the kids' current homework/memory work goes so there isn't much space!

Ryvkeh said...

I live by lists. I like to study the various lists in the Bible (eg, fruit of the Spirit,etc.) I made a list holder for the front of my fridge, out of one side of the cover of an old plastic binder. I attached strips of magnetic tape to the back, punched 4 holes along one long side, stuck brass brads through the holes with the points toward the front, and bent the points upward to make hooks. I hang several 2"x8"strips of scrap paper with holes punched in one end on each "hook" and have my grocery list, my food coop list, my home repair list and a miscellaneous list hanging where I can easily see them, add to them. and grab one when I go out. Wish I was techno-savvy enough to send a picture.

e said...

I'm also a list maker. And, can I just give a shout out to the satisfaction of crossing things off the list? :^)

One thing I do differently is this: I reuse envelopes for my grocery list. Often, the back of the envelope (usually bills) is blank and just waiting for a new purpose. This also gives me somewhere to put the coupons! On the list, I will put an asterisk by the item that has a coupon. If I cut it out and bring it to the store, I don't want to forget to use it!

Love your system!

Margo said...

e, love that idea for old envelopes!! I like your asterisk - I usually just try to squeeze in "coup" after an item, but there's often not much room.

jenny_o said...

I have used many "list" systems over the years, but the one I've most recently evolved to is, like yours, a series of lists on the side of the fridge - my own little vertical organizational space, because if my lists lie down they get lost.

1. grocery list with coupons attached
2. list of special, non-daily or other projects
3. all the internet info I've looked up for my husband for his projects (eg. can you colour white grout from a tube to match existing grout?)
4. all the individual notes and telephone numbers for finalizing my late father's affairs
5. my appointments to make or follow up on

I use magnetic clips to keep each set of lists together and I highly recommend them if you are a "tiny-notes" kind of person like I am.

I am loving these household questions. My mother's life was quite different from mine and so was the era I grew up in, so a lot of what she did does not translate to my life now. We lived in the country so there was one trip to the grocery store each week, whereas I live two minutes from a store and do all the lugging, so I choose to go several times a week. She did all the laundry on Saturday as she worked full-time during the week, whereas I throw a load into the automatic washer whenever it builds up. We lived in a mobile home with small rooms and didn't have an overabundance of clothing, books or any items really, whereas now I live in a three-level large home with several indoor cats and all the accumulated belongings of 27 years, so my cleaning time far exceeds what was required when I was a kid. Plus the routine changes as one goes through the life stages - babies, toddlers, bigger kids, teens, empty-nest ... at least, it did for me. So I appreciate other peoples' insights and tricks so much. The internet has been a great source of help in decluttering and in finding routines, but I love to read anything on the topic.

Polly said...

For my coupon-items, I put the little c in a circle that typically represents "copyright!" I have all sorts of weird shorthand on my lists. No one else could probably figure it out, but it works well for me!!