If you were to take a look at the papers on my desk, you’d find a running theme whether they are work or family related – tons of lists. A long time ago lists became a powerful tool in my arsenal against attention deficit disorder and saying yes to too many things. I have always spread myself too thin, and keeping track of individual components inside larger tasks seems to be the best way for all of the things I’m juggling to not come crashing down around me. But lists can also be a mom’s best friend, and I’m not just talking about the inevitable parenting tasks throughout the day that begin with walking your child to the bus stop and end with a PTA meeting. You might also consider creating reusable lists that will, in the end, save you time and even money. A good place to start is in the…
Create a list of standard items that you use to stock your pantry, and consider categorizing them according to areas such as soups, baking goods, and perishables. Print out several copies of the list and attach them to the inside of your pantry door. As you begin to use the last of each item – not when you use the last one, but just before – circle that item on the list. The next time you head to the grocery store, pull a copy and take it along for easier restocking.
Just like the list in your pantry, create a file on your computer with all of the items you buy every week. For us that is milk, cereal, bread, juice boxes for lunches, my caffeine crutch Dr. Pepper, and several other staples. On this list be sure to leave several lines to add meal specific items or one time only purchases such as snack for the preschool. If you also create an area for meal planning, you’ll save yourself time by keeping meal ideas handy when you’re shopping for the ingredients.
I absolutely hate when I am taking my contacts out at night and realize that I’ve only got a few drops of saline solution left in my bottle….and it’s the last bottle. Chances are that your medicine cabinet has just as many items that you need to replace on a regular basis as your pantry. By listing not only those things that you use regularly – deodorant, shampoo, soap – but also those items that you don’t want to be without when you need them – children’s fever reducer, anti-nausea medicine, alcohol swabs – you will take the guess work out of shopping and prevent a desperate run to the store during times of illness or injury.
Every time my family goes on a trip, I create several lists including what to pack. What I noticed after awhile is that the lists were almost always identical. Socks x ___, underwear x ____, pajamas, outfits x _____, etc. By creating a general list and saving it on your computer, you can save time and energy when preparing for your next trip, and it is far less likely that you will forget a critical item.
Every Saturday morning my husband and I divide and conquer with him heading to soccer with our son and me heading to ballet with our daughter. Soccer requires a ball, a water bottle, a jersey, special socks and shin guards. Ballet requires all sorts of bells and whistles to keep my daughter’s hair in place, tights, a leotard, and tiny little ballet slippers that seem to always disappear. By placing a list inside the hall closet door listing what is required for each activity, it takes the guess work out of getting ready in times when you’re rushing or when another child care provider is in charge.
Where do you use lists in your daily life to stay organized and resourceful? And by the way, extra credit points if you noticed that this blog post is…..a list.