time management

What’s in my Organizer (Part 1)

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Awhile ago, I shared that I was looking for a new organizer.  I didn’t get either of the planners I looked at… but I chose the one I got because of the inserts.  I’m currently using the Day Runner Harmony Organizer.

I like using an A5 organizer.  It’s not too bulky to carry in my purse.  I can make my own pages much more easily than when I was using a Filofax Personal size.  I have not found a hole-punch set up for these rings… but I just use a handheld punch for now.

The inside cover has four large card pockets and one full length pocket.  I try to keep organized.. but sometimes it gets crazy in here.

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So, I did a little clean-up to show you where things usually are kept.  I keep receipts in the big pocket.  I keep appointment cards and records in the bottom pocket, then membership cards above that, then bills in the two top pockets.

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The organizer came with dividers, but I made my own dividers with a pack of scrapbook paper that I bought at WalMart for around $5 and a set of page protectors from Avery.  The page protectors are slightly wider than the pages I use, so they made good dividers.  I don’t have them “labeled”, but I don’t keep a wide variety of things in my organizer.

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Behind the front divider, there are a few “to-do” pages that came with the organizer.  The pages are so pretty that I try not to use them!  Most often, I write my to-do list on a sticky-note and put it here for easy reference.

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On the back of the “Notes” tab that came with the organizer, I keep record of gas:  prices, amount bought, miles-per-gallon.  I don’t always write it down, but I like to keep track of my MPG at times.

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I keep a running list of books I’m reading and what I’ve finished.  I also add books that have been recommended to me on a sticky-note.  And, yes, that is my final list for 2012.  I only finished 7 books.  Last year the list was even shorter!!

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If I stumble upon a quote or verse that really means a lot to me, I scribble it down in the notes section of my organizer.  This verse from Joel was important to me when I was on maternity leave and worrying about making ends meet.  Speaking of making ends meet…

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This next section of my organizer houses my budget management papers.  I prefer to keep track of the budget with pencil and paper, but I have not found an extremely efficient method, yet.  For now, I’m tracking our major financial goal:  Pay off the house in the next FIVE years.  In the first page, I’ll track expected/actual income, expenses, and extra mortgage payments.  My income varies every season.  It’s nice to see the whole year at once so we can see where we fell behind and where we are able to catch back up.

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On the next page, I keep track of individual budget categories, by month.  I like to let budget categories roll-over– so if we only spend half the grocery budget one month, we can use the leftover next month.  But, if one category is consistently under-spent (or over-spent), then we need to reevaluate that category.  Our budget software does this on the computer, but again, I like to be able to see the whole year at once and I like to do it with pencil and paper.

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I have an address book, but I mostly only have business information for paying bills or making phone calls.  I do have some addresses for friends who don’t live close by.  Behind the address book, I keep a zipping pocket (that came with the organizer) with stamps and envelopes for bill-paying.

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The back cover has a notepad slot, which I also use as a pocket sometimes.  I keep a blue or black pen for writing checks and addresses, but I also use a multi-color pen for my planner (calendar) pages.

Next week, I’ll share more about my planner and how I use it to keep our busy schedules.  Don’t miss a post!!  Subscribe to Trial and Error Homemaking.

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