I have tried every app, digital planner and website out there to keep our family organized and I always go back to the old-school paper calendar. This past year was NUTS for our family as far as juggling AO, kids' sports, activities and schedules. Out of desperation I developed this system and it's done wonders keeping us all on task, most of the time. Hey! We're human, right?
Step one is the small fit-in-my-purse planner I purchased at Staples from the Martha Stewart collection by Avery. I purchased the small binder, calendar inserts, two sets of dividers and lots of fun sticky tabs. This whole collection at Staples is UH-MAZING!! I think I heard angels singing as I approached the display the first time.
For quick reference I added the month tabs at the top of the 'month' divider. When we get to a new month, I move the month tab down to the right side of the page since sometimes I need to reference a past month.
Each family member has been assigned a color and next to their activity or appointment, I add a dot in that color for easy reference. Since I take this calendar with me, it's the first one that gets updated with any new schedules or appointments. If I'm out and about I use the pocket to add reminder cards we get (next dentist appointment etc.) to update later. In fact, I try to sit down with the calendar on Sunday evening and look over the week to be sure I have a good grasp on what we have going on, as well as make any notes or additions to the calendar. This would also be a good time for meal planning, if you are super on the ball. I'd like to get to that point but I'm not quite there yet. Future post?
The first set of dividers are what I reference most with the second set being being mostly AO topics such as pricing, wholesale, blog etc. Obviously the dividers are very family specific and your family needs might call for something different like a meal planning section etc.
Part two of the system is for everyone in the family to utilize. I don't know about you but I got sick and tired of ALL of the schedules we had plastered on the side of the fridge. It finally dawned on me that if I could keep all those schedules stacked on top of each other they wouldn't take up so much vertical and horizontal space. I purchased the page protectors from Martha Stewart's line (of course!) and added the sticky divider tabs at the bottom. Two clippy magnets keep it snug to the side of the fridge.
First, I make a copy of our current month's calendar for the top page since this gets viewed the most. The tabs include our schedules for easy reference. My son's baseball practices and football games, for instance, are always at different locations so he can easily flip the calendar up to see where we need to be. I typically print out the schedule the coach emails and shove it in there. This way, I don't take up oodles of space on the calendar with all the specifics. For the calendar, I typically add a P (for "practice"), G (for "game") or A ("appointment") with a circle around it and then the time since we have days with LOTS going on and it's hard to fit details on a tiny square.
I also have tabs for the kids' school lunch calendar, class schedule and chore list.
Ahh....chores. I have tried lots of different techniques for chores over the years from my own variation of Accountable Kids (great concept...didn't love the looks of their boards and cards... ) when my older kids were little to creating a new list every week. I finally came up with a two week rotation for each kid with a daily chore. I used the page protector with four pockets and added a list for each kid, a list of bonus chores and their Sunday list that requires them to have some quiet time. It's their responsibility to keep track of any extra bonus chores they do and we use the good ol' honor system when it comes to doing their daily chore. Of course Saturday they have more chores because...that's what Saturdays are for, right? The kids can check their chore off with a dry erase marker, if they're into that. My daughter is like me and feels accomplished seeing that check mark. My son? Not so much.
The family binder is pretty basic and uses the same color system as the calendar. With each family member having their assigned color, I slip all the important stuff in page protectors and label the dividers. The first section is for the hubby and me (marriage certificate etc.) the second divider is his (SS card, birth certificate etc.) and so on. The kids sections are their birth order. Each section includes their shot records and any SUPER important papers that need to be referenced often. The first page protector has the original documents while the second has a couple copies of those documents. This way we have extra copies handy for camp and sports registration. Perhaps you're wondering why Martha page protectors? They have a little flap at the top that prevents your uber-important contents from spilling out.
Everything can be found at Staples or online. You get a much better experience going into the store (preferably alone or at least without children) and I think the .com is difficult to navigate. So no, Martha did not pay me to promote her products though Martha, if you're reading, feel free to pop a check in the mail. ;)
(Do you like how I 'hid' important numbers on the photo? Washi tape. Gotta love that stuff!! )