Resources to Help You Get Organized

They say January is the official new year (depending on your culture, we celebrated Chinese New Year last February). But for many of us moms with kids in school or homeschooling September feels like the real new year when the rhythms of family life find their groove once again after summer. 

I have always loved the shift of season after summer, into fall. Once I get over the transitional bump of it all.

This time of year feels new to me. Full of possibility. A time of year, quite frankly, to organize the heck out of my life in attempt to make at least some of my goals a reality during this next calendar season.  

For as long as I can remember, first as a student and then as a young mom learning to manage a home, this is the time of year I put it all on paper. I often revise those plans in January, the second new start on the year (don't you just love fresh starts?) after I realize how unrealistic some of my plans were (smile). But September is when I like to get it all going. 

Home management central is a bookshelf
I share with my parent's wine glasses (smile).

Now, keep in mind I am an organizing sort of gal. I like making my own planning master sheets, I love putting our life on paper. Some people don't have that same passion for organizing (it's like a high for me) but still want some tools to help them.

Thankfully there are some handy women out there in this online world of make-a-business-from-your-passion who love organizing so much that they've put together resources for those who need a little help. 

This post features some of those products.

Life Your Way Printables

Over the last year I've watched Mandi at Life Your Way grow her blogging business. Kudos to her. That girl knows what she wants and goes after it. She's written an e-book to help other moms do the same thing (go after what they want) and her site also has a lot of free organizing resources

Mandi is really good at making printables - master organizing sheets that you print out to use for your own purposes. Menu plans, weekly plans, maintenance logs... all manner of organizing sheets related to keeping home - you name it, she has it. And if she doesn't have it she is open to suggestions. And they're all free! She's just really cool that way.

But Mandi knows that some people just want to get the whole kit and kaboodle without clicking each and every link. So she's put together all her printables, more than 150, in a pack you can download all at once.  They're simple, easy to use, and aren't graphics heavy (save on printing). Also, if you purchase the printables kit she'll e-mail you new ones for free as they are created.

I'm currently using some of her blogging printables. 

Organizing Life as MOM

Jessica is one of my fellow contributors at Simple Homeschool. She has six kids and is uber-organized. She also does a ton of writing here, there and everywhere. So I'm guessing her organization helps out with making that happen as a busy mom who also homeschools.

Jessica has put together a pack of inspiration and planning pages for moms to create their own home management notebook.

What's a home management notebook?

I've talked a bit about my own home management binder in this planning post from last year. Here's a few more links that describe what I'm talking about:

So, if you're thinking you want to put together a home management book you might want to check out Organizing Life as MOM. Jessica even has a blogger's pack and homeschooler's pack that can be purchased separately or mixed and matched with her basic kit.

I use Jessica's calendar pages (the one page portrait size is perfect for me) in my own planning book and some of her blogger pages.

What's cool is that Jessica's forms are fillable on the computer before you print them. I'm not so technically savvy in my own planning and prefer pen on paper but I thought this is a neat feature if you like that kind of thing. 

List PlanIt - Home Education ePlanner 

List PlanIt publishes lists. Lists for everything. 

I haven't used any of their general list products (it's a subscription service) but I do use some pages from their Home Education ePlanner. A lot of the pages in this planner allow you to fill in the subjects, goals, weekly activities, etc according to your own family's education style. I like that part. I've adapted several of these pages for my own homeschool planning binder.

There are a bunch of other ePlanners also available on their site.

An honest note about buying planners and printables (from any of these sites). Anyone with a bit of spreadsheet experience and some time can put together their own homeshooling or home management master planning sheets. I do that, because I like to make things exactly to my specifications. I also use looseleaf sheets with lines drawn with a ruler. Very high tech, I know. 

Some people though either don't have the time or desire to do that and just want something ready made. All of these products offer that. These businesses are also home based, mom run enterprises that you can feel good supporting. That's why I'm happy to endorse their products here. 

One last resource to share with you:

One Bite at a Time

This is where I eat humble pie. You see, when Tsh launched her new e-book I was like "yeah, been there, done that, I know the gig". Really, the only way we were able to make this move was with some serious simplifying of our life and a lot of what Tsh writes about we have been living for years. 

But I wanted to see what the buzz was about so I got a copy for review to see if I wanted to recommend it to you all. 

Reading her e-book I was put in my place. Renee, you don't know it all (duh). You have stuff to learn, or at the very least remember and practice once again. Yes, even about getting organized and living simply.

Having read Tsh's print book Organized Simplicity, I personally feel this e-book is a better value. Even though almost half of the content is already on the blog.

Let me explain:

In this e-book Tsh breaks everything down very simply (oh, she's good at that isn't she?). There's a checklist of 52 concrete life projects that will move you further along the path of simple and intentional family living.

This e-book is not about simplifying, organizing and cleaning your house nor is it about some abstract, simple living theory. It's about looking at your whole life and taking bite sized steps in a positive direction. You tackle the projects, that range from finances to relationships, at your own pace and there are plenty of links and resources for further reading and inspiration.

One of my favorite parts is the checklist. I LOVE checking things off in my life. I am so task orientated, it's scary. But what I really love is how manageable Tsh makes it by encouraging us to take one bite at a time

Yes, you've read this stuff on her blog (there's a lot of new content also) but it's more manageable somehow in this e-book. It's presented in an easy to follow format and is very adaptable so that no matter where you are on the journey, you can start and do something. Tsh pulls all the best of her blog together in this e-book so you're not surfing the blog trying to find that key post on how to simplify your life.

In case you're curious, I'm working on projects 3 & 4, establishing a good (early) morning routine and evening routine. I am loving the inspiration and accountability of One Bite at a Time. I think you will too.

Getting organized. Living simply and with intention. Working towards your goals. Making dreams happen.

It's a journey. Not a destination, as much as I struggle with that reality (I just want to arrive!) And being organized can help you make progress on that journey, at least it has for me.

How do you get and stay organized? What resources do you find helpful?

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  • Heather

    Heather on Sept. 12, 2011, 11:54 a.m.

    I love that you wrote this today! I spent the last few days sitting down and getting my goals on paper, for this new season. I, like you, find that September, and fall bring an entirely new set of goals I want to work on. Plus, who wants to wait for January 1st?!


  • heather

    heather on Sept. 12, 2011, 3:39 p.m.

    thank you for this... we are starting school today and i'm feeling woefully under-prepared. lots of good stuff here to help me whip things into shape!


  • Hillary

    Hillary on Sept. 13, 2011, 12:18 a.m.

    wow, this is fantastic Renee. It's funny, I want the fall to be that new year feeling and since I spent so many years on the traditional schooling path it feels like it should be, but since Stone's business is actually in it's final push of the year it's actually the opposite in our home. The worst time to try and organize or assess and I must admit, it can be tricky not just plugging into the oh so easy, rhythms of the bigger group.

    Going to bookmark this stuff for January when I stop and reboot ourselves.



  • Naomi

    Naomi on Sept. 14, 2011, 1:53 a.m.

    This really is hilarious! This past week I began creating my home management binder! I normally have a small planner, used in combination with my big marker board, and various lists and scraps of paper with notes. September must be "that time of year" because I have been wanting to see our lives on paper, all in one, easy to follow place. You have some great links here, I'll be back to visit them!


  • Mel

    Mel on Sept. 15, 2011, 12:56 a.m.

    Great post!

    Oh I do love organizing! And I even like reading about organizing--that's how much of an organization nerd I am. And yet...and yet, my life seems pretty unorganized much of the time. I might need to delve into this ebook.


    • renee

      renee on Sept. 15, 2011, 1:05 p.m.

      Mel, the e-book is less about organizing the day to day, though Tsh does talk about that, and more about tackling the big projects in your life to move your closer to your goals. So in that sense organizing yes, but also big picture stuff if you understand what I mean. 


  • Nola

    Nola on Sept. 16, 2011, 10:32 p.m.

    I'll have to look into these later when I have more time. They look like excellent resources. I often either create my own (pen and paper style!) organizing "sheets" or get my husband (who doesn't get bogged down in how to work computers...and yes I did take courses, its not my gift...) to make them for me on the computer. But sometimes neither of us have much time, especially during our current life season! SO this looks great, thank you.

    Lately I've just been operating on a "urget needs" basis and its driving me crazy, but necessary right now. Yesterday I realized we really really have to get out the winter bin since we need our hats and mitts...yesterday! I wanted to do it weeks ago so we were all ready but now its urgent so it will get done...


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