I love organizing. Let me re-phrase that: I love the benefits of being organized.  When things are organized I know where they are.  My house looks tidy.  I save time. I save money. What’s the biggest benefit?  I stay sane!  It drives me nuts when things are scattered all over the place, when I can’t remember appointments, or getting to the grocery store and not knowing whether or not we need to buy milk.

My brain just doesn’t function well in chaos.  
Here are the top three ways that I keep things running smoothly:
          1.  I write it all down. If you write it down and keep it in one place you don’t have to remember it or go looking for it.  I use a combination of a home management journal, smart phone, iPad, and a weekly calendar posted on the refrigerator.  My home management journal is for things that I use less frequently. It’s for my contact list, emergency info, master to-do list of some day items/projects, monthly meal plan ideas, and chore lists. My iPhone and iPad hold my everyday information such as appointments, phone numbers, Bible reading plans, e-books, etc… seriously, I’m going to have do do a whole other post on this one. Going digital keeps the info you need with you at all times. I utilize this pretty weekly planner on the refrigerator so the rest of the family knows what’s going on and what’s for supper. 
          2.  I keep it all together.  For this I use my mobile office.  It holds all my stuff and looks great too. I can grab it and go.
The idea came from A Bowl Full of Lemons. My mobile office holds my laptop and iPad.  My files include our monthly budget and bill paying info, homeschool lesson planning, devotional materials, goal/projects list, holiday planning, craft info and blog journal. The outside pockets hold my power charging cords and office supplies. My “office” lately is my Big Cozy-Comfy Chair. What could be better?

I keep all our financial papers together in one huge binder. I three-hole punch everything.

This binder has been especially helpful. It’s organized into sections such as bills due, bills paid each month, insurance EOB’s (great for matching the medical charges with the actual benefits paid), bank statements, info needed for filing tax returns, etc.  At the end of the year, the contents go in the tax box with our receipts then to the attic for storage.

          3.  I plan ahead. Utilizing a monthly meal plan helps save time and money. I always know what we are having and I have dramatically reduced the number of trips to the grocery store. In the past, I listed 30 meals and the ingredients needed for each meal on this meal planner. Then I plugged it in on a monthly calendar that I posted on the fridge.  I also typed our favorite recipes and had them in a cute little binder on the counter.  NOW, that I have my iPad (and we all know how I love my iPad), I use a menu planning app called Paprika.  It’s awesome! I can use all my own recipes or search for new ideas and save them all in one spot. It will even print out a grocery list for my planned meals.

I also lesson plan in advance for our homeschool. I save so much time in the long run by getting things together before I need them. I utilize work boxes to keep things handy and broken down into days. I put the day’s assignments and any craft materials inside the box. They stack nice and neat for presentable appearance and easy access. 
Staying organized keeps life simple for me. It gives me more time for the FUN things. How do you manage the chaos? I’d love to hear some of your sanity-saving tips.