After a thread long ago on a parenting forum, and my own previous... 'thing' for organising that somehow went astray over the years, I sort of got back on track. I checked out some organising blogs, used what worked for me/us and didn't worry about the rest. Different strokes and all that - some stuff is just not my thing at all so I just don't use it - and some of it is spot on 'me'! I'm getting back on track... slowly... being inspired by various blogs but still with a long way to go... just one step at a time.
One idea that worked for me, is when something comes in, handle it once. Deal with it then and there - fill in the form, envelope and stamp it, write the invitation details on the calendar now, in full etc. That can't always work and sometimes we need to be reminded of things that aren't happening right now, but need to be remembered.
So... after years of just 'bits of paper' I started out with a basic notepad that I did up on VistaPrint. When the pages are used I cross through them, and then use the back as scrap. After that it goes to the worm farm.
Any design, any titles, labels you like you can do on VistaPrint - make it funky, modern, colourful or not - whatever takes your fancy and gets you inspired etc and combined with some ideas from FLYlady (I used to think it was 'self help rubbish' then I gave it an honest go and was surprised - I actually ended up doing less cleaning and having more 'free' time).
Then, over time, the list layout wasn't quite 'fitting' with what I needed to write down, and I was missing some parts of the day. The weekend lists are easier and usually one or two lines down a page but the during the week lists I find it helpful to write them out like this. Because if you miss the 'before school and at school' stuff, you're behind before you even get home from dropping the children off! So the school day lists tend to look like this... (oh and I usually put the 'what's for dinner' on the bottom right so I remember to decide in the morning, take out anything from the freezer that's required etc)...
They're usually done on scrap paper and bulldog clipped to my notepad, which has a 'perpetual list' - long term things, ideas etc that pop up that I want to write down. Not fancy, but they fit in my bag and they work. Also means on the reverse side of the bulldog clip I can attach receipts, notes about addresses or other information that I need to keep with me for the day/take somewhere/remind me but that I don't want lost to the abyss of a bag, or soggified by a drink bottle or stray muesli bar that *how did that get in there?!*...
Then on the fridge is the calendar like this one (yay for calendars that fit more than just 2adults 2 children on them, Australian and reasonably priced at that) and from the FLYlady I also did up (finally) our new daily and weekly lists;
which incorporates the zones as well. All sounds a bit 'meh' and a bit complicated but really it's just putting stuff down on paper to free up space inside my head! AND it means there's less chance of things being missed. It looks like a lot of 'organisey' stuff but really, it's not. It's just on paper. It also means if I'm not about for some reason *touch wood* for however long, the same things will hopefully continue to happen and it means someone else doesn't have to start from scratch working out what needs doing where/how things run. I'm sure they'd pick it up but flip side I would appreciate it if I was thrown in the deep end too.
The noticeboard above the computer now has tags along the lines of 'School, Taxation, Medical, Invoices'.
Bills come in, (sigh, lol) get worked out on the online budget (just a word doc with a few colums, date and incoming/outgoing), payment scheduled on the budget/calendar if needed, then the bill itself goes up under 'invoices'. There's also an emergency contacts list should anything ever happen to the adult/s while the children are home. The kids know how to use the phone, and have contact numbers right there should they need them.
Also in the kitchen on the main door that I see ALL the time is the 'weekly list' or stuff that needs doing but can't be done right that second.
For example, when excursion notes come home, I fill them out, write the cheque, put them in an envelope and attach the envelope to previously mentioned bulldog clip and under 'at school' I write in 'excursion note [child]'. Things that need more time like a form I need to find documents or info for, go on the big bulldog clip in the kitchen so they don't get 'not seen and not heard' and are right there until they get done. It's nice when that clip is empty! Also goes there the library returns lists etc stuff that is needed but I don't want on the fridge.
Oh, the fonts are either CK Jot or CK Ali's Hand that I first came across on Super Organiser Mum blog. The backing papers are from my box of scrapping/card making 'stuff'. The new bulldog clips were from Woolworths and the old rusty one (I've never found any new BIG ones like that) is from a box of 'stuff' that I sorted through...
By the front door is a peg on the frame near the handle for last minute reminders. Fancy? nope lol but paper reminders stay up so that's the main thing. Also if I really really really must remember something I leave a note on the speedo dashboard of the car... next to the front door (on a stool for now, so Quinn can't get to it) is a 'car box' - a big wicker Branas basket from IKEA (but you could use whatever you have) of things that have to go in the car the next morning - the calico bags for shopping, returning a container, something that someone left here, a finished project for someone etc...
as you can see, putting it all in a neat folder wouldn't work for me lol - some things need to be very portable in/out of cars/bags/on benches etc and some stuff needs to just be IN MY FACE so I don't forget it. No use being neat and tidy and looking lovely if it never gets used/gets forgotten... so do what works for you.
So maybe none of that at all is useful, but if some of it is, then great :) A little bit less CHAOS is good, right! :) Thing is, make something that works for you, and frees up your time to not clean or tidy, but enjoy your life :) and be able to have a welcoming, comfortable and organised-enough home that you know where things are when you need them, and so that last minute visitors or invites just bring a grin, rather than dread. A good place to be, eh! :)