life on the funny farm

Monday, September 16, 2013

To-Do Bin

Show of hands, who has a "slush pile" on their desk?

A "get-to" pile?

You Moms know what I'm talking about. The birthday party invitations, the lunch order forms, the community service forms, grocery store flyer, the coupons, the appointment cards, the reading logs to be signed, the permission slips.

Yeah. THAT stuff.

I had a sizable slush pile, myself. As in, I needed mountain climbing gear to tackle it. And I was always forgetting what was in it, and handing things in late. Bulletin boards, side of the fridge, they haven't helped much because things still have a way of getting hidden behind other papers.

Well the other day, I did something about it. I had an old file box that I used to use for keeping recipes, but I changed the recipes over to a different spot, so it was sitting empty. It's made out of that plastic that you can write on with dry erase markers, and it holds hanging files.

So I stared at it for a few minutes.
I scratched my head.
I stared some more.
I squinted my eyes and I pondered.

Then I said "Ding ding ding!" and all the kids looked at me like I was off my rocker again.

I quickly made up a few file folder tabs, then drew a list are on the front of the bin in Sharpie, with several categories such as School, Medical, Critters, and a couple others.

I thought the words needed a little more contrast to be viewed clearly, so I taped a piece of plain printer paper to the inside of the bin. That helped.

Then I put papers from my slush pile into the appropriate folders, and wrote each task on the front of the bin, using dry erase markers.

I threw a calendar into the front of it, so as dates come up, I can add them to that pretty quickly.

Now all I have to do is glance at the front of the bin to know what my to-do list is, and I can just reach into the folder to retrieve the item, rather than shuffling through a slippery stack of papers.

For instance, lunch order forms? They're in the school folder. The dog license renewal forms? In the critter folder. And those items are written on the front of the bin so I have a visual reminder of what-all's in there. No more "mystery pile".

Since I originally made it, I added another file for coupons and flyers, because I realized that was something else I tended to find all over my desk or kitchen counters. So now when I get them, I stick them in that folder and then pull them out to look them over when I get the chance.

And you know what? I love this. I REALLY love this. And once again, I did not have to buy a thing, but just repurposed something I already had lying around.

How about you? What do you find works well to keep you organized?


Throw me a vote on Top Mommy Blogs? You know the drill by now. Just click the juggling chick and you've voted. You can vote every day till like, forever.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote!



  1. Absolutely brilliant Anne. I usually drown in the paperwork or try to organise it into my Quo Vadis daytimer. Both not brilliant solutions. :)

    1. Glad you like it, Veronica! Hope it works for you...

  2. Your box is wonderful! I would suggest one addition- a "tickler file" for paperwork that I don't need this month. I used packing tape on the bottom and one side of 12 file folders and wrote a month on each tab. When I get things I need to deal with in the future I put them in the appropriate file At the end of one month I pull out the next month's pile.

    1. Great idea, Kathy! I'll have to add that to mine. Thanks!

  3. I think the most brilliant part of this is your organized to-do list written with dry erase markers. My first thought as you described a file folder system was, "Oh, no. That wouldn't work for me--out of sight, out of mind." Then you solved that problem! I might just have to copy your idea!

    1. Glad you liked it, Kristi! I love dry erase stuff, don't you?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...