I love reading posts about how to use products, and how different individuals organize their lives. There’s just something about both “behind the scenes” looks and tangible “how tos” that I enjoy spending my time on. Amber calls me a “researcher” so maybe that’s part of it. Ha!
I have always enjoyed structure, lists, and organization, and being able to create tools that help myself and others is so much fun! I’d love to share with you my favorite 3 products, as well as how I use them.
Our meal planners were actually one of our first notepad designs and remain one of our big sellers. I don’t remember exactly how we made the leap from wall prints to functional notepads, but I would assume it’s because we wanted to meal plan and didn’t have a good tool to do so. At this point Amber and I were both new moms and had transitioned to staying home full-time, so saving money and making one trip to the store were priorities!
I keep the pad in our kitchen with a pen to jot down anything we need as we run out (or as the boys request it!). Then, since I usually grocery shop on Mondays I’ll either sit down on Sunday night or Monday morning with the pad and my planner, and often my computer to look up saved recipes on Pinterest. On the “meals” side I’ll jot down anything that affects our dinner time (for example, days I know John will be working late, when I have a meeting, or when we have plans to go out). Those are typically in my planner, so while it seems repetitive, it helps me see the evenings as a whole. Then, I write in the dinners we’ll have each day (that’s typically the only meal I “plan”). I will then add anything I need for those meals to the “list” side, as well as anything else I need that I hadn’t added throughout the week. If I have coupons I’ll add the specific item to the list (brand, and amount I need to buy) with an asterisk next to it to signify coupon. That way, I can leave the coupons in my bag but still know how to get the discount.
I try to keep the list after we go to the store, but stuff happens and I’ll lose it. For this reason, I add the meals back into my planner (on the meals line). Again, this may seem like a repetitive step, but it’s super quick and it lets me see our dinner plans as they relate to the rest of our week’s plans, and helps remind me if I need to prep/defrost anything.
That leads me into my planner, which is really my number 1 favorite product. Not only do I think it’s an incredible tool (that everyone should have) but they have been such a labor of love and I’m so proud of them. I can’t tell you how much time, frustration, and learning has gone into them. I never get tired of seeing a completed planner, it is so satisfying. But, let’s move on to why I love it and how I use it.
You can see a million Pinterest posts with beautiful Bullet Journals as well as extensive “family planners” with your entire life in a huge binder. I love the idea of both those things, but honestly they just don’t fit me or my style. I want structure, and I want a go-to place to store information. But, I don’t need EVERYTHING in there and I wouldn’t be consistent enough to maintain a bullet journal. Our planners, to me, are the perfect in between. Guided pages without too much structure where you feel locked in to a style or feel like you failed if you don’t fill in every little section.
Typically when I fill in the months of my planner, I like to add in all the big events I know for the year on the monthly pages. Then I fill them into the weekly pages, typically as the month starts. Then as I go into the week I add in more specific to-dos and any other playdates or errands I have planned. It basically goes from high level and works its way down the closer time gets to each day.
To wrap this post up quickly, my third favorite product has recently become our greeting cards. We added them to the shop pretty soon into our business because they’re easy to produce, but didn’t spend much intentional time on them. Thanks to Benita at Adorned Abode (check it out at Freighthouse Square by the Tacoma Dome if you’re local!), we started focusing on creating more designs and for more occasions. We recently started using nicely textured, thicker paper for them, too, and it makes them feel premium. I’ve fallen in love with our fun designs, and now that we have colored envelopes and custom stamps for our subscription boxes, I just can’t get over them. Being that I make them, I love having an awesome selection of my own designs to give out with gifts. I believe so strongly in keeping certain traditions alive, like hand-writing and mailing thank you cards, and I love that this helps keep me motivated to do so. Someday I’ll get back to addressing birthday cards a year in advance, but I’m not quite back there yet. J
Comment with how you like to organize your planner, or what your favorite organizational tools are (whether they’re Lemon Tree or not!).