Thursday, May 3, 2012

Magnetic Organizer

Lately, I've been inspired by a variety of blogs to get more organized. I've never been one to jump on the "spring cleaning" bandwagon, but for some reason I feel the need to be a little more purposeful and organized in my day to day life. And part of being more purposeful, I feel, is to find ways to lessen the amount of stress in our daily lives.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a post about Meal Planning Organizers from Reasons to Skip the Housework. There were quite a few ideas about how to create a meal planning system that works for your family. Then, I saw a post from Cassandra from 25 in my 25th about how she and her husband struggled over who did the dishes when. Her story was sounding oddly familiar to what was happening our our house. But she and her husband managed to find out a system that worked for the two of them.

Then it hit me, why not try to combine the two ideas and apply it to our lives? So, I came up with an idea to create a meal planning chart that incorporated some sort of daily chore chart.

Talking it over with the hubby, we knew we wanted it to be somewhere in the kitchen. And it needed to be something that wouldn't leave anything behind when we moved out of our apartment. At first we thought of using a dry erase board/calendar and hanging it up between the the kitchen and entry hall. But then it hit me - magnets! We could create it using some magnets and place it on the side of our fridge.

So, we went out and bought our supplies: a new label maker ($18) and some magnets ($3). We were able to find both items on our weekly grocery trip to Wal-Mart.

Then I created a hand written list of the different chores that need to be done and the different types of food that we eat. And then I made all of the labels. The cool part was that I could fit two strips of label on the magnetic tape. 

Once I had all of the labels printed and attached to the magnetic tape, I cut them all to size and started to figure out the configuration of the chart on our fridge. I thought that incorporating a little bit of ribbon (from my super small stash in the office) would help to create the zones of the chart.

This is what we ultimately came up with:

I added some magnetic tape to the back of the ribbon; the widths of both matched up perfectly! We originally thought about making the chart longer and more of a landscape orientation, but it went too far underneath the cabinet, and I wasn't a fan of it. So tall and long it was. We did decide to tuck all of our unused magnets for the week underneath the cabinet.

The daily magnets are some magnets I've had for years. Originally from target I think? The next column over is the hubby's chores for the week. Then my chores for the week. And then we have our planned out meals for the week.

I know the ribbons aren't exactly straight, but I'm willing to deal with it for now. We've actually talked about switching out the ribbon for something more colorful, and probably more of a solid. Everything in my stash was plaid or polka dot, neither of which really seemed to work.

We decided to go the every-other-day route when it comes to who does dishes. And, whoever isn't doing dishes, they are responsible for cleaning out both litter boxes and running at least one load of laundry from start to finish. And then we do more of our bigger chores on Saturday and take a break on Sundays. Or, if we have something planned with our families Saturday, then we swap Saturday and Sunday's chores.

When it comes to meals, we sit down either Saturday or Sunday and plan it out before we go to the grocery store. Then we check what we have on hand already and base our grocery list on whatever we're missing. There are a couple "go to" foods that we still keep stocked (like macaroni & cheese and chili) in case we get to a particular night and don't really feel in the mood to eat what we had planned.

We've used this system for two weeks now, and so far I think we're both pretty happy with it. It's nice not to have the what-are-we-having-for-dinner conversation every single night on the way home from work. Now there's no real question about what we're having. Plus, it makes grocery shopping so much easier. And we're hoping that it'll eventually save us some money in the long run.

But probably the best thing is that we no longer argue over chores. We no longer sit around wondering who will be the first to budge and start on the ever growing pile of dishes in our sink. Or who is responsible for cleaning kitty poop. Nope, we've practically eliminated all of those arguments. Takes away a whole lot of stress. And leaves a lot more room to discuss more important things in life. Like what's on t.v. tonight. Just kidding. Well, sort of anyways... But seriously, it's made a huge difference already.

What have you done in your house to try to eliminate silly arguments? Or maybe you have a different system for organizing meals? I love seeing how other people organize their house and life. Makes me feel like there's still hope for us yet!

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