When my friend, Mystie Winckler, told a group of us about how she uses digital organization to cut the paper clutter in her home, we had to know more and demanded that she write an ebook for us all… or give private lessons. Today, I have asked her to share about her system and her book.
I have put together at least three household management binders in my 10-year career as a housewife to date. All three times I thought it through, made it well, and used it for about 2 weeks. Even the process of making a home management binder helps clarify and organize thoughts as well as papers, so even if the system falls by the wayside, you’re better off than when you started. However, it does seem a shame for all that paper and effort to go to waste. Plus, I don’t know about you, but at my house paper never stays pretty for long. So then I’d be tempted to redo it simply to make it look nice again.
Paper quickly becomes clutter, at least in my house, and I’d already done enough purges to know how many lists I generate when I start an organizing project. Lists that then become piles, which then become clutter, which then become a task of going through and deciding keep & file (and forget) or toss (and forget). Paper and binders are still a great option for some, particularly those who have better follow-through or a more meticulous personality than I do.
However, for those of us with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, why not use them to their full potential instead of duplicating places we keep information? With a small, portable piece of technology, we can keep as much information as we want in our pocket! Now, no matter where I am, I have my up-to-date calendar, my task list, my notes and lists and files, my menu plan, my grocery and shopping lists, my address & phone book — and for those things, I don’t even need an internet connection to access. If you add in wifi, well, there’s the whole sum of human knowledge there on the internet to look up if needed, right?
Besides the size factor, it is the search feature that really makes digital information so much more useful. Being able to search, from my desktop, inside every document, my contacts, and my calendar is the biggest boon of the digital age. Flipping through a binder or file folder or pile, wondering just what you did with that note you are sure you made? A thing of the past.
I also use my iPod Touch (I don’t have a smartphone, just a smart-iPod) as a timer (15 minutes of decluttering! Go!), alarm (3pm afternoon chore time, everyone), weight-tracker, reader (with the Kindle and Instapaper apps), and audio book supply for the car. I love being able to track whatever I want, list whatever I want, and look up whatever I want, just on my little iPod in my pocket. Plus, I always have waiting-room or car-ride reading & listening materials at hand.
Paperless Home Organization is my own instruction booklet for moving the household notebook into the current decade and utilizing technology to work for our unique, diversified, and very personal roles. In addition to step-by-step instructions for setting up a home management system on Evernote, there are also detailed instructions for customizing the application for blogging and homeschooling, since those are also two areas requiring lots of organization in my own life. Along the way I have not only tips for using these programs to their full ability, but also tips on getting and keeping organized that apply regardless of what form your organization takes.
For Meet Penny readers who would like to make their organization routines up-to-date and take full advantage of the technology in their home and pocket, I am offering a special discount: enter code PENNY and get 30% off the already-low price of $3.99! This special will run for 3 days only, so click over and see if Paperless Home Organization is what you’re looking for.
Mystie Winckler is a wife of one, mother of five, homemaker, home-educator, and home organizer. She blogs about simple cooking and menu planning at Simple Pantry Cooking and about creating and maintaining a cheerful home at Simply Convivial.