5 After 5, Favorite Organizational Tools Edition

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It's time for another round of 5 After 5!  In case you missed it, last week's list was 5 favorite road trip memories and if you're new to this series, you can read more about it here and catch up on all the old editions here.

Today I've got my list of 5 to share, as well as next week's topic for you to stew about over the upcoming days.

And this series is now a link party, so be sure to scroll down and join in all the fun with us this week!

List 5 of your favorite organizational tools 

Considering my attempt to stay ahead of the game on our month-long trek into the wilderness (somewhat) fell short of my goals, I figured it might be helpful to list the top tools for keeping track of all the crazy that is life nowadays.

1.  My computer

Since I was a little girl, I've always been a file cabinet girl.

It started with an old cardboard file box that my mom was getting rid of - she passed it along to me and I filled it with all sorts of important treasures like favorite coloring book pages, drawings, stories, and all the crazy plans that I would dream up (Like for a set of tunnels that would run along the ceiling of our house, so I could travel from room to room without anyone noticing.  Assuming they never looked up, of course.)

My early filing skills came in handy during my college days, when I worked at a library (Shelving books?  One giant file cabinet!) and afterwards as an administrative and executive assistant, as well as with all of the usual files full of receipts and bills that come with running a household.

However, last year, I decided I was ready to shed my file cabinet girl cape and have been steadily working on transferring all of that paper to my computer.

So much better.

My goal is to finish this little project up in the next few months.  Sure, there will always be a few things I need to hold onto in physical form, but I'm hoping to fit all of them into one simple box to set upon a closet shelf.

2.  Cozi App

I may still only have a dumb phone, but I do have a Nook, so I'm actually able to make use of a few of the different apps that are out there.

I use Cozi for our master calendar - that way, as long as I have internet access, I can check on a date, even on the go.

My favorite aspects of the app are how I can assign each member of our family a different color and also how easy it is to create a "recurring event."

3.  White Board

When we enter our house from the garage, the first thing to greet us is our control center, which is just a fancy name we call the white board hanging right there on the wall.

I have a two-week's-worth grid of calendar spaces taking up the top half of the board, so we know what's going on during the current week as well as what's coming up next.  I'm able to use the same colors for each of our appointments that I use on Cozi, so it makes everything really easy to see at a glance.

We use the bottom section of the board to jot down notes of things we need to pick up at the store, can't find, or need to remember to do.

4.  Regular old paper calendar

Despite relying on the Cozi app and our white board to keep our schedules straight, I still like to have a working paper calendar out on my desk.

This isn't anything fancy. I just print out a simple page showing the current month and another for the month that follows.  This allows me to organize my blog posts and important notes like "Gilmore Girls special on Netflix" - (11/25, btw) that I don't want to forget, but that doesn't matter to G or Gv and thus doesn't belong on our master or white board calendars.

5.  A spiral notebook

I listed this on another week of 5 After 5, but it definitely deserves a spot here, too.

I've tried digital "to-do" lists, but there's just about nothing that gives me more satisfaction than actually physically crossing something off a list that sitting right there in front of me on my desk.

I usually have several lists going at once (like for long-term goals, blog ideas, or home improvement projects), but I dedicate one page to whatever tasks I'm hoping to get done over the next few days.  

Whenever that page gets messy from too many scribble-outs or I need more room to add more things, I just rip the sheet out (such a satisfying noise!) and recopy everything still left to do onto a fresh, clean slate.

For next week:

List 5 ways you stay cool in the summer heat

The moment we returned home from our trip, we stepped out of the car into a blast of 98-degree heat.

Did I mention that we didn't get home until almost midnight?

Yup, we might have escaped to the cool mountains for a month, but we still have at least half a year of hot days ahead of us before our 3-day "winter."

I've got my five keep-cool tricks.  Can't wait to see yours!

And now, here's this week's link party!  Two other fabulous bloggers have teamed up with me to create lists of five each week and we hope that you'll join us, too!

That's right, every post will be read, pinned and tweeted!  

Every Saturday, just stop by one of our three blogs to add your own list of five, then pop over and read as many other posts as you're able to each week - treat it like a true party and really mix it up and mingle with our fun little community!

The rules are simple:  just write your own list following the prompt each week (feel free to interpret it loosely - or in a unique way!), follow each of the three hosts on the social media channel of your choice, and then get into the spirit of the party by grabbing your favorite beverage or snack and reading the lists of the other party-goers.

Your Hosts:

Lisa, at Syncopated MamaFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google+ // Bloglovin'
Samantha, at Motivated DaysFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Google+ 
Heather Marie at Life, Love, and LasagnaFacebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram // Bloglovin'

What's your list?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.

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  1. Ugh midnight heat is so depressing! Love your list- makes me want to go be super organized lol

  2. Waving hello and stopping by from Homeschool Nook Linkup... :)

    Your post makes me miss having our dry-erase board so much. We had to ditch ours when we moved last year and now we have no room. Also, I love that you've got the paper calendar and notebook. I love my online planner and use it faithfully, but I still use a paper calendar and notebook to plan what I'm going to enter online! ;)

  3. I'm all about my iPhone to keep me organized. I really love iCalendar for appointments, Wunderlist for to-do lists and the my trusty desk agenda book because I need the tangiability of holding my calendar :)

    Maria @ Gather

  4. I have a small-ish white board in my kitchen. I put my to do list for two days on it and across the bottom is stuff I need my husband to do. It is seriously how I keep sane. I didn't have it up for awhile due to some drywall and painting. Not having it threw me off. My calendar on my phone is my other life saver. (visiting from Mom to Mom Monday)

  5. I always love hearing how people organize their lives. Great ideas :) Visiting from Literacy Musing Mondays today :)

  6. Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week. Have a great week!

  7. I love your list! I've had all five at one time (no longer use the Cozi ap now that most of the kids are out of the nest, but it was a life saver for a while)! Thanks for sharing with us on Tuesday Talk again, enjoyed your post!

    ~Ruthie from RearReleaseRegroup.com

  8. Lisa,
    This is a great list of tools and I can say that I, too, use every one of them! The Cozi App in particular has helped keep us on track daily! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow! I haven't been to one of your 5s in some time, bummer. Anyway, I love love love paper organizers/planners/calendars. I also love journaling, or having paper to just jot down notes, to dos, and ideas. When we moved into our house and painted (almost) all the rooms, on Hun's side of the office, he has a painted whiteboard because he loves them, while I manage both the file cabinets and computer organization (pdf forms, using folders, etc.)! :)

  10. Oooooh, fun. I can't wait to get some organization going up in here. New town, new house, new school, new school year - SO MUCH NEW to get organized! (I use Cozi, too, but like having a paper version as well. That way I have a reason to buy pretty pens. ;) )

  11. I use the COZI app, too. But lately I've been migrating to Google Keep. I wish COZI had been around when my kids were in school the family calendar and reminders would have been very handy.

  12. I am with you on the paper spiral notebooks. I just can't seem to transfer everything to digital. I'm stocking up now when they are cheap!

  13. Sisters in organization with 3 out of 5 -- not sure I could function without my old-school paper planner. I'd add my wonderful purse with its many compartments and a hook for hanging my keys.

  14. I'm all about paper planners and spiral notebooks, too. It's just so much easier to pull out a notebook sometimes than it is to turn on the computer, and before you know it, you're on it for 2 hours!

  15. Thanks for sharing your post with Creatively Crafty Link Party #CCBG http://tryit-likeit.com/link-party-it

  16. I still have to create lists on paper even with my computer. I do like the idea of a whiteboard. We used to have one up and we miss it now. I'll have to find a way to start using it again. Thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup!

  17. I love my computer for photo files and for documents/pdfs, but I am still a paper girl as far as a calendar and a to do list. So I love that you included both in your top 5. They are in mine too. I love being able to write things out, it helps me remember much more than typing and I love, love, love to cross off items on the list that are finished! My favorite thing!

  18. I think I'd pick the same 5 you did! Thank you for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week.

  19. I like using a regular old paper calendar or planner, too. I was trying to keep my dates on my Google calendar, but I kept forgetting to check the calendar!