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View Full Version : SOS - calling the People of the List!



MacAllister
04-12-2018, 09:23 PM
So, the last couple of years, I've been working an insane amount. 70-80 hours a week, on average.

I've recently made some significant life changes so I'm not going to be doing that any more. Yay, me!

But...I was going through the house trying to make a list of stuff I need to get (I'm not a detail person -- I'm a big picture person) I got as far as:


eggs
bread
milk
flour
sugar
meat
butter
cereal



And finally just gave up and wrote: FOOD

Likewise, list-making for cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, and so on? I'm a little overwhelmed.

What are your organizational styles and tips? How do you keep your lists from just becoming an overwhelming edifice of Stuff You Failed To Take Care Of?

I need my life back!

cornflake
04-12-2018, 09:38 PM
This may seem odd, response-wise, but where is your list and what kind of list is it?

I'm not a big list person, as I tend to forget them or forget to put something on them or misplace them or have more than one or....

The one type of list that's ever worked for me is my grandmother's old-school, pinned-to-the-wall list (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a1/5a/a1/a15aa121d25613c07865b3201086c6a0.jpg). They're genius.

Here's a DIY one (http://themerrythought.com/diy/diy-wood-shopping-list-pad/)

If you put it up on the wall in a central location, and can just scribble stuff on it when stuff occurs to you, in sections you mark off or whatever, you can pull pieces, cross off what you've got, take a pic of it before you leave.... so it's static and you don't misplace it or forget it or etc. If those are not your issues with lists, this may not be helpful at all, heh, but if it is, go old-school grandma!

ETA: You can also have one in the kitchen, one near the bathroom or whatever, so there's a 'food' one and a 'household' one or whatever.

ETA II : If you're doing this for a big clean-out/re-org type thing, I'd start with literally cleaning out cabinets and stuff, one by one, tossing everything dated or that you don't ever use but somehow acquired, and then designating purpose, seeing what you have, and what you need. Like, consolidated all the detergent, took stock of all cleaning supplies, tossed gross old sponges -- now need: New sponges, dishwashing stuff, bleach, etc., for THAT cabinet. Then move to the next...

Maggie Maxwell
04-12-2018, 09:43 PM
I like electronic lists. For food shopping, I use an app called Out of Milk. It's useful because once I've got an item in my cart, I can tell it to remove from the list, so I don't have to scan through everything I've already gotten looking for the one thing I haven't yet. For to-do lists, I keep it in my email drafts. Keeping it electronic, I can delete things once it's done. It keeps the list from being a mess of crossed through things that stays the same length or gets longer. The list getting shorter motivates me to clear it off.

Marissa D
04-12-2018, 09:47 PM
I have different color notepads for different lists (food, pharmacy/toiletries, Home Depot, office supply store, other) which helps me keep track of when I need to go and also feeds my addiction to pretty paper products. I keep 'em in one place in the kitchen so I always know where they are.

I keep two different "to-do" lists as well--one on my desk in my office for writing-related tasks, and one on my nightstand for the rest of life.

KateSmash
04-12-2018, 09:49 PM
It took me a long time (and no small amount of marital strife, as spouse-face must have a list or they cannot function) to embrace list making.

For food/shopping list, I keep a magnetic pad on the fridge and just jot down items we need as we run out. Usually there are only one or two things left to add come shopping time. I'm a one stop shopper most of the time, so I don't separate things out by function.

For to-dos, especially chores, the trick is to add in a few gimmees. Easy little tasks that take only take a minute or two to accomplish. Or add small things you've already done. The sight of more things crossed off give the illusion of progress and, oddly, help motivate me to just keep going. Cheating? Probably. But it works.

MacAllister
04-12-2018, 10:44 PM
I'm using the Wunderlist app on my phone- which I like quite a lot.

mrsmig
04-13-2018, 12:31 AM
Another vote for Out of Milk for grocery lists. You can make other lists on the app as well, but I haven't really utilized that. I still make to-do lists on paper.

tjwriter
04-13-2018, 12:34 AM
Cozi is a good overall organizational app. You can make lists, calendars, routines, etc. and sync across devices and people.

I've gotten back to paper some because the act of writing things down helps soothe my frayed nerves and gives me a sense of control.

Layla Nahar
04-13-2018, 12:53 AM
...I'm not going to be doing that any more.

I'm glad to hear it.

Before you make lists of what to buy - what do you eat? I mean, what kind of meals do you make? It actually took me a bit of work to get a smooth flow of grocery shopping but now I make a grocery list easily, get in & get out fast (map your store!) and do my cooking efficiently. I think it's Fly Lady who talks about the Pantry List or 'building your pantry' or something like that - but you start from meals - what meals do you cook the most? what do you need to cook those things? & grow from there. Otherwise it's really easy to end up with cabinets full of stuff but nothing to eat...

Brightdreamer
04-13-2018, 01:47 AM
I'm using the Wunderlist app on my phone- which I like quite a lot.

I like Wunderlist, too - got a Groceries list, a Money I'm Owed For Groceries list, and a Books I'm Looking For list, where I keep track of books I'm interested in (as an attempted cure for the Bookstore Brain Blank.) I like that I can synch it from computer to phone to tablet, so I don't have to have my phone on and with me all the time to keep it up to date. (I'm very much trying to keep my phone a tool, not a toy...)

As for organization tips, I liked the idea behind one method I saw on a learning site (Lynda.com), by the guy who wrote The Myth of Multitasking (Dave Crenshaw, IIRC - too lazy to Google): instead of just writing down "Do this" and "Do that" and rolling it over to the next day and an inevitable avalanche of This's and That's, he suggested focusing on the What, When, and Where of each task:

- WHAT is the next step? Instead of "revise novel, get published," the next step would be "edit Chapter 3" or "pick agents to query."
- WHEN will it be done? Instead of the nebulous "do it today, or tomorrow, or this weekend," set a specific time... then write it down in your calendar. (He's a big advocate of calendars - remembering buffer time. Also an advocate of stopping when it's time to stop, leaving what needs doing for another What/When/Where task, so you don't just plow over the rest of the stuff you need to do on a given day.)
- WHERE does it live/need to be? For organizing especially, everything has a "home" and no visitors allowed. But it also applies to other tasks: where do you need to be to do this task? What materials or resources need to be available and moved or gathered to that place before you begin?

I keep trying modified methods of it, and it definitely seems to help - I just have issues making changes stick, especially with family interference... (If you have a Lynda subscription, it's worth a look; some good ideas there.)

(Incidentally, for cleaning issues, I highly recommend Rachel Hoffman's Unf*ck Your Habitat, a book for the "rest of us," including those living with other family members who aren't on board with cleaning, or are otherwise not entirely in control of our living situations and/or on tighter budgets than many organizational books assume: "Just buy a closet organizer!" isn't practical advice when one can barely afford a coat hanger...)

SWest
04-13-2018, 02:24 AM
...(I'm not a detail person -- I'm a big picture person) I got as far as:


eggs
bread
milk
flour
sugar
meat
butter
cereal


And finally just gave up and wrote: FOOD

Likewise, list-making for cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, and so on? I'm a little overwhelmed.

What are your organizational styles and tips? How do you keep your lists from just becoming an overwhelming edifice of Stuff You Failed To Take Care Of?

I need my life back!

I'm sure your life misses you very much. :greenie

[How you approach shopping chores depends somewhat on whether you are shopping to a Budget, or able to make the expense fit the Wants.]

OK. So lists are supposed to improve/streamline your Primary System/Style.

"FOOD", for you, should be at the top of the page. Nothings says you have to BUY EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING NAO. Nothing says you can't go to a store every day of the week. I see people do this a lot...partly because they like Fresh stuff, and partly other Reasons. It won't be the end of the world (or a failiure of any individual List) if you forget something and put it at the top of you next List. (Brains: unintelligently designed. Don't sweat it.)

So if you ran out of town in the middle of the night and you have No Supplies on hand (wut? it happens), make a list of no more than 10-15 FOOD items you need to get you through the next few days. While you are in the store, The List is your friend: get what you listed and nothing more. Bring a pen and strike through as you go (one of the true pleasures of listing).

CLEANING SUPPLIES: Can you make due, at least for the time being, with a gallon bottle of vinegar and some boxes of baking soda? That, and a {unit} of laundry detergent should get you by a while. Three things.

For everything else that needs doing, I find a master callendar works fine. Again, just because I wrote something on Tuesday doesn't mean the world breaks if I don't get to it until Wednesday (unless it's an actual deadline thing), but my note on Tuesday lets me know that I need to get to the bank, fill my gas tank, and check for digital coupons before I go to stores on Friday.

So I keep a handful of recycled envelopes with lists for different stores (with coupons and cash for each trip) on a clipboard with my master callendar on my desk. Sale circulars, extra coupons sheets, and other long-term stuff: all in one handy place, and easy to re-organize/purge as needed.

Siri Kirpal
04-13-2018, 03:19 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I have a sheet of paper magneted to my refrigerator. As I use something up, whether it's cleaning supplies or food, I write it down on my list. One day a week I go shopping and take the list with me. Before I go, I take a quick look at the pantry and refrigerator to make sure I haven't missed anything. It's a simple system, probably too low tech for most of the people here.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

cmhbob
04-13-2018, 04:08 AM
We use a paper list for shopping, a steno pad.

First 4-5 lines in the top left are our meals for the week. Then we go down the ingredients for each meal, and add those as needed on the left side. Top right is snacks (until three weeks ago, there were 7 people in the house). Bottom right is non-food stuff, added from the bottom up as we become aware of it, or the day before we go shopping. This is things like dog food, shampoo, body wash, etc.

Pony.
04-13-2018, 04:22 AM
I like electronic lists. For food shopping, I use an app called Out of Milk. It's useful because once I've got an item in my cart, I can tell it to remove from the list, so I don't have to scan through everything I've already gotten looking for the one thing I haven't yet. For to-do lists, I keep it in my email drafts. Keeping it electronic, I can delete things once it's done. It keeps the list from being a mess of crossed through things that stays the same length or gets longer. The list getting shorter motivates me to clear it off.

I can’t remeber the name of the app just now, but there’s one out there where you put in your shopping list, tell it what store you’re going to and you scan the bar code on each item, with your phone, as you put it in your cart; the app takes the item off the list and keeps a running tally of how much you’re spending- tax and all- (it also points out sale items and better values that match your list) so you don’t get surprised at the checkout.

cornflake
04-13-2018, 04:36 AM
If you're going through for a big spring reorg thing -- I go one by one, cabinet, closet, etc., decide what the place is for, take everything possible out, ditch everything that needs to be ditched, make sure everything meets the designation (if it's the tea cabinet and pasta is in there, it goes in a bag that gets moved to the cabinet that's going to hold pasta, for when that's cleaned out, to be assessed), wipe everything down, etc., and put stuff back in an organized fashion.

Whatever is needed for that cabinet/area/designation can then be listed, then move to the next. Personally, I find like 'cleaning out the kitchen cabinets' overwhelming and it ends in stuff everyplace that gets all shoved back places when I get fed up. If I just say I'm going to clean out the one cabinet, or organize the bathroom stuff, it's manageable and getting the one thing all sorted is sort of inspiring. It looks all nice and then when there are things in other places that belong there they can go.

Also then other, bigger stuff where things have collected can get organized and the stuff goes in the nicely now-organized cabinets, drawers etc., where the stuff belongs. Do the places things go TO first before tackling like, the top of the desk or the countertops, so there are places to put the things from the collection points.

Maryn
04-13-2018, 05:00 AM
I am old, so while I occasionally use my Wegmans app for groceries, I'm a paper list person. In addition, I have trained both our adult kids and my husband in the art of the list.

It's a steno notebook with a pen that stays securely in its spiral. It lives on top of the refrigerator. Its fresh page is groceries, and everybody in the household knows to write the things in the approximate order of where they are in the store. The lower right corner lists planned meals, so I know what recipes to double check to make sure I buy everything I need. We tend to have the same dozen meals over and over, so I don't often have to check. A question mark next to the item means to check the fridge or cupboard because we might have it already.

The reverse side of the steno pad--the back of the last list used--is other lists for the days/week the grocery list covers. What do we need at the drug store, home improvement store, etc.? There I jot appointments or other commitments, which are few, just as a reminder. It's good to know I have a meeting right near Home Depot, for instance.

There I also jot myself things I absolutely have to do--call for that dental appointment I keep putting off, finish critiques before the writing group meets Wednesday, buy a birthday gift for my kid to take to a party, like that.

I do also use Evernote on my phone to remind me what I need to be doing when I go to Home Depot after my meeting, since I don't take the steno pad everywhere I go.

You, of course, are still a youngster and might be equally happy with a good list app rather than paper, but it's interesting to me that our kids in their early 30s are strictly paper for grocery lists.

Maryn, reasonably organized

MaeZe
04-13-2018, 05:22 AM
What I do is not something I recommend anyone else do. I have scratch paper notes all over the house, when I think of or learn something I need to do, I write it down on the closest piece of scratch paper because I no longer have effective short term memory. But those notes get lost. Sometimes I hunt down all the notes all over the house and organize them into one list. I do this much too often.

For really important things, I have a chalk board cat hanging on the door that I can write and later erase urgent things I need to remember.

For groceries I have a post-it and a pen on the kitchen counter. Sometimes when I get to the store sans my list I try to recreate it in my head. "Damn-it, there were 5 things on that list and I can only think of 4 of them."

I still haven't moved up into text messaging even though my son has showed me how including having me demonstrate back to him to confirm that I got it. I believe this is some kind of psychological block stemming from my refusal to learn certain new things. Other new things I am constantly exploring and learning.

I say to myself, "Hey, at least I'm computer and Internet literate. My older neighbor never goes online," to make myself feel better.

I refuse even to load and use the aps that provide coupons. Instead I rant at the poor clerk that the store is discriminating against old folk like me. It usually means the clerk or someone in line offers their phone to scan the ap coupon in question. It restores my faith in humanity that folks are willing to help a phone ap challenged old person. :D

Post-its, that's my list solution. I need to quit using scratch paper. :tongue


MaeZe, forever disorganized. ;)

Snitchcat
04-13-2018, 06:10 AM
But...I was going through the house trying to make a list of stuff I need to get (I'm not a detail person -- I'm a big picture person) I got as far as:


eggs
bread
milk
flour
sugar
meat
butter
cereal


And finally just gave up and wrote: FOOD

Likewise, list-making for cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, and so on? I'm a little overwhelmed.

What are your organizational styles and tips? How do you keep your lists from just becoming an overwhelming edifice of Stuff You Failed To Take Care Of?

I need my life back!

In general, I divide my lists into categories and sub-categories and sort through logically as needed. I keep a tangible version of these lists on my phone or somewhere else, but I have a mental running inventory of what I have in the house according to these lists.

I've found the trick is not to get everything in one go -- it's too much to remember, even with a tangible list, IME. And it's overwhelming. Instead, I pick one list and then a day to get the items on that list. Rinse/repeat till all the lists are done. After each "supply run", I get home and update my mental running inventory.

It sounds like a lot of repetitive work for daily items, but I've found it effective and it works nicely for me.


Food:
Meals: I go with what meals I want to cook in any particular week. I also tend to go for flexible ingredients that complement each other, so I can make a variety of meals.
Basic Baking: The most basic of ingredients that can make a variety of baked goods, from biscuits (cookies) to cakes.
Basic Food Storage: Clingfilm wrap, cooking foil, sandwich/food bags


Cleaning:
I find it's good practice to always keep an all-purpose cleaner on hand and some disposable gloves / kitchen gloves


Other Essentials (once a month or whenever necessary):
Basic hygiene and daily-use items