Cheapest, Simplest, Best Organizing and Time Management Thing I Ever Did | Giftie Etcetera: Cheapest, Simplest, Best Organizing and Time Management Thing I Ever Did

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheapest, Simplest, Best Organizing and Time Management Thing I Ever Did

Well, besides a calendar/planner. Everyone, even a SAHM, needs a good portable calendar and to do list. But, besides having a planner (in my case, right now, my blackberry, though I am torn about whether it's the best planner for me right now), the best organizing thing I ever did was to invest in reusable shopping bags.

Invest is perhaps an inaccurate word. I gathered together all of the cheap totes that I had gotten over the years - the bag that I good at the baby expo I went to when I was pregnant, the computer logo bag my dad brought back from some conference, and a cheapo tote I bought when I used to go to Jazzercise. (Oh, how I miss Jazzercise, but I simply have no babysitter or time.) I supplemented with 100% recyclable bags from Old Navy for $0.99 each, but Wal-mart sells the same thing for $0.50 each nowadays. (Nowadays is such an old lady from South Louisiana thing to say. :))

I've explained this process before, but it's such a time saver that it is worth explaining again. Humor me...I'm a personal organization nerd.

The bags go in the trunk of my car. Actually, they hang on a special hook so they don't actually take up valuable stroller storage space. When I shop, I bring the bags and load them up as I walk through the store. One carries items that go to parts of my house other than the frig, freezer, and pantry (like toiletries, coffee supplies since coffee is keep under the kitchen window and not in the pantry, and baby wipes). Another carries pantry items. Sometimes, that takes two bags, but when it does, it's a good reminder that, perhaps, I am purchasing too much processed crap and not enough good for me stuff, like fruits and veggies. One bag is for our weekly two gallons of milk for the boys. Another carries frig/freezer stuff. Sometimes, I need two bags for that, too. I do get plastic bags on occassion, for lining small trash cans and getting rid of extra stinky diapers, by using plastic bags for the bread and the eggs, so they are obvious when unloading and don't get squished, and sometimes when I forget to bring my recycle bags into the store. {blushes} Honestly, I almost always remember the bags now, though.

When I check out, I unload one bag, then put the bag itself right in front of the stuff that I want loaded in it. Next bag, followed by the stuff I want in that bag. Then I put the next bag down, followed by the stuff, and so on. It sort of forces the cashier to load the bags just like I like them.

The bags are so much easier to carry, load into the car, and unload, so hubby doesn't need to help like he used to. 10 bags of groceries suddenly becomes 4 or 5! And, because they are sorted already, when I get home, I can ask hubby to put the milk and frig stuff away, while I unload the other two bags. It is quick and efficient. The empty bags go on my launchpad (with my purse and other essentials), to go back into my truck the next time I leave the house. A chip clip, binder clip, or other magnetic clip given out for free at some lawyer conference stays attached to the outside bag (as I store them inside of themselves) holds a grocery/shopping list to the bag.

I would say these bags easily save me a good 15 - 20 minutes per shopping trip. Also, because they make it really easy to designate what gets unloaded where, it makes it much easier to share the unloading chore, or, if I am doing it myself, unload only the important stuff (frig/freezer stuff), get the boys involved in something (a snack and a cartoon, maybe?), and then unload everything else.

These really cheap bags also come in handy for tons of other stuff. For example, on Mondays, I bring the boys each a clean blanket to preschool and I bring Loki more diapers and wipes. Cheapo bag to the rescue. I don't bring lunch daily (since I have lunch meetings or am out of the office about 3 days a week), but when I do - cheapo bag. Boys going spend the night with grandma? Cheapo bag for clothes and sippy cups. Going to a friend's potluck? Cheapo bag holds a soft drink and appetizer. If I lose one, so what? They were free or $0.50! I even use them around the house. I'll sort Ander's toys/clothes/crap into one, Loki's stuff into another, stuff that goes to the closet into another, and stuff that goes into my car into another. Then I deliver the stuff (having Ander unpack and put away his own, of course). Library books go into one bag for returns. Workout clothes go into a bag for a quick afterwork run. (Okay, that one is TOTALLY theory. Hush.)

Seriously, if you do one thing to organizing, gather up some totes and start using them for shopping and any other purpose you can think of. Then share your ideas with me. 'Cause I'm that kind of nerdy bag lady.


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