Organizing Errands | Giftie Etcetera: Organizing Errands

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Organizing Errands

I wrote this last Wednesday and forgot to post.  For the record, I got all the errands done.  Eventually.  :)

Now, for the post:

If I am really, really lucky, I will accomplish a ton of stuff tomorrow. If I am truly blessed, I will do it without crying or having a breakdown. It's Errand Day (usually on Tuesdays, but today was Mardi Gras here in Louisiana).  By doing all my errands at once, I free up the rest of the week and spend less money on gas.

Here's my list of errands:  

1. Carpool - A 45 minute drive into the city (and another to drive out, but that won't happen until later in the day), during which my children eat breakfast in the car so that they can sleep a little bit later.  I need to remember the 
Valentine box and a Mummy Tomb, along with Valentine's, sweatshirts, and water bottles.

2. Possibly Mass - It's Ash Wednesday, which is not a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, but I will be dropping off the kids 100 yards from 8 a.m. Mass about 10 minutes before Mass, so Catholic guilt might prove motivating. 

3. Post office - I have to mail a package that must be weighed first, along with some other stuff. 

4. Bank - I have a deposit, a withdrawal, and an unscheduled meeting with the person in charge of CDs to move some of our savings into one.

5. Target - I need to do the weekly grocery shopping and buy Valentine's for the next day for one of my kids.

I piled all the stuff (except the elusive Tomb and Valentine's box) that I need for my errands in one place on the island in my kitchen.  Behold the reason I drive an SUV:

The key to remembering everything I need, of course, is my planner.  I mark errands with an E in my planner.  Tomorrow's entry has been growing all week, as errands came up.  I knew I'd be doing the errands on Wednesday, so when my GPS died, I marked an errand to mail it at the Post Office with an E.  You can see, on the 13th, how I mark any errands with a small E first.  (I do the same for things that must be done at home (H), on the computer (C), or on the phone (P).)(Aside for those of you addicted to planner porn - note that I use three columns of input on each weekly entry in my planner: DUE, my task list for the day, and Reminders/FYI.  Actual timed events or all day events go on my monthly calendar in a different part of the planner.)

Along with my planner's errand list, I clip together items for the day's errands.  It's difficult to see in this picture, but I have binder clips for the days of the week (used for this week, so tomorrow's errands are in Wednesday clips), months of the year (so March, next month, has directions to a wedding out-of-town), and things like "To Do", "File", and "Misc." (which I use for stuff waiting on someone or something else).  I bought the labeled binder clips at Office Depot for $1 per pack of twelve, but you can use regular binder clips and either label with a sticker or nail polish, shiny marker, or liquid paper.  (Extra tip: when I taught middle school, I labeled binder clips for each class to hold graded and ungraded papers.)

You can keep your stuff together in a folder, binder, or a dedicated tote bag.  I found this Bible cover, with pockets for pens, binder clips, and paper clips.  My planner goes in the top pocket, and everything else - my Moleskine, clipped papers for errands, and stamps, envelopes, and address stickers - goes on the inside of the zipped up pouch.

What is looks like on the inside:

Next, I put all my stuff together in a tote bag (the black plaid bag, in this case).  I put my purse and lunches together there, too.

The kids' lunches don't have the cold stuff in them, but there are empty containers to remind me to pack them in the morning and the cold stuff is altogether in one place in the fridge.

I even put my coffee mug and water bottle out, so I don't forget the coffee.  If I forget the coffee, I might as well stay in bed!

Even after doing all this, it still took two days to get all these errands done.  But my system makes it almost impossible to forget anything.


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