Running a household on lists

I love lists. Our household runs on list and would be in disarray if there were no organization to our errands, thoughts and to-dos. My husband and I have always relied on lists even before parenthood, but with LO in the picture, staying orderly becomes even more of a necessity. So without further ado, below is a list… of our lists.

Chore list
We used to have weekly chore lists, but the time crunch has forced us to complete our chores monthly instead. We alternate on chores so that the next month, whatever chores my husband did, I’ll now do, and vice versa. This way, we know the place is getting cleaned and it’s evenly divided (no complaining that someone did more than the other!).

Front door check list
I can’t even remember the number of times we’ve left the house in the morning only to realize that we’ve forgotten something. Now, we have a checklist posted at the front door so that we remember to bring what we need, including our cell phones, lunches, LO’s library books, his clothes, work files, etc.

Weekly recipe list
I make a list of five recipes that we cook per week, plus one veggie side for LO. I find recipes online and bookmark them on my browser according to categories. So I’ve gone through my “budget recipes,” my “vegetarian recipes,” and am finishing up my “seasonal recipes.”

Weekly grocery and market list
Along those lines, every Saturday night I take those six recipes and write down a grocery and market list for all the ingredients we need to buy come Sunday. I fold a cardstock paper in half vertically, and on the left side I jot down the items that we can get at the farmers market, and on the right side, the items we need to buy at the grocery. The weekly usuals include: milk, fruits, sweet potatoes, frozen veggies, bread, oatmeal and yogurt.

To-do list
This is a list I keep on my iPhone for short-term to-dos, such as “Print out chore list” or “Return shoes.”

2012 fun things to do list
There’s always that weekend where we have nothing to do and we’re beating our brains to find something. So we compiled a list of fun things we can do. What makes the list? Anytime we have a conversation that starts off with, “We should go/do/see…” we write it down. This includes: ride the boat bus, eat at pastrami restaurant, go to a baseball game, etc.

Library lists
I have a loooooong list of children’s books that I check out for LO on a weekly basis. Every Monday, I go to the library to return the books I borrowed as well as pick up the stack of books that I placed a hold on and are now ready. Then I search and place holds on six more children’s books that same day, and the cycle continues. I also have a book list on Amazon that I check out at the library (currently reading Katherine; very good so far!). My husband does the same. We also have lists of movies and CDs we borrow from the library.

Errands lists
My husband writes up a list of errands we have to do on a certain day, just so he can cross it off. For instance, he’ll just grab some scrap paper and write “Bed Bath and Beyond for towels, Old Navy for LO’s clothes, Buy sandwiches at deli…” And as we go through our day getting things done, we can see what we’ve accomplished.

Crossing it off
Having a visual of what we need or want to do helps to de-clutter my brain. Something about writing it down somewhere makes it feel like I’m relieving my brain of overload so that it doesn’t have to contain everything. So far, this system has worked really well for us!

What kinds of lists do you use in your home?

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