2013: Organization time!

One of my biggest goals for 2013 is getting organized & on top of things. I treated myself to this address book after scrambling and being late with holiday boxes because I couldn’t track down addresses. I ordered cards to save for next year from Betsy Ann Paper after totally flaking on sending cards this year. I just ordered this desktop jotter for 2013, as well as some thank you notes from the same sale.

I’m also working on a crazy budget spreadsheet that I’m happy to share once I get all the formulas set up, if anyone’s interested. Sean and I don’t share accounts, but I set up a separate bill pay account and am taking this week to switch all my auto-payments over. Part of the budget spreadsheet also figures out yearly payments needed divided by 12, and gives me the amount to set aside every month so we don’t have major surprises with property taxes or insurance payments. Yes, I made it to 37 without doing stuff like this. But I’m on it now, and hopefully it’ll make life just a little more smooth.

Do you have any tips or tricks for organization in the new year?



  1. Love the budget spreadsheet idea. I’ve got to get serious + do the same — please do share once you’ve gotten it sorted!

    1. I know this is late, but I would also love to hear about your budget tools! I use a Google Doc — just found a budget template I like. For some reason (Virgo) it’s fun to hear what works for other people!

  2. It feels like this is my goal every year. I’ve already got my new planner ordered and have been making lists all week. Now to stick with it. Any tips to stick with it? I seem to lose steam around March, without fail.

    For budgeting, You Need A Budget really changed how I think about money management. I use that and a excel spreadsheet that I’ve been tweaking for the last 7 years.

    1. I’ll check it out! I’ve been using a budget spreadsheet, but not to the detail of the new one, and not with multiple accounts. The problem is, on months where we travel, or have holiday expenses, it goes out the window and I totally don’t input all the numbers. So, yeah. I’ve also been using Teux Deux and trying to put the days where I need to work on budgets / input #s in a calendar, and then to stick to it. Grown up time is a pain in the ass.

      1. I have a lump fund that I deduct all “fun” expenses from (travel, gifts, etc). So say, when we’re travelling, I just deduct expenses from that and always have a concrete number of how much we can spend while away. For me, the less line items I need to keep track of, the better.

        1. That’s how my checking account will work in 2013. Everything in “bill pay” checking is earmarked – everything in my account (haha, like $2) will be up for grabs.

    2. You Need a Budget is really worth it. One of my resolutions this year is to stick to the budget and UPDATE it. Ugh. It’s all very nice having it set up in a spiffy program, but if I never actually track my spending, it won’t make a bit of difference, will it?

  3. I look forward to you posting on this! I read a great book this year by a guy called Leo Babauta, and if it isn’t too annoying I will post a quick list of what was really helpful for me, in terms of organization:

    -batching tasks (ie. set aside a specific time(s) for email and then just get to it–2x per day for 15 minutes idea)

    -group batch tasks into different categories (work/art/email/phone/errands/paperwork/inbox processing)

    -reduce before you organize

    -avoid email first thing in the day to avoid pushing back important tasks

    -check websites you visit and visit them all at once

    -file documents immediately, even if needed later

    -have materials (folders, labels) on hand

    -schedule a block of time to de-clutter (30 minutes a day, or whatever)

    I also really liked his 8 ways to motivate yourself from the beginning:
    start small, one goal at a time, examine your motivation, really want it, commit publicly, get excited, build anticipation, print it out and post it up.

    Good luck! This is an endless pursuit for someone like me:)

  4. Errrg, budgets. I have everything synced to Mint.com…which is great, if I go in and label what’s what. It’s hard to stick to inputting the info. I’d love to check out your spreadsheet, too. Grown up time IS grumbly.

  5. I’d really like to know what you come up with concerning budgets as that is a sore point for me as well.
    I feel like one of my biggest breakthroughs in the life organization department this year was this: Every week when I do my laundry, I also plan 2-3 other tasks to do between cycles. I live in an apartment and have to use a laundromat, so for me it looks like this: 1. Put laundry in, set timer on my phone. 2. go grocery shopping, drop groceries off at home 3. Switch laundry to dryer set timer. 4. deposit cash in the bank, pick up dry cleaning, go home put away rest of groceries 5. fold dried laundry and bring it home and put it away. 6. one other task.

    Interspersing my laundry with other chores has been *incredible* for me as it has taken a super slow (but mandatory!) chore and turned it into a powerhouse getting-shit-things-done block.
    If I had a home machine, my interval tasks between laundry movements would likely be housecleaning chores.

  6. I would love to see what you come up with for budget planning. It’s so hard, in such an expensive city, for us to save.
    Tip I learned from my mother with address books, use a mechanical pencil. Easy to edit when someone moves or families change.

  7. Yes! I’d also like to see this budget magic! I’m not a looker-aheader (unsurprisingly, my least favorite games are Risk and chess.) but I’d like to see how other reasonable folks do it. Someday, I’m sure I’ll need better budgeting strategies than “tucking a fistfull of bills in my jacket pocket for nest winter”.

  8. I always feel most organized when I set aside a bit of time (usually Sunday morning) once a week to look ahead and plan. That’s the time I look at the week, make a meal plan that reflects my evening commitments, check my bank account, grocery shop, pick up the house, do any mental prep for the week. All told it takes about an hour (a bit more if you include grocery shopping) but pays dividends in spades over the week.

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