"I need to get organized."
This is the refrain of every virtually every parent I know. Something about running a family life that includes small children makes people's brains go haywire. It's so-called "mommy/daddy brain" plus keeping track of several people's schedules at once plus the incessant distractions and minor crises that children generate from dawn to dusk every single day.
In short, we have every excuse to be disorganized... but the excuses do us no good. We still get in trouble when we're running late or forget things crucial things like ballet tights or shin guards. And the worst part is: the ones we get in trouble with are our very own kids. Egad.
Which brings us back to... the need to get organized. In a new way. Or rather, in a new old way.
That's right, friends. This fall, we are going back to paper. Sometimes all of the computers and smart phones and tablets in the world can't give us what we really need: a handwritten note staring us in the face telling us in no uncertain terms not to forget that field trip permission slip.
It turns out that the sight of our own urgently scrawled handwriting is a lot more powerful a stimulus than yet another bit of pixilated, bullet-pointed typeface. But as all those who love handwritten communiqués would surely agree, a great deal depends on the stationary. That's why we are always keeping an eye out for well-designed paper calendars, planners and note-taking products.
Recently, we came across a line of paper-based organizing tools that we really love and are excited to share with you: The Blue Sky Home Series. The look is cheerful and crisp, the layouts are smart and original and it offers a variety of well-made calendar and organizer formats, all at an affordable price point.
What really grabbed us about this line, however, are the clever, almost in-your-face designs that really help us become more proactive about household organization. The standard refrigerator magnet grocery list, for example, is broken down into categories like fruits and vegetables, dairy, beverages and so on. (Let's avoid multiple trips down every aisle, shall we?) And the to-list pad comes in the form of a mouse pad - brilliant! But our favorite has to be the "Don't Forget To" note paper that can be hung on a door knob. This is for those who really need those extra reminders... (my hand is raised).
The Blue Sky weekly/monthly planner similarly leaves little to chance. With calendars in multiple formats, to-do lists galore, space for all important household contacts and, not least, detailed travel and party-planning checklists. Wow. Where have you been all these years, dear organizer?
Yet another thing we like about this on-paper approach is how accessible it is to all members of the family. At family meetings, it's easy for everyone to gather around your monthly planner to sort out any scheduling conflicts. And you can be sure that your kids will get a kick out of filling in your "Don't Forget To" notepad with important items like "buy ice cream" or "give hugs." We can all use reminders like these now and then, can't we?
Disclosure: We were given products from Blue Sky to review. The opinions above are the writer's own.
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