Helpful Heather makes a list

Organizing & Taking Stock


I am a list maker. Always have been, probably always will be. I say it is because I can’t remember all that I have to do, when in reality, I have been a list maker as long as I can remember. I guess some people just are. That got me to thinking though; how do others of you manage some of the things in your house?  Summer is winding down for us here and the kiddos are going to be in school in less than a month (I know, collective groan from all the kiddos out there, where as some of the mamas are putting the finishing touches on their “kids are back in school, mom’s gonna have a girlfriends lunch” plans – and if you aren’t, you should be…you and your friends are worth it!)

The girls here at Madame Deals do such a great job at keeping you informed as to where and when to get the best deals around! For me, the great challenge is where do I put it all??! Some may have a room or a corner of a room, or perhaps even a closet. At my house, we put it where we can find a spot – in an orderly fashion, of course. However, that leads me to my point.  You may save all kinds of money by getting some great deals, but you don’t want to occupy some of the most precious real estate you have by making things look cluttered or not being able to find the things you need when you need them (and thus, going to buy more – when invariably, “it’s here, somewhere”) So how do you keep track? I have taken to making lists. This week, I am going through and making a spreadsheet of household things I need or use then I  will try to to label which rooms they are in (especially if I have a back-stock of an item that might not be able to be stored where I use it regularly.) In addition, I am also making a general list of the things that I will probably need to start collecting for my kids return to school. Some of those things I already have, so I am setting up a box with those supplies in them, then once I get the actual class listing from the teachers, I will compare what I have already with what I need. (Having older kids, I know that there are typically some basics that are needed in each and every classroom.)

Part of the reason I want to know what I have where, aside from wanting to be able to get to it when I need it, is also because I want to know when I need to make sure to restock items. I don’t want to be left with too much of one item not enough toilet paper or disinfectant spray in the midst of flu season or a gastro-intestinal bug that makes its way through the school (yes, been there, done that, and had to drive 30 minutes to “town” to get more!)  So take this as a once bitten twice shy approach or perhaps I have a bit of a hoarding gene, but I want to know that I am well stocked and can get what I want from my own “store” so to speak and not have to pay too much of a premium for it.

Another reason I make a list of school supplies is so that I can collect not only what my family needs, but also so that we can donate needed items to the local schools. The international philanthropic women’s organization I belonged to used to collect school supplies every year. Let’s face it, they are pretty inexpensive when kids are preparing to go back to school – not so much in January. So, the group would put out a call to the community, collect the supplies, and once collected, they would automatically cut in half the amount of supplies that we received. The first half would then be divided by five, (for the five elementary through high schools we had in our area)  and items donated in time for students and teachers starting school in the fall to use. The second half would then be placed in storage at someone’s house until January and the same thing would happen again as did at the beginning of the school year and all of the supplies were obtained when they were considerably less expensive!  If you decide to do this yourself, don’t feel like you have to do this alone. Our community was *very* generous and all we had to do was contact local store owners to see if they would agree to have a drop box, and then we had someone collect the items and bring to a central location until we were ready to distribute them. Word of mouth and a few drop boxes later and the women’s club donated over $1500 worth of school supplies to our area schools in one year. Yet again, prior planning prevents costly mistakes later on!

So, making lists allows you to know what you have on hand and where it is located. Those lists make it easier for you to see what you have an abundance of that would allow you to perhaps donate this overage and in the case of  planning ahead a little bit, you can help your local schools by collecting supplies when they are least expensive and then donating those supplies at a time when they are most needed – usually for the second half of the school year. Or, as Amee suggested earlier this week, look now to purchase your children’s wardrobe for next year….there’s that prior planning thing again!

Smart shopping!

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