When I was a little kid, I used to love going into office & craft supplies stores and scour the shelves for notebooks and different pens I could write with. All the colors and fabrics were exciting and I don’t think I really understood why I liked all the variety, until I began designing. Collecting different notebooks and pens is still something that appeals to my inner creative.
When I became a mom in 2011 my life was disorganized. We had just moved across the country the year prior, we were moving for the second time in 3 years and boxes were still unopened in my garage. I think I lost a crockpot somewhere in all the hustle and bustle. My organized self (in my former life) was screaming. Tired, exhausted, a new mom and business owner, things that weren’t essential usually were given away or put in a box for a future time where I could actually think of where to put it in my home.
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As a business owner, paperwork in the beginning can get overwhelming and so my #1 goal when I try any new product is to make sure it simplifies my life, and doesn’t just add one more step to an organization process. I want all moms to hear this: Just because it looks cool, doesn’t mean it works for your system.
Here are 10 design friendly organization tools that help keep me more organized! (No, my house is not always clean and laundry…well, that’s another story)
A friend of mine and I had coffee recently and she brought this fabulous note taking binder with her. We chatted about starting businesses, what it took, forms and lots of action items. I asked her where she had gotten her notebook and she pointed me to Behance’s Creative Outfitters – Action Method Paper products. I will never go back to another notebook…at least not for now. I can sketch up a quick design, layout my next blog series, take action items that are easily readable and take notes in a separate section. Splendid!
A lot of people hear about Evernote and don’t know the power it has. I’ll keep it brief and then let you explore. Evernote is like a note taking and archiving system. Simply put: I use it to take notes, interact with my clients, brainstorming and categorize by topic and keywords. I wrote my ebook by organizing all my research into separate notebooks as well. There is an app for it here, and it’s very simple to learn. You even get a personal email address and email yourself anything you want to have stored to your Evernote account. You don’t even have to access it! Just send a quick email 🙂 Love this feature!
Multiple Laundry Baskets
If you have followed me personally for any amount of time, you know I hate laundry. I believe we were all created to do certain things well. Laundry, is not one of them for me. I can get it all done, but the folding. Oh, the folding! The biggest hurdle in our house is finding our clothes if I don’t get to fold a huge load in time for the work week. Solution: I started taking out the load from the dryer and sorting it according to each person in our house. Each person has a basket. That way, if I need to find Jack’s socks, I only have to look in Jack’s basket. It takes a lot of time out of the process. Now, if I could only get in groove of folding. I found my baskets (above) at Hobby Lobby in red and gray so they match our room palettes.
This was my splurge for the year. I’m normally a deal finder when it comes to expensive things from Pottery Barn. I wish I could shop there ever day for all my home decor, but like most families, we’ve got a budget to keep! To decorate my office a bit, I wanted a calendar, some places to put important mail and bills, as well as an inspiration board! This unit ran around $297, but was worth every penny. It was easy to install and makes my office look “official.”
My husband got me hooked on this app! I now have all the blogs I follow neatly organized in one place. You might think it’s a glorified RSS feed, but the functionality of this app surpasses any feed reader I’ve used in the past! It’s a must have in my opinion if you’re a browser of lots of blogs or magazines (like Martha Stewart, Food Network, Mommy Blogs, etc). You can even subscribe to Youtube Channels! 🙂
I’ve tried a lot of Photo apps. A lot! Some have been free, others I’ve paid for, but I hadn’t found one I loved for branding and editing purposes. Then I found PicLab. I LOVE PicLab! Reasons: Great filters, shapes, text and fonts, colors and others settings! I have so much fun and it’s free! If you want more fonts and options I think they’re about $0.99, but I haven’t purchased those. What I have is great! It’s worth the free download. Other fun apps are: Camera+ ($1.99), Moldiv, BeFunky.
This is a great little gem I’ve been using for a long time! Many people don’t know about it. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge in Photoshop or other collage apps, this collage building, photo editing, and picture formatting program, is the bomb. Ya, I said it.
If you do your own invoicing and have more than 3 clients, than I recommend Tradeshift. It’s free. I’m cheap and I know it. Tradeshift has two great things about it. You can accept Paypal Business Payments for only a $.50 fee! That’s a savings of the normal Paypal percentage of 3%+ fees. If you have a business, you should have a business account through Paypal. It’s a must! The other thing Tradeshift will do is automatically remind people when their invoice is overdue and if you client has a question about a specific line item, they can message you and it attaches to the invoice for great documentation.
I started using Quote Roller after trying A LOT of different quote and proposal platforms. The prices are reasonable and if you’re someone that needs detailed contracts and quotes, then this is your platform. I usually use my proposal as my quote and contract. My clients can accept online and I get notified. There is also a place to write quick notes back and forth with potential clients about changes and additions to the proposal. Cuts out extra emails. Time saver!
Do you like to save your kids artwork? Which pieces do you choose to toss? For me, with my little guy coming home from Pre-School with awesome projects it was just too hard to decide what to toss. I got a bin and within 6 weeks, it was overflowing. I love taking pictures with ArtKive and capturing those pieces of art digitally but not have to keep ALL of them is amazing. You can send that artwork picture to anyone by email and it catalogues it according to the date you put in. They also offer a book service where you can turn in all the projects and make a book of your children’s artwork! Right now, I’m working on my Project Life albums, but in the future might have to try out the books!
*Disclosure: Affiliate links used, but opinion is solely that of WAHMU.