Organized Charm

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How to Create a Flexible Color-Coded Planning System

Im wondering how you handle changes within your color coded system.  For example if the professor pushed an assignment back or classes were canceled due to inclement weather. 

Great question! I get so annoyed when dates change, but then I remember “oh yeah, this is why I have a planner in the first place”. 

If the thought of writing every assignment/appointment/engagement in boring pencil in your planner gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t worry! There are other (prettier) options!

Welcome to the wonderful world of flexible planning!

So, "flexible planning" has kind of become my thing over the past few years. I LOVE planning ahead. LOVE. IT. I love color-coding and timelines. I love being prepared and not having things sneak up on me. But... life, y'all. 

Life is full of surprises and things are always changing. Events get postponed. New things pop up. 

And since our planners are a reflection of our lives, shouldn't they be able to mirror those changes? 

Of course they should! 

So, what's my #1 secret weapon for creating a flexible planning system? 


Post-It’s have come a long way since Michele first invented them. Check out the amount of space in your planner’s monthly and weekly boxes. Then take a stroll down the office supply aisle of any store (or Amazon) to find some colorful sticky notes that will fit! 

These are the Post-It Tabs I use for the outside of my Teacher Planner. They're 3" (75mm).

My favorites are the Post-It Tabs. 
They were originally intended to keep on the edge of pages of books, but I have found that they’re the perfect way to keep my color-coded planning system neat and flexible (no more crossing things out)! I just flip them sideways and write on the colored and clear parts. 

Here are the different sizes I use in my Planner: 

Post-It Tabs, 1" (22mm)
I have found that these are the perfect size for the columns in the Plum Paper Planner! I have the ME Weekly Layout, and this kind of Post-It fills an entire section within a day. If you want multiple Post-It’s, try these:

Post-It Flags, 1/2" (12mm)
These are a good alternative to the Tabs because they give you more room to write above/below, or have multiple flags in a particular section of your planner.

In school, I might suggest using the Tabs for bigger assignments, and the flags for smaller assignments… but just find the system that works best for you!

Here is what I like best about these two types of Post-Its:
-They are durable, so they’re easy to write on
-You can remove/replace them over and over again, and they still stick
-They’re easy to write on 
(I use a Black Tombow ABT N15, but Sharpie pens work well, too!)

Here are examples of how I use them:

In my teacher planner, I use Post-It Tabs for lesson ideas. Then I can easily move them if plans change.
(Side Note: First rule of teaching? Plans always change.)
In my personal planner, I use Sharpie Highlighters set-in-stone events, and Post-It Tabs for things that can be flexible.

Other Options:
Another option that I’m not quite as crazy about (but is more cost effective) are the Post-It Page Markers. The colors are pretty and you get way more for your money… but they aren’t as durable and won’t restick as easily. If you move it more than once, you'll probably have to rewrite it. So, I guess it’s good that you get more in a pack!

Using Post-Its has worked so well for me, that I haven’t really tried another system. Although, I have heard really great things about the Pilot Frixon Erasable Pens. If you've tried those, please chime in and let us know what you thought! 

If you’ve tried another system for flexible planning and color coding, please share it below! 

We’d love to know some other options! :) 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How to Organize Your Class Binders

Reader Question: "What are your suggestions to keep organize for my college binder such as labels on dividers, notes, and assignments? I prefer to use binder instead of the folder. I like to bring everything in the class." -Amanda

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of opting for class folders over binders. But what if a folder just isn’t practical for your class? Or what if you get really annoyed by the bent up corners and you just can’t take it anymore? 

If you’re the kind of person who prefers to use binders, this post is for you!

1 | Label your binders for quick access
This may seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes! Make sure to clearly label your binder on the front cover as well as the spine. This way, whether you have them standing in a locker or tossed in the backseat of your car, you can quickly grab the right one! 

2 | Follow the same format in each binder
Make up a consistent system and use it in each binder. What I mean by this is, plan the “layout” of your binders and use the same format in each one. Here’s an example:

-Front Pocket: Upcoming Assignments
-Back Pocket: Graded Assignments
-Back Cover: Class Grad Sheet

Pull out the 3 things you’ll need/use the most over the semester and put them in these easy-to-access locations! In the photo below, I used the first page of my binder as an "actionable steps" list. Just use whatever you need and whatever works best for you! 

3 | Get a sheet protector
I love sheet protectors! I recommend using one as your very first page in the binder. I would put a semester assignment spreadsheet for the class in there, just to make sure you’re always on track! You could also use wet/dry erase markers to write on them, like below!

4 | Don’t be afraid to rework your syllabus
What I don’t like about syllabi is that each professor uses a different format. I like to take the syllabus, get rid of all of the university guidelines, and re-type the important parts, like assignment due dates and class meeting dates. This keeps is clean and concise. 

5 | Use tabs
The amount of tabbed notebook dividers I find all over my house is ridiculous. I usually just get the ones that have 5 dividers, but you can use more or less depending on your needs! Here are the categories I usually use:

Class Information- Hole punch and save the original syllabus
Handouts- Any handouts your professor gives you, newest on top
Notes- Neatly rewritten notes from class, newest on top
Graded Assignments- Papers/tests that have been graded & returned, newest on top
Blank Paper- If you’re not bringing a separate notebook, bring blank notebook paper :) 

Binders are a great way to stay organized throughout the semester! They are a little bulkier and a little more awkward to deal with in class (all that snapping!), but if that doesn’t bother you, then bind away! :) 

How do you organize your class binders?!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to Style Kitchen Shelves

In our kitchen, we have these really fantastic shelves from Restoration Hardware. I love them because they add a rustic, farmhouse-y feel (without the cost of a renovation- yay!).

However, the problem with any kind of surface in a house is that it can eventually attract the most dreaded of all things… clutter.

Our shelves slowly got stocked with baguettes that were too long for the pantry, produce, and every glass container we owned. I found myself getting annoyed at the sight of them and their contents. So the other morning, before my 10:00 doctor appointment, I decided to do something about them!

(Related: Clear to Neutral)

If you have some shelves that are out of control, too… here’s how you can make them pretty and organized again :) 

Step 1 | Remove EVERYTHING from the Shelves

I took down every little baguette, book, and bowl. I just LOVE the way that surfaces look when they’re empty and free of clutter! This allowed me to see the exact amount of space available and to try my best to recapture the feeling of openness!

(Related: Dorm Room Organization)

Step 2 | Dust

While you’ve got all that stuff cleared off the surface, you might as well dust it, right? Two birds with one stone, as they say.

(Related: Office Organization Tips)

Step 3 | Categorize Decorative Pieces

This is one of the most helpful ways to restyle a space. Choose whatever categories work best for you and the items! Sometimes, I categorize by height or overall size, sometimes by color.

When I took the items off of this particular shelf, I noticed that they were mostly glass (makes sense because it is a kitchen!). So, I organized them by material: earth (fruits, plants) glass (mason jars, pitchers), metal (champagne bucket, watering can), wood (serving dishes, trays).

Organizing by material allowed me to create some balance on the heavy metal and wood shelves.

(Related: How to Feng Shui Your Study Space)

Step 4 | Place Items

The fun part! Start arranging your items in groups of threes. Also, try to notice potential ways to put them together that you may not have thought of before! When I took down all of my items, I noticed I had a stack of rectangular, white serving dishes. So, I used these to hold items on the different shelves.

(Related: How to Make Your Workspace Work for YOU)

Step 5 | Find Another Home for the Rest of Your Items

Just because you have an item does not mean that you have to return it to your shelves! Look for other places in your home that could benefit from a new piece! My glass pitchers looked great stacked with cookbooks on top of my fridge! A metal sculpture from these shelves gets more attention on our dining room buffet!

And of course, donate any items that just aren’t your style anymore. You don’t have to keep it all!

(Related: 8 Simple Things to Organize This Month!)

Now, I feel like our shelves are light, airy, and organized. 3 words I’d use to describe my dream kitchen :) 

(Related: 5 Fresh Starts for the First of Each Month)

Do you have any tips or advice for styling or restyling shelves? Share them below!! :) 

Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest for home organization ideas! 

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