Tip Tuesday — The Lists

I am a firm believer in the power of lists. Long before I saw an article in Real Simple Magazine about lists and their wonderfulness, I had been using lists to organize, schedule and catalogue my life.

There are the lists of the number of times Dan has kissed me in the rain. Those are short lists. Some longer lists could contain data such as the types and colors of lint I have pulled out of Magoo’s mouth and the number of things we’ve told Laylee “princesses always do” to get her to do them.

Here are a few of the real lists I keep that help me maintain order and sanity (“Ha ha,” you say.) in my life. Most of these I keep on my PDA so I can pull them up or add to them anytime, anywhere.

1. All of the gifts we have given to family members for the past several years for all occasions — this one keeps me out of trouble. Giving the same type of gift to the same family member two years in a row is embarrassing. “Oops. We’d better return that one to Canada. It says here we got Papa a jade grizzly bear LAST Father’s Day.”

2. Menu plans — saves choosing what’s for dinner every night and makes number 3 easier.

3. Shopping lists — I keep a separate shopping list for any store I go to more than a couple of times per year. If I think, “Next time we’re at Marvin’s House of Bait and Breakfast Foods, I’d better get fish hooks,” I create a list for MHBBF and write down ”˜fish hooks’.

4. Vacation lists — this one I’m stealing from that Real Simple article from some time last year. The idea is to make a Vacation 100 list at the end of your adventure. If you’re like me, you’re too busy having fun on vacation, or cleaning sand out of small people’s crevices, to keep a travel journal. When all the sand is put back in the ocean and you’re safely back in your living room, get the family together and make a list of 100 memories from the trip. It can be a bullet-style list. Some can be long and some just a few words:

-Magoo touched the ocean for the first time, not that impressed
-Rita’s Water Ice (pronounced ”˜wudder ice’) was delicious and we discussed opening a franchise in Washington.
-Laylee screamed whenever a wave came up to her
-Magoo met Papa for the first time.
-There was a street named after Mom.
magoo waterritas2cm feetmagoopapakathryn

5. Books to read

6. Books I have read

These lists allow me to throw away many little scraps of paper and stop me from asking the questions, “What did we say we needed? Who gave us that nasty fruit cake ule log last year and how are we gonna retaliate next December?”

What lists do you keep and why?

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34 Responses to Tip Tuesday — The Lists

  1. Jeana says:

    Well, you are on my list of favorite blogs. And people to suck up to , apparantly. My son is on my list after carving his name in his bed. Does your dad have another one of those cans I can open up on him?

  2. Michelle says:

    I have been trying to keep a list of books I read. It really isn’t working.

  3. blackbird says:

    I keep lists all day, every day –
    the shopping lists
    the to-do list each day
    countdown lists for big preps, for holidays or trips
    plus, we have
    which is 6 by 7 foot chalkboard –
    in the dining room…
    many many lists make the

  4. Papa says:

    I was just looking at that jade grizzly the other day and thought, “You should call DYM and DYD and say thanks.” Thanks.

    I need to start a list of where I put my lists so I’ll know where to find them. I’ll put it someplace safe…. no, then I won’t be able to find it either.

  5. Heth says:

    I just keep to-do lists. But I add the things that I do during the day that WEREN’T on the list and then I cross them off. It makes me feel better.

    Example: Read blogs. Check.

  6. Keltybug says:

    I am the queen of list also. If it can go in list form I am doing it. The hubster and the kids just groan and say oh no not another list!

    Love your blog btw I check it everyday.

  7. Liz says:

    Heth – I do that too.

    I make to do lists every day, packing lists when I am traveling; when I am going to church conferences, I list out my outfits. I also plan my meals and make my shopping lists from that.

    And the extreme nerdiness of me – when I have several errands to run all in the same trip, I sit down and draw a map to determine the fastest way to do all the errands without backtracking.

  8. kfk says:

    Definately a menu for the week which absolutely does help with the grocery list and your pocketbook too!
    And a list of all the things I want to do with/to the house. A new storm door, crown moulding, dining light fixture, etc….
    Oh, and when we moved in, the previous owners kept a nice list of ALL the plants and trees scattered throughout the yard to make maintenance easier.

  9. owlhaven says:

    Before I grocery shop, I make a list of two weeks worth of dinners and make sure I have all the right ingredients on my grocery list. the dinner list does not specify which day to cook what, because I like spontaneity. But it is great to refer to on the days i am clueless, because I know if I choose something off that list, I’ll have all the ingredients already. I keep the list on the side of my fridge and check meals off when I make them. This also helps me go grocery shopping a little less often, though of course we still run out of odd things and have to make little trips…

    Mary, mom to 8

  10. Rachelle says:

    I do menu lists and grocery lists. I do lists of important events (like during my pg and Cam’s first year of life) so I don’t forget in the 20 years before I actually scrapbook them or write them in the baby book. I also keep lists on my computer of blogs and other favorites to read. It sounds like I need a PDA to make it easier though!

  11. Peter says:

    That PDA sounds good for lists, otherwise there is just more paper. I can never find the list I need when I need it and when I have the list I can’t find a pen. PDA would be good for lists, and appointments too.

  12. GiBee says:

    Goodness Gracious … Oh, my goodness … I love lists. I’m a list addict. I need a 12-step program for lists! Okay … YOU ASKED FOR IT!

    I keep a gift list, too… And in that list, I have a place for sizes, fav colors, age, etc. I actually made up my own booklet on the computer that fits into my purse (about the size of a check book or small agenda book). I keep a list for menus, a list for groceries by store, and in order of aisles in the store. I keep a list of things to do when I have company coming to stay the weekend, and I have to organize myself and CLEAN. I keep a list whenever I have a party, including a menu, a grocery list for the party, a list of invitees and who RSVP’s, and a diagram of how I will place the food on the table when I serve, and what serving dishes I’ll use (remember … people call me ‘Martha Stewart’ for a reason!)

    And last but not least … and I know I’m going to loose some of you here, but this is my favorite list… I keep a vacation list (not like DYM’s) … it has a list of clothing I’m taking, what days I plan on wearing them, and I include everything, down to the jewelry I’m wearing with each outfit. When I pack, I check everything off. When I leave vacation, I circle all the checks as I re-pack. I can’t remember the last time I ever forgot ANYTHING either from home going on vacation, or at the vacation site returning home… I do this for me, my son, and the hubs. And for the record, it drives my hubs absolutely insane.

    I guess it would drive anyone insane now that I re-read what I do, huh?

    Oh, I love lists!

  13. GiBee says:

    Oh, Liz … I love you to pieces… we must be kindred spirits!!! I just noticed you do a travel list too!

    Sigh. All warm and fuzzy knowing I’m not alone!

  14. Heidi says:

    Gibee, I would suspect that sponteneity is not one of your strong suits!

  15. Addie says:

    I make a list that stays on the fridge when we have big shindigs at our house. (Holidays, birthday party’s) My friends laughed at me at my daughters birthday party, because I had the whole schedule up on the fridge. I even had on there when to pop the pigs in a blanket into the oven.

    I just get all goofy, if I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.

  16. Susie Q says:

    I keep several book lists: 1.adult books to read, marked differently for if I have read them and if I own them; 2.Newberry Winners (marked the same way; 3. Caldecott Winners (marked the same way). I also have a list of movies that I want to own, as well as see.

  17. Goslyn says:

    I too, am a lister. I keep a running list of chores on the fridge (on a dry erase board), so that I can cross them off as they are accomplished, and add to the list as needed. On a good day, the entire list goes away. We haven’t had a good day for a while.

    I also make menus, but I’m not so organzied as to have them on a PDA. Maybe I should get one of those … sounds super handy.

    That gift list is BRILLIANT.

    I’ve also started keeping “dinner party” lists, so I can remember what I served to friends the last time they visited. Otherwise, I am prone to repeat myself and pull out that favorite recipe again, so that people will think the only thing I know how to make is Roast Chicken with Strawberry Spinach salad.

  18. jessica says:

    We do the two week menu/grocery list, like Mary (owlhaven) – very good idea! We also keep media lists (movies we want to see, books we want to read, CDs we want to listen to) because if we don’t we spend FOREVER in the video store, library, etc. trying to remember what it is we wanted to get. And then there’s the “what does (fill in name here) want for (fill in occasion for giving a present here)” lists. This helps tremendously at birthdays, Christmastime, etc. because let’s face it, if we can’t even rent a movie at the video store without a list, how on earth do you expect us to buy presents for each other without one 🙂

  19. Margaret says:

    OH yeah, baby – gotta love the lists! I have lists of things to do today, lists of things to do at each step of the process of writing my thesis, I made a weekly task list for one of my jobs so that I wouldn’t forget each thing each day (same list each week – works GREAT!), things to pass on to the person replacing me at work, bills to pay the next time I get paid (why does that list never get shorter?), then there’s “the list” of movies to watch with friends (you know, put it on “the list,”) and the list of people to call when I want to play volleyball and the list of places with ping pong tables so that when I want to play I can find a location, the totally detailed list whenever I travel anywhere of things I will bring (it’s in categories – clothing, bathroom stuff, fun stuff, work stuff) (and why do I feel the need to KEEP those lists after the trip is over?) and lists of Christmas gifts – who gave what to me and what I gave to whom.

    Oh yeah, I’m WAY a lister. And perhaps a PDA would help me find them when I need them. I’ll put that on the list of “fun toys to buy when I am independently wealthy.” 😉

  20. I’m guessing you went to New Jersey last year, if you had Wudder Ice.
    Great stuff!
    Where did you visit?

  21. Let’s see, lists…you covered most of the ones I keep, though I also keep a list of the kids’ chores, for both our benefits.

  22. Mel says:

    I am listless, in every sense of the word.

    I do love http://www.librarything.com, though. That’s helping me keep a list of books I’ve read this year.

  23. I now feel list-challenged and completely disorganized after reading some of the detail with which you keep your lives. I am lucky to make that shopping “guideline” or To Do “suggestions” that I regularly keep. I do, however, manage to check off the reading of blogs everyday ; )

  24. jennster says:

    my dinner menu is my new favorite list!

  25. Susan says:

    I also make the to-do list, and then add (and cross off) things at the end of the day. Although often I still have the SAME to-do list the NEXT day. Sigh.

    Recently, we have been working with our son’s teachers to help them manage his learning disability. I have been keeping detailed lists of symptoms and when they occur and how we respond to them and when we have changed meds and what his responses have been and . . . . I have another list that runs parallel to this one (literally–they are on two facing pages in my Filofax) of questions for our therapist. She loves when I come to her office and whip out the lists.

  26. Grammy says:

    I miss Cape May and the ocean and all of you. I’m putting all those things on my “list of things to be gloomy about”. And then remembering, I’m putting you all on my “list of the things I’m thankful for”. I LOVE lists. Any day when I finish all of the things on my “to do list” is reason to celebrate (complete with cake)!

  27. Tigersue says:

    I have my blog list. That’s about it. I’m way to disorganized right now to keep anyother list going, and I do have a PDA! 😉

  28. Chris says:

    before I go back and finish reading the rest of your post, I had to interrupt and say that I laughed so hard at “princess always…” Just today I told my daughter, princesses always eat apples with skin on them.

  29. Bright One says:

    I have lists but most of them are in my head which tends to not work really well. The ones I have actually written down are the gift list (similar to yours and VERY handy….), Gift list of MY gifts given to me by (insert name here) so that when they come to visit I can make sure it’s prominently displayed : )……, and probably the list I find most useful – the “I only have time to clean this one room list”….just a list of what needs cleaned in each room….this is easy to hand over to Daughter #3 when I don’t have time for something too : )…..I love your vacation list and wish I had done that when my children were little….our Vacation lists now consist of each time we visit we make a little list of where we stayed, phone numbers for future reservations, things we want to do when we visit there again etc.

    Love your blog immensely and owe “Ciao Bella” big time for telling me about you.

  30. Bright One says:

    I forgot one list I use ALL the time… I keep a list of all my usernames and passwords (currently over 100 usernames/passwords/pins ) to everything….of course this is a sensitive list so I have to hide it and I can’t tell you where or I’d have to kill you. : )

  31. carrie says:

    Does anyone besides me make to do lists featuring things you’ve recently completed and then crossing them off to make it look like you got a lot done? *embarrassed*

    I do make a weekly menu and grocery list, and sometimes I do a to-do list.

  32. cc says:

    in my journal I keep a list of daily memorable moments…funny things the kids say….thoughtful things from DH…inspiration…its always a great list to look at for a laugh or a quick pick me up

  33. Pam in Utah says:

    Hey, DYM, I was in your favorite Utah library with a niece on Monday, and the nice audio-visual librarian put the movie we checked out that you love on HIS list of to-see videos (The Man Who Planted Trees)(He used pencil and paper!). He didn’t know you, but knows OF you! You are popular everywhere!

  34. Yes, Barb – it was NJ. How did you possibly guess it?

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