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head start on 2013 :: my 5 favorite planning tools {and a Giveaway!}

head start on 2013 :: my 5 favorite planning tools {and a Giveaway!}

{If you’d like to just get to the giveaway of  The Confident Mom’s weekly planner — simply scroll to the bottom!}

:: ::

I know, I know….

you’re probably still wrapping up presents, maybe even shopping last minute.  Yet, the new year will be upon us soon.

So!  This month I’ve been taking moments to plan just a bit, declutter some, and prepare to welcome the year.

Maybe you’d like to consider doing the same?  


Organizing the family really depends on…well, your family and your organizational style.  Our household is 6 people, a full life of kids’ activities, church responsibilities, homeschooling and more.

My organizational style is a mix of generous structure with flexibility — I appreciate a routine and rhythm, but definitely steer away from minute-by-minute timetables for running our days.

I’ve come to depend on a few tools for planning, and they are incredibly helpful to me!  Maybe something here will work for you.

My 5 Favorite Planning Tools:

I was introduced to Cozi online calendar this summer — um, where have I been hiding?  I only use the calendar feature however.  Though I’m a paper planner, last year I moved to an online system (then Google calendar) because it works for my husband, teen daughter and I to stay on the same page wherever we are.

Cozi has an app, so it’s on our phones and devices.  We can easily check what’s going on (or not) in our family calendar, and make decisions more readily.

I like the color-coded nature of scheduling each family member, and this month, I’ve made sure all events from January to June are in (at least what we know so far).  Check it out, there’s a free version!

Where would I be without my home management notebook?   This handy binder holds general info on things I find necessary to have in one place :: menu planning, contacts for kids’ activities, reading lists for the kids, seasonal plans, emergency numbers and more!

If you’re still a paper gal and need space to gather info for yourself or for your family — home notebooks are great for kids to refer to! — then check out my post on TONS of free resources to make your own.

My favorite resource for dozens of printables is List PlanIt.  I think she about covers it all.

If I could give Susan from The Confident Mom a huge hug, I would.  Her planner worked so incredibly well for our family in 2012 and I’m happy to use it again next year.

Excellent for Moms, not only does it schedule household tasks for general cleaning & menu planning, but also includes other reminders such as clip the children’s nails, clean the microwave, water indoor plants, clean off your desk, and things particular to a certain holiday or time of year.

I keep the printed planner in my home notebook, and it’s no problem to move tasks to another day…at least I know what to focus on for the week.

Take a look at her sample page; the 2013 planner has been updated with oodles of goodness — I highly recommend this planner!

I’ll share more in January (you’re invited to receive the post via email), but this is my file folder system where I can keep up with yearly planning stuff.  Not originally my idea at all though!  This system is to keep track of various information in a weekly folder.

What kind of info you wonder?
  • flyers, registration forms filed by date I need to get it done
  • magazine clippings of seasonal ideas or plans
  • any information I’ve printed out & want to remember at a future date
  • birthday, wedding, etc. invitations
  • homeschooling paperwork
  • holiday planning notes or info
  • store coupons (not grocery) to use by a certain date
  • recipes I might need for a particular week
  • cards for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. (it’s my goal to improve this area)
  • reminders on warranties we’ve purchased & that expire in the year
  • and much more!

This is where I file the paper trail that usually plagues a busy household.  Each week, I take out the folder with things that need to be addressed for those days and go from there.  Can’t wait to share more on this!

And finally, one of my favorite tools is this simple weekly goal planning sheet created by Crystal of Money Saving Mom.  Every weekend (or I should say most weekends!), I fill out a few personal goals I’d like to accomplish in various areas for the upcoming week.

Only 1-2 goals in each area; helps to keep me on track and focused!

Five great tools I’m brushing up on using for the new year…

:: ::

Would you like to WIN The Confident Mom’s Weekly Planner?

Susan has generously offered one of my readers a pdf copy of her 2013 planner.  Giveaway ends 12/27/12 at midnight; email subscribers, click through to enter; winner will be sent pdf via email.  The Giveaway is now closed, we have a winner — see below!

Happy 2013 planning…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Susan’s 2013 planner was given to me free of charge and is mine to keep.  I was not compensated & was not required to post a positive review — I used the planner in 2012 & loved it.  This post contains affiliate links, please read disclosure policy here}


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  • ShannonDecember 20, 2012 - 7:39 am

    My current favorite planning tool is a little cheap menu planner/notebook I got at Walgreens….it is totally keeping me organized for the holidays! But other than that, I’ve been searching for a good organization/planning system for a while!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina BestDecember 20, 2012 - 7:57 am

    I like my white board on the wall.ReplyCancel

  • KellyinPADecember 20, 2012 - 11:47 am

    I use a household planner called The Timekeeper. It has monthly, weekly, daily calendars, space for menus, grocery lists, notes to self etc. Plus assorted sticky notes and a big wall calendar for the family to look at. Thanks for the give away!ReplyCancel

  • laceyDecember 20, 2012 - 12:17 pm

    I’ve just been winging it with my phone calendar so I guess I desperately need to get busy with something. Thanks for the give away!ReplyCancel

  • TwizDecember 20, 2012 - 12:46 pm

    I’m still stuck in the 80s with my faithful filofax so would love something more up to date!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa MarieDecember 20, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    oh my GOSH – I LOVE the 52 week-by-week files! Amazing!!

    I just discovered Cozi and made hubby download it too so he would know what we have going on instead of me just springing stuff onto him. I’m still not great at making everything digital, but it’s handy. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas!ReplyCancel

  • HeidiDecember 20, 2012 - 5:06 pm

    Right now, my favorite planning tool is my Planner Pad planner, but it’s used primarily for work since I wear two hats at my job!ReplyCancel

  • DebbieDecember 20, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    I use a calendar app on my phone.ReplyCancel

  • MichelleDecember 20, 2012 - 11:24 pm

    I don’t know yet I am still trying to get and stay organized.ReplyCancel

  • Aly bDecember 20, 2012 - 11:32 pm

    My favorite planning tool is my cell phone! I have a super easy calendar on it that I schedule everything with.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda@wanderingDecember 20, 2012 - 11:37 pm

    I used a similar planner for a few months after I had my first baby (in 2009) and loved it. Wish I had stuck with it. Would love to get back on track this year!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda SDecember 20, 2012 - 11:44 pm

    I can’t live without my ErinCondren planner but I really like the idea of the file folders!ReplyCancel

  • ErikaDecember 21, 2012 - 12:08 am

    I have a weekly calendar on my refrigerator that I can wipe off and chance from week to week which helps with appointments and other events.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer ODecember 21, 2012 - 1:09 am

    I recently started re-vamping my household notebook. I used it several years ago and it was a lifesaver.ReplyCancel

  • Vicki SDecember 21, 2012 - 1:44 am

    I currently use my iPhone calendar for planning, but I need some help getting better organized with a planner.ReplyCancel

  • Johanna ADecember 21, 2012 - 3:08 am

    My favorite planning tool is Cozi.ReplyCancel

  • RochelleDecember 21, 2012 - 8:23 am

    I have a tiny little notebook that holds lists and a calendar….but I’m looking for an upgrade and I love your ideas!ReplyCancel

  • Vicki ArnoldDecember 21, 2012 - 8:27 am

    I keep coming back to my trusty pen and lined paper. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Amie B.December 21, 2012 - 8:59 am

    I can’t wait to read more of your posts on the file folder system!ReplyCancel

  • CaseyDecember 21, 2012 - 9:54 am

    I really haven’t found anything, and I need all the help I can get! I generally use my phone calendar and a notepad. I need a better plan!ReplyCancel

  • AnneDecember 21, 2012 - 10:34 am

    Just found your blog on pinterest!! I love it, we sound similar! I go through all paperwork in January and create a plan for the year, it gives me a structure and a way to complete goals. I can’t plan by the minute, you never know what is going to come up. I use a covey planner, but would love to try hers this year. I am afraid to go digit ail, but I would love to, there are so many times that I cant get to my digital files.
    I would love to try this planner it sounds like it includes so much more than the one I have used.ReplyCancel

  • Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny)December 21, 2012 - 10:41 am

    You are so stinkin smart. I like the potential of Evernote but cannot seem to figure out how to make it work for me. I’m afraid with the 52 week file I would start fast & furious and then forget about it 6 weeks in. I am terrible at organizing.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyDecember 21, 2012 - 10:49 am

    Currently, I am using my Holiday Planner that I put together this year. It has been very helpful.ReplyCancel

  • MaribethDecember 21, 2012 - 10:58 am

    I use my phone often but still love pencil and paper to write things down. Thank you for the give away.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny M.December 21, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    Right we use a “white board” calendar cling-on thing on our refrigerator that I bought Walmart. But it doesn’t have enough space to keep us completely organized! Definitely need something MORE!ReplyCancel

  • Denice RobersonDecember 21, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    This sounds like the answer to all my paper woes. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Heather GDecember 21, 2012 - 4:55 pm

    These are such good ideas to stay organized! I definitely could use some helpReplyCancel

  • rebDecember 21, 2012 - 6:46 pm

    I really like Google Calendar. 🙂 Easy to update and very clean-looking.ReplyCancel

  • LaToya EdwardsDecember 21, 2012 - 10:12 pm

    Google calendar or pen/paper calendar!ReplyCancel

  • MichelleDecember 21, 2012 - 10:46 pm

    I like the file folder idea. I’m struggling to get myself organized and be able to keep up with the household maintenance and there is a good possibility I will be taking on homeschooling my 3 kids next year too. I could see that working for me. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • Laila @OnlyLailaDecember 21, 2012 - 11:24 pm

    I use my google calendar to stay on top of important deadlines and events. I do like writing things out in my planner.ReplyCancel

  • Heather N.December 22, 2012 - 12:06 am

    We use iCal to coordinate hubby’s meetings with my scheduled events and otherwise I try to make lists and use my day planner, sometimes better than others! 😉ReplyCancel

  • sonjaDecember 22, 2012 - 3:28 am

    I’ve been using file folders for each week of our school year this year. We’ve had to travel quite a bit this year and it’s so great to just grab the folders that we’ll need for the time we’ll be gone and be ready to go! Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • sara hDecember 22, 2012 - 5:15 am

    Right now I have a calendar posted on the pantry door and I have one in a binder that I take with me to appointments and meeting and what not. Now that my kids are getting older, I need a new system.ReplyCancel

  • StephanieDecember 22, 2012 - 6:08 am

    Love COZI but, I can’t give up paper and pencil completely!ReplyCancel

  • Barb-Harmony Art MomDecember 22, 2012 - 8:31 am

    Right now I am using Mom’s Tool Belt for my planner.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer MDecember 22, 2012 - 8:46 am

    I have started using Evernote and my phone. But I can definately use some more ideas. Keeping track on my calander is great but I feel that this may help me even more.ReplyCancel

  • KimDecember 22, 2012 - 1:11 pm

    I use a FlyLady calendar (super large squares) at my desk and then I have a small one in my purse. We don’t have smart phones, but may soon, so we just might go digital soon. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Christine HuntDecember 22, 2012 - 6:58 pm

    I’m a paper girl!! I looooove all this stuff!ReplyCancel

  • katieDecember 22, 2012 - 10:13 pm

    My calendar and to do list.ReplyCancel

  • AlisonDecember 23, 2012 - 10:05 am

    I love, love, love it!

  • Cher BDecember 23, 2012 - 9:12 pm

    I would love to try Confident Mom’s planner. Even older moms need to find a way to be organized! I can hardly wait to see the 52 week file system. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • SonyaDecember 24, 2012 - 2:37 pm

    One of my favorite planning tools is a good old fashioned paper planner combined with my Outlook calendar so I can setup reminders and notifications.ReplyCancel

  • cathy maslanDecember 25, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    I have tried many different file systems, but can’t seem to keep them going. Having the week by week already in place may be just the thing!ReplyCancel

  • MicheleDecember 26, 2012 - 1:13 am

    My favorite paper planning tool is my datebook/calendar. I use a to do list written on scrap paper (should probably get something more organized for that). My favorite online planning tool is I love that I can keep all our schedules and important dates in one place and they are color coded.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa JDecember 26, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    This is one of my goals – to make a household planner for myself! This would be great!ReplyCancel

  • Heather @ Cultivated LivesDecember 26, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    I have my home management binder that I love and then I pick up a6x8ish calender planner from the dollar bin at Target each December. I’m a paper calender person and I love that it is small enough to slide into a diaper bag or large purse and yet big enough to see my month at a glance. I just bought a second one this year to help me plan on blog posts, speaking engagements and our volunteer work so I can see workflow at a glance.ReplyCancel

  • RamonaDecember 26, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    Just found your site…. yep, Pinterest!! I have 6 kids, now aged 21, 21, 19, 19, 17, and 11. Yes, two sets of twins. When they were little we started having family council on Sundays and would WRITE EVERY EVENT, PROJECT, ETC ON THE CALENDAR!!! I still do this today and it is the only way we can get places and things done on time!!! Now we also use our google calendars and iphone calendars but I still have the main old fashioned calendar on the kitchen wall for a quick peek!!ReplyCancel

  • Tammi MustarDecember 26, 2012 - 11:04 pm

    I still love my Daily Planner. I write everything in it. The current “hiccup” with my planner is when my kids make plans before calling me to check my schedule for everyone.ReplyCancel

  • JohnZDecember 26, 2012 - 11:37 pm

    Day timerReplyCancel

  • […] But instead of dwelling on that unpleasant thought, let’s talk home management notebooks today!  **Update: Also take a look at my 5 favorite planning tools at this post!** […]ReplyCancel

  • […] week, the promised file folder system post is […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I first mentioned the file folder or file crate system, many of you wrote in excited to hear more – well, today is the […]ReplyCancel

  • […] to write weekly goals – this was a BIG deal to me, since I usually do this on a separate sheet of paper, but now it’s include right in the […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I got the idea from some homeschooling website. I couldn’t find the original blog I liked so I’m linking to Domestic Serenity. […]ReplyCancel

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Daniele Evans