HixCrew Organizing Hacks

LifeHacks

I have three pieces of organizational software I use  I will explain about them in this post.

Use a calendar. No matter whether it’s an app or a paper copy, use a calendar. Put EVERYTHING on it.

  1. My husband and I use Gmail calendar,  this is a pretty simplified calendar that my husband and I use across multiple platforms

  2.  my extended family uses Cozi  this is a program that my extended family uses across 3 homes, 9 kids and 5 school systems.

  3. Evernote  this is an incredibly powerful notetaking-webclipping-pdf saving and so much more app.

Here are somethings I use my Gmail calendar for.
Of course schedules, mine, my husbands, my grandkids (sports teams etc)

here is a tutorial on how to set up your calendar

Every bill I have due, goes on the calendar 2 weeks before it’s due. That allows for budgeting, reminds you to actually pay the bill, leaves a paper trail that isn’t huge stack of stuff.
Days I open accounts
Dr’s appts. I am separating this one, because this is how I do it
Dr Joe Blow/Mary Someone (dr’s name and the person who scheduled it – sometimes that is very important, for when they have no record of said appt or it gets rescheduled or whatever, without notifications. I do this for any appt I have, whether it be a Dr or any other service provider
101 What Street (what if you are so sick you can’t tell someone)
Wherever, Wherever
999-999-9999
Friday, October 9, 2015
11:00 AM (I also put it on my calendar 30 minutes early)
Notes: 3 mth xyz check up with fasting labs
(I use an app, so I always send an invitation to my husband The big things like surgeries etc., I send to my son also because he holds my medical power of attorney
Whether you use an app or paper, I do put all this information

Gmail Calendar will also import Facebook events, birthdays and events from your email.  to be a simple run of the mill calendar it is a powerful calendar

Now the Cozi Calendar.  If you have never used this app, please check it out.  It is great.  We are networked across three homes, 9 kids, 5 adults and 5 different school systems.  It works so great, so that all kids schedules, school functions, etc. get put on it and the family has access to it at a glance.  Then you can also sort each “team and get a team lineup” you can sort by person (each person has its own color to add each apt)  Notifications can be sent to only adults, or each person that is involved with the appointment or everyone on the system.  The paid version will let you add birthdays, shopping list, to do list, meal planners and it will even import that Gmail Calendar that I talked about earlier.

here is a short video that helps explain Cozi

I use Evernote that syncs across mine and my husbands as well as the older grandkids tablets/phones.
We use a central grocery list, a central to do list (for days off)
This software package is one of the most productive and necessary apps I have ever used. I do use the paid version, and it has reminders, passwords, and you organize things by “notebooks” it is an amazing, easy but powerful piece of software that my family couldn’t do without. I also use it for my blog to help organize things.

Here is a video overview of Evernote

Imagine a row of notebooks lined up on a shelf, and in those notebooks each little note that is pertinent to that “notebook”  Some of our notebooks are Hix Family passwords, Recipes, Hix Family Manuals (it clips pdf files from the web); His Personal Notebook, Laura’s Personal Notebook; Paul’s Personal Notebook.

In mine (Laura’s Personal Notebook, we are going to use it as an example, so the binder is Memaw Personal.  Inside are all my little “notes” Anything Kids (not schedules) Blog Stuff, Book Reviews, Devotionals, FMF Encouragement, Laura Notes to Check, Scans, WebClip’s

Okay, I know this is overkill on the organizational stuff but it takes that to keep a family as large as ours organized with all the kid schedules etc..
As a grandparent, I do try to get to at least some of every child’s activities.

I always, and I mean always write dates on groceries of when I buy them. I keep a sharpie in the cabinet and before I put them up, I just write the mthdateyear on the package.

Just some random things:

Other things, I use tubs for games, every piece goes in the tub, Each child has an activity box at my house.  Puzzles go in ziplock bags.  I have one huge crayon box, but then each child has a Journaling Bag for trips.  It has a journal, pens, pencils and a few crayons.

On my computer, I use simple file names. If it is something for the kids, I am very pragmatic about it, say Nattie’s basketball schedule, that is exactly what I use for the file name. I don’t fancy them up, nor let the computer decide, I dumb it down as much as I can so that I have no problem finding them. When I clean out my phones, or my desktop on my computer, I use Phone10012015 (the date I clean it) or Desktop10012015 (the date I clean it)
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Since it is ONLY my husband and I at home, I streamlined our kitchen, 6 plates, 6 bowls, 6 cups, etc. Less to clean, less to take care of and I also bought smaller. I purchased 7” plates, instead of standard dinner plates, so that we would eat less. 

I do a LOT of crockpot cooking (even for us two) I make our dogs food and will soon start making his treats when we run out of what we have.
We are not only getting our organizational skills up to par, but are also getting healthy at the same time.

and my bonus that helps me with the grandkids

make a calendar for your kids; I am talking about a rotation calendar.  Whatever the rotation is for, is up to your family and what works for your family, but for our family, it is a shortened calendar that stays in my car, and has one child’s name on it for every day. (these are the kids I have on a routine basis) whoever;s day it is, gets several privileges as well as tasks.  That person is #1 for the day.  It doesn’t mean they are the best or whatever, it just means for that day, they usually get the most “extra things” and have some extra tasks so it’s not all pretty.

some of these things are  (we have three kids now so, here’s some of our things) My kids are older, so remember this as you are reading

Kid #1 gets to sit up front (I must use my front seat because of lack of seats, so don’t even go there with me) they also get the privilege of holding the money if the kids get to go to the store, they also get to “pay” at the grocery, gas station.  They get to choose first through snacks I bring from home if there are different ones however, I try to do all the same.  If they were staying at home with me that day, they also take their shower first, must help wash the dishes.  they get the trash out of the car (everyone is responsible for getting their own trash to them) so it’s not all good stuff and it’s not all bad stuff

#2 usually doesn’t have that many activities assigned they get a free day basically except they help me because I am disabled, with my things and oxygen etc.

#3 holds the door anywhere we go.  they are responsible for putting all the car buckets up (will explain these in a minute)  

So the person that has the day, is the go to person for the day.  This helps me avoid arguments from the kids of who sits “shotgun”   Sorry look at the calendar.

The rotation continues no matter what, we do, no hold days. Whatever day you are in my car, That calendar day stands.
Way back when I had grandkids staying with me all the time, I started this. I took the arguments out of the equation
(these things MUST be set up and in stone first) and I had them help me do this.

Other things, we have in place already, are
Winner cleans up the game,
Everyone gets their dishes to the sink. Even the littles. If they can’t reach the sink, they put it on the floor. I’m good with that, because it gets it all in one place.
The littles are NOT too little to carry their belongings or pick up their belongs.  If they can stand and play with toys they can put things up and take responsibility for their things.  That doesn’t mean they have to solely be responsible because they are too little.  But if they can take a toy out of a backpack, they can put it back in.

Also in my car, every child has a bucket that has 4 pockets and a handle. This holds their personal belongings in the car for long trips, as well as if we stop and get food they have a place to hold their food.  Kinda like these, and then they decorated them up

31SgVwnIldL._SX355_
I also have made sure everyone has a cup holder because my van is conveniently unequipped with them. LOL
We have church rules that are already in place, as well as general rules that I expect them to follow everywhere, house rules, and trip rules and we adjust appropriately.  One of the biggest is “hands on car”

When I had the older set of granddaughters staying with me, I had a runner.  We opened the doors, she took off running.  So the rule was implemented, your feet touch the ground, your hands go on the car, until I say go.  If the car is too hot you “pretend to touch it”  This keeps the kids from running and keeps them all together.  Being disabled, you keep your “ducks in a row” where you can LOL
But these are set in stone, and each child knows them and it’s kind of like a “manual for the Hix Crew”

With 9 grandchildren, there is organized chaos. I get more compliments on trips etc, because they know ahead of time what is expected, Just had one start going with us on overnight trips, so he has been added to the rotation and got to get a crash course on the rules. He was the best one on the last two trips!!! Maybe refresher courses are needed. However, the kids wrote the rules to begin with, when this was first implemented, so they take ownership in it.  It works for our family and I can stop the “I wanna go first” or I don’t wanna pick up the game, or all the other little things that kids can find to argue about!

But it’s worked out where first is not always best, last is not always worst, and in between doesn’t get left out.

Everyone has a task and when you have this many people at one time sometimes in a hotel room/car etc, it is necessary

Being organized is a cohesive lifestyle. You may not have to be “this” organized, and you may have to be even more organized.

I am NOT an organized person  I am very unorganized.  I have ADD.  I cannot focus on any one project for any given length of time

Some of this maybe duplicated, and some is overkill, however, when you are as chronically UN organized as I am, this keeps me on track and focused.  After the first setups with each one, it’s as easy as just typing a small note and hitting save.  I have used Gmail Calendar for a few years now as well as Cozi and just found Evernote and started with it.  

However, these three apps are my lifesavers.  

One thing I also do, is I make a print copy (for backup) of each month.  I don’t do it every time something changes, because they each have their own internal “cloud” to back up to. Just a few things that work for our family to give us some sense of order in our huge family organized chaos.

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