I love to be organized. If there is such a thing as "over-organization", I probably strive for it. Until then, I continue to stumble around finding what is the best method for me. In my quest I have been leaning towards electronic methods, though I have discovered that I love the feeling of crossing something off of a paper "to-do" list. That at least is one thing I refuse to go electronic on. But here are a few of the other ways I have been staying on top of things (or trying to at least):
Although I am not currently using this system because I have already been working on other systems, when I stumbled across this website yesterday I thought "dang it, if I had known about this before..." So I wanted to give you the heads up. It has a place to store "My Stuff" - restaurants, movies, books, recipes, etc. - or "My Plans" - shopping lists, to-do lists. It even has a tab called "My Apps", which has a receipts manager and (my favorite) a weekly menu planner, which comes equipped with quick links to add online recipes and create a shopping list from your plan. Even though I have been using other methods for menu planning, this may become my new favorite.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways. When I finally took the plunge into Google Reader (I had been using My Yahoo) I have never looked back. Google Reader allows me to manage all of the blogs I enjoy reading (which now number into the *cough cough*, I don't know if I want to tell you that), sorting them into categories I designate and how I view them (by date, list form, etc.) It is such a manageable system for ingesting an enormous amount of ideas and information in a short amount of time. I have categories for "Creative and Inspirational" (from which all of my fun ideas come) and "Money Saving Sites" (where I can get the most up to the moment deals from the nation's best money savers) among others.
My favorite feature is to just "add a star" to an article and table it for later. There are many ways to search through all of the blog posts, like keywords, but I can also narrow down my searching to just items I have added a star too or simply view all of the items I have added a star too. This makes it very simple to just add a star to items I am interested in reading later, crafting later, or wanting to refer back to. Crafts, recipes, coupons, etc. - whatever I like I just add a star to weed it out from all of the others. Then on my own time I take a look at the items that caught my eye in an original scan. I love this method!
I have been using this webite for a long time now to search for new recipes, but recently I discovered that you can also add recipes to your "Recipe Box" from outside websites. This means that all of the yummy recipes I have "starred" on Google Reader or saved to "Favorites" on my computer, I can now save them all to one location that is accessable to me from any location and by anyone else. No more hunting for "where did I put that recipe?"
Another place I have started organizing ideas is at Delicious. It's a web-based bookmarking tool. This means that I can access any of the crafty ideas (or whatever else you choose to bookmark) from any computer anywhere. I can also share these ideas with any of my friends or family that wants to see what I'm inspired by. You can also "tag" your bookmarks, making searching by subject so much easier later on. I have tags for fabric, sewing, lumber, girls, tshirts, oilcloth, etc. That way later on if I come across some awesome oilcloth but can't remember why I wanted it, I can access my Delicious account, search by oilcloth and voila! Any craft I tagged with "oilcloth" will appear and I can plan out my project. The only downside is that I wish a little thumbnail picture of the project came up so I could see all of my ideas at once. Oh well, maybe I will suggest that!
I use Google Calendar for family activities and meal planning. The great feature about this is that you can create different calendars, color-code them and look at them all together or individually. You can also create short-term calendars and delete them when the activity is over. And once again, everything can be accessed from anywhere and (if you choose) by anyone. I share my menu plan calendar here on the blog, but I do not share my personal calendar. Easy huh?