Staying Organized for Natural Healing and Sustainable Living

15 Tips for Keeping Up with Your Dream

It’s time to go Back to School, but the classroom isn’t the only place to use folders, homework agendas, and other organizational tools.  Staying organized is useful to the homesteader, too – at least in our case it is!  With loads of information to remember, plenty of natural supplements & vitamins, and new chores, how can a person keep it all straight?  Here are 15 things that help us.

  1. Jars for Bulk Foodlike rice, beans and flours. Going gluten-free means using about 10 kinds of flour from non-wheat sources, like tapioca, brown rice, or quinoa.  The jars

    Our Google Calendar, online.

    aren’t enough, though – look for our upcoming post about overcoming plastic baggie mayhem – we have to remember to arrange a carpool with a friend in order to bring the jars to the grocery store or co-op to refill them, and label them appropriately with permanent marker, stickers or tags.

  2. Baskets for clothespins, recycling, cat toys, sustainable cleaning products…anything! We use baskets from an artist at the Farmer’s Market, from thrift stores at $1 each, and even one handwoven basket Ryan made himself during his school years in St. Louis Missouri. Yes, he wove his own basket!
  3. Google Calendar for keeping track of scheduled work hours inside and outside the home.  Being an entrepreneur and still working a day job means extra organization and internal motivation to schedule something and get it done.  At right is a screenshot of our draft schedule for both Ryan & I combined. This includes which day we refill our bulk containers, too.
  4. Folders & Binders for storing sketches of your home design or any papers associated with your dream, and for keeping gardening information all in one place.  Originally, we used folders & binders for society-approved “important stuff” like bills, documents, school work…then we realized that the most important stuff, that which we needed to live our dream, was scattered all over the house!  It’s hard to make progress on the dream without good organization.
  5. Email Tags with various colors and symbols, for differentiating between emails on vegetarian cooking from emails on natural building or land for sale. This will vary among various email clients, so you can use whatever your email service offers.
  6. Wiki Spaces is a free place online for storing data on your dream.  This could be recipes, information on harvesting crops, building a little bicycle hut out of natural materials – anything you like!  Keeping it all recorded and organized by topic is helpful, and Wiki Spaces allows you to do that quickly and intuitively.
  7. Small Bookshelf organized by topic, not author.  This helps us find all the vegan cookbooks quickly, and whenever something breaks or I need information about a certain native species, I know where to turn.  We keep the books associated with our dream all in one place, for the most part, because seeing them together makes the dream more visible, more fleshed out, and it’s convenient for us while we’re working in the study at the computer.
  8. Task List Guruis a free program for the numerous tasks and to-do lists you don’t want to be storing in your head when you could be remembering your friend’s birthday and celebrating with them, worry-free.  Just throw everything you have to do into this program, and it’ll remind you about it later so you can enjoy today! At right is a screenshot of my own task list, much more simple than Ryan’s.

    My Task List Guru

  9. Backpack “Survival Pouch” for walking or biking around town in various weather.  I include a small umbrella, allergen-free snacks, deodorant, lip gloss, a reusable menstrual pad, a mirror and hair brush, ponytail tie, glass cleaner, hand disinfectant, band-aids, a pen, etc. Anything I might need, plus anything that needs to go into town on a multiple-destination errand “run” literally.  (library books,paychecks to deposit, etc)
  10. Agenda or Planner on paper that I can carry around with me and record events, festivals, hang-out time with friends, movie showings, educational lectures, and to write down tasks just in case I don’t have access to a computer. Mine is decorated with Peanuts comic strips! 🙂
  11. Web Hosting (with solar, AISO) if you’re trying to sell a product or service, or write a blog or create a website, you need somewhere to store the data you’ll use for your web page, and it goes into these servers that exist in the real world somewhere. Ripples’ servers exist via solar power out west. Having a website means all your efforts can go into one place, get more attention, and motivate you to stay organized because others are relying on you to maintain the site.
  12. Photo Storage so you can remember everything connected to your dream, whether it’s photos of people you work with, or places you’ve been to learn something new, or your own art that expresses what you’re dreaming about accomplishing – it’s great to have them organized and together, rather than 1/2 on your phone or camera, some on your desktop, some on your flash drive, and some on an old laptop. We use Flickr to store our photos (and have only begun organizing them!).
  13. Alarm Pouch or Purse to sling over your shoulder or clip to your belt buckle, to slip a cell phone into.  This reminds me when to take my Vitex, Hawthorne, daily vitamin, probiotic, and apple cider vinegar or castor oil pack. 10 pills per day plus time-sensitive chores like refilling the hummingbird feeder is a lot to remember.  I would rather program alarms into my track phone than try to remember them all, or go back to what I had been doing – a daily checklist that would inevitably get torn or messed up and need to be re-written.
  14. Database for keeping track of information like sales, contacts, or in my case, what foods I’ve eaten and how my energy level and weight is doing.  I’m trying to gain weight and heal from an ovarian cyst and GI issues from gluten intolerance, so, it’s good to know what foods agree with me and what foods don’t.  A database helps us record this information.
  15. A Spouse or Trained Dog to bark at you when you’ve forgotten something, for example when you’ve forgotten that your dream means everything to you and if it’s ever going to come true you gotta get up, get organized, and go for it with every breath!

Got Tips?

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten tons more tips – care to add your own?



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