Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Organizing Your Journal Supplies

How do you store your journal supplies?

I try to be an organized person. Unfortunately life interferes and it doesn’t always work out that way. Right now I do manage to have my journal supplies next to my favorite writing spot. There are bookshelves next to where I typically write and I have dedicated one of the shelves to my journaling stuff. That shelf contains an assortment of journaling books, magazines and notebooks with my notes in them, but the most important items on that shelf are my journaling supplies. I currently have a small purse that I keep my pens in and a basket that I keep my stickers, post-its, scissors, glue and so forth in. I found this to be the most convenient storage method because it makes it very easy for me to pick up my supplies and take them with me if I decide to write somewhere else.

Do you have a system setup for storing your journal and supplies? If you don’t, you may want to check out this article on Organizing Ideas For Written Journals.

Some things to consider when organizing your journaling supplies:
* Location - I have found it is very convenient to have my supplies near where I typically journal
* Ability to Move - I don't always journal in the same spot so I keep my supplies in a something that is grab and contains all of my supplies
* Appearance - Your space will look better if you have something to contain your supplies. It may be as simple as a cup to hold your pens or a decorated shoe box to hold everything.
* Cost - Your organization system doesn't need to be expensive or even cost you anything. Try using items you already have on hand. Be creative.
* Size - Put all of your journal supplies together before you start organizing. This will help you visualize the size of the containers you need. Having a container that is either too big or too small only leads to frustration and disorganization.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Holiday Journals

For the past few years I have wanted to start a Christmas journal. Every year I manage to take a few notes, but so far I haven’t managed to put together the actual journal. So I have decided that this year will be the year that I get it put together. The problem I am having now is deciding which information I want to include in the journal. There is always so much going on during the holidays and I want to record as much of it as I can. Here are some of the topics I would like to cover in my Christmas journal.

1. Decorations – write about getting out and setting up the decorations, any new or special decorations?
2. Christmas Tree – When did we set it up? Who helped? Any special ornaments this year?
3. Baking – What did I bake this year? Who did I give it to?
4. Music – What holiday songs were popular this year? What did I listen to regularly?
5. Visitors – Did we have any visitors? Did we visit with anyone?
6. Shopping – Write about some of my shopping experiences during the holiday season. Were there any crazy sales?
7. Traditions – What family traditions did we follow? Were there any that we didn’t follow this year?
8. Parties – What parties and get togethers did we attend? Who was there? Any special memories of the parties?
9. Parties Hosted – Include the menu and any special recipes, guest list, any tips for next year?
10. Cards and Letters – Include a copy of your card list with addresses. Who did you receive cards from? Were there any especially memorable cards?
11. Gifts and Gift Lists – Include copies of gift lists from special people in your life. What gifts did you give? What gifts did you receive?
12. Church Services – Did you attend any church services? What was the message from the clergy? How did the church look?
13. Special Events – Did you participate in any special programs or events? What were they and how were they?
14. Post Holiday Interviews – Interview your family members after the holiday to find out their favorite traditions and activities, favorite or special memories, ideas for next year and so forth.

Whenever possible I want to include pictures in my journal. This is obviously going to be a pretty involved undertaking for me. For many of the past years I do not have notes on all of these topics, so I will just have to work with what I have. This year I may not even get to everything because of how busy we all get during the holidays, but I do plan on including as much as I can. At the very least you will want to make sure that you record the traditions and activities that are the most important to your family and make sure that you complete the post holiday interviews with all family members. This will give you valuable information which you can use to plan your holiday season next year.

For some additional inspiration, check out this article on Holiday Helps from Creating Keepsakes magazine.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Family Stories

Every family has their stories, the ones that get told time and time again. Or maybe there are some inside jokes in your family, comments and sayings that only make sense to members of your family. Take some time to write down these family stories and jokes. They show some of what makes you a part of your family. When you’re writing, don’t forget to include your take on the story. If your family is like mine and has a lot of stories, you may want to consider keeping a separate journal or notebook just for your family stories.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Household Notebooks

One type of notebook that I have found it very helpful to keep is a household notebook. This notebook serves as my central location for items that help keep my household running smoothly. For ease of use, I have found it much easier to keep my household notebook in a binder instead of a bound book. Mine is currently in a zipper binder which also has a pocket inside the front cover.

My household notebook consists of the following sections:
FlyLady’s Eleven Commandments
Tab 1: Routines – Copies of my standard routines. It seriously helps me to keep a regular schedule. Life happens and there are times when I have to adjust it, but I try to stick to it as much as possible.
Tab 2: Financial – This contains my household budget, copies of current financial goals and my master price sheet.
Tab 3: Goals – This section contains copies of the goals I have set financially, for the household and for myself
Tab 4: Contacts – This section has a sheet with all of my doctors contact information, a sheet of assorted household contacts and then an alphabetical list of all the household’s personal contacts.
Tab 5: Emergency Preparation Tips – a list of all the things I need to do to prepare for an emergency. Click here to see the list.
Tab 6: Household Cleaning – A list of tips for household cleaning and removing stains
Tab 7: Copies of Cards – Copies of our insurance cards, credit cards, drivers licenses, etc. (front and back)
Tab 8: Leave Time Summary – My summary of leave time available and used for work.
• The rest of the tabs contain information related to working on my current goals.
• Working On: Household Inventory

Not everyone will want this much detail in their household notebook and some people may even want more details. This notebook contains a lot of personal information about your household so I would suggest keeping it in a secure place. It is definitely handy to have it all together though.

For ease of updating, most of the information in my notebook has been typed up on the computer. That way I can easily keep my information up to date and in order.

There are two sites that I have found very helpful in setting up my household notebook. In fact, the original idea for this came from one of these sites although I can no longer remember which one. The sites are:
Fly Lady (they call it a control journal)
Organized Home

A similar notebook you may want to consider keeping is a public household notebook. This notebook could contain schedules for all family members, menus for local restaurants your family enjoys, contact information, gift lists for family members, etc. This notebook would be available for all family members to use and could even be useful for a babysitter or housesitter.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Restaurant Journal

Admit it, you love to eat out. I know I do. Now I’ve even been seeing articles claiming that it can be cheaper to eat out then to prepare a meal at home. At the very least it’s a nice break for the person who typically shops for, cooks and cleans up after the meals at home. People are eating out more and more for various reasons.

I have found it interesting to keep a restaurant journal to record these special meals. In this journal I write about our meals out and have even been known to include the receipt. Here are some of the things I find it helpful to record:

• Where did you eat? – name and location
• Any special reason for selecting that restaurant?
• When were you there? – date and time
• Who was with you?
• Why did you go out? – a celebration or just because
• What did everyone have? – it can be helpful to include a copy of the receipt, maybe even draw a diagram of the table and where everyone sat and note what they ate on there, you could even take a picture of your meal and include it here
• How was the service?
• How was the food?
• What was the restaurant like?
• Any interesting stories from the meal?
• Would you eat there again?

Or maybe you just want to write a review like a restaurant critic. Have fun with your writing and do what feels right for you.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Family Recipe Notebook

I started a family recipe journal a little over a year ago. In it I am collecting all of the recipes that our family enjoys. Whenever there is a story related to the recipe I like to add that with the recipe. It helps to make the collection more interesting. One thing I have considered, but haven’t done yet, is adding pictures of some of the food along with the recipe. I started this notebook as a convenience for myself because I got tired of having to hunt for the recipes when I wanted to use them. At first I tried collecting them on the computer. This didn’t work for me because my computer is upstairs so if I wanted to make something I had to go start up the computer, find the recipe and print it. By the time I did all that, I didn’t feel like cooking anymore. So I decided to switch over to a notebook. I selected a notebook which appears to be durable and has a nice plastic cover. Hopefully it will hold up well to the abuse that kitchen use can cause.

Does your family have any special recipes? Why not try creating your own family recipe notebook?

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Journal Prompt #19

What three things in your relationship with your significant other are you most passionate about?

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Journal Prompt #18

When do you tell little white lies?

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Journaling Thanksgiving

There is a good article in the November issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine about Thanksgiving. They talk about scrapbooking Thanksgiving, but there are some great prompts in the article that you can use in your journal. Check it out, I plan on using some of these for my own Thanksgiving entry.

Update: The link to this article is no longer working so I've removed it. You can see my new post of actual Thanksgiving Journal prompts here.

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Journal Prompt #17

List the things you have lost in your life, both material and immaterial.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Benefits to Keeping a Journal

There are many benefits to keeping a journal. Here is a list of some of the bigger ones. For a list of 100 reasons, click here.

1. Stress Reduction
2. Healing
3. Personal Growth
4. Know yourself and your truth
5. Problem solving
6. Enhances intuition and creativity
7. Capture your life story

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"There is no stress in the world, only people thinking stressful thoughts." -- Wayne Dyer

What stressful thoughts have you been thinking? What could you do to limit these thoughts and reduce the stress in your daily life?

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Imposing Limits

"The only limits in one's life are self imposed." --Dr. Denis Waitley

What limits have you been imposing on yourself?

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Bitch Free Friday

Where I work we have what we jokingly call Bitch Free Friday. It's supposed to work that no one is allowed to bitch or complain about anything for the whole day. Try doing something like this yourself today and see how it makes you feel. We all need to complain at times, but we should also be able to make it for 24 hours without any complaints. It feels good to concentrate on the positive for awhile.

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Quote Journals

One type of journal that I’ve been keeping for several years is a quote journal. This is an easy journal to keep. In my quote journal I write down any quotes that I find interesting whenever I come across them. Don’t forget to include the originator of the quote. You can also include your commentary, opinion or evaluation of the quote. Why does it speak to you? What do you think it means?

You can get your quotes from anywhere, birthday cards, the internet, books you’re reading, song lyrics. Here are a few quote web sites to get you started.

Quotations Page
Quote Land
Brainy Quote

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Journal Prompt #16

Describe your ideal home.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Book Journals

The idea behind a book journal is to keep track of the books that you’ve read. Whenever you finish a book, or even stop reading it for some other reason, write about it in your book journal. I would start with the title and author. You may want to include how you came across this book, where you purchased it, how much it cost and so forth. I would also include a review of the book and possibly a synopsis of the plot. However, some people may want to just list the book’s title, author and date completed. You should include as much or as little information as you want. At this point, I just keep a list of the books that I’ve completed in my planner. Sometimes I will mention the book in my daily journal, but not always.

Some people may find it helpful to keep a list of the books that they want too. I keep a small notebook in my purse that contains a list of books that I am interested in. I started this because I was tired of being in the bookstore or library and not being able to remember the name of the book I wanted. It has been very handy for me.

If you’re interested in keep a more detailed book log or journal, here is an article on that provides more detailed information.

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"The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn." --David Russell

Write about some of the bridges in your life. Did you cross some you should have burned or vice versa? Which bridges are you glad you crossed? Are there any you regret burning?

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Journal Prompt #15

How do you show your friends, family and that special someone that you love them?

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed." --Carl Jung

Who are some of the people who have transformed your personality? They could have caused good or bad transformations. Take some time to explore the transformations and what it has meant to your life.

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Mind Clutter

I recently took a day and cleaned out a spare room in my house that was full of junk. A good pile of stuff got donated and another good pile of the junk got thrown away. There are still a few things in there to be gone through, but it felt so good to see how clean that room was at the end of the day.

I have found that my journal is where I can clear out my mental clutter. After a really good session I will get the same feeling of accomplishment that I got after cleaning the physical clutter out of my spare room. Take some time to use your journal to clean out your mental clutter and see how much better you can feel.


Journal Prompt #14

There is a joke that says, if you are what you eat, then I'm cheap, fast and easy. Take some time to complete this sentence for yourself:

If you are what you eat, then I'm ___________.


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