Organizing the Homestead When You’re Scatterbrained

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OMGosh!! I have been learning so much. My head is swimming with ideas, plans, and things that need to be done. I’ve got notes and ideas everywhere. To put it mildly, it’s a disaster. I need a way to organize all my ideas and plans. A place to put all my notes so that I can access what I need, when I need it. How do I organize our homestead plans?

There’s a lot involved in homesteading. Gardening, animals/livestock, and preserving food are just a few things I’m learning about. We also want to go off-grid. That adds solar/wind power and water wells. Homeschooling our son, herbs and essential oils for health, and so on. It would be a lot to keep up with for anyone.

My Crazy Brain

ADHD, poor memory, scatterbrained, whatever you call it, I have a hard time keeping up with everything. When I started adding all of this new learning and tasks, my brain went into overload. I have been feeling very overwhelmed.

For many years, I have used a notebook to help me keep track of things. We call it my “brain”. Every morning I write my to do list for the day. As the day goes on, I add things that come up or that I need to remember. It is quite a mess.

One day of my crazy to do list
My crazy to do list

With all the new things I have been learning, my list has gotten pretty chaotic. Canning recipes, chicken care notes, blog ideas, and so on. My notebook system has worked fairly well for me over the 20+ years I’ve been using it, but it has a serious flaw. I have to flip through 50 pages of notes to find a specific bit of information I’m looking for.

This gets really fun when I get caught up in some notes and completely lose track of what I was looking for in the first place. Looking for a specific canning recipe, I find my notes on gardening and remember to water the garden. When I water the garden, I get excited about something coming up, and I call my mom. Several hours later, I remember the canning recipe I was looking for, and it starts all over.

There Must be a Better Way

I recently had a surgical procedure done. (You can read some about it here. http://crosbyacreshomestead.com/why-i-am-rethinking-how-i-use-herbs-and-essential-oils/) Afterwards I was stuck in bed and going nuts. ( I don’t idle well. lol). With nothing else to do, I started thinking about my notebook, and how crazy it has gotten. There must be a better way to keep track of all my notes, tasks, and ideas.

First and foremost, it must be easy. I know myself too well. If it takes too much time/effort I won’t be able to keep up with it. I’ll write the notes in my daily list and be back to flipping through pages to find stuff.

I bought some 1" binders

It has to have a way for me to add all the stuff I want/need to remember. Stuff I read or think of, things I find online, etc….

Finally, it has to be easy for me to locate the information I need, without going through a bunch of unrelated things that will end up distracting me.

The Results

I labeled my binders
I used address labels to label each binder.

For once, my timing was perfect. School is about to start and all the supplies I need are on sale. I had my husband pick me up some 1″ binders. Inside each one I put a notebook, some plain notebook paper, and a folder. I had a package of address labels that I used to label each binder.

Now, as I think of something, I can grab the appropriate binder and add my notes there. If I find something online, I can print it out and put it in the folder that is in the binder. If I do add it to my daily notebook, I can tear out the page and put it in the right binder.

Ready to go
Binder with notebook and folder

When I need to find information on chicken care, I can grab the chicken binder and locate exactly what I need. Without scrolling through pages of canning and gardening ideas.

As my binders start to fill up more, I can add tabbed separations to sort through the different kinds of information. For example the gardening binder. I can have a section for planning the garden. Another for compost ideas. Yet another for raised garden bed plans.

My organization binders
All in a row

Final Thoughts

My brain is feeling much less chaotic, now that I have a plan and system in place. Easing the chaos, helps me to focus and think more clearly. Do you have another way to organize your homestead? See any flaws in my organization plan? Let me know in the comments below, or message me.

Nicole Crosby
  • Nicole Crosby
  • New homesteaders, Nicole and Michael want to share their journey and pass on all the info they will learn along the way to help other homesteaders.

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