Create an Organized Errand Center

posted by Aby Garvey on September 24, 2013 11 Comments

Disclosure: Post-it Brand and Scotch Brand provided me with product and compensation for this post. I reviewed the products before accepting the offer to make sure the product line was something I would use in my own home and could authentically recommend and share with my readers.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I received the Home Collection by Post-it Brand and Scotch Brand products, my head was buzzing with creative, organizing project ideas. The project I decided to do first was to create an errand center in my kitchen. The purpose of the errand center is to organize and streamline all of my ongoing errands and shopping. I had several pieces in place already, so this project was about refining and fixing what wasn’t working, and, best of all, refreshing the area with products from the Home Collection.

Create an Errand Center

I set up my errand center in a basket on my kitchen counter.  In the front on the left is the Post-it Shopping Organizer. I decided to use this to organize shopping trips around town to the grocery store, pharmacy and craft stores and the like. The organizer has color coded sections which allow you to create a list by store, or you could use it to create lists by person. I’ll create lists by person when I take the kids to the mall for clothes shopping or for when I do Christmas shopping.  I plan to keep the Shopping Organizer open so anytime someone in my family says “Hey, I need some shampoo” or whatever, I (or they) can jot it right down on the list. Love that!

The inside cover of the shopping organizer includes a multi-layer pocket which is perfect for stashing gift cards and coupons. I added a little checklist inside the organizer using the Post-it Printed Notes. This checklist is designed to help me create some new shopping habits such as checking for coupons, and taking reusable shopping bags with me to the store. For some reason I remember my bags when grocery shopping, but always forget them when I go to run other errands.

Post-it Shopping Organizer

 

When I’m planning my errands, I can create a reminder to take my shopping bags using the Post-it Reminder Tags, which are also stored in the message center basket. Best yet, because they’re convenient, whenever someone says “will you remind me to (fill in the blank)” I can just grab a reminder tag, write a quick reminder and attach it to their backpack or my purse. Or, if it’s really important, I could attach the reminder flag to the steering wheel in the car. As I mentioned in my earlier post, these tags have adhesive on one end which makes it super easy to create a loop and attach the reminder to straps on purses, backpacks, etc. Plus, their bright color is sure to catch your eye.

Post-it Reminder Tags

Next to the Shopping Organizer is my coupon book, which I blogged about here. I updated the cover using some cardstock I had in my stash, so the coupon book would coordinate with the Home Collection by Post-it Brand and Scotch Brand items. I thought the number themed paper was a fun little reminder about all the money I’ll be saving by using my coupons. ;)

Coupon Organizer

Speaking of coupons, since I made my coupon book I realized a couple of things. First, during certain times of the year, like back-to-school time, coupons come in at lightning speed – faster than I can keep up on putting them into my coupon book. So, I decided to continue using the coupon folder like before because it’s easy to drop in coupons I’m not sure I will use. I’m going to use the coupon book for things like gift cards, and coupons with long (or no) expiration dates, and for restaurant coupons we are very likely to use.

My coupon book didn’t account for grocery coupons. While I’m not an extreme couponer (and have no desire to become one) I would like a better system for when I come across grocery coupons I’d like to use. From time to time I’ll clip coupons from the Sunday paper at my mother-in-laws home…and I rarely use them because I didn’t have a place for them. But that Post-it View and Go Pocket got me thinking. I decided to attach one to the back of a clipboard and use it for grocery coupons.

Home Collection Errand Center

What’s cool about these pockets is that the adhesive is removable. So I can stick the pocket to the back of the clipboard, fill it with coupons, and then, take it off of the clipboard when I go shopping. The adhesive will close the pocket, so coupons stay in place while shopping. I put a copy of my grocery list and meal planner on the front of the clipboard, so my grocery shopping system is a part of my errand center now.

Grocery List

And having the coupons on the back of the clipboard in the View and Go Pocket will help me remember to check and see if I have any coupons for the items on my list.

Post-it View and Go Pockets

I really love the fresh new look of my errand center, but what’s more, I love how it addresses some problems I was having. I now have a simple way to remember to take reusable shopping bags with me to the store thanks to the Post-it Reminder Tags. And I have a new way to encourage using coupons at the grocery store. I also love that now there is one spot to capture all of the family errands, courtesy of the Post-it Shopping Organizer.

About the Products Used in this Project
If you’re interested in setting up an errand center of your own, the Home Collection by Post-it Brand and Scotch Brand is available at The Container Store. Products are available in stores and online. The basket I used for my errand center is no longer available, but The Container Store can set you up there, too. Look for something that is short enough that it’s easy to see and access the items inside your errand center. The tabs on my coupon binder and the white tabs on the file folders are Post-it Tabs which are available at office supply stores.

If you would like a copy of my grocery list and meal planning template, you can download it here.

How do you organize your errands and meal planning? Thanks for sharing your ideas in the comments!

Happy organizing!

Aby

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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  • September 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Where oh where can I find the shopping organizer? I just your ideas!

    September 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks so much Jody. Here’s a link to the shopping organizer at The Container Store.

    http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/homeCollectionby3M?productId=10035532&N=81262

    • September 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Great post! I have an “errand” bin in my hall closet and it’s mostly empty because I’m always just throwing stuff in the front seat of my car. I love those reminder tags, so cute and works much better than the post-it I usually staple to my purse strap LOL Thanks!

      September 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      The reminder tags will be kinder to your purse, too. ;)

      • September 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm

        I use a clothespin (which I also use to hang my clothes outside in the summer for fresh-smelling clothes and sheets) to attach notes to my purse handle so I don’t forget something on my way out the door in the morning, or some errand on the way to work.

        September 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm

        Great idea Karen!

        • September 25, 2013 at 12:43 am

          This looks like a practical and efficient system! It’s visually appealing too.

          My needs are different (tiny urban flat, no kids, in Europe so daily food shopping/errands as there’s no kitchen space for storing big shops, coupons are very rare, no car, no kitchen counter space for a basket) but the organising principles I use are the same: tools for related tasks together, like with like, a reminder system established.
          What this looks like in my life:

          Information in one place:
          Shopshop app on my smartphone, which, btw, lives in one of two places only: left hip pocket or on charger beside bed, so it’s always handy. Can organise by shop, area of town, by logical order of errands, etc
          Camera on smartphone: running out of something and DH not likely to get the right brand? I snap a photo of things we only rarely buy and send as MMS to DH when he’s got that shopping task.
          Notes app on smartphone: I’ve one note I’ve called “models&measurements”. I have everything from the brand, name & number of my hair colour, to our clothing sizes and preferences, to the type of vacuum bags and printer ink we use, to the measurements of windows for new curtain ideas, ideal measurements of the hall runner I’m looking for, etc

          Physical items in one place:
          “Out basket” where I put anything which needs to be returned to its owner: library books, DVDs, etc. the only place for this is on a bookshelf in the bedroom (remember: teensy flat) but it works.

          Folding nylon shopping bags which tuck into their own tiny pocket. I have one in each of my bags (ahem…not so minimalist with purses…) so when I am walking home from work I can do errands on the way and always have a bag on me.

          Tote bags for recycling. I have two bags hanging in the hall. One holds paper recycling and the other all plastics, metal, and glass. On a Saturday morning when we are heading out to the shops we each take a bag, take it to the neighbourhood recycling areas and sort the recycling, then continue with our sturdy empty bags to the shops where we fill them again. This is especially useful as in most shops here they have no shopping baskets, so you fill up your own bag like a shopping basket, empty it at the till and refill it after the cashier has scanned it (you pack your own groceries here, the cashier doesn’t)

          Coupons and store cards: I got rid of my wallet and use the zippered pocket at the back of my planner case as a wallet. The case I use is Tommy Hilfiger; I don’t know if it’s still available. The front snap-closure portion is a card wallet with my planner, the back is a bifurcated zippered pocket with cash. I love not having a wallet. On the rare occasion I use coupons they get paper-clipped into the planner on the day I plan to use them.
          store loyalty cards are mostly scanned onto my phone (there’s an app for that!) and the cashier scans my screen.
          Gift cards are in a separate card wallet which lives by the door; I toss it in my purse on the way out if I am planning to redeem them.

          • September 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm

            I use two drop in envelope systems for all my coupons. One is about 5×9 (from the Container Store) and is only for grocery and Target coupons. That one is sorted by food categories, plus dividers for medicine, personal items, and household supplies. The other envelope is approximately 10×12 (from Target) and is for shopping, services, and restaurants. I recently took the time to make them pretty by printing labels for the outside and adding a strip of washing tape to each, and it makes using them even more enjoyable.

            • October 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm

              Thanks for much for the ideas. I need to update my errand basket. What do you use for the coupon book? Can you show a picture of it or how you organize it? I set up accordian files for retail and restaurant coupons but am not using them as much as I had hoped.

              February 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

              Here’s a post about the coupon organizer:

              http://www.simplify101.com/organizing-blog/a-simple-coupon-organizer/

              • January 25, 2014 at 3:44 am

                Great tip! :-)