A simple, full year calendar posted at your main administrative station (household or office) is a key element for keeping track of the patterns in the ebb and flow of your schedule. It only needs to be a normal page size, not too small to read, yet not so large that it gets covered up and you can’t glance at the whole thing at once. A real paper copy means you can see it while you flip back and forth through the more detailed weeks on a digital calendar, daily planner, or traditional wall calendar. I set mine up like this:
- Print a calendar from timeanddate.com. These calendars are simple, but slightly customizable. I like them with just a little bit of grid to them, but not too much color.
- Use colored Sharpie markers to circle birthday dates. Everyone in our family has “had a color” for organizing for some years now. This is very useful for chore charts, study record keeping, and general list making. I use the thicker, bolder type of markerso that the color stands out distinctly.
- Mark blocks of dates for limited events over a few days. For instance, most of our Tuesdays in January and February are marked in pink vertically, for an activity that only occurs on those Tuesdays during that part of the year. The first Friday and Saturday in March have a perimeter of orange because I need to remember the yearly music competition. A couple of weeks will get circled horizontally in blue to note important dates for college kids.
- Cut a piece of clear transparent shelf paper that is at least inch larger than your calendar paper on all edges. It’s easier than working with plastic wrap or tape. Peel the backing off. Place the sticky side of the shelf paper up, then center the calendar paper on it, FACE DOWN. The shelf paper is actually fairly forgiving if you want to lift the calendar and reposition.
- Turn the whole thing over and attach to the surface where you want it for the year. I have pull outs (like cutting boards) over both stacks of drawers in my big old desk. This means I can have the most current year on one side and the upcoming year on the other. It’s usually around October that I find I like to be able to see the whole next year.
- The calendar can still be written on after the shelf paper is on top. I experimented with getting the Sharpie marks wet and trying to wipe it off, but it stayed. Pencil also writes on the shelf liner reasonably. I use pencil to circle pay dates. (not shown) Those dates don’t need to be as visible, but are useful to refer to when I am in accounting mode.
The sticky shelf liner peels easily off of the wood when it is time to replace the calendar. Many a planning session has been simplified by having the whole year there to look at.
There are other uses for the shelf liner, too. We use it to:
- Keep wall maps securely on the kitchen table. It is like an educational vinyl tablecloth that doesn’t slide off. Not only do the kids use it when studying, but many a stimulating adult conversation has resulted.
- Make bookmarks. These are a fun, inexpensive gift for kids to make for any number of people in their lives. The bookmarks can be made from a photo, a drawing, or any other way you want to decorate. Once covered with the shelf liner, the top can be hole punched for a tassel.
- Laminate anything that you want preserved for multiple uses, made water proof, or attached semi-permanently to a cupboard or wall. We had some chore charts once that the kids could carry around when they were smaller. We have also made our own game boards this way.
Like the calendar, all of these uses of clear transparent shelf liner are inexpensive ways to keep information where it can be accessible and more easily used without getting tattered or brushed aside. You might try keeping a roll of it around.