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Stay Organized with a Box of Chore Cards

Updated on February 2, 2011

Stay Organized with a Box of Cards

Are you overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done? Does looking at your To-Do list leave you tired? Do you regularly forget appointments? Are you easily distracted? Then you are a perfect candidate for a box of cards!

What is a Box of Cards?

A box of cards is a way of organizing your world, so that you never forget anything again. It is a simple way of organizing your schedule and reminding your self of the things you want to get done.

Recipe Box
Recipe Box

A box of cards contains:

  • 3x5 index cards, for chores and appointments
  • tabbed dividers, numbered 1-31 for the days
  • dividers for January-December
  • ABC tabbed dividers

On each card, a chore or appointment is written, with all of the necessary details.

Chores are divided up by frequency and written on colored cards, accordingly. This makes them easy to find, sort and arrange.

Why It Works


A box of cards works because because everything you need is right at your finger tips and only the current project is in your face.

If you are someone who is easily overwhelmed by a list or distracted by things around you, take hope!  This system takes the frustration out of cleaning, organizing and sorting.  When you get distracted, and wonder what you were doing, just take another look at you box of cards.  The chore you were on is right up front!

It is important to take the time to organize your cards each day, preferably at night, so that they are in the most desirable order.  This insures that you can buzz through your chores before your morning coffee has even had time to kick in -- no thinking required!

It also works because it is tailor made for you!  This little box revolves around you and your life, making it possible for you to remember everything you need to and to efficiently plan ahead.

Getting Started!


Before you begin gathering supplies, grab some paper and a pencil.

Write down every room in your house, area of your yard, including your gardens and the garage. If you have storage units, include them too.

Now, make a list for each area detailing any and all jobs you can think of, whether you are responsible for doing them or not. Next to each chore, mark how often it needs to be done.

Make a list of all the things you do for yourself each day, such as getting dressed, brushing your teeth and washing your hair. If you make time to read each day, include that also. What things do you do each week? or month? List these also.

Now make a list of all the things you do outside of the home, such as trips to the grocery store and the post office. Church, play dates, regular dentist and doctor appointments, and even those evenings out with friends.

From these three lists, you will compile your cards.

Now, it is time to gather your supplies!

From:  Just Give Me Stamps!
From: Just Give Me Stamps!

Making Your Cards:


There are many different sets of colored cards avalible on the market. Choose some to fit your personality, or if you are crafty, make some. You will need six different designs.

Choose your favorite color. On these you will list the things you do for you. One thing or group of things per card. For example, getting dressed. Your card could look like this:

Get Dressed!

Or this:

Get dressed, fix hair, apply makeup and brush teeth.

It really depends more on how you function, or desire to function, than anything else.


Choose the color you want to use for daily chores. These will make up the bulk of your cards, so choose another favorite!

List each daily chore from your list, one per card. Write down any details that will help you to complete the chore to the best of your ability. If a chore needs to be done more than once a day, make multiple daily cards for that chore. This will ensure that you get it done as often as it needs to be.

I have three 'laundery' cards and two 'dishes' cards. Each card specifies what aspects of the chore needs to be done each time the chore is completed.

This is what one of my cards looks like.
This is what one of my cards looks like.

Using Your Cards

Once you have made your cards it is time to organize them in the box and use them.

First, place the month cards in the box, starting with the current month. Then put the numbered tabs in front of the month, starting with today's date. Move the days that have already gone by to the next month.

For example, today is March 8th, so my months are:

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June....

And the days are:

  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13...

Tabs 1-7 are in front of the April tab.

If you have any upcoming appointments, write the exact date and time on an extra index card, of a color you do not normally use. I use white for my extra things. Place appointments in front of the proper date. If your appointment is a few months off, just place it in front of the month. You will put it under the right date when that month comes.

In front of today's date place all of your daily cards. Between today and tomorrow, spread out your 'every other day' cards. Over the next seven days, place your weekly cards. Look at a calendar while you are placing your cards, to make sure the chores are going to work with your schedule.

I like to do most of my chores on Tuesdays and Fridays, so all of my weekly chores are spread between these two. I do one or two monthly chores a week and a seasonal chore a month. I have a bit of a schedule written on a white index card, kept in the lid of my box, so that I can easily place a card when I am done with it.

Get to Work:

Each evening, look at your calendar to see what events are coming up, then arrange the next days cards in a manner that suits your day.

In the morning, you will be able to look at the first card and get to work, even before the coffee kick in. My first jobs look like this:

  • Make Husband's breakfast.
  • Make Husband's Lunch, pack lunch box.
  • Start Children's breakfast
  • Get dressed
  • Make bed
  • Start 1st load of laundry.

About the time these things are done, I am awake! It is then time to get the children up and start them on their day.

*Note:  This article is based on how I use "The Sidetracked Home Executive System" created by Pam Young and Peggy Jones.  I have been using this system for more than ten years, and adapted it to fit my lifestlye.  I have shared with you the exact method I used to put together a box of cards that works for me.  Every few months I look at what is working and what is not.  If it is time to replace a card or two, I do so.  If a card is no longer needed, because the job no longer exists, I toss it.  If I consistantly avoid a certain card, I figure out why.  Maybe, I just don't really need to do that job! 

"There is no greater waste of time than doing something well that needn't be done in the first place."  ~Dave Anderson

Ivorwen, 2010.

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    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      It is not a question of ability. He is more than capable. It is what works for your family.

    • profile image

      Amanda 6 years ago

      Men should be able to make their own breakfast and lunch.

    • profile image

      leahjadecole 6 years ago

      that realy gud thksz iam making it now for my family

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you smcopywrite. I hope you find it works well for you.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      great idea.nice hub.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Peggy, I have never seen pre-printed cards for sale. I think the reason for this is each home is different and has different needs.

      It is best to purchase the colored cards and write them up yourself. That way they are customized for your needs.

    • profile image

      Peggy Guidry 6 years ago

      I am interested in purchasing cards already printed with chores on them, etc. How much are they and how do I order?

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Daisy, with this system, anyone can be organized, even if it doesn't come naturally. This gives a framework to live in that helps to develop the skills of organization.

      Trust me... I know from experience! :)

    • daisyf1305 profile image

      Daisy Fabelo 7 years ago from miami beach

      great idea especially for a dis-organized like me.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you Magnoliazz. My mom uses a box of cards to organize her seasonal cleaning and her menus.

    • magnoliazz profile image

      magnoliazz 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great information! This approach can be very useful to people who have a problem with short term memory, or lack of motivation.

      I think I will use this information to organize my spring and fall cleaning chores and out building clean ups.

      Thanks so much!

    • rescueachild profile image

      rescueachild 7 years ago from San Jose, Ca

      What a cute idea!

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thanks, Kimberly.

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      This is fantastic

      Thank you

      I am getting the supplies today


    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I know what you mean, Wealthmadehealthy. In the summer, the gardening and food preservation takes over my schedule, leaving very little time for anything else. I always have to work with one eye on the clock, or we don't eat supper until 8:30 pm, which is just too late. :)

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 7 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      What a wonderful idea....I use a system similar to this for my at home work schedule, but gardening (meaning real garden producing food), housework, cooking, I need a time clock schedule to fit it all in in a day...this is a great idea!!

      Have a blessed day!

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Your welcome, Mythbuster. And, *shhhhh* you don't have to tell your friends. :)

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I've got the the I'm just scared that if I implement these ideas, I'll actually become productive and freak my friends out! :)

      Thx for the tips, Ivorwen

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Winsome, I love you sense of humor! One would have to be very organized, to leave cards all over the house. :)

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      I just wrote a card reminding me to look for my cards and box. I know I started a system like this once and kept leaving the box wherever I started another project. I made the mistake of taking the current card with me and forgetting where I left the box. I discovered a card the other day that said "Don't forget you left the box in the linen closet" When I got there I found another card that said "Didn't you look here already?" =:)

      You know I'm just kidding. Great ideas there and great admiration here for your stamina and dedication.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Your welcome, LiftedUp.

    • LiftedUp profile image

      LiftedUp 7 years ago from Plains of Colorado

      On the days when I go to work in town, I know what needs to be done before I leave, and can generally get right to work on those things when morning comes. However--my confusion comes when it is a stay-at-home day. There are so many things to do that I sometimes find myself running in circles, doing a little of this and a little of that, or perhaps avoiding the "necessaries" altogether by tackling some larger, more attractive-looking task. Sometimes this is good, we need to give ourselves a break, but thinking things out the night before is a great suggestion. Thanks.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Thank you Cagsil. I am not naturally organized, so if I can find a way to be, so can everyone.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      A really great hub Ivorwen. Thank you very much for sharing a system to work with. Not everyone is organized, but this can help out. :)

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I love mine, BlondePoet! And if it gets too bossy, I just put away. :)

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

      Omg I need one of these I am the most disorganised person in the world :)

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I am interested in your DAFT system! I am good with the delete button, but the rest is a trial. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      You might be interested in my DAFT system for handling an obscene amount of email.

      D is Deal with it.

      A is Act on it.

      F is File it.

      T is Toss it (by deleting).

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      Joy, I would love to know how a second go at it works for you!

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

      I used to use a variation of this system, when I was newly married. After about three years, I abandoned it, because I found I wasn't getting things done any better, and was feeling guilty over all the "undone" cards.

      But I see some details of your system that may make it work better than mine. I think I'll give it another try.