PM BOTTOM LINE: The Sunday Basket has changed my life. Even though I don’t use it on Sundays (shhh! don’t tell Lisa!). The following review is for what I bought with my own money. If Organize365 had an affiliate program, I would jump right on it. I have no relationship with the company, except as a happy customer.
If you prefer video, here ya go:
While you can take the Sunday Basket concept and make it yours, I paid for Lisa Woodruff’s Sunday Basket system. Because I’m not crafty and the cost of the time it would have taken me to piece together everything would have outweighed the cost of the system, which is $99. Yes, you can put together the pieces more cheaply, but that price includes the Sunday Basket club and access to videos and her system. And I will say it has been a WORTHWHILE investment for my time management and productivity!
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Lisa Woodruff has many awesome organizing tools and resources. She has authored several books. And she has a ton of great podcasts that you should check out to learn more about her and her approach to organization. Her book titled The Paper Solution focuses on organizing all. the. papers of mom life. And it goes into detail about The Sunday Basket.
WHAT IS A SUNDAY BASKET?
In summary, the Sunday Basket is the one place for the active, current papers in your home. It’s where you manage your most important, time-sensitive papers that you need to track – the ones you don’t need yet, but WILL need to easily grab soon . It’s where your active papers will be organized and accessible, freeing up your mind for LIFE!
What are active papers? Active papers are the ones all over your house, on counters, piled up here and there: bills, to do lists, mail, permission slips, bulletins, receipts. They are usually memory triggers for further action that’s needed. If you are a PILER, you know what that’s about. You need those piles, but they are messy. If you are a PILER, like me, this is a game changer. I piled because I had an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. But if I know my piles are in the box, it won’t be out of mind on Sunday (or Friday) and will be tackled!
The Sunday Basket helps you keep all those active papers organized and turns them into completed ACTIONS. By off-loading the ongoing “life” tasks related to the papers (permission slips, bills, appointments) to the Sunday Basket, you clear that brain space to tackle what’s really important to you!
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS SYSTEM
It’s a Thought Catcher. You know those random thoughts that pop up during the day? THIS is where they go? Or how about those many little, but important requests the family makes? Put them there! And the IDEAS. Sometimes you just have these IDEAS that don’t have a place to live. They can live here and then be managed.
It’s a Stuff Catcher. Not the big stuff, but the little stuff. In the photo below, I’ve got a shirt I had to send to a kid. That’s kind of a weird item that is perfectly tucked away, ready to be dealt with when the time is right. Right now, as I type this here’s what’s in my Sunday Basket: a bottle of tincture to give away, an essential oil I need to give to deliver to a friend, stamps for Christmas cards, and the first Christmas cards we received that will be hung when we decorate. This is in addition to the active papers.
You quickly assess tasks with one question: “Can I deal with this later (on Sunday)?” That’s it. If the answer is yes, you drop it in and deal with it later.
It establishes family boundaries. Once your family knows to drop their requests, forms and other to-do items in the basket, you no longer have to stop what you’re doing, mentally process it, and then try to remember it OR try to remember how to deal with it later! You just tell them “drop it in the basket” if they answer to YES to “Can this wait until Sunday?” They may at first worry you will forget or think you’re not giving the task the attention it needs, but once they see it does get handled, they will also embrace the process.
It’s always within reach and in sight, so you DO use it. Filing cabinets are often out of the way, often in another room. Offices are often other rooms. Woodruff suggests putting your Sunday Basket in your kitchen. That way it’s accessible to everyone and easy to manage and maintain. If your kitchen just isn’t going to work, find another spot in your living areas. The box she sells is pleasing to look at and she just added a ton of new colors so you can coordinate with your home.
I stay on top of my filing without overwhelm. Woodruff promotes a binder system for long term filing. I still have a filing cabinet, but recently purged it. I also purged piles of things I meant to file a decade ago. The Sunday basket has definitely made me confident that will NEVER happen again.
It is YOURS. I love Lisa’s advice. I have learned a ton from her! We are in similar life stages, launching kids. But I do handle things in my box throughout the week, setting aside a weekly time to really delve into the box. It’s slightly different, but it’s working so well for me. Because of my approach, I use the slash pockets a little less, but still love them.
THE KEY TO THIS SYSTEM
The key: Schedule time to tackle the box. This is a MUST.
Since you KNOW you will get to it, things won’t slip through the cracks, but you get to clear your mind. It lifts such weight. It frees your mental energy.
The Sunday Basket works IF, and only if, you touch every piece of paper in it each week. Sunday, Lisa Woodruff would say. Guess what? I do mine on Fridays. It works best with my life. And I call it my “Purple Box.” But still, I go through it EVERY WEEK. If you do, you will see not just the administrative tasks of your life go more smoothly, but HOURS of time freed up.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
I still need my to-do list. For many, the notes and papers become the to-do list. But I still use Artful Agenda’s to-do list. And you may, too, though in conjunction with your Sunday Basket. You may assign to-do items to certain days on your list after handling them during your Sunday Basket time. Plus, for me, there ARE some things that are only online and not on paper. Those are in Artful Agenda.
It’s about batching. This system has you batching the usual adulting tasks of running a home. You don’t deal with EVERYTHING on Sundays, but every few weeks, you will handle the ongoing jobs of home life maintenance and finances. And since everything has been gathered and sorted appropriately, it will be easy to grab the folder you need and ATTACK!
Her book has really good thoughts and ideas about calendar planning and managing schedules that you may appreciate, whether or not you adopt a Sunday Basket.
I have not at all explained everything about Lisa’s system. You can really expand on it to make your weeks even more efficient and gain back several hours of your time. I barely touched on the slash pockets, which help you better manage small projects and the typical tasks of running a household and managing a family.
WHY I WISH I HAD THIS YEARS AGO
This is perfect if you don’t have a dedicated workspace. Here’s what my work area used to look like. I tucked away a file box nearby and tried to manage everything, but it was always buried and hard to get to. I had piles which made sense to me. But this was what we saw every day. Mess.
This was my work space. If your papers are scattered about, gathering them in the Sunday Basket will make a huge difference! If your home is small, you have a large family and can’t spare the space or the best place for you to work, due to small kids or other reasons, is an open living space – try the Sunday Basket!
This is great system for those “scatter-brained” years of toddlers and really young kids. I would have LOVED to just be able to dump things into my basket and sorted through them once a week. I love being able to think “oh it’s in the basket.” Instead of “where did that go?! I thought I put it over there? Did you move it?!”
It’s also good for when those toddlers knock over piles, spill things on paper, etc. Everything current and important is out of the way and safe. Even when it’s unorganized.
This would have been a lovely help to homeschooling, I’m sure. I haven’t given that too much thought, but I can really see that it would help manage homeschool, just as it certainly would “regular” school.
I’m sure I would have made more use of the slash pocket system when the kids were younger. And, referencing my filing failures above, I’m sure that would NOT have happened if I’d had this years ago. I mean, it wouldn’t be perfect but certainly not as bad!
So again, the Sunday Box is a huge win for me. I wish I had come up with it. But since I didn’t, kudos and love to Lisa Woodruff!!!
I finally added a video (late July 2022) on how I tweaked my Sunday Basket even more, by removing a few things, adding some and moving some things around: