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Blog: My New Home -- An Organizer's Adventure in Building, Selling, Moving
The Organized Project Notebook

Some friends who built a house a few years back advised my husband and me to keep a notebook – a single one for the both of us to use during our house project. My husband, being a computer geek – um, I mean guru – had suggested some kind of web-based work sharing system such as SharePoint. Much as I loved sharepoint while I worked in the computer industry, I've found it works better having a notebook that you can take along with you when you're at the building site or out at Lowes looking at Hardie Plank and Trex.
Despite the lack of consensus on this point, I bought and began jotting things down in a notebook and it seems to have caught on with the rest of the family. We've organized the house project notebook as follows:
  1. The Contact List: A list phone numbers and email addresses for people such as the general contractor, my interior designer, the rep for our window company (we are really looking forward to a timely return call from him today!) and the excavator, etc.
  2. The Spec List: A place to list the specifications for things as we decide on them. Right now we're working on critical path items for the exterior – siding, shingles, exterior paint color, etc. But there are an endless amount of decisions to make on tiles, wood flooring, light fixtures, and all that sort of stuff. The notebook list is a summary of a larger specification spreadsheet we keep on the computer in Excel.
  3. Pages of dated To Do Lists: We write down To Do's whenever we think of them. We review the To Do lists when we're captive together in the car. I like to look at the old lists when it feels like we aren't making a lot of progress. It reminds me of all the things we've done to make it this far and I feel more productive. We also keep an overall project plan in Microsoft Project. I'm not sure how useful this is for my husband, but it gives me big-picture perspective each time I review and update it once a month.
  4. A page here and there of drawings and scribbles from our brainstorming sessions.
  5. Pages of questions we want to ask our various experts before we make a call or plan to see one of them in person.
The notebook has a few pockets in which we keep documents from the most current analyses we're working on. Right now, we have the quote from the window rep along with brochures and our window schedule. After Dec 1st – our target date for ordering windows – we'll file those things in our project filing tote. I'll tell you all about that in a blog at some later date. Stay tuned!
A physical project notebook may not be right for everyone who's working on a large project. What's important is to establish a centralized place for keeping information, and a process for collaborating on tasks.

posted on: 11/30/2007 1:30:00 PM by Ginny Gassman
category: Moving

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My New Home -- An Organizer's Adventure in Building, Selling, Moving

by Ginny Gassman

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About Ginny:

Ginny Gassman is the owner of Tidy Cove, LLC, which provides professional organizing services for the New Hampshire Lakes Region. Tidy Cove publishes a free organizing tips newsletter.

Ginny's Website:


Things that make me happy

  • 15 minutes more sleep
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • flat water
  • pasta
  • sunshine
  • nieces and nephews
  • champagne powder
  • Casablanca
  • The Pats

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