Howdy Do It – Ellie Snow

Howdy Do It came from “how do you do It,” the question Ellie & Margot found themselves asking about their freelance lifestyles, and so Howdy Do It was born, a weekly column about the things we do to keep ourselves organized, inspired and on track. Ellie will be here each Monday, and Margot will be over on Mint at the same time.
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Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of art and craft supplies, and over the past six months I’ve accumulated a ton of paper, envelopes, samples, envelope liners, ribbons, and shipping supplies for Hello Tenfold. It’s cheaper to buy things in bulk, so I do, but storage is a never-ending problem. Since many of your expressed an interest in organization during last week’s reader survey, I thought I’d share the way I organize my home office.

Last summer we bought a Linnarp bookcase from Ikea, along with matching red glass doors. The glass doors (which I could cover from the inside with pretty wallpaper), force me to keep the cabinet organized so it doesn’t look like a total wreck. Fortunately my envelopes arrive in nice little boxes, but for everything else I bought a bunch of inexpensive storage baskets from World Market. They fit on the cabinet shelves and are perfect for organizing all the loose ends, like glue, tape, scissors, exacto knives, etc. I also lined up 4 storage boxes on top of the cabinet for things I don’t need to access as often. [pictured storage boxes available here].

Letter trays work well for invitation samples and other loose papers.


For organizing my to-do list, I’ve started using the online application TeuxDeux instead of paper lists. I like TeuxDeux because I can access it from anywhere and it allows me to cross things off rather than deleting completed to-do list items, so I can get an idea for what I’ve already accomplished. In addition to daily to-do lists, at the bottom of the page there is a “someday” list for bigger picture to-dos. If you don’t finish a to-do list item on the day you intended, TeuxDeux just moves it over to the next day’s list, and you can drag and drop items so that your list is prioritized. Easy!


I also have a big whiteboard hanging in the office, which I split up into a grid. Each client gets their own box, so I can easily have a glance at what’s on my plate. I keep what’s on the board fairly simple, only including the client’s name, basic payment notes (like “deposit paid” or “bill for 2 xtra hrs”), the projected completion date, and a list of deliverables. In a separate color, I write things like “waiting on content” or “send to print.” Jobs that require some action from me get a red star next to them. The red star is enormously helpful! Since I’m a visual person, sometimes seeing a big red star is more helpful than one written item on a long to-do list.

So how about you? I’d love to hear your organization secrets!

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We touched on this last week but in case you missed it—Ellie and I have set up a Howdy Do It formspring account so that you can ask us questions (anonymously or not) and we’ll answer them as best we can. Originally we thought we’d answer questions in our posts, but a week can be a long time to wait, and it kind of defeats the conversation atmosphere formspring allows. So, hop on over and ask away!”


Ivana | Love Ardently

ooooh… i have exactly the same ikea storage boxes, with the same color!

for my to-do list, i’m currently using mac’s iCal, but i’ll have to check teuxdeux out. looks very interesting! i hope they’re making the app version for my desktop.


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