chalkboards and clothespins for a productive year

chalkboard : ann wood

Did you know,  the larger a list is – scale-wise not length-wise – the more fun it is to check stuff off?  I think so anyways. I love a list and at times when there’s a lot to move forward simultaneously  (not my best thing) I put it all on poster board in sharpie and find that it helps me stay on task, helps me do the right stuff and follow through.  I’ve wanted a chalkboard for this purpose for ages and finally made one for myself last weekend.

getting things done

I painted a lovely old frame black and the chalkboard part was easy – it’s chalkboard contact paper on foam core. And I love it (PS- I’m not being compensated  in any way for this – just sharing because I think it’s useful). I found it online and I was willing to give it a shot – to the tune of about 20 bucks – but  wasn’t feeling super optimistic about  it. I grew up in the 70’s and contact paper was a frequent and largely unsatisfactory design solution.  This stuff is great though – it doesn’t look or feel plasticy and cleans easily with a damp cloth.  They also sent a marker you can use – It’s a little harder to clean off but looks good.

I’m pleased with my chalkboards and pleased with the effect the presence of the big list has on my fidgety brain. I’m determined to have a record breaking year in terms of productivity, I’m always busy but I spin my wheels a lot.

clothespin label

Another time waster/ procrstinatey activity for me is looking for stuff. I have all my fabrics and other supplies and projects in file boxes and spent time recently labeling everything accurately. I’ve been using the same boxes for 5 or 6 years and clip clothespins are perfect for labeling since projects and materials change often.

I’m tackling the computer next, it’s a mess.

What keeps you focused and on task? What de-rails you?


  1. Oh my!! the clothespin idea is brilliant!! I recently moved and in my old studio I pretty much knew where everything was. When I moved I couldn’t find things for the life of me!! This is such an easy and practical solution, thanks!
    I bought some chalkboard stickers that must be the same sort of thing as the large format contact paper. Love that frame!!!

  2. p.s…my photos on my computer is my next and never ending organizing task!
    One of my life saving organizing idea is that I keep all of my wool roving for needle felting in jars. I can see the colours and it keeps moths away.

  3. EVERYTHING derails me, ha! I love your clothespin idea. Because of the “way I roll” so to speak, labeling permanently is problematic. Things change here too. Yay for your great year! I sure hope to finish one of my ships from your pattern that I started last year. Way last year.

  4. Too many ideas paralyzes me! I love the message on your small chalkboard. May need to put that up where I can see it.

  5. I love the chalkboard, not only useful, but beautiful! I have an old oval-shaped picture frame that’s a little larger than yours, and I think I’ll consider making a chalkboard out of it. All I need is to find some wall space for it!

  6. Searching for things is my biggest time-waster. One excuse I like to use is that I work in “a variety of media.” Doesn’t that sound impressive? What it actually means is that I’m spread too thin, scattered, messy, getting in my own way. My stockpiles include tools and supplies for beading, paper sculpture, shadow boxes/miniatures, crochet, macrame, weaving, felting, leather, embroidery, and some machine sewing. One of the biggest traps I fall into over & over is the scenario where I go in search of the perfect [whatever], thinking I know exactly where it is [wrong], but in my search I find something else I’d forgotten I even had and which intrigues me, OR I decide I really need to reorganize all of it, right now, to avoid this situation in the future…. and then the reorganization becomes its own huge project that involves days. Meanwhile, whatever I was searching for in the first place has either lost its relevance, or I’ve completely forgotten all about it. That’s me in a nutshell. But I do love wooden clothespins — so many uses! If only I could find mine.

    • Jaimie Sander

      Suzanne,you are not alone,lol ! This describes me exactly !

    • I must be your twin! I do the exact same thing and then get so frustrated with myself that I end up doing nothing! 🙁

  7. I might try the blackboard idea too. I’m like you in that there is always a lot going on on my desks and in my head, and some projects need to be parked for a long time because of external deadlines. I come back to projects and forget where I was, or have dreamed up more exciting sparkly projects in the meantime, so create yet MORE tasks destined to lay on the desk half realised. I think that big chalkboard might help me prioritise better. Thanks for that 🙂

  8. Do you have asian stinkbugs in NY? I live not far from where they originally entered the country in PA. I have to store all of my fabric, in stinkbug proof containers. It’s a problem.

  9. Hah! I have a white board and bulletin boards, a chalkboard, and calendars – but right now what’s keeping me mostly on track is the planner book I keep by my computer. Still, I need a master plan to keep all my gears moving forward! I’m working on that. All my materials are organized in various bins that are labeled – that’s not the problem for me. Neither is productivity because I’m very productive – it’s just that all my projects are so diverse and scattered that it’s hard to feel successful…

  10. I need to tackle my computer but I procrasinate… a lot.

    I am good at making lists, however. I typically have 3-4 going at one time. There’s nothing like checking things off for a feeling of accomplishment!

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