Keep a list of domestic details on your cell phone or PDA

This hack came about as a way to do two things:

a) to empty my head of some of the niggly domestic details that are important enough to remember, but not important enough to merit “active” brain space, and

b) to be able to take advantage of those random times you find yourself in a store and you remember you need something, but you have to know certain details about that item before you can buy it. For example, you congratulate yourself for remembering to buy a new furnace filter, and you find yourself at the hardware store, but you don’t remember what filter dimensions your furnace requires. (Opportunity and time-saver lost.)

I’m compiling a list in my cell phone notepad of all sorts of details so I’m caught in that position as little as possible. Battery size and number for favorite toys, brand of husband’s razor blades, furnace filter dimensions, light bulb wattages for various fixtures, clothing sizes…etc. Every time I find out a little detail I may need to use in the future (my friend always orders a double cappuccino with extra foam), I make a note of it so I don’t waste time gathering that info later (when I spontaneously show up at her house with coffee).

Parenting is full of so many random detours and unplanned stops. Might as well put them to use.

Related: Lots of ideas in the Getting Organized archive

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  1. says

    *This* is why I love you Asha. You’re totally right. I’m in the middle of remodel (hell) right now and I am constantly checking my phone for door dimensions and other useful bits of trivia. Why not extend this handy hack to other parts of my life? Now I will!

    I like a decaf latte. Or a mocha with whipped cream.

  2. MidlifeMidwife says

    I write down gift ideas as soon as they come to me, such as when a friend mentions something they like. That way, when the holidays roll around, I have a ready-made gift list.

    One thing I did with my cell phone, based on a blog post I read on Lifehacker, is put important numbers like the airlines’ 1-800 numbers, locksmith, etc. in my contact list. That way, I have them when my flight gets canceled, I lose my keys, and so on…

  3. Jill says

    For iPhone users, I like an app called ReQall for this sort of thing, mostly because I can add items by voice, and don’t have to type it out.

  4. says

    I was just talking about this today! I too keep gift ideas, and all kinds of contacts, and a crazy amount of notes on my cell – like easy go-to foods my toddler likes to eat for when I’m stumped.

    Evernote is great for this as well. You can access it via web, desktop app, mobile web, or iPhone app, so wherever you are you can pull the same data.

  5. says

    Great idea! And if you own an iPod touch/iPhone, the best way I’ve found of doing it is — it’s a very nice integrated note app that syncs to a similarly useful website app. And it’s $1.99. Highly recommended.

    (Not affiliated, just a very satisfied user)

  6. Jillian says

    Exactly! I have LOTS of lists on my PDA. One for books people recommend so I have a list when at the library (for me and for the kids). I have my husband’s shirt measurements and kids shoe sizes which I can never remember. Gift ideas for various family members, especially the kids, so it is at the ready when Aunt so-and-so asks before the holidays. A brand of shampoo and mascara I want to try in case they are on sale at Walgreens. Etc.

  7. Parent Hacks Editor says

    What fantastic ideas for lists. This makes me think we should widen the list-brainstorming to a “Talk Amongst Yourselves.” Many of you keep lists I had never thought of.

  8. Robin says

    After a couple of visits to a Dr who’s receptionist insists I provide my son’s social security number each visit, I finally entered the number in my cellphone list as if it were a phone number. It has the same number of digits and I did not identify it as his social, so I think it is pretty safe and now I don’t have to memorize it.

  9. says

    Yeah, I find my cellphone a very indispensable buddy to remind me of various household details such as grocery shopping list; things to do, our bank account numbers and a lot more stuff.