Okay, a little background to start us off. I have 4 kids and my husband has 3 kids. When we got married, we were thrown into an absolute scheduling nightmare. A calendar that would suit everyone’s needs seemed nonexistent. We were coordinating 7 kids’ schedules between 4 different households, trying to juggle our jobs, church responsibilities, volunteering at the school, getting kids to all their sports practices and games, etc, etc, etc. If you are reading this blog, there’s a good chance you can relate to the total chaos that kids bring to your calendar. So, being the PLANNER that I am, I saw this coming and I bought myself a Mother’s Day gift that CHANGED MY LIFE.
I decided to create a DIY Whiteboard Calendar. Here is a picture of what it looks like completely blank and wiped clean. (You can get your very own HERE).
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The Calendar is a Living Thing
Let’s assume we are starting with a fully filled out calendar, as you see in this picture. Here is what my May looks like right now. Everyone has an assigned color to keep things easy.
It is SUPER satisfying to erase the day before I go to bed (or sometimes, when the day is totally insane, I find it therapeutic to erase things one at a time as they happen throughout the day). So by the end of the first two weeks, the top two rows are completely erased. I typically move everything up after 2 weeks, by copying the bottom 2 weeks which have remained intact, into the top 2 weeks. Most of what you see up here is repeated week after week, so I only have to erase the one-time items from the bottom two weeks, along with the dates, and add the new dates and the one-time items for those weeks. Then I have a full 4 weeks again. Got it?
I rarely erase the whole thing and start from scratch. Every once in a while, I take the expo cleaner out and give the whole calendar a good cleaning, but that’s once every few months. It isn’t hard at all to get the markers off – they come right off with a normal cheap eraser.
The Master Calendar (covers the whole year)
I have a master calendar (I actually just use a cheap planner I got at Michael’s for $15 on clearance) that I keep in my desk drawer. I whip that thing out every time an appointment is made, when baseball schedules come out, when we RSVP to a birthday party, etc. (If there is a flyer, an appointment reminder card, or anything like that, I just paper clip it to the month that it belongs to) Then when I am moving my bottom two weeks up to the top two weeks, I just take that master calendar over to the whiteboard calendar, and add anything that needs to be added. I am a super thorough person, so if anything comes up that needs to be added sometime in the timeframe that the whiteboard calendar already is displaying, I usually write it once on the whiteboard calendar and once on my master calendar. I like to have backups everywhere. It’s just my personality.
So that’s my system.
Stick around if you want to know how to make one of these life-saving gems, along with a list of things to consider before rushing out and purchasing a whiteboard.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Your Very Own DIY Calendar
I chose this size because I knew I wanted 4 weeks at a time, and I also knew I needed decent-sized squares to represent each day.
You may choose to split Saturday and Sunday and have them share a box, but Saturdays turn out to be some of our busiest days (especially during baseball season, as you can see), so I am very glad I went with a full box for each day.
You may also want to consider leaving room to keep track of your meal plan on this calendar. I have a different system that I use for that…you can read about it in my MEAL PLANNING with your Calendar, Coupons, and Grocery Lists Post.
Another thing to consider is WHERE to put it. I didn’t necessarily want it in my living room, but I also didn’t want it tucked away in a spot where we wouldn’t see it. I decided to hang it in our hallway. I took down some dang cute pictures of my kids and replaced them with…The Calendar. Sniff sniff.
When we moved to the house we are in now, I was SO BUMMED, because there wasn’t a good spot for the calendar. I was seriously considering changing floor plans because I didn’t know where we would put the calendar. That’s how big of a deal this thing is. But we bought the house, and I have gradually gotten used to the calendar’s new location, which is on one of the walls in our dining room (we’re not fancy people). And you know what’s funny? It presents quite a nice discussion piece when we have someone over for dinner. The memory of the calendar sticks with them for a lifetime. And I’m okay with that. I’d rather be remembered for an over-sized whiteboard that organizes our entire lives, than be forgotten for a fancy picture.
Price and Reviews
I researched quite a few places, websites, read reviews, etc. Who knew people would have so much to say about whiteboards?! Apparently there are a few different qualities and things to look for in a whiteboard. Some don’t erase very well, some are left looking dingy and grey, others have “ghosting,” meaning you can see what was written before you erased it, etc. After doing my homework, I settled on this one on Amazon.
I did find this same one on another website, but I love Amazon, and it was actually cheaper by a few bucks to purchase it through Amazon when accounting for shipping costs.
Once You Have Your Very Own…
Do you want the entire whiteboard to be divided up into 4 weeks? 2 weeks? 3 weeks? Do you want a place to hang coupons (to see my coupon/shopping list system, click here) – I personally don’t use this place to do it, but you could)? A place to hang birthday party invitations? Do you want a spot for kids to draw on? (I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS! Our youngest was 2 when the calendar entered our home, and I quickly learned that the week on the bottom row got emptier and emptier as the days went on, due to a certain little someone erasing things bit by bit…I decided to only do 3 weeks at a time for a couple years until he was older and I could have more confidence that he wouldn’t erase things off the bottom week).
Once you have decided what you want to leave space for, go ahead and measure and divide up the remaining area into your weeks. Be sure to account for the width of the electrical tape, or whatever you decide to make your lines out of.
Make a bunch of boxes for days
I used electrical tape for a couple reasons.
1 – It’s sturdy (while washi tape would be adorable, most of that stuff is pretty thin, and this electrical tape is 4 years and counting and has sustained thousands of wipes and looks brand new).
2 – It’s black (again, washi tape would look adorable, but will get DIRTY and look NOT cute pretty quick…unless you want to take the time to erase each individual square without ever touching the tape with the eraser, or even accidentally writing on the tape with a marker, and if you have time to be that careful, then this blog isn’t for you!)
3 – I think it is the perfect thickness for this size board, to separate the days into clear, crisp boxes.
Label the Days
I used my embarrassingly old and outdated Cricut to cut out the letters for the days of the week at the top. Do you need an electronic cutter and the perfect color of vinyl for this step? NOPE! You could definitely just write the days of the week at the top with dry erase markers. Bam. Done. You could even get fancy and use multiple colors of markers, and take your time and use really good handwriting. Since it’s at the top, it shouldn’t get touched or accidentally swiped very often, so handwritten days of the week would be just fine. Whatever you’d like to do!
I happen to have a super handy husband who likes to make my Pinterest envyings come true. So when I told him how much I would LOVE for him to trim out the calendar, he went to Home Depot and within an hour, it was done. He’s amazing. This is an extra step, for aesthetic reasons only. Totally not required, but highly recommended. He didn’t trim ours out til we moved here, and it makes it look so much more like it’s part of our home.
Well, that’s it! You have yourself your very own DIY whiteboard calendar!
Are you ready to take control of your schedule? Here is a list of all the things you will need to create your very own!
- Master Calendar
- Electrical tape
- Dry Erase Markers (these are my favorites, especially because everyone has their own color)
- Magnetic basket to keep all your markers in
- Magnets for papers on the side
- A handyman to hang the whiteboard for you 😉