Episode 2: 10 Lists To Start Keeping • Cat Morley

In this episode of FiloCat I’m going to be talking about lists and the format will be a little different from the first episode and rather than teaching you a skill step-by-step, I’m going to be listing (pun intended) 10 awesome ideas for lists you should start keeping today.

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One thing you’re going to learn about me as you listen to FiloCat is that I love lists. I’m obsessed with them and write new ones all the time. I have lists for everything from fun things, like cocktails to learn how-to mix and comic books to read, to more important ones like dreams to achieve and cities to live in one day.

When you think about lists, you might feel a little intimidated or put off writing one because of their association with the To-Do List, but don’t worry, the lists I’m taking about here don’t require getting anything done today or in the immediate future - they're fun lists for storing your ideas and keeping track of things that may, one day, come in very handy. So remember, there are two types of lists - Idea Lists which are lovely little lists that I recommend writing lots and lots of and filling up with hundreds of check boxes and the To-Do List which is where all the scary must do now stuff will go. We’ll chat about the to-do list much more in future episodes but for now, let’s keep it light and easy and stick to Idea lists because I want you to learn how to love them as much as I do and in this short round-up episode, I’m going yo give you my top 10 suggestion for ten awesome lists you can start keeping today and ideas on how best to store them.

List 1: Wishlist

The best list of all is the Wishlist. It’s where you keep track of all the lovely things you’d like to own one day, from small things you could treat yourself today like a sparkly purple pen for your Filofax and bag of pick n mix from the candy shop, to bigger things, like a fluffy Siberian kitten or a dream clock tower penthouse in Dumbo. Just list down item after item, to your hearts content - like a little kid writing a list to Santa. Your wishlist is going to come in super handy for a few things coming up - like thinking up rewards to give yourself for successfully completing your 30 day habits. They’re also super handy for giving your friends and family hints for what you might like for your birthday & Christmas - so you don’t end up with ten gift basket of smelly things like every other year.

For high impact, keep your wishlist somewhere public like a board on Pinterest, a public Ta-Da List you can share the link of or an Amazon wishlist which makes it super easy for people to just click and treat. You can always keep a secret wishlist for the guilty pleasures you don’t want to share with the world - box sets of The Hills, Aqua CDs and super snuggly onesies etc, but my birthdays have began to look a lot more like Pinterest since my Dad discovered my wishlist board and it really cuts down on the need to de-clutter or re-gift later.

List 2: Gift Ideas

On a similar vein, it’s so handy to keep a list of gift ideas for your family and friends. When you spot something perfect in a shop, note it down to buy later or if your friend mentions that light-up Daft Punk coffee table they’ve always wanted, note that down too, make one and surprise them with it months later on their birthday - like we did for our friend Kenny. When you’re stuck for inspiration, see if they’ve got an Amazon wishlist or stalk their Pinterest boards and Facebook likes for ideas. This list will save the day when you’ve forgotten about an upcoming birthday and are desperately searching for things to Amazon Prime to your door for the next day. It also makes sure you give them things they really want rather than a gift basket of smelly things, which may just end up getting re-gifted back to you later down the line. It probably goes without saying that it’s a good idea to keep this list private so good options for storing this list would be a note-taking app like Evernote or a secret Pinterest board.

List 3: Places to visit someday

One of the most useful lists I’m so grateful for starting years and years ago is my Someday List filled with all the quirky, odd and wonderful places I’d love to visit if I ever had the chance and was in the right area. Whenever I spotted a crazy sculpture, delicious sounding restaurant or amazing hotel while flipping through magazines, chatting to friends or scrolling through the web, I’d list it down on my Someday List along with the city - even if it was a city I could never imagine having the chance to visit. When the opportunity to road-trip through all 50 states in the USA popped up, I couldn’t wait to check my list and plan a route to all the crazy road-side attractions in the middle of nowhere states I never thought I’d get the chance to see. Ours days soon filled up with checking things off my list - from eating pancakes the size of our heads for breakfast and posing with the World’s Tallest Filling Cabinet to visiting ghost towns at sunset and sleeping in a Teepee on Route 66. People always wondered how we were able to find such crazy things to do each day but it was all thanks to my lists which had been years in the making.

Fill your Someday List with all the wonderful, magical and quirky places you’d like to visit - even if you don’t believe you will ever get there. There are a few ways to organize your someday list - you could keep a separate note for each country in Evernote, create Pinterest boards with a map or create a Google Map, starring each of the places you’d like to go. It’s a good idea to pick a system which allows you to include photos, links and notes along with the addresses. I like the idea of having a list with location based reminders which can alert you so when you’re passing by Shirley’s Diner in Omaha, Nebraska you know to stop off and order a fried twinkie.

List 4: Adventures to have in your hometown

Staycations can be just as much fun as far flung adventures and a lot more affordable, so just as you have a list for the places you’d like to visit around the world, it’s a nice idea to keep one for the city you live in too. I’ve been coming through to Edinburgh for my whole life and when I moved here, I didn’t expect there would be much I hadn’t already seen but I was totally wrong. Type your town name into Pinterest, ask your friends where some of their favourite places to hang out are, follow bloggers in your city and flip through local magazines for inspiration. Writing down your ideas as actions such as Have a picnic on Blackford Hill at sunset and Walk out to Cramond Island and collect shells to make necklaces can be a lot more inspiring and motivating than simply noting down the location. Next time you’re feeling bored and think there’s nothing to do, check your list and pick something that sounds fun!

List 5: Places to take people

Have you ever tried a new bar, cool cafe or stumbled across an amazing shop and thought something like “wow, my friend Laura would really like this cafe filled with books and cats roaming free?”. These types of thoughts rarely return at a time they’ll be handy, like when Laura wants to meet for coffee and is wondering where might be good, so it’s a good idea to keep them on a list. Keep this list filled with ideas for things like restaurants and diners where you can grab a tasty quick meal at the last minute without needing a reservation, bars you can rely on to be quite enough to grab a table at and meet up with friends for a nice chat and glass of wine even on the busiest of weekends, magical places like the abandoned lighthouse where you can see a million stars in the sky most nights and sometimes spot the northern lights and places that suit your individual friends down to the ground, like a train-themed diner for Tom or a secret walled garden my Mum would love.

List 6: Places to eat list

While we were road-tripping across the USA, we’d usually arrive at our destination super late, low on energy as as hungry as a horse. The last thing we wanted to do was think about where to wait, so while Tom was driving, I’d be doing my research. Googling for awesome vegan cafes, scrolling through menus for things that sounded tempted, asking our members on CO+K for their top suggestions or looking at photos of the dishes I wanted to eat in the city we were about to arrive in on Pinterest. By the time we arrived, we could drive directly to the restaurant and sit down, knowing exactly what to order when the waitress came and how much it was going to cost it at the end. It was a real time saver and just what we needed after a long drive.

Since returning for our trip, I’ve kept the habit up, making a list of all the awesome new restaurants I want to try around the world and every time I spot an amazing looking cupcake in my RSS feed or a friend mentions eating a really good pho at a new cafe, I add it to my list, along with the address and what it is I’ll order. This comes in so handy when deciding where to go for lunch, planning a trip away and arranging to meet friends for food.

List 7: Recipes to try

Do you ever get stuck in a rut of eating the same meals every night, ordering take-out from your usual or cooking the same things over and over again? Deciding what to eat is usually quite a low priority when you’re busy and something you don’t even think about until hunger strikes and you’ll settle for eating whatever is closest. I bet that when you first moved into your kitchen, or bought a gorgeous new dining set, you envisioned yourself making food blog inspired meals, hosting your own dinner parties and open a cupboard filled with home-baked treats. This dream can totally be a reality and it’s a lot easier than you think- start a list of Recipes to try and aim to make one new thing each week. Dust off your cookbook collection, type your favourite foods into Cut Out + Keep, tune into a cooking show and subscribe to some yummy food blogs. When something takes your fancy, add it to your list and know that one week soon, you’ll be trying it for yourself. You can even pick a weekly night where you usually don’t have a lot going on and know you’ll have a chance to hit the supermarket and make it a thing in your household with a name like Tasty Tuesday or Foodie Friday.

This list is best kept in a visual way to make your mouth water as you browse. You could create a new list on Cut Out + Keep, print recipes out and keep them in a scrapbook or on recipe cards, create a board on Pinterest or drag photos and links into a list on Evernote. Whatever works best and will look yummiest to you!

List 8: Shopping lists

It’s a really bad idea to be hungry in a supermarket with no idea of what you want to make or be set free, feeling creative in a craft shop filled with gorgeous beads and haberdashery without a project in mind. I can’t count the number of times we’ve come back with bags and bags of snacks and realised we still haven’t bought anything substantial to cook for dinner, or opened a cupboard to be avalanched by haberdashery I bought years ago but haven’t crafted with yet. To combat the clutter, and for heath and safety reasons, I’ve given myself a rule that I won’t buy anything until I have a plan for what to do with it.

So now, when I have a craft idea or a recipe I want to try, I list down all the materials or ingredients I need on a shopping list. I have separate shopping lists for craft supplies, groceries, clothes and homeware so I know which one to look at when I’m in the appropriate store, so I have a list of food to get when I’m in the supermarket and a list of homeware when I’m in Ikea. When one of my list gets super long, it also prompts me into a trip to the shops so I can buy supplies for all of my projects in bulk and the next time I’m doing grocery shopping, I can also pick up supplies for a new recipe I want to try at the same time.

The most important thing to think about when working out how to store these lists is to keep them somewhere portable, that you can have on you all the times. A to-do list on your phone that you can access offline or a paper based to-do list you can keep in your bag work well.

List 9: Items you’ve loaned

Thanks to Cut Out + Keep, I have a huge collection of craft and cooking books which my family and friends love to browse and often borrow so they can try a project or recipe at home. I’m not a library but I have a few thousands books so it’s become handy to keep track of them as if I were one. If you’re the same and people often borrow things from you too, it can be a great idea to keep a list of these items so you don’t accidentally go searching for them, having forgotten where they were.

This list doesn’t need to be super fancy - just store it in a note-taking app, noting the item, whose got it and how long ago they borrowed it. gives you the facts and leverage when it comes to asking for something back. “Hey, you know that awesome cat jelly mould I loaned you? It’s been 9 months and I’m really craving a cat shaped trifle right now”. Likewise, you can keep a list of the items you've borrowed so you don’t end up being “that friend”.

List 10: Things To Check Out

I’ve saved a fun one for last, keep a list of all the movies & TV shows you want to watch, books you want to read and bands you’ve been meaning to check out. This can save a lot of arguments over what to watch and comes in super handy in bookshops and record stores.

Also, the next time someone mentions something they think you’d really like - add it to your list, and make it really obvious while you’re adding it because often when people see that they’re taking their suggestions seriously they'll list off another five or so things they think you’ll like too and keep an eye out for things you might like.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to write a list or two of your own. Maybe one day you’ll love them as much as me. If you started a habit after listening to Episode 1 then I hope it’s going awesome and you’re a little closer to your reward at the end.

FiloCat Pages For Episode Two

Here are the print-outs for episode two with a round-up of the key points and some extra list templates. Just print them out, fold in half vertically, cut around the dashed line, punch holes along the open edge and pop in your Filofax. These pages are designed for a Personal sized Filofax so let me know if you'd like them in any other sizes and I can make them too.