Friends often laugh at me. Why? Well, I’m an odd duck. You see, I crave organization. I like lists (to-do lists, grocery lists, inventory lists, wish lists, menu lists, etc.). Also, I like calendars (yearly, monthly, weekly and daily). Paper and electronic. I like to take inventory and organize. I like to plan and strategize. I like to problem solve and plan ahead. I like a “place for everything [and] everything in its place.” (Thanks, Benjamin Franklin) Although, with two kids this doesn’t happen, so….
I created a “Household Notebook”. What is it? Well, it’s a huge notebook filled with tons of information. Several years ago, I was working full-time, had just had a baby, moved cross-country and was about to pull my hair out because I couldn’t remember one day from the next, who had a meeting on which day (me or my husband), the date of the baby’s doctor’s appointment, much less what was in the pantry or freezer to cook for dinner. Something had to change.
I scoured the internet for resources and realized there were other women just like me, working moms and stay-at-home-moms, who needed assistance in keeping everything together (family, work, food, time management, etc.) I discovered the world of “Household Notebooks”. There are many to purchase. However, along with being a lover of organization, I am a Frugalista, too. Meaning, if I can make it or create it, I don’t buy it.
As well, I wanted to customize a product that would specifically work for me and the needs of my family. So, I did. Over the last several years, it has evolved and changed, but the premise stays the same: the notebook works FOR me, in order to assist me in staying sane. Sanity is good, don’t you think? My husband does. Although, he makes fun of my ‘notebook’, he knows it keeps things running smoothly, which makes for a happy wife. In fact, he was the one that shared the quote, “Happy wife, happy life” with me. So there!
After realizing I could make my own notebook, I decided what it was that I really needed. For me, I chose to divide my notebook into the following five (5) sections:
- Emergency/Health Information
- Financial/Legal Information (Budget/Spending Plan, Vendors & Business Numbers,
- Calendars (yearly, monthly, weekly, daily)
- Work Schedules (me and my husband)
- Sitter Information
- Books-to-Read List
- Movies-to-Watch List
- Borrowed/Loaned-Out List (Regularly, we loan out movies and books to/from friends and my music students. This helps us keep track.)
- Prayer Journal
- Bible Verses
- Daily Bible Readings Plan
- Home Schooling Information (important papers, daily schedule, lesson plans, field trips, co-op information, goals, long-range planning, record keeping, etc.)
- Class Information (I am taking a few classes right now, so that information is here.)
- Sermon/Bible Study Ideas
- Songwriting Ideas
- Worship Leading Information (Song Sets, articles, devotionals)
- Podcasts I enjoy (Faith, Food and Frugal-related)
- Blog topics
- Housekeeping (Personally, I use Motivated Moms)
- Decorating Ideas (I just hole punch pages from magazines, or keep a list of websites, store information, etc.)
- Home Projects (Indoors/Outdoors)
- Hospitality (Articles, quotes. Folks to invite over. Meals for new moms, newly married folks, and others, etc.)
- Grocery Lists
- Price Lists (For all items I purchase, from a variety of stores, so I know what the best buy really is)
- Meal Planning
- Recipes (I just tear them out of notebooks, hole punch and voila. They are there ready to be enjoyed, whenever I get around to making them.)
- Recipes To Try List/Favorite Recipes (Name, page number and cookbook name, or website address.)
- Freezer Inventory List
- Pantry Inventory List
- Coupons (restaurants, groceries, movies, events, etc.)
- Trips/Vacations (Planning, Frequent Flyer #s, etc.)
- Holiday Preparations
- Wish Lists (gifts for others, splurges for myself/family, etc.)
- Special/Important Dates (Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays, etc.) or here
- Party Planning
- Dreams (what we are saving for, looking forward to, etc.)
- Camping Checklists
- Travel Preparation Checklist
Also, in the “Household Notebook,” I keep a spiral bound notebook, a pencil/pen, recipe cards and mail with information that doesn’t need to be filed, but I want to keep readily available, along with a plastic envelope for coupons and a business card holder. My notebook has a ‘home’ on our kitchen counter. It is available whenever I need to look something up, schedule a date/event, or plan out menus for our family or meals to share with others.
While my method may sound very “Type A”, and it is, it helps me be more spontaneous, creative and last-minute because I don’t have to spend time looking for things, wondering what to make for dinner, or asking myself, “Where did I put that calendar?” For me this tool creates comfort, security and ease in completing the myriad of tasks and responsibilities I need to accomplish, personally and professionally, as a wife, home schooling mom, business owner and pastor.
If you are interested in learning more about Household Notebooks, check out the following sites:
Next week, I will be transforming a hallway nook into a “Family Command Center.”
(The pic is of a finished “Family Command Center,” not my own.)