Making a Household Notebook Work for You

Today is guest poster day and my visiting guest is my friend Jessica of LifeasMOM.  Jessica has a great blog full of helpful advice on all sorts of topics including organization.  She is here today to tell us all about her household notebook and how it helps her organize her life with six kids!

Some of us know how to manage our time and our homes intuitively. I have known women, my Aunt Peg, for instance, who just floated about their homes, seemingly effortlessly, tidying this, straightening that. Peggy’s home is always immaculate, dinner always on time, clothes always neatly pressed. Her brain is a well-oiled machine, and it follows that her home runs the same.

The rest of us, however, need a little help. Perhaps we get distracted easily. Maybe we have many creative projects going at once. Or in some instances, home economics was not anywhere in the syllabus when we were in junior high and high school, and we just don’t know where to start. Whatever the reason, some of us need a little help when it comes to home management.

I did not inherit the housekeeping genes of my aunt, and therefore, I’ve had to find ways and systems that help me keep order in our happy, little home. Not that my house even compares to Aunt Peg’s, but my household notebook helps me get a little bit closer.

What’s a Household Notebook?

You may have heard about household notebooks before. It’s basically a command center for the information you need to do your job well. And as different as each of us is from the Girl Next Door, so our notebooks should reflect who we are.

I work well from lists, but I found that I was recreating some lists, like cleaning tasks, on a regular basis. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time, I created checklists on the computer to use as my templates. These planning pages make the heart of my household notebook.

Some items that you might want to include in a household notebook include:

Hold it all together

Adjust your notebook to fit who you are and what you need help with accomplishing. You can store your forms in a standard 3-ring binder. This makes it easy to add and subtract planning sheets and insert school schedules and team rosters, as well as remove forms that are outdated.

However, I love the spiral notebook. So, this past winter, I had my household notebook forms bound at the local copy store. The result? An easily portable, notebook that takes up little room on the counter and works for me.

Certainly, it has its draw backs in terms of the higher cost of binding ($5 US) and less flexibility in adding pages, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful to managing my home and family. I use it more because it’s in this format and that helps it work for me.

For some people the refrigerator or a bulletin board work as their command central. For me, it’s my household notebook. With a little tweaking, you can make a portable command center to help you keep your home and your life organized.

– Jessica Fisher, also known as FishMama, is a busy mom of six children. She regularly writes about fun, frugality, and the pursuit of a clean house at LifeasMOM and posts delicious ways to act your wage at Good Cheap Eats.

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Household Notebook, Organizing Solutions

Comments

41 Responses to Making a Household Notebook Work for You

  1. 1
    Ashley says

    I recently made a household notebook! I have been designeing my chore list and menu planners…and am loving it! Mine is in a binder because I can’t stand the thought of being constrained to not makeing changes with a spiral bound. But I too, am a list girl! I need a list to keep me moving to the next step :)

  2. 3
    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen says

    I love my household notebook but most of all, I love answering any question like “where do you keep the shopping lists/ menu planners/ etc” with … “in the household organising file” LOL

  3. 4
    Kirstine Vergara says

    I actually have 3 household notebooks: for my nanny, our household helper, and myself. Nanny notebook is everything that has anything to do with the baby, from menus, list of baby stuff, how tos, baby rules, etc. Helper notebook contains list of everyday chores, grocery list, house rules, emergency numbers, how tos, etc. My very own household notebook includes schedules of bill, other necessities for the house, expense tracking, wish list, etc. Since I’m working, these notebooks help keep my sanity. I don’t know what I would do without LISTS in my life. My husband calls me a list junkie because my day always end with me updating my list. It’s my personal morphine.

  4. 5
    Handy Man, Crafty Woman says

    I have a household notebook, but I need to add more info to it. I’m slowly working on it. Mine is in a 3 ring binder.

  5. 6
    Angela says

    What a great idea. I’m going to put one together.

  6. 7
    Lindy Leigh says

    I love this idea…I’m going to start one today…thank you!

  7. 8
    Elizabeth says

    I have a 3-ring binder, and call it a mommy binder. It is as of now, a 2-inch binder. I am waiting for tax-free weekend to get a zipper binder on sale. I find it helps ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 9
    Joanna says

    Wow, that looks great! I never would’ve thought to go see how much it would be to have the notebook bound. I would much rather have that than a 3-ring binder!

    • 9.1
      FishMama says

      I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. It’s so much easier to lug around this way.

  9. 10
    Sara says

    This is so great! I have needed to put together one of these for awhile. Yesterday I sat down to start making one but had no clue where to start. So, good timing and thank you!!

  10. 11
    Rebecca says

    I had actually heard about this kind of thing a few years ago in a magazine article on butlers. One of the butlers interviewed said that he had a household book just like this with everything from daily/weekly/monthly cleaning and maintenance lists to contact numbers for plumbers/carpet cleaners/etc. and even a section for anything in the house that had a warranty (copies of all necessary paperwork were included).

    Just the other night I was sitting down and trying to come up with my categories for making my own book. Seeing this post has added a few more ideas to my list. Thanks!

  11. 12
    Bethany says

    This Five Star Flex notebook http://www.mead.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product3_10051_10006_125824_-1_false_10051 makes a great compromise between the spiral binding (i.e. more flexible and able to fold the book in half (absolute requirement for me!!!)) and a binder (i.e. able to add/take away when necessary). They are a bit pricey but well worth it for me. I have finally combined my work agenda and my household notebook into one book so that I can jot down things on either side as they come to me :)

    • 12.1
      FishMama says

      That looks awesome! Great idea. May have to try that….

  12. 13
    Connie says

    I too have a spiral one that Staple bound for me. I needed to change something in it and took it in to them. It only costs 89 cents to have it re-bound. But the biggest thing I re-did was I bought plastic dividers with folders! It changed my life! Now I can keep the school papers that are important, invitations, coupons for that week I need to use, Monthly bills, ect. I also made a few pages with excel with month listed and spaces to write it what bill was paid, date paid, amount paid, and confirmation number. It has saved me a few times. You should also keep a page in there with important medical stuff for everyone in the house such as allergies and current medication list along with dr phone numbers. That’s my 2 cents.

    • 13.1
      FishMama says

      The divider folders are an awesome idea! Did they already have a three hole punch in them?

      • 13.1.1
        Connie says

        Yes they came with three holes in them. They are also different colors and have pockets on BOTH sides! They are great and I think they were around $5.

        • 13.1.1.1
          FishMama says

          So, it wasn’t a problem to spiral bound those dividers even though they already had 3-holes?

          • 13.1.1.1.1
            Connie says

            No not at all. I’m actually re-doing my planner this week and I think I’m going to add some laminated pages for grocery list and meal plan that way I can use dry erase markers every week instead of wasting so much paper.

  13. 14
    Sandra says

    Being a woman is sometimes hard with all the tasking, add the following titles: sailor, weekend warrior, single parent, entrepreneur, mentor, consultant, tutor, student, sister, daughter, confidant, cook, English teacher, VA Hospital volunteer, adventurous traveler and triathlete and you have yourself one heck of a to do list. :) Hence, this post is so appropiate, I have a HUGE household notebook. Reading about it makes me smile, as I too remember the days when I was running lose like a canon in one direction and completed forgetting the rest of the world. Ahhh…to be young and worry free once more…nah, not enought of a challenge anymore. :)
    however I keep only a skeleton book on paper nowadays, as I keep my household notebook online just in case I need some help, I can share the schedules when I need to. Technology is sometimes great.

  14. 15
    Anne Marie says

    I love this! I just posted about a “Family Organization Book” and you’ve given me a few ideas that I can add to it! And thanks for the planner pages that I can just print off. For a menu planner I use e-mealz.com. They everything for you with a shopping list that goes with it too! I think it’s only about $5 a month. You might like it!

  15. 16
    Tracy says

    This a great idea. I have been just using a daily planner and I end up having notes to myself and lists everywhere. Definately going to make up abook .Thank you for the idea!:-)

  16. 17
    Chrissy L says

    Mead makes a flexible 3-ring binder that you cad add pages too, but since its flexible you can flip the cover around to the back like a spiral notebook. A little pricy (more than $5) but you can use it again and again each year. I make my own teacher planner book and have loved using it the past 3 school years!

  17. 18
    Katrine (Helping You Manage What Matters Most) says

    This household notebook is great way to get organized, and a terrific complement to AboutOne.com, an online family management journal that busy families can access at any time, from any location, with any web-enabled phone or device, to store, organize, and manage family memories and household information.

    Visit http://www.AboutOne.com for a free trial.

  18. 19
    Cassie says

    You had it BOUND?! Oh my gosh….you are brilliant!! I’m just getting my notebook in order and working out the kinks, but once I do, it’s ON! Thanks for the great idea!

  19. 20
    Gage says

    I use a household notebook and write about it on my blog! It is a lifesaver! I take mine to soccer practice and write out my lists while watching the boys practice. It’s good thinking time.

  20. 21
    Petula says

    This past Christmas my daughter gave me Pam Socolow’s Family Facts. Family Life Organizer & Planner… I really like it as everything is in one place. Remembering to put the information in there after so long of another system (that wasn’t working!) has been a challenge, but having it is great. The only thing that hasn’t worked for me is the calendar. The notebook is so large that I can’t keep my appoints and lists with me or grab them to go when I’m on my way to an appointment or the doctor. That’s the only thing I’ll change for next year is use a different appointment and calendar system, but the other things in the household notebook are here to stay! Great post… I’ll have to check out some of your templates to see if I should add them to my system or replace some that aren’t quite working.

  21. 22
    Patricia says

    Having a hard time finding binders called life organizers. They keepmost important info at your fingertips.Each binder is tabbed with vital categories for each subject.Handy notepad is tucked inside the front cover. I was able to purchase Pet Organizer, Home Organizer, and Travel Organizer. Am still looking forTake Out Menu, and Medical Organizers. Can you suggest anything? Am terrible on the computer and have spent a couple of hours searching, to no avail. Thank You. Patricia. P.S. The size of each is 12″h x 11″w.

  22. 23
    heather says

    I love love love this idea! cant wait to get mine started… Its going on the to-do list for this weekend. I’m giddy just thinking about it!

  23. 24
    Lynds says

    I loved this IDEA!!! I just finished compiling it tonight. My fridge looks so clean now! I used page protectors for my Daily/weekly/Monthly lists so I can use a wet erase pen and re-use the pages. I also did an “orientation” for my hubby (lol… Yes Im very “Type A”) so hopefully it will help him out on the evenings that I work and he’s home alone with the kids!

  24. 25
    Holly says

    We currently use a clip board hung on a nail to hold all of our important info. The responsibility chart is taped to the wall next to it and school papers are hung on the fridge. A binder would bring it all together so perfectly. Thanks for the idea!!!

  25. 26
    samantha says

    i’ve been trying to figure out how to make this notebook but i’m struggling with how to compose it. if you were to use both the daily and weekly papers…. printing out the daily alone would be 365 sheets of paper or 183 if you do double sided…. wouldn’t this make your book relatively large? any suggestions on slimming it down? thanks for the help!
    Samantha

  26. 27
    Madison says

    I read this and went……OH MY GOSH! My whole world feels like it can be managed now. I didn’t realize I was already using a note book but its sloppy and not very efficient at all. My husband is going back to school this fall and he will also be working. So I’m in charge of every aspect of the house until he graduates. This is going to make my life SO much simpler. HURRAH!

  27. 28
    Teresa says

    Flylady has her babysteps listed on her website….I have this and work from it all the time. It is great!

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