Have you ever found yourself searching for the list that you scratched out on a slip of paper and left who knows where? Or maybe you glance at the calendar and realize that your stepmother in-law, who always sends cards on time for every event (Baby’s first trip to the dentist? You bet there was a card in our mailbox!) had a birthday last week.
For these reasons and more, I created a household notebook. Along with the grace of Jesus and the love of my supportive husband, I credit this tool with preserving my sanity. I understand that some people may not have a household notebook or even know what a household notebook is. So, before I delve into tips on how to organize one, let me briefly explain what one is and why you might benefit from making one for your home.
What Is a Household Notebook?
A household notebook is essentially command central for the effective and efficient running of your home. It can be a place to house important information such as phone numbers, passwords or addresses, as well as a place to keep schedules, menus and the family budget. It can be as simple or as complex as you desire. As you will see later, my household notebook is a simple binder in my favorite color. I have seen notebooks similar to mine and some as complex as a beautifully designed tailor made spiral bound notebook. The beauty of a household notebook is that it can (and should!) be made to fit your individual tastes.
Benefits of a Household Notebook
There are many benefits to having a household notebook. The most obvious benefit is that everything is in one central location. No longer do I find myself searching for that to-do list that I wrote on the back of my sermon notes from last week. I can easily plan appointments and play dates because I know right where our family calendar is located.
Another benefit, depending on how you structure your notebook, is that if anything were to happen to me, my husband could easily pick up the notebook and know exactly how to keep the household running. Now, that is not to say that my husband is incompetent and could not take over for me without my notebook, but I do know that he would be relieved to have all the information in one place in the event something happened to me.
How I Organize My Household Notebook
Like I mentioned before, my notebook is in a simple binder. I chose a red binder at the store back when “back to school” sales were going on. Red is my favorite color to decorate with (my whole apartment is black, white and red) and, since I like things to match, I chose a binder in that color. I think I paid $.50 for it. You could easily use a binder you already have at home if you don’t want to spend buy something new. Some women prefer to have something “pretty” or else they feel as though they won’t use it. If this is you, by all means, go buy a “pretty” binder! You can also see here how one woman designed a spiral bound notebook for her family.
Inside my binder I have a plastic pencil pouch where I keep receipts. My husband has an intricate financial record keeping system that I do not pretend to understand, so I make sure to put all my receipts here so he can record them accurately. When he is finished with them, he either returns them to the pouch if they need to be filed or he throws them away.
After the pencil pouch, there are several tabbed pages. I have six tabs right now that keep my binder well organized. The first two tabs are calendars. The first holds our family calendar. On this calendar I keep track of family activities, such as church socials and extended family get-togethers. I also use this calendar to keep track of various activities for myself and my son. Appointments, play dates and ministry commitments are penciled in here.
Following the family calendar pages, I keep a printed copy of my husband’s class schedule for the week. The second is my blogging calendar. I mostly blog for fun, so I don’t keep as detailed or strict of a calendar as some bloggers, but I do like to keep to some semblance of a schedule. I use this calendar mostly to help me remember when my contributing posts are due. I also pencil in ideas as they come to me.
The next two tabs are housework info and budget info. I keep my household routines and cleaning schedule along with recipes for my homemade cleaners under the housework info tab. I also keep our monthly menu plan here along with a running grocery list. Under the budget info tab, I have a printed copy of our monthly budget that I update each time I spend money. This helps me make sure I am not going over our agreed upon budget. I also keep a price book here that reminds me what the top price I will pay for certain items is and where I can get certain things for the least amount of money. The last item under this tab is a list of our bills and when they are due. We pay most of them automatically online, but I keep this here so I can check to make sure payments went through on the day they were supposed to.
The last two tabs are important numbers and ministry. The important numbers tab is more for the benefit of a babysitter than it is for me, but I keep doctor’s numbers, poison control and a few other in case of emergency numbers here. The ministry tab houses all the information I need for the one ministry I have committed myself to at church as well as a list of family birthdays. Encouragement is definitely a spiritual gift and one that I need to be more intentional about. Keeping a list of birthdays helps me remember to send a card out, hopefully on time!
That is how I organize my household notebook. Your notebook will look differently than mine, but hopefully you have been inspired to organize your existing notebook or start a new one to meet the needs of your family.
Do you have a household notebook? If so, how does it help your home run smoother?
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!