Home Organization Notebook: The Sections
Books to Organize Your Life!
This article is for everyone who's gotten started with a Home Organization Notebook and is ready for more. If you aren't already sold on the idea of creating a Home Organization Notebook, I urge you to look into it. Having all your family's important information handy provides a deep sense of security. Plus, it's convenient.
For a good place to start, read How to Build a Home Organization Notebook.
You can develop the following sections to whatever degree you like. You may only have one handwritten sheet for a given section, or you may have pages and pages of information, references, and checklists. It's up to you. No two families are the same and so of course no two family notebooks will be the same. The important thing is to approach your notebook as a process, growing and changing with the needs of your family. There's no perfect notebook and you don't have to do it all at once.
Try this: next time you are searching for a take-out menu, struggling to remember Aunt Martha's birthday, or trying to figure out which lawncare service you use, consider creating a space in your notebook under the proper section.
Following are typical sections with ideas for what could be included in each. Pick and choose what you like, and leave the rest for someone else.
In his amazing book, Getting Things Done, David Allen defines a project as any task that requires more than one action to complete. Most families are full of projects. Signing up your daughter for summer camp involves researching camps, checking with friends to see where they're going, calling family to find out if you're meeting at the lake this year and when, and maybe scheduling your vacation from work. All that's before you call to make the reservation, shop for the supplies, and arrange for transportation. You need plans.
Put the folliowing in the planning section:
- To-do lists
- Long term goals
I don't know about you, but I have a lot of different phone lists. There are people I call often, family members, and service providers like the hairdress and babysitters. Putting all these lists - separate but together - in the contact section is handy. (You can also keep a list of Christmas cards received just in case next year you decide that some of your old friends simply are not longer card-worthy!)
If your Home Organization Notebook is an all access affair, this would also be a great place to keep phone messages for all family members. (Personally, I'm way too controlling to let anyone touch my notebook.)
Wouldn't it be nice to have pertinent information on hand when you need to fill out forms? Or buy a gift? Ta-da! The Family Section!
- Clothing and shoe sizes
- Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Gift suggestion list - things they've mentioned
- Social Security numbers
- Chore lists
- Personal goals
- Friends' parents names and contacts (for kids)
If you have school-aged kids at home, this section is a must.
- School schedules
- Holiday list
- Lunch menus
- Carpool schedule
- School contacts
- Reading lists
This section is for all things cleaning, entertaining, and decorating.
- Cleaning schedule
- Chore checklists
- Home inventory
- Decorating ideas, magazine clippings
- Party planners
- Car maintenance schedule
- Stain removal guide
- Recycling locations
- Storage inventory
- Yard sale checklist
A family's got to eat! Need I say more?
- Grocery lists
- Pantry stocking checklist
- Favorite meals
Bonus Tip: When you find a recipe your family really likes, photocopy it and put it in a sheet protector in your notebook. That way you don't have to mark up cookbooks or waste valuable brain energy trying to remember which recipe is in which book!
Family Finance Section
For many families, this is going to require more than a section, but you can get started this way.
- Bills to pay
- Insurance information
- Safety deposit box inventory
- Vehicle records
- Retirement account information
Having all your medication and medical history in one spot is priceless, especially in an emergency.
- Insurance information
- First aid kit checklist
- Medical information sheet for each family member
- Medical authorization form (to send with kids when traveling)
- Prescription drug record
- Immunization records
Okay, I admit - I have more than one notebook! You can see how quickly a section can outgrow it's orginal binder home. That's okay. Just work at your own pace, creating the Home Organization Binder that works for you. And if you pop one of those three rings, then buy a new notebook and branch out!