Home Management Binder: Why I Created a Household Notebook
The Front Page of My Home Management Notebook
Life as a Stay at Home Mom
I recently became a stay at home mom after years of a career in ophthalmology. My first few months were horrible. I was completely overwhelmed, and my brain just couldn’t handle the chaos.
Being very analytical by nature, I have to analyze everything and making decisions takes me forever. Along with this analytical mind comes a love of order, organization and efficiency. In fact, you could say I pride myself on being able to find the most efficient way to do just about anything.
But, homemaking was threatening to be the one thing I couldn’t figure out. In fact, I’ve already written two hubs in which I described my daily routine. Unfortunately, that routine was in itself chaotic. I had to find a better way.
My Brand New Binder!
Chaos, Clutter, & Complete Disorganization... AAAHHH!!
The chaos, clutter and complete disorganization of my home were driving me insane. My ideas for articles were all jumbled in my head because of the clutter. I think it might be the reason I preferred going to work every day. Seeing the clutter day in and day out was so frustrating and infuriating. Why couldn’t I figure this out?
Then, one day I cracked. That was it, I couldn’t take it anymore. I completely rearranged my bedroom closet and the bookshelves in the master bedroom. Wow, what a difference! That’s when I wrote the first hub on being a stay at home mom.
Turning Chaos into Order
Two days later, I completely rearranged the furniture in my living room. My desk had become the catch-all for papers and craft supplies. You name it, it was on my desk.
It was so cluttered that I had to do all my writing sitting on the couch next to my hubby while he played video games. Talk about a distraction!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching him game, but trying to find a comfortable position on the couch in which to write proved to be quite difficult. Not to mention, I was always watching him play because he’s just that good.
I first cleared off my desk; it’s hard to move when you can’t find it. I then moved it to a somewhat centralized area that would offer some quiet, but allow me to easily access any room in the house so that I could do chores and cook, while still being able to hop onto the computer to write a sentence.
It also provides my family easy access to me. The reference books I use constantly I arranged on my desk for easy access and set up my printer. I wanted to write because my desk looked so inviting and organized.
My Inviting Desk
Almost There... But Not Quite
Something was still not right. Then it dawned on me. Our schedule is weird because my husband works in the afternoon until almost midnight.
Because of this, we would go to bed at about 04:00am or later (or is it earlier?). I was unable to get my workout done first thing in the morning like I was used to doing because my daughter was already up, and I had to get my hubby off to work. I’d have to wait until my daughter went to bed at about 9:30pm.
This drove me nuts. I hated interrupting the only quiet time I had to write with a workout. Consequently, I was not getting my exercise five days a week. I had lost my motivation. It wasn’t just the clutter that was getting to me. It was the fact that my schedule just couldn’t accommodate everything I needed to get done and still allow me quiet time to write. For me, writing is not just fun; it’s a necessity. We took a huge pay cut when I quit my job.
I needed to find a way to be able to get up at 06:30am or 07:00am and get my workout in, but still be able to stay up and spend time with my hubby when he got home.
Not to mention, I needed to be awake enough during the day to get all my chores done, and homeschool my daughter. That’s a tall order!
Enter biphasic sleep. A biphasic sleep pattern would actually solve my problem. With this type of pattern, I sleep twice a day.
I have 4.5 hours of core sleep between 10:00pm and 02:30am and a 1.5 hour nap around 09:00am to 10:30am. This freed up quite a bit of time and rearranged my schedule so that I could have the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, scheduling this type of sleep pattern proved difficult. Since we were just starting the pattern, the adaptation period required us to sleep in shifts in order to keep the other one from over sleeping.
Then I stumbled upon an article about household or home management notebooks (HMN). When I saw it, I had no idea what it was. I’d never heard of such a thing.
After reading the article, I got really excited! I proceeded to (frantically) run around the house looking for a three-ring binder that was unused, or could be repurposed. I finally found one, and it already had dividers in it! Talk about convenient!
I sifted through tons of free printables. After I finished printing, and I saved a bunch to my computer so I could get to them even if I don't have internet access.
I also saved a few extras to try in case the ones I thought I might like weren’t as user friendly as the looked in action.
I made several main sections with subsections. I've rearranged these sections many times. This is my current configuration (as of 8/8/2013):
- Monthly Calendars for the entire year
To Do Lists Tab
- Daily To Do Lists (I don't always use these. I typically stick with the Weekly lists, but I have them for the really busy days when all my chores won't fit in a little box on the weekly list.)
- Weekly To Do Lists (This is where I keep my household to do lists. I have a blogging planner for my writing work and a lesson planner for my daughter's homeschooling.)
- To Do Lists (Master and Prioritized Monthly To Do Lists)
- Finished To Do Lists (I keep my finished to do lists in this tab until the month is over. Then I dispose of them. Anything I missed on the list that isn't a daily chore goes back on the master task list)
- Extra To Do Sheets
- Spring/Fall Cleaning Lists
Meals and Menus Tab
- Price Log (Grocery, Toiletries and Vitamins are on their own sheets)
- Inventory (Pantry and Freezer)
- Grocery Lists (Master list and monthly lists)
- Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 Cheat Sheet
- Produce Buying Guide
- Fruit Nutritional Information
- Menus (Weekly and Monthly)
- Recipes (Recipes to try to Favorite Recipes)
- My Gardening Journal
- Gardening To Do List
- Plant Tracking Pages
- Various Gardening Logs
Home Management Tab
- Home Projects To Do List
- Home Maintenance Checklist
- Laundry Stain Removal Cheat Sheet (love this one)
- Packing Checklist
Miscellaneous Family Stuff Tab
- Car Maintenance Log
- MISC (Magazine subscriptions and the like)
After creating this Home Management Notebook, I have felt much more relaxed. I’m finally at 100 percent. I don’t have to remember what I need at the grocery store because once a week I do the pantry inventory. I don’t have to remember when bills are due, or what’s for dinner; although, planning menus is much more difficult than I imagined.
I’m working on planning two weeks at a time in the hopes of eventually being able to plan monthly menus. I'm hoping it will cut down on how much I have to do weekly as well as our food bill.
My White Board
I also have blogging worksheets that I use to plan not only blog entries, but articles for all the websites for which I write.
I transfer ideas for the current week (or month in certain cases) from my HMN to a whiteboard next to my desk. This makes it easy to see what ideas I have going on for the week and I can pick and choose what I want to write.
Anything that doesn’t get finished is either forwarded to the next week or moved back to my HMN.
In Case You Need More Inspiration...
Some of My Favorite Sites for Free Printables
Putting this binder together actually took me two weeks. It was so worth it though. I have everything right at my fingertips.
The inspiration has been flowing quite well as of late. I look forward to my next bought of writer’s block. Maybe the garage will finally get organized and I’ll have to find printables for a garage inventory.
© 2012 Melissa Flagg COA OSC