This post originally ran on September 28, 2009. I am re-running it as part of my Keep It Simple series with updates.
This post is timely for me this week. It always seems that just when you think you're actually caught up with housework, something throws a wrench in the plans. For me, these unexpected events are why having a plan for your household is so important. Even the best of plans are useless, however, if you can't find your weekly schedule, or remember what need to buy to make dinner tomorrow night. UPDATE- One of the reasons I'm re-running this post this week is because again, my life has been in a season of challenge and too many things in not enough time. I have been simplifying my home binder as a concrete action of rearranging my priorities.
Basically, a household binder is a to-go place, an area to keep all of the lists, schedules, etc. that you need to keep your home running smoothly. See Flylady's control journal for more information on exactly what you could be adding to your binder. Everyone has different things in theirs, here is an index of mine:
- Home Management
- Meals/ Menus
- Family Info
- Travel/ Activities
Under planning I have my daily, weekly, and monthly schedules and lists, my calendar, detailed systems list, goal lists. Home management has mostly party/ holiday notes, including menu ideas/ notes, and gift ideas. UPDATE- This is also where I keep all of my past gift lists, so I know who got what and when, and also (with my homemade gifts) who liked what best. Meals and menus includes our family's favorite meals, and a list of easy meals, which I can turn to when making my weekly menu plans. I also have information on nutrition here, and clippings of recipes I want to try. I keep the clippings in plastic sheet covers that are in the back of each section. UPDATE- I now keep recipe ideas and clippings or printout in a section of my home cookbook. This will be the simplifying real food post at Authentic Homemade for tomorrow. They just go right in the binder rings, and are a great place to keep loose papers (for instance, in the Home Management section I put upcoming birthday and holiday cards that are signed and ready, so I don't lose them!) Family info has such things as a master phone number list, and sections for my work and schooling (when the kids start school in a few years, this section will be larger as I add in their things here.) UPDATE- I am now starting to keep things for the kids in here I am planning on starting a separate binder for them, as I am thinking about home-schooling. Travel and activities has a master packing list for when we go on vacations, and directions to places we travel to alot, like my sister's. Finally, finances holds our budgets, and information for rebates. In the sheet covers for this section I sometimes keep my coupons until they go into my containers.
Our next posts will feature in-depth details for how to start creating, and fleshing out, your schedules and to-do lists. Right now might be a good time to start a binder if you don't have one, though, because you'll need somewhere to put these papers once you make them. A note: although I am not one of them, many people like to have everything electronic. If you prefer this, I would suggest you try to create your binder on your computer (but please don't ask me for help, I barely just get along with technology and like to see everything in front of me in hard copy!) Here are some ideas to get you started on your own binder:
- Go over any papers, schedules, to-do lists, etc. you have currently. This will give you some idea of what sections you will need in your binder.
- Just start it- taking more action is a goal here- one end result of your binder is that it will allow you to work on auto-pilot. You won't spend all your time wondering what to do next, so let's try to stop that right now. Just find an old binder, or even a blank notebook to start.
- Begin with the sections, what topics are most important for your household? Work on these first. Try to keep them fairly general, if you make them to distinct you'll have 25 different sections.
- Work on putting any notes, papers etc. that you already have into your binder before making new ones. You might be surprised how much you have, and you won't be creating unnecessary duplicates (otherwise known as clutter!)
I hope this helps you to think about starting your own household binder. Over the next week I'll be sharing details on how to set up your schedules and task lists, and work them into your life. If you have any tips to share, please comment, and let me know if I can link to your information. UPDATE- I will be posting these next two weeks on the new simplified schedules- please come back and check them out. I have greatly decreased my stress and increased my daily well-being by planning and setting my day by my new 'Keep it Simple' schedules, and I hope they can be a blessing to you also.
I am happy to share this at Homemaker Mondays, be sure to stop by for great tips and posts.
Don't forget- only two more days to enter Real Food on a Real Budget giveaway! Today starts the Real Food In Season Giveaway here at MakeAHomeMom! Come back Wednesday for more Keep it Simple- Schedules and on Thursday for Thanksgiving Thursdays.
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