To start your Household Notebook, begin with the basics: planning and time management.
Planning includes Calendars, schedules and to-do lists. Use a three-hole punch to add work schedules, school calendars and events lists for church and civic activities.
The Phone Directory is the most useful, most-consulted section of any Household Notebook. The Phone Directory is a single place to put class rosters, take-out phone numbers, club directories, emergency phone numbers and phone messages. No more scraps of paper, missing numbers or scribbled phone books!
Family and School Divider
Family is where the heart is--and deserves its own divider. This section tracks information needs of family members and family life:
•personal information page for each family member •clothing sizes tracker •master occasions list (birthdays, anniversaries) •gift suggestion list •birthday party ideas
Families with school-aged children will want to add a school divider to hold:
•school schedules and holiday list •lunch menus •carpool schedule •school information page •school reading lists •summer programs information.
Home Management Divider
The Home Management divider holds information central to house and home. Cleaning, entertaining, decorating and household storage information find a home here.
Consider these ideas for the Home Management section:
•household cleaning schedule •seasonal chore checklists •children's chore checklists •home inventory •home decorating ideas •party planners •car maintenance schedule •stain removal guide •recycling locations •home storage inventory •yard sale checklist
Meals and Menus Divider
In the kitchen, the Household Notebook helps plan meals, create menus, and track inventory in pantry and freezer. Use this section to hold grocery shopping lists and price book forms for maximum savings at the super market.
Money and Finance Divider
Tracking dollars and cents makes sense, so add a Money and Finance divider to your Household Notebook. Keep track of household finances with budget pages, inventory sheets and household information.
Here are some examples of the kinds of information that can be included behind this divider::
•budget/spending record •bills to pay •credit card list •online service/online account information •home inventory •insurance information •safety deposit box inventory •utilities/services directory •magazine subscriptions •warranty information •vehicle records
Health and Fitness
Organize family health care with a Health and Fitness divider. Have a medical emergency? Grab the Household Notebook on the way to the Emergency Room. Visit to the pediatrician? Use this section to record illnesses, medication and medical history.
Types of information to file in the Health and Fitness section include:
•medical information sheet for each family member •emergency directory •medical authorization form •prescription drug record •insurance information •pet health records
Travel and Activities
Time for fun! The Travel and Activities divider covers the extra-curricular activities that make life worthwhile. Hobby, church, club, sports, volunteer, vacation and travel ideas are included here.
Your Household Notebook may have several dividers for this purpose. Are you part of a musical chorale? Give it a divider. Do the children play serious soccer? Divide it up!
What belongs in these sections? Any and every piece of paper pertaining to that activity. Prayer chain lists. Sports information sheets. Lists for travel and camping.
These sections will vary from family to family, but here are some ideas:
•travel packing checklist •before-we-leave checklist •camping checklist •vacation idea list •house-sitter information sheet •church prayer circle list •Scouting or PTA materials
A Christmas and Holiday section will prove itself valuable when the time comes to start planning your celebration. Every family’s needs are different, but most holiday planners will contain these dividers:
•Calendars •Gift Lists •Christmas Cards •Budget •Meals and Menus •Entertaining •Recipes •Décor •Traditions
Other families add dividers for seasonal holidays, service projects, children’s’ activities, or personal sections for each family member. Dividers are as unique and individual as the families they serve, so choose dividers that make sense for you. Here are some additional divider suggestions:
•Thanksgiving •Advent •New Years’ •Year-Round Holidays •Birthdays •Sale Flyers •Craft Projects •Christmas Baking •Cookie Collection •Recipes to Try •In the Freezer •Cleaning Calendar •Inspiration and Faith •Poems and Stories •Movies and Books •Web Sites •Décor Room-by-Room •Ornaments •Collections •Storage
Notebook Tip: Make it portable! Whether you set up a binder, use an existing planner or harness the power of an electronic organizer, be sure you can take your Christmas planner with you. Gift lists, shopping lists, clothing size records, wardrobe inventories, decor ideas and pantry planners should be at your fingertips ... anywhere!
To create a family Household Notebook, start with a three-ring binder, some clear page protectors, paper and tabbed dividers.
Get tabbed dividers from the office supply store, set up dividers according to your family's needs. Remember, every family has their own type of family organizer: expect divider categories to change along with your family as it grows. I've listed some suggested dividers here, but your family is unique, so your dividers will reflect that.
Be sure to place a few empty page protectors behind each divider section for additions as you expand your notebook.
At a minimum, your Household Notebook will need calendars, phone and address forms, pages for schedules, and lined blank pages. Add the pages you need to each divider section. A pretty cover and spine inserts can be used with a clear-view binder, or glued to the outside of your binder. That will help keep you motivated--and make it easy to find your notebook in a crowded bookcase.
Once the dividers and page protectors are in place and you've added calendars and basic forms, you're ready to begin. Gather all scattered scraps of paper: pizza menus and business cards, school hand-outs and church bulletins, class schedules and scout camp brochures. Enter information in the notebook, writing phone numbers on the correct phone directory pages, punching and filing club calendars, slipping magazine articles into page protectors.
Be creative! Add dividers that express your household's priorities and needs. A freezer cooking divider stores recipes, instructions and reheating information for the results of a once-a-month cooking session. Planning home improvement projects? Add a divider, and store snips and swatches in page protectors. Use Master To-Do and Daily To-Do lists in any divider to keep track of ongoing projects and goals, while blank lined pages hold information not covered by a specific form.