Tuesday, July 5, 2011

home management binder

Between helping get the house ready to go on the market this week and cleaning up after my kids I've been busy brainstorming ideas to keep the house clean and organized (and keep my brain from going crazy trying to remember everything).

While browsing through blogs I stumbled upon the idea of creating a home management binder. A home management binder is essentially a central place to keep household information, calendars, reminders, lists, etc. It's a place to write down all those things I'm trying not to forget.

Wow, I thought. I need one of those.

And so I gathered my materials:
A three ring binder
Page protectors
Printer paper (And ink. We had to buy ink.)
Plastic binder folder things (no clue what these are really called)

The sections I've decided to include (for now) in our binder are calendar, food, business, kids, and other.

I set to work scouring the internet for free HMB printables. There were tons available. But after searching for a while I discovered that most weren't quite what I was looking for. And I realized that even if I did find the right ones, they weren't likely to match each other (which would have really annoyed me).

My next step was to create my own printables in Microsoft Publisher. Having never used the program before, I'm not sure if I've used it in the correct/easiest/most logical way. But I still managed to create some pages I'm satisfied with. They are both functional for our family and appealing enough for me to look at every day.

So here you have it:

I got my 1" binder at Target, and can already tell that I'm going to need to upgrade to a 2".

I'm most proud of the week at a glance page I created. I took various elements from others I'd seen and put them together in a format that I liked. I can jot down notes about what's going on during the week in the top part. Two of the bottom columns remind the family of daily and weekly chores that need to be done. And the third column is where I can put my to-do list.

Next in the binder is my meals this week page. Since I don't plan meals out for specific days I can just list them as I think of them. And when I plan two weeks worth of dinners at once then I will just fill out two sheets.

After that comes my grocery list. I've found that it helps to group grocery list items together based on where they are in the store, and the format of this sheet makes this easier (especially when others in the family are adding items to the list). I also gave Costco it's own spot since we seem to end up there at least once a week.

My week at a glance page in the front lists which cleaning chores are to be done on which day, but on this next page, let's clean... I have detailed lists of what specifically has to be cleaned in each room or area. It's hard trying to keep a house "showing-ready" all the time and I think this will help us out a lot.

I also created some calendars to match the formatting of my other pages. This is where we will be able to keep track of vacations, future appointments, etc. so that I remember to add them to our week at a glance page each week.

In my "business" tab I have plank my list sheets to use wherever I might need them. This is also where I plan to keep our insurance information, emergency contacts and information, and any other business-type info that would be helpful to have handy. On the page below I had written down information for our babysitter.

Next is my "kids" section. In a clear pocket binder insert I have our library's summer programs, as well as a summer reading program log Camille has been doing (logging minutes we read to her).

Behind this is information that would be helpful to anyone who is watching our kids. First is a typical day at our house, not to be copied exactly by whoever might be watching them, but just to give an idea about what our routine generally looks like. I also have included (but not pictured) a sheet titled rules, favorites, and bedtime because I think this info would be helpful to someone who isn't familiar what we allow (and don't allow), what allergies the kids might have, their bedtime routine, etc.

I still have a few things I'd like to add to the binder, such as addresses and phone numbers, recipes, meal ideas, etc. I'm not sure yet what will go in the "other" section, but I'm sure it will fill up soon enough. And I only printed off a few of each sheet for now. This way I will be able to tweak the formatting and add or subtract things after I've used them for a few weeks.

But in general I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I'm glad to have everything in one spot. And I'm looking forward to reminding everyone to do their chores each day! I think this is definitely a step in the right direction toward keeping the house together despite the fact that there are many kids trying to tear it apart!

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Zaira said...

looks great! I love the sheets you created! I am a member of DS too and have been trying to create my own sheets but have so far not been very successful. If you're interested in sharing yours I would love to take a look :)

Magi said...

Being the organizational nerd that I am, I LOVE IT! :)

Denise said...

great idea!