November 7, 2009

Household Notebook

If you decide to do only ONE thing to get organized this year...make a "Household Notebook" that ONE thing!

Two things get out of control fast at my house....laundry and paper. This really helps with the paper! My Household Notebook has been my most successful organizational tool ever! I honestly don't remember what I did before I had it. I've had it for several years now... maybe even ten!It is basically a binder that holds all the information you and your family want to keep handy. Address book, school notices, church directories, contact information, take-out menus...anything! It is completely customizable. You could actually file these items in folders in a filing cabinet but they change or are out of date often enough that it would be a pain to go through your files that often. Consider the household notebook a mini filing cabinet.

The best how-to for making your own household notebook can be found here at Organized Home. They even offer printables to help you get started or just to give you ideas.
I used a 3 inch ring binder and added tabbed dividers. Here are my notebook categories:

First page is RED and has our address, phone number, and emergency contact info. This is followed by a few phone numbers you might need fast like: doctors, poison control, police, sheriff, and/or utility company emergency shut off numbers. (It's especially helpful to leave the notebook open on this page when you have a babysitter.)

Tabbed dividers include:
  • Phone numbers/addresses: basically an address book...written out on a printable page from Organized Home or typed in a document to make yearly editing and printing easier (this is my method).
  • "Yellow" pages: our most used business phone numbers...again typed in a document to make yearly editing easier. I've also added clear business card pages.
  • Church: directory, teaching schedules, AWANA calendar, youth group calendar/forms
  • Clubs: recent newsletters, directories, etc.
  • Utilities: phone numbers, garbage regulations/schedules, compost hours, etc.
  • CHILDREN (one tab for each): important papers to save (work, ortho, church, school, sports, etc.)
  • Restaurants/Fast Food: menus (hole punched)
  • Menus: I keep the monthly menus I have been making so I can reuse them
  • Holidays: Thanksgiving menu, Christmas card list, holiday coloring pages we love
  • Gift ideas: for our family and those we give gifts to
  • Masters: of forms I use frequently (menus, prayer requests, etc)
  • Misc: all sorts of odd stuff that I might need in the future (how do deal with an injured bird, Radio/TV station list, brochures from parks/trails we like to go to)
The tabs are followed by large envelopes (hold punched) with:
  • Fast food coupons: only for places that we actually go to!
  • Non-food coupons: hardware store, car washes, etc.
  • Medical: Appointment reminder cards (I put them on the calendar and then save them here for future reference) and prescriptions (meds, glasses)
  • Campbell's labels and Box Tops: to save for church/homeschool group
  • Gift cards/certificates: that have yet to be spent
  • And pocket page for odd items that can't be hole punched.
I am planning on adding a few new categories. I think I'm going to add:
  • Cleaning: I want to make a more formal cleaning schedule for monthly/seasonal chores
  • Budget: we check it often and it's in a file cabinet right now...maybe a copy to reference
  • Sizes: everyone's clothing and shoe sizes...I just can't remember them all anymore!

Once you have it all assembled keep it it's easy for all family members to find and use. Go through it every so often to remove items you no longer need and update the information. I edit and reprint my address book sections once a year. (Usually after Christmas when I get address changes from people who moved.) I go through the coupon sections more often.

The beauty of the Household Notebook is that it's different for each family. It can be whatever you want it to be. Pretty or plain. Simple or complex. If you have one already or put one together I'd love to see it!

To see my other organizing posts, click here!


Nicole said...

I just found your site and I am so happy I did! Organization is something I have been desiring in my home for a long time but I am finding it HARD! I love the idea of this household notebook. I am going to try to make one this week. This will help with some of the papers and things I have that I don't know what to do with because they don't need a whole file in the filing cabinet.

I am inspired by looking through your organizational posts to try to get my home in more order. I am also a homeschooling mom so I like anything to do with organizing school things too:)

Again, thanks for all the tips!

NLC said...

Thank you for the lovely comment Nicole! You really made my day!

I guess you really know that something works when you stick with it for YEARS! We love our household notebook and use it almost everyday. It really does help with those more temporary pieces of paper that you don't want to toss yet they aren't worth filing away forever. :)

Be sure and check out my homeschool file crate. That was a new idea for our family this year and it's working out great so far!!