January 26, 2015

Revisiting the Household Management Binder

Well, this is a few weeks later than I meant it to be. But oh well! As I said before, this is the year of Not Worrying About Being Perfect. And hey, it's still January, right?

Part of this year's goal is to get reorganized and back on track with management of time, expenses, and general house-y things. I've let my binder and printables (and consequently, my household management) slip a LOT over the past year and a half, so it's time to get back on track. I thought I would go over how I do mine, in case anyone is looking to start one, or redo a current one. I get stupid-excited about this kind of stuff, so this post is really long.

First things first: Get a binder. Mine is a 1 1/2" three ring, in a pretty light blue color that I liked. Get at least a 1". That will do nicely for the general printables and pages you'll need. Bigger will be better if you plan on holding lots of gardening/homestead notes and pages, which I will. You'll also need one or two packages of tabbed dividers.

Second thing: I printed the super cute cover sheet and spine from this post at Laura's Crafty Life that I found on Pinterest. Goes awesomely with the blue color, and since there are many colors on the page, you could pick one of them to coordinate! Because looking like you know what you're doing is the first step to getting stuff done. ;) (A little hint - print the spine piece on card stock, it makes it easier to slide into the spine pocket.)

Now, we fill!

In the very front of my binder, right as I open it, I have all of my weekly To Do pages. I print about two months of pages at a time and keep them here so they are ready to go. At the beginning of the week I grab a fresh one and put it on my clip board that travels with me around the house.

I have searched and searched for the perfect To Do printable for me, but none of them were exactly what I wanted. So, I just decided to make one. I've made some others before, but I actually wanted to limit myself on daily to do's since I am trying to reduce the chances of feeling overwhelmed. This one seems to be working nicely so far.

The main part is the big to do list on the side. I fill that in with all the things I need/want to accomplish in the week. If I have more things than will fit on the list, that is TOO MUCH to have for the week and I need to rethink it. The Errands section is for places & appointments for the week.

From there, I put those to do's on certain days in whichever section it pertains to. See that both Home and Work sections only have four lines each? Because I'm not allowing myself to get bogged down. Four things for each section is plenty to worry about for one day. Again, if I'm trying to put more than that for a day, it is TOO MUCH and needs to be moved. Breathe. Simplify.

I've added my daily chores to the top of each day just to keep me reminded of what needs to be done to keep my house reasonably tidy. I tried to break them up to one or two a day. Some days are good and I can go on a cleaning spree. Other days, I only get the two chores done (or, honestly, none at all) and that's ok! As long as SOMETHING gets done for the week.

After the weekly To Do pages I have my menu calendars. I thought about making up something really cute and frilly... And then I remembered that it gets nuts around here and I have no time or patience to fill in the days on a blank calendar. So I took pity upon myself and just printed each month from my email program's calendar. This one was Windows Live Mail. You could use Google calendar or what have you. Make it easy on yourself. Then I quickly went through and marked down birthdays and big events that will affect meal times. I plan for two weeks at a time, and the calendar goes on the fridge.

Third section is my grocery list printables. I made this list up a while ago in Word. It's changed a bit since this version - added and removed things as needed. I print up a handful at a time and put them in the binder for when I need them. I keep a fresh one on the fridge that we mark as needed during the week, then I add the things I need for the two week meal plan right before we go to the store.

After that I have a few blank pages for Pantry/Freezer Inventory. I'll take inventory a few times a year to see what we have, what needs to be eaten, what I'd like to stock more of. 

After the general household sections I am adding garden & homesteading sections.  They're pretty skimpy right now but I have plans, like the planting schedule & times, egg laying production, etc.

At the back I have a page for emergency contacts & info. We keep our budget information in an excel sheet on the computer, but you could also add a section for family budget if you wanted. Either a monthly one page summary of each category and what you've spent so far, or a few pages for individual category break downs. Whatever floats your boat!

And that's it! Now, go forth and make your own Household Management Binder!

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