Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Household Notebook

I am a lover of paper. Paper and water. I waste both continuously (recycling constantly, of course). I love a good book, and a long bath. I love hot showers and three ring binders filled with paper that I have printed out. It is one of my many flaws. I still haven't gotten use to this information age for keeping all of the ideas I love on the compact glory of the computer. I am an avid user of binders. And I am not sure I will ever change... I honestly prefer paper to screen.

This is a post about our household notebook. It holds so much of our lives in it's three hole punched pages. I have seen many tutorials of what to put in a household notebook, or how to print the pages just so... but the ones that always helped me the most were the tried and true posts about what people use every day and what is in their notebooks. So I am going to try to give you a description of mine.

There are 9 sections in my household notebook.

1. First up is the front pocket and the pencil case. In the pencil case I have tons of page tabs, highlighters and pens. Along with a ruler and a pair of scissors.

2. The second section is my calendar. It was drafted by my best friend and this is her second year producing it for all of us homeschooling mamas. First there are the month in view pages:

I use the page tabs for events that haven't happened yet, and then once they have, I mark them down in pen on the actual calendar pages. I want an accurate representation of what we have done, and this is it. If the event was rescheduled, I can move the tab without a problem. If we didn't do the event or class, I remove the page tab.

Next is the week in view pages. This is where I keep all of our homeschooling records. What we are learning, the pages of what book were finished, and what field trips we took. This is always full. I consider most everything schooling, so it all goes in there. If you were to see a close up of this weeks list you would see "Preserving Apple Chips" and "Writing in Journal" right along with "Math U See Lesson 17D"

The next three sections are the chore sections. I have one, The Man has one, and the kids have one. We all have printable chore charts.

3. My chores. For a long time I have gotten mine from Motivated Moms. I print mine out on the 29th of each month and they get three hole punched and put in the binder. (If you wanted to try out Motivated Moms, right now is a good time... the last of the years chore calendar is always at a crazy discount... like $3.)

4. The Man's chores are broken up into days he works, and days he doesn't. Of course, on the days he works they are very limited. He always has to put away the clean laundry and dishes. The other days I get to add on to the 'honey do' list. But I try to be reasonable. ;)

5. The kids chores are the last section. I have the master list and they get a half page print out of their daily chores that they get to mark off. I print these out the same time I print mine each month.

6. The next section is meal planning. Each week I plan our meals from the food I get from the market on the weekend. Then we make a shopping run for everything else on Mondays. I have my menu templates all printed out and three hole punched in this section (I print 4 or 5 each month with my chore charts).

I also keep all of our old menus and menu ideas behind the new templates.

7. This section is for dr visits and vets visits. I keep all of our medical records (including pets) in this section. Once a year I clean it out and separate the recycling and the records storage. This section has been in use a lot as we have just moved and found new doctors and vets. It was so nice to be able to look back on it and see when Taio had his last Rabies shot, or we had our last dental cleaning.

8. This section is the car and house repairs. Mostly this is a page with a pocket for receipts, but I do have a page with dates for oil changes, furnace cleaning, etc.

9. The last section in my notebook is my preservation notebook. This has become really important. Mostly for the planning of the next year. I made a table and printed out 5 pages that are set up like this:

At a glance I can tell what I stored, how much yield there was per box/crate/pound and when we ran out.

At the back of this section there are a bunch of page protected sheets with my favorite preservation recipes. Some of these are new and I printed them off this year:

If I do take a file from the Internet, then I try to make sure I can find the source again by putting the name of the blog, or website at the top of the recipe. Of course, this being paper, I can pull it out and write on it (above) to adjust the recipe to my taste. This blueberry jam recipe turned into one of my very favorites of the year and I am excited that I can find both kinds again and again.

That's it. It feels very strange to put this all down on paper... like my OCD tendencies are all out there. lol... However, I really do use it every day. There are other sections (smaller parts of the 9 main sections) that are in themselves very helpful for me that I will share at a later time, but this is the bulk of it.




Lise said...

I love seeing stuff like this--it's very helpful! Don't worry about it being OCD--those of us who aren't often wish we were. :-)

Nessa said...

Major OCD member here. I love your organization and discipline. I always have a problem sticking to a program. Then I end up in a mess again and the process starts all over. One day I'll find a system that works for me. This posts really helps to give me ideas!

Simple Mama said...

wow..I'm so impressed. I aspire to be this organized. Thanks for laying it out for us to see how it works. I've heard of household notebooks, but my brain never quite grasped the concept until seeing this.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks Ladies. :) Nessa: This is the first program I have been able to stick to over time. I was an avid 'plan to start' person... but never really got down to actually using anything. It took a long time to be good at a system over time, but this one works for me. :)

Love Val

Sara said...

That's fantastic! Question for you: are there other sections you'd suggest for a family that's just a married couple? I really want to get life more organized for my husband and I, and I think your approach seems just clear and useful enough to work for us. Anyhow, just thought I'd pick your brain on the subject. =) Thanks for the post, and I love reading!

Holly Lefevre said...

I really need to do something like that. I used to be able to keep it all straight in my head...but not anymore...not even sure what day it is.

Holly @ 504 Main

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Sara: It really is a personal process. For me, I started this because I had too many things going on (much like Holly) and couldn't keep it strait in my head.

I would start out with the basics. A sheet of paper with emergency info on it for your house and your area. Then I would put repair sheets for your cars, your house and perhaps sheets for Dr visits etc. Then get creative and move on from there. Have fun with it! Try things out and when they don't work, don't feel failure, feel relief at letting something that isn't helping you go.

I hope that helps!



Katie said...

I have never even thought of this! Guess what I am putting together this week? This is total genius!

Dawn D. Lion said...

So interesting! I should attempt to bring all the scraps of paper where I keep lists like this to one place.

Shaper of Little Souls said...

With your calendar... do you bring it everywhere you go? Doctor's visits etc so you can plan dates for the next visit? Your calendar looks great but I need one that goes with me. How do you swing that?

Val in the Rose Garden said...

I actually use my iPhone for my own personal calendar, and on outlook on the computer. Which comes with me everywhere. Mostly, the written notes are for homeschooling and scheduling that goes along with that. Curriculum, field trips, and such. Of course, once the feild trips are finalised, they go into the outlook calendar and then onto my phone. But it is a mix of things.

I do have both with me a lot though. I would say most of the time.


Erika said...

I have been wondering: Did you make your own chore chart for your children or is that something you downloaded (or was there something that inspired you)? I have had my notebook for a year now and I have to say it has kept me sane more than once! Thanks for putting this out there. It is very helpful. I tell all my mommy friends to start a household notebook. It just makes sense! *Blessings, Val*

Staceemaree said...

Cool. I keep a household notebook too, but yours is more involved. Gives me ideas for additions to mine. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE your homeschooling notebook in there! Where can I get one of those? I have been looking for somethink like that for a very long time.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Hey there! My best friend wrote those and puts them out each year for people. She does sell a few, but mostly they are for people we know. This summer (usually around early June) she will do another run and I will post here for you. They really are fantastic!

Have a wonderful day!


Jennifer said...

Revisiting this blog post as I dive into meal planning .Stopped at this one first on my search for your meal planning post. I have tried to start a binder and it just hasn't worked! Yours looks great! Anyway you can direct me to templates you used? Or e-mail them to me?

Off to find Sara to talk about that calendar!

Thanks, as always for the inspiration, Val.

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