Well, it’s a new season, a new year… I haven’t kept at this blog the way I had intended, but I’ll give it another whirl. As a gift to myself for the new year, I put together a home management binder. After reading about it in this thread at MotheringDotCommune, I was completely inspired. I followed a few links, read a few (very Christian) tutorials, looked at some photos, and set about creating my own.
I had most everything on hand - the binder, sheet protectors, the folder, post-its, etc. I did buy hole reinforcers for the pages that aren’t in protectors (checklists, planners, etc. - things I write on daily) and stick-on dividers (the regular divider sheets I had ended up being covered by the page protectors). The planners and such were either homemade or were free online printables. I’ll link to each of them.
Here’s the binder on my desk. It’s a cute, pink, flowered thing from Old Navy that I picked up at a Goodwill a year ago, or so. It zips up, which is nice. I also love the pocket on the front with the spot for a little picture. The one I’m using is a rare full-family photo from several years back. It seems that whenever we get together, there’s always at least one person missing. The year this was taken, however, everyone was there.
When the binder is opened, you can see it has spots for pens/pencils/highlighters, a mesh pocket where I keep my post-it notes, and a small mirror I will never in a thousand years use. I should slide a little photo over top of it… My son drew the front picture. It’s him, me, my husband and two Oddishes - my favorite Pokemon.
Next are my routines. They’re pretty basic. I include things like brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, working with the dogs, monitoring my son’s screen time, etc.
Then, I’ve got a full-year calendar (so I can see birthdays and whatnot coming up) and a contacts page where I’ve listed family, work, doctors, poison control, the police department’s non-emergency number, etc.
The last page before the main sections start is my New Year’s resolutions. They’re fairly simple, but they encompass a lot. On the right is the cover page for my "daily planner" section, a peace quilt - tree, earth and doves.
The cover page for my "cleaning checklist" (the text reads "Because everything in her home is waterproof, the housewife of 2000 can do her daily cleaning with a hose"):
My homemade cleaning checklist:
My unschooling cover page (with a cartoon that I mucked with from Daniel Hyun’s collection):
Here’s the Unschooling Record Keeper I also found at The Home School Mom. After working with it for a few weeks, I think I’ll just make my own next time. It’s okay, but I keep finding myself crossing off categories we don’t really use and renaming them things that actually reflect his days, like "music," "games" and "audio books." Also, the "discussions" section isn’t anywhere near long enough…
Next is the cover for my veganism log. My husband and I have been vegan for several months, now (son is still vegetarian), and I’ve never felt so good. Writing down what I eat helps me stay on track. I can also look back and see if there are patterns in my eating that might need to be addressed. The cartoon is from Berkley Breathed, the creater of Bloom County/Outland/Opus, who is also an outspoken advocate for animal rights.
I also keep recipes in the veganism log section, like this one for butter bean and corn chowder. Yum!
Here’s the cover for my long-term to-do lists. I keep lists of things we’re saving for, things we’re keeping an eye out for at thrift store, albums I want to get eventually, projects that eventually need to be done, etc. The picture is another from Daniel Hyun.
Next is the cover page for my "household" section, which is really just comprised of things I don’t want to lose, like the recycling guidelines from the trash company or pictures I intend to get framed. The illustration is from Majeak Ann.
Then, there’s the "important information" section, which I use for things like social security cards, savings bonds and such.
And, the "medical" section, where I keep a list of doctors and their contact information, prescriptions, etc.
And, finally, the "budget" section:
Here’s the budget printout I used. I have no idea where I found it, but I saved it in Word and changed it up quite a bit:
And the folder I use to keep the bills and such. I love the elastic bands that hold it closed, but I can’t seem to find this Mead "Bungee" folder anymore….
Well, there you go. I’ve been using it pretty faithfully since the new year began, and it’s made my life so much better. Without a list of things to get done, I’ll end up sitting around all day doing nothing. This way, I’ve got things to fill out and check-mark. It also keeps everything I need right at hand. And, I’ve started keeping records of what the little one does with his days. Those will be fun to look back on in a few years.
Also, I usually keep whatever spirit-enriching book I’m reading at the moment inside. Right now, it’s Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. I adore her book Shelter for the Spirit, and Creating a Charmed Life is no disappointment. In fact, I may just leave that book as part of the binder. Reading a chapter a day (each is only a few pages long) is both comforting and inspiring.
I’m so impressed with my HMB! In fact, I smile whenever I look at it. The cover pages, the drawing my son made me, the comforting routines… I’ve used other planners (Day Timer, Amy Knapp’s family calendar, etc.) and other checklists (Motivated Moms, even FlyLady!), but I like this so much more. It’s tailored to me and my home. Yes, it’s big, but I don’t carry it around with me. It’s really just for the house.
If you’re anything like me, I highly recommend creating your own.