"She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness."
In an effort to improve productivity, organization and family cohesiveness I would like to talk about the use of a family Home Management Notebook. Unlike a personal planner, which is designed for use by one person, a Home Management Notebook or family organizer serves as "command central" for an entire family, a one stop shop for all of your necessary information.
While each family's Home Management Notebook will be unique, most are simple three-ring binders with several divider sections. Most Home Management Notebooks include a telephone number directory and message section, a divider for church, clubs or volunteer activities, travel, home management, budget/finance sections, medical information, and personal records like gift list and clothing size charts.
Ultimately the contents of your Home Management Notebook will come down to what your family currently needs. Over time your needs will change and as a result so will the contents of your Home Management Notebook.
A family with school-aged children involved in dance, music and sports will include organizer sections for rehearsal and practice schedules, and summer activity ideas. A two-career couple with pre-school children may add babysitter and day care dividers and an emergency telephone list to their household notebook. Empty nesters will rely on packing checklists for vacations, home repair records and event schedules for various activities or concerts.
Why A Three-Ringed Binder, And Not A Spiral Notebook Or Bound Book?
The advantage of a binder over a spiral notebook, for example, is the ease with which you can add and remove pages. Especially at first, when you are learning what works best for your family, and building schedules and routines for the first time, you will change and edit the contents of your homemaking notebook a lot.
This makes insertion and deletion of pages quickly and easily a big plus.
In addition, life circumstances always change. Your son signs up for tennis lessons, which changes your weekly schedule, or you have a new baby, or your child's class schedule changes, etc., so you will always be modifying and tweaking the contents of your household notebook.
Page Protectors Can Be Helpful For Recurring Checklists and Schedules
I recommend plastic sleeve page protectors for at least your most referenced pages in your household notebook. These page protectors help the pages from getting dog-eared or accidentally ripped out, for one thing.
More importantly, though, for pages such as your daily household chores, or your child's morning routine and checklist, having a page protector and a dry-erase marker is a way to check off your accomplishments without ruining the paper.
At the end of the day you can just wipe the page protector off, and check everything off again tomorrow without having to rewrite the whole list.
Kids love to check things off too (and so do I, and I am sure at least some other adults), so it also helps keep everyone more motivated when they can use a dry-erase marker.
Binder Tabs Can Also Be Helpful If You Have Lots of Sections
If you have several sections in your homemaking notebook that lots of family members need to reference, putting tabs in the binder can be helpful to allow everyone to find the area they need to reference quickly.
However, I hesitate to mention this, and all the other ways to make your notebook more user friendly or attractive, because I really feel like your household notebook needs to be simple.
The more elements you add to it, and the prettier you make it, all of which is fun as a craft project (and who doesn't love those) become a way to procrastinate or a distraction to what the home management binder is supposed to do for you -- be command central for your household.
Keep Your Household Notebook Simple And Utilitarian At First
Therefore, a Home Management Notebook, to actually be useful, does not need to be complicated. In fact, the more complicated it is the less likely you will make it and use it. Simplicity is the key.
Don't worry if it isn't beautiful or perfect. Build it, and they will come.