This is a re-post from last years' 31 Days of Organization series.
I created a notebook for our family that I call our Home Management Notebook and it's filled with all kinds of useful information we need at home. It started out as a notebook to keep owner's manuals & warranty information after my Keurig broke and I couldn't find the info on it and hadn't registered it. I kept most of my manuals in a plastic bin in the garage but not everything made it in there (like the Keurig info). My husband suggested the binder - really, he did.
I put the manual for my new Keurig in a binder and I thought it would be nice to have phone numbers of the A/C guy, the pool guy, the yard man, the insurance agent, doctors, vet, etc. And I went from there - adding information I often needed to access for school, bank, etc.
There are many resources out in blog land for how to put together your notebook. One blog I particularly liked was The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking. I got some great ideas from Kelly's site, like the post-it notes and the cork board.
And the file folder dividers:
Plain manila folders with holes punched on the sides without the tabs were placed in the notebook as dividers. I love this idea- Kelly made hers a bit prettier than mine. Maybe one day I'll pretty mine up. I have tabs for my to-do list (below), phone numbers, finance/insurance, owner's manuals/warranties, school and maps.
I love this post-it note idea. I put the notes on the to-do tab and when I'm done with the task the note can be tossed. I usually have one note for each day of the week and one note for Saturday & Sunday. If all my tasks don't fit on the list I don't do them. Not really! Sometimes I have two post-its per day.
Behind the to-do tab is a little zipper pouch that holds things like note pads and pens. And the post-its. I actually took the pouch out of a school days planner I had last year that I never really cared for. You can also buy the zipper pouches at the office supply store for just a couple of dollars. It is worth the investment to have things you need at your fingertips.
This cork board idea is brilliant! I only added mine to the front of the notebook but Kelly added one to the back as well. I use mine for coupons and receipts or appointment cards. I got 12 X 12 pieces of cork at Staples and cut them down to the size of the notebook and hot glued them on to the binder.
Sheet protectors are perfect for things like school calendars and lunch menus that change monthly. I also use plastic business card holder pages for business cards in my phone numbers section.
There are a few things I don't keep in the notebook:
- Monthly Menus - they have their own notebook, which works for me. I know many people put their menus in their home notebooks with much success.
- Coupons - I keep them in the monthly menu notebook. It makes sense for me. I am not a huge couponer but I use some and like them with my menus.
- Bills-I pay them as they come in so just file them in a paid file. I'll talk about that later this month.
- Our Budget - I keep that on an excel spreadsheet.
- My Planner - I carry it around sometimes and don't want to carry my home notebook around with me so I've separated them.
This notebook has been life changing for me. If we need a phone number we know exactly where it is. If we need to see when the kids are out for Christmas break I look in the school section at the school calendar. It makes things run a little bit more smoothly.
The biggest thing I have found is that what works for some people doesn't work for others. There is no one size fits all for keeping your papers in check. You may not even need a notebook. Maybe everything will fit in your planner. Maybe you like a bulletin or white board. Maybe you're super tech savvy and do everything on your phone. It took me much trial and error to get this right so don't get discouraged if the first thing you try isn't your thing.