Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Household Organization/Notebook System

Since I alluded to it in my calendar post, and Ann mentioned she's also struggling to figure out what works best for her, I thought I'd share my system. There are many blogs & forums on the internet that refer to household notebooks. For those not familiar with them, here's an example. I tried this about a year ago, I set up my whole binder, and then rather quickly found that I found it cumbersome to have to go to the kitchen anytime I wanted to know what the schedule was, etc. Carrying a 3 ring binder around gets annoying fast, and yet, to start out, when I wanted reminders of the "morning routine" I'd come up with, it meant either running downstairs in the morning, only to go back upstairs, or to have to carry it upstairs w/ me the night before.

Additionally, I like "checking things off" and again, there were times when I preferred to not have to go back to the same place in the house (kitchen or otherwise) to check each thing off. So it all kind of fell by the wayside. After various "false starts" here's what I figured out , for me . . . I need multiple "notebooks" in various forms, for various "sections" of the "Household notebook". Having a homeschool section in a notebook that 'lives" in the kitchen, is illogical to me, since a large part of our homeschooling takes place in the family room. We have a "magazine rack" type basket in the family room that holds the books we're currently using for homeschool. In that basket I also have a slim notebook (actually a Kitchen Folio that I got through a co-op last summer, but found I didn't like as my "household notebook" because you can't add things to each "section" w/o having left empty sleeves & such) in that basket that has the current unit notes, and any current "holiday" supplementary information, in the front section and then in the back I have one sleeve for each month of the year and if I run across an idea that I think the girls might enjoy for say . . . 4th of July, I can slip it into the appropriate sleeve. I can also make notes of what worked this year & what I'd do different next year. So, that's my homeschool notebook. I DO have my original notebook (3 ring binder) that lives in the kitchen, the section I use the most in that one is the recipes, recipes I've tried & we all like, I keep in page protectors by category (cookies, breakfast, bread . . . etc) that way I can either pull that page out of the notebook, or just leave the binder open to that page while I make the recipe. The page protector means it's no biggie if I spill a few things. I also have the print out of my zone cleaning, a few articles & such that I've collected about "emergency quick cleans" and such . . . menu planning information . . . etc. Stuff that it's nice to know where is, but that I don't necessarily look at daily.

And finally, I have a MomAgenda planner (this one) that I pretty much carry everywhere with me. I do menu planning, one week at a time in it, I (obviously) keep track of appointments, there's a daily "to do list" section that I use, lately I've been keeping track of our monthly grocery spending, so I jot that down, the bottom half (roughly) of each page is labeled "Kids" and is intended to be used to write down the kids' schedules/appointments that don't necessarily affect the whole family (so if someone had extra curriculuar stuff after school or whatever), since at this point we do everything together (even Kindermusik affects my schedule just as much as theirs), I don't need it for that, but I use it each evening (or most evenings anyway) to jot down something cute/funny/whatever about the girls (& dh) from that day. Kind of a "gratitude journal" of sorts. There are also pages in the back of the planner for vacation planning, party planning, gift planning, etc. . .

And then, I created this weekly schedule that's small enough to slip into my planner on that day's page and I mark it off all week as I go through the week.

Obviously everything evolves & gets tweaked over time, but I've been using this basic system for awhile now & I've been happy with it. I'm still working on figuring out a system that works well for the girls . . . so far we keep falling back on the magnetic board white board w/ magnets that have pictures of the things we normally do, and the occasional written in thing for things I don't bother to make magnets for.


Ann said...

I can appreciate your thoughts about how it's difficult to have a household notebook when life happens all over the house!

This morning I was tempted to take part of our long hallway wall and turn it into a command center of sorts, with bulletin boards and schedules. I go up and down that hallway a million times a day and it's better than the side of the fridge!

Sweetpeas said...

I say go for it! It's so easy to look at the various notebook systems, or other organization systems online & think we have to use it as is, in reality, to be usable, I think it's important to take the ideas that work for you & tweak them as needed to fit your lifestyle! :)