A few years ago, I came across this awesome idea on Pinterest for a home management binder. There were organized pages with to-do lists, ways to track your budget each month, and much more. Instead of buying the pages that the lady had made, I decided to make my own. [It took almost all day to make them all!] I used it for a couple of weeks before deciding that it was just overkill. What worked for her wasn’t necessarily what I needed to do. Plus, at the time, it was only Lance and I [I was pregnant with Elijah] so I didn’t really have anything to focus my attention on during the day EXCEPT the house work.
Here lately, I’ve found it very hard to even remember which way is up, so you can imagine that I have a hard time remembering everything else too. I can’t remember if I vacuumed that room, washed this pile of clothes or if they’re the dirty ones, so on and so forth. Then one day I remembered the home management binder. I hoped I hadn’t thrown it away or deleted any of the pages off of my computer. To my relief, I hadn’t done either. I pulled out the binder and began flipping through it to see what all was in there. Some pages I reprinted, and I quickly remembered what was excessive. She had a page for weekly goals, weekly to-do lists, and then a daily to-do list. For me, the weekly to-do list is enough to know what I need to do. Having to fill out a daily to-do list was excessive, and my goals for the week are just about the same as my to-do list.
So why does the binder seem to be working this time around? Well, for one, I now have two little ones to take care of during the day in addition to my regular house work. I also have appointments to keep straight, money to budget, meals to plan, grocery lists to make… you get the point. There’s a lot more responsibility on my plate now than there was 2 years ago. And my problem this past few months is that I get distracted trying to do one task and get so bogged down in getting it finished that I lose a lot of my day to things I could have been doing. Then, I try to clean the whole house in one day and that just overwhelms me. This helps me to see my tasks day by day and I check them off as I finish them. I check my list at the end of the day and if there’s anything I missed, I plan to make it up the next day. It’s literally saved me a lot of headache and helped me have more time to do the fun things I enjoy during the day.
Here’s a few examples of pages in our binder that I use.
The first section in my binder is Family Documents. Here, I have important information for us in case there’s an emergency and Lance or I aren’t home. Then I have important information about each one of us individually. I wrote in on these pages things that were allergic too because all of us are allergic to some type of medicine, except Asher, at this point. I also have pet information including shot records for them, doctor visit pages for all of us, a list of our vehicles. I need to go in and add our insurances for our vehicles and house.
The next section is Calendar. I have a list of important dates that I need to remember in there. It’s not a very big section.
Next is Cleaning & Organizing. This is my life saving section. I have weekly to-do lists that I fill out at the beginning of the week and then post it on the fridge so I can see it without having to pull the binder out every day. There’s a monthly cleaning checklist for things that only need to be done once a month [like clean the oven], a seasonal checklist [clean the baseboards], inventory sheets to fill in what’s in the pantry, fridge, freezer, household cleaning products, and personal items [shampoo, soaps, etc].
Next is my Meal Planning & Groceries section. I haven’t mastered meal planning yet. Probably because I usually cook based on my mood, but the problem I’m running in to is this: I go to cook something and realize I need something from the store so we load up and go. While there, we see (3) other things we “need” so now my bill of ($5) has increased to ($25). A few days pass, and the same scenario happens. So not only does it make it difficult to have to make all of these trips, but we end up going way over our food budget for the month because we make so many unnecessary trips and buy items we think we need. That’s how these big stores have it figured out-they know people like me do this and that’s how they stay in business! My goal for the next few months is to get better at meal planning. Sometimes I use this grocery list template, and sometimes I don’t. It just depends on how much I need. If I have a lot to buy, I’ll use it because I list items by section (frozen, fresh, meats, dairy, non-food). I don’t have a breakfast section on my meal plans because when I cook it’s only eggs with a meat, omelets, or the occasional pancake.
The next section I have is our Finances section. This one is tough. I’ve used Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University information to help work on making a budget for our family. He advises to rework your budget every month until you get it down pretty well. I have a page with all of our bills on it for the month so that I can quickly reference what comes out when. I check off the bills as they are paid each month on this sheet. I also made a monthly budget and then bills by week. Lance gets paid weekly which has it’s pros and cons. Some weeks, we have more bills coming out than others which exceeds the amount he is paid that week so I have to work his paychecks out to where there is plenty of money in there to cover those weeks. It can get confusing, but I’m learning. There is also a debt repayment plan worksheet to help pay off any debt.
I have a Shopping section that includes sheets to keep track of purchases that we make. This is especially helpful when we buy things online because I can write down tracking information as well to make sure we get what we ordered.
The next section is Birthdays, Holidays, & Gifts. I don’t actually use this section for birthdays anymore, but now that I’m having children, it may come in handy. The holiday page will come in handy this year. I plan to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year for people and this is where I will keep track of it, and also where I hide it. Funny story: my mom would buy throughout the year and hide our gifts. Come Christmas day, we would finish opening gifts and she would say, “I know I had bought [insert gift here] for you, but I don’t see it. Did you open it?” and the answer was always, “No ma’am.” A few months later, we would come home and find it on our bed because she finally found where she hid it!
And my last section is a Recipes section. I have a page with a list of our favorite meals and recipe pages to write in ones that I want to keep. I LOVE to cook and have a ton of recipe books, but I can never remember where some of those recipes are so it’s easier for me to take the ones we love and write them in here instead of spending 30 minutes digging through books to find it.
I can say, this binder has made my life easier. It’s not for everyone, and also, it takes some practice and getting used to. I work best getting things done when I have goals and know what it is that I’m trying to accomplish. I don’t do well just looking around and trying to figure out what needs to be done. When I start meal planning regularly, I’ll post it to the fridge as well so that Lance knows what we will be having for the week. I’ll use his input, too when making the lists of what he may want to eat throughout the week so that way I don’t miss any of his favorite meals!
Feel free to contact me if you want help in making your own binder or if you would like any more information about some of the things I’ve listed!