I want to introduce a tool to you that can help you out in so many ways. Some of you may already have heard about it. It’s called a Home Management Binder. This simple tool will put so much order into your life! It consists of a notebook that contains everything you need to run your home effectively! I will post the sections I have in my notebook, as well as subsections, and explain what’s in each. I will also post some links to help you get some printables for your notebook. The Home Management Binder is basically a grab-and-go in the event of an emergency you will have all necessary information.
The first section that is in my notebook is SCHEDULES. This section is split up into Yearly, Monthly, Work, and School. You can also add Extracurricular, but I put that under my School section. My Yearly simply has a yearly calendar in it. I also plan on putting a list of birthdays/anniversaries (a whole year’s worth) into this section.
My next section is CLEANING. In this section, I have the following subsections: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Seasonal, and Kids’ Chores. Directly behind the CLEANING tab are a few pages that have cleaning tips (such as stain removal, natural cleaner recipies, etc). The Daily section has a list of cleaning to be done each day-I have a separate page for each day. Splitting up the work over the week, instead of doing it all at once, will help you to have more time for yourself. My Weekly section has a weekly checklist, and a page to write any extra “to-do’s” for cleaning. The Monthly has papers regarding deep cleaning for each room. Each room has it’s own page (or more!). And under Seasonal, there is a long list for cleaning for each season. Then the Kids’ Chores has a page for each child and their weekly and daily chores. The CLEANING section is pretty much self-explanitory.
Next is the FINANCIAL tab. This section only has 2 subsections in my binder, but can be expanded in yours. Ours has a section of LES’s (Military Pay), but in the case of civilians, you can simply put a copy of your pay stubs. Then we have a section for Taxes. Here you can put copies of anything you will need for your taxes (charitable donations, child care, etc). You can also put a section for bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. I have bank accounts listed with each individual family member in a later section.
Then we have the LEGAL section. Here we have sections for Power of Attorneys, Wills, and Miscellaneous Legal Documents. These are all self explanitory. Although we have Legal documents for Custody, those are kept in a separate binder designed solely for Custody. However, if you have custody papers, you can of course put a section in there if you want.
My next section is HOLIDAYS. This is split up into Traditions, Plans, and Schedules. In Traditions, there will be a list of each holiday with the traditions of our family on it. The plans, obviously, are simply our plans for each holiday. These can include gift lists, travel plans, menus, etc. And schedules has a countdown for each of the major holidays, with lists of what to do for each holiday to prepare.
PARTY PLANS follows the HOLIDAYS section. This is split up into Birthdays and Dinner Parties. Each section has a “To-Do” list and some planning worksheets. I also put written plans for each party in there, sometimes including pics of things I plan to get (such as when I shop online, I can save the picture to my computer and add it to the notebook).
FAMILY 411 is the next section. In this we have a section for Household Inventory, Insurance, a section for each member of the family, and a Misc. Information section. The Household Inventory consists of a list of items in our home, listing the Manufacturer, Model, Serial Number, Condition, and Date Purchased. Each will have a picture with it to show the item, and the serial number. Insurance has copies of insurance information for life, medical, dental, household, vehicle, etc. The sections for each family member has identifying information, including pages to be updated every 6 months in the event that someone goes missing. It also has a page for fingerprints for each family member (again, in the event someone goes missing). It also has the location of DNA samples (each family member takes a q-tip and rubs the inside cheek on both sides of the q-tip, lets it dry, then put it in a ziploc bag, date it and put the person’s name on it, and put it in the freezer). I also have copies of ID’s, Driver’s Licenses, Birth Certificates, Social Security Cards, etc in here. The Misc. Info section has things such as info on how to have the “sex talk” with your kids, how to get your kids to open up to you, etc.
Then we have the DIRECTORY. Basically an address book. I bought the dividers that have letters on them. Behind each is pages where I can put names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. I also will have a list of restaurants and their contact information and hours before the address book.
Childcare is the next section. In here, you will put information for any babysitters that come into your home. I have a folder that is 3 hole punched where I can put the information in so when we need childcare, I can just pull out the folder. In the folder is the household rules, routine for the kids, and emergency information. If any children have medical conditions, you’d put that information in here as well.
Finally, we have the EMERGENCY section. Here I have checklists for emergency kits, plans for emergencies, etc.
Some people also include a FOOD section in their notebook that includes a section for weekly menus and shopping lists, pantry/fridge/freezer inventories, etc. I don’t have that in my notebook, but I do write it out on paper and put it on the fridge.
My family also has a FINANCIAL notebook. In this notebook, I have monthly budgets. The notebook is divided into months, behind each tab is the budget, followed by bills. I also keep a copy of payments in there and reciepts from shopping and such. This helps me to make a good budget for each month.
It’s also a good idea to keep a notebook for each family member that includes a copy of medical and dental records, and if the person is in school, a copy of school records. Remember, these notebooks are for a grab-and-go situation, and you may not have access to medical, dental, and educational records in the event of an emergency.
If your family is a blended family, it’s always a good idea to keep records for that, as well. You want to make all communication with the child(ren)’s other parent to be in writing for record. You also should keep copies of all legal paperwork and all Court Orders.
My family has all of these notebooks, and they definitely make my life easier. Before I had them, my life was chaotic. Now I set aside time each week to do certain things (such as birthday cards, holiday cards, write letters, send out mail, etc), and everything stays organized in my notebooks.
Here are some links for you to find templates and printables for your own Home Management Binder: