Household Notebook: Planner for an Organized Home

Submitted by Cynthia Ewer on July 17, 2014 - 09:14
home management binder

So you think businesspeople are the only folks who need a personal planner?

Think again: families need an organizer, too, to keep life moving smoothly on the home front!

A planner for the entire household allows anyone--child, visitor, babysitter--easy access to the information they need. It's a one-stop information center for busy families.

How will you use it? Whether it's a carpool schedule or a co-worker's phone number, the household notebook holds the information you need to check each day. Addresses. Phone numbers. Rosters for sports teams, prayer groups or civic organizations.

Ready for an evening out? Flip the Notebook open to the "Emergency Information" page, and the babysitter will always know where to find you.

Time for dinner? Menu planners, recipe organizers and shopping list make it easy to feed the family night after night.

Clean house fast with cleaning schedules, chore lists and seasonal checklists for home maintenance. Keeping tabs on children's activities, sports team phone numbers or emergency information is as easy as flipping a divider.

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Stay-at-home parents and homeschool families add calendar and scheduling features to the household notebook, while daily morning and evening checklists and family schedules make it easy to organize life in families with small children.

Empty-nesters corral take-out menus, service club rosters and medical information to make life flow smoothly.

Ready to create your own Household Notebook?

Click the links below for more information about making and using a Household Notebook ... to get organized at home.

What's A Household Notebook?

Unlike a personal planner, which is designed for use by one person, a household notebook or family organizer serves as "command central" for an entire family.

Designed to be used by everyone in the household, the household notebook is a central repository of information useful at home.

While each family's organizer will be unique, most are simple three-ring notebooks with several divider sections.

Most household notebooks include a telephone and message section, a divider for church, clubs or volunteer activities, travel, home management and finance. sections, medical information, and personal records like gift list and clothing size charts. 

At-home and homeschooling parents often add personal and family schedules to coordinate life with young children.

Because they're infinitely expandable, household notebooks become as distinctive as the family that uses them.

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A family with school-aged children involved in dance, music and sports will include organizer sections for rehearsal and practice schedules, summer activity ideas and video to-rent lists.

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 gift suggestion lists for far-flung adult children.

By compiling and storing family information in a central location, life at home benefits. No more searching for scraps of paper or mislaid permission slips! They're always right where they belong: in the household notebook.

Set Up Your Household Notebook

To create your family's Household Notebook, start with a three-ring binder, some clear page protectors, paper and tabbed dividers.

Using tabbed dividers from the office supply store, set up dividers according to your family's needs. Remember, each family grows their own family organizer; expect divider categories to change along with your family.

We've listed some suggested dividers in the next part of this article, but your family is unique, so your dividers will reflect your own specific needs. Be sure to place a few page protectors behind each divider section.

Next, get printing. At a minimum, your Household Notebook will need calendars, phone and address forms and lined blank pages; form-a-holics may go whole hog and print until the wee hours.

Add the forms you need to each divider section. Pretty cover and spine inserts can be used with a clear-view binder, or glued to the front and spine of your binder. They'll help keep you motivated--and make it easy to find your notebook in a crowded bookcase.

Once the dividers and page protectors are in place and you've added calendars and basic forms, you're ready to begin.

Gather all scattered slips and scraps of paper: pizza menus and business cards, school hand-outs and church bulletins, class schedules and scout camp brochures.

Enter information in the Notebook, writing phone numbers on the correct phone directory pages, punching and filing club calendars, slipping magazine articles into page protectors.

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Be creative! Add dividers that express your household's priorities and needs.

A freezer cooking divider stores recipes, instructions and reheating information for the results of a once-a-month cooking session.

Planning home improvement projects? Add a divider, and store snips and swatches in page protectors. Use Master To-Do and Daily To-Do lists in any divider to keep track of ongoing projects and goals, while blank lined pages hold information not covered by a specific form.

Keep your Household Notebook near the family's main telephone and family calendar to guide family activities and decisions.

Cupcake request from the Cub Scout den mother? Note it on the calendar, and add the ingredients to the shopping list.

Planning a Friday-night date with your spouse? Open the folder to the Babysitter's Information page and review the information with the babysitter before you leave the house.

Dividers For A Household Notebook

Inside the Household Notebook, dividers organize information and make it easy to find what you need ... fast!

Whether you use simple tabbed dividers from the office supply store, or create personal dividers using page protectors, dividers form the backbone of any organized Household Notebook.

Include these dividers in your Household Notebook to supercharge your homekeeping tool.

Planning Divider

To start your Household Notebook, begin with the basics: planning and time management. Claim your time with a Planning Divider!

What belongs here? Calendars, schedules and to-do lists direct the course of family life. In-depth planning tools, like mission statements or goal planning worksheets, do the hard work of translating goals to reality.

Visit the Printable Library to find free printable monthly calendars, to-do lists, daily and weekly planner pages for your Household Notebook.

Use a three-hole punch to add work schedules, school calendars and events lists for church and civic activities.

Money and Finance Divider

Tracking dollars and cents makes sense, so add a Money and Finance divider to your Household Notebook. Keep track of household finances with budget pages, inventory sheets and household information. Here are some examples of the kinds of information that can be included behind this divider:

  • budget/spending record
  • bills to pay
  • credit card list
  • online service/online account information
  • home inventory
  • insurance information
  • safety deposit box inventory
  • utilities/services directory
  • magazine subscriptions
  • warranty information
  • vehicle records

Meals and Menus Divider

In the kitchen, the Household Notebook helps plan meals, create menus, and track food supplies.

Use this section to hold grocery shopping lists, pantry and freezer inventory sheets, monthly and weekly menu planners and price book forms for maximum savings at the super market.

To speed cooking chores, include a section for favorite recipes and recipes to try. Page protectors hold kitchen appliance manuals ... so you'll always remember how to clean the coffee machine or change the oven clock on Time Change Sunday!

Phone Divider

Calling all phone numbers!

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The Phone Directory is the most useful, most-consulted section of any Household Notebook. Because this phone listing is independent of any one personal cellphone or directory listing, it's the place to keep numbers needed by family members and visitors for easy access.

The Phone Directory is a single place to put class rosters, take-out phone numbers, club directories, emergency phone numbers and phone messages.

No more scraps of paper, missing numbers or scribbled phone books!

Home Management Divider

Bring it all back home! The Home Management divider holds information central to house and home. Cleaning, entertaining, decorating and household storage information find a home here.

Consider these ideas for the Home Management divider:

  • household cleaning schedule
  • seasonal chore checklists
  • children's chore checklists
  • home inventory
  • home decorating ideas
  • party planners
  • car maintenance schedule
  • stain removal guide
  • recycling locations
  • home storage inventory
  • yard sale checklist

Family and School Divider

Family is where the heart is--and deserves its own divider. This section tracks information needs of family members and family life:

  • personal information page for each family member
  • clothing sizes tracker
  • master occasions list (birthdays, anniversaries)
  • gift suggestion list
  • birthday party ideas
  • recommended Web sites
  • list of DVD/videos to rent
  • list of books to read
  • library information

Families with school-aged children will want to add a school divider to hold:

  • school schedules and holiday list
  • lunch menus
  • carpool schedule
  • school information page
  • school reading lists
  • homeschool records
  • summer programs information.

Health and Fitness

Organize family health care with a Health and Fitness divider. Have a medical emergency? Grab the Household Notebook on the way to the Emergency Room. Visit to the pediatrician? Use this section to record illnesses, medication and medical history.

Types of information to file in the Health and Fitness section include:

  • diet trackers
  • blood pressure record
  • first aid kit checklist
  • medical information sheet for each family member
  • emergency directory
  • medical authorization form
  • prescription drug record
  • insurance information
  • pet health records

Travel and Activities

Time for fun! The Travel and Activities divider covers the extra-curricular activities that make life worthwhile. Hobby, church, club, sports, volunteer, vacation and travel ideas are included here.

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Your Household Notebook may have several dividers for this purpose. Are you part of a musical chorale? Give it a divider. Do the children play serious soccer? Divide it up!

What belongs in these sections? Any and every piece of paper pertaining to that activity. Prayer chain lists. Sports information sheets. Lists for travel and camping.

These sections will vary from family to family, but here are some ideas:

  • picnic planner
  • travel packing checklist
  • before-we-leave checklist
  • camping checklist
  • vacation idea list
  • house-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters
  • church prayer circle list
  • Scouting or PTA materials

Printables For A Household Notebook

You've made a household notebook to get organized at home. Now, it's time to stock your power tool for home organizing with calendars, planner pages, checklists and inventory forms.

The Organized Home printables library is a great place to begin building your household notebook.

You'll find printable calendars, schedules, planner pages and checklists to add to your household notebook or home management binder.

Whether you're planning a picnic or setting up a household information center, we've got free printables to get you organized--fast!

Ready? Set? Print!

 

Organized Christmas? Make a Christmas Planner Notebook

What's the fast-track way to an organized holiday season? Prepare for the holiday season with the help of a Christmas planner notebook!

Most often created as a simple 3-ring binder, a Christmas planner notebook is Santa Central for an organized Christmas.

Because you make your own Christmas planner, each notebook will be unique: a treasure trove of personalized planning helpers to cut holiday-season stress.

To create your own tool for efficient holiday planning, try these pointers from sister site Organized Christmas.

Make a Christmas Planner

As we get ready for Christmas, we’ll be making lists (and checking them a lot more than twice!), holding discussions with spouses, children and parents, and drawing up a holiday budget.

Too often, we record our plans piecemeal, consigning them to a confused clutter of scrawled envelopes, jotted notes and cryptic calendar entries—none of which make it to the shopping center with us when it’s time to buy gifts.

Organized people keep the results of their work in a central place: a Christmas planner. Complement to a household notebook, it'll track preparations for a stress-free holiday season.

Easy to make and easier to use, a Christmas Notebook cuts through holiday clutter and keeps planning on track.

Home to lists and recipes, calendars and gift ideas, this simple tool is the architect and source of a serene celebration.

Find a format

A Christmas planner notebook is usually just that--a standard three-ring binder—but it doesn’t have to be. Your Christmas planner may be less conventional: a file stored on a computer, a set of index cards, a spiral steno pad, a section in your personal planner or a database recorded in a digital PDA.

Whatever the format, the concept remains the same. The Christmas planner is a single-source reference for all things Christmas, and it will become your best friend as we get ready for the season.

Interested in creative Christmas planners? Check out focus site Christmas Planner. With tutorials, Christmas planner tours, printable holiday planning pages and design inspiration, it's a great place to find creative ideas.

Cover story

A pretty cover sets a happy tone, so create one for your Christmas planner. Paper crafters enjoy adding decorative covers to their Notebooks, but even the art-impaired (like me!) can slide photos or holiday cards into the see-through pocket of a clear-view binder.

Simpler still: print free cover and spine forms from the Organized Christmas Forms Library for a fast, festive touch.

You’ll want to keep your Christmas planner to yourself, however! It will contain information not for the prying eyes of eager family members.

If Christmas curiosity reaches a fever pitch in your household, consider the Hide-In-Plain-Sight method for your planner cover. Label a binder "Manuals and Warranties" and slide it into the bookcase between college textbooks and old phone directories, or label your Christmas planner section, "PTA Meeting Notes” to keep Christmas secrets until the big day.

Divide and conquer

A good Christmas planner notebook relies on dividers to make information accessible. Every family’s needs are different, but most Christmas planners will contain these dividers:

  • Calendars
  • Gift Lists
  • Christmas Cards
  • Budget
  • Meals and Menus
  • Entertaining
  • Recipes
  • Décor
  • Traditions

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Other families add dividers for seasonal holidays, service projects, children’s’ activities, or personal sections for each family member.

Dividers are as unique and individual as the families they serve, so choose dividers that make sense for you.

Here are some additional divider suggestions for your Christmas planner.

  • Thanksgiving
  • Advent
  • New Years’
  • Year-Round Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Rudolph Club
  • Sale Flyers
  • Craft Projects
  • Christmas Baking
  • Cookie Collection
  • Recipes Tried and True
  • Recipes to Try
  • In the Freezer
  • Cleaning Calendar
  • Inspiration and Faith
  • Poems and Stories
  • Music and Carols
  • Movies and Books
  • Web Sites
  • Décor Room-by-Room
  • Ornaments
  • Collections
  • Storage
  • Christmas Past

Supply stash

Dividers, lists and forms are only the beginning of a well-seasoned Christmas planner. Add these supplies to the list; they’ll make it easier to use your Christmas planning tool:

  • Lined paper for notes and lists
  • Free printable forms from OrganizedChristmas.Com
  • Clear plastic page protectors
  • Pocket pages
  • Large manila envelopes
  • Post-It brand notes and flags
  • Zipper pencil case
  • Pencils, markers and highlighter
  • Three-hole punch

Christmas Notebook Tip: Make it portable!

Whether you set up a binder, use an existing planner or harness the power of an electronic organizer, be sure you can take your Christmas planner with you.

Gift lists, shopping lists, clothing size records, wardrobe inventories, decor ideas and pantry planners should be at your fingertips ... anywhere!

Christmas Notebook Tip: Give the Gift!

Making a Christmas planner to organize the holidays this year? Don’t stop at one: a pre-made Christmas planner is a welcome gift for a sister or a friend. Include calendars and forms for use next season. You’ll get ready for Christmas together!

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Specialty Notebooks: Organize Events, Hobbies and Crafts

Using a household notebook to organize home life is only the beginning; the concept applies nicely to holidays, special occasions, crafts and hobbies.

Consider creating special notebook versions to organize:

  • seasonal celebrations
  • weddings
  • birthdays and/or anniversaries
  • moving
  • gardening and yard care
  • scrapbooking
  • sewing
  • hobbies and collections
  • recipe collections

A dedicated notebook makes it easy to tackle these special events, or to track the stash in sewing room or papercrafts area.