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.

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.