My brain – aka, my Home Management Notebook

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris

This is my favorite mantra for home management. I’m sort-of a minimalist by default, but it’s still not easy to keep a well-organized, efficient, peaceful home when you’ve got three-foot mess makers running around. Or six-foot mess makers, for that matter.

Sometimes, oftentimes, it can just get overwhelming.

Photo by jeffk42

This is when grace comes into play – giving heaps of it to yourself and your family members, remembering that the stage of littles at home is so short. If you believe relationships are more important than a perfect house, you really can cut yourself some slack.

But – you still need to keep up the house. Our life stage doesn’t give us a Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to home management. In fact, I’m finding that this stage makes it all the more important to find a management system that works well. Kids are happier in a home where things have their place. Moms can hold on to a string of sanity when there’s at least a tangible goal towards house cleaning. And dads come home to an actual haven, not a chaotic zoo. Well, most of the times. It’s a good idea, anyway.

My Home Management Notebook is my lifeblood for giving me some direction, goals, and checklists for my job here at home, and I’ll be talking about its contents for the next few weeks. And in the end, I’ll be sharing some tools I’ve created for my own personal book – maybe they’ll come in handy for you, too.

Do you have a Home Management Notebook? Have you wanted to make one but wasn’t sure where to start? What works well for you? What doesn’t? I’m curious.

• Next up in Home Management Notebooks: What are your three most important tasks today?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I have three forms that simplify my week. I have a weekend checklist of all the things that I need to do to get ready for the next week. I have a blank calender which I fill out with menus for 6 weeks. I also have a master grocery list from which I work when creating my list each week.

    Sarah’s last blog post..Grinding Flour (Part One)

  2. I’m not organized – which is why I’m glad I found your blog… it is something I’m working on, but I’m far from “arrived” or even in the neighborhood 🙂

    Blessed’s last blog post..Oh no – She’s just like me

  3. @Sarah – Ooh, I like the weekend checklist thing. I try to take my weekends “off,” at least in terms of staying on top of household management, but that’s a good idea!

    @Blessed – I’m not 100% organized either! I love the act of organizing, and I love having an organized house, but life and schedules and everything else prevent me from ever being as organized as I want. C’est la vie, I suppose. But I’m glad you found this place, too!

  4. I am generally very organized, but I’ve gotten lazy the last few years and we are all paying for it. For me, I’m just stressed out all the time because any sort of disarray does that to me. I don’t have any great suggestions for others, but I am looking forward to some new ideas because I am more than ready to implement them.

    Elizabeth’s last blog post..Some New Pics

  5. @Elizabeth – I see you’ve got a newborn in your life, too! I have a four-month-old, and I don’t need to tell you that everything in life is in disarray right now! I know completely where you’re coming from. Give yourself a ton of grace right now – I know I have to constantly remind myself that.

    Oh, and congratulations!

  6. I need help in this area too! Lately I print out 3 forms to use for the week: Weekly meal plan, general weekly organizer page (week at a glance) and homeschool weekly page for school. We just keep a magnetic notepad on the fridge for a grocery list. Anyone who notices we need something can write it down. I can just rip it off and take to the store.

    Debra’s last blog post..Could evolution be the next Berlin wall?

  7. @Debra – Hey, that’s a great idea, and it sounds like a system that works for you. And since I’ve yet to start homeschooling, I know I’ll need wisdom in how to organize that area of my life. I’m sure that if we homeschool, that will become part of my notebook!

  8. I do have a home management notebook er collecting dust. 🙂

    Audra Maries last blog post..Bloggy Giveaway Hangover Anyone

  9. I’m working on creating a household notebook for our home. In combo with some of FlyLady’s thoughts, I’m hoping to really start keeping a handle on household things. I’m still new to all of this, but the little I’ve done so far has made things so much better. I want my house to really be a home for myself and my husband. Thanks for this series, I followed a link from TipNut and I’m looking forward to reading it all!

    Merediths last blog post..Happy Birthday Erik!

  10. Great post! I love your site. In Our Family Notebook, I keep copies of all our insurance information, banking information and a business card file. I have a pocket in front for storing invitation to gatherings, tickets, etc. I pop them inside after I’ve written them down in our family calendar.

    Having everything in one place helps our family run smoothly and it cuts down on the paper clutter!

  11. what I have been doing instead of a notebook. I am keeping important information on an excel sheet. Also all my sites I have on the internet, my important insurance items go in a folder in my file cabinet for easy reach.

    I use to use notebooks, but you can tear out the sheets when you want then gets all messed up.
    I also have a board for my business so i keep track of all my customers and it helps me to know what i need to do each day.

    May you all have a wonderful weekend. Going to a concert of trombones can’t wait.

  12. wow! nice thank you very much for this article.

    Antalya Notebook Servisi’s last blog post…Her markaya ait inventerler burada!

  13. Ok… I guess I am one of those “so overly organized that I am unorganized” people. I have so many notebooks for keeping me and my family organized. Some work and some are dust collectors. Due to a lot of medical problems in my family I did start a notebook with insurance info, doctors names and contact info, all medications and allergic info. It does come in very handy due to all our problems. However I have found many times that I didn’t have it on me when I needed it. So… I started a new thing and this is very helpful. I put all my family information into Word and then saved it on my computer but also on to my little portable data card (I can’t think of the name of it) but it is on my key chain and all the doctors have to do is plug that into any computer and pull up all of our info and also Emergency contacts. Whenever our medications change or medical history changes I update it on my computer and then save it on the data card. The card only cost about 15$ and just attaches onto your key chain. You can password protect it also. I did this so nobody else would get hold of our info and in my wallet I have the pass code I also. Dr.’s do look in your wallets for any info if you are not able to talk. If you are able to talk give them your pass code and all your current medications and dosages and ins. info is right there. Hope this helps anyone in a situation like ours or anyone else that finds this helpful.

  14. im glad i found this site. I’ve started plenty of this notebooks but ended tossing them togetjer with all the laundry.

    ive taken@simplemom’s idea and im planning to make my notebook really cute!!!

    meesha´s last blog post…Entertainment’s been eating my weekends

  15. Your docket isn’t working … I clicked over to check it out and it seems to be missing or not loading or something … am I missing something?

  16. How come I can’t see your pictures. It just says notebook3.jpg?
    .-= Angie ´s last blog ..Back to School =-.

  17. brandie says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it! Do you have any photos of/more info on your notebook?

  18. brandie says:

    never mind…i did more digging and found all that i was looking for. thanks!

  19. Boy am I glad I found your site! It was through The Homeschool Lounge ( This fits right in with my goals for this year. I’m now a follower.

    God Bless!
    Believing Unbeliever (

  20. I don’t have a system, I would love to know how to make a Home Notebook, but where to I get the instructions! 🙂

  21. Just what I needed to be better organised.Thanks for taking away a load of stress!

  22. Thanks for all of the ideas! Do you know where I can find a picture of your notebook? It just says “notebook3.jpg”. I really want to see what yours looks like.


  23. Rosanne Bowman says:

    It’s the papers that do me in – they seem to multiply. And I do stand over my garbage can when I get the mail, but there are those items that I can’t throw away and MIGHT use that get me into trouble. Oh and the papers from school. I think last year, our school sent out at least 4 updated calendars. Not only do I have to change MY calendar but then I have to let grandparents know too. I always feel like I am about 3 steps behind on any given day. Beteen my 2 jobs, my husband being gone at work all the time and 2 boys with sports schedules, I always have the nagging feeling that I am forgetting something important! I’m glad I found your blog – hoping to implement some things to bring a littel sanity into my life! 🙂

  24. i’d like to get a copy of what types of pages, printables etc. you use in your home management book – I can’t see that on this page but about a year ago I printed out a guide from you. I just don’t have that copy and I’d like to get started now. I prefer to use the one you had last year rather than the other site you are directing us to if possible. thanks

  25. sorry the above note was meant for Tsh. also, fyi…this page does not show the picture for the notebook.jpeg file -thanks

  26. I was inspired by your home management notebook posts. I read this last year and just now got around to doing something. I ordered a bound planner from Tiny Prints. It’s already working beautifully! From meal planning to organizing coupons and goals/to-do lists, it’s awesome. And it’s fun to use since I got to customize it!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. I tried the household binder but I don’t have my own desk/area and so the binder didn’t work, it created clutter. I now use a portable hanging file folder. It has all the same catagories but this just works better for me. I made a space on a shelf in the pantry so when we have company and/or I need the counter space back I pop the lid on and put it away. I also taped my weekly cleaing list to one side and clipped the family calendar to the other side.
    We have a 4 year old & a 2 month old and so currently clutter is everywhere. Slowly I’m getting back into my schedule as the baby sleeps more! 🙂

  28. Angela Lower says:

    Just wanted to tell you I have called my organizer my ‘head’ for about 15 years — When I ask my kids to ‘bring me my head’ they get my organizer. Trying to declutter and organize more 0-0 found your through another site via pinterest!

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