The rest of my Home Management Notebook


Photo by esotericsean

So far, I’ve discussed my Daily Docket and my Weekly Checklist as the essential components of my Home Management Notebook. I use the Checklist as my reference for my Docket – my general goal is to complete everything on the Checklist every week. Rarely does this happen, but having a master list as a visual reminder really helps.

So what else do I have in my Notebook?

Calendar – I use Google Calendar for my personal daytimer, and I usually just refer to it online to keep track of my appointments. I especially like that I can have it remind me of events via email or pop up – very handy when you’re writing emails and you’ve lost track of time. But I also print the calendar several months at a time to keep handy when I’m not near my laptop and I want to jot something on the schedule. I also menu plan monthly, and I enter this online when I plan (99% of my recipes come from the internet). When I print the calendar, I have a month’s worth of my dinner plans easily accessible in my Notebook.

Grocery List – I’ve written up my master grocery list in Excel, and it’s a lifesaver. How often do you forget what you need to stock up on? For me, it’s all the time – so having my usual purchases already written out really helps trigger my memory. I normally have a print-out hanging in the kitchen, so that anybody can mark what we need, but I keep several copies handy in my Notebook. And I make sure I have several blank pages of paper in this section for me to jot down menu and food ideas.

Budget – I write a monthly budget a la Dave Ramsey, and I also print out a copy of this and keep it handy in my Notebook. I use Pear Budget for now, which has a $3 monthly service fee, but there are lots of good budgeting resources out there. More on that soon. I also write out current financial goals we have and where we stand on reaching them, and any other financial information that might prove relevant that month (bank statements, important receipts, etc.). My husband has a lot of work reimbursements for his job, and I also keep track of this here. I have a little plastic envelope where I keep all the current month’s receipts.

todo.jpgMaster Project List – My brain is flooded with little ideas throughout the day, and if I don’t write them down within a few minutes, they leave and don’t return. I have a few sheets of paper to jot down anything that comes to mind that I want to work on – make slipcovers for the pillows, fix the bathroom towel bar, order such-and-such book on Amazon. Having this blank space adds a nice combination of order and stream-of-consciousness to my thought process. I can doodle or outline, and this really helps me.

Blogging Ideas – Similar to above, I keep paper handy for jotting down blog post ideas. If I don’t, they’re gone, and frustration inevitably ensues! I’ve lately used the process of mind mapping to come up with ideas, and it truly works. Right now I have 79 post ideas for this blog alone!

Babysitter’s Guide – Our kids are pretty easy, but we want to keep current information handy when someone comes to watch our kids. We list our cell phone numbers, bedtime routines, what’s off limits, and what to do in case of basic emergencies (like where we keep our bandaids). We even have instructions on how to turn on our TV and DVD player!

Kid Stuff – I jot down ideas or websites that come in handy for anything regarding my children. If I find an article online that’s so helpful, I’ll print it out and keep it here. I’m currently working on creating some basic letter writing curriculum for my three-year-old, and I keep any good resources I find in this section.

Gift Ideas – When my parents ask me what I want for my birthday, nine times out of ten I can’t think of anything at the moment. In this section, I jot down any gift ideas I have for our family, along with good gift ideas for us to give to others.

Language Lesson Notes – I keep my current language lesson handy here so that I can easily study when I’m nursing the baby. For those of you who aren’t currently learning a second language – if you have any other work-at-home responsibilities, or if you’re involved in some sort of adult education, you can keep that info handy here as well.

Personal Stuff – This is where I write down my Scripture memory notes, other Bible study info, motivating quotes I come across, prayer requests, and anything else related to me and my relationships. I also write down my personal goals and habits I want to change – it helps me to see them in writing.

Maybe these ideas will trigger some of your own. What are you constantly looking for throughout your day? Would it help you to have it in a master notebook, so that it’s quickly at your fingertips? I think the trick is to have your notebook complete enough for it to be useful, but not so crammed full or overcomplicated that it’s demotivating to use.

You want this to be a valuable tool for home management. Make it so it works for you! Don’t become enslaved by it. Enjoy having one.

• Next up in Home Management Notebooks: Concluding thoughts, downloadable files, resources for further motivation, and ideas to spark your interest!
Photo by gamookie

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 think you suggestions are great!. I can see that you are one who likes to be organized. I too am very organized. Being organized helps one to be more productive. At least that is my belief. I am sure there are others who do not agree. But, if you have everything organized, you spend less time trying to figure out what needs to get done and prioritizing a list off the top of your head. Having things written down helps you get through important events and tasks much more quickly.

    I use my pda to keep track of my calendar events. I also have it handy for receiving and sending emails. In my office at home, I have a calendar I can look up and refer to. I also have a board with all of my times and phone numbers of conference calls I have during the week. I have my dream board on the wall of my office. I change this often. My dreams keep getting bigger.

    One thing I do have written down and I suggest that everyone do this is to have all of your goals written down. This includes long term and short term goals. Beside my goals are dates that I expect to have the goal completed. I think goals are good way to plan out your life. I just need to find space on my wall to put them.

    Thank you for letting me share…

  2. @Hi Lauren! I’d love to some of my notebook electronically – like your pda – but being on my feet all day, up and down with a preschooler and toddler, it’s just not feasible. I’m sure that would work out great for others out there, so thanks for the idea. And yes, I’m a big goal setter, too, so I like your idea of writing them down.

  3. I am glad to see that someone else uses the same idea of having a scratch page for projects. I hate forgetting things like wanting to hem my curtains now I have decided I like the fabric hung a certain way, or wanting to repaint a certain piece of furniture or plant some bulbs. This brain is not what it used to be and writing it down releases my brain for normal stuff.

    Also love your daily docket idea. I use something similar in the way I write things on post its and put them into my routines book at the time of day I hope to do them. I think I will tweak it a little to match your ideas as I don’t always get dinner done at a good time when I forget to defrost meat.

    Best wishes,

    CVs last blog post..My personality profile

  4. Rebekah says:

    Hi! New to the blog but I am really enjoying it! I was wondering if the Daily Docket is available now as a PDF?
    Thank you!

  5. Rebekah says:

    Nevermind, found it! Thanks

  6. Hi,
    I am so happy to have found your site. I was on the nesting place and linked to you from there. I have downloaded everything for my Home Management Notebook. Thank you for the downloads and for all of your wonderful ideas. I can’t wait to be organized. I feel relief setting in already. Thank you.

    Corinne’s last blog post…Knitting For The People I Love

  7. I have recently created a web page describing some ideas for what can be in a household notebook (click the link above). Of course, everyone’s life is unique so there is never a right or wrong answer to what should be included or not.

    I think I have included a bit more legal stuff into my list, probably because I am also a lawyer so I think about that stuff a lot.

    Taylor at Household Management 101´s last blog post…Making A Homemaking Notebook: A How To Guide

  8. How do I get the Home Management Notebook to work on-the-go?? I spend most of my time in the car driving my son to his different therapies, school, etc.. and my older girls to and from school and activities. I have a small PDA, but, I can’t customize it for what I need to take care of my family. Any ideas???

    • I like to use my laptop and pda phone since I can type faster than I can handwrite all of the many things I keep track of working full time and taking care of my family (at least trying to 🙂 I use microsoft Onenote and outlook. Onenote is like a notebook on my laptop that I can type quick notes in and create sections for different areas of my life. I keep an ongoing to do list page and then start a daily page each morning where I outline what I want to get done that day. The thing I love is that Onenote and outlook work together so I can send a to do item from my onenote daily list to outlook as a task. Then I sync my pda with outlook. It helps me not to feel overwhelmed by only sending the most important tasks for the day to outlook first. Then I see can focus on those things first and not get distracted looking at the larger goals for the day. My pda is my cell phone so I always have it with me and at home I wear shorts or pants with a pocket so I can carry it with me. I can also set up alarms and timers to beep and vibrate when I am on a tight schedule. If I finish the tasks on my pda I go back to the laptop pick my next tasks. There is also a mobile version of onenote so I can write notes on a onenote page and then it syncs with my laptop. I also use onenote to keep a journal so this lets me write down memories without having to carry my laptop everywhere.

  9. I just found your site through BHG. Looks like a lot of great info that I could use, but it seems that all the jpgs on the 4-5 articles I’ve checked so far are broken. If I click them, I get a 404. Would love to see the visuals. Thanks!

  10. I love your articles!! They are so helpful. I wanted to share a site I came across and have been using. It’s and its so easy to use. I think people will find it useful if they take the time to take a peek at it. Be blessed.

  11. I have been reading more of your previous posts this week. I was wondering if you are still using Dave Ramsey’s budget and the Pear program. We are in the process of re-writing our budget and tracking and are using the MTMMO site. I was looking for something to track our spending with though and Pear was recommended, thoughts? Thanks!

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