For several weeks now, I have been working on preparing a Home Management Binder.
It's something I was inspired to do by several bloggers I follow, and it's one of those things that is a booger to set up, but once it's "up" it's extremely helpful and requires minimal updating.
Basically, this book is Ashley's Brain. Should anything happen to me, Kyle literally can just pick this up and say, ok, that's what she did. Now, I pray that does NOT happen, but it's good to be prepared.
And really, this is more for me, to organize and put in one place all the thousand compartments of my life and brain.
How does one go about this sort of thing?
Slowly. Carefully. Meticulously. And by looking at what others have done and tweaking it for your own purposes.
I started out by reading several helpful blogs who've done this before and got ideas and free printables:
And I'm gonna give a huge shout-out to one of my favorite bloggers - Renee at FIMBY
She has great practical ideas for organization, time management, cooking, life outdoors, homeschooling...lots of inspiration. HOURS of informative reading. She was truly my impetus for doing this.
Based on several "content" ideas from those blogs, I began jotting down ideas of what I'd want to include in my own book. This began to extend to a few pages. I did NOT try to do this all in one day. I just periodically thought of something and added it to the notebook.
Then, I tried to make sense of those listed items. Organized them in some logical fashion. (I'll go into more detail in a minute about what I included in this binder of mine).
Next, I created a folder on my computer called "Home Management Binder" and started saving things that I thought might come in handy...excel spreadsheets I'd already started for budgets, grocery lists, knitting projects I'd wanted to tackle, that kind of thing.
Then, I went here and saved page after page to my file to print out later.
Then, I went to Target to find a suitable binder. It had to be big, sturdy, plenty of room for growth, and also, something pretty! Something I wouldn't mind looking at!
I also needed colored tabs with pockets. I will tell you right now, buy more than one pack. I did not and I wish I had. I need to buy more. Better to have too many than to need to make another trip to Target. The fewer times I have to load 3 kids in and out of the car, the better.
Once I had those items, I picked a time when the kids were happily playing and I began to fine-tune my list of contents and start putting the binder together. I printed tons of pages that I'd saved in my folder and began to make a list of things I needed to put together.
I divided my book into the following main categories:
Car Info & Maintenance
The Contact Information page contains our home address, email addresses and phone numbers. I just wrote these up in Word. Very basic. I know people can make these really pretty, but for now, I went for practical. Pretty can come later.
The Emergency Information page (also created in Word) has the contact information for my parents, my neighbors, and other key people as well as basic emergency numbers:
911 (my daughter tends to think our zip code is the emergency number)
There is a Babysitter Information page that we leave for babysitters.
The Calendar section has monthly calendar printouts and a section (pictured below) for me to keep track of birthdays by month.
Our Family Section has our Family Values as well as specific information on each child:
Height, weight, clothing and shoe sizes
Baby book status
And the Home Office section is where it gets meaty and is taking me some time!
This section is subdivided into the following sections
Details & Procedural Information
"How to Find"
"How to do the bill paying/check balancing" --I have a very complicated process, don't laugh
Car Payoff worksheets
House Payoff worksheets
Policy Information (homeowners, car, life, etc)
List of service providers
Last Will & Testament
Health Insurance Cards
Dental Insurance Cards
List/contact info of medical providers we use
Shot records & immunization schedule
Some of these, like the "other" tab will take me some time to complete, but at least I have a plan...
The Money Management Section includes the following:
- my bi-monthly guide for transferring money and paying our bills
-spreadsheets of our utility bills (historical and present)
-list of utility and service providers
My Menu/Grocery tab includes printouts (free) that I use to write out my weekly menus...
As well as a spreadsheet I devised that is set up to logically flow as I walk through my local Kroger. I keep a copy of this hanging on a clipboard in my pantry and circle things as I run out.
I have a Project List tab which will help me keep track of my ever-growing list of ideas and projects.
I have in this tab a handy "Daily To Do Checklist" as well as a broader Weekly Project list and a Master Project List which includes:
Books to Read
Baby Book Status
Photo album status
The Home Maintenance section is still under development and will include the following:
Cleaning Schedule - Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually
Deep Cleaning Schedule
Year-round Maintenance Schedule
Car Maintenance includes copies of our insurance cards, summary of our insurance policies, and a maintenance schedule. I'm actually having trouble finding a good guide for car maintenance...any ideas, anyone?
Homeschooling will contain:
Current Curriculum information/catalogues
Cloth Diapering will contain
Blog Ideas contains...
ideas for this blog as well as
ideas for the blog I do for DD&F
And finally, my Christmas tab will hopefully streamline my life this next December. I tend to stress OUT about all the things that I want to do, hope to do and need to do during what is my favorite time of the year (minus its stress). I found all these tabs on that free printables site:
Master To Do List
Christmas Cards Worksheet
Hand-made gift list
So, when people ask me, "what have you been up to lately, Ashley?" THIS is just one of the things I have been up to. I am enjoying the process of becoming more organized, even though it is, in itself, a discipline.
And, in case you're wondering why I don't include any workout stuff in this book, I have a separate Workout Binder that I put together a few years ago.
If you have any ideas or suggestions about how to make this better, I'm all ears!
And if you are interested in making your own binder, more power to you! I hope I've given you some ideas and pointed you in some helpful directions. Don't be overwhelmed.
Take it one step at a time. And before you know it, you'll have yourself a Genuine
HOME MANAGEMENT BINDER!!!!!