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27 January 2010

Home Managment Binder

Or whatever you call yours! Control Journal, household planner.. They have many names and we all use them just a little differently! Mine is a lifesaver.. I use it everyday, and the days I don't use it, life seems much more chaotic! One of my goals is to become even more organized than I am already, my HMB really helps but I think I can make it even more efficient!

Spring will be here before we know it and I REALLY feel like I need to get my HMB back in order and updated and pretty before the chaos of spring cleaning and playing outside starts! When I first started mine I had NO idea what I was doing... and I wing it now!

I write HUGE so I knew one of the purse or wallet size ones was not going to cut it. I finally ended up with a 3" 3 ring binder. If you don't have one yet, I would suggest making a list of all the pages, folders, sections you want before buying your binder.
Speaking of sections.. mine is always getting new sections added to it, ripped out, changed or moved. My HMB is ALWAYS changing! Every time life changes so does my binder, well, within a couple weeks anyway!

There are no rules to how many or how few sections, folders or even how many binders you have! Some ladies I know have 1 for each child, 1 for each season and 1 for general items.. I would be overwhelmed with that, but our kids are young still and not involved in that many activities.. I am sure they will each need their own eventually!
Right now I have 4 sections
~Finances/Budgeting
~Grocery Shopping/Cooking
~Kids
~Housekeeping

~Finances~ I used to worry about missing a payment or not getting a statement, not anymore! The first page in my finances folder is a list of ALL of our accounts (everything from mortgage to garbage service) With 3 columns. Account, amount due per month and due date. I have them organized by due date. I keep most of my pages in page protectors so I can write on the outside and wipe it off when I am done. So when I make a payment for the month I just cross it off.. haven't missed one yet! The next page is similar.. with all the accounts, acct numbers and Phone Numbers for the companies (Who has time to look through the phone book or find the account number ?!). The following page is for accounts that have a balance every month (like the mortgage and car payments) I update it every 2 or 3 months with the current payoff, so I can SEE the number going down! The last page (right now) is savings.. Just my own record of savings rather than a paper statement each month from the bank!
~Grocery Shopping/Cooking~ Before kids I had no problem running to the store before dinner to grab a missing ingredient, or for that matter, just getting take out for us instead. Trying to spend less on eating out means more home cooking and meal planning for me. Loading all 3 kids up to go to the grocery store is a HUGE TASK and spendy since the grocery store is just over 10 miles away, so now I Meal plan! My first page in the grocery folder USED to be the meal plan for the next 2 weeks (again in a page protector, easy to change and cross off every 2 weeks)I have recently changed and instead of trying to figure out 14 different meals with 14 different ingredients every 2 weeks, I have started making the same things for dinner every Mon-Fri, of course they are hubby's favorites and are not expensive so it really works all around. Some people meal plan for 1 week, 1 month some even a whole year! This new method has been working great for us so far. I still have the weekends to do more elaborate cooking or try new recipe's! And I am saving because I am not buying nearly as many different items! The second page is a master list of ALL the items we use, some only a couple times a year and some every few days. I keep it in a page protector (of course) and when it is getting low I mark it on the page protector so when I make the grocery list I don't have to dig through stuff to see what we need! I buy the same things for our Mon-Fri meals and have a list of the other items, this is a HUGE time saver for me. Of course the list changes, baby food has been on and off, produce that is in season is always changing, and as the kids start to try new things and like them we add them. I keep the lists on a spreadsheet so it is easy to add or remove items and I just print a new one when needed.The next part is a empty page protector with all the cutout recipe's I want to try, when I am planning for weekends and the grocery shopping it is easy to pull one out!The last thing is a spreadsheet with the same items from the master grocery list and 3 columns, 1 for each of the major grocery stores we have. Each item has the price for each store (which are always changing, it's a lot of work but worth it!) So when I make my grocery list I figure which of the 3 will cost the least for the entire list, taking into account sale prices. I know I could save a little by going to each store but I have a hard time dragging all 3 kids to 3 different stores to save a little.
~The Kids Section is Pretty simple, they each have their own folder. Each folder has a paper with all their accounts (bank/savings), their SSN in it, birth certificate.. I know sounds like a identity theft dream come true, but I still feel safer knowing I can get to them all together and quickly in an emergency! The other items in their folders are their medical records and school schedule for the oldest.
~Housekeeping~ Anything I can do to make it take less time I am wiling to try! I have had the same housekeeping method for about 5 years now and it gets faster every week! I have 1 page for each day of the week (well Mon-Fri, weekends are for relaxing after all!) So I split up the house into 5, well really its more like 4 for me and the 5Th is just getting stuff I missed and decluttering or a project.The first step is making a list of the room and the things that should be done every week!Mondays I clean the kitchen, not just dishes and counters, I clean the microwave, clean out the fridge and really try to deep clean everything.. it only takes a few minutes if you do it every week, the stuff just doesn't have time to get that dirty!Tuesdays I clean the Family room, Living room and the guest bathroom.Wednesdays I do the 2 full baths.Thursdays I do the bedrooms.Fridays I try to tidy the laundry room and organize/ declutter something. Often we have 3 day weekends so I try to make sure that stuff on Friday wont be a ton of work the next week if it gets skipped.Each one of these is in a page protector, I used to cross stuff off as I went but now I don't need to, I pretty much have it all memorized.Now I don't list all the times I wipe the counter, table or kids clean.. I don't have a list for general tidying.. I do the dishes, laundry and a general tidy everyday.. that is good enough for me.
That is the main thing I use in the housekeeping section, but I do have another couple pages, 1 for Spring Cleaning, 1 for Fall Cleaning, and 1 for cleaning supply recipe's. I make our Laundry soap, dishwasher powder and febreeze type product.

Calender Page... I forgot I do have a calender page in the front. Just printed off and plain, waiting to be filled in!

The other necessity for me is a pencil pouch! Between dry erase pens (mini sized for me) a calculator, regular pens and stamps I don't know what I would do without my pencil pouch!

I am excited to make it pretty.. its been awfully plain lately, but I am thinking red/white gingham with some cute fruits.. I figure if I have to see it everyday I might as well spend a couple bucks and make it pretty! I will post some pictures once I'm done!

Some other sections that I don't personally use but are good ideas ~Birthday/Anniversary page (family and friends important dates) ~Gift ideas.. I can see where this goes well with the previous! ~Take out folder. A folder with their favorite restaurant #'s and favorite items.

What Sections do y'all have and love? I would love some suggestions for new sections!

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