I couldn't do without my home management binder. It is the workhorse of our home and farm. Mine is not as pretty as many women's I know. It's only decoration is the duct tape holding it together. However, I simply can't do without it and use it everyday. I got the idea when I discovered flylady . Her site is wonderful for anyone looking to better organize their home and time. I started out by copying her journal and then over the years I have tweaked it to fit my needs. I run a farm and wanted to be able to apply the principles to the whole farm, not just the house. I have tried to get the pictures to load and am having problems, so for right now all I have is the descriptions. I will try to get the picture thing cleared up.
First I will describe the binder. It is a three ring binder and each section is divided by a divider.
Section 1 Daily Routines and Reminders: In this section you will find my morning routine, my afternoon routine, and my bedtime routine. Establishing habits is a good step to organization because a habit is done without thinking about it and no effort. So this section I have established my habits. I also have in here my little reminders to myself. I tend to be forgetful and have a lot on my mind so this keeps me from forgetting quite as much as I used to.
Section 2 Weekly Plan I have a basic weekly plan on household duties that need to be done. Into this plan I will insert chores that tend to be seasonal like canning and soapmaking. I can during the summer and make soap in the winter. If you have been following my daily chores this week you will have noticed another seasonal duty, putting up pecans. So onto a basic routine that remains the same each week, I will insert seasonal chores. I also keep in this section a running list of projects or repairs that need to be done. That way these things are easily inserted into my daily routine so that I don't forget them.
Section 3 Deep Clean Zones Each week I take one section of the house and one section of the farm to do a deep clean. In the weekly plan is the light cleaning, but this section contains deep cleaning. Furniture gets moved around, drawers get straightened and purged of unnecessary items and such. I have the home and farm divided into 6 zones so that each zone receives a really good deep down clean every 6 weeks. The weekly clean keeps them tidy and company ready the rest of the week.
Section 4 This section is my weekly menu planning and grocery list. I make 6 weeks worth of menus. I have 3 sets of these that I rotate out to keep things interesting. I always make sure that I have the food necessary to cook all these meals on hand at the start of the 6 weeks. Technically if something happened I could do without the grocery for at least 6 weeks. When I use something out of the pantry then it goes on the grocery list. Before I go to the grocery store I go to our backup food storage. Whatever is gathered from there I place a check mark by it on the grocery list so that I know it needs to go in the backup and not the pantry. It sounds tedious and complicated, but really it isn't. It just keeps my food supplies rotating so that nothing gets old and stagnates.
Section 5 Recipes This section not only includes my most used recipes, but also all recipes needed for the meals in the menu section. That way they are handy and I don't have to try to remember which cookbook that certain recipe was in.
Section 6 Food Supply In this section I keep an inventory of what I have and what I need to replace. This helps from season to season in that I know, maybe next year I need to put up more jelly because I ran out before the berries ripened or some other such need. Another example is that last year we put 4 deer in the freezer. We were out of deer meat by late summer and hunting season didn't start again until November. So during that time I had to buy more meat from the grocery costing us more money on the grocery bill. This year we will try to put up more deer meat.
Section 7 Budget and Finance In this section I have our family expenses and budget. I have a ziploc bag in which bills that are paid and ready to mail go. My husband gets paid twice a month. I mail out 1/2 the bills one paycheck and 1/2 the other paycheck. My income is erratic so I do not enter that into our budget. I also keep labels and stamps in this bag as well to make bill paying speedier. A task I certainly hate to do. I also keep calendar pages here with all of our appointments and such on it.
Section 8 Homeschool This is the section where I keep references to websites that I want to use throughout the year and other sources that i want to use. I also keep a written account of what I would like for us to accomplish when. That way I can easily keep track of these things without having to go to the computer and look.
Section 9 Emergency Contacts and Personal Contacts I keep emergency numbers here as well as the numbers and addresses for the people that i contact the most.
Section 10 Writing In this section I keep submission guidelines to all of the magazines and websites that I submit articles to. I also keep a list of articles written, when submitted, where submitted, whether they sold or returned. this helps me keep tracks of where all I have articles out and how long they have been out. Many magazines will keep an article 3 to 6 months before letting you know if they will use it so that is a long time to remember. I write it down.
That is it, my binder in a nutshell. You can adapt this binder to fit your life and your needs. I just know that having the routines established makes the non routines fit in smoothly without upsetting a whole day. I hope you have fun working on your binder and enjoying the freedom that it gives you.