MENU

My Household Planner Revealed (& a Few Free Downloads)

Remember this? Awhile back I told you about my household notebook in which I busted out of the binder and had a planner spiral bound. I realize that for some this might seem wasteful because it’s a consumable product instead of a reusable one. But I actually use this planner, whereas I have shelves of abandoned binders that didn’t work for me.

What I love about the spiral planner:

  1. It’s compact. Since it’s spiral bound, it can fold back on itself and take up very little space on the countertop. This makes me more likely to have it handy, to write in it, to carry it around the house with me.
  2. It’s highly portable. Due to its compact nature, it’s pretty easy for me to tuck it into a tote bag and take it along to the doctor’s office, on errands, or on trips.
  3. It’s easier to write in. I love the ease of a spiral notebook and how it doesn’t interfere in writing in the same way that those three rings do.

So, this is what works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too.

I’ve struggled for years to find a planner and checklists that would help me do my work. And I’ve seen some good ones. But, I still found myself  making up my own forms on the computer, tailoring my worksheets to fit my daily life. As you’ll see, I’m a little OCD in that I like to check off things to feel productive and I need to see a lot of detail in writing, otherwise I drift to things not on my “to do” list.

Today I thought I’d spill my guts. Or at least the guts of my notebook. Here are some of the things I’ve included in my planner:

Priorities – this is a form I use for identifying and remembering my priorities, making goals, and setting a plan of action to achieve those goals. This downloadable includes a blank form in case your priorities aren’t the same as mine. ;)

2010 Calendar and Dates to Remember Page – Last year was a nightmare in terms of calendars. I never knew who had what dentist or orthodontist appointment because I didn’t have a central place to write all our appointments. I had them written in several spots which makes for missed appointments. This year I made up a two page spread/month calendar which allows me lots of space to fill in all sorts of activities and events. I even impressed my husband with this one — that’s one of my joys in life — to impress my hubby.

Obviously, the 2010 calendars are outdated. You can purchase the current calendars for only $3 in the Life as MOM estore.

personalized spiral bound notebook

Daily Checklist – here is the template for my everyday. See what I mean about OCD? Can’t help it. I like to tell myself what to do. (The Morning and Evening High Fives are lists of chores for the kids to complete, but I have to remember to follow up.)

Meals We Like – This form helps me remember our family’s current favorite meals, something that can change with the wind. One month they devour lasagna, the next month I eat leftovers for days. Go figure. Periodically, I quiz the family and jot down the foods they’re craving or request to have. This helps me immensely with meal planning.

Monthly Meal Plan – I’ve been planning a month of meals for quite some time now. At first I just printed off a simple calendar grid, but for the last few months, I’ve resorted to this kind of list. I love having a month planned at once. It helps me save so much time!

Weekly Household Chores Checklist – This list is customized to my home, but I think it might fit yours, too. I also try to have a loose weekly schedule for when to do which tasks, but that changes with the seasons.

While this is what suits my life, it may not fit yours. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there that will! You might want to check out the planning pages available at Simple MomMoney Saving Mom$5 Dinners, and Motivated Moms.

What kinds of planning pages do you use in your household notebook? Don’t have one? Why not?

olam_125Right now you can purchase my latest ebook, Organizing Life as MOM, newly revised which includes 198 pages of inspiration and planning ideas. 118 pages are fillable planning sheets, meaning you can customize them to fit your life, your family, and YOU.

This is the ultimate household notebook manual. The pages have been updated and redesigned — and, honestly, they are a lot cuter than the free ones here.

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Hi Jessica,
    Great post! If I wanted to create my own planning pages, what software/program did you use, ie word, excel, etc.?

    For years I have tried different things: planner, notebook, clipboard, and right now my planner is working well, but I would like to have a household chores checklist specifice to my home.

    Thanks
    Kristia

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I used MS Publisher because I’ve used that since the Computer Stone Age. But you could just as easily use the table function in Word.

  2. I’ve recently been working on a monthly cleaning calendar to print out each month. We’ve added a rotation in for the kids 12 & 14, so that they start understanding the consequences of not cleaning up after themselves. It has helped both them be more aware of messes and it has helped my sanity having a little help around the house.

    I really like your weekly checklist, as it so detailed (counters, mirror, toilet, for example), so I think I’ll do that as an addendum to the checklist I have, which just says clean bathroom due to space constraints.

  3. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it! I can download all of them but this one=A Weekly Checklist of Household Chores. It says that the page doesn’t exist. :(

  4. Love the worksheets! Great lists!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your planner; it is very encouraging. I do not have a planner, but I need to use one.

    I love plans, but I’m also a perfectionist and procrastinator. As a result, I never get around to making plans even though it would bring calm to my life, my family’s life. I really love the layout you have so I might just be a planner wife/mom in the near future.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I am both perfectionist and procrastinator, too. I drift toward all or nothing. Maybe we’ll figure this out together!

  6. Love this idea! I’ve been toying with how to effectly keep myself on task each day and I love the weekly checklist…except you don’t have a download link for it. (When I click on the highlighted text, it goes to a page that says “There’s nothing here.”) Any chance you’ll be putting one up? Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      It was simply an error on my part. Thanks for letting me know. That link should work now. Thanks!

  7. These are wonderful planning sheets. Thank you very much. Great ideas. Looking forward to perusing your entire website. God Bless!

  8. Thank you so much an answer to prayer!!!!

  9. Heather Kruger says:

    I really like your weekly household cleaning chore list and would like to print it, but when I click on it, it doens’t open. It goes to a page that says “There is nothing here.” Please let me know if this is a downloadable form or not. Thanks! I love all your ideas and have recently started meal planning thanks to your encouragement as well as Money Saving Mom’s encouragement. You guys are great!

  10. I have an aversion to paper because I am a product of a hoarder so, my preferred method is on my computer:-)

  11. I am a TOTAL list person. However, I have trouble keeping all my things organized. I will download these lists and make them work for me. Thanks!

  12. This is where I admit that I’m technologically needy….I signed up on Cozi’s website for a calendar, and when the opportunity came up for a data plan for our cell phones, I got a new touch screen phone (it was on clearance for $99!), and that’s what I use. Everything’s in there, but I DO like your planner idea – did you get it spiral bound at a printing shop?

  13. I’m a totaly list-maker!! Here’s my planner:

    http://mycountrycupboard.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-year-new-datebook.html

    I do have to re-write each list for each day, but I kinda like that it allows me to tweak here and there if I need to. I have detailed cleaning of one area for each day of the week, so as long as I stay on top of it the house is always “pretty” clean… but if for some reason I don’t get that day’s list done, it’s not the end of the world b/c I’ll get to it next week.

    DH laughs at me because I get such a thrill out of “drawing a straight line” as he calls crossing things off :)

    (I’m also OCD in that I have ONE SPECIFIC PEN I use with my planner. If I’m gonna have a list, I want it nice and pretty :P LOL!)

  14. I love this! I am a bit of a calendar junkie and I tend to buy too many calendars and planners! I guess I’m trying to figure out where this would compare in price. Do you print the daily checklist front and back? Did you print everything off at home and take it to Kinkos (or similar) to have bound or did you have them print it all? I’m looking online and they only show the price to have something bound that only has 25 pages. Obviously this has much more than that! I’ve printed off a few of the daily pages to test out before investing in making this. I’m sure it’s worth it if it is actually used! Thank you so much and I love your site!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Thanks, Denise. Yes, the printing was a little tricky. I printed them at home back to back, making sure that things were in the order I wanted them. I inserted cardstock dividers. Then I took it all to FedEx (formerly Kinkos). They added the front and back covers and bound it. It was $5 and some tax.

  15. I love your idea and will definitely use some of your awesome checklists! Thanks so much for sharing them with us! Question, though…since you check off what you’ve done throughout the day/week, do you remove and add new sheets as needed?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I made enough to get me through the first six month since I was testing it out. I remove the daily’s as they’re done. And I’m wondering if Fedex can take it apart and put it back together when I want to update it. Hubs suggested including pocket pages. It’s obviously still in the tweaking phase.

  16. Thanks for planting ideas for me to revamp my household book!

  17. Loved this post! It is always nice to see how others run their homes!

  18. I love these but am having a hard time figuring out how to print. Would someone please help? Thanks!!!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Can you get to the pdf? Just click on the titled hyperlink which takes you to a page like this one. Click on the hyperlink and that will take you to the pdf. There should be a print button in the pdf screen.

  19. I keep a running list of meals that we like. It comes in really handy when I’m brainstorming a meal list for the month before grocery shopping.

    Also. Every month, I print out a calendar and fill it out with chores. There are some chores that I do twice a week, once a week, twice a month, once a month, once a quarter, and once a year. Having print out calendars to look back on helps me keep track of when things need taken care of. Having a concrete plan helps give me motivation and helps to ease being overwhelmed with house work. I typically only have two or three items on each day.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Jenni, scheduling your monthly chores like that is brilliant. I wonder how far behind I would get?

      • @Jessica Fisher, Yeah… I get behind sometimes. When I do get behind, I mainly focus on catching back up on those things that are less often than once a week. It gets overwhelming if I try to take care of EVERYTHING I missed. I do think I’m much more successful with a calendar than free-style housekeeping. :) Otherwise it seems like a guessing game, and I often forget those once-a-month or less things. Also, organization motivates me for some reason.

  20. I don’t use a household notebook because I work out of the house, and honestly, I haven’t found one that would work for me. My daughters (11 & 6) both have chores they complete on Saturday morning. I handle the laundry and cooking. My 11 yo does kitchen clean up. I just felt like a notebook wouldn’t be a good fit because I don’t have a lot of time home.

    Since I’ve been home for 9 weeks on maternity leave, I now know what it’s like to be a SAHM and see the things that are needed in my home and what is needed of me to lead the pack. (My hubby was the chore driver for years until a few months back. I’m not sure what changed, but it became more of my role…)

    Thanks for sharing the great downloads and also sharing the links to the others. I’ve followed Crystal & Erin for 2 years and never knew they had a Downloads section… Thank you!!

    PS- I’m thrilled to see you active in the comments. I usually don’t comment because there wasn’t that interaction…

  21. Love your planning pages. The household chores list is awesome, thank you for sharing your planning pages with us.

  22. I prefer a spiral bound sketch book. I find lined notebook pages too constricting and the blank pages are easier for me to make boxes around bits of information, etc..

    Since I had kids I haven’t been as good at keeping a planner like that but when I was working more (as a freelance musician) I always had it with me. It contained everything from teaching strategies to meal plans and packing lists for trips. Even phone messages and notes to myself. I went through an entire notebook every nine months or so.

    With kids I still use one but I keep them for a much longer period of time. Like you I tried binders but they just don’t work. My OCD nature feels like I *should* have a more organized or fancy system but this works for me right now.

    Last fall I started using Google Calendar and it’s been great. I still work part time and used a PDA then a PDA phone for years. I recently bought a Google Android (and iPhone type device, definitely not frugal but very useful) which automatically syncs to my Google calendar. My husband can view my schedule at any time as can all our parents who help us out a lot. In general I prefer having a big wall calendar but it wasn’t practical since professionally I always need my calendar with me and remembering to write things down in another place as well as communicate with my family was a pain. I highly recommend Google Calendar. It’s free with a Google Account.

  23. Wow! My mind is “boggled” by all this organization! I should never have to look any further :) Thanks!

  24. This is great! I love it. I am always on the search for the perfect planner and have come to the conclusion I need to just design my own. I too love to cross things off. Just makes me feel more productive.

  25. this is just what I need! I too always tried the binders and it just did not work. I am going to print this out, have it bound and be on my way! thank you so much for your blog and sharing!

  26. Great lists! You seem soooo organized! Love it!

  27. This is great. I love looking at others planning pages, notebooks, binders, etc. I can get ideas to use in mine, that I never thought of on my own. Your site is great. Your articles are informative and useful.

  28. Oh my goodness. I think this would be perfect for me. I am forever writing down notes and lists on little pieces of paper only to lose them later or to totally forget something.

  29. LOVE these… love ways to re-organize and better organize!
    We have a friday fun find party (that’s still going)- if you’re interested, we’d love it if you’d link up!

  30. I did this myself for several years but I like the change yours offers from my boring black and white. Any chance you sell this already assembled? I would be so interested.

  31. This is awesome. Thank you.

  32. Great tips & ideas here!! Thanks for “sharing all” and assuring me that I’m not the only one in the world who has been trying for years to find ‘just the right’ calendar/list/organization system!!! I’ve often felt like I needed a support group for that! Ha!

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked over here from my “This ‘n That Thursday” post.
    http://myreasonstoblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/this-n-that-thursday_18.html

    Hope you’re having a great day!!
    ~ Joy :)

  33. Do you have a time schedule you do this all on? Im always on the look out on just how other Moms schedule their time to cook, clean, take of the little ones etc. I have a 3 yr old and its a struggle to find time to do what needs to be done, what I would like to do and spending time with him. Before “Mommyhood” I knew where everything was, was a clean freak and now….Im just a mess!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      It is a constant reassessment for me these days, Cathi. Since our sixth child came, I haven’t got the ideal schedule down. But, I will let you know when I do. Know that you’re not alone!

  34. You’ve convinced me. I was making yet another “list” today and thought–these all need to be in ONE binder! Thanks for your hard work!

  35. I’m new here but I just want to tell you that I love this!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I am going to print it out during “nap time” today and get myself going!!!! I must be as OCD as you are because I can’t wait to give it a shot!

  36. I think you should come up with an iphone (or other phone) app for your household planner! For a new mom who works full-time, it would help me a lot! I love your simple style (don’t mean that in a bad way). It is straightforward and cut to the chase. Love your sheets. Thanks so much!

  37. Where would we be without lists? There is something about putting pencil to paper that just works. Love your planner!

    Jen

  38. Andrea Cervantes says:

    Jessica,
    I LOVE this idea so much! I am such a list maker. I have moved from a Daytimer to making my own forms that all exist on a clipboard. Why I have never thought of a binder is BEYOND me!!!!! I am so excited to get my ac together and start implementing this. thank you so much for sharing and for your encouragement. I LOVE the 2 page calendar spread…you impressed me, too! Wish I could figure out how to do this! Would LOVE one for 2011~ :)
    Pressing on….
    andrea

  39. Thank you for sharing!!! I’ve just started a note book that the whole family can refer to. Some of these lists will help so much!

  40. Wow! You think like I do, amazing!! I love spiral bound notebooks too (although my hubby is mystified by it).
    I have to tweak everything so that it’s just right for me, I guess that’s my OCD behavior. Anyway, I just spent all nap time today making my own worksheets instead of being “productive”. I wanted mine to be half size so that it fits in my purse or diaper bag easily.
    Thanks for all the fantastic ideas! I was able to recreate my forms using quite a bit of yours. Hopefully after I get everything all done, I’ll post it all on my blog.

    Random question for you: What kind of paper did you print yours on? Just regular white paper or something heavier?
    Thanks for sharing all your forms and tips, love it!! (Newest follower right here :))

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      LOL. Glad you’re here. I just printed on regular paper except for the page that I laminated. Put that on cardstock.

  41. Jessica, I’m not up on document making or anything. I was wondering if there is a way to take your daily check list and just change the items you put. Is that possible? I can open it, get a cursor but nothing more.
    I’d appreicate it.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I’ve been researching that. But the software is really too expensive for me at this point to make a write-able PDF. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

  42. I thought about putting mine in a notebook as well. I love my homeschool planner that is like that! I would have to be sure of the layout first!

  43. When you said you were trying it out for 6 months does that mean you had 6 months worth of each thing in the planner?

    Also, how many pages did you put in the notebook? This is something I’m going to be putting together after we move — I am so done being unorganized and with a military husband and a 5 year old starting kindergarten, my life is about to get a lot more hectic.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, when I wrote this post, I originally put enough pages to get me through six months to see what worked best. I didn’t want to spend money on a year’s worth if it wasn’t going to work. Now that I’ve been doing it for over a year, I’ve streamlined. I made a daily routine page that I laminated and am going to do the same with weekly chores and meal planning when I put together next year’s book. The laminated pages work really well for cutting down bulk.

  44. Great post! I love your list of priorities and am inspired to use a similar format in my daily life. Thank you.

  45. Love your cleaning printable. I am trying it out and about to refer to it on my blog.

  46. i found your checklist on pinterest. i’m excited to start using it. thanks so much for your help.
    always on a quest to keep it together,
    elizabeth

  47. Love Your blog

  48. Cathy Krutz says:

    I am interested in purchasing your calendar package plus homeschool and maybe blogger items. Is there any way that I can view a few of the items first?

    Also, can the fonts be modified?

    I am technologically challenged and was having difficulty finding the “free” pages to look at.

  49. Thanks for all the ideas and forms. I really like your priorities list. I see that helping me stay focused on what really matters. Thanks so much for the post.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*