Creative Ideas for Household Notebooks

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Today’s the day to share your household notebook!

Remember earlier in the month when I shared some ideas for making your household notebook work for you? I also challenged you to put yours together, if you hadn’t already, and enter it in today’s little carnival.

But first, here’s one way that a fellow mom has updated her household notebook to work for her, using a combination of printables and online resources to manage her home.

How I Gave My Household Notebook a Makeover

A post by Prerna Malik

photo source

My household notebook is my sanity-saver. Period. I created one, inspired by Tsh over at Simple Mom and used it to plan my daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists, cleaning and organizing schedules as well as menus and record other basic information. However, it was time-consuming and yet another job in my list of to-dos.

So, when I received Jessica’s email announcing the launch of her Organizing Life as Mom eBook, I thought, “Why not give my household notebook a makeover?”

Let’s face it, I didn’t really enjoy drawing up lists and menus every week or month and didn’t really have the creativity to make and print my own. So, I happily sat down and went through the eBook.

Here’s what I did to revamp the way I managed home:

Using Fillable Pages

Jessica has very kindly given us something as awesome as fillable pages, eliminating the need for me to have additional pages in my paper household and helping me to streamline it to a great extent. So, now every Sunday night, I sit down and type in my menus in the fillable Weekly Menu Planner and my errands for the week in the Weekly Chore Checklist. Plus, the eBook has a fillable contact list which I find especially helpful, since it makes updating numbers easy-peasy. Just delete and enter.

I’ve also eliminated calendars from the home management notebook and while Jessica does have a fillable calendar, I am using the one on my cellphone and the one on Cozi. The one on Cozi is actually my homepage so I can see at a glance what’s happening while my cellphone is always with me and it makes it easy to update, add and check.

personalized spiral bound notebook

Printables are a Homemaker’s Joy

Did I mention that I never really liked drawing up schedules, lists and more every week or month? Yeah. So, printable pages not only made this job easier but also made my notebook look neater, smarter and cleaner. I use a combination of printables from Jessica’s eBook and those that are on Mandi’s site, Life…Your Way. If you’re like me and want to take the easy way, you’ll be truly grateful for the work these two ladies have done.

Using a Household Notebook for More Than Managing Home

I discovered yet another brilliant use for my household notebook. Now that I’d freed up space thanks to the fillable pages, I devoted one section of my 3-ring binder for craft projects and ideas for my toddler. I love playing and hanging out with my daughter but am not very crafty. So, I print out templates, ideas and projects from around the net and file them in the newly created Crafts sections.

I’ve also created a section for Blogging and Writing Projects, though am considering starting a separate file for these since the ideas just don’t stop coming and I’m filling up pages like crazy***laughing*** but for now, it’s part of my Home Management notebook.

While it may seem tough and strange to have an online and offline combo for a household notebook, I’ve found that it works. And, as Jessica, has so beautifully described it in her eBook, “…find your groove. Find what works for you and your family’s needs.

I’ve found my groove, thanks to Jessica and others around the web and I’d love to hear more.

— Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her simple tips and easy-to-do ideas at The Mom Writes or follow her on Twitter.

How do you use your Home Management Notebook?

What makes it unique? How do you use it to keep your home and life under control?

Inquiring minds want to know. Share your household notebook or other command center today.

Get Your Act Together in 2011!

To encourage you to set up some kind of system to help you better organize your days, I’m offering a fun little giveaway this week.

The Challenge, originally posted on the 12th was this: Put some order in your chaos.

Here’s the promised link-up/comments section for you to share how you are getting more organized this year.

Entries can feature household notebooks or other command centers for your household. (Blog posts will be best since you’ll be able to show us pictures of what you create.) Either way, explain how you set up your organizational system and how you plan for it to serve you in the coming year.

Two participants will be randomly chosen and will each receive a $25 gift card to help them get even more organized in the coming year.

The gift cards will be redeemable to the winner’s choice of Walmart, Target, Amazon, or major supermarket chain. Entries will be  accepted until Sunday, February 6th, 8 pm PST. Winners to be chosen at random and notified via email. Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to [email protected] and [email protected]…..

Ready to get your notebook on?

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  1. My notebook is pretty simple, but it works for me 🙂 Looking forward to seeing how other moms use theirs!

  2. Like Prerna, I was inspired by Tsh Oxenreider to make a home notebook. It has seriously changed my life. Mine is so simple – just loose leaf paper in a three ring binder. Our main family calendar is on our cell phones. So in my notebook I jot down the other things to do for each day of the week – like when I’ll run certain errands or make certain phone calls. Having it written down helps get it done. I note evening meetings, so I can meal plan accordingly. I have a separate section for kids activities, so I can stick fliers and ideas in there – don’t have to search for them later. I have another section for blog ideas, preschool information, and one for household projects. Mostly, it is just having a place to jot down ideas and store random papers that saves my sanity. I know where it all is now!

  3. I made my household binder this month. I used several different printables from across the web. I am still getting in the habit of actually using it, but so far am loving it! It is helping me to “put some order to my chaos!” Thank You!!

  4. I’ve tried notebooks. I’ve tried from-the-store calendars. I’ve tried using my memory (ha!). Nothing has clicked yet as MY system. However, my husband has finally convinced me that using the calendar attached to our Outlook mail program is a good way to keep both of us in the loop. I type in upcoming events (parties, days I’m working, doctor’s appoint.) and then send him an invite via email. It’s super easy and it quickly updates his calendar at work so he knows what’s going on. We both get reminders that something’s coming up and I don’t have to worry about “did I, or did I not, tell him about…” 🙂

  5. Thanks again for the challenge! I’d been thinking about doing something like this for awhile, but this was the perfect motivation to finally get it into gear! Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with!

  6. I’m working on my filing system this year. i have had the same since my first son was born 11 years ago. i have since added 3 more children and they are in school and all that so my filing system is in desperate need of updating and reorganizing. i don’t have a household notebook persay. that is something i am still trying to figure out what works for me.

  7. This is my first year with a notebook and one month into using it I am already figuring out what is working and what is not so I have a feeling I will be updating it and having it rebound soon!

  8. The household notebook is new to me too, but I think it’s a great idea. It’s still a work in progress so I don’t have much to show yet. I bought a small folder-type organizer from Staples with five pocketed tabbed dividers. So far the things that are working for me is a weekly checklist with my to-do’s, meal plan, errands and notes and a grocery checklist. I already feel like I’m getting more done in less time and less things are falling through the cracks. I feel focused and motivated.

  9. I use a composition notebook that I write down my daily chores from in and then my agenda of things I need to get done once the kids go to bed such as work on the budget, get library books requested, etc. I use our microsoft calendar on our computer for things that have to be scheduled and it works well for me.

  10. You inspired me to make my own household organizer. In fact, I’ve created planner pages (2 pages/week) with all of our family’s important dates and events printed right on there. It helps me to see not only the chores I intend to accomplish but also the birthdays and meetings I need to attend.

  11. I think mine is more planner than household notebook, and I’m still working on it, but it was fun to link up to something. I’ve never done that before! Thanks for letting me participate. (I started that post back in November, and this gave me the encouragement to actually post it!)

  12. I had tried binders before but, for some reason, it all seemed overwhelming and I would stop keeping up with them. FishMama and SimpleMom inspired me to try it once more. My twist on it was to make it an e-planner since I always have my cell phone with me and pretty much the only time I have for working on it is while nursing the baby or putting the kids to sleep, so it definitely works for me!

  13. I am a hopelessly disorganized Mama of 3 (almost 4) and am in desperate need of something to help me stay organized, sane and motivated. I think I am going to try and get a binder going before #4 arrives. I use outlook now to keep track of big events and hubby’s (ever changing) schedule. I also like having it on my phone to make appts or check our commitments on the fly. However I need something to help me organize my time when I am at home. Maybe THIS will be MY trick!

  14. My notebook is mostly used for school planning but I am working my way into adding (and using!) cleaning checklists also. Over the past week, I’ve had an idea for a new worksheet/log to add to my notebook: a symptom/medication tracking chart.

    If one kiddo is ill I don’t usually have a problem keeping up with their symptoms and when I gave them which med BUT when all three are under the weather and I’m not feeling great either things get a little hairy. A simple page kept in my household notebook, ready to pull out at any time, would be so helpful! With columns for who, time/date, symptom (such as fever of 101.4), medication (what & how much), other treatment (like a bath to bring down temp). It would only take a few seconds to fill out but it would eliminate the headache of trying to remember if it has been long enough between doses of Tylenol…or to answer the doctor’s question: when did they start experiencing symptoms? It would also avoid confusion if one parent takes over caring for the kiddos, say, while the other parent takes a nap. 🙂

    I suppose the best household notebook is one that is always growing & changing with the needs of the family. Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. I’ve been using a notebook/planner for a couple years, now. I usually create my own pages in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect and print them off. Many, if not most, are modeled after Donna Otto’s forms from her book, Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time (all the forms from the book can be found at Unfortunately, my notebook is a cluttered mess right now. I’ve been slowly going through it and removing/consolidating/replacing, but much more needs to be done. One section I love is my quiet time section. I have sections for personal Bible study, group Bible study, and my Scripture memory system (adapted from Charlotte Mason). I go back and forth about having it there, but have really loved having it along on OB appointments when I’m by myself.
    So. . . thanks for the gentle push to get going and get this thing done (or, at least, more usable)! I will keep working at it!

  16. I recently posted about how I organized the chaos of my greeting cards. Previously they’d just been in their storebought boxes or a shoebox that was falling apart at the seams. But now, I’ve organized them into a much larger box, added tabbed dividers, and starting stocking up so that I have plenty on hand whenever the occasion calls for it. Here’s the link with photos:

  17. Just posted about my household management notebook. I’m so excited to use it and I’m sure it will be tweaked about 1000 times before the year is up. Thank you so much for this challenge.