Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Mommy Book

I have always had a love for paper....
  • notebooks
  • notepads
  • small notebooks for my purse/diaper bag
  • magnetic notepads for the fridge
  • loose-leaf paper
  • scrapbook paper
  • pretty wrapping paper
..... you name it...... if it falls into the category of paper, I love it!

But sometimes, I end up with paper coming from every direction!
  • calendars
  • grocery lists
  • receipts
  • notes to remember
  • meal plans
  • coupons
  • appointment cards
  • flyers from Awana and Sunday school
I know there are many programs on the computer and/or phone which are designed to help streamline the paper clutter....

but I can't get used to them......

and I don't like having to refer to the computer constantly throughout the day.......

because I can always find one more thing that I need to do......

and then 20-30 minutes later I realize I have wasted so much time.....

hence why I refuse to get a data plan for my phone. You need to know where to draw the lines for yourself. And that's my line.

So what have I done to get a handle on the paper "clutter" that is actually very necessary for running a home? This idea is not original, although I thought it was when I first began thinking of a solution. There are many ideas like it on the web, at other blogs. But this is my take on the Home Organization Binder or as I call mine "The Mommy Book."

It is in no way complete yet or exhaustive in its content. I am working on that daily. But it helps me keep track of the important things and the day to day routine things that we can easily overlook.

I was not interested in paying someone for their templates and/or ideas and products, so I scoured the Internet and my own "stuff" to make the one I have.

I began with a plain white 3" binder. I already had this one, so this part was free (woohoo!).

I measured the space under the plastic covering and made a cover (that easily slipped under the plastic) for my plain white binder using scrapbook paper I already had (woohoo! Free again!).


And then I took about three months to gather what I thought I would need this binder for:
  • routines (handwritten on loose-leaf paper)
  • library receipts
  • calendars
  • recipes
  • folders
  • home schooling documents
  • home related mail (our new garbage collecting schedule, changes in our health insurance company's name and website info., etc.)
  • coupons for free or discounted items (Chik-Fil-A, Dairy Queen, etc.)
  • appointment cards from doctors
  • church play date fliers
  • some people choose to include bills in this type of folder. I do not. Our bills already have a great system and I have no intention of fixing something that is not broken.
Basically, anything that can be associated with the general running of the household.

I then brought all of this into the office one day (and as many page protectors as I had on hand) during nap time and made piles according to different categories these items fell into.

And then I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom in coming up with a plan that would help me care for the details in running our home in the most efficient way. I ended up turning part of that prayer into my "Title Page/ Prayer." I believe in giving my day to the Lord with my devotion time and prayer, and this is just a reminder to me that I can make my plans (what this book is for), but ultimately, the Lord is in control of my day.


Then comes the "nitty-gritty" of the binder. I keep several pencils in a pocket at the front of the binder. I prefer to pencil things in rather than write them in ink, so that if changes happen, I can erase and have a neat looking page rather than cross it out and have a mess to look at.

I have also been keeping my shopping list in the front pocket so I can easily remember to write down things to get.


I then printed out the running routine list I had been jotting down for the last few months. Notice I said routine and not schedule. I've learned a lot and it has been sticking. Any times that are on these pages are in relation to Ian's feedings and even those are subject to change.... because, let's face it, my boy likes to eat and nursing relaxes him so he sleeps better.


This is the best of both worlds. I know what to expect in my day and I have goals to shoot for, but I am not restricted by time. In fact, time has become my friend. And I am able to decide based on the needs of my children on any given day what I need to skip or what I can fit in.

I also have my cleaning schedule and laundry schedules listed as well as a few items that are not daily necessities, but need to happen once or twice a month.

I have them on two pieces of paper that face each other in the book so I can keep it open to this as I am working my way through the day without having to flip back and forth.


The next pages show what I need to do on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For me that entails:

Friday
  • meal planning
  • making my grocery list
  • gathering coupons
  • making lesson plans
  • planning or going over the plans for the following week
  • planning blogs for the upcoming week

Saturday
  • Family day (just keep up with ourselves)
Sunday
  • Load fridge with waters for Brian's lunches
  • Review meals for the week
On the opposite side of the page I have a list of items that I want/need cleaned out, purged, and/or organized on a cycle. I typed up what I already had listed, but I am always adding things as I see the needs arise (another need for the pencils).

Next we come to the actual calendar section.

There is a right side and a left side (obvious, I know, but work with me. You'll see what I'm getting at in a minute). The actual calendar goes on the right side inside of a page protector (in fact, all of these papers are in page protectors) leaving the left side blank, with only the back of the previous page showing.


The left side became a sort of pocket for me to slide things related to the month of the calendar facing it. For example, I slid a Carson-Dellosa print out of the "special" days in the month of April so we could celebrate a few of them. I put the receipt of our library books in there so when "Library Day" comes, I can pull out my list and check to make sure I have all of the books listed on my receipt. (Believe me, this came in very handy when the library said I still had one of the books we had checked out, and it was going to be due soon. We didn't even like the book in question.... but that is besides the point... I knew I had returned it because of my receipt and asked the librarian to check on this for me. Sure enough, our missing book was already on the shelf ready to be checked out again but no one had ever checked it in.)

Also included in this month's pocket is my handwritten list for spring cleaning. Once I finish "spring cleaning" and have everything written down, I'll be typing this out and giving it its own page protector.

On the right side is a printable calendar by Carson-Dellosa, which is where I fill in all of the activities and appointments that we will do/have individually, for school, and as a family. (I am showing you August just for reference... family safety/privacy comes first)


I am still working on my "Mommy Book" and making it work for us as a family. As it takes shape even more and grows further, I will share with you the additions.

Feel free to take any or all of the ideas mentioned here and adjust them to you and your family/situation.

Having a smoothly running home is our goal.

Smooth running to you!

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