I have been blabbering about my new "home management" binder for a while now, and some of my friends wanted to see what the big deal was. So let me walk you through my new friend. I got the idea from a friend who linked me to this blog. I also used this site for some more ideas. The reason I started the binder is because I was getting overwhelmed with cleaning, cooking, homeschooling, etc., plus thinking about what I was going to do when I start my law practice. I needed to get organized.
So, without further ado, here she be:
You have to get a 3-inch binder with the clear pockets on the outside. It's just some yellow printed scrapbooking paper that I slipped in, but I may jazz it up with a photo of the fam or a picture that Tania draws.
The Pencil Holder
It's a 3-hole punched pencil holder. I keep some mechanical pencils, some pens, scissors, and dry-erase markers, which are key to the binder.
The To-Do List Notebook
This is a 3-subject, 3-hole punched notebook. In Section 1 is my general everyday to-do list. I start it the day before as I think of things I know I won't do until tomorrow. Section 2 is my "work" to-do list, which, as of right now is a list of things I need to do to start my firm. Section 3 is a miscellaneous to-do list, which includes crafts and writing projects.
Next, is my inspirational picture of a pregnant Rosie the Riveter, which I ripped out of Wondertime magazine. It reminds me that I am a strong and capable woman with many roles to fill.
The binder is divided into sections, and the first is "Vital Info." The first pages have all the important phone numbers, like the grandparents and doctor and dentist, poison control, etc. I almost posted a photo of that page, but thought maybe I'd not like all that info online. Also in the Vital Info section is an Emergency Supply Checklist from Real Simple magazine that I plan on getting together pretty soon.
My calendar is printed off of Google Calendar. Each page is a week, and I printed two months at a time.
This is my favorite section. We have cut our food budget in half since I started this. Here, we have my shopping list with a receipt attached. I go over the receipt and gasp at the expensive things and consider whether they are worth it and swoon over the deals and make a note to buy those items again. Going to the store with a weekly meal plan and a list of groceries prevents me from buying anything on impulse.
The weekly meal plan is in here too, in a sheet protector. I write the plan with a dry-erase marker and wipe off at the end of each week.
I also have magazine recipes in here. I love the little 4-per-page cut-outs from Martha and other mom-type mags like Woman's Day and Family Circle. (Hey, no dissing, it's called the free bin at the library!)
This one is a whole bunch of risotto recipes. Rice is so cheap and risotto is so delish.
This one is a whole bunch of chicken recipes from Better Homes and Gardens. Chicken is another money-saver if you buy the whole chicken or thighs.
This one is a whole bunch of ground beef recipes, another affordable meat.
Also in the meal section are some of my self-created recipes. The one you see is my chicken soup.
I have another folder for recipes. It's an accordion file folder, so recipes can move from here to the file. I try to organize the accordion file by month, so that id it's September, I can reach into the September section and pull out a recipe with ingredients that are mostly in season locally (i.e. fresher, cheaper, and better for you).
One of my money-saving techniques is to plan two or three meals together. Like meat loaf and mashed potatoes one night, then a shepherd's pie with the leftovers. Or, grilled salmon and asparagus one night and then a creamy pasta with the leftovers. Or, cooking a whole chicken and using it to make two different meals plus broth.
Another money-saving technique is to plan meals around affordable meats, like whole chickens, turkey thighs, ground beef, etc. Look for recipes on the internet.
You should know that I mostly buy organic and local, and I'm still keeping it affordable.
The cleaning section has been a real relief. Basically, I have daily chores...
And then each day, I focus on a particular room. For each room, I have weekly and monthly tasks. It's in a checklist format and I check the tasks off with the dry-erase marker.
It's made cleaning so much more bearable. I decided to do basic kitchen and living room cleaning and laundry every day. On Monday, I do thorough kitchen cleaning - things like cleaning the fridge and stuff like that. Tuesday is living room; Wednesday is bathrooms; Thursday is bedrooms; Friday is laundry room and hallways; Saturday is yard and cars. I love this because if my room is a mess but it's Monday, I don't care because it's kitchen day. I also love it because I know that my sheets are getting washed every other week. I never have to stop and think about how long it has been. And once a month for each room, the task is to get rid of stuff. Decluttering is the best...although I have yet to part with that collection of size 6 jeans that haven't fit me for years.
Also in the cleaning section is this stain removal sheet from Family Circle.
This section has my health goals and things like workout sheets. Right now, I'm doing the "Self Challenge" from Self magazine...sort of. Mama likes her wine.
This has records of what we do every day school-wise with Tania.
The craft section is not just crafts. It's basically a "things to do" type of section. Like this page from Martha of wild edible greens that I want to go search for with Tania soon.
Or this trip planner from Sunset magazine for the Southern Oregon coast. I smell a getaway coming on.
There are also print-outs of activities from the Family Fun magazine website. Great site for kid activities. If you ever have a rainy day or need to spice up your mommyness, go there.
Spiritual right now is basically my worksheet printouts from my Oprah.com class on the book "A New Earth," by Eckhart Tolle (another thing that has changed my life). I have plans for studying other spiritual books, so I'll probably journal them in this section.
This is yet to come, but will have all things holiday in it - meal planning, gift lists, ideas, activities, etc.
And that is all.
Having my life organized into one place gives me more time for things like this...
(That's what a kiss looks like.)