Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Simple Household Notebook

I'm a list maker.  I can't help it, I just love to write out everything and see my thoughts all neat and organized.  I've actually written out a to-do list with things I've already done, just so that I could have the satisfaction of crossing them off.  But, my lists were getting out of control.  A shopping list here, a Christmas list there, little scraps of paper with my precious reminders were getting lost in the shuffle of life.

Then I started to read some wonderful homemaking blogs, and all these supermoms had a household notebook.  They would share pictures of these pretty notebooks packed full of their cleaning schedules, menu plans, to-do lists and everything else a list-addicted girl like me could want.  Everything was typed out in cute fonts and printed on pretty paper with matching dividers. 

Surely this was the badge of an expert homemaker.

I had to make one.  I gathered all the supplies and then set to work printing all the forms.  I had daily and weekly schedules, monthly menu plans, calender pages, cleaning schedules, pantry and freezer inventories, budget sheets...it went on and on.

I filed them all into a notebook and then had to smile at the organized beauty of it all.  "This will make my life so much easier!" 


The first thing I realized was that my meticulously planned cleaning schedules made no sense in this house full of kids.  Why would I be worried about dusting the ceiling fan when my 2 year old just poured a whole gallon of milk on the floor?  I had so many emergency messes to deal with during the day, I never had the time (or energy) to work on my daily assigned cleaning.

Then there were the inventories that I never remembered to update, the menu plans we didn't follow and the daily schedule that was completely unrealistic to my real life.

I was left with a notebook that made me feel like an unorganized mess...a failure as a homemaker.  So I tucked it away and went on with my life.

A few months ago I dug it out again.  I decided that I could make this work for me, if I made it for me.  I can't live on someone else's schedule.  This is my life and I need to keep it simple.  I ripped out all the pages and started over.  So here is my simple household notebook:


This is my main page that I use daily.  I printed it from Money Saving Mom.  I used the customized version of the Daily Docket.  I keep it in a page protector and I cross things off with a dry erase marker, at the end of the week, I just wipe it off and start over.

On the left column I keep a list of weekly cleaning projects (clean bathrooms, dust, vacuum bedrooms...)  When I finish one, I cross it off.  Then, when I have a few free moments I can look at my list and see what still needs to be done that week.  I do what I can fit into my day.  Some weeks, I get everything done gradually, other times they are all left for Saturday.

In the middle is my list of daily chores (laundry, dishes, make beds, dinner prep...)  It just helps to keep me on track.  There is also a space to check off how much water I drink, if I exercised and when I take my vitamins.  This has been so important in reminding me to take care of myself.

On the right column I have our weekly menu plan.  This is a list of dinner meals that I come up with during my grocery planning.  I don't always make everything on here, but it gives me ideas when I need to prep something in the morning.  I just cross it off after we have one.

Everything on this page is written in pencil (which kind of annoys me).  This is so that I can easily change things without having to print a new page all the time.

On the opposite side is a monthly/seasonal cleaning list.  I also printed this from Money Saving Mom.  Then I keep a few pages of notebook paper for my lists:

My Wish List
Yard work Projects
Sewing Projects
House Projects and Repairs


This section is where I keep paper to jot down menu ideas and new recipes to try.  I keep my grocery shopping list on the fridge so I can write things down as we run out of them.  Nothing fancy, but it works for me.


The first page in this section is a list of family birthdays.  I found it here.  I like it because I can see the whole year at a glance and plan accordingly.  Then I have pages for birthday and Christmas gift ideas, handmade projects, and supplies needed.


I have a list of our debts (It feels so good to cross those off!) and a list of large and small goals that we are saving up for.  I also have some budget pages in there, but they are still a work in progress.

And that's it.  It's pretty simple, but it works for me.  I hope it inspires you to find what works for you.


  1. good idea. you might also want to check out the book "Having a Martha House the Mary Way".I just started it, and it gives you one cleaning assignment every day(in addition to what you already do)so you can stay on top of projects, like cleaning the fridge, organizing the pantry, etc. instead of trying to tackle the whole house at once. so far, so good.

  2. I.Loved.This. Thanks for sharing! I really need to get our printer fixed so that I can make one too! :)

  3. This is seriously the smartest thing ever...I love the birthdays and meal ideas part-so simple yet effective! I hope I am diligent enough to start one myself! :-)

  4. In case you worried that sharing your particular notebook features wouldn't matter to anyone - rest assured, it does! :) I used to (try to) be an avid FlyLady follower, and she tells you to tailor it to fit yourself, but she makes it so pretty that you want to do it just her way! I've thought so often over the last several months how each person's plan has to be just exactly for them, not anyone else. (And it is SO HARD to find what works for you when you're doing it, well, on your own.) FlyLady's kids are grown; she is not living my life. And I can't follow YOUR plan to a T, either, but I can borrow ideas from you, since your life is probably a lot closer to mine than hers! Thank you for sharing! :)

  5. I used to follow Flylady too...but like you said,our lives are completely different right now. So I'm trying to find what works for me. I hope you find what works for you!

  6. I just have to say thank you again for posting these...I've bookmarked them and refer to them occasionally to work on my own. :)

  7. You will have to post pictures when you are finished!


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