Jun 26, 2013

Making & Using a Homemaking Binder

Homemaking binders or books are nothing new. In biblical times, either the husband or wife kept books showing money coming in and out, in addition to noting household valuables, stores of food and other supplies, and what servants were owed. Modern homemaking binders may contain slightly different information, but the principle is the same: To aid in smoothly running a household.

I am not a naturally organized person, but creating and using a homemaking binder has greatly eased my job as homemaker. I wouldn't want to keep house without it! That said, some women, in my opinion, go a bit overboard with their binders. Being ultra-organized is, for some, almost a religion. My feeling is that if you spend more time organizing than doing other homemaking jobs, you probably need to step back and reconsider your focus.

So, I aim for being just organized enough that my household runs smoothly. Of course, what this means for me may be quite different from what it means to you. That's why it's important to remember, as you see my homekeeping binder and perhaps look at others across the Internet, to customize your binder to your own life. I suggest starting with the bare minimum - paying special attention to areas where you struggle in your homekeeping - and building from there if, and only if, you find it necessary.

Let's start by looking at my homekeeping binder:

In the front pocket of my binder, I keep miscellaneous paperwork I know I will only be keeping for a short time. This is mostly bill payment confirmations I've printed off (and keep only until I see my next bill/statement). The rest of the papers in my binder are kept in plastic page protectors.

The first of these contains a stack of my daily to-do sheets, which I use daily. The three most important aspects of my daily to-do list is that it does not contain routine chores; it lists the day's top 3 priorities; and it leaves room for me to make notes about what I might need to do on another day. You can read more about my to-do list, and download a free printable of it, here.

The next page is my monthly bill paying checklist. This page lists our monthly bills and gives me a spot to check off that they've been paid - and when. Without this list, I gaurantee I'd forget to pay some bills. I use a dry erase pen to mark directly on the plastic page protector on this page. Over time, the pen stains the plastic, and when it gets really bad, I replace the page protector.



Next, I have an expanded list of every company that bills us monthly. The chart tells me when the bill isall the contact information for the company, including the bill-pay mailing address, phone number, and website address. This ensures that even if I'm unable to pay the bill by my usual mode of payment, I have some way to contact the company and pay the bill. You can read more about my chart, plus download a free template for making your own, here.
due and

The next section of my homemaking binder acts as my address book. I have a page for all medical contacts (including doctor's names, physical office addresses, website addresses, and phone numbers), another for close family members, another for friends and more distant family, and an "other contacts" section that includes information for miscellaneous contacts at schools, our bank, etc.

My binder also includes copies of my household recipes (for homemade cleaning supplies and similar items - not for food), plus a meat temperature chart and kitchen measurement chart. You could keep the latter in your recipe binder, but mine is so full, I find it best to store them in my homemaking binder.)

Finally, my binder includes my Mama Chore Charts, which list my daily, weekly, and seasonal chores. (You can download these free charts here).

Some people also like to keep a calendar in their binder; I prefer to use a wall hanging calendar. Some also I prefer this method of menu planning, as I find it more flexible.
keep a blank calendar for their menu plan;

In addition to my homemaking binder, I keep an accordion file for miscellaneous household paperwork, including warranties, health insurance paperwork, school flyers and information, and so on. In a separate binder, as I've already mentioned, I keep my recipes, and in another, purse sized binder, I keep a price book. I find each indispensable, but I added them to my routine slowly.

Do you have a homemaking binder yet? What do you find most indispensable about it?

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