29 Jun

After using my Home Management Notebook for almost a year now, I had to make quite a few changes. I love the overall idea and functionality of a HMN, but when I originally created mine I didn’t really know how I would actually end up using the notebook.

Here are the changes I’ve made:

1. My binder: I originally purchased a beautiful bright orange gigantic binder off of Amazon that was for scrapbooking. It ended up being way too big for me. It took up so much space in our kitchen. I ended up moving it, which resulted in me using it less and less.

I’ve downsized to the 1″ binder by Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery. It’s just as pretty and it’s far more functional for me and my kitchen!

2. My Sections/Tabs: When I first starting creating my notebook, I looked at a lot of other people’s binders for ideas. Many sections seemed great and also things I would use. “I plan parties!” But in reality, when I’m planning a party I create a file folder for that party and everything goes in there. I don’t need a Party Planning section in my HMN! Do you see what I mean?

Contact Info tab was mainly for babysitters and I found it was unnecessary. I keep a print out of Jack’s schedule on our refrigerator which also has emergency numbers, etc. on it. Plus, our babysitters have our phone numbers in their cell phones.

Vacation Planning was another tab I eliminated because once again we’re big file folder users here. If we use a file folder for planning then we can file it away very easily after the vacation is over.

I added Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery’s 18-month calendar insert to my binder. It’s the very first thing in my binder. I use this to mark general family activities and events. Joe has started to reference the calendar in the kitchen and it keeps things from sneaking up on us. We both have extensive travel schedules the remainder of this year and I’m sure next year will be even busier so this will continue to come in handy.

Blogging was a tab I left in my notebook. I do not use this as my main tool for organizing my blog posts, because I use the Reminder app on my iPhone to keep track of ideas, topics, and deadlines, as well as general notes in my Erin Condren Life Planner, but I like being able see an overview of the week and go back to reference past weeks.

I changed the Daily lists section from something I filled out to typed lists. I borrowed this Cleaning Calendar from Jenny at Little Green Notebook. It works great for me! I’m still working on my other Daily Lists. But I have a copy of Jack’s current schedule to add, as well as a new Family Responsibilities list.

I’m a firm believer in setting responsibilities. Joe and I were first introduced to this at pre-cana. I cook, he takes out the garbage… and the list goes on. This helps avoid the constant nagging on each other. I don’t have to ask, “Joe, can you take out the trash?” Which may seem like a minor thing to ask, but having to ask someone to do something can be annoying for both people involved. Same goes if Joe had to ask me to cook dinner every day. If you’re interested I’d be happy to share more on this topic later.

The Address List was probably the most used section in my last set up. It’s easy to add an address in here for someone I’m going to send something to from my blog or adding a new address from a piece of mail. It’s just an easy way to jot it down and then you can decide later if you need to add it to your computer or main address tool.

I eliminated my Erin Condren address book. I’m only using this and my address book app on my iMac. I’m all about simplifying these days! Plus I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the post office without the address I need. I want all of my main addresses on my phone.

I’ve also added two different notebook inserts from the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery collection. This one is your basic narrow ruled paper for notes and anything else you want to use it for.

Meal Planning is something I wish I could do. I’ve tried and tried and tried again. I can’t do it! For one, our life is insanely busy like many of yours too. If I do one large grocery run a week, I end up throwing away so much food that it makes me sick! I can plan and plan but when things come up, things come up. It’s just the way it is.

Instead of having the cute printables for recipes/grocery lists, I added the Task Filler Paper in front of the sheet protectors where I keep recipes I want to make. The task paper is perforated on the right side so if I’d like to make a grocery list there I can.

I also left in the colored pocket folders for random loose papers and mail.

I use the sheet protectors to organize current magazine tear-outs or online print-outs. Once I use them, I either pitch them or file them away.

Lastly, the beloved zipper pouch! Right now, it’s only holding post-its but I like to keep coupons, thank you notes, ink pens and other useful items in there.

The other great thing about the Martha Stewart Home Office for Avery binder is that each cover has a storage pocket too! I love pockets!

Mostly likely I will change this binder again someday, but for now I’m loving the changes I’ve made. We’re definitely using it more now.

Do you use a Home Management Notebook? How often do find the need for changes? What changes have you had to make to yours?

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  • Sheamus Warior


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  • Heather

    I love this concept but I work full-time outside the home so I need something electronic that I can access from the office, etc.

  • http://www.colleenandkeith.com Colleen

    The Martha Stewart products are amazing! I’ve been wanting to check them out ever since I saw them on Staples’ site.

    I just recently made a Home Management Binder and so far it’s working out well for us. The only section I don’t really use is the bill pay. See my HMB here.

  • http://mistressofpsychology.blogspot.com/ Dee

    I just redid my home binder too. I am still using the big binder because my handwriting is big and loopy. I just got my Life Planner today so I am busy being my OCD self and color coding it.

  • http://www.lifeisfullofperks.com Mama Perks

    SO THANKFUL FOR THIS! Amazing ideas and great to know that after a year, this is what is working best for you. Can’t wait to get started on mine!!