A while back I mentioned that my household management binder was a mess because sunflower oil dripped all over it from a leaky container on the shelf above it. One of my readers graciously reminded me about my plans to recreate it and blog about it, and while it is still under construction, it is in pretty good shape and perhaps blogging about it is just the kick in the pants I need to get it finished. 😉
To get started on one, you need: a binder, a few dozen sheet protectors, index tabs, a pen/pencil case that attaches to a three-ring binder, wet erase markers, and access to a printer. It’s nice to have a bit of art in it too; any old sheets of wet-on-wet watercolors will spice it up (from you or your children).
In the past, I’ve used plain binders with a clear cover that I insert my own art into (scrapbook, watercolor, or whatever inspires me at the moment). This is perfect if you already have a binder with a clear pocket.
But, we seem to be low on binders around here, what with homeschooling papers and co-op orders. So I found this sturdy one at Target.
Next, you need a pen/pencil case that will fit in your binder rings, like so:
The case will hold your wet erase markers. The wet erase markers and page protectors make it a sustainable system, allowing you to use and reuse your lists and checklists over and over again, erasing them with a damp cloth when you are ready to start a new day or list. I do not recommend dry erase, because these can erase from pages rubbing against each other and then you lose your list. Without the case, you will be in grave danger of not being able to find a wet erase marker when you are trying to make a list. This is never good. ;(
You’ll want to put your index tabs on your main divider sheets, like so:
And you’re off to a great start!
If you’d like some inspiration and resources for filling your binder with goodies to help you stay organized, here’s what I’ve got in these first two categories (and as soon as I get more printer ink, I’ll share my other categories).
Category One: Daily Rhythm
To make the dividers, I pasted images of vintage art I love onto Word and typed the headings above. Easy-Peasy. I am pretty sure everything I used pre-dates copyrights.
We’ve recently started observing Saturday rather than Sunday as a day of rest and worship, and this puts a whole new spin on the week. I am still getting used to the flow, but I like it! Saturday we sleep in and relax, and in the evening when we meet with another family for a home fellowship we’ve begun, we don’t have to worry about how late we stay together and often it is late into the night. Sunday, again we can sleep in and when we do wake up, we begin to gear up for the week ahead. I love the sleeping in both weekend days and not having to rush out the door on Sunday morning, and feeling like I’ve got a head start on being ready for the week. Monday doesn’t feel so hectic!
I’m also getting used to the Jewish calendar. We haven’t converted, but we do want to celebrate the feasts instituted in the Old Testament- ordained by God and truly tied to the cycle of the year, in addition to being prophetic and quite meaningful. So my Yearly Rhythm is a bit rough as I figure these things out.
Next come these great printable home binder pages from OrganizedHome.com. There are about 40 of them to choose from, for every situation and organizational need you could possibly have! This is where your wet erase marker comes in; you can write directly on the checklist for those items you know you’ll be doing every day and night, but when you want to add something random in that isn’t going to be an every day thing, or when you go to check off your accomplished items, you use the wet erase marker on the page protector.
I used to print out the calendar pages OrganizedHome.com offers, but now that I use a weekly/monthly planner for homeschooling plans, I just pop my planner inside of my binder and refer to it when I need to.
Then I have a fertility chart included for help with natural family planning and gauging reproductive health. You can find the original here.
The second divider is for Meal Planning:
And here is a summer meal plan… with Waldorf-inspired “Grain of the Day” options.
It is a little easier in the cooler months to incorporate the grain of the day since we have heartier warm snacks in winter, instead of very light refreshing ones, but I make sure we get it in their somehow! Our meal plan doesn’t change tremendously, because although I wouldn’t mind feasting on a mostly raw diet in summer (and often try to), my children don’t have as wide a range of taste preference and they like the comfort of familiar food on familiar days. There is wheat in both breakfast and lunch on Sunday, rice in our Monday lunch or dinner (sometimes I use rice noodles for the stir fry, and brown rice in the dinner; or brown rice in the lunch and dinner is rice-free). Tuesday I can either make barley cakes as our breakfast griddle cake option, or add it to our dinner soup or make a cold apple-barley salad for our salad. I haven’t tried using barley in our veggie burgers yet but I keep thinking of trying that out, too. Wednesday, we have millet in our lunch and Thursday, the rye is in our breakfast… and our breakfast platter is usually rolled up bits of omelet on toothpicks or hard boiled eggs, a selection of seasonal fruits, small dishes of yogurt, and maybe some cheese bites (on toothpicks). Friday oats are in our breakfast granola and afternoon snack granola bar, and Saturday’s corn is in the corn tortillas used to make quesadillas for lunch. Sometimes we make popcorn or have tortilla chips for a snack, too.
For a much more in depth discussion of the individual grains and their properties, see this post.
And the Organized Home.com Weekly Menu Plan, Favorite Recipes, Pantry Inventory and Shopping List pages are great. I go through the pantry inventory checklist while I am making my grocery list to make sure we aren’t too low on any staple items. I take the whole sheet protector out of the binder with the shopping list inside of it and bring it with me when I go to the store.
Stay tuned for part II- Chores (including recipes and resources for natural aromatherapy house cleaning and a laundry stain removal guide), Important Numbers, Financial Planning, Special Occasions & Holidays, Inner Work, Guiding Children, Health, & Miscellaneous (lotsa good stuff in that one!).
I am definitely not the most organized person, but I am not the least organized, either. My binder gives me the peace of mind of knowing that I can always come back to the plan when my brain gets fuzzy. 😉
How do you stay organized?
(Linked up with Natural Mother’s Network Seasonal Celebration Sunday Link Party.)