It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the tasks necessary for a smoothly-running household. There's laundry, bills, errands, cooking, parenting, and even home schooling for some. Top this off with making quality, laid-back family time a priority, and you've got yourself a full plate for any well-intentioned home manager.
Create a Home Management Notebook to curb your sanity.
A Home Management Notebook is exactly what it sounds like - a simple catch-all for those important reminders, papers, and documents that can easily get lost or scattered. It's a daily reference for your tasks, and once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it.
Here are some ideas you might want to include in yours.
Keep your daily agenda at the very top of your Notebook, because you'll need to reference it quickly - you want to open your book and see exactly what's on your day's agenda. This should be an easy-to-read docket - keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it all on one page. Don't overwhelm yourself with a massive agenda that'll never happen in one day.
Write out a master checklist of what you need to accomplish in any normal week - this can include room cleaning, finances, and basic errands. If you store it in a clear sleeve, you can mark it with a dry-erase marker. At the end of the week, wipe it clean and start over - you won't have to print another list. This is perfect if you thrive on checking things off.
Collate a master list of typical things you buy at the grocery store, and turn it into a master printable list. When you run out of things, check off the item, so when you head to the store, you can simply grab your list and go. Leave plenty of blank space to add items not already listed, useful when you want to try a new recipe.
Next up is your money management paperwork - bank statements you need to reference, your monthly budget, and important documents about bills are all housed here. Include a zippered pencil case for keeping the current month's receipts, so that you can easily keep track of your spending. If you don't need the receipt, shred it at the end of the month, and start with an empty pencil case next month.
Master Project List
This space is for jotting down those longer-term ideas that flood your mind throughout the day. You'll forget them if you don't write them down, so leave plenty of room to jot ongoing ideas for your home - look into planting parsley next spring, or check out mutual funds at Vanguard, for example. These are plans that don't need to happen right away, but you don't want to forget about them when it's time.
It's helpful to have a quick reference for your babysitters. Keep this updated with your basic contact information, bedtime routines, food allergies, what to do in basic emergencies (like where your band-aids are located), what's off limits for your kids, and what are their current favorites - food, movies, games, and toys. You might even want to include instructions on how to turn on the TV and DVD player!
How often have you thought of a great craft idea to do with your kids, then when you sat down with them, all you could think of was drawing with crayons? Keep your ideas stored in your Home Management Notebook. Simply jot down your ideas, or print off directions for a craft you found online. Then, when your kids say "I'm bored," you know exactly where to turn for ideas.
It's so frustrating to forget that great idea for a Father's Day gift you had back in January. Allot an area in your Notebook for jotting down your ideas, and when it's time to purchase a gift, all your ideas are in one location.
Hopefully this list triggers some ideas for your own Home Management Notebook - tweak it and make it your own, so that you'll actually use it. It's an ongoing project - add or delete things as you need them, and it will soon become your sanity-saver at home.