Friday Favorites – Notebooking

Searching the internet so much over the past year for help in my transition from working full-time in an office to being a full time HomeKeeper, I have read many articles on organization, housekeeping tips, menu planning, tips for frugal living, homeschooling, and more.  I kept reading about Notebooking.  Or having a Control Center, Control Journal, or Home Notebook.

I’m a HUGE fan of organization tools.  I will buy them – set them up – and then not apply them. SIGH… However, that is the main purpose for establishing my new NOTEBOOK – to get over that hump and BE productive, useful, purposeful in my daily routines!

Now, I have technically been “Notebooking” for at least a decade, but didn’t really call it that, or have a specific system.  I’m a collector.  Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a pack rat…  I’ve collected all kinds of things throughout my life – from the time I was young continuing on until now.   Whenever I came across a great recipe in a magazine, a good story that I really liked, or interesting articles about gardening, health, crafts, etc., rather than keeping piles of magazines around for a year ore more (for the sake of only 1 or 2 pages in the magazine), I would tear  out what I loved and put them into page protectors in a large 3 ring binder.

At one time, I had two separate 3″ ring binders stuffed full of things I loved.  As time has passed, I’ve been able to reduce the non-essentials and put everything into one binder.  Most of these things I’ve saved are recipes – full-size page recipes – and a few articles I just couldn’t part with (one on PMS, one on Sweet Pea gardening, and a lovely Christmas story  that is at least 10 years old with recipes that I read every single year, as well as some craft ideas with instructions)…

I also LOVE lists.  Love everything about them.  I love making them.  Writing them.  Reading them.  Editing them.  And at various times in my life, using lists has helped tremendously with keeping my focus on task, maintaining organization, and peace of mind – The ultimate purpose of lists.  I love day planners, file folders, filing binders, filing systems.  I love color coding, alphabetizing, prioritizing – all of it.

Actually putting it into practice in a tangible, PRACTICAL way – well THIS is where I struggle the most

So, I have been locating many websites & networking site that offer printable planner pages, menu pages, housekeeping tips, recipes, and more.  My bookmarked list of websites is quite extensive and divided into many folders to help me keep it all together.  When I have found sites and bookmarked them, but  never looked at them again, I delete them and don’t go back.  I like to join a bunch of stuff, but have been learning to weed out the stuff I don’t really use, that doesn’t really provide any beneficial or relevant info to me, etc., and move on.

Then there are the sites that are just GOLD MINES.  Full of printable forms, genuine housekeeping tips, practical, simple, useful information, and those I have marked for my Bookmarks Toolbar.  Many of these I visit daily; almost all I visit weekly.  These are the ones I have utilized in putting My Home Keeper Notebook together.

So using the information I’ve found, combined with my natural affinity for color coding, I have finally compiled a My Home Keeper Notebook and Control Center, which I have been trying out this week.

Still being a college student, one way I can relate this overall idea is with a course syllabus: Here are the tasks to accomplish, here is the breakdown of assignments with due dates, and here is how to find success in this course.

Using a variety of printables, a 3-ring zippered pen compartment, colored dividers, pretty printed pages for covers / divider inserts, pocket dividers, and page protectors for most of the printed information, I’ve put it all together.

I have My Home Keeper Notebook, which contains the essential information I need to go through my day.  Because it is in a 1″ binder, I can take it everywhere with me and have my lists & tasks all together. It contains my Weekly Overview Calendar, My Daily Task List, Charts for the girls (more below), Menu with grocery store sales list for this week, a page protector for recipes to review, my monthly Blogging Planner, Goal sheets, Note/card tracker, and a pocket folder with articles I want to finish reading this week.

I also have a Control Center which is near our telephone.  It is composed of a 3″ binder which contains master printables & necessary household information; a separate bill organizer, and another binder to keep master charts & “homework” sheets for Curly and Georgie (Curly is practicing her letters & writing, along with some daily responsibilities; Georgie is potty training).

In using this new system for just one week, I have been able to accomplish more with my time, actually remembered specific tasks I wanted to complete (TA-DA!), and have had a fairly productive week.  This is a transition for me, but I can see by my lists what I have (or have NOT) completed, and what MUST be done, what SHOULD be done, and what really isn’t essential every week.  It is my nature to be spontaneous.  To live in the moment.  Setting & sticking to a schedule for myself is not my favorite thing, BUT it is something I am striving to achieve.

For this week – for my effort and ability to accomplish my tasks, I’d probably get a “C.”  But I’m happy with that.  Because I’ve been able to focus and get on task, I feel like I’m starting to manage my home, and my home is not managing me…

SO – starting next week, I will give a more specific breakdown of the forms I used, explain how I set up my binder (with pictures), and how I am successfully incorporating my plan into my daily schedule & routine.  The weekend will be challenging, but with 2 Final Exams to complete, some sense of schedule must be maintained. =)

The most rewarding thing I’ve discovered is that I have a renewed SENSE OF PURPOSE in the work I do every day.  Even if nobody ever noticed a thing I ever did – I feel better about the things I am accomplishing, and that is changing my attitude for the better. The second most rewarding part is discovering new recipes that my family enjoys.  Having a menu for the week has really eliminated a lot of stress & pressure for me, and it has been so nice to fix yummy, satisfying meals – as opposed to ordering pizza because I didn’t have anything else planned, which also saves money!

Here are some of the resources used in putting all of this together:


Donna Young

Mom Agenda

Better Budgeting

Blog Energizer

List Planit (membership required for some lists)

Free Printable Behavioral Charts

When I talk through my notebooks, I’ll specify which forms I use, and where I found them. =)

Be on the lookout for future posts on this topic.  As always, feel free to comment by adding YOUR tips & suggestions and/or lessons learned in establishing (or not establishing) a system for Home Keeping…

As always,



3 Responses to “Friday Favorites – Notebooking”

  1. Hope Says:

    Wow I am so inspired! I too have struggled in a big way with just this very subject. I just bought myself a new notebook to try to combine a few of my bigger activities in one central place. My three areas are home, faith/scrapbooking and work (I am now officially ‘working’ for my husband’s business). I have used the notebook for a week or so and so far so good. I also have been using igoogle as my home page to help my organize and prioritize while I am online. I just added and removed some ‘gadgets’ on my igoogle to add to the efficiency and hopefully put some more useful lists in front of my face. I am looking forward to hearing more about your notebook!!

  2. TheQueenMommy Says:

    Hope – thanks for your comment! I get inspired to know that I’m not the only one who struggles here, and it helps me stay level headed when I “fall off the wagon” so to speak.

    I think we all have to find that “thing” that works for us. I have an actual Dayplanner, and it is great – but it won’t hold all of the other info I need to stay on top of, so it limits me somewhat. I’d really like to be able to concentrate everything into a smaller unit (5 x 8.5 which will easily fit in most of my purses vs the 8.5 x 11 binder), but I’m going to get settled on one thing and go from there.

    Please keep me posted on your progress, too! I get bored easily (another problem with organizing) so I like keeping things fresh!!! Always looking for new sources/formats. =)

  3. Shanna Says:

    Hey Deb,

    I’m a huge family notebook “pusher”! Ha. I tell all my mom-friends that it’s what keeps me sane. I have a daily chore list, weekly chore plan along with seasonal stuff I’d forget if I didn’t write it down, recipes section along with meal planning, grocery lists, coupons, etc., address book/ stamps/ envelopes/ notecards, emergency info/important numbers… you know, very similar to your homekeeper notebook!

    I’m so type A and thrive on having things “just so”, along with being addicted to lists. This post was right up my alley! Heehee!


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