Get Organized: Mom Notebook

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The biggest recent influence on me for household organization has been Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity. In it, she suggests making a Home Management Notebook.

(You can read all about how Tsh does that via these posts on her blog, Simple Mom.)

It was revolutionary for me to start thinking in those terms: "Home Management." It gave uumpfh and credibility to how I spend my day, and I needed that. When I acknowledged that I wasn't "just" nursing or changing diapers, but I was also in charge of 4 human's schedules, meals, laundry, and general comfort, it became obvious that I needed a command center. Here it is:

I dream of a kitchen-based desk, with built-ins stretched to the ceiling, a space for my computer and other electronics (with cords and chargers cleverly hidden), drawers for every conceivable paper clip, and a super comfy upholstered chair. . . But honestly? This miniature kitchen island, too short to do anyone any good, with the paper towel holder that does not fit any standard size paper towel roll, with coloring books shoved behind and the insides bursting with craft supplies - it does the job just fine. It is a small space that I have claimed for myself, and it is sacred.

It holds what I call,

I love the idea of pretty things, but I have a hard time putting them into practice. I could have created an attractive notebook, I should have - but this darn Midwestern practicality gets the better of me. I had an extra binder in one of my "used to be a lawyer" boxes, so I used that. It usually stays open, as pictured above.

Under the week at a glance calendar are multiple tabs, which have changed as my kids have gotten older. The standards are:

General Notes - Honestly, this is where I jot down or shove tiny pieces of paper with blog ideas.

Preschool - My most useful tab! I keep all the class rosters, party schedules, school year calendars, etc., in here. I love not searching for these items on a hectic morning.

Activities - I finally learned to write down the bizarre log-in and password information required by our local recreation department here. Also, I stash newspaper articles about summer camps, print outs about soccer clinics, or a list of community holiday gatherings here.

Finally, the last tab is always:

While receipts and to-be-used-immediately coupons go in the front pocket, I save the back pocket for items of inspiration. Most recently, this included an advertisement for faux Christmas trees and two positive parenting articles. I periodically purge this area, and say, "Oh yes, that was a good idea. Too bad I never did it," as I happily toss it into the recycling bin.

See, I simply enjoy having a place to put things. If I don't get to it all, it's okay. If a coupon expires before I use it, no biggie. If we don't make it to every single Santa sighting over Christmas, we will survive. Having it all in the notebook increases the chances of anything getting done exponentially, and it is way better than finding an idea/a coupon/a list/a registration form at the bottom of my purse and saying, "Darn! I meant to do that!"

That is why I (HEART) my Mom Notebook.

If you are interested in prettier versions or additional items to include in your notebook, see:

  • Life . . . Your Way always has the best and most abundant printables. Click here for everything you could ever need in a notebook.
  • Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons recently shared her (way cuter than mine) notebook, with links to many printables. Click here.
  • I love the Master To Do List by Amy at Cajun Joie de Vivre. All of her documents have such soothing colors. Click here.
When I look at theirs, I can see that I am just getting started. But you know what? Mine works for me, and that is the most important thing.

Do you have a Mom Notebook?

Linking with:
Works for Me Wednesdays at We Are THAT Family

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10 Responses to “Get Organized: Mom Notebook”

  1. I have seen this idea now on a few blogs. I just wish I had a spot to put one in my kitchen but then again I guess it might as well replace the pile of papers that are usually on the end of my counter anyway. It seems like it would be very helpful!

  2. Such a great idea and I love that the practicality won out over the "pretty" (it's a battle I fight myself too ;) ). I don't have a notebook (yet) but keeping everything in one spot - especially for coupons to be used and bills to be paid - is appealing.

  3. I have that built in desk and it is just as disfunctional as your little island.  :)  I have the binder, but have not used it in a while.  I may have to start. 

  4. I love my mom notebook too. It definitely keeps the stress down for me.

    Have you thought about a roll of craft paper on your paper towel holder for the kids' artwork?

  5. Thanks for sharing these ideas and how you stay organized at home. I am pretty terrible at organization so your ideas give me hope that I can become a 'new organized woman' this year.

  6. Oh, Jessica . . . if only I could cook like you! I'll come organize your house, and you can come cook for my family. I think they would be thrilled!

  7. Genius! I am now going to be on the look out for craft paper that will fit on that roll. Thanks, Nancy!

  8. But Andrea, you are so crafty and creative - I know you could make my notebook look pretty in three seconds. I just don't have that gene. And I agree with keeping everything in one spot. That is key for me.

  9. But Andrea, you are so crafty and creative - I know you could make my notebook look pretty in three seconds. I just don't have that gene. And I agree with keeping everything in one spot. That is key for me.

  10. There are so many ways to get organized. Thank you for the great tips!