Perhaps it's because we are having the baby this month, perhaps it's because my mother is coming to stay at our house, or perhaps it's just finally time, but whatever it is spurring my great desire for an organized home is a good thing. I joked with Kirk that it has only taken me about 8 months of being a SAHM (stay at home mom) to finally get on the clean & organized boat. I have been trying really really hard these past few weeks to keep up on housework and finances (which is like a totally other post all in itself)!
So, having great desire but not sure how to proceed, I went to the Internet. I found a great website called www.organizedhome.com where I learned about a wonderful tool called the Home Notebook. I have been dreaming about one of these for quite a while, but didn't really know how I wanted to set it up. So, on this beloved website, I found forms to print and categories to put in my Notebook. I was so excited :) Now, I know you want to know what I put in my Notebook, so here it is:
1) an emergency contacts sheet, which includes all the info a babysitter would ever need in the case of an emergency (I printed it out on the organizedhome.com)
2) a weekly day-by-day chore chart. It can be overwhelming when the house gets sooo dirty that I don't know where to start cleaning. Now, everyday, I know what I am doing, and this way, the house never gets out of control (hopefully)!
3) a local yellow pages I put together of all the restaurants and phone numbers that we may want food from after the baby comes. Or when we have out-of-town guests here, they can see what all is close by. I am also enclosing a section full of take-out menus.
4) a food section. It has two pages of menu choices, all under the main meat heading, of things I know how to cook and that are fairly quick and easy to make. Next, I have a blank weekly menu page I can take out every week to plan out our family dinners. I don't worry about breakfast or lunch, cause they don't require much more than instant oatmeal and sandwiches. Also included is my absolute favorite thing: my grocery shopping list. I spent two hours making this beauty and just LOVE it. It is a two-page all-inclusive list of everything I could think of that we buy at the grocery store. I set it up for Wal-Mart, since that is where I do most of my shopping. I started with Dairy, which is in the complete back of the store, and worked my way up the isles category by category so it ends with freezer and fruits & veggies. I don't worry about forgetting anything now because before I go shopping I go thru the list and mark anything I need. It also helps me to not buy "extra stuff" that we don't really need, because I know that I have a complete list and I feel safe knowing I didn't leave anything off.
5) a list section. This includes a list called "Projects to Do", which has a date heading, a project heading, and a cost heading. When we think of something we need or would like to do, we write it on the list so we don't forget it later. And with the cost heading, we can prioritize our expenses to include certain projects. The next list is a "Things to Buy". Here we write down "extras" we want or think we need. It also has a cost heading and a store heading so I know where to get it at. I put the more expensive items that we can't afford right away and the little things we need but that don't go on the grocery list on "things to buy". Right now it has some baby items, like the double stroller and a bassinet, and also the random things, like a thicker shelf for the TV armoire that we need to get at Home Depot. Also in my list section is a Birthday/Anniversary list. How many times do I flip the calendar and see that someone is having a Bday that week and don't have time to send a card or gift. Plus, I don't keep up on my calendar like I should. This way, at the beginning of the month, I can go check the list, and mark off if I sent or already bought something.
This is all I have for now, but it is still a work in progress. It really does help me though. If anyone wants a copy of my Grocery Shopping list or any other list I made, leave a comment with your email and I will send it to you. They are excel files so you can change it up to fit your family a little better. Now Mom, when you come visit this month, make sure to say how clean the house is!!!