Creating A Household Notebook
by Inez Haythorn

A household notebook is a simple tool that can make your life easier in so many ways. It can help you save time and money, stay organized, and track whether you are accomplishing your goals. In the future, it will serve as a treasure of recorded memories. My sons are in high school and college now. I still have planners that I kept from their early years. It was fun seeing "pack diaper bag" or "fix formula" on my list!

One way to create a household notebook is to use a three ring binder with dividers and notebook paper. It will remind you of being back in school! If you can find the dividers with pockets, that will be even more useful. You may want to add or change categories to suit your needs, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. 

The first divider could be labeled "Daily To-Do List". At the top of the paper, write the day and date and list everything you need to do that day. If you are like most women, your list will probably be a mile long. We all tend to plan more than we can actually do in one day, and then end up being frustrated and stressed. So when you are finished with your list, go back and put a star by the priorities. The other tasks are optional. If they don't get done that day, cross them out and write them on the next day's page. You could also have pages for weekly and monthly chores in this section. I have found that when daily devotions are the first thing on my list, the rest of the day goes better!

The second divider is very helpful. It is the shopping list. This may take awhile for you to compile, but it is well worth the effort. Make one list for food items, one for health and beauty, another for cleaning and paper products. It may help you to divide those lists into even smaller categories, such as baking, frozen foods, canned foods, and so on. Then, when you are planning your trip to the grocery store, you can quickly go down your master list and jot down what you need on a separate sheet of paper. This helps prevent impulse buying. It also keeps you from getting back from the store and realizing that you forgot several things you needed.

I also have a master shopping list for clothes for each member of my family. This way I can tell at a glance what would make a nice birthday or Christmas gift. It also makes shopping for school clothes more efficient.

Since cooking is a huge part of our lives, why not make it as easy and organized as possible? Label the third divider "Menus". Take an hour or so and write down all of your family's favorite meals. Include the meat or main dish, side dishes, vegetables, salads, fruit, beverages and desserts. Try to come up with at least twenty different meal plans. They don't have to be elaborate. Ordinary, healthy, tasty meals are fine. For example, one meal could be this:

  • Meat loaf
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Peas
  • Cole slaw
  • Rolls
  • Canned peaches

Now, you can plan your weekly menus without worrying about having the same meals over and over. It also helps to have a printable calendar in your notebook. Write a dinner for each day, and plan your shopping list from it. If you have dividers with pockets, you can tuck in some coupons to use to go with these meals.

Now is the fun part! We all have special meals to celebrate different holidays. Relatives bring their unique dishes. Why not write them down? This not only helps to efficiently plan holiday feasts, but it preserves our traditions and recipes for future generations. Include the recipes for each dish, and your will have an heirloom to pass on to your children.

There seems to be a lot of evidence that keeping a food journal can help us to stick with a healthy eating plan. Writing down our daily food intake helps us to track our calories and food groups, and encourages us to be accountable for what we put in our mouths. This divider could be labeled "Diet and Exercise". As with your daily chores, label a sheet of paper for each day. Write down everything you eat for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Don't forget snacks and anything in between Then, at the end of the day, you can tally your calories or food groups. Don't forget to include your glasses of water.

At the bottom of the page, write down your daily exercise. Do you walk, do exercise videos, or play a sport? Log the activity and number of minutes. (Make sure your doctor has approved your eating and exercise plan!)

Being organized is a great benefit to us and our families. It can help us be more efficient, less stressed, have healthier habits, and even save us some money. A well thought-out household notebook can help us achieve this goal.

Author's URL:
Inez Haythorn is a Christian wife, mother, elementary school teacher, pianist, and freelance writer. Her main writing interests are Christian writing, and writing about lifestyles and memoirs of the past. She is the publisher of Christian Family Treasures, Heirloom Memories, and Cherished Collections. Her goal is to glorify and honor God, and bless and help others. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

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