Dec 022008

When Bee was about six months old, I was extremely frustrated. At that time, we still owned a business, and I was frazzled and exhausted by the demands of caring for a baby, while managing a household and a business office at the same time.

In those days, I was a “piler” of papers. In most aspects of my life, I was very organized, but paper was still a real problem for me. I didn’t have an effective filing system, and I found that my most frequently used papers were always getting buried under a pile of junk, so I could never find them when I needed them.

One day, while browsing the bookshelves at Goodwill, I found a book from 1983, called Bonnie’s Household Organizer. Being the organizing junkie that I am, I bought it for a mere 88 cents. I was immediately attracted to Bonnie’s idea of making a binder to organize all of your calendars, schedules and important papers. She called it a “planning notebook,” and I decided that I needed to make one.

I called my notebook the Home Management Guide, because my goal in making it was to have a detailed reference to guide me through my work week as the manager of our home. Over the last six years, the HMG has evolved from a simple binder full of papers, to the most valuable household tool my family has. When I was on bed rest for 6 weeks during my second pregnancy, my husband had to step in and take over the management of our household. My detailed, organized binder made this difficult transition much easier for him, because it contained everything he needed – the cleaning schedule, the master grocery list, my recipes for homemade cleaning solutions, the preschool calendar…everything. My husband loves the HMG, and he often tells other people about how organized our life is because of it. Bee loves to look through her section. She particularly likes to read the sleep chart to see how much sleep she’s supposed to be getting :)

My binder started as a 1-inch, plain white binder, but now, it looks like this:

I’ve used many different sizes and types of binders. My current binder was found in a garage sale free box (it was full of health newsletters, which I tossed in the recycling bin). It’s a white, 3-inch, D-ring binder, with clear front & back pockets, and a sheet lifter. Of all the binders I’ve used, this one is my favorite. The d-rings make opening and closing a large binder much easier, and the sheet lifter helps the pages turn smoothly.

Inside my binder, I have a zippered pouch where I keep my stick-on index tabs, dry erase markers, post-it notes, and a calculator.

I keep most of my pages in clear plastic sheet protectors, and I like to use family pictures, quotes and favorite scriptures on my title and section header pages. I found that after I personalized my binder and made it pretty, it became fun, and I used it more regularly. The first page of my binder is a title page:

On it, I have one of my favorite quotes from Harriet Beecher Stowe:

“Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life’s undress rehearsal, its back room, its dressing room.”

I get more e-mails about the Home Management Guide than any other subject. Over the next few weeks, I will reprint my “Inside the Guide” series of articles from February, to assist anyone who is interested in making an HMG of their own. This is a big project, and I suggest that you work slowly, in sections. If you try to put together a binder all in one day, you’ll feel too overwhelmed, and you’ll be inclined to give up.

Your first steps should be to purchase your supplies, and make your cover and title page. To get started, here’s what you’ll need:

A large (2 inch or bigger), 3-ring binder with clear front pocket
Clear sheet protectors (I use Avery, standard weight)
Stick-on index tabs (I use Post-It brand)
A 3-hole, zippered pouch
Dry erase markers, pens, pencils, post-its, a calculator, and any other supplies that you think you’ll need.
A 3-hole punch

All of these supplies can be purchased at any Wal-Mart.

When your binder is assembled, take the time to make a pretty cover for it. I used sturdy cardstock and scrapbook paper to make my cover, because it was more durable and easier to slide into the pocket. I also put the binder title on the spine, to make locating it on a bookshelf easier. Have fun with this! Let your binder reflect who you are and what you love!

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about section one – Prayer and Bible Study. Have a great day everyone!

Note: To see more How To posts on this subject, select the “Inside the Guide” label in the navigation bar.

  5 Responses to “How to Make a Home Management Guide”

  1. What sections would I put in my home management guide? How do I categorize them? How do you do it?

  2. I love this idea of the HMG! It is so awesome. I am going to start to create my own. Thanks for sharing this. Your Blog is absolutely awesome. I love being organized and I know how to organize well I just have the hardest time ‘keeping’ it that way. Thank you so much for your inspirational thoughts.

  3. I have become somewhat obsessed with your blog, every aspect of it!
    From your HMG to your daily schedule with kids to your recipes!

    I’m a full-time college student, working my way into medical school. I have a 1.5 year old daughter and a little boy due to arrive in November. I’ve recently become a Stay-at-Home Mom, which is totally new and more overwhelming than I thought it would ever be.

    Thank you for sharing all of your tips and tricks with us! I will surely be using your blog as a reference for years to come! 😉

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