An Old School Tool for New School Moms

by Angelia Kane

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We can learn a lot from the past. For Southern American women of the 18th and 19th centuries, the receipt book was a household notebook used to run their homes. It was the brains of the home because it contained notes on everything from scheduling chores to keeping treasured recipes. Now in the 21st century, you can create your own receipt book to help you better manage your home.

A quick trip to an office supply store will give you all that you will need to build your household notebook, including:

  • a three-ring binder,
  • some simple tabbed dividers
  • paper for each of the sections

You can also include pocket folders or zippered pockets for creating removable sections and storing office supplies.

Between your family and your home-based business, there are those things that you manage on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For most of us, if we neglect them, it could spell disaster. As smart as most moms are, trying to keep track of everything in your head can be too risky. You're busy and you're likely to forget something! Eliminate some of this hassle by organizing everything in your household notebook.

To start your household notebook, use each tabbed divider to create a new section in your binder. Some suggestions for sections include:

  1. A Schedule section for your calendars, routines, and daily schedules.
  2. A Money section for your budget, bills, and a spending log. Use a removable folder with a closure for this section so that you can pay your bills on-the-go. For instance, I keep all of my bills in a removable folder so that I can pay my bills while waiting for an appointment or a pickup. I just pull everything out, take it with me and leave the rest of my household notebook at home.
  3. A Meals section for your menus, shopping lists, and recipes.
  4. An Emergency section for insurance policy information, medical contacts, or bank account information. This is all of the critical information you'd need in the event of an evacuation. This is a section that should be removable, and stored outside your household notebook. Consider keeping this in a lock box with other important documents. Once you have the Emergency section complete, you don't want this information to be lost or stolen!
  5. A Contacts section for important addresses and phone numbers.
  6. An Auto section for car maintenance information or contact numbers for area mechanics.
  7. A Babysitters section for the numbers of at least two sitters, preferably 3, if the other two aren't available. If you're in an area that has one, keep the number of a 24-hour babysitting service just in case!

Feel free to add more dividers according to your family's needs. For instance, if there are persistent medical issues, you can include a Medical section. If you want to keep decorating ideas or snippets, include a Decor tab. You get the idea.

Remember, your life is dynamic, so update your notebook from time to time to reflect any changes in your life.

The household notebook was an indispensable tool for women of yesteryear. As you resolve to be better organized, use this "old school" tool to make your "new school" modern life run smoother.

This is an excerpt from Get Stuff Done!, an audiobook featuring tips and motivation for at-home moms of young children by Angelia Kane.

Take the Next Step:

  • Pull together a three-ring binder, some simple tabbed dividers and paper for each of the your sections. Then begin to think about what sections you'd like to include in your household notebook (receipt book).

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