My Notebook


Home Organization
I like a clean and organized home. If my home is cluttered or chaotic then it makes it very difficult for me to think and be organized in other areas. I don’t like messes and disorganization. I don’t like looking at something that has gotten dirty (like the inside of my microwave or dust building up in corners or a bathtub with soap scum on it) and say.. better get that cleaned today! I wanted my home to always be (as much as is reasonable of course) in a clean state. But where do I start for something like this?

I started by walking through each room of my home and writing down EVERYTHING I need to do to keep it clean. I wrote down the chores, even if they were only something I did a couple times of year. Then I typed all this out on my computer and saved it. As I thought of things I may have forgotten in my initial walk thru I added them to my list.

Then from that “Master Cleaning List” I began to break down the chores into daily lists. I have a separate list for each day of the week. Now when Monday morning comes along I am not feeling like life is overwhelming me from the weekend. I turn in my notebook to “Monday’s Chores” and begin. Same it true for the rest of the week. The only day that does not have a cleaning list is Sunday. That is our day off, except for keeping up on dishes and basic things.


My list of chores is extensive because I have a big family and we put a lot of wear and tear on our home. The floors get dirty often, each room is heavily used and needs daily care, we have one bathroom for the 7 of us and it needs lots of maintenance. So my daily list of chores probably looks overwhelming to those with small families. But don’t let that discourage you in creating your own list with your own priorities. Not everyone needs to wash their bathroom floor 3 times a week or vacuum as often as I do.

Here are my cleaning lists to help get you started:
Links to Cleaning Lists

Also in my Home Organization section I have a list of phone numbers and a monthly calendar of events.

I have seen some notebooks with a “bills to pay” section which may be helpful if you are the bill payer in the family. My hubby takes care of that department so that section was not needed for me.

Another section some may find helpful is a checklist of children’s clothing items. You could keep track of your children’s winter and summer clothes and be able to assess what needs to be purchased each season. My children are all older now so I don’t store many clothes anymore for them and decided this was not a necessary section for me.

Another section that could be added would be one for household items that need to be purchased. A list could be kept and you could take this list with you when you went thrift store or garage sale shopping. After 26 years of building a home I have most of what I need and am usually in the process of thinning out! LOL..

Meal Planning and Grocery Organization
The best way I know to save money on the grocery budget is to be very well organized. I plan out my menus each month. As much as possible I choose low cost basic food staples and cook from scratch. Because of that I need to always be thinking ahead. Waiting till 5:00pm to decide what to have for dinner will not work for me. I don’t buy prepackaged or convenience foods.

Because I cook and bake from scratch I need to have my pantry stocked with basics and eat basic foods. I keep pantry lists and master grocery lists. A master grocery list is similar to a master cleaning list. It is a list of all the foods I buy. In order to create this my family’s diet has to be pretty basic. I broke my list down to the stores I shop at and my food co-op. I use my master lists to prepare for grocery shopping or ordering. I go through the list to see if any of my staples need replacing.

I buy my groceries from basically 3 different places. One is Costco. I buy a good amount of my basic foods from Costco. They have the best prices on dairy, meat, canned goods, produce and so forth.

I shop for a few things at Winco. This is a bag-your-own-groceries type of store with extremely good prices. I don’t buy a whole lot there, just the items I can’t find at Costco.

Then lastly I purchase a good amount of my food from Azure Standard. They sell whole grains, beans, organic sweeteners, and better quality grocery items (organic foods made without refined products, MSG, hydrogenated oils and additives). I order monthly with a group and go and pick up my order on a specific day.

Aside from a basic grocery list I also keep a pantry list so I can check my supplies and not run out of items like baking soda or cinnamon right when I decide to make a batch of cookies.

Also in this section I have a monthly menu calendar. I make myself a new calendar every month and I also post these monthly on my site (click here to see them). I put this menu in a page protector and put it into my notebook. On the page right next to my menu I have a running grocery list. I jot down items that I need that are on my menu and on my basic lists. When it is time to go to the store I have my lists just about ready. All I need to do is run a quick check on basic supplies using my master grocery lists.

Finally the last section is my homeschooling section. Mostly I have a lot of calendars in this section. One for assignments for my kids as a group and each child has their own section with their own calendars which show individual assignments and help keep us on track so we can finish our books by the end of the year.

To assemble this note book I purchased a 2 inch, 3 ring binder. I made divider pages and backed them with medium weigh card stock and printed out the divider pages. I inserted the divider pages into the page protectors. I bought self sticking tabs and marked each of the main sections.  I added more divider pages for menu plan, pantry lists, phone numbers, daily to-do's and each of my children have their own section in the homeschooling section.



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