Brainstorming About a Home Management Notebook

How do you keep track of your household’s important information? I don’t currently have a system for this, but I’m developing one.

It’s time for a pop quiz!

  1. If your electricity goes out, what phone number should you use to contact your electricity provider? You likely don’t have it memorized (if you do, you’ve been losing power too often!), but where in your house can you find the number?
  2. What’s for dinner tonight?
  3. The trim on the front of your house needs to be touched up. What color of paint do you need to repair it?
  4. When is your sister-in-law’s birthday?
  5. On what day of the month is your gas bill due?

If you were able to easily and accurately answer all of these questions, then it appears you have a good handle on the abundance of information required to keep life running smoothly. Unfortunately, many of us stumble when trying to answer at least a couple of the questions.

The information I routinely need is scattered throughout my house. Emergency numbers and our monthly menu are on the fridge. Addresses are kept in a spreadsheet on my computer. Birthdays are written in my planner. Bill information is in a spreadsheet on my husband’s computer. Home maintenance information is kept on various sticky notes and notecards in stacks on our desks and the kitchen table (you can guess how well this is working for us). You get the idea. I have no system or central location for organizing all of this information.

For about a year and a half I’ve mulled the idea of creating a home management notebook to organize this information. Despite the fact that it might make my daily life more efficient, I’ve hesitated because of the upfront time and effort it will take to assemble the notebook. I’ve finally decided to go for it!

I’m putting a lot of thought into this because I want to develop a system that really works for me. I’m still brainstorming and you can help! Consider the following questions and provide your suggestions in the comments section.

  • Do you have a home management notebook? If you do, how is it structured? If you do not, how do you keep track of all of your household’s important information?
  • In addition to the examples mentioned above, what information do you think would be good to keep in a home management notebook?
  • Do you think it would be best to have a physical notebook or to keep the information in an electronic format on the computer? Or is there an optimal mix of the two?

Thanks for sharing your ideas! I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Comments

  1. Carol Cook says:

    Hi Shannon!

    We keep track several different ways….but I am a notebook person…so I always have notebooks set up.

    We have a bill notebook, that shows dates due, amounts due, date paid. It looks like a spreadsheet, but it is actually a WordPerfect document (my strength is WordPerfect, but I am sure you are very computer literate).

    We have a house notebook, that shows dates we purchased major appliances (we only have the furnace and air conditioner to buy). It also has date purchased, receipt from the store (you will need that in case of fire), model numbers and serial numbers. It is in our safe.

    Phone numbers and addresses are on my laptop (with backup on an external hard drive in the safe).

    I keep all birthdays in my calendar, and address book I carry with me.

    Not sure this helps….but wanted you to know I do read your every post. You are very organized!

    Carol

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks, Carol. That’s very helpful feedback!
      I hadn’t thought about keeping track of the information on our appliances, so that’s especially useful. I have a very bad habit of not backing up my documents as frequently as I should, so your mention of the eternal hard drive is a good reminder to me to do this more often!

  2. I don’t keep a notebook, but my husband and I have a bulletin board in our office/den with most of this sort of information on it (or we keep it in the file cabinet beneath the board).
    Information you didn’t mention that we keep on the board includes a chore chart for the kids, a copy of our budget, and an inventory of foods we have on hand in the freezer and pantry.

    • Shannon says:

      An inventory of foods in the freezer and pantry is a great idea! How did you get started doing that? Was it so you wouldn’t forget about food? Or to help with making your grocery list?

  3. Charlotte Thiel says:

    Insurance info-like Life insurance, and agents phone numbers, Doctor’s phone numbers, info on will or trust including info on medical directives, Medical info such as history for all of you and allergies, Guarantee and waranty info on appliances, electronics, yard equipment etc. I expecially think you ought to have a comprehensive home inventory, complete with pictures and serial numbers in case of loss by any means. It might also be helpful to keep a running list (and rec’ts) of major home improvements because when you sell the house many of them might be tax deductible. Some ideas…. and when you get it all in order, you will be able to encourage me to do mine….

If this is your first time commenting or if something in your text triggers a spam filter, then your comment will be held for moderation and will not be visible immediately. It will be visible as soon as I am able to approve it. Thanks for joining in the conversation!

Join the Conversation

*