When I was in university, I lost my Filofax (read cell phone if you are under 40); I almost had a panic attack. My whole life was in that book. Now that’s how I feel about my house binder; thank god it never leaves the kitchen.
So, what is a house binder? Exactly what it says, a binder of notes and lists and information that you use to run your household chores and duties. It can be an invaluable tool for sharing information with your family and your outsourcers, as well as serving as a tickler file for you.
I know what many of you are going to say; get with the times, everything is digital now. Although most of my life has moved to my cell phone and laptop, there are still some things that work better on paper, at least for me.
Do you doodle while you are on the phone? Do you put symbols and circles and sketches in with your notes? If so, like me you are probably very visual; which means brainstorming and thinking in digital has not yet been perfected. Paper still rocks for that stuff, sometimes I use my pencil crayons too, just for color. My brain likes color.
If you are really attached to technology, I will be making some recommendations for doing some of these activities online in a later post. I do prefer it for some activities.
I have used some form or another of this technique all of my life. It has been a shoe-box, a file folder, a thumb drive. None worked very well until now. My binder started when I had to have a full-time housekeeper. Suddenly everything had to be together, easy to find and in one place for everyone in my family while I was in the hospital. I did not want to be woken up after surgery with a phone call “Honey, we can’t find the…”.
This required more discipline and planning than I had ever done before, certainly more than you have time for. So, I will be sharing these documents and templates with you. I will publish one every week or so; one will be a copy of mine, all filled out, and the other will be a blank, for you to fill in yourself.
Use the templates you like, skip the ones you don’t. Also, there are some wonderful people out there who already do some of this, so I will point you to them as well, and you can leverage some of their brilliant ideas.
My one suggestion is that you put it all in one binder, with tabs, so that you can find it again when you need it. Pick an attractive distinctive binder, so you’ll see it right away if it’s not put back, and so that you won’t be upset by looking at it all the time. If you are interested in outsourcing this binder will make your life a lot easier. If you plan to get your kids involved, it may save your relationship; let them hate the binder, not you. When they whine: “but it’s too (hard, long, much, etc…)” just blame me.
Your binder should live in the nerve center of the house, usually the kitchen, and be accessible to everybody. If somebody wants a page, great make a copy. Better yet, let them photograph it with their cell phone, so they never lose it. Organize it by topic or by person, whatever works for you. I will make suggestions as we go.