My Home Keeping Journal
Debbie asked how I set up my Home Keeping journal. I think these are about as individual as the homemaker who puts one together because they are a tool and we all need different tools. What you put in one, how you use it, is strictly up to you and your family needs.
First let me say that the purpose of a Home Keeping Journal is to keep frequently needed information where it is easily accessible. I've used notebooks for years as journals, but in amongst my personal thoughts you'd find grocery lists, brainstorming lists, recipes, budget sheets,etc. Finding the needed information at any point was a challenge. I figured there had to be a better way and that was when I stumbled upon the first mention of a Home Keeping notebook.
Here is where I made my first mistake...I assumed that every Home Keeping Journal was the same for every Homemaker. I printed out a bunch of sheets and set up my notebook exactly as the blogger had and then I struggled to make it fit my needs. It was pretty. It had a lot of pretty pages but it didn't work for me at all. In the end I abandoned it.
A Home Keeping Notebook may contain: a calendar, a daily planner, ledger sheets for budget, address book, menus and recipes, shopping lists, a price list, a phone book, project instruction sheets, inspiration pages, wardrobe helps, health information for family members, school project calendars, price sheets, etc etc etc. There are endless possibilities. Rhonda recently put one together and featured it on her blog. Rhonda used a notebook she already had on hand. Rhonda decorated hers using craft supplies that were in her home. I did the same. I used scrapbook papers to make mine look pretty and for the decorative dividers I used a set of pretty file folders I found at Tuesday morning and cut in half then hole punched to fit the notebook. I used tabs on the edges to designate each section.
For my notebook I have these sections: Monthly Calendar, Monthly Goals, Annual Budget, Grocery/Shopping, Home Keeping Routines, Menu/To Do, Inspiration, Holiday/Special Events.
Each section has certain things in it. Obviously the calendar includes my monthly sheet but also sheets for coming months with birthdays and special days listed on. I also include a list of family birthdays, Feast Days, Shabat Times (that changes weekly) and when particularly busy days come up, an appointment sheet.
In my Monthly Goals section: I have a list of things I hope to accomplish each month. If there is a special project I'm working on the instructions might well be found in this area, or a sheet with brainstorming ideas to help me tackle a bigger task.
The Annual Budget section doesn't just include my annual budget. It's where I keep track of our quarterly budget as well. The annual budget is based upon the figures I'm working with in the last quarter of the previous year. The quarterly figures are based upon any changes in hours worked or wages or increases or decreases in other areas of the budget from the previous three months. It's not necessary to do this but it's my way of keeping track of how we're doing. In this segment of my book I also keep a running list of brainstormed ideas for ways to raise money, increase savings in various areas including the grocery section, etc. I also have a list of items that need to be attended to in the coming year that pertain to our overall financial health that includes notations like Cd renewal or insurance renewals etc.
Next up is my Grocery/shopping section. Here I keep a running tally of each month's grocery expense. My goal is to spend an average of $350 a month or less on groceries. I track my spending on a ledger sheet, listing each month's expenses. I also keep active shopping lists in this section. I have a thrift store list, a list of clothing needs, a list of things I must buy at pharmacy or Target or Walmart. I have a list for craft items I've found I needed to complete a project,etc.
Home Keeping Routines are just that. I have the Homemaker's Checklist as the first page in this section. It's a listing of things to be sure I've done daily before starting any work: Have I had Bible study? Did I pray? Have I showered and dressed for the day? Do I have a plan for dinner? Is food thawing for that meal? Have I had breakfast? Do I have a To Do list? Simple but efficient way to keep me focused and on target for the day ahead.
I also have my current homemaking routine in this section. This section also has a listing of deeper cleaning jobs to be done.
Menu/To Do is fairly self explanatory I think. I keep my food inventory list in this section as well, so I can use that as my menu inspiration. I'm still working on trying to keep current with the food inventory list. It's a tedious job to do this once a month and even more so once quarterly. I'm going to see if I can't create a master list of my own and keep a copy in each section of my home as well as copies in my notebook. My weekly To Do list is also listed in this section.
Inspiration As I read magazines and get ready to discard them, I usually tear out pages that contain recipes, coupons, stories, photos etc. I also keep a sheet of paper handy next to my chair to jot down those great ideas that pop into my mind as I'm working on computer or watching a TV program or am reading one of the vintage magazines. I keep a running list for each month and then I file it in this section of my notebook. At the end of the month, I sort the magazine pages and distribute them to the recipe folder, the coupon file, various files I keep.
Holiday/Special Events I like to keep a running file for holidays. Here is where I'll keep special recipes, ideas for decorations or gifts, a list of necessities for the feasts we'll celebrate, or special events I hope to plan and carry out such as a picnic or romantic date or family party, etc. If I've experienced any of these events you'll find a list of what worked/what didn't/what to try next year as well. It's very helpful for the next year.
What I hope to add: Although I have a nice little address book I'd like to keep a list of addresses handy in this home keeping notebook as well. It's not always convenient for me to run to find my address book when I'm placing an online order for a gift, etc. So I'd like to find a full sized address sheet to help me be more efficient.
I have a few pocket pages in my notebook but I'd like to add more so that I can keep one in my calendar section for birthday cards in my notebook to keep me mindful to send them out. I've already missed sending Bess' birthday card this year.
I may have to swap to a bigger notebook, but it would be very convenient to add a section for my flea market booth in the notebook as well.