Friday, March 2, 2012

The Boucher Family Binder

UPDATE:  Since posting about my binder in March 2012, several friends have asked for my forms/templates.  To make it easier for everyone, I created a Google Docs page for you to access the forms and edit them for your own use.  Here is the link to my Family Binder Shared FolderI hope the forms are helpful!

I found a fantastic book about a month ago.  It's called "House Works: How to live clean, green, and organized at home."

The book has all kinds of practical tips to make your home run more efficiently so that you can reclaim the time you want to spend with family, friends, and doing your favorite activities. 

The author, Cynthia Townley Ewer, has a website ( that has a lot of the same information within the book.  I highly recommend checking out the site!  With the free time I've gained during my Lenten Facebook Fast, I have been reading this book and implementing her recommendations, including the Household Notebook.

The Household Notebook is a central information hub with all of your family's essential information.  It may be morbid, but another reason I created our Household Notebook was out of fear.  I keep a lot of our family's information in my head.  If something ever happened to me, nobody would know a lot of the ins and outs of how our home and family work.  Now, I have great peace of mind knowing that all of the information from my head is both current and on paper so that things can continue to run relatively smoothly should something ever happen to me. 

In addition to being our family's go-to information center, I want our Household Notebook to be personalized and fun to look at.  Instead of buying a binder with regular dividers, I chose to personalize it.  I settled on a white 1 1/2" binder with a D-ring.  I found cute scrapbooking paper and stickers at JoAnn's and chose a floral theme.

Front cover.  I chose to include a quote from Blessed Pope John Paul II on marriage.

Front cover and spine.
Binder spine close-up

Back of binder.  I chose to include Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Nazareth Prayer for the Family.
Once I finished the cover for the binder, I created the dividers.  Cynthia Ewer from gives you some recommendations on dividers for your notebook.  After reading her list and considering our family's needs, and ended up with seven dividers.  To personalize them, I stuck with my floral theme, and I put the pages into page protectors with a title centered on white paper, a solid-color cardstock, and a border behind it.  I also attached clear index dividers with the same headings on the side of the page protectors so that I can flip to each section quickly.  

Here are my seven dividers and a list of what will go into each section:

"Home Management" is my place for things like: a daily, weekly, and master to-do lists, cleaning schedules, household systems, seasonal chores, organization tips, cleaning information, decorating ideas, and auto information.  

"Meals" is my place for: weekly and monthly menu planner forms, grocery list forms, inventory forms, recipes to try, favorite recipes, and food storage guidelines.
"Finances" is the place for my monthly budget worksheet/receipt storing, bills to pay/online service and account information, credit card list, insurance information, utilities/services directory, and important warranty information.  This is my basic finance go-to place, but all sensitive information is stored under lock and key.

"Health" is my spot for a medical sheet for each family member, a medical authorization form, prescription drug records, insurance information, baby percentiles by month, schedule of visits to the pediatrician, a place for questions for the next appointment, pet health records, and a diet tracker.
"Activities, hobbies, & fun" is my place for the hours our favorite places are open as well as their addresses and phone numbers, rosters/calendars from groups we belong to, craft/activity ideas for me and the kids, a list of books to read, a list of movies to rent, and a travel checklist.
"Family & Celebrations" is my spot for a clothing sizes tracker for all family members (tops, bottoms, shoes, etc.), a master occasions list of birthdays/anniversaries/other important milestones, party planning forms, gift ideas, a holiday gift list, Christmas card address list, Christmas gift exchange list, holiday menu planners, and a décor inventory.  I think I'll ultimately end up with a separate Christmas binder.  (UPDATE:  Since writing this post, I created a Family Christmas Planner with a shared Google Docs page as well.)
"Emergency and Babysitter Information" is my spot for essential emergency information, the kids' schedules, and a family disaster plan.

If you'd like to make a Household Notebook for your home, and you'd like to to use my format, there's no need for you to go to all of the trouble on your own!  I already have all of the templates, forms, labels, etc. saved on my computer.  If you'd like them (any or all), shoot me an e-mail at or write a comment below with your e-mail address.  I've seen these forms on Etsy for $3.00 a piece or $40.00 for the JPEG file for the entire binder.  Save yourself some time and money, and I'll send you what I have.  Take what I've made, and make it your own!  Pick and choose the dividers that work for you, select a theme that you'll enjoy, and make a Household Notebook that will help you reclaim more time with the ones you love!  In future posts, I will be introducing each divider of my binder, share the tips I've learned from the book, and upload divider-specific forms/templates.  Here's to having a home that runs smoothly!

UPDATE:  In case you missed the link at the top of this post, I created a shared folder on Google Docs with all of my family binder templates.  Enjoy!   

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