I love home organization projects and I recently finished a project that had been on my list for weeks – creating a homemaking binder. While I haven’t used it very long, I absolutely love it. It’s created a steady flow in our home that keeps our lives manageable and less frantic. I’ve felt less like I’m living less by the seat of my pants (though I still have those days) than ever.
Before I returned to work, I had a system for our home that worked well for us. Since returning to work, though, I’ve had to be a little more intentional and focused in my days at home to make sure things run semi-smoothly.
Yesterday, I painted Jackson and Kate’s room and posted a picture in which I mentioned my homebinder. After a couple people asked, “What is a homebinder?” I thought it would be fun to share it on the blog. Now, as a disclaimer: I am truly a very introverted, private person so sharing one of my personal lists online feels a little uncomfortable. However, I’ve decided since I’m approaching 40 it’s time to get out of my comfort zone. So, here goes…
What is a homebinder?
A homebinder is a binder you create that is tailored specifically to you and helping your home function smoothly. When I first heard of it, the nerd in me loved the idea. I researched it online and did not come up with much that I felt I could adapt to my home. I have a personal planner I use (and love) with a daily to do list broken down by morning, afternoon and evening. I didn’t need another personal planner. I needed something to help me not forget to have the piano tuned once a year. I needed something that would help me break down a master to do list into manageable pieces. You know, the whole “how do you eat an elephant”thing. Some of the online homebinders were cute, but I don’t need a lot of fluff. Cute printables with inspirational quotes are lovely, but I need something simple. I also really, really don’t need an extensive list of everything I should do to keep my home in pristine condition. Those kind of lists overwhelm me. Keeping routine maintenance manageable is my goal.
How I created my homebinder
I did a brainstorm of the things that need to happen daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, seasonally and yearly. To be perfectly frank, I’m still adding/adjusting the list so I have not even printed my binder yet. I’m waiting until I’ve used it a few months before I print anything. For now, I love having it on my computer and being able to consult it every Sunday when I plan my week.
One question I like to ask myself is, “What would it take for me to feel organized?” Not, “How are other people organized?” I don’t need a perfect plan. I need a plan that is good enough and practical for my family. The things that work for me in this stage of having 3 small children and being married to a firefighter working 2 jobs are probably different from someone with 2 kids who works full-time. The important thing is knowing your family and what works for you. I have found that “outer order brings inner calm” at our home and that is my goal: enough “outer order” to create the inner calm I need in order to relax.
Setting realistic goals
Not to brag, but I can set seriously AMAZING goals. I inevitably follow this up with an abysmal crash because the goals are amazingly, ridiculously unrealistic. In creating my homebinder I forced myself to remember one simple thing: I am human. A human who needs sleep. Yes, I would love for the floor to be mopped daily. I would love for our sheets to be changed weekly. Instead of stressing myself out trying to get it all done, I focused on being realistic. It’s good enough that we change the sheets bi-weekly (we bathe the kids almost every night before bed so that helps). It’s good enough that the floor is mopped weekly. It’s good enough that I meal plan once a month.
Another thing I tried to keep in mind as I created my homebinder is to add only a few items to each day’s to do list. When I was home full-time with 3 small children I discovered that even simple tasks took much longer than anticipated due to the constant needs and interruptions of my little people. So instead of being a frazzled, frustrated mess I finally learned to limit my to do list to a couple items. I usually have 1-3 items each morning, afternoon and evening. Sometimes life happens and my list isn’the top priotiy but usually I can accomplish at least 1-3 items per day.
How to use the binder
Every Saturday or Sunday I sit down for about 30 minutes and plan our week. Having this binder has been incredibly helpful in me not feeling like I am forgetting something. I quickly reference the to do list for the week and fill in what is on the list for that particular timeframe. This past week I noticed that since it is the first Friday in May it was time for some home improvement in Jackson and Kate’s room. The room has desperately needed a fresh coat of paint so I spent a good part of the day painting (alright, almost all day – it’s a big room with exceptionally high ceilings). While far from perfect, having a freshly painted room made me feel happy. Instead of constantly wondering “when I’m going to ever get to certain projects” I can just check my binder. I can move items around if needed. The binder provides a framework that works for me.
Somehow, even in the busyness of life I am able to relax a little more when I feel that my home is not in utter disarray. We will not be featured in Better Homes and Gardens anytime in the near future, but our home will be a place where routines are in place. I’ve found the more I add simple routines to our lives, the easier life becomes. Instead of having to think about things like “when am I going to clean the bathroom”, I simply know when it will be done.
You’re welcome to look at my homemaking binder.
Have you tried using a homebinder? I would love to hear what works for you!