This month I am working through January’s task in The Simple Home of creating a home binder. I have to admit that this chapter hasn’t been as inspiring to me as making handmade dryer balls, re-organizing our laundry room, or pulling together our winter medicine cabinet but even so I do recognize its value. Having a single dedicated spot to gather all of our schedules, important dates, responsibilities, necessary documents, and even some of our dreams I am sure will serve me well over the year.
To complete the home binder I began by pulling together my supplies:
- 40 Pocket Presentation Book: I like this type of binder because each of our sheets will be in a page protector and will hold up to constant handling, and possible coffee spills!
- Calendar for home: I couldn’t resist this beautiful barn calendar from Fox Hollow Studios on Etsy and one for my purse.
Step 1: Pencil in Important Dates
The first step in pulling together the “Home Binder” is to prepare a spot dedicated to calendaring important dates and obligations. I began by jotting down the things that are the most fun first: birthdays and anniversaries and then followed those up by penciling in weekly meetings and appointments.
The process of pulling all of these things together, though it feels good when it is completed, can be daunting and overwhelming during the process. I read this nugget of wisdom recently from Katrina Kenison, author of Mitten Strings for God. I love what she shared about making the commitment to ’empty time’. This is something my children and I have been talking about a lot recently. Many times our true desires, gifts, abilities, and the longings of our hearts are stifled because we are in a constant state of hustle. We make little time to be still and quiet. To be who God created us to be, to experience the love He wants to lavish upon us, to be filled with His Spirit we must also make time to nurture ourselves. Make sure to plan that in, too!
As mothers we are constantly pulled in two directions: Can we negotiate the demands of our careers and the world at large, and meet our own emotional and physical needs–not to mention those of our children–at the same time? Can we keep our sights on what is important in any given moment? Do we know how to shut the door, stop the noise, and tune in to our own inner lives?
Over the years, I have learned to quit speeding through life, but it is a lesson I must take up and learn again every day, for the world conspires to keep us all moving fast. I have found that it is much easier for me to stay busy than to make a commitment to empty time–not surprising, perhaps, in a culture that seems to equate being busy with being alive. Yet if we don’t attend to life’s small rituals, if we can’t find time to savor “dailiness,” then we really are impoverished. Our agendas starve our souls. – Katrina Kenison
Step 2: Include Important Financial Documents
Some things I included in this category are:
- A printed copy of our budget.
- A printed copy of how each paycheck is divided: to bills, to setback, and to cash.
- A page that shows our insurance policies with information we would need in case of an emergency such as the name of our agent, their phone number, and our policy number.
- Warranty information on vehicles, large appliances, and big ticket items.
Step 3: Gather a List of Home Projects
This was one of the categories I really enjoyed putting together. Like some of you I have pinterest boards that I use to inspire my homemaking dreams, but I have never considered printing off the ones that I truly love and keeping them protected in a special place. Now that I have done so, it seems that having them in a space all their own moved those things I really love from being just a dream to a possible plan of action.
I carefully sorted through my pinterest boards, printed off things that I believe would add long term value to our home and added it to my home binder. Beside each picture I made note of what I loved about it so that I wouldn’t forget in the future.
After I did this I also went through our home examining every room from top to bottom and making note of things that need to be fixed, replaced, repainted, updated, etc. Our home is old and was very neglected by previous owners. The list of things we need to fix is long; having them written out will help us stay focused.
Step 4: Include Homeschool Inspiration
I am keeping the inspiration for Morning Time Plans and ideas for our own homeschooling in this category.
It is so easy for me to browse instagram, get inspired by something I see and then scroll down to the next instagram post on my feed and forget all the things that just inspired me seconds before. Having a place to jot down those ‘instant’ ideas will be a great place to come back to when I plan our homeschool days.
Some categories I will include in this section are: books, crafts, experiments, homeschool rooms, storage, websites, and more.
Step 5: Write Out Plans for the Outdoors
- You summer garden ideas: sketches, a list of seeds to plant, plants to purchase, a timeline for preparation
- Landscaping needs
- A list of home repairs that need to be made to the exterior of your home
The list of things you can include in your home binder is endless. I have only included a few suggestions here, but other things you could include are: Bible study plans, workout schedules, weekly menu plans, favorite recipes, crafts to complete, or really anything you love and feel is important to you.