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Keeping a Household Manual

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For all you Flyladies, this is also known as a Control Journal. I don’t like to use the word control though so instead I’ve named mine a Household Manual. Rhonda at Down to Earth uses a Home Management Journal. What is a household manual? Exactly what it sounds like, it is a complete manual of instructions, information, and advice about your home and family. It contains everything you need to help you stay organised around the house. We’ll look inside the household manual, in depth, a little later but for now let’s discuss how to get started with a household manual.

Probably the most versatile format for a household manual is a binder. This way you can add and remove things as your household changes, rather than having to start a new book. An ordinary notebook will not give you the same flexibility. With a binder you can simply swap out old pages for new ones when they need to be updated (things like emergency information & phones that are likely to change over time). You won’t be able to do this with a notebook without it getting very messy & confusing.

Materials you need:

  • Binder
  • Dividers
  • Plastic sleeves
  • Paper
  • Pen

Once you’ve found all the materials you need to create you binder, it’s time to start gathering together all the information you are going to put into it. Scout around the house (and in your handbag) for any notebooks, files, outstanding bills, phonebooks, To Do lists, takeaway menus, anniversary & birthday lists etc. These are what you are going to organise into your household manual. If you have a spare hour or two it’s best to gather all of these together to begin with and that way you can sit down and compile your manual all at once, if not, you can skip this step and gather this information as you need it. Now that you have your binder and all of the information you need to put in it together in one place you can start compiling your manual.

Household manuals do not need to look pretty. In fact, to begin with, it’s better if they are messy. That way you won’t feel intimidated to add to it. Household manuals are a constant work-in-progress so if you want them to look nice and contain neatly printed pages, you’ll need to update those pages regularly. It’s often easier & quicker to add new information by writing into the manual rather than finding the right document on your computer, updating it and printing it out again. Once you’ve been using your manual for a few months you might type up a neat version of some pages and print them out but in the beginning this is not necessary.

Another option is to use someone else’s printouts and simply add your details to them. There are heaps of printouts available online, there’s a thorough list of options on tipnut.

Here are some of the things in my journal to get you started:

  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Shopping List
  • Meal Plans
  • To Do
  • To Buy
  • Budget
  • Prescriptions
  • Outstanding Bills
  • Routines (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly)
  • List of Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Family Fun Day Ideas
  • Gifts Ideas
  • Holiday Checklist
  • Evacuation Checklist
  • Moving Checklist
  • Address Changes
  • Meal Ideas
  • Takeaway menus
  • Recipes to try
  • Home Maintenance things to do
  • Garden tips
  • Cleaning tips
  • Books to read
  • Parenting articles
  • Family history information
  • Child development checklists
  • Wills
  • First Aid booklet
  • Australia Post Parcel Charges information sheet

What are some of the things that you have in your household manual?

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