Works For Me: The Notebook

If my house catches fire, I’m getting the kids first, and this little tool second:

Notebook1_copy There’s no offical name for this–around here, we just call it The Notebook.  And we say it in a reverent whisper.  Basically, it’s where I keep all the catch-all papers it takes to manage this family of six.

On the cover you see a photo of my little darlings (in real life I promise they DO have faces).

Inside the front cover I have taped an assortment of important Notebook2_copyinformation, like social security numbers, combination to the padlock gate in the backyard, and the right way to set a table (it’s my dirty little secret:  no matter how many tables I set, I cannot, CANNOT remember where the napkin and spoon go without a cheat sheet.)

I keep a three-ring hole punch in my kitchen, and any important piece of paper that darkens our door gets punched right away.  Any papers that will be referred to regularly find their way into the The Notebook.  It is NOT for filing papers that I might use once or twice a year (like birth certificates).  And I don’t use it for keeping track of documents to be filed, like paid bills or health insurance statements.  Those documents have a much less glamourous fate awaiting them in the garage filing cabinet. 

My notebook is divided into the following tabs:

  • Pending (for papers that I’ll be working on in the next week or two)
  • Contacts (my phone list)
  • Groceries (where I keep blank forms for this little system)
  • Church
  • Adam–school (these next three tabs hold classroom information I refer to often, like snack schedules, phone lists, etc.  Keepsake-type school papers head out to the filing cabinet)
  • Stephen–school
  • Joseph–school
  • Computer (where I keep all my passwords and ideas for blog posts–a very short list at the moment, by the way)
  • Soccer (I have two boys who play;  this is where we store rosters, schedules, etc.)
  • Scouts (I have two boys in Scouts, too; this is where we keep up with the bazillions of little papers and projects it takes to participate)
  • Ideas (Just a random catch-all place to write down my great ideas that never come to fruition.  This is a LONG list.)
  • Notes (Because you have to keep blank paper somewhere, right?)

This has really helped me keep track of all the paper a busy family can accumulate! 

If you want to share your great idea, please include your Works-For-Me Wednesday Link below.  Guidelines, should you need them, can be found here.

Oh, and one last thing…Jeana and GreenGenes won my little grammar contest yesterday, with the prize being (oh-can-you-stand-the-excitement) an honorary featured position in today’s WFMW post.  SO, you must go and visit them first, because it is a fine, fine thing when a woman knows how to hyphenate. 

1. Pass The Torch (kids and 30 days nothing)
2. Overwhelmed! (creating blogging categories)
3. Shannon (Paid Bills)
4. Rebecca Mielke DIY knee-length board shorts
5. Trisha (on-the-go emergencies)
6. Owlhaven (dealing with big changes)
7. Mama Duck (cleaning tennis shoes)
8. Org Junkie (keeping track of recipes)
9. Meineke (reading and writing)
10. ByGrace (stop that sliding!)
11. sa5ra ($5 clothes)
12. Mieneke (Reading and Writing)
13. Larae (Menu Binder)
14. Kelly (busy morning breakfast)
15. Mary Ann (menu planning)
16. Kathryn (magazine holders)
17. Lindsey (Web Forms)
18. Kel(kids and classical music)
19. Katrina (Gift Stash)
20. Rebecca (Barbie!)
21. Becky
22. Dianne (Blogging Tips)
23. Snapshot (eating more F&V)
24. Barbara H. (reminders for school stuff)
25. BooMama
26. Mom In Action (time saver)
27. Carol (school lunches)
28. Heather (Studying the Classics)
29. TeeTee (Clutter Control)
30. GranolaGirl (creative party favors)
31. Laura (home buying)
32. Chilihead (refreshing your cache)
33. whimsy (web photo albums)
34. Toblerone (Shower Fun w/ Hubby!)
35. Kim (pretty dish detergent!)
36. LammyAnn (Cold-Cereal-Conservation!)
37. Julie — Kitchen Scissors
38. Kristina (Toy Box Organization & Keeping Toys Together)
39. Laurel Wreath (entertainment)
40. Joni (scrap journaling solution)
41. Susanne ~ toy rotation
42. Sandra (Fall Cleaning)
43. Frugal Momma (20 Tips in One Post)
44. Peggy (wear jeans longer)
45. Kim C (don\’t lose posts)
46. Heather (new living arrangements)
47. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving (What\’s for Dinner?)
48. Amy (GPS)
49. MomInTandyLand (School bus)
50. Casey (morning sickness)
51. veronica (gardening cheaply)
52. Tess (blogging)
53. Honey (Child\’s Vacuum)
54. lady laura (new uses-old things)
55. Shalee (Thank Yous)
56. Everyday Mommy (Menu Planner)
57. Pastormac\’s Ann (New Toothbrush?)
58. Melissa (Family Meetings)
59. Melissa (you are special today)
60. Barb (out of the kitchen fast)
61. Shereen(personal worship)
62. Maggie (Electronic calendar use)
63. Pieces (blogger banner)
64. Carmen (learning to ride a bicycle)
65. Nicki (Transporting Library Books)
66. Too Many To Count (kids do-it-yourself)
67. Shannon (Homemade Lacto-Cultured Salsa)
68. Amelia (cleaning out email)
69. Jen (my first one!!!)
70. Mrs Darling) Is Housework a Drudgery?)
71. Amanda (children\’s chores;right link)
72. Ana Paula
73. Mira (keys)
74. BWS (exercise motivation)
75. RaisingFive (Weekly planning for moms)
76. utmommy
77. Crouching Mommy, hidden Laundry (how to keep your sheets tucked in)
78. Biblical Womanhood (Easy Breakfasts)
79. Sundance (Frienship)
80. Des (Travel Airports)
81. Gina (Cutting Food Easily)
82. dcrmom (Musings of a Housewife)
83. Kelli (fast, cheap dinners)
84. Julie (Kids\’ Snacks)
85. The Wooden Porch
86. on the Rock
87. Amy Caroline (Lost Items)
88. Multitasking Mama (Desktop Clutter)
89. petersonclan (Killing Flies)
90. petersonclan (Killing Flies)
91. Catherine (Weight Watchers)

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66 thoughts on “Works For Me: The Notebook

  1. Pass the Torch says:

    Congrats Jeana!
    Shannon, I’m guessing you have labels on your handy-dandy notebook too, don’t you?
    I’ll have to post about the new label-maker I bought because of one of your recent WFMW’s. But first, I need to figure out how to work the darn thing…

  2. Rebecca says:

    Shannon, that is the best idea. I need all the help I can get, and I just happen to have a really special notebook with scrapbook covers available.

  3. Kelly says:

    I love my binder. We had freinds over a few weeks ago, and a couple of the guys came across mine. They were so funny- almost in awe of how “organised” I am (tee hee hee). I didn’t have the heart to tell them that without that book, nothing would ge done.

  4. Magi says:

    That sounds better than my current method, stacks of paper around my computer. I even have a couple of spare 3-ring binders around. Thanks!

  5. Jan says:

    What a great idea. I tend to leave papers on the kitchen table until the pile falls off in the floor, and then I just throw stuff away, which I later often regret.

  6. Barbara H. says:

    A great idea! I have a file folder for some of that kind of thing, but some of the others are just in a stack on the desk. Where do you keep your notebook?
    Thanks also for the grocery list idea. I’ve been pondering making some kind of master list, but haven’t quite worked it out yet. It was interesting to note the date on that post and realize WFMW has only been going a few months!

  7. LammyAnn says:

    WOW! Look at all these WFMW’ers! Gosh. Leave for a month and come back and WOW.
    Ok. Mines up.
    NoteBook Lover here.
    How could I ever live without them again!?
    Great choice to share.
    Ty Shannon–for hosting this every week.

  8. mom2fur says:

    I started a notebook like this a while back after reading another WFMW tip, but you have some other ideas I’m going to incorporate into mine…including passwords! What a great idea.

  9. Amy says:

    I love your notebook. I used to do this, but have fallen away from doing and tried the PDA. It isn’t working for me. I am a pen and paper kind of girl. Thanks for the ideas for my next notebook 🙂

  10. Heather says:

    See, I need to get a handtruck because I have a chest of drawers full of notebooks that I’d need to grab. I’m in the process of getting old songs, story ideas, etc onto my computer, but right now I have a ton of ideas that would be lost because they are in those notebooks!

  11. Amy says:

    Wow! I need to try this! So far I’m just putting everything on one shelf and a disater in coming. I can sense it. Life is getting so busy. Thanks for the help! Amy

  12. An Iowa Mom says:

    I have to agree this is a great idea … I do something very similar. It works out great for a family of 6. I am with you … without it … this household would not work!
    I have a WFMW up with an idea on how to preserve your child’s school and/or art work.

  13. Katrina says:

    This is a great system, Shannon. My master to-do list currently has an entry that says, “Create Master Notebook,” for just these kinds of things. I’ll be incorporating some of your section ideas. Thanks!

  14. PaxilPrincess says:

    What an awesome idea. I am going to borrow it. I am constantly having to search for birth cert, shot records, ect. and this will make it so much easier.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Goslyn says:

    Shannon, your binder idea is BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT. I am constantly fighting the paper tiger, and constantly battling inboxes that get so full of junk that I can’t find anything. I am going to implement your binder idea TODAY and see if it helps clear the clutter. Thank you.

  16. Jenny says:

    I’ve been reading these WFMW’s for months, and have finally posted my own! 🙂 It may also be my last, due to my lack of creative ideas, but I’m proud anyway! hee hee!
    I love your notebook idea, Shannon! Sure would help eliminate that pile of papers on my counter!

  17. Susan says:

    Great tip.
    I love that you taped everything in. It doesn’t have to be perfect, beautiful, or all matching.
    Such freedom to get mine done now.

  18. Heth says:

    Oh my gosh, that was seriously going to be my WFMW today but I was too lazy. We have the same thing and I LOVE it. Totally keeps important papers from being lost in a pile. Great minds think alike. We don’t call ours The Notebook though or everytime I say it, I might start sobbing, thinking of Noah and Allie. Dang. Now I’m tearing up…..

  19. GiBee says:

    Excellent suggestion, Shannon. I have a notebook I just started for all the recipes I and my husband print off of the computer. Gazillions of them. I also have always kept a notebook that “housed” all the pertinent information for all the appliances we have in the entire house … I always leave this notebook behind when we sell our house. Of course, I’ve onlydoen this once … sell, that is.
    Anyhooo … I’m going to start one of these gems TODAY! Thanks for the suggestion.

  20. Amanda says:

    I really am the biggest dork around. I leave a link back to this web page rather than my page with my WFMW tip. Duh!! I think I got it straight now.

  21. Katherine@Raising Five says:

    You are so organized. I just have tabs for each kid with anything and everything that has to do with their activities and I think I’m doing great (I was going to say “good” but that’s such bad grammar!). Thanks for hostessing again!

  22. Antique Mommy says:

    Not to be a kill-joy (should that be hyphenated?) but with all that pertinent info in it, I’d make sure it’s not easily accessible to burglars… just saying.

  23. PastorMac's Ann says:

    This is a great idea. I like that all the important things are all in one place. Are you sure that if I was this organized my brain won’t explode?!
    Do you lock it up somewhere safe?

  24. Carol says:

    Well, I’ve been waiting all day just so I could be at the very bottom of the RIMD comment alley. How’m I doing? Am I at the bottom?
    I love The Notebook! And your post, the title of which fooled me into thinking it had something to do with Nicholas Sparks. I need your organizational skills. Desperately. My paper life is folding in upon itself quickly!

  25. HolyMama! says:

    i have GOT to make one of those. sounds like a must have.
    why did that sound so lame…? i dunno. but it did. but i meant it. a must have. a mom must have…

  26. Lori says:

    On a tangent, this was once taught to me on utensil placement…
    the fork is placed on the left, because fork has 4 letters, as does the word left
    the spoon and knife are placed on the right for the same reason, 5 letters in each word
    since that is as fancy as our table ever gets, the napkin is then placed with the fork because it is lonely… correct, however demented the thought process may be :-). hope it helps!

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