One of the things that Karen and I talked about while we were together this past week was her "Brain in a Binder" that she has made herself and given workshops on how to do. She has also written a wonderful book called "The Complete Guide To Getting and Staying Organized." How fortuitous that I got to spend a whole week just asking questions and having her walk me through hers-- of course, the sick baby slightly impeded our ability to dig deep or shop for the parts of the binder as I had hoped. But I was at least able to have her walk me through the different parts. She very kindly showed me that she has several tools for us all already downloaded and available on her website-- now, how cool is that?
Just go to http://www.karenehman.com/ and click on "Simple Tools To Download" in her sidebar. You will see several different things you can look over-- I liked the handout on keeping your ducks in a row, which includes a brief idea of how the brain in a binder works. She also has a sample of her routines that she keeps in the front of her binder as a reminder of what needs to get done each day. Of course, we all will have different routines, but hers is a nice reminder of what we should include. I like how she has divided up some of the big jobs around the house in a very manageable routine of weekly and monthly tasks. She has also included some photos of the cover of her notebook, the routine page, and a sample folder for each child.
I have tried so many different systems to keep track of the various pieces of paper that seem to accumulate where kids are concerned! Last year I used files-- but I found that files seem to be a dead zone-- once they get filed they are rarely seen again! I think having a binder with everything in one place is a better alternative.
Also, and I think I already mentioned this but it bears mentioning again that my friend Amy Bayliss over at Heart of the Matter Magazine is offering free downloads of a prayer notebook sheet and a "personal secretary" that is just perfect for busy moms-- it includes your errands, your phone calls, and all that sort of stuff on one sheet! Go here to snag them for yourself. I plan to include a prayer section and a "to do" section in my "brain in a binder." That's what I like about Karen's system-- you customize it for your needs and your family!
Also, I will add that Elizabeth Foss and Kim at Starry Sky Ranch keep "home management journals" similar to what I am talking about that you might want to check out. Starry Sky Ranch has links to forms and how-to's in her sidebar. I even found a whole site called Home Management Binder! (If you love organization-type stuff, plan to spend some T-I-M-E soaking up all the info on there!) In other words, between all these generous links and downloads, coupled with http://www.donnayoung.org/ and some ingenuity, you should be able to produce exactly what you need for very little money.
Today I purchased the binder part of the equation in a lovely hot pink at Target for only $3.99! It has the clear front pocket and I am looking forward to creating my cover-- I am going to go buy some pretty 8.5X11 scrapbook paper and some letter stickers to spell out something clever and original like "Mom's Notebook." If you want to check for this same binder at your local Target, it is called the Probinder by ProActive and it comes with dividers, a pocket and a ruler. Back to school time is a perfect time for mom to stock up on fun supplies as well! (I also got a magazine holder so I can keep my magazines sorted and looking nice. It is a pretty leather one with a striped print liner in fun colors. Up til now, I have always kept my current magazines in a big stack on my nightstand beside my bed. This is much nicer.)
Ok, well must go feed my kiddos-- then I am going to start organizing all my "stuff" into sections in my binder. I am armed with a three hole punch, a stack of sheet protectors, and I am ready!
ETA: I found this link with a great description of what can go in each section. I worked on mine alllll day yesterday and am so excited about how it turned out! I think this is going to be a valuable addition to my life. I will post photos and a more thorough description soon!