how my home organization notebook changed my life… and a link up!

I know that sometimes I say things on my blog that make me sound really dramatic. How can a notebook change your life? Honestly.

Well, it’s true. I promise. You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post talking about all of the hats that women wear and how I feel like I want to wear all of these hats but don’t always have time to wear all of the hats. I was pretty stressed. I felt like I was always behind and I could never catch up.

And then came the notebook. As soon as I had my permanent daily to-do list, my weekly chore list, our family budget, my menu plans and grocery lists, my party and vacation plans, and my blog organization all in one location, things started to feel so much better.

Read the original Home Organization Notebook post here!

TC came home from work one day last week and remarked on how “pleasant” I had been every night that week. “Why are you so happy?” he asked.

First of all, you know it’s a true sign that something was “off” if your husband has to ask why you’re happy. I mean, I did just have a baby and life hasn’t exactly been “normal” around here. But for the first time in months, I felt like I had a good handle on everything. I hated the feeling of always being behind and not really having a good “system” throughout the day. But by the end of the day, I had completed all of my daily tasks and dinner was ready by the time he got home. For the most part, I had cut back on that “chicken with its head cut off” feeling by 80 percent!

I think this is one of the hardest things about being a stay-at-home mom. If you don’t implement structure, you don’t have any structure. And just like my babies, I need structure. I need a daily and weekly routine so I can achieve as much as possible during the day.

And then my Erin Condren Life Planner arrived on my doorstep this week and the skies opened up and angels sang. The combination of my home organization notebook and my Life Planner has been so great. I chose not to put any kind of calendar in my notebook because I felt like it would be too much and I’m pretty particular about what kinds of planners I like to use.

So there you have it. The notebook has changed my life. Every morning I get up and know what day it is and that on Mondays I wash, dry, and fold the boys’ clothes. And I get our day started and get the boys dressed. There is a lot to be said for feeling like you have your stuff together! And I get to spend much more time enjoying my time with these guys.

I wanted to open up this post to all of you. If you’ve created a home organization notebook and you have a blog, write a post about it and link up here. That way we can all see each other’s notebooks and swap some ideas. I’ve already decided to add a couple of tabs to mine. We’re reading to move our budgeting system over to the notebook and I also need a Junior League Decorations tab, so I can keep notes of ideas I have there.

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  1. Ok, this post totally made me excited for my Erin Condren life planner to come next week – I can not wait. I have a home organization notebook – but have not kept up as well I’d like! Can’t wait to see everyone else’s ideas and get organized before school starts next month!

  2. I really love your organizer :) It looks so… Organised hah!
    I’m going to try to make one myself!

  3. I too am so excited for my Erin Condren Life Planner to come next week! I do not have a home organization notebook but with my life I really need to start one. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas and hopefully incorporate some of them into my own soon!

  4. Since I saw your organization notebook, I have been working on creating one for myself. I can’t wait to finally have everything under control, and hopefully I will be better organized and not freaking out all the time about the giant list of things I have to do in the evening when I get off work. I added a tab in mine for home decorating ideas, as we are hoping to buy a house soon! Thanks for the great idea!

  5. I recently ordered Erin Condren’s Teacher’s Planner, and I cannot wait to get it!! :) Since I don’t have kids (yet!) I’m hoping the planner will help me between school and home. P.S. I have the berries and thread stoneware as well. LOVE!

  6. I tried the home notebook route, but I found it too cumbersome (I will have to take a closer look at the pages you use because you probably had better print out than I had). But I have had luck with a combination of Evernote and Google Calendar (my Erin Condren is on order!). I linked up to show an alternative to a paper system. I need to stay organized and keep a schedule for my sanity. But, flexible rigidity is our motto around here!

  7. Great post! Excited to read all of the other ideas people have for organization. My Erin Condren life planner was supposed to arrive this week, but when their site crashed I had to re-order….so I will be anxiously awaiting my planner’s arrival in the next few weeks! Like another reader said, I use Google calendar and share it with my fiance, so we can keep up with eachother, but the EC planner will be just for me and our home organization.

  8. I’m waiting for my planner and am super excited. I’m working on a notebook as we speak. I go back to work next week and know I need to get organized or I’ll be a bear every evening. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  9. justmommies.com has a great home organization planner. It can be a little extreme, but I’ve found it really helpful in designating days to do chores like vacuuming, laundry and cleaning out the car. Plus, it has “de-clutter” challenges for each month. The trick is to not get too wrapped up in it, or it becomes stressful. “OMG! I didn’t dust the blinds today!!”

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.justmommies.com/articles/home-organization-plan.php

  10. Kristen Watson says:

    How fun! I get a little nuts about binder organization. It’s the only way I can keep my magazine habit in check! I have binders for hair, makeup/skincare, fitness, fashion, recipes, parenting, etc. Little Miss Type A right here! All of my previous printables for home organization have come from the good old Microsoft Word templates, so they can use some updating for sure.

  11. I’m so excited for my Erin Condren planner to arrive. I got one as a gift for my girlfriend who is about to have her first baby. I hope we both love it! It is so funny you did this post, because last night I re-read your first post about the notebook. You’ve inspired me to put together a notebook for our house. I think it is totally going to change our lives. I’ve been feeling like I haven’t held up my end of the marriage bargain and we don’t even have children! I figure if I can get our lives organized now we’ll maybe have a step up for when we do have little ones! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. I am waiting on my planner to arrive and I can’t wait! I’ve been waiting on my planner (EC, of course) to arrive before putting together my home organization planner. I’m interested to see how everyone else put theirs together. I have a lot of the pages printed out and just need to find the perfect binder for them. Why am I so picky over a binder?

  13. I really love this. While I’m not yet a mommy, commuting to a demanding job has really taken a toll on my daily life. I hate the feeling of not being organized, especially around meals. I’ve started planning my whole week’s meals and grocery shopping on Sundays. I love knowing what lunch and dinner will look like for each day and having everything ready when I get home. It truly makes me a happier person!

  14. This is so inspiring to me! I am generally very organized, but in the last year I have slacked so much. Now I want a notebook! It would be so nice to have budget, to-do lists, grocery lists, bills, and more in one place. You don’t sound dramatic at all, anytime stress is relieved and things feel more “in order” – there’s a feeling of peace that comes from it all. And regarding organization, I am literally freaking out because I can’t track my Erin Condren order :( I can’t wait. I do know that mine was one of the ones that was printed even though I ordered on July 25th. And two more random sidebars, I can’t wait to purchase Juliska Berry and Thread one day, it’s gorgeous…noticed your mug in the background. Lastly, what pens are you using for your Erin Condren planner? I am slightly OCD about that sort of thing and do not want to use various types throughout it, yes I just admitted that. Ok, I’ve rambled enough and written a novel. Great post, per usual! :)

  15. I seriously flounder without structure. Guess what, I currently have none so you know what that means…floundering & being in a funk. MUST get my life planner ordered and start adding structure to my life!!!

  16. That picture of Hayes is too stinking cute!!

  17. First, your boys look precious as always :) Love seeing their smiling faces!

    WOW the amount of excitement this post gives me is ridiculous!! I can’t wait to have everything organized and structured at our house. It is perfect timing because I can get everything organized and functioning before our baby arrives in early February!

    I can’t wait for my Erin Condren life planner to arrive!! Absolutely can’t wait!!

    My next big project is creating our home organization notebook so this post is perfect timing for me. I’m so glad you’re having everyone link up so that everything will be accessible from one place. This is going to help me tremendously as I get started on my own notebook! Thanks for making it easier for me :)

    Your pictures of your planner and notebook make me so excited to have everything organized!!

  18. It is so weird that you choose to post this today because I just read your previous post about your home organization planner and I started working on one last night for several reasons… one I have anout a two hour round trip commute to and from work everyday and by them time I get home my husband and I ALWAYS end up eating out and its getting so costly and I MISS spending time at my home. Two-I am pregnant with our first child (due in October) and I am loosing my mind trying to figure out how I can keep my sanity with a baby AND continuing on with my job, two hour commute and all. Three- we are really trying to work on our budget (due to baby) so that we can start saving more money! Four- we bought and COMPLETELY gutted and remodeled our home two years ago last October and we still have so many small unfinished projects. So I have tabs for all of those things. Plus I am horrible about remembereing birthdays so my tab for that will help! I am hoping that this will help me transition from working wife to working wife/mommy!

  19. I use the Motivated Moms app on my iPhone. I has changed my life. Well worth the cost of the app. http://www.motivatedmoms.com/products.html Everyday has a few things/chores to do. It also includes once or twice a week some deeper type cleaning so that you never have to do a big spring or fall clean. Just a little bit everyday. It keeps me focused and I never get overwhelmed anymore.

    I like the app more then the planner because I can check my phone more easily to see what is need for the day.

  20. So happy you made this post! I am in the process of transitioning all my various organization systems into one and I love having a bunch to gain ideas from!

  21. “if you don’t implement structure, you don’t have any structure.”

    SO very true. I love this and will take it away as an encouragement. as a girl who is about to get married and move in with a hubby, i need to implement a structure to keep our house together and myself on track.

    I loved this post erin! so very encouraging to me!

  22. I really enjoyed your first post and am going to make a planner of my own. I am just looking for a cute binder, so if anyone has any place they have found one let me know!!!

  23. I actually made a notebook very similar to yours a couple of years back, inspired by FlyLady.net. I’ve been neglecting it for awhile, but feel like I need to revamp it. I’ve got a 2 yr. old, and another on the way this Nov., so I will definitely be in similar shoes to you. Anyhow, after procrastinating long enough – this post was exactly what I needed to do the task today! It’s a rainy day here in Birmingham, so, why not?! Thanks, Erin! :)

  24. okay… TODAY is the day. I am going to get my notebook, tabs, and page protectors and hope to have everything printed and hole punched by the time I hit the pillow tonight. Don’t be afraid if I show up on your doorstep to hug your neck for pushing me over the edge into organized bliss. ;)

  25. I’m excited to hear how you and TC budget, I always find that interesting when people discuss how they budget. A great budgeting website is learnvest.com you should definitely check it out.

  26. Erin, I think you nailed it about how the hard part of being a stay-at-home-mom is needing to implement structure in order to have any! I am not a a mom yet and I work full-time, but really hope that when we plan to have kids in a couple of years, I will have the luxury of being able to stay home with my babies for a little while anyway. That being said, although that is what I want, the idea stresses me out a little because I have ADHD and if I don’t have a schedule or specific structure to my day, it’s verrrrry easy to me to get distracted, waste way too much time on stuff I don’t need to be doing, and totally avoid the things I need to do! I can see why this notebook is so helpful!

  27. Erin, you have me so inspired to get organized. I am type A to the core so this is right up my alley. I’m ordering my Life Planner today and getting my binder started this weekend. For now, it’s just my husband and I at home but I’m hoping if I get started on this now I will be less overwhelmed when we do have babies. Thank you so much for all the great ideas. You are such a wonderful example for young moms, I have so mnay of your posts flagged to refer back to when I have kids!

  28. So glad you are feeling better. It’s amazing how such a little thing can make such a big difference. I can totally relate to needing a routine. Being a teacher, I have lots of time on my hands in the summer now that my kids are grown. I find that I get LESS done than when I’m working, crazy!

  29. Not a stay-at-home mom, and it’s just my husband and I, but so far we’ve got a google calendar-excel combo. My husband’s laptop is attached to his hip, so if it’s not on the computer, he will never see it or look at it. We both enjoy being able to update our budget on excel (we use dropbox), and see it in real time. Same with google calendars. We each have our own calendars, but we “share” with each other so there is never any confusion over what our schedule is.

  30. Hey Erin,

    Just an FYI that One King’s Lane is having an Erin Condren sale tomorrow!! I think it starts at 11.

  31. Erin, thanks for posting this! I love my home organization notebook and I feel SO much better if I am organized. I

  32. I have been using what I call my Daily Binder since the beginning of the year. I also have a Home Management Binder, but I use it for stuff that I access often, but don’t use daily. I just got my Erin Condren planner yesterday so I cannot wait to start using it with the binder! These will both be in my school bag soon to go with me every day!

  33. I’m working on my own plan to stay organized…I used to be so on top of things and now, as a working mother I’m finding it to be a challenge. The most challenging part for me is separating work and home life…I’m good at actually doing this but bad at the organization part and I’ve not found a planner that works for me to keep both in the same place yet somewhat separate. I’m also in Junior League and co-chairing two committees so I need a place for that too!
    I I’m starting my notebook this weekend! Thanks for the idea and motivation! It’s just what I needed to get back on track! I wish I already had some brilliant ideas to link to this post – but today I’m just going to be a copycat.
    So glad I found your blog!

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Erin,
    I love you notebook and all the tabs! I bookmarked those links when you wrote your post about the notebook, but was wondering how you did your labels for the tabs? Did you use a label maker? It looks so nice! :)

    PS -I’m in the Charleston Jr League so I love hearing about your League stuff as well!

  35. Hey girl! Anyway that you can bring these two things to church so I can look at them? I might be interested in buying them, but I want to see what they look like in person!
    Love!
    Megan

  36. Ugh. I still need something like this. *trying not to cry*
    When I have a second, I’ll find your other blog posts on this and try to get my own planner put together. Wait, I think I need a planner to schedule time to look at a planner…!

  37. I can’t wait for my Erin Condren life planner to come in the mail! Should be sometime soon….but I a new (just recently quit my day job) stay-at-home wife (not a mom yet) starting my photography business from home and I know I’m going to need a good schedule so I don’t go crazy and so I can get more accomplished. Currently working on getting moved to a new house so thats been taking up all of my time – but once we’re moved next week I will have to work on this. Thanks for the encouragement and glad that your system is working so well for you and your family.

  38. The Life Planner people need to write you a check!! :) Seriously, I have joined others and ordered mine-thanks so much for the suggestion. Your notebook looks great-love it. Also love seeing pics of your adorable boys.. What a proud momma you must be!

  39. ashley cueto says:

    LOVE your notebook so much, that I am totally going to be re-creating one for myself! ;) You & I must be on the same wavelength b/c I have been feeling disorganized and scattered in all areas of my life! I have 3 kids (11, 9, & 3) and having them home for the majority of the summer definitely throws my schedule and routine out of whack! But, I honestly can still improve year-round in the grocery shopping/cooking department! This should help SO much! Kuddos to you for “figuring it out” while your boys are so young…I’m years ahead in the mommy dept., but you continually teach me new things! ha! btw…your boys are simply precious! and lastly, is that a Vietri bowl (w/the apples) and mug of coffee on your table?? I LOVE them! :)

  40. What a fabulous post! I’m definitely thinking a home organization notebook would help me keep up with my day to day life a little better. :) Thanks for writing such a great blog!

  41. Oh I can’t wait to get my EC planner :)!! I have this page bookmarked for when I start my organization notebook!!

    I love your blog, thanks for sharing such awesome things.

  42. Thank you so much for this post (and the one before)! I’ve started printing the sheets to fill my own organizational notebook and my Erin Condren planner has been ordered. Just reading about yours makes me feel organized already! I can’t wait to get started!

  43. While I love my planner and organization binder (I still have to have an old school paper calendar too!), I also really like the Microsoft OneNote program. I didn’t even know it came with our Office Suite until I stumbled upon it one day. I keep all sort of files in there and also have a folder system in it for all of my recipes. I can sync it to my iPhone then I have all of my information with me on the go as well. I keep some of my OneNote contacts and other important pages printed off in my binder. It is a great program though and very simple to use. I highly recommend it!

  44. mine is my iphone. I link it to my outlook calendar and usually if its not on my calendar, it ain’t happenin’

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  1. [...] been waiting to get my planner before I started constructing my Home Organization Notebook, a la Erin & Nina.   I wanted to see the planner before I printed any sections for my HON.  I also went [...]

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