The Home Management Notebook

My Weekly Planner Page

My favorite weekly planner page in my HMN.

There was such an overwhelming response to my last post on organization, that I thought it only fair to follow it up with a few more tips, and examples on how I organize my stuff. Again, I’m addicted  to organizing.

The Home Management Notebook. For those of you who have no earthly idea what I’m talking about, this is a notebook (usually a three-ring binder) that holds all the information a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) needs to run her household. I’ve tweaked mine a bit to also fit my new freelance writing career, as well as run my home.

Since I do have a hub on the subject, this won’t really be a how-to, but I will share some of my favorite pages, and give you a list of stuff you’ll need (and may want) to create your own HMN.

I have to say a few words about my HMN though. It’s probably the one thing that has really turned around my life as a SAHM. When I first left my career in ophthalmology, I had a hard time acclimating to the change in job responsibilities. I was completely overwhelmed. Then, I read an article about a home management notebook (also called a home management binder), and it instantly appealed to my analytical and routine nature. (Anyone ever notice that the word anal is the first four letters of analytical? But, I digress…)

Anyway, long story short, my HMN grew from a small 1 inch three-ring binder with a few dividers to a 2.5 inch 3 ring binder with see-through, color-coded dividers with pockets, and subdividers and more planning pages than you have ever seen in one book. I use it constantly and it has a spot on my desk right next to my laptop.

Creating Your Own HMN

You’ll need a few supplies to get started:


This is the front page in my HMN.

  • 3 ring binder
  • dividers (I prefer ones with pockets, but it’s whatever will work for you)
  • page protectors (optional)
  • lots of paper
  • a printer
  • lots of ink

The only major step in creating one of these is choosing your tabs. What sections will you need in your notebook? My tabs have subtabs, that’s how detailed my notebook is, but that won’t work for everyone obviously. Here’s a list of my dividers to give you an idea of what you may want in your notebook.

  • Calendars
  • Meals and Menus
  • Writing Stuff
  • To Do Lists
  • Misc Family Stuff
  • Family Finances
  • Home Management

You may not want all of these, or you may want more. The key is to make it work for you. You won’t use it if you don’t like the way it’s set up.

HMN Tabs

I have since rearranged the tabs in my HMN, and I had to make the medical tab into it’s own notebook, but this hopefully gives you some ideas about what tabs you may want.

Here’s a brief list of some of the awesome printable planner pages I use in my notebook:

  • Organized Home: Lots of great printables here. My everyday calendar and recipe lists are from this site.

    My Meals and Menu Section

    This section has weekly and monthly meal planning pages as well as my grocery list and price logs.

  • Buttoned Up: There are a couple great sheets here, like the important document sheet and dialy sheets.
  • Life…Your Way: My blogging goals planner came from this site, as well as my mind maps, which help me plan my hubs.
  • Living Locurto: My Blog Planning sheet came from this site. I think it’s just so pretty!
  • Tip Junkie: I don’t use any of these but I thought I’d list it anyway.
  • Frugal Living: I use almost all of these sheets. I think they are easy to use and pretty!
  • Project Girl: This is the daily sheet I use when I need it.
  • The Carolina Clipper: I love their sheets. You have to like them on facebook to get access to the printables, but it’s so worth it!

For the writers reading this, (especially the bloggers) you’ll want to try Living Locurto above. The blogging planner is awesome. Life…Your Way also has some wonderful printables like mind maps, blogging business goals and planner pages, as well as a daily action planner that I have adapted to use as an outline page for hubs and copy articles. But, I suggest you visit this post if you missed it for a huge selection of planning pages for both bloggers and freelancers.


14 comments on “The Home Management Notebook

  1. Melissa, I would so love to try to do something like this, but not sure I could adapt it to the whole house. Definitely will look into the ones for writing though. Seriously thanks for sharing 🙂 🙂

    • You’re quite welcome. Home management isn’t for everyone, it’s pretty in depth! But after I got mine set up, I couldn’t put it down. Some sections I don’t use everyday, and others (like the writing and to-do sections) I use like 100 times a day. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Glean what you can and make it work for you. (I confess I have a writing notebook too… lol) 😀

  2. Melanie Chisnall says:

    Melissa, I loved your hub on this, and think this is awesome! Makes me very excited to start a file – but I think I’ll wait till there’s more than two of us, or I get extremely busy before doing that. Or maybe I’ll do it over the holidays. Sounds like a lot of fun. Your ideas are fantastic! 🙂

    • Awe, thanks Melanie! It is a wicked fun project (if you’re like me and find organizing super fun) but it took me about 2 weeks to get my binder in order. I still modify it every now and then when I find that something isn’t working right. I think it’s a constant work in progress lol. The writing section is the most used one I think, even over the to do section. And I know there are plenty of apps to track all this stuff for my phone or PC, but there’s just something about the tactile sensation of writing that I enjoy. 😀 You should post pictures of your binder on your blog after you create it. I love looking at how other people organize!

  3. Terrye says:

    DOM, I need to hire you to make one of these for me! 🙂 Loved this so I shared it in a couple of places. 🙂

    • Thank you for the share!! I have a brilliant idea for one of these, that I don’t really want to share (since everyone can read on the internet, it’s not that I don’t want to tell you lol) I just don’t have the first clue about how to get started with it. Know anyone who can help with that type of thing? 😀

  4. Amy says:

    I think you should definitely market this…or one specifically for writers. 🙂 I have a one inch binder at the moment. I have tried (and tried) to get a system to work for me and I am slowly getting there. So far I have the meal planning part under control. I love that you listed so many resources. I need them!!

    • Daughter of Maat says:

      Thank you! I actually have a few more I need to add, so I’ll be updating this one shortly. I’m seriously thinking about creating a planner for writers. I think I’m going to have to design my own pages though because I have to modify the ones I’m using at the moment. lol Might actually have to breakdown and buy Adobe lol

  5. When I had and used my HMN, I had a much better handle on things than I do now…without a doubt. It is so awesome how organized you can be with one. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Thanks for linking up with the GtKY hop!

    • I absolutely adore my HMN. Although, I can see how it might be hard to keep up with when things get really busy! Writing this post actually inspired me to rework mine a bit. 😀 So, you’re quite welcome!! Thanks for stopping by!

      I keep forgetting to put the button on my blog for the blog hop! lol I should put it in my HMN huh? 😉

  6. Kate says:

    Okay, I’m overwhelmed. But I really like the idea of having all this stuff in one place. I couldn’t get the link to livinglacurto to work. Could be just me. I looked at her site and got even more overwhelmed. Crap.

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