I have been working on my Home Management Journal for some months now. Actually I have been working on several of them - for myself and dear friends. This is hardly an original idea. A few moments on the web will net a number of hits to these binders. I thought it might be helpful to articulate what I loved and what I really didn't love about the whole concept. Why would a woman who professes disdain for running a home like a factory even entertain the idea much less spend months creating one? Well here goes....
It all started last summer when I saw a similar binder online. I was intrigued, as I usually am, by super-organized women and their methods. The reason I was intrigued was not to turn my home into a bells-on-the-hour, finely tuned machine however. Initially the motivation was a bit morbid. It occurred to me that if something tragic happened to me there was really noone on the planet who could easily jump in and take my place. Granted there is probably no 'easy' way to do that in a large family, but still, I realized I was storing a LOT of information in my head. If I went, it was all going with me. Twenty years of trial and error, of tweaking techniques, of who needed vitamins, of what size the kids were, of how-to-run-this-place.
It also occurred to me that while dying is not a common thing for me <g> it DOES happen that my husband or children need to step in and help for varying amounts of time when I am down for the count due to pregnancy complications, postpartum, a child's surgery, or some unforeseen excitement around here. Even when I am right here there was always some question about when a job was really finished or how to do a task properly or what was expected from school each day. Having all that written out would seem to eliminate a lot of stress on everyone's part. No more surprises or misunderstandings about expectations.
I bounced the ideas off of Jen and Elizabeth and we all realized these were very real issues in our homes. While you might be able to wing it with a couple children and a fairly static schedule you can forget smooth sailing if you have a full house and a deployed dad or a pregnant mom or a child with health issues - or how about several of those things! We needed to spell out how things were done and when they should be done. We also realized that we had children who might not have just absorbed by osmosis all the homemaking knowledge that had taken us the better part of two decades to accumulate. It wasn't that they weren't awesome kids. But, they did not have the benefit of the years of experience we did. It would be so nice to have a place to share with them what actually worked and what we valued. It would be nice to be able to pass it on.
So the project began. I had a few priorities for the journal. First it had to be practical. Volumes of papers weren't likely to be waded through. Only the most useful everyday info was going in here. Second, it had to be pretty. REALLY pretty. It's all visual for me. True confession - I just can't stand the business like forms for housekeeping and menus etc readily available online. They looked sterile and generic to me. If I used those there was a very real possibility that this binder would end up like many of my day-planners - a necessary evil I looked at as rarely as possible. To prevent that from happening I decided to make scrapbook style dividers and covers and to search the net for the nicest clip art to illustrate the pages. While the binder was my nod to the need for order and structure, the look of it was my statement about resisting the institutionalizing of education and the home.
Since I was making one for myself I figured I would make multiples and share with my friends. Each of us got a theme. Mine is Vintage. Jen's was more Country Floral (see pics left). Elizabeth chose Susan Branch since her daughter Mary Beth loved her graphics.(I will link to Elizabeth's as soon as she has the pics uploaded) The same fonts (different for each of us) are used throughout on all the forms to lend visual continuity. The end result was some binders we could all live with and use daily with a smile. I have been using mine for some time now and feel comfortable sharing the repro's if they are of help to other women. I am going to begin uploading today but will likely need to break up the posts over the next several days due to time constraints. I hope to put the downloads on the sidebar as soon as possible also so they are easy to access.
Meantime - you can download (for personal use only please) the Download vintage_binder_dividers.doc in Word documents. You can also download the divider labels in ovals if you prefer Download mcd_dividers.doc . The label sizes are ready to go for index labels. I glued a bit of glue stick to the backs to make them stick in the clear label holders. The filler pages, which will be posted shortly, are all in Word Fonts so they should be viewable and printable on any pc. Though mine are in Victorian fonts you may want something different. You can highlight the document and change to a different font easily. The clipart is from all over. It cannot be used for resale.