Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

One of the most important items in our home is our household notebook (HN). The keeper of all information, this notebook has come to my rescue on more than one occasion. What is in it, you ask? Well, I’d be delighted to share.

Our HN includes…

Emergency Information

• Emergency phone numbers

• Emergency plan that I found on ready.gov


• Cleaner recipes

• Monthly cleaning list – a list of chores – like dusting chandeliers – that only have to be done monthly


• Yearly financial goals

• Charitable donations list

• Bill due date list – when each bill comes due each month

• Bill pay spreadsheet – I plan when each bill gets paid each month on a quarterly basis. This way nothing gets forgotten and I can pay extra when it’s available.


• Friend (well, parents of friends) phone numbers & emails

• Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen dosing pamphlet from the pediatrician

• Vaccination records

• Coloring sheets

• Activity ideas

• Stickers – I can’t possibly use all of the address labels that get sent to us from charities that we support. Instead, I cut off the decorative element of the label and save it for stickers.


• Health information

• Microchip information


• Insurance information – so I don’t have to go outside to locate the information when vehicle registration comes along… is this one organized or lazy?

• Service records – I downloaded a great form for this on Excel.


• Inventory of items we have stored for an emergency

• Ideas that we have for preparedness – take first aid class, buy a food dehydrator etc.

Family Tree

• Any documents I stumble upon while assembling our family tree

• A handwritten copy of the branches of our tree – it’s easier for me to focus if it’s handwritten.

 Home Improvement/Décor

• To-Do list

• Sketches of things to build for the house

• Paint chips

• Catalog pages of desired purchases

• How-to’s for new skills

• Gardening ideas & guides


• Miscellaneous prayer cards

• Ideas to teach our faith to our child


• Ideas for future entries


• For the couple of times a year that we want to order out

 Hospital Board – I chair an advisory board for our local hospital

• Contact information of other members

• Vendor information

• Ideas for newsletter

 Odds & Ends

• Gift ideas

• Photo ideas

• Vacation/outing ideas

• Township garbage & recycling schedule

• List of when different fruits and vegetables are in season in our zone

On the back of the HN, I have a calendar for the year. On the spine of the HN, I have our yearly to-do list (we don’t make resolutions). This binder really helps to keep us on track. It’s portable and has virtually all the information we’d need at the tips of fingers.

Happy Homesteading,


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I love mason jars.  They bring me back to a simpler time.  There is something so homey about them.  In fact, if it comes in a mason jar, I’ll probably like it.  I have candles in mason jars.  We store leftovers in mason jars.  I’ve converted our soap dispensers into mason jars.  My junk drawer is organized with mason jars.

And of course, our cabinets are littered with preserves, fruits, vegetables and snacks stored in mason jars.  Today, I figured out a new way to use my jars.

While I prefer to make my own cleaning products, I do keep a few commercial cleansers on hand for those “now what?” emergencies.  I like to keep a container of Lysol wipes around just in case I need to obliterate any nasty germs that have infiltrated our home.  You can always find regular bleach in our home – good for an occasional whitening load of laundry – but more importantly, it’s a necessity for purifying water in an emergency situation.  Lastly, I always have a can of Bon Ami.  Although it’s a commercial cleanser, Bon Ami is probably as natural as you can get.  I use Bon Ami when extra scrubbing power is needed. 

I was about to toss my empty can of Bon Ami into the trash when I noticed the lid.  “Isn’t that close to mason jar size?” I said to myself.  And lo and behold, it is!

While it is slightly too large to fit upon the jar rim, it fits perfectly upside down upon the band.  A little tacky glue and…

A perfect way to keep baking soda under my sink for cleaning!

Happy Homesteading,


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One of our goals for 2012 was to finally put together a 72 hour kit.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a 72 hour kit is a large backpack that contains everything you might need to “survive” for 72 hours should you need to evacuate your home in an emergency.  As this project is going to take some careful planning and purchases, we thought we’d start small by organizing our firebox.

As our home is small, our firebox is small but it’s big enough to hold what we’d need to keep safe.  Inside you’ll find:

  •      2 extra credit cards – one in my name, one in Jon’s
  •      last year’s health insurance cards – none of the information has changed
  •      our marriage license
  •      our birth certificates
  •      our social security cards
  •      our latest expired driver’s licenses – to serve as a photo identification
  •      Jon’s passport – mine has expired.  I plan to apply for a new one this year.
  •      life, car & homeowners insurance information
  •      bank account information
  •      immunization records – for the pup & cat also
  •      list of family & friends phone numbers and addresses
  •      individual medical information for each family member listing blood type, allergies, diagnoses and other important tidbits
  •      map of our local area
  •      map of our state
  •      cash


All of this stuff fits, albeit tightly, into a gallon Ziploc baggy on which we’ve written an inventory of it’s contents. We also plan on putting duplicates of many of these items, as well as a flash drive with scanned copies, in our 72 kit.  But now we can easily grab the originals in a hurry, if needed.

Happy Homesteading,




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